Banned Book To Be Read at Show in New Jersey

Critics of a decision to pull a gay-themed book from two local libraries will stage a protest this weekend -- by reading aloud from the controversial work.

Sunday's free show at a Cinnaminson theater marks the South Jersey debut of a theater group that supports the book, "Revolutionary Voices" an anthology of first-person pieces by gay youths.

Brandon Monokian, a 23-year-old actor-director from Passaic County, formed the group after the book was ordered removed in May from the library at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly. That decision followed a citizen's complaint over the book's sexual content. "Revolutionary Voices," which won an award when it was published in 1990, also was removed this spring from the Burlington County Library.

"This book is a valuable resource to youths who might have questions about their lives, and the fact that a small group of people could have it banned is upsetting," said Monokian, a Lumberton native and a 2005 graduate of Rancocas Valley.

Here's an editorial from the South Brunswick Post in response to the book having been removed from both school and public libraries.


first, because of this publicity, used prices for this title have been going way up, but look at one copy on Amazon: "May have been withdrawn from library circulation."

This is a 20-yr-old book. I understand the situation surrounding the removal, especially since book seemed to be circulating and even checked out at the time the decision was made to remove all copies, but how many other libraries have removed copies in the past 20 years? Without any fuss?

Can you imagine being the librarian who innocently discards an old dusty book and then finding your name in the paper because some people object to its removal?

You've answered your own question. The manner in which it was removed is the issue.

That is why all libraries must have written deselection policies - and must follow them. If you can demonstrate that you removed a book based on objective criteria specified in your policy (lack of circulation, outdated information, poor physical condition, etc.), you're okay. If you weed a book without regard to your own criteria, you're open to the criticism that you removed it based on objection to its content - which is never okay outside of the formal "request for reconsideration process."

This is not rocket science, it's Librarian 101, and I can't believe BCL bungled it so badly.

by Alyson Publications (therefore ten years old, not twenty). Publishers Weekly reports that the publisher is in trouble...

sorry, I was using the date of 1990 from the story... I should know not to trust a journalist..

and I can ~completely~ trust anonymous commentors...

Book is $140 on Amazon. See:

Amazon Canada has the book for $80.

Maybe this was NJ's attempt to help their funding. Create demand for a book and then sell all their copies online.

Ryan Reyes, my civil union spouse, has a piece in this book. Strangely, some Gay voices know he is in New Jersey but they only seem to want to hear their own voices and read their own quotes about the banned book. Not sure who is worse the ones that want the book banned or those that want an opportunity for themselves or groups they represent. Next time or for those events coming up for speaking to the ban may want to contact the editor and authors.

Oh, Ryan may be contacted at 908-405-2157 or rize081476

He was contacted once by someone against the book looking to set him up for an attack.

All, for your interest, I'm quoted in the article.

Dan Kleinman, a Morris County-based "safe library" activist who backs Sweet's decision, said the protesters were well-intended but mistaken.

"Libraries may remove books for legitimate reasons," he said.

"I think it's great what they are doing," Kleinman said of the performers. "They're standing up against what they believe is book-banning and censorship. It's not, but that's what they believe it is."

Further, I support the read out, attended one, and wrote what I believe to be the only review online. See "Revolutionary Readings Review: Go See It."


The problem is, libraries can pander to gays, but they can't be bothered to stock books with Christian and EX-gay perspectives as well. They need to stop the double standard and uphold real equality.