University of Connecticut assistant professor Amy Egbert, who studies youth mental health, commented on the book challenges, saying, “Any time a certain identity is stigmatized, that tends to lead to more discrimination, more bullying, increased mental health challenges. Everything we know suggests this is very harmful to LGBTQ kids.”
Despite the clear downsides to removing these books, challenges against them have increased. Data from the ALA shows that from 2000-2010, challenges against LGBTQ+ books only accounted for less than 1-3%. In 2018, that percentage increased to 16%, 20% in 2020, and 45.5% in 2022.
Additionally, it seems that a majority of book challenges can be attributed to a very small number of people — 11 to be exact. Washington Post reports that people who filed 10 or more challenges accounted for 6% of all book challengers, and had filed 60% of all book challenges. One man even filed 92 book challenges. These repeat challengers don’t always work alone, however. Sometimes they’re assisted by conservative groups like Moms for Liberty, which Book Riot has covered extensively.
Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.