Libraries remove vital trans teen book after disgraceful far-right letter writing campaign linking LGBT+ lives to paedophilia
A book about trans teenagers has been removed from bookshelves in libraries in Cork, Ireland, following a far right campaign that likened LGBT+ identities to paedophilia.
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin consists of six interviews with trans teenagers about their lives and was published in 2014.
Since then, the book has been assailed by anti-trans activists who have called for it to be banned.
Cork City Libraries opted to remove Beyond Magenta from its shelves and have it re-processed for “adult/YA lending” – which requires adult consent – after they received a letter from a far-right activist.
A woman called Kelly, who has kept her surname private, shared a copy of the letter she wrote to the library on AltFeed.org.
In the letter, Kelly said she had “some concerns” about the book being available in the “child/teen section” of the library.
Irish far-right activist claims Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin ‘normalises abuse’ and ‘paedophilia’.
“You may be aware that the book has sparked international outrage because of some very disturbing passages,” Kelly wrote.
She went on to lament that the book included one teenager’s sexual experiences, and added: “Alarmingly there is no immediate clarification for young readers that this is illegal and damaging behaviour.”
The letter went on to claim that Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin “normalises abuse and even paedophilia”.
“In my view this book should only be given to a child with parental guidance if at all, to be honest.
“I’m certain many parents would be quite upset if they knew the library is letting children borrow and read this book thinking it must be reviewed by the tax payer funded library board and suitable for their children.”
Trans teens deserve books that show they they’re not alone. It should not be withdrawn.
The woman went on to lash out at drag queen story time events in Ireland, labelling them “inappropriate”, and went on to suggest that LGBT+ people should be vetted by law enforcement authorities before being allowed to read to children.
“I personally know many people of the LGBT+ community and I have no issues with their life choices,” Kelly added.
“My only concern is for the innocence of children and what they are being exposed to in the pursuit of acceptance and equality.”
She went on to push harmful myths linking the LGBT+ community to child abuse, saying that she believes people want to see paedophilia accepted as a sexual orientation.
Kelly closed her letter: “I realise raising these issues are often perceived as homophobic which I reject completely.”
Cork City Libraries took the book about trans teens off the shelf in response to the complaint.
The library responded to Kelly and told her that “all executive librarians in Cork City Libraries were asked to take the book off the shelf” in response to her complaint.
“I reviewed a copy of the book this morning and while I welcome publications that provide support for young transgender people, or indeed any marginalised group within society, I appreciate your concerns regarding the references to paedophilia and abuse in one particular section of the book,” the unnamed library official replied, according to a screenshot shared on Twitter by Kelly.
“Taking this into account and having had a discussion with members of the senior management team in Cork City Libraries this morning, Beyond Magenta will remain off the shelves in the Cork City Library network.”
They closed their letter by thanking Kelly for bringing the matter to their attention.
In a statement, Cork City Libraries told PinkNews that concerns were expressed that the book was available “without any guidance or warning to parents”.
“Taking this concern into account the book remains off the shelves in the children’s section of Cork City Libraries,” a spokesperson said.
“It is being re-processed on our database for adult/YA lending, which requires adult consent on joining.”
The library service went on to explain that parents or guardians must sign a membership form allowing teenagers to borrow from the young adult section.
They added: “Cork City Libraries support all marginalised groups throughout the city, including the LGBT+ community through programming, training and so on.”
The decision to remove the book has sparked outrage among LGBT+ people and allies in Ireland, with many pointing out that the move will further strip trans youth of vital resources.
LGBT Ireland, an Irish advocacy organisation, criticised the decision to remove the book from Cork City Libraries in a statement released to PinkNews.
“Censoring this book, containing stories that confront sexual abuse, will only act as a barrier to a deeper understanding of issues experienced by some in the transgender community,” the organisation said.
“The people of Ireland have experienced and witnessed the negative outcomes that can occur when difficult stories and truths are kept from the public.
“We must ensure these issues are kept in the open, where they can be discussed and awareness raised.”
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Hi, @corkcitylibrary, below is an email which has been described as having come from you. Can you confirm if this is the case, please? If so, could you please also comment on why a publicly funded library is engaged in censorship? #TransRights pic.twitter.com/bNWdSsIUph
— Bernie Linnane (@Berlinnaeus) August 7, 2020
The owner of independent book store Gutter Bookshop also lashed out at the decision on social media, saying Beyond Magenta does not promote paedophilia or underage sex.
“Trans teens deserve books that show they they’re not alone. It should not be withdrawn.”
Beyond Magenta has been targeted by anti-LGBT+ activists across the world, and was one of the most banned books in the United States last year.
PinkNews has contacted the publisher of Beyond Magenta for comment.