As red states continue their assault on LGBT rights in schools and in the public, a report by a nonprofit released on Monday found that hundreds of books have been banned by the state of Texas for pertaining to LGBT- and race-related topics.

PEN America, a nonprofit advocating for free speech, said in the report that over 801 books have been banned in the state’s 22 school districts, with over 174 of those titles being banned twice in the last year, according to the Texas Tribune.

Beyond Texas, PEN America also found that 1,648 different books have been banned across the United States, with over 41% of the books having LGBT themes while 40% of them contained a prominent protagonist or secondary character of color.

“This censorious movement is turning our public schools into political battlegrounds, driving wedges within communities, forcing teachers and librarians from their jobs, and casting a chill over the spirit of open inquiry and intellectual freedom that underpin a flourishing democracy,” Suzanne Nossel from PEN America said.

The movement of censoring LGBT- and race-related books started in October of last year, when Texas state Rep. Matt Krause published a list of 850 books about race and sexuality, including Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” which has become a lightning rod in the community and has been banned in many libraries in Texas.

“This rapidly accelerating movement has resulted in more and more students losing access to literature that equips them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,” Jonathan Friedman from PEN America said.

Anti-LGBT policies and movements have been spreading across the United States for the past year, with a lot of the focus being on transgender students. Over 18 states across the United States have banned transgender individuals from participating in school sports events at all levels, the Huffington Post reported.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also recently released a new school policy that outs transgender students and makes it harder for them to socially transition while they are at school, LGBTQ Nation reported.

In the new law, teachers would be allowed to misgender students even if their parents recognize their child being trans, reversing the policy enacted by Virginia’s previous governor Ralph Northam which recognizes the rights of transgender individuals.

The new policy will be contested in the courts by many activist groups, with some of the state’s representatives suggesting that the policy violates the Virginia Human Rights Act.

“If you don’t like it as governor, and your administration doesn’t like it, then you needed to go to the General Assembly and amend that statue,” law professor Carl Tobias said. “Rather than backdoor it with an executive branch action … I expect there would be legal challenges to this.”

“@GovernorVA’s action should be contested in court under the Virginia Human Rights Act,” Virginia state Del. Danica Roem said. “Executive fiat does not overrule state law, as the Governor found out earlier this year.”

A new report released on Monday shows that hundreds of books pertaining to queer and race topics have been taken off school shelves in Texas, as part of an attempt to censor free speech. This is a representational image. Christian Lue/Unsplash.

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