Public libraries in Dublin say they will not be removing LGBTQ+ books from the children’s section following complaints about “sexualised” content from a women’s group.
The government-approved Rainbow Reads list contains titles recommended for teens and children to highlight and celebrate LGBTQ+ inclusive books and often feature characters who identify as LGBTQ+.
The list was compiled by Children’s Books Ireland and An Post and contains more than 100 LGBTQ+ inclusive stories for young readers.
However, a group identifying as the Natural Women’s Council has been touring libraries and bookstores attempting to remove titles by trans-writer Juno Dawson, and other LGBTQ+ educational and non-fiction books.
The group claims that books on the Rainbow Reads lists and in libraries “violate” the Children’s First Act 2015 and are “not age appropriate”.
The group has asked for books by Juno Dawson to be removed from the age 12-14 section, including This Book is Gay and What’s The T.
The group recently took issue with books appearing in the age 12-14 sections in Dublin public libraries in Rush, Swords and Tallaght.
A spokesperson for public libraries at the Local Government Management Agency said: “One of the actions set out under the Government’s National LGBTQ+ Inclusion Strategy 2019-2021 is for public libraries to compile an LGBTQ+ reading list and update it on an ongoing basis, these books are part of that list.
“A working group with representation from BeLonG To, HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Prevention, Irish National Teachers' Organisation LGBTQ+ Group, public libraries and Transgender Equality Network Ireland, was brought together by the Local Government Management Agency to develop the reading list.
“The titles that are referenced are part of this reading list. It should be noted that under the terms and conditions of library membership, parents/guardians are responsible for their children’s use of library materials and services and for their library selections up to the age of 18.”
In response, founder of the Natural Women’s Council, Jana Lunden, said: “Our campaign to remove books from public libraries is due to the fact there are several books in the 12-17 section that are not age appropriate.
“If these books were a film, these would be X-rated not child-rated. The content clearly violates the Children First Act of 2015 and we encourage every mother and father to read some of these for themselves to validate our concerns.”
This article was amended on 07/02/2023 to include comment from the Natural Women’s Council
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