Parents Sending Graphic Gender Ideology Books To Texas Officials In Child Safeguarding Effort

Sarah Fields

The American Library Association is under fire by concerned families across the country following a spike in books being offered to children pushing graphic sexual content and gender ideology. 

But parents in Tyler, Texas are fighting back, and have organized a grassroots campaign to send the “explicit and inappropriate” books to city officials in an effort to create awareness of what local children are being exposed to.

Grassroots America Executive Director JoAnn Fleming said the campaign, coined The Dirty Thirty, will mail a sample of a graphic “child-friendly” book to local city officials.

“As a statewide organization, we continue to receive from outraged citizens shocking reviews of public library books readily accessible to children. These books contain blatant pornography, sexual deviancy, and pedophilia that rape the minds and emotions of children and normalize behavior that promotes the utter degradation of our culture, reducing human sexuality to soul-eating animalistic acts,” Fleming told The Publica. “The destruction of childhood innocence with taxpayer-funded smut readily found in our public libraries must stop.” 

For 30 days, Fleming and her campaign group will send local officials one segment of a so-called “dirty book” per day in an effort to compel local officials to take action against the literature. If the campaign is successful, the protest model will be rolled out in other cities throughout Texas, and eventually, on a nationwide scale. 

The campaign comes after an audit of school libraries was conducted by multiple parents in the Tyler Independent School District. The parents claim they discovered “over 300 explicit books” being offered to children in multiple schools in the area, ones the District promptly removed after the parents raised their concerns.

Fleming’s campaign is based off of an earlier child safeguarding effort championed by Christin Bentley, a Republican Party of Texas Committeewoman and mother of three.

During the last Texas Legislation, Bentley decided to begin sending objectionable literature intended for children to state officials in an effort to raise awareness for the issue. Bentley ended the campaign the night HB 900 passed the Senate. The legislation, which goes into effect on September 1, will result in books deemed sexually explicit being removed from libraries. 

Speaking to The Publica, Bentley said that many legislators admitted they had not been aware that sexually explicit books were being offered to children through libraries and “did not realize the sheer volume” of the examples Bentley had discovered.

“I have a list of over 900 books that I am still adding to. Most of them still thought this was an isolated problem,” she said.

The Publica reached out to Tyler Public Library Board members and Tyler city officials including Mayor Don Warren and City Manager Ed Broussard. When asked for comment on the pornographic books found in the youth section of the library, Dee Chambless, a library board member, was the only one to respond.

“For years, the Tyler Public Library has made sexually explicit materials available in this library, which we have documented via Public Information Requests and audits of the books,” Chambless said. “It wasn’t until the patrons submitted book reconsideration forms that these Adult books were finally moved.  If patrons hadn’t caught the librarian red-handed, the books would still be there. There are many other sexually explicit books that have yet to be removed.”

After a Public Information Request was sent to the library, it was discovered that the administration had received notice that 12 of the titles in question had been classified as “adult books” due to their content and were not meant to be in the children’s section. The publisher had provided notice to the library years ago requesting they be moved to the appropriate area, but the requests had been ignored by the librarian and the library board members.

Texas is not the only state where parents have been sounding the alarm on “pornographic” content being advertised to children in local libraries. Throughout the United States, child safeguarding groups led by concerned families have begun bringing attention to the American Library Association (ALA) and its leadership. 

Part of the ALA’s role is to “provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship.” Though it rarely takes unilateral action, the ALA does oversee the governance of all public libraries across the nation and adjudicates “challenges” on content.

On April 13, the ALA elected a gender studies scholar to serve as its 2023-2024 president. Emily Drabinski once described herself as a “Marxist lesbian,” but later deleted the post and clarified in an interview that it was an “excited” comment.

In 2013, Drabinski published an article in The Library Quarterly titled “Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction,” which argued that “engaging queer theory and library classification and cataloging together requires new ways of thinking about how to be ethically and politically engaged on behalf of marginal knowledge formations.”

Drabinski’s background in gender theory has not sat well with some state library commissioners, who have targeted the ALA for their responsibility in allowing inappropriate books for children to be populated in local libraries.

In Montana, State Library Commissioner Tamara Hall spoke before the Montana State Library Commission and formally cut ties with the ALA. 

Hall claimed that ALA president-elect Drabinski’s “avowed Marxist philosophy” was in “direct competition” to the commission’s “oath of office” to uphold both the US Constitution and Montana’s.

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