July 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The American Library Association’s recent national conference provided librarians from across the country with strategies for advancing gender identity ideology in schools and finding ways to bring “Drag Queen Story Times” into public libraries despite the objections of local communities.
The conference was held just as disturbing stories came to light across the country about Drag Queen Story Times (DQST) held in public libraries. On the West Coast, young children were photographed having extreme physical contact with a drag queen, while on the East Coast, a drag queen who read to young children was discovered to be involved with numerous lurid and pornographic sexual businesses and activities.
Held in Washington, D.C., the week-long American Library Association (ALA) conference brought well over 21,000 attendees to the nation’s capital and featured workshops with titles such as:
- “Queerness in comics”;
- “A Child’s Room to Choose: Encouraging Gender Identity and Expression in School and Public Libraries”;
- “LGBTQ+ Creators and Characters in Kids, Tween, and Teen Comics”;
- “Reading the Rainbow: Teaching Kids about Pride and LGBTQ+ History”;
- “Are You Going to Tell My Parents?: The Minor’s Right to Privacy in the Library”; and
- “Telling Stories, Expanding Boundaries: Drag Queen Storytimes in Libraries.”
In one breakout session about LGBT-themed children’s literature, librarians took time to brainstorm suggestions for “Non-Trad Families” books they could promote. This included titles such as “My Brother’s Husband,” “Lumberjanes,” and “Pregnant Butch.”
— Emily Drew (@Abracadabrarian) June 21, 2019
The “LGBTQ+ Creators and Characters in Kids, Tween, and Teen Comics,” workshop’s panel of “queer creators and allies” discussed “the importance of centering queer stories, working to break stereotypes and the importance of giving all young readers the chance to meet queer characters in comics pages.”
“A Child’s Room to Choose: Encouraging Gender Identity and Expression in School and Public Libraries” was the title of a workshop hosted by Magination Press, which provides “kid-friendly introductions to LGBTQ+ history and gender identity.”
“One topical issue currently impacting society today is incorporating gender neutral bathrooms into public spaces,” noted the workshop description. “This program will help librarians understand the importance of creating safe spaces for everyone, no matter how they identify themselves.”
“Telling Stories, Expanding Boundaries: Drag Queen Storytimes in Libraries,” explored “the public library as a site for the intersection of gender expression/identity and intellectual freedom, by discussing the phenomenon of Drag Queen Storytime.”
“The panel will discuss how DGS was developed and originally implemented, how librarians have been using it today, how institutions have dealt with specific successes and controversies, and how DGS relates to intellectual freedom,” according to the workshop description.
Beyond introducing LGBT-themed children’s books, ALA speakers tutored librarians on defending the availability of those books as well as child-targeting LGBT events held on library premises.
The description for a workshop titled “Censorship Beyond Books” declared that librarians need to learn strategies to protect events such as Drag Queen Story Time. “While the profession is well-versed in protecting the right to read books, many libraries lack policies and experience in protecting the right to access information and services beyond books, often in the form of content created by their staff.”
Phoebe Larson, Saint Paul, Minnesota Public Library marketing and communications director, talked about how her library dealt with a backlash after promoting Drag Queen Story Time. The Library Journal reports:
When planning programs, Larson advised librarians to make sure that reference and circulation staff are supported; have a prepared statement about how a program supports the library’s values. Be clear in your goals and prepare stakeholders, such as a Board of Trustees. After the success of their first event, they hosted more without incident.
Another speaker at that session lamented that in the short amount of time since she had left to attend the conference, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom had received seven “Pride-based” complaints.
“Prepare. Prepare. Prepare,” when planning events such as DQST advised deputy director for ALA Communications & Marketing Macey Morales at another workshop, titled “Controversial Speaker Planned for Your Library Event? Things to Consider.”
“Prepare ready-made responses for social media,” said Morales. “Any time you’re dealing with media, put together a series of talking points.”
A workshop titled, “Are You Going to Tell My Parents?: The Minor’s Right to Privacy in the Library” asked questions such as “Should libraries record and share a minors’ internet browsing habit with their parents?”
One graphic provided by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom noted that one of the five top methods of censorship encountered by librarians is “requiring parental permission to access content.”
Another graphic depicting the top “reasons for book challenges,” offered a telling list of top objections to library materials, including (in descending order of frequency):
- Sexually explicit
- Gender nonconformity
- Obscenity and profanity
- Occult and satanism
- Transgender characters
- Confuses children
- Same-sex married couple
“All these people, and this large organization that serves almost exclusively public institutions, clearly feel completely comfortable broadcasting their cheerful feelings about queer sex — and other extremely politicized and controversial subjects — in public,” noted Joy Pullman, executive editor of The Federalist.
“Are all these supposedly well-read people completely ignorant of the fact that the majority of the world’s religions and religious adherents, which comprise the clear majority of the world today, plus the vast majority of cultures in world history, consider the kind of behavior they’re cheering depraved, damaging to children, self-harming, and socially destructive?” asked Pullman.
“At least half of America does not agree with bisexual bathrooms or denying opportunities to white people based on their skin color,” she continued. “They are not on board with ‘queering’ public elementary school libraries. How can we trust these librarians’ judgment and management of public resources after seeing this kind of bias, which is extreme to the point of open hostility against our deepest values?”