For many in the country, it’s Pride month. In Ohio, it’s shaping up to be Pride Censorship Month.
On Friday, May 31st, the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives strong-armed an Ohio library branch into cancelling an educational, Pride-month event aimed at LGBTQ youth. The event was privately funded, and the library was simply the location.
The event, now hosted elsewhere, is planning to feature educational material for LGBTQ youth, including a safe-sex presentation and a drag make-up tutorial.
We do not apologize for drag. We celebrate it. We’re in a drag renaissance. Ohio has some of the nation’s best and most charitable performers. Exposing youth to drag is not “sexualizing” them. Drag is an art form.
We do not apologize for sex-ed. It empowers youth to be healthy. LGBTQ youth are largely born to straight parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government’s top public health agency, notes that LGBTQ youth have worse health outcomes than their straight peers, and sex-ed is an important part of achieving positive health outcomes. In addition, sex-ed can teach life skills like boundary setting and consent seeking, both essential tools in sexual assault prevention.
In his statement, Ohio House Speaker Householder said: “Let me be crystal clear: This isn’t about banning books or banning thought or any other red herring argument.”
Let us, too, be crystal clear. This is a direct assault on free speech and the First Amendment––a right which applies to LGBTQ people as well. He ends the letter with a chilling implicit threat, saying “I expect this to end immediately.”
Pride is for LGBTQ people. We are a part of every community in Ohio––and we are library patrons as well.
Two events aimed at LGBTQ youth have been forced to relocate from public libraries in the last few days alone.
This censorship is a stunning assault on LGBTQ youth, and it must be stopped. Please write Speaker Householder and tell him to stop censoring Pride. (Please do not engage in name-calling or insults, but do let him know how this is harmful!)
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