Thursday, June 23, 2022

NY library reverses removal of LGBTQ books and Pride display after intense community backlash

The following is an example of what happens when we fight back.  There has been a nasty wave of bigotry against the LGBTQ community this year and some folks have spent much time and effort spelling out the many ways we are 'doomed.'  We aren't doomed if we fight back:

According to the New York Daily News:

The Long Island library that decided to tear down Pride displays and remove books from children’s sections reversed its decision at an emergency meeting Thursday night. The Smithtown Library board of trustees voted 4-2 to rescind its controversial Tuesday night decision. One of the seven trustees abstained. 
The initial decision prompted a massive response by advocates and a strong statement from the governor, leading to Thursday’s emergency meeting. On Tuesday, the board voted 4-2 in favor of a “motion to remove all Pride Displays, in addition to removing all books of the same subject on display, from all Children’s sections in all Smithtown Library buildings.” One member was absent on Tuesday.' 

The initial decision to remove the Pride display and books garnered a lot of negative attention. Even New York Governor Kathy Hochul weighed in by ordering an investigation  She also condemned library's decision to remove the Pride display and books: 

 Hochul said in a press release today she is “horrified” by the vote and ordered the New York State Division of Human Rights to investigate reports of an anti-LGBTQ bias. “Public places are prohibited by law from engaging in discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said. “We will not tolerate a 'Don't Say Gay' philosophy taking root in our state.”

The New York Daily article points out that the backlash isn't over just yet.

Earlier, the decision prompted immediate action by the LGBT Network, a nonprofit that fights for the rights of LGBTQ people and their families in Queens and Long Island, which criticized the library’s “bigoted move” and announced measures directed at protecting local LGBTQ youth. .

 . . Late Thursday morning, the organization held a press conference to explain how it plans to act against the “really scary” decision by the library, which Kilmnick referred to as “an attack on LGBTQ youth in our community.” The measures, which were originally scheduled to be launched in the fall, will now be officially announced on Monday at a virtual town hall — after the library’s decision forced the group to “fast track and accelerate them.” 

 They involve the creation of “LGBT Network ambassadors” in every school district — parents, students, teachers and other community members who will work to ensure that LGBTQ curriculum is taught “and that our history is recognized, represented and not erased.”