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Chasten Buttigieg fears his new LGBTQ children’s book will be banned

The young adult adaptation of Chasten Buttigieg’s 2020 New York Times bestselling memoir ‘I’ve Got Something to Tell You’ debuted on Tuesday, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband worries about the book — on growing up gay in a small Midwestern town — won’t be “in the hands of the people who need it most.”

“I’m a dad and taught middle school, so I wrote a book that’s perfectly age-appropriate,” the 33-year-old said in an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. “So if it’s banned, it’s just politics.”

Chasten Buttigieg holds his book, “I Have Something to Tell You: For Young Adults,” in New York on Monday.Craig Barritt/Getty Images for GLSEN

His fear comes amid record cases of book censorship in the United States and state efforts to ban lessons on LGBTQ issues in the classroom.

In its latest annual report on book censorship, the American Library Association documented 1,269 challenges to more than 2,500 books last year, the most attempts to ban books since it began reporting. tracking such efforts in 2001. Of the 13 books that made the association’s list of most challenged books last year, seven titles — including three of the top four — were challenged for having LGBTQ content, it said. -it finds.

Buttigieg, who grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, said his young adult memoir was the book he wished he had when he was a college student.

“When I was growing up in northern Michigan at the time, I thought I was the only gay person in the world. I thought something was wrong with me,” he said.

Buttigieg said it was “a bit of both” when asked if he thought it was easier or harder to get out now – in a political environment that has spawned hundreds of anti-government bills. -LGBTQ in state homes across the United States – than it was when it came out.

“I remember growing up and everyone kept saying, ‘It gets better, it gets better’, and it did in some ways,” he said, citing his ability to marry and become a father. “But because it was getting better, I think some people are now focusing on getting worse.”

Buttigieg said the current political environment means it’s time to “actively ally”, and he encouraged LGBTQ allies to “get off the couch and find a way to use your positions of power or privilege or money or time to help”.

“Helping may seem like a myriad of things to everyone, but ask yourself: have I earned the title of ally? Or did I just give it to myself? he said.

Chasten Buttigieg fears his new LGBTQ children's book will be banned

When asked which story or anecdote in his young adult memoir would have had the biggest impact on him as an eighth grader, Buttigieg said he would have “benefited from a 10-second conversation with my parents when I was younger.

“What if they sat me down and said, ‘We just want you to know that you’re loved, no matter what, unconditionally. If you’re gay, straight, no matter what, you’ll always have a roof over your head. above your head and you will always have two parents who love you. Imagine if I could have heard that, and then devoted myself to everything that young people should pay attention to: sports, studies. But for 18 years, I hated because I was convinced that my parents would hate me and then I would lose everything.

He added that the No. 1 thing he wants young people to take away from his memoir is, “There is goodness here in this world. People love you. People fight for you.

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