When the mayor of Venice banned picture books about same-sex families from the city’s schools, he got a little more than he bargained for. In protest, more than 250 Italian authors have asked that their books also be pulled from school shelves.
The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, was just elected last month. One of his first acts was to remove certain books from city schools. He has already removed about 50 different books from classrooms and libraries all over the city, including books about same-sex couples, books about racial discrimination, and books about physical discrimination. Under pressure, some of these books have already been returned to the schools – but the LGBT picture books remain banned.
“At home parents can be called Dad One and Dad Two, but I have to think about the majority of families where there is a mother and a father,” Brugnaro explained to la Repubblica (translation via The Guardian). He also insisted that the city does “not want to discriminate against children,” despite the ban.
The Italian publishing industry and many of its authors have spoken out against the ban. Andrea Valente and Matteo Corradini headline a group of hundreds of Italian authors who have signed a letter asking that their books be removed from school shelves, as well. “We don’t want to stay in a city where the books of others are banned,” the letter explains.
The authors hope that the pressure will force Brugnaro to return the books to schools. Whether he will act remains to be seen.