I want to talk about what's happening in my home state of North Dakota regarding banning books in libraries, coming from a queer library assistant.

Two state bills, SB 2360 and HB 1205, are aiming to ban "obscene" materials. What are obscene materials? Well one of the bills, SB 2360, defines obscene as a number of things including written or visual depictions of:

I'm sure you can imagine what lawmakers mean by "deviant" and "perversion", and if you can't, they're trying to be as vague as possible with their bigotry targeting the LGBTQ+ community while claiming it's for the protection of children. A tale as old as time, really.

HB 1205 is worse. Where SB 2360 tries to be vague about its targeting of the LGBTQ+ community, HB 1205 is very blatant about it.

Its definition of "explicit sexual material" includes "sexual identity" and "gender identity" and the bill aims to ban these books from libraries in the state.

Thankfully, an amendment was adopted for HB 1205 (the worse of the two bills) stating that this only applies to children's materials, however, I need to stress that book banning, especially targeting marginalized groups, is still bad, even if it's just children's materials. Dozens if not hundreds of books in my local library alone will have to be discarded if these bills pass. And, because lawmakers have publicly accused us of this, I need to state that no public library in North Dakota contains pornography, and we are especially not pushing pornography on minors.

Currently, libraries across the state are preparing a class-action lawsuit against the state that will take effect if either of these bills pass. My library director just announced this morning that we're joining the lawsuit. People across the state have been planning and going through with read-in protests and postcard writing campaigns. We're doing all we can to keep these bills from passing, and I want the rest of the country and the LGBTQ+ community to take notice.

Please spread word, and if you're from North Dakota, please contact your representatives! Here is a form you can fill out to contact them easily.