This Book-Banning Campaign Gets Unusually Personal

ProPublica looks at how woman's high-profile push in Texas has caused rift with her gay son
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2022 11:40 AM CDT
This Book-Banning Campaign Gets Unusually Personal
Stock photo.   (Getty/DmitriiSimikov)

While book-banning campaigns aren't all that unusual, ProPublica takes a look at one such campaign in Texas that's uncommon on two fronts. First, 51-year-old Monica Brown filed a police report earlier this year in Granbury, Texas, accusing school district librarians of peddling pornography. Second, one of the most vocal critics of Brown's action turns out to be her own son, 28-year-old Weston. When a video of Monica Brown speaking at a school board meeting went viral—she demanded that a Christian pastor, not librarians, decide what books should be on school shelves—Weston decided to respond. "This is my mom," he wrote. "Seeing her advocate for the erasure of queer representation is crushing. Coming up on the 5 year anniversary of being effectively cut off from my family and siblings after coming out in 2018."

As the tweet suggests, Weston is gay. He came out in 2018, and the story includes a text his mother wrote to him months later informing him that he was "not invited to our house for Thanksgiving or any other meal." Monica Brown chose not to comment for the story. She has publicly insisted that her campaign is not anti-LGBTQ but is anti-pornography, targeting only books with sexual content. However, a ProPublica and NBC News analysis suggests otherwise: Several books on her banned list have LGBTQ plots, but no sexual content. "Of the nearly 80 library books Monica and her supporters want removed, 3 out of 5 feature LGBTQ characters or themes." Meanwhile, the pornography case against district librarians is pending, and Hood County Constable Chad Jordan says he cannot release more information about it for that reason. Read the full story. (More Longform stories.)

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