Banning Books

I want to wish my local public library all the best this evening. Within my local community there has been a push to remove several books from the shelves. The two books cited in local newspapers were “Gender Queer” and “The Gender Creative Child.” I was hoping that my favorite spot in Deckerville would be spared from the sudden rush to ban books. Something that seems to be spreading in popularity within conservative communities, and Deckerville is most certainly conservative). Tonight the community and library staff meet to discuss whether or not to ban these books from the library.

Leading the charge or at least participating in this movement is my ex-pastor. Someone that I grew up with and under his leadership. And while I may have respected him at one point, I certainly no longer do.

The leadership of the church I grew up in pushed a very puritan view of sex and sexuality. Something that I still feel like I’m trying to sort out. The Church and conservative circles my parents were a part of did very little to actually prepare or educate any of the teens or young adults for a healthy sexual ethic or even minor education on sex or sexuality. There was just a hard “Not now, wait till your married” and “you don’t need to know anything more.” Ironically, I was asked to give “the talk” to my brother by this very same pastor’s wife the week before my brother’s marriage to their daughter.

I don’t know if this will be received before the meeting, but I have mailed a handwritten letter to my ex-pastor to try and explain my position. And hopefully if he’s willing to listen he will be able to at least hear my point of view.

Dear Jed, 

I’m writing to you today concerning a newspaper article that you were quoted in. Regard banning several books from Deckerville Public Library. And while I know I am moving from this area shortly Deckerville will always remain my home town. I’m well aware that I will not change your stance on banning these books, but I did want to write a few words regardless, I grew up without any type of sex or knowledge of what even sex was as a child. And even into my teen years. My parents and the evangelical circles were a part of encouraged this (behavior). “The less the kids know the better it is.” Or so they were told, so they sheltered me from any content that they felt way inappropriate. My wife also grew up in a similar environment, I look back and my early teen years were total confusion. I had no idea why my mind and body were changing. And I could have avoided a lot of that confusion with a little knowledge and instruction on what was actually going on. As for my wife, redacted, a young man used her naivety around sex and sexual consent to groom her and sexually abuse her. Knowledge, guidance, and instruction about sex could have helped ward off her abuser. Children and families in our community need access to books that help them learn about sex and their sexual identity. They also need a safe space in this community. Something that the library has been able to provide up until this point. However when community members push for removal of LGBTQ+ content from the library it signals to gay members of the community that they are not welcome. Both within the community and at the library. And whether or not you recognize it, firmly attaching your name to this movement indicates that your church does not want LGBTQ+ people in the community of Deckerville. 



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