Right next door to me is the state of North Dakota. They’re up to no good.
Books containing “sexually explicit” content — including depictions of sexual or gender identity — would be banned from North Dakota public libraries under legislation that state lawmakers began considering Tuesday.
The GOP-dominated state House Judiciary Committee heard arguments but did not take a vote on the measure, which applies to visual depictions of “sexually explicit” content and proposes up to 30 days imprisonment for librarians who refuse to remove the offending books.
You might be wondering what the libraries are peddling. Hard core porn? BDSM? Incest how-tos? Nah. The Republicans are happy to tell you what disturbs them.
House Majority Leader Mike Lefor, of Dickinson, introduced the bill and said public libraries currently contain books that have “disturbing and disgusting” content, including ones that describe virginity as a silly label and assert that gender is fluid.
But…virginity is a silly label! And gender is clearly fluid! He goes on to whine that being exposed to such ideas diminishing conservative myths causes
addiction, poor self esteem, devalued intimacy, increasing divorce rates, unprotected sex among young people and poor well-being. I would argue instead that insisting that a person’s worth is measured by the presence of a hymen, or that non-heterosexual desires make you a bad person, is far more damaging to people’s well-being.
Another thing that bugs me is that borders aren’t magic. Minnesota is generally progressive, but that’s largely thanks to the urban population on the east side of the state. I live in far western Minnesota, practically next door to the Dakotas, and I suspect the general sentiment of the rural population here is far more sympathetic to the North Dakota frame of mind. It makes me much less inclined to associate with many of the townies, and deepens the town-gown divide around here. It’s hard to get to know your non-university neighbors when you’re afraid of turning up that Dakota flavor of bigotry and ignorance.