LIBS OF TIKTOK: Booted from Illinois Pride Festival after asking vendors about 'Gender Queer'

I was removed by police from a family-friendly pride festival outside of Chicago, Illinois, after showing images from the “most banned book” in the country, “Gender Queer,” to vendors at the event.

The first woman my team and I spoke with at the festival before our removal was a public librarian, who stated she was a “victim of stalking.” She claimed that she currently has a court-ordered restraining order against a politician who “has a screw loose.” She explained that because of this, she wished to remain off-camera.

During our conversation, she claimed that the public library employees participated in the pride festival because they “support everybody,” and want to celebrate the passing of a new state law, prohibiting all “book bans” from public libraries, including schools. “It’s reading, its access to knowledge, it’s access to information,” she explained, calling book bans of any kind “wrong.”

The librarian was referencing Illinois HB2789, recently signed into law by Governor Pritzker, who said in a press release, “Young people shouldn’t be kept from learning about the realities of our world,” even if the information contained in books is pornographic in nature. The release claims that the legislation was necessary, due to the nationwide rise in “extremists targeting literature, libraries, and books in an effort to censor the material students need to thrive in the classroom.”

The librarian said that this law is “a really good thing,” and proceeded to call Florida’s removal of inappropriate books unsuitable for children from school libraries “a tragedy.”

There was pride merchandise at several vendor booths set up around the festival. Some items read “My kids are buttheads,” and other items simply stated “Say gay.”

“Say gay” became a popular maxim on the left after the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the “Don’t say gay,” was passed into law last year in Florida. The legislation “prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade,” thus “reinforc[ing] parents’ fundamental rights to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children.”

The second woman I spoke with also had a vendor booth at the festival and agreed to participate in an on-camera conversation. She was wearing an LGBT-themed shirt that read, “Say gay, perform drag, read banned books, protect trans youth, teach all history, show love, be kind.”

She called bans on drag shows for minors “pretty sad.” Despite being told that some drag performers have flashed their genitals during “the”family-friendly” shows, she still held the opinion that parents have the right to bring their children to drag performances. “If people don’t want to take their kids, then don’t take them,” she explained. “Drag is a form of art,” she said conclusively.

I asked her about the portion of her shirt that referenced so-called banned books, to probe whether or not she was aware of the contents contained in the literature she was so avidly defending. She was given examples from “Gender Queer,” which was dubbed the “most banned book” in 2022, but was previously available in public middle school libraries around the country.


The book clearly depicts animated characters performing and describing sex acts, but has been deemed “educational” and “a wonderful story” by educators around the country. Parents, on the other hand, have called the book “pornographic,” and many have confronted their local school board members to call for the book’s removal.

One mom in particular went viral in 2021 after checking out two books, “This Book is Gay” and “Gender Queer,” from her child’s high school library in Virginia. She brought both books with her to a school board meeting and explained, “Both of these books include pedophilia, sex between men and boys,” calling on the board members to remove the inappropriate content from her child’s school.

The woman I spoke with at the pride festival, however, said, “I think kids are exposed to so much in general that, is something in a book, really going to— If they’re wanting to learn these things, they’re going to learn it at some point. Would I put it in an elementary school? Probably not.” She insisted that the book is “educational,” but said that she “kind of [understands]” people’s objections to taxpayer funds being spent on supplying this material to children.

Many activists who promote pornographic, gender-affirming, or gender-expansive materials for children often don’t fully grasp the scope of what they are endorsing. Progressive talking points such as “read banned books,” are nothing more than catchy euphemisms that have the effect of allowing children access to pornographic content.

Following the second interview, we were approached by police officers who stated that several vendors had insisted that we “filmed them without permission,” and had called for our removal. We were told that though the pride festival was a public event, the officers maintained that it was under their discretion that we were asked to leave the premises.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA. 

Image: Title: libs gender queer


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