Heather Fletcher, a candidate for the Frederick County Board of Education in Maryland, decided to grab the LGBTQ-themed books in a Pride Month display at the Brunswick Public Library so that children wouldn’t be able to check them out. She also grabbed a cup full of pins with different pronouns that people could use to identify themselves. Then she justified her antics by saying it was all in the best interest of kids.
Fletcher said she was “disturbed” by the display and worried it would prompt “age-inappropriate” questions from young children. She said she didn’t want her three children to see the word “queer” on a book and that she removed the items after trying, unsuccessfully, to convince the staff to move the books out of the main lobby area.
“This has nothing to do with the gay community,” Fletcher said. “It has to do with the preservation of innocence.”
Mind you, these weren’t books describing various sex positions. They were books about LGBTQ history before Stonewall, and the history of “LGBT music,” and a biography written by a gay man. Fletcher thought she could take the 20 books and it would prevent kids from—what exactly?—knowing LGBTQ people exist?!
It’s not about preserving their innocence. It’s about making sure LGBTQ students continue to struggle because people like Fletcher don’t give a shit about them.
To be clear, she didn’t steal the books. She checked them out. What she did was legal. What she did was also ridiculously stupid because it accomplished nothing. Libraries have multiple copies of the same books. Libraries can restock a display. Libraries also have plenty of books involving LGBTQ themes and characters that aren’t always part of a Pride display because LGBTQ stories are human stories and they’re everywhere. (Fletcher said she returned the books on Friday. She also posted video of the display)
The irony is that, by checking out the books, Fletcher effectively sent the message that those books are popular. That’s how libraries decide how many copies of various books they need; they look at circulation numbers. So Fletcher’s stunt could indirectly lead to the library system getting more copies of those books.
She later said on Facebook that she just wanted to protect her kids from seeing things they’re not “mature enough” to handle.
What can’t her kids handle? Her oldest is 10 years old. If that kid has to live with a homophobic mother, then he’s old enough to know what she’s ranting about. He damn well can handle the word “queer.” Just because she wants to keep her own kids ignorant about gender identity, sexual orientation, and American history doesn’t mean everyone else’s kids have to live the dark. For someone whose campaign website boasts about wanting to protect “individual families’ desires to raise their own children in their own value systems,” she clearly doesn’t want parents raising kids to accept LGBTQ people.
Fletcher didn’t stop there either. She also attended a library Board of Trustees meeting last week where she complained about taxpayer dollars being used to buy those pronoun pins.
Except—surprise!—she had no clue what she was talking about. The library system’s spokesperson set the record straight:
“Those were not actually created with any public funds,” Jones told the News-Post on Thursday. “All of our libraries have ‘Friends of the Library’ groups that support them, and items like that always come from those. So, it is not taxpayer money going toward things like that.”
In short, someone who can’t handle LGBTQ anything wants to make decisions for a large public school system with plenty of LGBTQ students. Kids and their families deserve better than a conservative bigot in charge of their education.
The most bizarre thing about all of this is that Fletcher openly admits she homeschools her kids. That’s her decision, of course, but that means her entire campaign is a larger version of her library stunt: She’s trying to inject herself into a world she doesn’t understand and wants no part of, all so she can ruin the experience for everyone else.
Voters shouldn’t let her get away with it.