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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Author Phil Stamper discusses the difficulties faced as a queer author and how he combats them.

“ I’m trying to write these positive joyful queer books”

By Kimmy Reinhardt

Phil Stamper, author of multiple young adult novels such as “The Gravity of Usand “Golden Boys,” as well as his upcoming middle-grade novel “Small Town Pride discussed his experience regarding censorship of his works as a queer author with novels tha

Photo Courtesy of Elieen Meny

t focus on queer characters and storylines.   

“The whole banning, challenging, censorship umbrella is very confusing,” Stamper said.  “I know that my books have been pulled from libraries just anecdotally. They don’t stock my books in my own high school from home, and I know that and that’s very intentional because (I’m) from a rural town, and it’s based on the gatekeepers that are in that community.” 

In Texas, Stamper said, a list of books that celebrated diversity has been deemed “bad” and was pulled from shelves for investigation. He had returned from the state just days before an interview with The Today.

“Because of that list, a lot of schools in Texas have at least pulled it to take a look at it…there are also some gatekeepers who will use this as an excuse and so they will pull them off the shelf and never return them,” he said.  

Stamper went on to explain how these bans and acts of censorship have affected him. 

“It’s been really challenging for me just personally because I’m trying to write these positive joyful queer books,” he said.   

For Stamper writing has been a way to give young adults, like he once was, the opportunity to have fiction that represents them in a positive and mean

Courtesy Phil Stamper

ingful way. While he doesn’t let censorship stop him from writing the stories he wants to tell, there is still a negative impact due to these actions. 

Despite the censorship of the writing of many queer authors, Stamper has experienced reasons to stay positive and hopeful through teenagers that are standing up for what they believe is right and protesting the stifling of queer voices. 

“I met a group of teens who are protesting this, who are showing up to every school board meeting, who are now outnumbering the unpleasant voices who are trying to remove these books from schools,” he said. “(They) are giving out books for free.

“So that’s the kind of stuff that I have to hold on to because that’s the stuff that gives me hope. … Seeing teens take the lead and say, ‘this is ridiculous like we’re not standing for this’” 

Despite his first novel coming out amidst a worldwide pandemic and worries about how he would be able to connect with his audience, Stamper heard from the teens he impacted and was able to hear many of their stories about reading his books.

“I started receiving like … DMs, emails, messages everywhere of people just like going on and on about specific parts.”

Queer teens were able to find a safe space within Stampers’ writing and even with the difficult circumstances of in-person tours coming to an end, they found a way to let him know the importance of the work he was doing. 

Read More

The Summer of Winters

          ‘Be the adult you needed when you were a young person’

    Queer stories and helping young adults find themselves

  Jason’s Writing Agenda

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