WMNF airs audio from Hillsborough School Board discussion of the challenged book, “This Book Is Gay” – it was banned in all district middle schools

Share
This Book Is Gay is a target of some people for book banning
Screenshot from eBook of This Book Is Gay. Photo illustration by Seán Kinane/WMNF News.

Update: Two hours after Tuesday Cafe ended, the Hillsborough School Board voted to remove the book “This Book is Gay” from all district middle schools: The vote was 4-3. Combs, Vaughn and Perez voted no.

“This Book Is Gay” had been challenged only at Pierce Middle School, the only district MS where it was found.

On Tuesday Cafe we took a bold step – and maybe a bit of a risk – by airing live coverage of today’s Hillsborough School Board Special Meeting.

Groups like Moms For Liberty want some books taken off the shelves of Florida schools and one strategy they’ve been using is to read the most graphic portions of those books during school board meetings.

The Hillsborough School Board discusses “the Appeal of the District Level Decision Regarding the Reconsideration of the Challenged Material, This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson.”

Listen:

Here’s how a Tampa Bay Times’ education reporter sums up the book:

‘The nonfiction book, which is in one middle school library [Pierce Middle School in Town ‘N Country], offers LGBTQ youth guidance on how to live comfortably with themselves and deal with people who bully them. It’s been called pornographic by some, who point to Chapter 9 “The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex.” which provides detailed instructions of how to do it. Board members expect to make a decision after hearing from the public.’

The Times also points out that

“Parent Stephanie Ascroft, who filed the series of challenges, does not have a child at Pierce. The oldest of her three children is in kindergarten.” …

‘“I think the book as a whole is a positive thing,” she said. “It helps kids who are exploring and questioning. It helps them feel more accepted and not alone.” But she said two chapters alarmed her. One of them, titled “Where to Meet People Like You,” instructs readers in how to use apps such as Grindr to find partners. Although there are pages explaining precautions young people should take to avoid exploitation, Ascroft said, “To me, that’s just dangerous. It’s a safety issue at that point.” She also found that another chapter, “The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex,” is too graphic in its depictions of sex acts. Following her initial challenge, a committee at Pierce voted to keep “This Book Is Gay” on the shelves. The next step was a districtwide committee, which in February voted 8-3 in favor of keeping it.’

Seán’s take, FWIW

To prepare for this show I checked out the e-book of This Book Is Gay from Pinellas County Libraries. I didn’t read the whole thing, but I skimmed parts of it, including the Ins and Outs chapter.

It seemed very similar to the types of sex-ed books I encountered in middle school without controversy with the exception that this one focuses mainly on same-sex interactions.

And there was a lot more focus on safety and safe sex in This Book Is Gay than I recall from the early 1980s.

A partial transcript (not fully edited) of what some of the speakers said:

I started the transcription a minute late. Here’s the first speaker, Terry Kemple:

“…magazine printed matter, however reproduced that contains any explicit and detailed narrative accounts of sexual excitement, or sexual conduct, and that is harmful to minors. Subsection five goes on to state and adult may not knowingly distribute to a minor on school property or post on school property. Any material described in subsection three, please keep the law in mind as the people read from this book is gay, which is currently in Hillsborough County Libraries. I’m surprised your attorney hasn’t warned you about the risk you run by continually voting for materials that violate the law. We’re also interested in knowing what your plans are for the copies of this book that were given to the reviewers.

Thank you, next speaker. That was Terry Kemple. Thank you Next speaker.

Good morning. My name is Terry Rock, and I’m going to be reading from pages 202 to 203. Including a diagram on how to have a annual six bombing. It is a universal truth that many men like sticking their Willies inside things. I suspect it must be biological. Want to know the secret straight people have anal sex all the time to another one. straight men like stuff up their bums just as much as gay ones. Why? As mentioned before the prostate gland located just up in your bum feels amazing when massaged lots of men gay or straight. Like to have this feeling and aim and anal sex isn’t a gay thing. Still, unlike vaginal sex, a little more thought has to go into anal sex and here’s why. Pre care. as pleasant as bumming can be, we must hold in mind that the primary function of the back passage is to do pues poo is not sexy. Therefore those of you planning to have anal sex. Well, you get the rest. Please pull this book from our libraries.

Morning everyone. My name is Fred rock. I’m reading a section from this book is gay. It’s page 209. Fingers far more effective than a penis in many ways. A hand can do the job of five penises. Women refer to having sex This is usually what the mean. Lesbians can stimulate the clitoris and vagina and bring their partner to orgasm with their fingers. Sometimes both partners can do this simultaneously. Oral that coutures really does like being licked and kissed again girls can take it in turns to perform oral sex or if feelings adventurous that can perform at the same time. Obscenity in children’s books is against the law. Knowingly distributing a book of pornographic slash obscenity to children on school property is against the law board members you are being asked to please be responsive to this request and remove it from our students Library. Thank you.

and a mother of four children in the Hillsborough County Public Schools and I exhort you to remove this book. This book is gay by Juno Thompson. Dawson, Tampa is the number one ranked city in the country for sex trafficking and the average age for a child to be first sex trafficked is ages 12 to 14 which is the age of these middle school students at Pierce which contains the book and I think it’s unconscionable that you as a board would condone this book and allow it to be in our libraries when it has step by step instructions for downloading and using a sex hookup app. These are the teenagers just since March 1. Who disappeared in our county.
[She’s holding up a list of photos of children]
from their homes. From Page 156 Upload a tiny pic of yourself to the app number two the app works out your location three the app tells you who the nearest homosexuals are number four, you chat with them five because they’re near it’s easy to meet up with them. And here’s some tips page 187 include a picture of yourself if you think the key selling point is your bare chest we’re in bother we don’t be a prawn great body I would never eat the head if you don’t give your age weight and height people will assume you’re old fat and tiny. If that you’re that morning that you want to do a sex meet meet the trick and a place and a public place for a drink first. This is horrible.
Thank you Next speaker please

a small actually there’s there’s a section on page 199 that depicts a 16 year old that has an affair with an older married man. And I just think that if this was a 16 year old girl that was having an affair with an older married man, that everyone would be so completely outraged and that is being taught in our schools. Like our world is so evil right now. We do not need to have You’re all propagating this kind of thing from our school. You are in authority over our children we have given you the gift of teaching our children and this book has to go I’m a grandmother and I don’t want my grandchild reading this book. If he has a an issue later. And he when he’s older if he is gay I will support him and love him and cherish him. However, I think this is very inappropriate. It’s wildly inappropriate. Thank you.
Thank you Next Next speaker

Molly Blanton and a previous speaker spoke on Florida Statute 847 And some of that I’d like to expand a little bit on that. 847 dot 001 speaks to the explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement or sexual conduct and that is harmful to minors, the harmful to minors requirement in subsection 847 dot 0017 means any reproduction, imitation characterization, description, exhibition, presentation or representation of whatever kind or form depicting nudity, sexual conduct or sexual excitement when it predominantly appeals to a prurient, shameful or morbid interest is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for minors, taken as a whole is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The term obscene is also defined in subsection 847 availability to adults is not the issue, providing this book these materials to children as young as 11 years old. Any minor children in our public school libraries is inappropriate and illegal in my opinion. I asked you to please take the appropriate action. Remove this book and similar materials from our schools.
Thank you. Next speaker please and if I could have the next five speakers, please line up.

The issue before us today is whether a child’s soul is allowed the time to mature before embarking on an unforgettable life direction. This book before you before young minds make sex an act of animal instinct devoid of compassion and sacrificial love. This book grooms innocence, to surrender to the advances of Craven wolves the agenda attempts to silence the cries of lamps
what the wisdom bewitched you to think that we would stand aside to allow our children or any child to be instructed in the ways of a sexually consumed a lifestyle that leads them to become wanton let lecherous and narcissistic, whose hearts become a lonely Hunter a young innocent soul groomed to accept sex expert to accept sex exploitation. Rape is the normal method of satisfaction. This is the murder of a child’s soul

Good morning my name is Antonio and you see page 201 states oral sex is popping another dudes ping in your mouth or indeed popping yours in his and men like their blowjobs served in different ways. It’s more about talking to any reasonable person. This book does not comply with Florida law. I know what you all know and everyone here knows that. This is not political, homophobic or book banning. This is purely about removing an obscene illegal pornographic book from middle school library. The fact that some of you are not able to put emotions aside and rule objectively on issues like this makes us all think you’re not fit to sewers to serve our school district. The governor and his staff have made it perfectly clear that books like this are not allowed to be given to minors in school, because this continuous support of some of you makes it clear that you are asking to be removed from your position please don’t play the victim if you are you are blatantly ignoring the law and the oath that you swore to uphold when you were elected. In case you’ve forgotten the school board works for us do the right thing and follow the law that five of you think you’re above. Thank you.
Thank you. Next speaker please.

Good morning. My name is Tim driver and I am the president of the Hillsborough County Black Republican club. I will be reading from this book is gay by Judo Donson on page 206. That said most of the time this can be figured out as you go along. As mentioned above, there is no rule that says you have to have anal sex every time you have sex far from it. Lube. Unlike the vagina, the anus does not lubricate itself. You need lube if you’re going to attempt a no, this is for two reasons. One, anal sex hurts. The anus does not have the capacity to stretch the same way a vagina does. This means it’s a tight hole, which feels nice for the top, but it also means it can be very uncomfortable for the bottom with the right water based lube however, it can be hugely enjoyable. A good kind of pain like a deep tissue massage to lose makes it less likely for your condom to split. The anus is a pretty fragile membrane, which means it’s easier to get STIs through anal sex than vaginal. This language can be considered obscene and violates Florida Statute 847 dot 001 harmful to minors and Florida Statute 847012. This book is gay is not for minors and should not be returned to the library bookshelves. By returning it to the bookshelves at school board members you will be knowingly violating Florida Statute 100 6.40
Thank you. Thank you. Next speaker please.

Good morning. My name is Libby cope. I’m the media specialist at Leto High School. I thank you for your adherence to the policies and procedures set forth and challenging library media materials and our district. I read this book is gay in its entirety, which as we know is one of the procedures for challenging materials in Hillsborough County. I hope that all voting members today have read the book from cover to cover. All media specialists in Hillsborough County select books that I’m sorry, all media specialists in Hillsborough County that select books are either certified or hold a master’s in library information science. We take into account many factors during our collection development process, including but not limited to the needs of the students at our school and professional reviews. The committee notes state that past students requested more LGBTQ plus books, immediate specialist does not merely purchase recommended books they do their due diligence. This means media specialists look for books that were appropriate for her students and had positive reviews. She decided to add this book to her collection. The book was challenged so the committee read the book. After reading the book. She and her committee found this book to be good for their students. In fact, it was a unanimous decision at the school level. She knows what’s best for her population. She knows and so do I. I say that because her kids become my kids. The majority of students that late to high school come to us from Pierce Middle School. I can tell you without a doubt this book is gay is needed for the students at Pierce Middle School. The people who are in the trenches appears the people who are doing the work. The people who know that particular population more than anyone else voted unanimously to keep the
speaker please. Thank you.

Good morning. My name is Bailey Turnquist. I’m a freshman at late to high school. I am here to prevent the removing of books of becoming a trend. I find it completely unnecessary to request any book to be removed. I may not agree with the content but others might and how’s it my decision to choose what is to be read and what is not. How’s it my decision to choose what someone else’s child consumes? It takes a village to raise a child. The village helps to raise a child but it is the parent or parents responsibility to set the perimeters of how the child is to be raised. It is not up to another what one does with one’s child. My mother decides what she wants or does not want me to consume in the media. That is her job as a parent to guide and parent me. However, what is not her job is to make decisions for other people’s children concerning beliefs and other ideologies. When I was in middle school, I was one of the few that did not have any form of social media. My mother did not agree with me having any platform. Currently I’m allowed certain social media platforms not including Instagram, all of my friends and basically my generation have this app. Does my mom remove Instagram from every every child’s home? Phone sorry, anything found on social media platforms is much worse than whatever is in a singular book. I would like to ask those in favor of removing this book if their children have social media and if so then do they monitor the apps my mom does almost every night like clockwork, my mother checks my text messages and my social media accounts. To some this may seem extreme or violation of privacy but that is their opinion. It is easier to not allow one’s child to read a singular book than to track the digital footprint of said child and the words of Epictetus. Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern. And be clear that what belongs to others you.
Thank you very much. Next speaker.

Good morning. My name is Michael Cirino. It is morally reprehensible and shameful that we have to gather today to debate this issue of whether or not pornographic content should be allowed in our children’s public schools. And it’s flat disgusting that a group of individuals here are defending it in the name of social justice and public education. An excerpt from the book this book is gay says the following. As with handjobs, and breakfast eggs, all men like their blowjobs served in different waves the term blowjob is massively misleading as you won’t actually be blowing on his penis. It’s more about sucking although I stress you’re not trying to suck his kidneys out through his urethra. It’s about sliding your mouth up and down the shaft of his cock. This is only a couple of the this is only one of the excerpts in the book that displaces extremely obscene language members of the board please don’t fall for the nonsense that removing this book from the schools will be fascism or an attack on LGBT people. This is about protecting the innocence of children regardless of sex, gender, race or ethnic background. I strongly suggest you take whatever action possible to remove this from our school libraries as soon as possible. And I definitely would not suggest you continue to bite the hand that feeds you. Thank you.
Thank you Next speaker.

I have a question for you. Do I have the right to protect my children from being exposed to sexually explicit content that I deem age inappropriate? Because as soon as someone puts this library book in a middle school library, no longer am I in control of what my children are reading. They don’t have my guidance parents are hardly even allowed in schools anymore. So you are only pretending that parents have a say in this. parents aren’t even allowed to come into the schools for the most part. And parents would never dream that these books would fill our school library shelves. Now listen, everyone still has a right to give their child whatever book they want to. So I’m suggesting you remove this book from schools and everyone’s rights are preserved. These books are not being banned. That word has become a weapon to marginalize the voices of parents. Nazi book banning and the like has essentially been used to eliminate books from circulation. We’re not doing that we’re asking you to keep them out of the reach of our children. It has never been controversial to protect children from certain things. We will fight for children in the future of our country against the sexualization. We will find a way to hold people accountable who are responsible for putting these books in our libraries.
Thank you. Next speaker please.

Good morning. My name is Laura Kissick. I have several thoughts to share with you today. About this book number one in the Pierce committee minutes it states pictures are in cartoon form as if this is to make it okay. Cartoons are drawing and as such drawings depicting nudity or sexual content are still against Florida law as stated in statute 847 point 01 to number two, school district policy 9130 states no challenge material may be removed solely because it presents ideals that may be unpopular or offensive. This book is not simply about being offensive. Giving minors access to this book is against Florida law period. This isn’t about some personal offense. Number three Glossary of the glossary of the book mentions the term scat which is eating poop. Really do we really have to subject middle schoolers to this is eating poop a need of the community and the students in the school system. Number four, abstinence is the state standard when it comes to officials sex education in the schools. Why should we have a book promoting sexual activity to students whether they be gay or straight? They shouldn’t be having sex period we should expect all students to hold their selves to higher standards and not get involved with sex until adults schools is the place and time to focus on academics not doing blowies and bombing. Thank you very much. Thank you

Major Maxim US Army retired. You are violating the board is violating Florida Statute 847 You need to ensure that you enforce that law. Okay? Make sure you enforce that. Law. Thank you.
Thank you Next speaker.

Morning, my name is RL Hill. The last time I stood before you I told you I wanted to thank you for what you are doing. And then I also advised you that I couldn’t because of what you were doing and I thank the people behind me that are working to root remove this obscenities and pornography from our schools. I don’t know how five of you can sleep at night. But let me read excerpts that may help you understand this book is gay by Juno Dawson. Here is a diagram of a boy. If you are also a boy, you’re probably aware of which parts feel nice, which when you touch them. But here are arrows a rough guide the lips, sex should always start with a kiss. Initially you should not go any farther than a kiss. In fact, kissing is an intimate as sex. And if you’re not comfortable going further than a kiss a good partner will respect this and wait, nipples. A lot of guys like having their nipples played with and they are mega sensitive testicles also, to be treated with loving care. Do your jobs that’s all we’re asking you to do is do your jobs.

My name is Chris Beard and these statutes have been read that are in violation of the law. This applies to books with obscene material such as on page 210 that I’m going to read and the media specialist was speaking about all their rights and, and and having all of this available but the bottom line it’s against the law. It’s against the law. So listen carefully to me, as I read what’s on page 210 Which makes me sick. Let’s talk about dildos. I think a lot of people assume that where there is no penis, a desperate sexual void is created out of which something Dick shape must ultimately slot in order to satisfy a vagina. Basically, there are holes everywhere. But you don’t have to fill them all. Not necessarily even with your tongue, and not with something penis shaped either. I think most good orgasms revolve around the clit well for me and mine anyway, if you then want to get a bit fancy there’s nothing wrong with a few fingers. Inside. But that’s orgasms and as great as they are. It’s not always about them. Will you be reading this to your grandchildren to your children, will you? I won’t if they need information they can get it from their parents in a in a private conversation.
Thank you Next speaker.

definitely as craft. I am here I wanted to clear up some things about the challenges you mentioned Mr. Porter. This is about specifically in Pierce Middle School, which serves 11 year olds. Okay. And it’s has nothing to do with the high schools or their children. It’s all about middle school, so 11 to 14 year olds. And if you read the challenge itself, it has to do with age appropriateness and safety. The publisher itself, whose goal is to make money you reach the widest audience possible, says this is not appropriate until age 14 on the Hillsborough County Media website, it says this is for grades 10 through 12. I can pull it up for you. Okay, what how is this appropriate for a sixth grader? We’re not following our own website guidance. Secondly, how is a book that outlines how to find no strings attached sexual partners? Online, okay for an 11 year old. Again, this has nothing to do with high school. It’s all about 11 year olds 12 year olds, 13 year olds. I don’t know anyone who would be okay with an 11 year old finding a sexual partner on online. This challenge was submitted long ago back in over Labor Day weekend, September, beginning of September. I’ve sat and it’s taken this long to come here. And I’m sad and it’s now become a political issue. And it’s politically challenged because that is not the intent of the challenge. It has to do with protecting our kids.
Thank you. Next speaker.

Hi, my name is Cheryl Stoker. And this is an excerpt from the book. This book is gay Handys perhaps the most important skill you will master is the timeless classic the hand job. The good news is you can practice on yourself. The bad news is each guy has become very used to his own way of getting himself off. Learning how to find a partner’s personal style can take ages but it can be very rewarding when you do something they don’t teach you in school is that in order to be able to come at all, you or your partner may need to finish off with a handy a lot of people find it hard to come through other types of sex. This is fine, and certainly not something you have to apologize for. A good Handi is all about the wrist action. Rub the head of his cock back and forth with your hand. Try different speeds and pressures until he responds positively a bad Handi is grasping a penis and shaking it like a ketchup bottle.
Thank you Next speaker please.

morning. My name is Dorothy Pilcher. The district appeals committee believes students at Pierce middle school already know of porn and sexually explicit material. By online and through other students. They claim this book serves to clarify misconceptions about related topics. That approach is irrational and dangerous and has exposed minors to instructions on blow jobs and all sex the use of a strap on and how to have sex encounters on adult app Grindr. The district legal adviser said the book identifies itself as an instructional manual. And if made as a movie, it would be for 17 and older persons that are rated material. Books create images in the minds of young children hence it is a movie to them. When a child selects a book in a school library, they know little about how it got to the shelf. They believe they have permission from adults to read, imagine and do what is found in the pages. You have a duty to make available age appropriate materials. This book but it’s how to approach about sex doesn’t meet this definition. I asked you to remove this book from Hillsborough County Schools. It’s against state statutes. And I don’t want this book in the schools. Not on my dime.
Next speaker please.

I live on MacDill Air Force base with my husband and two children who attend to Hillsborough County Public Schools. I read this book is gay over the weekend. I’m a Florida native I did all my schooling here while going to Florida schools I was exposed to pornographic material. I will read you the pornographic material which was mandatory in my school by the way this entire book was mandatory. Your navel is a rounded bowl Your waist is a mound of meat surrounded by lilies your breasts are like two fawns your breasts are like clusters of fruit and I will climb the tree and take its fruit. That is from Song of Solomon in the Bible. I attended here to talk about this book is gay. Yeah the point you can get to your point
because again, this is about this specific book in this specific school.

Yes, and I’m saying that if that if this book is gay violates a for 7.001 then so does the Bible. Yes. Okay. That is my point. Moving along. Dawson’s book is fine. I am a professional book reviewer. It explicitly states that readers should look at the book and say that exact line is in the text. It does not tell minors to do any of these things. Education is a human right. And we should allow children to read things in schools because none of these parents are actually teaching sex ed or queerness at home. And data shows that so they’re not learning that. And if we’re investing in children’s future, that we should invest in things that actually have positive health outcomes and positive outcomes for queer kids instead of bullying and suicide, which is what we currently have under estimates education and no peer education. So I think all of you in the fight Thank
you. Important. Thank you, next speaker and audience if you would, please be respectful to both sides. I’d appreciate it. Thank you Next.

Good morning. My name is MIOSHA Powell. I’m just going to read a few things and I just want to reiterate to bear in mind that we are referencing 11 to 13,14 year olds. Just going to read a few excerpts from this book is game. If you are that horny and this is relating to the sex grinder if you are that horny that you want to you want to do a sex meet up meet the trick in public for a drink first. That’s concerning, especially since we deal with such high rates of sex trafficking here in Florida, especially in Tampa. It goes further to say to warn children if you’re on Grindr under the age of 18 It happens. Be aware that swipe swiping adult swiping adult pics is actually illegal. You are distributing distributing child pornography, even if it’s of yourself. Again, we’re discussing 11 to 1314 year olds. If you are an adult this is there’s no problem but we’re referencing children. Moreover, it does encourage that children go or if you’re putting it in front of children, children will be encouraged to go to the Grindr app. So I just asking respectfully that this be removed from the school and all schools in Hillsborough County, specially because of the target at the age that it’s targeting. This is not a material at all suited for children. It’s for adults.
Thank you. Next speaker please.

Good morning. My name is NIDA Tatlock and I want to say that I read through both reviews from the Pierce Middle School and the district level review. I support the work that they have done for their assessments of the book. This book is gay. I support the district’s review system. For books and ask that this system remain in place. I will support our democratically elected school board’s decision on this book. And this does pertain to laws that have been read this morning. I want to state that I do not support authoritarian bullying tactics that are coming down from Tallahassee. Thank you for your time.
Thank you. Next speaker please.

Good morning. My name is Melanie lacs, thank you for the opportunity this morning and thank you for the work that you do. Every day. I want to ask the board to uphold the recommendation of both reviews and keep the book this book is gay at Pierce Middle School. The Pierce Middle School team that reviewed the book knows and works with the students there every day and it was their decision. That upper level classes at that school would find that book valuable members of that community that are vulnerable. need that book. I’m not asking you to go outside of the process. It’s been respected. I’m asking you to please uphold the process it works. The people who work at that school think this children need that book. I’m asking you to please uphold that recommendation today. Thank you.
Thank you, next speaker

Good morning everyone. Well good. Afternoon. Shawn Roberts, the founder of American anti bully organization. So I’m here to say that we’re standing up here not to be on sides. We’re standing up here for kids and that includes the LGBT kids as well. This affects all kids. I remember growing up just playing, having fun. Where are we as a society? Well, we have these books that are destroying the core of us as humans. And that’s kids. Now I’m standing up here for society. We have fallen and we have to come back. We include the kids that are on the other side. There’s a lot of hurt in this room. There’s a lot of trauma in this role. And these books are part of the trauma. So please keep these books out. And let’s focus on the mental illness and the trauma that’s affecting these people. Thank you.
Thank you. Next speaker.

My name’s Caleb. I’m here listening to the evidence being presented here and it’s anyone with any intellectual honesty at all can recognize that the content in this book is by definition pornographic. And that distributing porn to minors is illegal. Whether or not you like it or not, it doesn’t matter it is illegal. Therefore, to put it in the schools means you must first change the law before you can do that. At least if you care about being legal, right. So then my question goes to okay, what is what is the motivation here? Why would anyone want a book like this to minors Why would even want to defend this is it is it pedophilia? I certainly hope not. That’s obscene. But there is also a there’s a far left extreme cult out there that just seeks to indoctrinate people. And getting the children when they’re as young as possible is a pretty good recruitment strategy. I would like to just remind you that I don’t grovel at your feet. I don’t bow down to you. You work for us. So don’t you dare whiz on us. Tell us right tell us it’s raining. And then ask us for your jobs back next election. Next speaker please.

I’m here to ask you some questions. I’m sure this meeting is not exactly what you want to do on a Tuesday morning. Most of us have been most people have been down here every meeting since at least August fighting against this one book in our school libraries. We’ve been reading from this book that you agree with. I challenge you to read this to a child. Couple of things I’m asking you to consider during this meeting. The people here this meeting are speaking up for their parental rights have taken off of work or paid babysitters in order to be here. This may be just another day at the office for you but it’s for us it’s so much more book banning, who is banding this book have parents demanded this book be taken out of local libraries? Have they asked for it not to be on Amazon or in a Barnes and Noble bookshelf? Can parents if they choose still go locally to purchase this book for their child to have access to all those answers point to no one is banning a book however, we do ask this book removed from our schools where kids have free access to the material. How is removing this book stop any other parent from giving it to their child? Parents are simply fighting for their parental rights and not allowing their children to have access to this book many in many just like it some people were laughing when when someone brought up teaching abstinence when it was being mentioned. Why is teaching abstinence to middle schoolers ages 11 to 14 so funny. Final question is why parent permission slips are used for children in schools to join a sport certain clubs or even watch a particular movie during class. Yet you don’t think books have the same precautions who’s liable if a child does meet up with a stranger for sex?
Thank you Next speaker and I make sure that speakers 31 through 36 are up there if we could please keep moving along quickly. Thank you 31 to 36.

On pages 182 and 183 of this book is gay. The reader is introduced to Grindr. Grindr at claims is the market leader in sex apps and that the minimum user age is 18. What follows is a how to for getting started which involves a user posing, posting a photo on the site. And immediately the app pinpoints the user’s location and provides information on quote, who’s the nearest who the nearest homosexuals are in quote? What could possibly go wrong? Could underage participants use this app? Yes, they could. From 2021 an NPR article entitled How Grindr a popular gay dating app poses exploitation risks to minors we learn quote, the dating app Grindr is supposed to be for men seeking man, but many underage boys are using it to hook up with adults and that can put them at risk of exploitation and trafficking. More than 100 men across the United States have faced charges since 2015. Related to sexually assaulting or attempting to meet minors for sex on Grindr in quote, there these are just a few Idaho man right 13 year old boy after meeting him on Grindr, Delaware, a man arrested for setting up a three way with a 16 year old HIV positive Texas teacher has sex with 15 year old he met on Grindr, Idaho teacher 616 year old leading him to attempt suicide. And finally in October of 2022, a Michigan man was found guilty of murdering dismembering and cannibalizing his Grindr day these are just a few reasons why the Sarasota Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department include Grindr on AQ
next week. I cut you off but I gave you an extra few seconds. Thank you. Thank you. Next speaker. I did give you an extra five seconds. Thank you. You’re done. Thank you. Next
speaker you need to remove this thing. Okay. Thank
you. Thank you. Next speaker. Thank you.

Hi, my name is Jordan. I’m a lifelong Floridian business owner and taxpayer. I’m here today because I’m concerned about a book that I recently found called this book is gay. It’s actually quite interesting because frankly, so am I. So why would I think it’s a bad idea to have this book be accessible to children? Wow, this mic is so low only bending down? Well, if you actually look at the content, it’s difficult to deny that this type of material is inappropriate. And that’s an understatement. We all know what’s in it. I don’t have to elaborate on that. But what I will elaborate on are the effects this type of material will have on children. I can’t believe I have to explain this. But children are like sponges. Your son or daughter’s brain is hypersensitive to reward stimuli. Meaning behaviors can become habitual very quickly. When explicit content is consumed during adolescence. The brain creates neural pathways that crave sexually explicit content, resulting in an adult brain that craves super normal stimulus. I want to read a quick excerpt from the American College of Pediatricians. Exposure of explicit content, adolescents and young adults often leads to a distorted view of sexuality and fostering healthy relationships. These perspectives make it more difficult for young people to form lasting, meaningful, meaningful relationships, which will ultimately result in more anxiety, depression and overall dissatisfaction. Is there any question? Why there is a mental health crisis in this country right now? Look at what happened in Nashville a couple of days ago. We have to take a serious look at what our children are consuming Baker.
Thank you. Next speaker.

name is Donald Morgan. I have read the February 10 And February 21 21st minutes so district reconsideration appeals committee. I applaud the professional manner in which this review process for the book this book is gay has been conducted. It is of paramount importance to note that the review process has been based on the principles of democracy upon which our republic has been founded. To wit, Benjamin Franklin stated at the end of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, in response to a question of what had been wrought, quote, a republic, if you can keep it on quote, a key principle upon which a republic is based is that the majority rules, not an overly loud and raucous minority, which attempts to you serve our Republic by intimidation, via out screaming the majority and by implying not so subtle threats of violence if that minorities will is thwarted. One of my children is non binary has a five month old daughter with her partner who is a transgender woman. This woman is a Marine Corps veteran of Afghanistan with a Purple Heart front IED incident. She has survived the epi avoid the amputation of a right leg only at the cost of lifelong pain and suffering and titanium plates. The book this is gay a better breed in the library of a Florida School Mike bread butter will attend in middle school.
Thank you Next speaker.

Hi, there. My name is Kathleen Daniels as a resident and current president of our State School Library Association, I have the opportunity that I recently went to go up to Tallahassee to speak with legislators, both health Representatives and Senate, both Democrat and GOP across the board legislators agree that banning books is bad what seems to be the problem is what constitutes as pornography. Unlike many of those who spoke today, in the last week’s meeting, citing the statute does not make it so in fact, if you read the entire book, as I did yesterday, you would read that the book actually does address what pornography is, and it is not sex education. It advisors youth under 18. To avoid apps like Grindr due to a multitude of problems, and even after 18 addresses the problems with apps like that, I’m here to advocate not only to keep the book at school at the school, but also to advocate to uphold the previous committee’s decisions both the school site and the district level committee but he voted to keep the book isn’t local control valuable? Aren’t the community and stakeholders of the school’s decision extremely important. Ultimately the book is not pornography even said the lawyer truly if it would be illegal, and it would be unethical to read pornography excerpts allowed in a public setting. I don’t see anybody being carted away in handcuffs, or state organization fame serves all schools, public, charter and private so this is not a stance that’s just for public school. Protect Students rights to quality resources that are bedded. Protect Students rights to intellectual freedom, protect LGBTQ representation for students protect the values and votes of the local community and keep a resource that is seen as valuable in schools to those who need
Thank you. Next speaker please.

Good morning. I made nearly love pizza and I’m a senior from late to high school. representation matters as a little kid I always thought liking other girls was unusual. It was imprinted into my mind that it wasn’t socially acceptable to like the same gender movie showed men and woman relationships but never anything else. I just needed someone to tell me that it was okay to like whoever I needed. I want to share my story not for pity but to spread awareness of the problems behind being in the LGBTQ community that go on proved on a day to day basis. If I had this book in middle school, it would have made it easier to discover my true self, someone who isn’t afraid to love whom they love. This book gets awareness to a topic that is barely represented at the end of the book. It states many resources kids can go to if they ever need help or someone to relate to, just like I did. Resources I could have used in middle school but did not have access to the school is not forcing anyone to read it. It’s in a library waiting to get checked out by someone who does need it. Kids should be able to have their questions answered. Everything in this book can be found on the internet. So what is the difference? Some people don’t have parents or friends or anyone to go to thank you.
Thank you. Next speaker

Hello, my name is Elisa Nunez and I’m a senior at late to high school. Ever since I could walk ever since I could walk I picked up books that piqued my interest so my fondest memories are reading nonfiction books about historical events. My parents would love to surprise me on my birthday with a new story that I could dig my fingers into. I remember forming deeper connections with people after reading about different cultures. It allowed me to learn about different people’s lifestyle. This not this nonfiction book can be used as a guide for students who are questioning their sexuality. It can also be used as an information source for others who are sure of who they are, but they want a deeper understanding of other people’s desires. Some people believe that this book should be removed because it is not deemed age appropriate. But according to the University of Washington, kids being began to explore their sexual feelings by age 10. It states that middle school kids start to develop an interest in romantic relationships. A lot of young adults do not have more the source of information so they rely on the on the information they find it on the internet, and this can often be misleading. This book is not being forced on to any particular student. It isn’t the media center for those who need to who need it or choose to read it. It can be used as an adequate guide and exploring who they are as individuals. It is safer for a kid to read a reliable source that has been approved and purchased by media specialists rather than to be misinformed by a non credible source. One could argue that this it would be hypocritical to remove this book from the school library because there are books that are that inform kids of heterosexual relationships. We need nonfiction books that are inclusive books that discuss same sex relationships and teaches kids that need nonfiction books that are inclusive. The kids that select this book have demonstrated that they have doubts about their sexual feelings and they want to learn more about who they are. I have always found books as a place of comfort where I can be my authentic self. So why should you take this away from me? Thank you very
much. Thank you so much. Next speaker

Heroes reo, and I’m a cisgendered heterosexual senior athlete to high school this book, heard about this book and the controversy surrounding I questioned the function of a school. Many will agree with me when I say that school’s job is to educate kids and provide them with materials to be successful and learn whatever they need to know about the world. This means that schools job is to teach and prepare kids for the next step in life. And in middle school. This is a topic that should be taught to prepare kids for life. If sixth graders are old enough to learn about heterosexual sex and heterosexual lifestyles, then they should be old enough to learn about homosexual sex and homosexual lifestyles. And it is your job to give them access to that knowledge. If a parent feels that their child should not read this book, then that’s completely valid. But it’s up to them to regulate and police what their child consumes. Even if this book does get removed from peers. There are a million other ways to discover the same information. Some a lot more dangerous than others. But overall, a school cannot and should not be responsible for every person’s parenting style. Besides most kids will just laugh at how it says gay and then go tell their classmates so they can laugh together. They will probably never actually read the book or take it seriously. Meaning that a middle school two kinds of children are going to read this book with children who are mature and looking to learn about the LGBT, LGBTQ plus community and kids who actually need to discover who they are. Because with all homophobia, middle schoolers deal with on a day to day basis. They might just need a book to discover themselves. People aren’t going to change their gender or sexuality because of a book. It’s not that good. But all
the kids thank you so much. Thank you. Next speaker.

[The meeting continued]

Here are some of the emailed or texted responses we got during the show:

Tom: “I am a very liberal man with a trans son. This book is inappropriate for middle school. I’m sure my son would agree.”

Jeff: “I think the main question here is what age students should get sex ed. Obviously you shouldn’t get it when you’re too young but at the same time sex is real and school is supposed to teach young people about real things in life.”

David: “Oh no! Terry Kemple is the worst. I’m tired of him.
“Just wanted to say that I appreciate you playing this hearing live today. That is very bold, but WMNF is awesome!”

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

Tuesday Café airs weekly on WMNF beginning at 10:06 a.m. ET.

You can listen live on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on wmnf.org or on the WMNF Community Radio app.

You can listen anytime on demand on wmnf.org or by subscribing to the Tuesday Café podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

https://open.spotify.com/show/311qfxLFcO8F7ZvnjgZogD – WMNF’s Tuesday Café with Seán Kinane.

Watch the school board meeting here:

You may also like

homeowner's insurance
Private insurers get the okay to take Citizens Property Insurance policies in Florida

Florida regulators approved proposals by three private insurers to take...

kids social media
The Florida Senate will take up a revised bill to limit access to social media by kids

A Florida Senate procedural move will let lawmakers next week...

The Scoop: Fri., March 1, 2024 Tampa Bay and Florida headlines by WMNF

“Identity politics” in teacher prep A controversial bill is close...

An aerial photo showing the sun setting on the City of Tampa
Getting feedback about the ‘What Tampa Bay Needs’ survey

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay published results from its “What Tampa...

Ways to listen

WMNF is listener-supported. That means we don't advertise like a commercial station, and we're not part of a university.

Ways to support

WMNF volunteers have fun providing a variety of needed services to keep your community radio station alive and kickin'.

Follow us on Instagram

Art in Your Ear
Player position: