Tennessee woman passionately defends Pride display amidst dispute over LGBTQ+ books
In Maury County, Tennessee, Maury County Library Director Zachary Fox has been forced to resign, after a group of locals got upset about a LGBTQ-friendly Pride Month book display.
The public library added the display in June, to mark Pride Month, and it consisted of a small selection of books on a shelf near the entrance.
Library board member Joel Friddell told The Daily Beast that people took issue with the location of the display, claiming it was too close to children’s books.
“It was not in the children’s library. It was in the front part of the library, but a good 20 feet or more away from the entrance,” he told the outlet.
During the same time period, the library was simultaneously running its Summer Feed Program, a campaign that offers free lunches for children who may not have had access to food.
“We served more than 800 of those meals during that same period of time,” Friddell said.
Some members of the community had raised alarm bells that the books mentioning the existence of LGBTQ+ people were in the same vicinity as the free lunch program.
Friddell said no one filed any formal complaints with the library, instead, choosing to use social media to voice their frustration.
Friddell said the board addressed the community’s concerns in a meeting the following month, and even reviewed the books and found no issue.
“All displays need to be thoughtful and cognizant that people coming through the library are going to be different ages, different backgrounds, and so we need to make sure that our displays reflect that,” Friddell explained. He added that the board takes photos of displays, so it can immediately fall back on visual receipts if any concerns are expressed.
The pressure group campaigning to ban the books soon began claiming the books were an active threat to children.
“It’s not about freedom; it’s about filth,” Charlsie Estes said at the September meeting. “Just as our ancestors fought to abolish slavery…Nazi-world domination, and struggled for civil rights, our resolve to protect our children is no less vital, urgent, or passionate.”
“Look into Maury County Library and what the citizens of that county are doing to be involved in their community! They discovered over 25 books of sexually explicit nature marketed to 12 year olds which are against the law!” Theresa Deal posted on Facebook on Sept. 28, blaming Fox for the library’s so-called agenda for children. “Director Fox…needs to let us know why he felt the need to push the Gay Pride Month agenda to our minors 12-18!”
Faced with persistent calls for his dismissal, the library board grudgingly accepted Zachary Fox’s resignation as Maury County Public Library director.
One participant in Wednesday’s meeting, resident Jessee Graham, delivered an impassioned speech defending the banned books, the LGBTQ+ community, and the newly resigned Library Director Zachary Fox.
🔥🔥 MUST-WATCH: “I’ve never been sexually assaulted at a drag show, but I have been at church. TWICE! The men told me it was MY fault.”
MAURY COUNTY library board – local mom rips homophobe County Commissioner Aaron Miller, whose ignorant hate chased out the library director📚 pic.twitter.com/D6HrzugANN
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) October 27, 2022
Local outlet Tennessee Holler shared the video, captioned: “local mom rips homophobe County Commissioner Aaron Miller, whose ignorant hate chased out the library director.”
“I’ve never been sexually assaulted at a drag show, but I have been at church. TWICE! The men told me it was MY fault.”
Tennessee resident Jessee Graham passionately defends Pride Month book display#LGBTQ #LGBTnews pic.twitter.com/JYZQcTKTHr
— Queer Insider 🏳️🌈 🏳️⚧️ (@qitweets) October 29, 2022