‘Gender Queer’ book concerns discussed at Lapeer County public library board meeting

Library director, most community members support book’s presence

LAPEER COUNTY, Mich. – Hundreds of people attended the Lapeer District Library board meeting Thursday after the county prosecutor raised concerns about a book in the public library’s collection.

The book in question, “Gender Queer,” is a memoir about the author’s road to identifying as non-binary and asexual. It has received many accolades and equal criticism for containing a few explicit illustrations depicting the author’s sexual discovery.

The book is kept in the adult section of the library.

Lapeer County Prosecutor John Miller spoke at the meeting after telling Local 4 the book meets some of the criteria for sexually exploitive material. Miller reiterated those concerns at the board meeting Thursday, March 16.

“I do not advocate banning books that involve LGBTQ content,” said Miller. “That is not my position. However, books that encourage children to engage in sexual acts when they are not the legal age are not appropriate for public libraries.”

Previously: Metro Detroit prosecutor, librarian clash over LGBTQ+ novel

The library director stood by the book, and so did most community members that spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“Gender Queer is not a salacious sex story,” said one person. “It is not Fifty Shades of Gray (which is) a book any American teenager can find and read. Gender Queer is an autobiography trying to help young adults figure out how to identify and how to fit in.”

“It’s because of books like this that I was able to accept myself and my identity,” said another person.

Others in attendance sided with Miller, with one arguing that the community would ensure the millage doesn’t get renewed if those working in the library don’t resign.

It is ultimately up to the library director and the board to decide whether any book stays or goes.

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.