Over 300 people have signed a petition to ban books containing LGBTQ content from the Orange City Public Library.
The petition – started by Terry Chi, psychology professor at Northwestern – aims to segregate LGBTQ content, and to provide a content rating service to help decide what should be included in the library.
It also asks the library to hold public discussions before new content is collected.
Cause for concern arose when two LGBTQ books – titled Two Boys Kissing and Tangerine Dress – were discovered on the library’s shelves.
The former is based on true events, and tells the story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-old boys who take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. Tangerine Dress is a children’s book, and follows a young boy who likes to wear dresses.
Chi said: “We’re not asking for banning because I know that would just sink our ship. We’re asking for transparency in the process and some public conversation before new materials are acquired.”
Orange City residents brought the ‘issue’ to the attention of Reverend Sacha Walicord, who held a meeting on Tuesday with the library’s Board of Trustees, and told them: “We will stand up and we will fight.”
Sue Kroesche – former director of Orange City Public Library – spoke out against the petition, saying: “No one is putting a gun to anyone’s head.”
Sioux County Conservatives – a political group – took responsibly for the petition. Their spokesperson – Jacob Hall – said: “The materials are targeting pre-K children to promote a behaviour that is harmful to human beings. It is clear there is an agenda there.”
The library only contains 168 books containing LGBTQ content, out of a collection of more than 64,000 books.
This isn’t the first time Iowa have made headlines for their anti-gay agenda.
Earlier this month, Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House of Representatives introduced House File 2164, a law aiming to remove protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This would mean transgender people would have to use the bathroom of their biological sex.
A Christian student group at the University of Iowa also came under fire last month for claiming they have the right to reject LGBTQ members, despite the school’s anti-bias policy.