since 2004

RadReads: Revolutionary Voices

In censorship, LGBTQ issues, youth on November 15, 2008 at 7:51 pm

It’s a dubious honor to be the author/editor of a banned book. My first book, Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson, 2000), was banned by the Texas Youth Commission in 2004. According to TYC the book is “inconsistent with the educational goals of the state.” Makes you wonder what these goals are when a book written to break the isolation many young people feel is considered too dangerous.

Contributor Margot Kelley Rodriguez writes in the book’s introduction:

As artists, we come together in this book to share ourselves with each other and with you….Included here are stories of loss (how religion can force a grandmother to turn her back on her granddaughter), stories of rage (against our parents, against hunger, against the state of things), and stories of love (about the awesome power of desire, about the beauty of touch). Throughout these testimonials runs a thread of hope; hope in love, hope that by writing this down we can help some other queer kid out there. We know the answer to June Jordan’s question, “Where Is the Love?” The answer is us. “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

We are still the ones. Young and old.

The ACLU of Texas reported on this and other removals in their invaluable annual edition of Free People Read Freely.

  1. This book is an incredibly important contribution (and representation) of the mobilization of queer and questioning young adults in the United States. If you want to delve into the hearts, minds, dreams (and nightmares) of the youth that first started GLBTSQ alliances in our high schools across the nation, that pioneered queer youth artistic and political work in small towns and big cities alike, this book is a must-read. It paints the pain of losing your family when telling the truth, the joy in finding your first true love, and the patience of forgiveness even in loss. This book truly represents the diversity of the queer youth struggle.

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