The author of an LGBTQ-inclusive book at the center of several bomb threats and other controversies nationwide has defended the publication and thanked librarians for standing in solidarity with the principles of free speech.
Juno Dawson posted a video on Instagram on Saturday to stick up for This Book Is Gay, which has been at the center of violent threats and outrage among far-right extremists.
As the title suggests, the book discusses some of the things one might encounter or have questions about if one were questioning one’s sexuality or realizing that one was gay.
Conservatives and right-wing radicals have called the book “pornographic” and inappropriate for kids.
“I wrote This Book Is Gay 10 years ago next year,” she said. “It has a warning on the back. It’s aimed at teenagers. It says it’s honestly explicit in places.”
As a former teacher, she explained that sex ed for LGBTQ+ teens was inadequate.
“They weren’t really learning anything that they needed to keep them safe and healthy when they were in adult relationships. And so I wanted to address that with This Book Is Gay.”
Dawson made no secret that the book is meant for teenagers and young adults and contains illustrations that explain some concepts in detail.
“So yes, it contains sex education. Yes, it’s about relationships, falling in love, dating, [and] family. It’s about all of those things,” she said, adding, “I wanted to give young LGBTQ people hope.”
Dawson identified the importance of standing up to what she said was extremist ideologies.
“What we’re seeing now is a really organized attack on books because the far right is out of ideas. What else can you attack but trans health care, drag queens [and] books?” she asked.
“So I just want to say huge thank you to all the librarians and educators who are defending freedom of speech and the right for young LGBTQ people to see themselves in books stands strong [and in] full solidarity,” Dawson concluded.
Last week, the Hilton Central School District near Rochester, N.Y., received two bomb threats that demanded removal of sexually explicit books from circulation in school libraries. The threat mentioned This Book Is Gay by title.
Also last week in Iowa, far-right influencer Chaya Raichik, who runs the Twitter account Libs of TikTok, successfully bullied the Sioux City Community School District into removing This Books Is Gay from school library shelves.