A public library in Texas has been denounced by a Christian group for a display it says was “promoting the LGBTQ lifestyle.”
When the Temple Public Library ran an Pride month display in June 2017, it generated little fanfare—until two months later, when the right-wing group Concerned Christian Citizens (CCC) complained it “crossed a line.”
“They put up a celebratory promotional display of the LGBT lifestyle and, let’s face it, the agenda to normalize it among our children,” CCC President Joe Goodson told KCEN-TCV.
A few months later, CCC issued a list of demands, calling on the library to “refrain from further advocacy regarding sexual and moral issues and practices, like homosexuality, proven to be dangerous.”
“The library is open to all in our community,’ said Library Director Leigh Gardner. “Our community is diverse and we do our best to maintain a diverse collection that meets the needs of our patrons.”
The exhibit included a table with LGBT books for different age groups—including And Tango Makes Three and Jazz Jennings’ memoir, Being Jazz—and an information sheet on “LGBTQ identities.”
“Being a lesbian, it is personal,” Temple resident Roxann Patrick told KCEN-TV in defense of the display. “But more importantly, being an educator it’s personal. I see students that struggle with a variety of different issues in their lives and to be able to come to a library and find a book that has information that might help them work through that is a right that I think all of my students and all teachers deserve.”
She’s launched a Change.org petition to “protect the library staff’s right to provide information about the LGBT community.”
But Goodson criticized the library for “in effect, affirming homosexuality as positive and urging our children to advocate for its acceptability.”
“Worst of all,” he added, “they did this in the kid’s section!”
Goodson, whose group has also protested Target’s trans-friendly bathroom policy, says if the library is offering space “for that side of the issue” it should provide access to those who condemn homosexuality.
Both he and Patrick made their case at a January 16 library board meeting. Officials hope to have a new policy in place in the next few weeks.