In the weeks leading up to a landmark Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, a much smaller LGBT debate was happening in Hood County.
More than fifty residents signed “challenge forms” asking for the removal of two children’s books from the Hood County Library that help young readers understand gender and sexuality, according to WFAA. My Princess Boy focuses on a kid—based on the author’s son—who enjoys dressing in pink and sparkles, and This Day in June depicts a scene from a gay pride parade. The challenge forms reportedly raised concerns that the books encourage “perversion” and “the gay lifestyle.”
The library board in Hood County has already opted to keep the books on the shelves for now, but persistence by community members could put that decision in jeopardy when the county’s board of commissioners meets later this month. It’s not immediately apparent if the board will hear public comment or vote on the books.
“Lesbians and gays are in this community, and they deserve to have some items in this collection,” library director Courtney Kincaid told WFAA.
Attempts to censor libraries are so prevalent in the state’s school districts that the ACLU of Texas publishes an annual report on banned books. Based on 2013-2014 data from 666 school districts, 31 percent of challenged books were banned, most of them at elementary and middle school reading levels. The topics ranged from a historical guide to mass hysteria to a book written completely in instant messaging lingo.
Neither My Princess Boy nor This Day in June include profanity or sexually mature content, two commonly cited reasons for bans. Both are kept in children’s sections of other libraries without much trouble. So when Hood County residents called for their removal, it indicates that at least some are resistant to the shifting cultural norms reinforced by the Supreme Court’s recent decision.
Hood County was one of many in the state that refused to immediately issue same-sex marriage licenses, with county clerk Katie Lang claiming to instill her “religious liberty.” Lang’s office eventually began to grant licenses, but her efforts landed her in a lawsuit filed by a couple who was repeatedly turned away.