Warning: this story may frustrate or anger you.

I have to say, in the year 2021 I still find myself surprised by the openly hateful comments I witness on social media towards the LGBTQ community. I suppose it shouldn't be that surprising but I had held out hope that these kinds of attitudes were fading. Clearly, I am wrong.

A friend sent me a recent post from a Facebook account that goes by the name of Daniel y Maria Online. At first glance, it seems to be a "family" focused blog. The post, I'm assuming made by Maria, was expressing her disgust at the number of "evil" books she found at the West Perry Library in Indianapolis. The subject material of those books? Inclusivity.

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Maria attached over 30 pictures to her post all of which showed covers of books, pages of books and a section of the library that were about people in the LGBTQ community. One cover showed two fathers with a child. One picture shared was the cover of a book titled, "Plenty of Hugs" that showed two women with a child.

All of the attached pictures were described, in Maria's words, as "evil indoctrination." More specifically, her post read, in part,

This was supposed to be a post about a wonderful new library that we found on our way back home from school. Instead, this is a call for help. More than ever we need to protect our children from this evil indoctrination. I want you to take a look of all the “rainbow books” that we have found in this “magical” place. Tons and tons of these materials!!! They are EVERYWHERE: kids section (in every book shelf, even the baby shelves), teens section, adults section, Spanish section… There is even a designated section for LGBTQ teens!

For anyone who believes in equality and inclusion, this post is understandably upsetting. It openly shames anyone who lives outside of the heterosexual "norm" and reduces them to "evil influences". It's disgusting.

Towards the end of her post she writes,

Dear “rainbow people” (as my kids respectfully call you), Isn’t your sexuality something private that you are free to live in your own terms behind your door? Why are you trying to impose this on my children? WHY?

Why not? I, a 30-something-year-old woman in America, have been fed the same man/woman relationship in every form of entertainment for my entire life. Are you not concerned with your child being 'indoctrinated' with toxic relationship traits that are often shown in heterosexual relationships on tv and in movies? If those can be displayed so publicly there should be no issue with books that teach about love and inclusion, which happen to depict a same-sex couple, being displayed at your public library.

Maria ended her post by asking her followers, of which she has close to 60k, to "respectfully" ask the library to remove these materials because,

Us parents, should be the sole educators of our kids in this important matter, and not beautiful, colorful, “innocent” books from our public libraries. This is not what our tax money should be used for.

I generally stay away from the comment section on posts like these for fear that my faith in humanity will be completely shattered. Nevertheless, I carefully scrolled through and  was overjoyed to see just how quickly this post backfired on Maria. Some of the comments included:

Rach T. wrote: Beauty and the beast - Bestialty. Snow White and the seven dwarves & Sleeping Beauty - Necrophilia. Cinderella - get stalked by a man that hardly knew her. Any Disney movie to exist shows that young girls should be skinny and rely on a man rather than on themselves. And that women should fall in love with the first man that saves them. And we're the ones pressing our views onto young children?

Mina L. said: This stuff wasn't around just a few years ago when I entered my teens knowing nothing about myself and questioning it for a long time. I'm overwhelmed by joy that kids can have this now. You're embarrassing yourself.

Dominique T. commented: This is absolutely beautiful, I’m going to show my local library so we can be visibly inclusive too. Also, big yikes, I can’t imagine still being this openly hateful, it’s 2021 do better. It’s ok to choose kindness.

While I didn't see any public response from the West Perry Library, just a couple of days ago they did make this post:

Again, nothing was said officially. But, I'd like to think this is a very subtle, yet clear response to Maria's message.

I could form a number of responses to this kind of openly hateful message being shared on a public platform. However, as Dominique stated above, it's okay to choose kindness which I will do. Except my kindness goes out to all members of the LGBTQ community. I hope you know that this kind of hurtful message does not represent the opinions of all. You are loved. You are accepted.

For those wanting to get more involved with the LGBTQ community locally, OutFront Kalamazoo is an incredible resource. They provide programs, resources, and most importantly, a space free from discrimination. Read more here.

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