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Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff to tackle Republican book bans at Manhattan roundtable discussion (exclusive)

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff LGBTQ book school library display
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He will talk about the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to fight these threats to students’ civil rights.

Cwnewser

On Wednesday, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will travel to New York City to lead a roundtable discussion at the New York Public Library in Manhattan focused on protecting students’ civil rights, including LGBTQ+ students, against the growing threat of school book bans. The afternoon event will feature high school and college students alongside Matt Nosanchuk, the Biden-Harris administration’s appointee who monitors book bans.

These bans, often targeting LGBTQ+ themes and minority perspectives, pose a significant threat to students’ educational and civil rights, a White House official told The Advocate.

The roundtable at NYPL is part of a broader administration effort to address the impact of book bans on student civil rights. Last June, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to protect LGBTQ+ communities, including the appointment of a new coordinator specifically tasked with addressing the issue of book bans in schools.

Nosanchuk serves as deputy assistant secretary for strategic operations and outreach in the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He co-founded and led the New York Jewish Agenda and has served in senior roles throughout the Obama-Biden Administration, including the White House and various departments such as the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. He has done work advancing LGBTQ+ rights and received several accolades, including the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award and the American Bar Association’s inaugural Stonewall Award. Nosanchuk has been called the book ban “czar” for monitoring the troubling spate of bans in states nationwide.

According to the program’s website, the NYPL’s nationwide Books for All campaign strives to protect the freedom to read in response to escalating efforts to ban books.

Emhoff has regularly engaged with the LGBTQ+ community through various initiatives since Kamala Harris became vice president. In 2022, he visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, with Admiral Rachel Levine, who serves as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, where he spoke with providers who care for differences in sexual development and gender development. That same year, he made calls to LGBTQ+ leaders who are on the frontlines of “don’t say gay” activism. In 2023, he visited LGBTQ-owned businesses while on travel. Since 2022, Emhoff and Harris, have attended Pride Month celebrations and hosted the LGBTQ+ community at their home in Washington, D.C., at the Naval Observatory.

In 2022, Emhoff recorded a video for It Gets Better expressing support for LGBTQ+ youth.

“Today, I have a message for every young person out there going through tough times. Every young person being bullied, especially those of you in the LGBTQ plus community. I want you to know you are not alone. There’s so many people out there, people like me who care about you,” he said.

PEN America has highlighted the increasing pressure to censor books in public schools. According to the organization, in the 2022-23 school year, there were 3,362 instances of book bans in U.S. public school classrooms and libraries, affecting 1,557 unique titles. These bans disproportionately target books by female authors, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Florida led the nation with 1,406 book bans, followed by Texas, Missouri, Utah, and Pennsylvania.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).