Home Pinching Pennies with P Uncategorized Around the Region: West Fargo library criticized by ND Republicans over LGBTQ Pride month display

Around the Region: West Fargo library criticized by ND Republicans over LGBTQ Pride month display

Around the Region: West Fargo library criticized by ND Republicans over LGBTQ Pride month display

North Dakota
The West Fargo Public Library has a book display for Fargo Moorhead Pride, the Forum reports:

As reported in The Forum, two state legislators criticized the West Fargo Public Library for promoting an LGBT book display during the Fargo-Moorhead Pride celebration. In my opinion, Reps. Christopher Olson and Ben Koppelman are failing to represent their full constituencies, which undoubtedly include LGBT residents. Their comments were a direct and damaging insult to children being raised in West Fargo. I found these comments to be unfortunate and disheartening. As a Davies High School graduate, I understand the overall conservative composition of the area. However, I remain convinced that these specific opinions represent only a minority of residents.
It is especially disheartening when considering the specific publications seen in the photo of the library’s display, which are seemingly not in the same vein of the “ideology of sexual fluidity, promiscuity, experimentation and deviation” alleged by Olson. For instance, “The Last Deployment: How a Gay, Hammer-Swinging Twentysomething Survived a Year in Iraq” is the story of a gay man in the military forced to repress his sexuality to avoid being discharged. “Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle” details the LGBT fight for civil rights and was described by The Economist as “the most comprehensive history to date of America’s gay-rights movement.” “Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth” focuses entirely on supporting youth in the school system to avoid marginalization.

That display has come under attack by two conservative Christian Republican lawmakers, Gay Star News reports:

Two North Dakota legislators have criticized a library’s display and promotion of LGBTI books.
People unhappy with the display contacted representatives Ben Koppelman and Chris Olson.
The library had also posted a picture of the display on Facebook with the caption ‘Looking for the perfect last days of summer read?’
Olson labelled it ‘radical, hardline sexual ideology.’
One of the books in the display was Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?.
He went on to add that he does not mean this to be an attempt at ‘censorship.’ He does not have a problem with the books being in the library but does not believe the library should promote them.
Olson said: ‘I find it very surprising that the West Fargo Public Library would choose to showcase a display promoting these types of materials regarding human sexuality.’

But, the library isn’t backing down, WDAY reports:

The West Fargo Public Library says it won’t change any displays, despite criticism of a stand on LGBT literature.
The library features two displays which are changed out every month.
This month, one of the displays features books on topics about sexual and gender identities.
The library’s director says there have been some in the community upset over displaying the educational materials.
She says any materials featured by the library must meet strict guidelines of quality.
“It should be something of quality. We look at the needs of the community, and the up to date-ness of items which are technical or medical in nature,” said Sandra Hannah, West Fargo Library director.

Madison celebrated Pride over the weekend the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

Near the front of Madison’s annual Outreach Pride Parade on Sunday, the Madison Area Transgender Association’s float flew flags of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
A sign on the float, which read, “Standing with our trans troops,” represented a clear response to tweets last month by President Donald Trump that announced his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
For Kitnoki McCorison, a transgender woman marching in the parade, the float was a way to show support for her friend in the Air Force who is just beginning to transition into being a woman.
“She’s really worried about being kicked out,” McCorison said. “Nevertheless, we support our Armed Forces. We believe as long as we’re doing the right thing in the world, that’s good.”

A Wisconsin Democrat is giving big money to a transgender candidate in Virginia, the Washington Post reports:

In her bid to become Virginia’s first openly transgender lawmaker, Democrat Danica Roem is getting a major boost from a donor who lives 800 miles away. They’ve never met. She’s not even sure how to pronounce his name.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, a Democrat, has given $115,000 to Roem’s candidacy, nearly half of the money she has raised so far, and plans to keep contributing through the November election.
The six-figure investment in a race in the Washington exurb of Prince William County underscores the national interest in what is normally a sleepy, low-turnout affair. Abele, who is straight, sees a chance to make history by helping elect the first openly transgender candidate for a state legislature.
“She’s running because she’s an active citizen, and she cares and she’ll make a difference,” said Abele, who chairs the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. “That said, she’ll also set a precedent and make it safer for a lot of other candidates to run.”

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Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.