LGBTQ+ book lovers and book lovers in general are not impressed with Iowa resident Paul Dorr, who released a video on Facebook Live condemning Orange City library, as he burned LGBTQ+ books. This egregious act of vandalism took place on October 19, the first day of a gay pride festival.
The comments on the Facebook post appeared mostly to encourage and praise Dorr’s actions.
Here is the list of books that Dorr burned in the video:
Two Boys Kissing, a young adult novel by David Levithan.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, a children’s book about a boy who likes to wear a dress by Christine Baldacchino.
This Day in June, a picture book about a pride parade, by Gayle E. Pitman.
Families, Families, Families!, by Suzanne Lang, & Max Lang, a book about ‘non-traditional’ families.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, Mark Stringer, expressed his frustration of what occurred, “Frankly, I found it disgusting. We are disturbed to see this.” He went on to say:
“Burning books from a public library is a clear attempt to shut down the open sharing and discussion of ideas. It’s one person, or maybe a group, deciding that they’re the gatekeeper of ideas for the rest of the public.”
The sixty-two-year-old religious activist pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief, and he will be in court on March, 26. If he is found guilty, he could face a fine of $625 and up to 30 days in jail.
In February, psychology professor, Terry Chi started a petition for Orange City Public Library to protect ‘Christian values’ by separating LGBTQ+ from other books in the library. Sioux County Conservatives (SCC) backed the petition, however they jeopardized it by attaching an offensive flyer, which used, in Chi’s words, ‘Inflammatory rhetoric,’ and resulted in Chi disassociating himself from it. The flier listed three out of four books that Paul Dorr burned, Two Boys Kissing, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, and This Day In June. The library responded by changing their book classification system and classifying books by subjects, subcategories, rather than the author’s last name. When the video first went around the residency, lawyers with the ACLU of Iowa, and the board eventually decided to put the books on the shelves, and library leaders state that the books do not violate content policy.
Dorr said that he would not pay for the damages, however his actions have lead to donations of hundreds of dollars being made to the library.