Alaska parents call for James Dawson book ban

Alaska parents call for James Dawson book ban

James Dawson has spoken of his frustration that a group of parents in Alaska are trying to get his non-fiction YA title This Book is Gay banned from the local library, saying there are some “hate-filled people in this world”.

According to Alaska Dispatch News, the debate over the book started when one parent’s 10-year-old child picked up the book in the juvenile young-fiction section of Wasilla Public Library. That parent asked for the book to be moved, but when library director Kathy Martin-Albright refused, more parents got involved and asked the book to be taken out of the library altogether.

One said the book was “borderline paedophilia” and another likened it to creating a book called "Hey, So You Want to be a Druggie?”. Several children were brought to the meeting, some of whom said they didn’t want “gay books” in their library, according to the newspaper.

Dawson, who last month revealed that he is transgender, said their reaction shows that Alaska still has some way to go when it comes to accepting people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

“Alaska is not New York. It’s not San Francisco or LA. It’s 2015 and LGBT people are still being compared to paedophiles. It’s such a shame,” he told The Bookseller. “The people we have not heard from are the LGBT people in Alaska, and they are the ones who are being sent the message that they are shameful in some way.”

He praised librarian Martin-Albright for refusing to remove the book and pointed out that This Book is Gay is very clearly labelled as being for YA readers.

Looking on the bright side, he added: “This actually might be the best thing that could happen for the LGBT community in Alaska. With all this attention, they might hear about the book and pick up a copy. That could only be a good thing.”

This Book is Gay, first published in the UK by Hot Key Books in 2014, is a guide for young people about being LGBT. Written with a humorous tone, Dawson covers all aspects of LGBT life, including sex, homophobia and coming out.