LGBTQIA+ Books Deemed Inappropriate in Local Libraries
The extreme right wing promotes in public libraries and bookstores the withdrawal of books with mentions of the LGBTQIA+ community, black history, or social justice. It considers them “inappropriate” and believes they “indoctrinate” children. In Anchorage, a neighbor has protested at the Assembly for not finding them in the Public Library. In Utah, the Bible and the Book of Mormon have been banned as “pornographic and indecent” and for their “vulgarity and violence.” Texas, Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina also vetoed books deemed “offensive.”
The director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell-Stone believes this “censorship” narrows educational options and students’ access to information.
Sol de Medianoche attempted to interview Christopher Constant, Assembly’s President, without success.
The censorship attitude of the conservatives of the Republican Party is reminiscent of the Nazis’ “Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist” (“Action against the anti-German spirit”). In 1933, the Hitler Youth and followers of the ‘Führer’ carried out public book burnings in Berlin’s Opera Square and 21 other university towns.
Felix Rivera, Assembly Member for District 4, tells Sol de Medianoche that “there are many cautionary tales about banning and burning books. We should learn from history and not repeat past mistakes.”
“In general, the anti-LGBTQIA+ agenda is focused on eradicating queer people,” Rivera points out. “But that will never happen. We’re your neighbors, pizza delivery people, baristas, postal workers, elected officials, and teachers. We form part of the American society’s fabric, and we can’t be erased.”
This is not the first time Republican politicians have objected to books they call “inappropriate.” Rivera comments that “we live in a multicultural society. That scares some people. Our history as a country is littered with stories of individuals who would prefer to go back to the ‘good old days’ when you had to have a certain skin pigmentation, a certain gender, and a certain class status to matter in society. To those ‘good old days’ we will never go back.”
Some Republican or conservative without GOP militancy might say that books are within the reach of children. But Rivera denies it. “In our public schools they are not, and in public libraries it is up to parents to decide what books their children can read.”
Charlotte Glover, owner of Parnassus Books in Ketchikan, says she’s a strong advocate for public libraries and the variety of books they offer. Glover has been a youth services librarian and wrote “a letter supporting Drag Queen Storytime.”
Last month, Parnassus Books held its first “Pride” commemorative showcase, held each June, and called for more LGBTQIA+ books “to support people in this community.”