Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre: LGBTQ Stories Should Be Celebrated and Enjoyed – Not Hidden from Our Youth

“I’m outraged and utterly disgusted by the actions taken this week by the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees to remove all pride displays and LGBTQ books on display from children’s sections at all four of the library district’s buildings. In the midst of Pride Month, the board has taken it upon themselves to reject years of progress in the fight for equal rights and representation and ban displays of love and self-expression in a public institution. As this despicable resolution aims to silence LGBTQ voices and allies, we must make it loud and clear that hate has no place in our community.

“Libraries are often a safe haven for children seeking acceptance and sometimes serve as one of only few places these vulnerable young minds feel free to be their true selves. When a child reads a book and sees themselves within its pages, the impact can be monumental. It can make them feel valued and show them that they’re not alone. Further, reading stories that highlight diverse viewpoints allows us to be more empathetic toward others and respect their life experiences. Expanding our worldview through literature, especially at a young age, helps us become better thinkers, innovators and human beings.

“Banning all celebratory displays of pride throughout Smithtown Library’s children’s departments is inexcusable and will not be tolerated. I not only stand against this form of discrimination but call on our libraries to do more to highlight the stories of LGBTQ individuals all year round. While I adamantly condemn this decision, I hope community members remember that the actions of a few don’t represent the many. Here on Long Island and across New York State, everyone will always have the right to be who they want to be and love who they want to love.”