As anti-LGBTQ activists in Tennessee descended upon a public library system and pressured its director into resigning over his support of the LGBTQ community, a Tennessee woman gave an impassioned speech before the library board defending LGBTQ people.
Maury County public library director Zachary Fox resigned from his position as director in late October. This decision came after months of attacks from local conservatives, who cited the fact that Fox displayed LGBTQ books during Pride month and hosted a drag brunch at a bar he owns as reasons he no longer should serve in the position.
Though Maury County’s Board of Trustees chairman Joel Friddell told NBC news that he “regretted” Fox’s departure and that the board “was unanimously in support of Zac staying on as director,” any attempt to prevent Fox’s resignation — clearly made under duress — failed.
But not everyone was willing to quietly accept this occurrence.
At an October 26 Maury County Board of Trustees meeting, where conservatives looked to continue their anti-LGBTQ campaign by demanding a pride flag be removed from the library, a woman from Columbia, Tennessee named Jessee Graham spoke against the hatred overtaking the community.
“Our town has never seen so much homophobic crap as we have [now], and I’m sick of it,” Graham said to the board, explaining that the county had never turned so harshly against LGBTQ people until Maury County Commissioner Aaron Miller had come into office. “These people have been with us the entire time, and we have never had a problem with it.”
Heated Maury County Board of Trustees (Columbia, TN) meeting last night – Christian leaders demanded that a pride display in the public library be removed and the banning of books mentioning LGBTQ topics and BLM references. Thank you to the allies who stood strong. pic.twitter.com/FTmzYPof4n
— Rainbow Youth Project USA (@RainbowYouthUSA) October 27, 2022
“They [the LGBTQ community] have never done any of the vile and disgusting things that [Miller] and his weird cronies have leaked out of their mouths,” she added.
The speech was a powerful and passionate one that generally rebuffed the hateful attitude Maury County conservatives have recently taken towards the LGBTQ community.
Mirroring the national situation, conservatives that spoke during the October 26 meeting said LGBTQ books and displays “groom” kids into becoming LGBTQ, are “propaganda” for the LGBTQ community, and expose kids to “sexualized content” at too young an age.
“I have never been sexually assaulted at a drag show, but I have been at church, twice,” Graham stated. “And the men at the church tried to tell me it was my fault.”
Graham attacked how these calls for discriminatory LGBTQ legislation and censorship by conservatives is directly contradictory to the Christian values that are often used as justification for these laws.
“I am so sick of listening to this weird, fake pious crap about Christianity being the reason behind, ‘We have to protect the kids.’ Jesus didn’t go anywhere and condemn people! He did not ever walk into any place and spew hatred and lies and completely annihilate a group of human beings who just want to exist,” Graham states in her speech. “It is child abuse to immediately tell your child that they are wrong for feeling like they don’t belong.
“Why are we even doing this? Why does hate even have a platform? I am so sick of these straight, white, Christian males who are already at the top of the food chain acting like somebody is out to get them. [LGBTQ people] just want to exist. Leave them alone,” she concluded.
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