Indiana library refuses to side with parents who want to ban a very sexually explicit book from youth section

SOUTH BEND, IN – A recent article from the Federalist sheds light on how a local media outlet slams library “book bans,” yet ignores the fact that the books that are being banned have detailed explicit content that young children should not be reading. 

The author of the article, Amy Drake, discussed how a local newspaper would not run her editorial piece that featured graphic sexual excerpts from a book that has been marketed as appropriate for teenagers.

The local newspaper, the South Bend Tribune, told Drake flat out that they would not run the piece. The editorial page editor, Alesia I. Redding said, “We don’t print those things in a family newspaper.”

As Drake put it, “Exactly. That’s why moms and dads don’t want ‘those things’ in the family sections of our public library either.”

According to reports, days before Drake’s article submission was denied by the South Bend Tribune, St. Joseph County Public Library held a board meeting where supporters of the library’s decision to keep the book in question shelved in the teenage section outnumber those in opposition.

Included in those who supported the library’s decision was Redding and two others on her editorial board, Executive Editor Ismail Turay Jr. and Enterprise Editor Cory Havens.

In their editorial article, which clearly states that what is written “represents the opinion of the Tribune Editorial Board” and then lists the names of Redding, Tuary Jr., and Havens, according to Drake, they “self-righteously defended political free speech and implied prejudice in the hearts of parents protesting the book.”

Redding, Tuary Jr., and Havens wrote that the books most often deemed “inappropriate” under the book-banning bill, House Bill 1447, are those that “tell the stories of Black and LGBTQ people or are by authors in those communities.”

Yet as Drake says, the “Trib staff acknowledged the inappropriateness of the material when it refused to run such vulgarity in its own pages.”

According to Drake, “The editorial board was able to make its allegations under safe cover because its audience had no context. The column they wrote advocating to keep This Book is Gay in the teen section didn’t actually include any of the controversial material in question.”

She added, “As far as the newspapers’ readers were concerned, the debated book – designed for 14-to-18-year-olds – was no more scandalous than Cather in the Rye.”

Drake said that she wanted to dispel them of that notion, which is why her rebuttal included some of the actual passages from the book, This Book is Gay. She even used some of the same excerpts one mom had used when she asked the library to move it out of the youth section and into the adult section.

Below are a few examples of those excerpts; warning, they include sexually explicit content:

“An open relationship is one with a cat flap allowing other people to drift in and out of the bedroom … sometimes this means threesomes (or moresomes) with other people. All the intimacy with your partner, all the variety with extras!”

“The clitoris is a super sensitive cluster of nerve endings that, when rubbed, kissed or licked can make a woman orgasm (and that’s a good thing)…That clitoris really does like being licked and kissed…Toys, dildos, vibrators and strapons all fulfill the same purpose…a prothesis to insert into the vagina.”

Other sexually explicit terms mentioned throughout the book are rimming, scat, and golden shower. The author also introduces minors to Grinder, which is an app meant for adults who are looking to “hook-up.”

The author writes, “If people want casual sex, then Grinder is a must.”

While the term “sexually explicit” can mean different things to people depending on their generation, personal definitions, and general exposure, the excerpts from the original text very clearly show why moms and dads wanted it moved from the youth section – they believe this book is not acceptable for teenagers. 

“Obscenity is not the same as political speech," Drake wrote. "In fact, we have laws to protect minors from obscenity because it is developmentally inappropriate and harmful. And while Indiana law provides an obscenity loophole for libraries, it doesn’t mean that it’s right to sexualize children just because a library can’t get in legal trouble for it.”
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