School board candidate checks out more than 20 LGBTQ books so kids can’t read them during Pride

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On a personal level, I would say good riddance, but given that she has three young children and is a candidate for the school board, this isn’t just about Fletcher’s personal comfort and decisions. It’s about taking resources from others and that’s not okay.

The News-Post says Fletcher shared a photo of the books she checked out, which include titles like David Bowie Made Me Gay by Darryl W. Bullock, We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation by Matthew Reimer and Leighton Brown, When Your Child is Gay: What You Need to Know by Wesley C. Davidson and Jonathan L. Tobkes, MD, and Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall by James Polchin.

Samatha Jones, who serves as the spokesperson for the Frederick County Public Libraries, told the outlet that librarians simply reconfigured the display with other LGBTQ+ books after Fletcher checked out the original ones. Jones added that all patrons of the library of course have the right to form their own opinions on books and collections, but that the display is trying to raise awareness for “diverse experiences and perspectives.”

Jones also told the outlet that the pronoun pins were not created with “any public funds” but instead a Friends of the Library group. Meaning: It’s not taxpayer money. 

According to Jones, the library doesn’t have a limit on how many books a patron can check out at once, and books can be renewed ten times. In the big picture, this sounds great, but if people want to be spiteful and hateful, it clearly worsens the experience for everyone else.

In the big picture, we know conservatives are pushing down hard on books. It feels laughable and archaic in one way, but in another, this threat is a very real and coordinated effort with other anti-LGBTQ+ efforts and legislation across the nation. Republicans love to demonize trans girls who simply want to use the restroom or play sports, for example, and a growing group of extremist governors are trying to stop public schools from talking about LGBTQ+ identities and histories at all.

Why? The conservative argument comes down to such things being “inappropriate” for youth and the false assertion that anyone who wants to expose adolescents to such realities is a “groomer” or acting inappropriately. 

There is nothing inappropriate about queer. There is nothing predatory or dangerous about LGBTQ+ people serving in any number of roles, not limited to teachers, counselors, coaches, and libraries. LGBTQ+ youth are valid and not a problem to be solved. Conservatives have always been good at stirring the public against vulnerable, marginalized populations, and these anti-LGBTQ+ efforts are just another cruel attempt at fanning those flames. 

But—especially for LGBTQ+ youth—these efforts could have long-term impacts on people’s mental health, education opportunities, gender dysphoria, and community bonds. Targeting LGBTQ+ people is discriminatory and harmful, and it’s especially disturbing when those people are literal children. 

Add your name: I read banned books!

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