Don’t Censor LGBTQIA+ Presence in Public Libraries


Target: Elijah Haahr, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives

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Goal: Don’t punish public libraries for providing LGBTQIA+ literature and events for children.

Children may soon be denied access to LGBTQIA+ literature and events in Missouri’s public libraries, striking yet another blow to the community’s youth. Library employees could be faced with fines and even imprisonment if they did not comply. Demand that lawmakers take a stand against this blatant discrimination.

“Books wrestling with sexual themes, books uplifting LGBTQIA+ characters, books addressing issues such as sexual assault — all of these books are potentially on the chopping block if this bill is passed,” stated James Tager, deputy director of free expression research and policy at PEN America. He and others have spoken out regarding the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, a proposal that would remove state aid from any public library that gives minors access to “age-inappropriate sexual materials.” While this sounds sensible, in theory, the definition of this term is loose and would be determined by an elected board which would automatically exclude library employees. Programs, such as “Drag Queen Story Time,” would likely be banned under this proposition, removing an important educational opportunity and support system for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Public libraries must remain uncensored to children who have nowhere else to obtain information on these crucial topics. Sign below and demand that lawmakers stand with the LGBTQIA+ community.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Haahr,

Missouri’s children could soon be denied access to information regarding sexual orientation, sexual assault, and other sexual themes in a resounding act of discrimination. The Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act would threaten to defund public libraries that provide such material and events, including the popular and widely successful “Drag Queen Story Time.” This means that LGBTQIA+ youth would face yet another roadblock in learning about their identities and finding informative community support, a development that could cost some their lives.

Librarians are trained to know what is and is not appropriate for children and their expertise is vital to the community. By censoring their voices in favor of five randomly elected, potentially biased, members of the general public, you are undermining their expertise and robbing youth of necessary knowledge. I demand that you vote against this bill when the time comes.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures

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