Bias Watch

Conservative candidate checks out all the books in a Pride display to “protect children’s innocence”

November ‎7, ‎2019 Santa Cruz, California - Various books by different authors for sale at Bookshop Santa Cruz
Photo: Shutterstock

Heather Fletcher, a conservative candidate for the Frederick County Board of Education in Maryland, recently checked out 20 books from a Pride Month display at the Brunswick Public Library to protect children’s “innocence.”

Fletcher checked out the books on Tuesday and also took a library cup full of “pronoun pins” which help people display the pronouns they use.

Related: 30 employees hold “die-in” during Amazon’s Pride event to protest sale of transphobic books

“This has nothing to do with the gay community,” Fletcher disingenuously told The Frederick News-Post. “It has to do with the preservation of innocence.”

Fletcher said she felt “disturbed” that her three kids or other children might see the word “queer” on a book and then ask “age-inappropriate” questions. She asked the library staff to move the books from the building’s main lobby to make the library a “safe place for children.” The staff refused, so she checked out the books.

Fletcher said she would return the books, but she isn’t sure whether she’ll return the cup of pins. She also said she doesn’t plan on patronizing county libraries ever again. The library’s policies allow people to re-check out books 10 times concurrently. Despite Fletcher’s efforts, the library simply refilled the Pride Month display with different LGBTQ books.

The candidate continued her anti-LGBTQ crusade during a Wednesday night meeting of the Frederick County Public Libraries Board of Trustees meeting where she complained about taxpayer money being used to purchase the pronoun pins. The only problem: she was wrong.

The pins were purchased through a volunteer “Friends of the Library” group, Frederick County Public Libraries spokesperson Samantha Jones said.

Despite claiming not to have a problem with the LGBTQ community, Fletcher was one of several school board candidates who opposed the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity into updated elementary health curriculum guidelines, the aforementioned publication reported.

Republican politicians, conservative school boards, and so-called “parents’ rights” groups have dramatically escalated attempts to keep LGBTQ books hidden from young people, according to a recent report from the free-speech organization PEN America.

Moms for Liberty, one of the national conservative groups pushing to ban LGBTQ books, has started pressuring public school libraries across the country to “accept book donations from conservative publishing companies that promote white supremacist, homophobic, and transphobic ideologies,” Vice News reported.

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