Quieting Queer Reads: A History of LGBTQ+ Book Bans in the U.S.

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Hybrid Event. In-Person location: Central Library, Queens Public Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica NY 11432. Photo by Kennedy Library | Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Event Details:

“Any time you write a book where you write about your truth, there are going to be people who want to silence that truth.” – George M. Johnson, author of All Boys Aren’t Blue

Book banning has been implemented as a method of censorship for centuries in the United States. However, recent waves of bans on young adult and children’s titles are more alarming than ever. About 2500 titles have been banned from schools in the last year, impacting 4 million students across 5,000 schools – many of those titles featuring protagonists of color and/or characters who reflect the LGBTQ+ experience.

Join the American LGBTQ+ Museum in partnership with the Queens Public Library during Banned Booked Week [Oct 1-7] for a conversation around the importance of telling our own stories and what writers need in this moment. Raquel Willis, Cory Silverberg, Maya Gonzalez, Brenda BowenAsher MacInnis-Call, and Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz will discuss the history of book banning in the U.S., and the impact of censorship and erasure for LGBTQ+ youth.

**This is a hybrid event. The panel will be taking place virtually via Zoom and will be live-streamed to our in-person attendees proceeding zine-making.**

Join us at 6PM ET at the Queens Public Library’s Central Branch to participate in a hands-on, zine-making workshop, led by learner, educator, and zine maker Neta Bomani. All materials will be provided. All ages are welcome and no prior experience with zine-making is required.

Event Schedule: 

5PM – 6PM Virtual Panel Conversation | RSVP here to view online | Join us at 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, to view the live-stream in-person

6PM – 7PM In-Person Zine-Making Workshop | RSVP here to attend |at Central Library, Main Lobby, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica


Neta Bomani | Learner, educator,  zine maker, and co-director at the School for Poetic Computation and Sojourners for Justice Press

Brenda Bowen | Veteran agent at The Book Group who represents a rich, diverse, and widely-banned list of award-winning books for young readers

Maya Gonzalez | Award-winning children’s book artist and author, cofounder of Reflection Press – a POC, queer, and trans owned independent publishing house, and creator of the Gender Wheel

Asher MacInnis-Call | ACLM at Queens Public Library focusing on LGBTQ+ materials, particularly in the children’s room

Cory Silverberg | Educator and author of an award winning series of queer books for kids about sex and gender

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz | Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Engagement, NYU Division of Libraries; Black Lesbian Community Archivist; Volunteer at the Lesbian Herstory Archives

Raquel Willis | Award Winning Author, Media Strategist, Activist




Raquel Willis Photo: Texas Isaiah


CorySilverberg Photo credit: Samantha Blanchette


Maya Gonzalez


Brenda Bowen Copyright: Amy Wilton


Shawn(ta) Smith Dan Creighton/NYU Photo Bureau


Neta Bomani Photo: Izzy Commers