Michigan Democratic legislators, empowered with a majority in both state houses for the first time in forty years, are scurrying to undo Republican legislation they consider damaging. They repealed a “right-to-work” law which weakened labor unions and voted to protect the civil rights of LGBTQ people and expand background checks for purchases of guns.
Government sanctions of LGBT Community
Amy Churchill, director of the Lapeer District Library, is facing the possibility of criminal charges from a conservative county prosecutor, John Miller, in a fight over an LGBTQ-themed book. The book that has generated this controversy is “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” a story of the author’s coming of age as nonbinary, and includes illustrations of sex acts. According to PEN America, a group that advocates for writers, and the American Library Association, this was the most banned book in school libraries in 2022. Miller believes that the book’s availability to youth could meet the bar for a crime in Michigan, criminal code — 750.145a, because, to him, the book “entices” underage teens to engage in sex acts. Time will tell regarding Miller’s future actions. To date, the book remains in the library.
In early March, Rep. Neil Friske, R-Charlevoix introduced House Bill 4136. “This bill does not ban libraries from having specific books or genres of books, nor does it discriminate against any individuals,” he said. “The bill simply places content containing things like pornographic images to an area of the library reserved specifically for adults.”
According to Debbie Mikula, executive director of the nonprofit organization Michigan Library Association, public libraries cannot buy materials legally considered obscene.
Georgia is considering a bill that would allow school librarians to be charged criminally for objectionable books, as is Indiana, Texas and Wyoming.
Related stories on defunding libraries in Michigan, raising money to keep the libraries open can be found at Bridge Michigan and on the anti-trans laws and rhetoric in this weeks’ PEG.
Anti-trans rhetoric and now policy
New Anti-trans/LGBTQ laws from Florida to Tennessee, Oklahoma to Arkansas have been going on for a while. And now it seems to be the attitude of a larger swath of the Republican party as Anti-trans rhetoric took center stage at CPAC under the guise of protecting children. While many minorities have become targets of increasingly more vocal and violent forms of hate and discrimination, the Transgender community is the test case for government-sponsored hatred and bigotry.
Per Robert Hubbell, at CPAC ‘one conservative radio host [said,] “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” See Rolling Stone, CPAC Speaker Calls for Eradication of ‘Transgenderism’ — and Somehow Claims He’s Not Calling for Elimination of Transgender People.’
Hubbell continues, “[It is appropriate to pause here and reflect on how closely the speaker’s words came to a call for the eradication of transgender people. For everyone who is exhausted by the fight or unwilling to support the transgender community, the call for “eradication” should be the clarion signal that if we do not stop the hate against the transgender community, similar calls against the broader LGBTQ community will be next, followed by other religious, ethnic, and racial groups that have been the traditional targets of white supremacists. We must draw the line here.]” This is now about policy, not rhetoric. Read Ezra Klein for more.
Michigan has a silver lining. Last week, [the] Michigan Senate passe[d] Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act expansion to add LGBTQ rights.
And “LGBTQ advocacy groups are applauding the Biden administration for rolling back a Trump-era rule that they say encouraged discrimination on college campuses.“
Learn about some of the Anti-trans legislation from the ACLU and PEG – Legislation regarding LGBTQ: A Synopsis
Act Now!! 4 simple actions to help stop LGBTQ sanctions
SCHOOL AND LIBRARY BOARDS
- Attend meetings
- Recruit/retain good board members
- Work on campaigns of good board members
WRITE/EMAIL/CALL your legislators to condemn attacks on Transgender Americans
SIGN the National Education Association’s (NEA) petition and pledge to tell politicians to stop banning books.
CONTACT family and friends in states that do not allow free education and have them contact their legislators