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'This Book Is Gay,' an LGBT sex ed book for teens, is challenged in Wasilla, Alaska

'This Book Is Gay,' an LGBT sex ed book for teens, is challenged in Wasilla, Alaska
Downtown Wasilla, Alaska. The town's library has challenged "This Book Is Gay," a sex education book geared toward LGBT teens. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A book intended for LGBT young adults is being challenged in the Wasilla, Alaska, public library by residents who want to see it reshelved or removed, reports the Alaska Dispatch News.

James Dawson's "This Book Is Gay" is currently shelved in the library's juvenile nonfiction section. Wasilla resident Vanessa Campbell petitioned for the book to be moved to the adult section after her 10-year-old son came across the book, which contains profanity and sexually explicit passages.

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The library's director, Kathy Martin-Albright, declined to move the book, and the Campbell family is appealing her decision.

According to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Wasilla residents attacked the book at a Wasilla City Council meeting on Monday. Emily Hardy, who opposes the book being in the juvenile section, said: "I can't imagine what kind of person would order that material and want to make it readily available for children. That is straight-up pedophile kind of behavior."

The Dispatch News reports that several schoolchildren attended the meeting, telling the city council that "they didn't want 'gay books' or books about gay people in the library at all."

Dawson, the book's author, said he wouldn't object to the book being relocated. "I love librarians with all my heart and I trust they will find an appropriate shelf to stock 'This Book Is Gay' where younger readers can't get to it, but those who desperately need it can," he wrote in an email to the Dispatch News.
He noted that LGBT teenagers who might find the book useful were probably too afraid to speak up in its defense. "The goal of the book is to make young LGBT+ people feel less isolated and alone," he said. "I would imagine that in Alaska there are numerous young people who keenly feel that solitude."
Wasilla is a city of about 8,000 people, and is best known for its former mayor, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
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