One of the more controversial issues in the LGBTQ community is getting schools to allow books in schools covering topics near and dear to them. Unfortunately, there is no universal acceptance of LGBTQ books in schools, with some allowing them but others not.
Yes, some schools allow LGBTQ books, but not all of them. It’s essential that schools allow their students access to these books, so they can learn from them and develop positive values like inclusivity and diversity. Parents can work with teachers and school administrators to change their policies and allow these books in their libraries and classrooms.
This guide will walk you through the topic of LGBTQ books and their acceptance in schools. You’ll learn why allowing these books matter and what obstacles are preventing them from being so. By the end, you’ll also learn some steps you and other parents can take to make long-lasting change.
Do Schools Allow LGBTQ Books?
Unfortunately, LGBTQ books do not yet have universal acceptance in schools. While some schools allow these books and even have them in their libraries, others have yet to allow them in their institutions.
These days, the acceptance of LGBTQ books varies and depends on many different factors. For instance, acceptance of these books depends on individual schools or the districts in which they operate.
Besides that, local policies, rules, and regulations also play a big role in deciding whether or not these kinds of books are accessible to students.
Lastly, acceptance also depends on the parents themselves. If a majority of the parents who send their kids to a particular school allow these kinds of books, then acceptance is much more straightforward.
The opposite is also true. If most parents are against it, perhaps due to religious or cultural backgrounds, then a school will have trouble allowing LGBTQ books.
Like LGBTQ acceptance in general, this is a sensitive issue that’s the topic of many ongoing discussions and debates. Both sides are equally passionate about their arguments, so it remains to be a divisive issue.
On the positive side of things, the acceptance of LGBTQ books is spreading, albeit slowly. As more people get a chance to understand the LGBTQ community, the acceptance spreads to other areas as well like schools and their stance towards LGBTQ books.
Why Should LGBTQ Books Be Allowed In Schools?
Unfortunately, some people have the misconception that allowing LGBTQ books in school is a small matter. They feel that the community has much bigger issues to fight for and that this one doesn’t deserve much attention, at least for now.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The seemingly small act of allowing young people access to these books in their school can have a long-lasting positive impact.
Here are some of the most important reasons LGBTQ books should be allowed in schools:
The first and most important reason these books should be allowed in schools is they promote understanding of the LGBTQ community and its members.
Students who develop that understanding at an early age will carry it well into their adulthood, making them much more understanding and tolerant of people as a result.
More importantly, it can also help some students understand themselves better. As you’ll discover below, that can lead to self-acceptance and healthier self-esteem.
Encourages Positive Values
When students are allowed to understand the LGBTQ community early in life, it also helps them develop positive values. The most important ones here are that of inclusivity and diversity.
In simpler terms, these books can teach young people that the world comprises all kinds of people and that everyone should have a seat at the table.
Fights Stereotypes And Stigma
Young people are also exposed to negative stereotypes and stigma against the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, they rarely get to hear the other side of the argument to develop their own opinions.
Allowing them access to LGBTQ books in schools enables them to decide for themselves. Young people can tear through negative stereotypes and stigma to understand that people in the LGBTQ community are deserving of respect just like everyone else.
Supports Student Mental Health
Young people are constantly discovering new things about themselves. That process can put a lot of pressure on their mental health, especially if they feel like they’re alone with no one to relate to.
Allowing LGBT books in schools can help some of them see that they’re not alone in discovering themselves.
As a result, these books can help support their mental health as they continue learning more about themselves.
Encourages Critical Thinking
Allowing LGBTQ books in schools also helps students develop their critical thinking skills. It gives them a chance to form their opinions about issues regarding the LGBTQ community on their own terms.
Encourages Open And Mature Discussion
Lastly, it’s important to allow LGBTQ books in schools to encourage open and mature discussion among students.
LGBTQ issues are real-world issues, and learning to appreciate them early in life will only benefit students in their futures.
What Are The Challenges Of Allowing LGBTQ Books In Schools?
Schools in some areas have no problems allowing LGBTQ books in their libraries and among students. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in many other places.
The reality is that there are significant challenges in allowing these books into schools. It’s crucial to understand these challenges if there’s any hope of overcoming them in the future.
Here are 5 challenges that come with possibly allowing LGBTQ books in schools:
1. Controversial Topics
LGBTQ topics can be quite controversial, especially in some social environments. That’s especially true when it comes to giving young people access to books about those topics in schools.
Some schools and their administrators prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid controversy by not allowing these books in their institutions.
2. Cultural And Religious Beliefs
As you read earlier, the school’s location and the local community also play a big role in whether or not LGBTQ books are allowed in a particular school.
Approving these books can be especially challenging in areas where there are strong cultural and religious beliefs against the LGBTQ community as a whole.
In these kinds of schools, the issue of whether or not to allow these books can be exceptionally sensitive.
3. Teacher Training
Suppose a school allows LGBTQ books in their libraries and for their students. That will lead to a second question: does the school have enough well-trained teachers to help students understand the issues covered by those books?
A lack of teacher training can cause other problems if students are exposed to these ideas with no one to provide them with the appropriate guidance in navigating them.
4. Local Rules And Regulations
Some schools are bound by local rules and regulations that do not allow them to approve LGBTQ books for their students. Sadly, attempting to challenge rules that are already in place is much more difficult and will require much more effort to succeed.
5. Bullying Problems
Lastly, allowing LGBTQ books in schools could lead to bullying problems for some students. That’s especially true if the earlier problem of not having enough trained teachers continues, as students will lack the guidance they need.
How Can Parents Get Schools To Allow LGBTQ Books?
As a parent, you might want to try and get a school to allow LGBTQ books for your child or children. In that case, there are several steps that you can take to start that process (in no particular order):
Step 1: Work With Other Parents
Firstly, you should talk to other parents about this issue. That will help you identify other like-minded individuals to work with.
Cooperation is important, as this might be a long journey. Involving others ensures you can pool resources and support, raising your odds of a favorable outcome.
Remember: all of you have a common goal, which is to get LBGTQ books allowed in the school.
Step 2: Communicate With Teachers, Staff, And Administration
It’s impossible to achieve anything positive in a school environment without cooperation between parents and the school’s other stakeholders.
More specifically, you must include teachers, staff, and administrators in the discussion as well.
Casual or unofficial dialogue between parents and the school’s leadership team will be a good way to champion the issue of allowing LGBTQ books within the school.
Step 3: Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Meetings
At some point, the dialogues and debates regarding this issue must be formalized. One platform that’s suitable for the regular meeting of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).
These meetings are precisely where school matters should be raised for open discussion. Plus, PTA meetings are typically quite formal, meaning there will be a record of everything discussed and agreed upon.
Step 4: Collaborate With Local LGBTQ Associations
They say it takes a village to raise a child. That’s why the success of any school depends on the society surrounding it.
One way you and other parents can champion the acceptance of LGBTQ books in schools is to work with local associations. You can often find groups and associations with the tools and skills to educate others on the importance of LGBTQ acceptance in society, including schools.
They can lend their support and guidance to help parents who want to make long-lasting changes in their children’s school.
Step 5: Be Patient
Lastly, remember that a lot of patience and perseverance is necessary. Championing any noble cause, like getting LGBTQ books allowed in schools, is rarely a straightforward process.
You’ll need to devote yourself to the process for the long run if you want to see long-lasting change.
Your efforts will pay off in the end with enough patience and support!
What Are Other Ways Schools Can Promote Inclusivity?
So far, you’ve read that the road to allowing LGBTQ books can be long and hard for some schools. In some cases, parents might need to work on building a more inclusive environment within the schools long before they can even raise the issue of LGBTQ books.
Here are some other ways that parents can promote inclusivity in the meantime:
- Learn: The first and most important thing a parent can do to promote inclusivity is to educate themselves. For example, before lobbying for LGBTQ books to be allowed in schools, parents should read some of those books themselves.
- Communicate: Next, parents should communicate openly with their children, other parents, and school staff about inclusivity issues. That must also include speaking out about any instances of bullying regarding a student’s sexual orientation.
- Support: Students often have their own efforts to allow for more inclusivity, including allowing LGBTQ books. Parents should support these efforts, empowering students to be agents of change in their school.
- Participate: Parents should also participate in school or community events promoting inclusivity and the LGBTQ community. Doing so will help parents become better allies, making them more effective at lobbying for change in their children’s school.
- Challenge: Parents should also challenge any negative perceptions or stigma against the LGBTQ community. Small steps like this will go a long way towards fostering inclusivity and, by extension, helping to get LGBTQ books allowed in the school.
As you can see, the issue of LGBTQ books being allowed in school is part of the much larger issue of inclusivity in schools. If championing the book issue directly isn’t effective, parents will have to work around that by pushing for inclusivity as a whole.
LGBTQ books are currently allowed only in some schools, while they’re forbidden in others. A large part of that difference depends on the social environment of each school and the overall acceptance of LGBTQ inclusivity.
Parents can try to get their children’s school to allow these kinds of books. That process will likely be challenging, but it will lead to positive changes that will benefit students throughout their entire lives.