Jill Biden makes stand for LGBTQ+ community and condemns US book bans

First Lady of the United States Jill Biden speaks on stage during Learning With Love: The 2023 PFLAG National Convention in Washington DC

First lady Jill Biden has made a stand for the LGBTQ+ community at a charity’s annual convention, claiming “in America, we don’t ban books.”

Speaking at LGBTQ+ organisation PFLAG’s convention on Friday (20 October), the first lady, who has previously stood up for the LGBTQ+ community, praised the organisation for providing a “safe haven” for queer children.

“PFLAG is living proof that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” she said.

She added that she applauded the work the organisation does in “fighting unjust state laws and local school district policies that censor history”.

Biden added that the LGBTQ+ advocacy PFLAG undertakes could help “the trans person who feels seen when we use the right pronouns” or “the gay or lesbian teen kicked out of his or her home who is searching for refuge.”

Jill Biden added that her husband, president Joe Biden, is doing “everything within his power to protect LGBTQ+ kids and support families”. 

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She explained that the president is “working to combat the dangerous, cruel practice of conversion therapy” and “committing more resources to address youth homelessness”. 

Book-banning targeting LGBTQ+ authors and titles has been found to have been rising in the US, with the American Library Association (ALA) documenting 1,269 attempts to censor or ban 2,571 titles in 2022.

Texas was found to be the worst offender for book-banning, responsible for 93 attempts to restrict over 2,300 titles in that year, according to the ALA. 

The state of Illinois became the first US state to introduce a law to prevent book bans in June, after years of banning targeting LGBTQ+ books. 

The state’s governor, J B Pritzker, said of the law: “I want our children to learn our history, warts and all. Read as much as you can. Read different perspectives. Read challenging ideas.

“Book bans are about censorship, marginalising people, marginalising ideas and facts. Regimes ban books, not democracies.”

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