Don’t Deny Funding to Public Library for Shelving LGBTQ+ Books

Target: Gene McGee, Ridgeland Mayor

Goal: Fund libraries regardless of their choice to have LGBTQ+ books available.

Mississippi Mayor Gene McGee is currently withholding funds until a library removes all LGBTQ+ books from their shelves. Executive director of the Madison County Library, Tonja Johnson, reports around $110,000 is being withheld for the year. McGee states that he received multiple complaints about the “homosexual” books in the library. Besides the complaints, he is also using his religion as way to withhold funding, stating that as Christian he cannot support the library holding such books. An argument that is used many times regarding the representation of LGBTQ+ characters is that it is an inappropriate subject for children to be exposed to. McGee used this argument as well as saying children should not be exposed to sexuality in a library.

It is unclear if McGee has the legal right to withhold funds. Thankfully the library has requested a public hearing to get clarity on the situation. This all comes after a year of hardships for the LGBTQ+ community in Mississippi. In the past year Mississippi passed a law that bans transgender students from playing in sports. It is a dangerous and scary time for young LGBTQ+ people in the state. Withholding funds and demanding books with representation to be removed can make them feel even more outcasted.

Sign below and demand that the library be able to keep LGBTQ+ books on their shelves while still receiving their funding.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Gene McGee,

Withholding funds due to your own personal beliefs is unacceptable. Libraries are public spaces, not religious institutions. They are meant to serve all different types of people. A member of the LGBTQ+ community should be allowed to walk into a library and find characters and stories they relate to. LGBTQ+ books are not filled with inappropriate content. They consist of the same material as any other books do, characters, storylines, and experiences for people to enjoy. It is not right to demand these books be banned by withholding funding. It outcasts an entire group of people and makes it dangerous for them to live as who they are. The library deserves funding. They deserve the chance to have books that represent all people.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Christopher


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