Texas Republicans want to ban public school libraries from having books that feature same-sex couples and transgender characters, part of the GOP’s increasing attacks on LGBTQ people across the United States.
The bill, introduced Thursday, prohibits books that include “any type of romantic or sexual attraction between individuals of the same sex; transvestism; gender dysphoria; [or] transgenderism.” It also bans library websites from referring to pages that discuss these topics, as well as any drag performances in the libraries.
The book ban was introduced the same day that another Texas Republican unveiled a bill that would roll back all property taxes for heterosexual, never-divorced married couples that have 10 children together (not out of wedlock).
These measures are the latest in a tsunami of attempts to crack down on LGBTQ visibility by Republicans across the country. The GOP has declared war on anything “woke”—that is, diversity of thought and marginalized communities—and it is making good on its promise.
In Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis pushed through the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a school district banned 23 books in February, including many works dealing with gender, sexuality, and race. In at least two other counties in the Sunshine State, teachers were told to hide their classroom libraries until all the books in their collections had been vetted and approved for propriety.
On Thursday, Tennessee became the first state to ban drag performances in public, as more than 20 such bills move through other state legislatures across the U.S. There have been hundreds of bills targeting gender-affirming care, the ability to alter the gender on your birth certificate, and more since the start of 2023 alone.
The main argument in support of much of this legislation is that it is to protect children. But as critics note, it doesn’t seem to be about the kids at all. It’s about forcing certain values onto everyone else, often at the expense of younger people’s safety.