RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson has defended remarks made to a church congregation in which he referred to “telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.”
Robinson defended it in a video statement released and a press conference Tuesday afternoon. He said he was referring to materials being used in schools rather than people. Among the books he referred to is “Gender Queer.” The book is largely the autobiographical account of its author Maia Kobabe and talks about gender identity.
In his video, Robinson showed graphic images that he said are in the book. He criticized it being available in schools.
Durham Public Schools is one of the districts that has a copy of “Gender Queer” in one of its libraries. It is not part of its curriculum or in the classroom.
“The book Gender Queer is not a DPS curriculum resource and is not standard in our library collections. One DPS library has this book available in its collection and available for check out. Durham Public Schools is in alignment with the American Library Association’s philosophy regarding the Library Bill of Rights: ‘Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.’ A diverse collection should contain content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences.
Library Bill of Rights:
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.
American Library Association’s Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom spoke to CBS 17 to help explain the role of public libraries and the purpose of the Library Bill of Rights:
“The Library Bill of Rights states the responsibilities of the library to provide access to information no matter what the background of the user is, to not censor authors because of their backgrounds, their views, their politics. But to provide access to a diverse range of materials across the spectrum of political and social belief and make sure that you are representing all communities. That everyone can find themselves reflected in the library collection.”
“There are many works that reference sex, there are non-fiction works that deal with human reproduction that might present nudity or images that some people might object to. But the fact is that much of art presents nudity or deals with sexual themes. Non-fiction, biology, human reproduction all deal with themes that some people might object to. The fact remains that there are those in the community who appreciate that literature or want access to that information. The whole thing to remember is that reading is voluntary, reading is a choice. It doesn’t mean that’s saying anything about your values or denigrating you in any way. It just means the library is serving those needs and is really required to.”
“We respect the right of every parent for example to choose and guide their own child’s reading. But we do feel that that doesn’t mean that they can guide the reading of other children or dictate what other families can access because values vary and everybody should be able to read in accordance with their own values without someone interfering with them.”
The Wake County Public Schools System released a similar statement saying the books are not taught in their schools. The district said it has 72 copies of “George” by Alex Gino. Two schools have one copy each of “Gender Queer.” Six high schools have a copy each of Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison.
“We have a process for parents to object to any materials or books. Board Policy 3210 provides opportunities for parents to review materials and a process for parents to use when they object to materials,” a WCPSS statement said.
WCPSS also mentioned that the state determines a curriculum for schools, not the individual districts.