Teen LGBTQ, sex education book in the parish library of Lafayette contested as pornography | New

A book about growing up LGBTQ that is in the teens section of the Lafayette Parish public library has been criticized by the executive director of a conservative group who said this and other books in the library contained pornography.

Michael Lunsford, executive director of the government anti-tax watchdog Citizens for a New Louisiana, said he had filed a complaint for “This Book is Gay” by James / Juno Dawson. The book is a publication on health and special studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer sexuality and growing up.

“This book is gay” is on a list of publications Lunsford said it obtained from MassResistance, a pro-family and anti-LGBTQ group that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Referring to parts of the books as pornography, Lunsford said he didn’t think they should be in public libraries at all, but that they should at least be moved to another section so that children cannot trip over it. Some of the books, he said, are said to be behind the counter at the crappy gas station.

“There is an adult section on this stuff,” he said. “Having him in the teenage section bothers me. “

“This book is gay” is categorized as a health and special education publication for adolescents 14 and older, Madison Manuel, of Lafayette, said Sunday. It contains simple character representations of a naked man and a naked woman.

Manuel, who has a degree in Child and Family Studies and previously worked in the Lafayette Parish Library System, briefly reviewed the books at the Lunsford office on Thursday. “This book is gay,” he said, “is about queer experiences. It provides resources to protect themselves, advises teens to wait until they are ready and describes this type of contact if you want to. pursue him. “

“I think Mr Lunsford chose two very, particularly in his frame of mind, salacious pages to create controversy,” Manuel said.

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In a recent meeting with Library Director Danny Gillane, Past Library Board Chair Douglas Palombo and Board Member Landon Boudreaux, Lunsford expressed concern over several books which, according to him, might not be appropriate, said the director of the library on Friday. Gillane said he asked Lunsford to complete and submit a library material review request form available on the library system’s website.

Lunsford has only filed one objection, to “This book is gay,” but may object to others, he said.

A committee consisting of two library staff and one board member will be appointed to review the contested book, Gillane said. The committee, he said, can decide to remove the book from the library, put it in a different collection, or leave it where it is.

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The most recent prior book challenge Gillane was able to find was tabled in 2012, before the library had a collection development policy. Someone challenged Lauren Conrad’s “LA Candy”.

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Other books on Lunsford’s list include:

  • Cory Silverberg’s “Sex is a Funny Word” Recommended for ages 7-10.
  • “The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex” by Amber J. Keyser, recommended for ages 14 and up.
  • “Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy” by Andrew P. Smiler, recommended for ages 9 and up.
  • “Doing It Right: Making Smart, Safe, and Satisfying Choices About Sex” by Bronwen Pardes, recommended for ages 14 and up.
  • “Doing It !: Let’s Talk About Sex” by Hannah Witton, recommended for ages 14-18.
  • Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” rated for teens but located in the graphic novel section of the library.

Most or all of the books are also available through the Orléans Parish Public Library System and the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library System, according to online requests for their card catalogs, but not in the smaller library systems in Iberia and St. Martin parishes. Lunsford works in downtown Lafayette, but resides in St. Martin Parish.

Parents in Gillette, Wyoming, have questioned the presence of these and other books in their libraries. A couple have filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office to charge librarians with obscenity. A local prosecutor said there was no case.

Obscene material is defined by Louisiana law as anything “which the trier of fact determines that the average person applying contemporary community standards would find, taken as a whole, appealing to lewd interest, and which depicts or describes d ‘manifestly offensive, harsh fundamental sexual conduct specifically defined in paragraph (2) of this subsection, and the work or thing taken as a whole has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. “

The crime of obscenity is the intentional display, distribution or promotion of intransigent sexual behavior, according to the law.

When asked if what he was offering was censorship, Lunsford replied, “There is censorship and there is buying. They literally spent money on these books. What books haven’t they bought? Is it censorship?

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Manuel said Lunsford seems to think books contribute to juvenile delinquency. All of the books Lunsford opposes are written for teenagers, especially those in their late teens.

“All of them describe how to protect yourself, say don’t have your ideas about sex in porn, don’t feel pressured,” Manuel said. “But if you’re having sex, here’s how to protect yourself.”

Louisiana teens and young adults enter college without knowledge or preparation for sex, Manuel said. The rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, in Louisiana are among the highest in the country, so the availability of these books to teens without parental permission provides them with information they don’t get at home, information that can save their lives. , he said.


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