Are Publishing Giants Pulling Back from Pushing LGBT Material?

In June, Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publishing company, put their push for LGBT ideology front and center when they released their 2024 guide to their “Read with Pride” initiative. As reported by The Washington Stand, the guide was to be a “resource” for “supporting LGBTQIA+ youth” by promoting books with radical ideological themes, including transgenderism and taking relationships “to the next level” with sexual intercourse. It also had a glossary of definitions for LGBT terminology such as “agender,” “allocishet,” and “genderfluid.” And yet, despite their unapologetic stance on this agenda, recent developments have caused some to wonder if the company has begun to pull back.

In addition to Scholastic, Pearson, the world’s largest academic publisher, has also prominently promoted LGBT material. But as The Washington Times reported last week, both publishing giants seem to “have distanced themselves from a push to replace biological sex with gender identity in K-12 classroom discussions.” This came after The Heritage Foundation’s Senior Research Fellow in Education Policy Jonathan Butcher exposed Scholastic’s promotion of LGBT ideology to “small children.” As The Washington Times added, Scholastic’s controversial guide “vanished” from their “website at the end of June without explanation, leaving only the ‘Read with Pride’ page” — the section containing the book recommendations.

Scholastic spokeswoman Anne Sparkman insisted the “Read with Pride Guide was a resource for adults available for Pride Month and is not a textbook for students.” However, those who saw the guide while it was still available online have pointed out that it specifically emphasized it had information and recommended materials geared toward “educators, caregivers, and advocates” and children as young as pre-school.

Similarly, Pearson’s editorial guidelines on “genderism” and “antiracism” were also exposed by Butcher last year, which they removed shortly after. According to Butcher, “The pushback on these ideas is strong and the publishers don’t know how to defend them when reporters, policy analysts or parents question what they are doing.” Considering this, he finds it unsurprising that they’re slowly removing some of their most controversial content. And as Sheri Few, founder and president of U.S. Parents Involved in Education, emphasized, “Not everyone is going along with this illusion that there are more than two sexes, both of which are biologically determined.”

In comment to TWS, Joseph Backholm, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement, added to Butcher and Few’s sentiments: “We’ve seen a lot of evidence the public is pushing back against the Sexual Revolution.” As he explained, “The public was convinced to go along with it on the basis of ‘tolerance,’” but as time goes on, it’s become increasingly clear this is “a movement that aggressively recruits children.”

According to Backholm, “The public didn’t want it then and doesn’t want it now,” which could likely “be part of the reason we are seeing modest retreats in cases like” Scholastic and Pearson. Ultimately, “They’ve reached further than the public is willing to tolerate.” But even amid what seems to be a drawback from these leftist publishers, Backholm noted that “it might be one step back before they take two steps forward.”

“Of course,” he continued, “it’s good they’re being less aggressive, but … the Sexual Revolution has made most of its progress by behaving in ways that are shocking, retreating slightly, and then doing the same or worse in the near future when the public is no longer shocked.” Given this pattern, Backholm explained that “if we’re really going to solve the problem of grooming kids, we’re going to have to start actively pursuing what is good rather than focusing on how much evil we’re willing to tolerate.”

Backholm noted “human history teaches us” that enough exposure to something — even something harmful — can cause that practice to become normalized. For instance, “If we see children’s books grooming kids enough, it ceases to be shocking so we cease to resist.” However, he added, “if our standard is creating an environment that is good for children,” then “we won’t get used to things that harm them” — even if a large portion of society has allowed it to become commonplace.

“We must resist evil,” Backholm concluded, “but more than that, we must pursue what is good. If we are actively pursuing what is good, we’ll never get used to what is evil.”


Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

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