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Biden Plans to Reveal New Book Ban Czar at White House Pride Event

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Joe Biden will announce a number of LGBTQ+ initiatives on Friday, including the appointment of a new Education Department Office of Civil Rights Official to be a “point person” on “book bannings”. Biden revealed these actions during a press conference held with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunder on Thursday. White House Domestic Affairs Adviser Neera Tanden had originally planned to host “the largest Pride Celebration in White House History” on the South Lawn on Thursday. However, the event was postponed until Saturday because of air quality concerns due to wildfires burning in Canada.

Tanden said that the Education Department coordinator for book banning will “train” school personnel, informing them that preventing certain books could violate federal civil rights laws. Tanden continued to highlight the alleged negative consequences of book bans, arguing it undermines democracy and obstructs learning. It also contributes to stigma and isolation.

An administration official stated:

Our nation is experiencing a surge in the number of book bans. These efforts are disproportionately targeting the LGBTQI+ and communities of color. This is not just an attack on the rights of LGBTQI+ Americans. It’s part of a coordinated assault on our democracy.

It is expected that the administration will also announce a new partnership led by the Department of Homeland Security with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. Initiatives to be expected include:

The Department of Homeland Security’s community safety program, in collaboration with LGBTQ+ centers, clinics, and small businesses such as restaurants and bars. This program is allegedly designed to train people on how to handle bomb threats, active shooters, and cyber threats.

Health and Human Services issues an advisory to mental healthcare providers. The advice is supposed to offer guidance on how to provide evidence-based treatment for transgender children.

Implementing regulations aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ foster children, ensuring that they are placed in safe and appropriate families, and addressing the issue of homelessness among LBGTQ+ young people.

The American Library Association (ALA), last month, identified seven of the top thirteen most challenged books for 2022 as having sexually explicit LGBTQ+ content (four books were tied in 10th place). Gender Queer, by Maia Kobabe, was the book most requested to be removed from libraries. Gender Queer has caused a significant amount of controversy, with parents demanding that it be removed from public school libraries. The book contains depictions and descriptions of oral sex, as well as masturbation.

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis implemented laws that regulate the controversial content of books found in school libraries. Last month, a similar bill was sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. If the law is passed, it will rate books and ban those that have been rated as “sexually explicit”. This is due to images and sexual depictions. State officials can still override this rejection.

DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education Law prohibits classroom instruction about “sexual orientation” and “gender identification” in all grades K-12. DeSantis is running for the Republican presidential nomination and has dismissed recent claims of Florida book banning as a hoax spread by “mainstream media” “unions”, and “leftist activists”.

164 of the 175 removed books from schools in the state were removed by the Governor’s Office, according to legislation passed in 2022. In addition, 87 percent of the books removed were deemed pornographic, violent, or inappropriate for each grade level.

Governor DeSantis stressed the importance of debunking the “book ban” hoax. He argued that individuals were trying to exploit schools in order to indoctrinate students. In March, he stated that Florida was committed to providing quality education free of sexualization. He asserted that inappropriate content violates the standards for education in Florida.

Gov. DeSantis said:

Pornographic materials and inappropriate material that are smuggled into Florida classrooms and libraries in order to sexualize students violate the state’s education standards. Florida is an education state. This means that students should receive a high-quality education that’s free of sexualization or harmful materials.

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