Smithtown Library Board's vote to 'hide the pride' draws anger, heartbreak from LGBTQ+ advocates

Florence Bracco, of Hauppauge, has a gay son who she fully supports and is heartbroken over the library board's decision.

News 12 Staff

Jun 22, 2022, 9:58 PM

Updated 661 days ago

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The Smithtown Library Board has voted to ban Pride displays and any books about gay pride from its children's sections.
The library director released a memo about the board's decision that happened at a meeting Tuesday. The memo said in part that the Board of Trustees passed a resolution to "remove all Pride displays, in addition to removing all books about the same subject on display from all children's sections in all Smithtown Library buildings."
Four of the seven board members voted in favor of the ban.
Florence Bracco, of Hauppauge, has a gay son who she fully supports and is heartbroken over the library board's decision.
"It's saying that it's not OK to be gay, that there's something wrong with you," Bracco says. "That we're not going to talk about you until you're older."
David Kilmnick, of the Long Island LGBT Network, says that what the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees did is a big part of the reason why so many LGBT youth attempt or commit suicide.
"They don't see themselves exist, they don't hear about themselves in a positive manner," Kilmnick says.
Gov. Hochul also reacted to the ban in a tweet, writing, "Our public spaces should be accepting of our young people - not rejecting them."
None of the board members who voted for the ban would speak to News 12 as of 10 p.m. Wednesday.
The president of the library board, Brianna Baker-Stines, voted against the resolution.
She told News 12 in an email that the items would be removed from display, but not from the library's collection.
Baker-Stines said in an email to News 12, "I was horrified by the display of ignorance at last night's board meeting. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I recognize the importance of access to diverse materials. These can be life-saving resources for our youth. While I am saddened by the results of the board's vote, this is a reminder of the hatred and bigotry that has been festering in the Town of Smithtown, driven by those with a political agenda that runs counter to the role of the library. My intention is to abide by all laws concerning libraries, and I will do everything in my power to fight against this injustice. I urge all members of the community to continue to raise their voices, so we can create a Smithtown that promotes acceptance. I agree with NYLA's statement and hope it can be used to promote change within the board."


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