A Pride display and a handful of kids’ books is an awfully small thing to get worked up about, but these are small-minded people. For about a month now the Portsmouth Public Library has been harassed and browbeat over a Pride display with some LGBT books for kids.
Unfortunately, Portsmouth isn’t the only town dealing with this phony moral outrage. There is a concerted effort nationally to remove LGBT materials from libraries. The Patmos Library in Michigan was completely de-funded after staff refused to remove LGBT books. In Coventry, CT angry parents demanded books in the library’s Pride display be burned. In North Vernon, IN a Pride display was removed after complaints.
In other towns angry patrons simply checked out all the books in Pride displays so they wouldn’t be available to other patrons. This isn’t an exhaustive list of examples, either.
Recently, CatholicVote, a conservative non-profit, launched their “Hide the Pride” campaign with the express purpose of removing Pride displays from local libraries. They even offer tips and suggestions for parents. Moms for Liberty is another group similarly trying to remove inclusive books from public schools, and they have the support of some notable conservative politicians. With almost 200 chapters across the county, they harass school boards in an attempt to replace LGBT books with anti-LGBT propaganda.
Recently, Tim Throckmorton wrote an op-ed in this very paper (Daily Times) decrying the indoctrinating effect of Pride displays….(I think) It all boils down to, not about protecting kids from “inappropriate” material, but about excluding kids they don’t like. Some kids are gay, some are trans, and that’s totally fine. They should feel just as welcome and supported and represented at the library as any other person.
But the busybodies and naysayers don’t feel that way. They don’t want queer kids to feel safe and supported being who they are. They don’t want kids getting any “wrong ideas” like being gay or trans is okay, or that queer people deserve love and respect. No, this is an affront to their moral sensibilities.
I would think a simple solution would be to simply not check out a book if I thought it were objectionable, but this isn’t about the books. It’s about hate. It’s about homophobia. It’s about making people they don’t like feel unwelcome in their own community, and chipping away at their rights.
This is happening at the same time as same-sex marriage is being challenged, while trans people are losing access to healthcare, while LGBT people are once again being accused, without basis, of grooming children, and while courts uphold the right to discriminate against trans and gender non-conforming people, etc.
Each legal challenge, each petty thing argued at the local level over some gay or trans issue is another attempt to chip away at the hard-fought rights of LGBT folks. That’s what this is about: self-righteous homophobes using their faith as a cudgel to push LGBT people back in the closet.