On Wednesday, April 26, two protests took place in Dublin, organised by a small group of people demanding that LGBTQ+ books be removed from the children’s section in local libraries.
Over the past months, there have been a worrying number of reports about protests of such nature, where groups enter public libraries demanding that books containing LGBTQ+ themes are removed from the children and young adult sections. During past episodes, library staff have been subjected to intimidation, slurs and videos of them recorded without consent to the point that the situation prompted an increase in security in their buildings.
The latest anti-LGBTQ+ library protests took place today in front of the building housing the charity organisation, Children’s Books Ireland, and then in front of the GPO on O’Connell Street in Dublin. The group, which claimed to be from the Natural Women’s Council, Irish Education Alliance and Parents Rights Alliance, started from the first location and then moved to the second to protest against the Pride Reading Guide, a resource created by Children’s Books Ireland in partnership with An Post.
The Pride Reading Guide contains 100 LGBTQ+ inclusive stories for readers aged 0 to 18 and is a curated list, informed by children’s and YA specialists, meant to encompass a spread of titles across age ranges and genres. The resource was created because, in the words of Children’s Books Ireland’s CEO, Elaina Ryan, “positive representation on the page is so important: it is crucial that every member of the LGBTQIA+ community can feel seen and heard in books for children and young people.”
YOU NEED TO CHILL by Juno Dawson and @Laura_A_Hughes (@FarshoreBooks ) is a sparky and utterly charming picture book, which challenges social anxiety and panic around trans kids with heart, humour and LOVE! 🥰
Order here: https://t.co/Zst86EWF4W pic.twitter.com/JWJnnho0fu
— Housmans Bookshop (@HousmansBooks) April 24, 2023
A livestream published on YouTube today showed the anti-LGBTQ+ group protesting in Dublin against the presence of some titles included in the list in the children’s and young adult sections in Irish libraries. Carrying banners that read “protect childhood”, the speakers at the protests employed a rhetoric of “safeguarding the children”, claiming that they were there to “stop gender ideology in schools” and the spread of “indoctrinating information”. Moreover, they repeatedly used the word “groomer”, a slur often employed by far-right and anti-LGBTQ+ protesters to portray queer people as predatory.
Some of the protesters also carried printouts of pages from trans author Juno Dawson’s books This Book Is Gay and What’s the T?, which have been among the most targeted titles by anti-LGBTQ+ protesters in Ireland as well as in other parts of the world. In a video posted on Instagram, author Juno Dawson herself responded to the ongoing crusade against her books and other LGBTQ+ literature, explaining that the goal of her publications, geared towards teenagers, is “to give young LGBTQ people hope” and provide them with vital information about queer experiences.
Carrying the signs, the protesters entered the GPO and started shouting for people to read the pages, telling them that everyone “should be very concerned about what’s happening here”. They then demanded to see the “manager of the GPO” to discuss with them their partnership with Children’s Books Ireland on the Pride Reading Guide.
As the livestream shows, the protesters were then asked to leave as they were causing disruption for the people working in the office. When they refused to do so and continued chanting and shouting, Gardaí intervened and asked them to stop what they were doing.
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