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Heartstopper Author Alice Oseman Blasts U.S. Book Ban

‘Heartstopper’ Author Alice Oseman Blasts U.S. Book Ban

Alice Oseman
Courtesy of Netflix

“Racism, homophobia, and transphobia are thriving under the guise of ‘concern for children.’”

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Alice Oseman, author of the heartwarming and queer-affirming Heartstopper graphic novels, is speaking out against a recent book ban in Florida that saw her work added to the list of prohibited publications.

Oseman took to their Instagram stories to clap back on the silencing of queer voices and called out its underlying homophobia, pointing out how the books that made the list were “inclusive of LGBTQ+ people and people of color.”

The Florida Freedom to Read Project reports that Heartstopper has been included in the list of more than 50 books being banned in the Clay County school district in Florida, along with dozens of other restricted books that either include LGBTQ+ characters, themes, and plots or were written by queer authors. They have also reported that more than 355 books have been banned in the school district since July 2022.

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“Racism, homophobia, and transphobia are thriving under the guise of ‘concern for children’,” said Oseman. “This is not just a U.S. issue either. We’re seeing the exact same ‘concern’ here in the U.K.”

Oseman is not wrong; this is part of a larger and deeply disturbing trend in recent years. Anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment has resulted in a record number of book bans across the U.S. A study conducted by PEN America has found that 2,532 books were banned in the 2021/2022 school year — over half of which were forbidden due to LGBTQ+ characters or topics.

Tensions are only rising. On March 22, five schools across Hilton Central School district in New York were forced to evacuate due to bomb threats over the LGBTQ+ books that were still in their libraries. On March 24 they received a second bomb threat.

While no bombs were found in the search, it speaks to the escalation of violence being perpetuated by these book bans and the homophobic outrage driving them.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.