Dear EVSC School Board members, Vanderburgh County Commissioners, and Vanderburgh County Council,
On behalf of the Tri-State Alliance, I am writing to you about EVPL’s Drag Queen Story Hour.
I view this as an issue of censorship. Some members of the community are trying to limit what library programs are available to the public. It is similar to banning books. As an EVPL patron, I have a choice of what books I read and what programs I attend. However, it is not my right to decide what books other patrons are allowed to read and what programs others are allowed to attend.
In one of the media articles, I read that some elected officials feel like this program is dividing the community. Actually, there is a segment of the community fighting a cultural war saying the LGBTQ communities are not welcome here. It is the same people who have been saying the same thing for decades.
Some Christians oppose Santa Clause, stating it takes away from the reason for the season. My pastor does Santa Clause Story Hour at the EVPL locations. Those who oppose the character Santa Clause do not try to stop other parents from bringing their kids to the event. They just don’t take their kids.
The same is true for Halloween. Some Christians oppose the celebration of Halloween. But do we end Halloween events at EVPL, or do we let parents choose what programs to take their kids to?
What is different about this program? Those doing the reading are from the LGBTQ communities. So this is being used as a way to attack the LGBTQ community. Opponents are stating this will influence kids to be LGBTQ, and implies that being LGBTQ is bad. And opponents are sexualizing kids story hour.
What is, in fact, truth is that most people, including elected officials, have LGBTQ friends, family, and Co-workers. The demonizing of LGBTQ citizens isn’t working anymore, at least for most people.
There are 2 major petitions online about this issue. Close to 3,000 have signed a petition against this event. Close to 5,000 have signed the petition in support of this event. I am sure both petitions have people who live outside our area …. and the petition against the event allows ‘anonymous’ signers. What does this mean? I believe it means most residents of Vanderburgh County don’t care one way or the other. I also read that 2 speakers at a Vanderburgh County Commissioners meeting opposed this program. I suggest that 2 speakers do not represent a majority of Vanderburgh County.
Discussions of banning a book, banning a program, eliminating funding for libraries or firing a librarian for reaching out to the community will help us make national news. It will make us a bad example on the issue of censorship and discrimination.
E is for everyone is Evansville’s slogan. Is Vanderburgh County Government going to call out the mayor and disagree with this slogan? I hope not.
I urge you not to support censorship. I urge you not to support discrimination. And I urge you not to use inflammatory language that refers to drag queens as the same as prostitutes. Please remember that you are talking about taxpayers and yes voters. People can disagree, but the level of dialogue about this issue has sunk to a new low in Vanderburgh County.
We can and should do better. Thanks for your attention and consideration.