Refraction: A Gender and Sexuality Discussion Series
Minnesota Humanities Center

Session 1: Book Bans and the Freedom to Read

Issues related to gender and sexuality continue to be paramount in many areas, including politics, law, health care, parenting, identity, and social justice. In this three-part discussion series, we will consider how gender and sexuality are refracted, or how their meaning and social expression are changing and moving as we think through the topics of book bans, transgender rights, and masculinity.

Books continue to be banned or challenged across the nation, and Minnesota is not exempt in that respect. Book bans have risen by a third over the past year in public schools, and many of these bans are targeting LGBTQ+ characters, themes, and intersectional identities. This session of Refraction: A Gender and Sexuality Discussion Series will examine the controversy over sexuality and book bans and provide an opportunity to hear directly from authors whose work has been challenged. Quatrefoil Library, a library and queer gathering space in the Twin Cities, will be in conversation with J.J. Austrian, author of Worm Loves Worm, Trung Le Nguyen, author of The Magic Fish, and Junauda Petrus, author of The Stars and the Blackness Between Them.

What you can expect from this series:

  • Scholars, experts, community members, and authors will share what the landscape looks like nationally and in Minnesota, as well as talk about their personal experiences and perspectives.
  • Each session will have a resource list of articles, books, and organizations to help you gain a deeper understanding of the issues at hand.
  • Engage in small and large group discussions as well as exploring ways to effect change and take action.


Registration is required. There is no cost to attend; sign up for one or all three sessions. Each session will take place virtually; a zoom link will be sent closer to the date of the session.

Educators can receive CEU’s for attending.

Learn more and register for Session 1 here:

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