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“Heartstopper” books accused of “promoting the LGBTQ ideology” in library defunding effort

Kit Connor and Joe Locke in Netflix's "Heartstopper"
Kit Connor and Joe Locke in Netflix's "Heartstopper" Photo: Netflix

Two volumes from the Heartstopper graphic novel series are among the LGBTQ books that got a local Michigan library defunded.

The effort to defund the Patmos Library in Jamestown Township, Michigan has been led by a group called Jamestown Conservatives. This summer, the group objected to the library’s Pride Month display saying it “promoted the LGBTQ ideology.”

Dozens of residents have attended library board meetings since this spring, demanding the removal of LGBTQ books including Cathy G. Johnson’s The Breakaways, Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A. F. Venable and illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw, and two books from Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series, which were the basis for the recent Netflix show.

The campaign against the library led to the now-typical accusations of “grooming,” as well as alleged harassment of employees, both online and in person, and to the resignation of library director Amber McLain.

In August, voters rejected a ballot measure during the primary elections to renew a property tax that funds the library. As a result, library board president Larry Walton said the library would run out of money at some point next year.

“These books and lifestyle choices are destructive and wrong,” one Jamestown resident during September’s library board meeting.

Board treasurer Deb Fridsma was visibly frustrated at the meeting “I appreciate passion. I do,” she said. “But it is a slippery slope. You cherish your freedom, but what you’re doing now is taking other people’s freedoms away.”

“It’s heartbreaking to be associated with this situation,” Walton told CBS News. “I feel like we’ve kind of stepped back in time, talking about book banning.”

The property tax, which provides 84 percent of the library’s $245,000 yearly budget, will be on the ballot again in November’s general election, giving voters one last chance to fund the library.

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