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Their e book is banned from dozens of districts, however has helped numerous younger readers

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“They’re utilizing the e book and telling them, ‘I had a buddy in highschool who’s gone by way of what you are going by way of,'” Johnson says. “And so it turned very relatable.”

Johnson is glad to have written a e book which may assist others, however says watching or not it’s banned has been bittersweet. They are saying that if mother and father don’t desire their very own youngster to learn it, they need to choose them out reasonably than attempt to block all college students — some who might really want the e book — from accessing it.

“College students … have publicly stated on file that works like mine have saved their lives, works like mine have helped them title their abusers, works like mine have helped them come to phrases with who they’re and really feel validated in the truth that there may be any individual else that exists on the earth like them,” Johnson says. “And also you wish to take away that from them. I simply assume it is unhappy.”

Johnson additionally is aware of that the precise content material of All Boys Aren’t Blue is not beneath assault, as a result of the individuals who need it banned most probably have not learn it.

“You’ll be able to’t assault one thing you really do not know,” they are saying. “And that is actually simply an assault on an ideology, that simply says that LGBTQ folks should not exist. They usually need teenagers to really feel unsafe and to really feel silenced — and that’s simply one thing that I refuse to see occur once more, as a result of I lived as one which felt that approach.”

Johnson says the e book has extra supporters than critics

Johnson anticipated that their e book can be challenged even earlier than it revealed. They keep in mind seeing Angie Thomas’ novel The Hate U Give face bans years in the past as a result of it options profanity and racism, and noticed it as a sign that their very own e book would additionally get caught up in controversy. (Thomas’ e book, revealed in 2017, has been among the many high banned books practically yearly since its launch.)

Johnson by no means anticipated the controversy round All Boys Aren’t Blue to rise fairly to this stage, however says a lifetime of LGBTQ advocacy ready them for the present dialog. Theirs is a crucial voice within the LGTBQ neighborhood — this 12 months TIME journal named them one of many 100 influencers shaping the subsequent era.

“I have been combating for LGBTQ rights for so long as I can keep in mind, as a result of in flip I am combating for myself and combating for folks like me. That is simply an extension of the advocacy work that I do,” Johnson says. “Writing is a type of activism. … And any time you do one thing that is a type of activism, there’s going to be one other aspect that does not prefer it.”

Whereas the e book has its vocal critics, Johnson says they’re far outweighed by its supporters, whom they’ve heard from at college board conferences and in written letters and recreated cowl art work.

“So the e book … is a lot larger than simply my story,” Johnson says. “And I am watching it in actual time assist so many individuals, from mother and father to kids to academics to librarians, throughout the board. I simply really feel just like the assist is bigger, and we simply have to search out methods to guarantee that everyone sees that, too.”

The audio interview was produced by Kurt Gardinier.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see extra, go to https://www.npr.org.

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