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County Council Meeting on October 17th

Members of Council, I apologize for coming to speak on the same topic two months in a row, but I got a tip that there would be multiple people speaking tonight in favor of draconian book bans, and I felt morally obligated to return and provide a response.

The bottom line here is that we do not ban books in the United States. Before even considering their content, freedom of information is a cornerstone of our democracy. Book banning, or even just restricting access to books, is not the way that we do things in the United States of America.

Beyond being unamerican as a matter of policy, though, we must also address the lies and misinformation being spouted by the proponents of book bans. Here are the facts: There is absolutely nothing wrong with the content that these folks want to see banned. There is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ; people are born that way, it’s an immutable part of their character, and young LGBTQ children know it from a very early age, regardless of their upbringing.

Being LGBTQ is not immoral. It is also not immoral to teach children that there is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ. That is a lesson that many of us still need to learn as adults.

I don’t understand why these radical extremists are so intent on inserting the government into the parenting decisions of the people of Spartanburg County. These books are not going to harm anyone. They are not “pornography” as some try to claim. There are a few books with more mature content, which is already categorized appropriately into the Young Adult sections.

The content that these folks really want to ban is the picture books that teach children that it’s okay to have two moms or two dads. That it’s okay to want to wear dresses and play with dolls, even if that might not be what other people want or expect you to do. That there is nothing wrong with whatever feelings they’re having, period.

Folks, these are good, wholesome, important messages for ALL children to hear. They teach kindness and acceptance and empathy, three traits that are unfortunately lacking in today’s society. And if anyone still doesn’t want their children to read those books, then they can simply decline to check them out.

Council, I implore you NOT to be swayed by anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and NOT to put your finger on the scale of Spartanburg County library policy. LGBTQ folks are human beings, just trying to live their lives in peace. They do not deserve to be dehumanized, or to be made to feel less-than.

I’ll close with a quote from one of my favorite Republicans, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend your own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.”

Thank you,

Sevi Alvarez

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