Fairfax Co. library display pairing Bible with explicit books removed

A northern Virginia library has removed a display that placed the Bible alongside two books that activists have sought to remove from school libraries as pornographic and obscene.

The display at the Dolley Madison library in McLean included the books “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe along with the Bible and a number of troll dolls.

The display was removed Tuesday; it’s not clear how long it had been in place. In a statement, Fairfax County Public Library Director Jessica Hudson said the “holiday reading display was intended to highlight the freedom to read and the fact that many library patrons have more time during the holidays to do so. It was not the intention of staff to create a display that could be construed as offensive.”

Fairfax County resident Stacy Langton, who has been a leader of efforts to have the two books removed from school libraries, said the display equates as internet trolls those who have legitimate concerns about pornography in schools.

“It was a big dig at parents and a big dig at Christianity,” Langton said in a phone interview Wednesday. “They’re mocking parents who object to pedophilia and pornographic material inside our school libraries.”

The county school system briefly removed “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” from school libraries earlier this year amid parent complaints. But the books were reinstated after a review by a committee and administrators who determined the books “were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys.”

The books have prompted similar complaints in other states.

“Gender Queer,” a graphic novel, contains explicit illustrations of oral sex and masturbation. “Lawn Boy” contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity involving children.

Langton said she’s planning a rally Saturday outside the library to protest the display.

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