As conservative attacks towards LGBT content continue to escalate, a library in Jamestown, Michigan was defunded by the local government on Tuesday after its librarians refused to remove LGBT books from its shelves.

The controversy began when a complaint was lodged to the Patmos Library by a resident regarding a graphic novel by a nonbinary writer, “Gender Queer: a Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which was placed in the adult section of the library and unaccessible to children. Regardless of that, many residents began calling for the banning of the book and other such queer literature, according to the Guardian.

“That fired a lot of people up and got them to start coming to our board meetings to complain,” former Jamestown librarian Matt Lawrence said. “The concern from the public was that it’s going to confuse children.”

The library refused to ban the book and other queer works, leading to the local group Jamestown Conservatives to campaign for the library to be defunded. They ended up winning the vote, getting 67% of the town’s voters to defund the library.

“I knew that there were people that were upset about material in the library, but I figured that enough people would realize that what they’re trying to do with the removal of these books is antithetical to our constitution, particularly the first amendment,” Lawrence said.

A GoFundMe from two residents in the town was able to raise US$100,000 in donations to help keep the library open, but its future remains unclear as the reported loss in budget that the library will have once it is defunded is around US$245,000, Bridge Michigan reported.

The continued campaign against LGBT books in the country comes as over 729 challenges in libraries this year have led to the removal or challenge of 1,600 individual books. Many see this as an attempt to silence queer stories and voices as conservatives move to roll back on LGBT rights across the country.

“When you remove those books from the shelf or you challenge them publicly in a community, what you’re saying to any young person who identified with that narrative is, ‘We don’t want your story here,’” Kobabe, the writer of “Gender Queer,” said.

LGBT activists appear to be pushing against these bans in other states, however, as Louisiana librarian Amanda Jones filed a defamation lawsuit against two men who called her a pedophile after refusing to remove LGBT-themed books in the children’s section of the library, NBC News reported.

“I’ve had enough for everybody,” Jones said. “Nobody stands up to these people. They just say what they want and there are no repercussions and they ruin people’s reputations and there’s no consequences.”

A library in Michigan was defunded by conservatives after the staff and board of the library refused to ban a book which talks about the experience of an LGBT writer. This is a representational image. Norbu GYACHUNG/Unsplash.

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