In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bisbikos explained he received the complaint from a parent via email. The parent felt it wasn’t placed in an “age-appropriate” section of the library. The selectman told the outlet the book is still available, but it has been “temporarily removed” from circulation until it’s determined where it’s best to shelve it.
Kate Byroade, who serves as the director of the library, however, was not happy about this. Byroade also spoke with the Beast in an interview and said the book has not even been checked out yet. Byroade explained the book was part of a Pride Month display. She went on to say every librarian reads a book once a complaint is filed over it, but that Bisbikos was trying to get the book removed from shelves right away was ultimately an overreach and disruption of the library’s internal process.
“He completely bypassed how you’re supposed to handle things,” Byroade told the outlet, adding that this is an “exact definition of censorship.”
Bisbikos told the Beast that the book isn’t being “censored or banned” but that he simply wants it to have a more “age-appropriate” place in the library. He again described the images in the book as “sexually provocative.” He then claimed to the outlet that if the image was found in a book about George Washington (yes, George Washington), he would have had an “identical response.”
Here’s the thing. Conservatives love to see LGBTQ+ people as innately more sexual and inappropriate than cisgender, heterosexual people. This is why conservatives don’t mind at all that students know their teachers are married, for example, provided that they’re in a straight-presenting marriage. This is why conservatives don’t mind putting babies in “lady killer” pajamas—assuming that baby is a boy. Conservatives don’t see anything inappropriate about their own orientation because they see it as the “normal” default.
Book censorship is, in itself, a form of violence. Denying people the ability to learn and connect is violence. That said, conservatives are also unleashing some very literal violence onto public libraries in pushing this dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. For example, we’ve now covered numerous instances of the Proud Boys (yes, the far-right hate group) invading book events for kids and terrorizing families who just want to read. I’d say Republicans should be ashamed, but we know they won’t be.