This book publisher, Seven Stories Press, takes a swing at the citizens of West Bend
As you may have heard, the Common Council of West Bend, Wisconsin voted on April 21 to dismiss four members of the West Bend Library Board. The reason? The Common Council disagreed with the “ideology” of the Board members, and with their refusal to remove certain LGBT-themed titles from the Young Adult section of the library. Among the titles: (see books and excerpts on the left-hand side of this blog page)
First of all, once again this publisher has the information wrong. Or do they? Perhaps, like the local organization of West Bend Parents for Free Speech, they are using the LGBT community so they can get people fired up over an issue that is not about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgenders at ALL! Perhaps if one reads the actual petition (left side of this blog), one would find that both homosexual AND heterosexual books are being addressed. Yes, yes, we know that three months ago we objected to the "Out of the Closet" book recommendations, mostly because we object to sex book recommendations of ANY kind for minors. We have since, long ago, dropped that issue as we feel the issue at hand is sexually explicit materials. Nothing more. Publishers that talk smack about the LGBT-themed books to the LGBT community to rile them up are simply looking for a group to "use", and those on the receiving end of this abuse should be outraged. We have heard from many LGBTs that they AGREE with our stance on sexually explicit materials for their kids! Parents are parents....
In short: material that provides information on puberty, on coming out as gay, lesbian, or transgendered teen, and on teenage sexual abuse and the depression and trauma that can result from it—this is the material that the City Council, bowing to pressure from the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, wants to make less accessible to teenagers. Even shorter: the Council wants to restrict teenagers from reading books about puberty if those books talk positively about gay people.
Once again, wrong info! Shucks! Two strikes! Not making them less accessible. The kids can still walk into the library, go to a rack, take a book, and check it out. Same books, different shelf. C'mon...this is not rocket science!
And the last sentence? HUH? That is just a lie. Period. Nothing to back that up whatsoever. Who wrote this idiotic piece?
A letter opposing the City Council’s decision, signed by the heads of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers and the PEN American Center, can be found here.
And a superior explanation of the misinformation within this letter can be found here.
As an independent press with a long history of (1) publishing and promoting traditionally oppressed voices (it’s laughable, for example, to say that librarians should stock books from the controversial and politically-motivated ex-gay movement to “balance” a guide to puberty that says that homosexuality is a viable lifestyle) (See next blog note with PFOX's thoughts about that statement) and (2) opposing censorship in all its forms, we’d like to propose a call to action:
Let the Common Council know how you feel, and why you believe that “protecting” kids in small towns from books that deal favorably with homosexuality is not an appropriate action for a taxpayer-funded library to take.
Why would anyone want to do that, as this is not the issue! This publisher is going to make people look SILLY.
Let them know that the four Library Board members should not have been dismissed for refusing to bow to unconstitutional pressure from religious groups, however many signatures on a petition those groups can gather.
Ooops! That's three strikes, people! They were not "dismissed", they were not reappointed. The reason? They "dragged their feet" and "stonewalled" the public. Yes, THEY DID.
Let them know that if they really do want to protect their kids—including their LGBT kids—they can best protect them by giving them access to information about their own identity and sexuality, not by stigmatizing that information as “adult” or “obscene.”
So their "own identity" (and heteros, this is for you, too) agrees that children should read books that contain "how to's" for masturbation, three-way sex, sex with toys, etc., etc.? Hmmm... I would think the LGBT gang would be just as outraged this garbage is dragging down THEIR literary standards, but hey, I guess my thought that parents, no matter WHAT their walk of life, would stand by their children's innocence. Perhaps putting a man's ejaculatory secretions on corn flakes is an appealing form of literature to those who are LGBT..at least that is what this publisher is stating.
You can write a letter to the following address:
(City Council/Vrana address given)
All this misinformation could be intentional, or it could show the effects of the lies spread by non-local parties interested in maintaining control over OUR library. Directing the general public to write ridiculous letters about an issue that this publisher clearly does not understand will simply make them look, well, silly, like I said before. The letters will end up in the trash, as they do not pertain to the issue. Nice try, 7 Stories. But the public has your number. And its a ZERO.