Barack Obama Defends Children’s LGBTQ Books as States Prohibit Them from Schools

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 06: Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to young leaders fro
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama wrote a letter defending LGBTQ+ books in children’s schools and public libraries as Republican-led states move to restrict them amid growing concern from parents. 

“Today, some of the books that shaped my life—and the lives of so many others—are being challenged by people who disagree with certain ideas or perspectives,” Obama tweeted along with a letter. “And librarians are on the front lines, fighting every day to make the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas available to everyone.”

Obama wrote: 

It’s no coincidence that these “banned books” are often written by or feature people of color, indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community — though there have also been unfortunate instances in which books by conservative authors or books containing “triggering” words or scenes have been targets for removal. Either way, the impulse seems to be to silence, rather than engage, rebut, learn from or seek to understand views that don’t fit our own.

Obama’s letter comes as GOP-led states have prohibited books promoting gender ideology sexual orientation and restricted teachers from instructing grade-school children on those topics. 

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was at the center of controversy when he signed the Parental Rights in Education Law, which prohibits school employees or third parties from providing instruction on the aforementioned topics. 

“Exposing the ‘book ban’ hoax is important, because it reveals that some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination,” DeSantis said in March. “In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards.”

DeSantis’s office revealed that, of the 175 books removed from schools across Florida, 87 percent contained pornographic, violent, or inappropriate content for their grade level.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) in May signed a similar law that was modeled after Florida’s law. 

As the Des Moines Register reported: 

The law will ban school books with descriptions or depictions of sex acts; prohibit instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation before seventh grade; require schools to notify parents if a student requests to use new pronouns; and enshrine the “constitutionally protected right” for parents to make decisions for their children.

President Joe Biden’s administration in June announced it would train school districts on how to combat these purported “book bans.” White House policy adviser Neera Tanden claimed these policies “may violate federal civil rights laws if they create a hostile work environment, hostile environment for students.”

Obama called the restrictions on these books “profoundly misguided, and contrary to what has made this country great.”

FILE - In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, people gather in Lafayette Park to see the White House illuminated with rainbow colors in commemoration of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. It was a new look for the White House: illuminated in rainbow colors to celebrate the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage nationwide. President Barack Obama, who was inside, felt the glow on that June night in 2015. To see people gathered in the evening outside on a beautiful summer night, and to feel whole and to feel accepted, and to feel that they had a right to love _ that was pretty cool," he said a few days later. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

In this Friday, June 26, 2015, file photo, people gather in Lafayette Park to see President Barack Obama’s White House illuminated with rainbow colors. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Obama added:

It’s also important to understand that the world is watching. If America — a nation built on freedom of expression — allows certain voices and ideas to be silenced, why should other countries go out of their way to protect them? Ironically, it is Christian and other religious texts — the sacred texts that some calling for book bannings in this country claim to want to defend — that have often been the first target of censorship and book banning efforts in authoritarian countries.

The former president went on to thank librarians for their service “on the front lines.”

“Nobody understands that more than you, our nation’s librarians. In a very real sense, you’re on the front lines — fighting every day to make the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas available to everyone,” Obama wrote. 

“So whether you just started working at a school or public library, or you’ve been there your entire career, Michelle and I want to thank you for your unwavering commitment to the freedom to read,” he continued.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.