CT State Rep Raghib Allie-Brennan headed down to his hometown library in Bethel, CT, to read the frequently banned book, Flamer, in honor of "Banned Book Week" on October 6th.
"In the face of the rising threat of banned, challenged and removed books across Connecticut and our country, I visited the Bethel Public Library to read the YA graphic novel “Flamer” by Mike Curato. Award-winning author and artist Mike Curato draws on his own experiences in Flamer, telling a difficult story with humor, compassion, and love," wrote Allie-Brennan.
"A strong democracy supports the free exchange of ideas. I'm standing on the side of students, teachers, librarians and freedom," he continued.
How brave of him.
The graphic novel Flamer is #4 on the Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books list maintained by the American Library Association, the group headed by a self-proclaimed Marxist. It's been challenged at least 62 times across the country due to depictions of sexual activities, nudity, profanity and derogatory terms, violence (including self- harm), and controversial religious commentary.
Allie-Brennan's post on Facebook was liked by 30 accounts as of Saturday morning, including the Bethel Democrat Town Committee (DTC), former Bethel DTC Chair Jon Menti, democrat municipal candidate Rob Stowell, former Bethel Schools Principal and democrat candidate for treasurer Pat Lynch-Cosentino, democrat municipal candidate Marissa Allen Amundsen, and even State Rep Matt Ritter (D), Speaker of the Connecticut House and chair of Shipman and Goodman's Public Finance Practice Group.
He has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ acceptance and inclusivity.
"It is unfortunate that we still live in a world where it is necessary to make a statement that it is okay to be who you are. It’s even more unfortunate that we only get one month of the year to make that statement, " said Allie-Brennan at the raising of the trans pride flag in Hartford on June 1, 2023.
Of course "inclusivity" is often one of the arguments used to justify the presence of books like Flamer in libraries in the first place.