Christian Nationalists’ attempt to remove this library’s LGBTQ+ books backfired

  Rhys Long

The saga of Christian Nationalists targeting libraries’ LGBTQ+ books continues. This time, there’s a happy ending.

The Ranchero Peñasquitos branch of the San Diego Public Library was recently thrust into the spotlight due to its LGBTQ+ Pride display. Two neighborhood residents checked out nearly every book in the Pride display and held the books hostage, telling the library that the books would not be returned until the library agreed to permanently remove the “inappropriate content” from the shelves.

Donations flooded in

After a local newspaper reported on the protest, the library started to receive boxes containing donated copies of the books checked out by the two protestors. The library also received over $15,000 in donations, which the city has agreed to match in order to provide more LGBTQ+ programming and material, including expansion of the library system’s Drag Queen Story Hour.

The protestors who checked out the books in the display copied a template from the group CatholicVote’s “Hide the Pride” campaign, which instructs supporters to check out or move books with LGBTQ+ themes and characters. Their goal is to limit access to LGBTQ+ material for everyone, and, as their name suggests, force LGBTQ+ people out of public spaces. They are yet another organization citing religion as justification for demonizing the LGBTQ+ community.

Libraries are a haven of information for everyone

Libraries are a haven of information for everyone. They are one of the few repositories of knowledge that are accessible to all and they ought to remain as much. Efforts to restrict public access to LGBTQ+ material are shameful and should not be tolerated. Luckily for the citizens of San Diego, the community decided not to tolerate such bigotry. And the protestors, after seeing the results of their actions, returned the kidnapped books to the library.

Christian Nationalists launch daily attacks on our society, and libraries are only one target of these extremists’ attempts to force everyone to live by their beliefs. But this example from San Diego has proven that a vigilant community can push back against hatred to protect the public’s access to information and to respect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

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