Library keeps gay children’s book on the shelves after backlash
A library in Chicago denied a request to remove a book about gay pride from the children’s section.
A mother took issue with the 2014 book This Day in June, a book about gay pride, after her three-year-old picked it up in the library.
Michaela Jaros and her husband Kurt Jaros, filed a formal complaint at the library. They felt it wasn’t age-appropriate and wanted it removed from the library’s West Chicago Avenue branch.
The library has just one copy of the book.
“At the very least, this book should be moved to the parental section,” Kurt Jaros told the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think we see other children’s books showing these sorts of images”.
The book is illustrated and depicts a gay Pride parade. It also offers a parent’s guide to a glossary of terms for LGBT education.
It includes drawings of same-sex couples embracing with joy and holding hands. Kurt Jaros said he believes the book is “ultimately about sexuality.”
A board meeting was held to address the complaint.
Of the 150 people who spoke at the meeting, the majority supported keeping the book in the children’s section.
Despite the backlash received from conservative groups, the library board voted 6-1 to keep the book in its collection.
Local parent, Maria Dalianis said “you can’t address just one segment of the population. It’s a book about the gay Pride parade—it’s pretty darn innocuous.”
“Whatever is in the library, it’s the parents’ responsibility to monitor their children and decide what’s right for them,” she added.
However, other parents shared the same view as Jaros.
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“My wife doesn’t perceive that she should have to be a helicopter parent,” one dad said. “She feels like the library is not providing a safe place for children to explore children’s books.”
Library Director Benjamin Weseloh said: “This is not sexual in any way. In my opinion, that’s being read into it.”
Jaros himself is the head of ‘Defenders Media’, an evangelical association that promotes a Christian worldview.
Talking to Illinois Family Institute, who deem the book as “propaganda”, Jaros said that “the whole thing blew up”.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has named the Illinois Family Institute in their list of 917 hate groups for its commitment to an anti-LGBT stance.