Valentina Gomez, a Republican operating for Missouri secretary of state, posted a video to social media this week during which she blowtorched books, falsely claimed that books with LGBTQ+ themes are indoctrinating and sexualizing youngsters, and promised to preside over widespread efforts to take away books from public libraries if she wins her race.
“That is what I’ll do to the grooming books once I develop into secretary of state,” Gomez says within the video, posted to X (previously Twitter) on Tuesday, earlier than releasing a blaze of fireside. “These books come from a Missouri public library. After I’m in workplace, they are going to burn.”
“Bare: Not Your Common Intercourse Encyclopedia” by Myriam Daguzan Bernier and “Queer: The Final LGBTQ Information for Teenagers” by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke have been on the receiving finish of Gomez’s flames within the video.
Missouri’s secretary of state has myriad obligations, together with serving as chief election official, overseeing the state library system and administering emergency guidelines, that are state rules that may be carried out quickly. Gomez, an actual property investor and financier, says on her marketing campaign web site that she is going to “overview” library funding and applications in an effort to “guarantee they genuinely strengthen Missouri’s future.” She additionally helps banning gender-affirming well being look after trans youth and eliminating digital voting machines.
On Thursday, Gomez posted a screenshot on Instagram, which is owned by Meta, displaying that the corporate had eliminated the video from its platform.
“Similar to President Trump, I’m probably the most suppressed voices on Instagram. I name for META CEO Mark Zuckberg to reinstate me, and to create an harm fund for all of the victims that Fb failed to guard in opposition to the vile groomers,” Gomez stated in a prolonged remark to HuffPost, during which she additionally claimed with out proof that “Zuckerberg permits and endorses pedophiles on Instagram and Fb.”
Gomez continued with a homophobic broadside: “Message is easy. You wish to be homosexual? Tremendous be homosexual. Simply don’t do it round youngsters. Cease placing books in libraries about sexualization, indoctrination and grooming of kids.”
Gomez’s inflammatory video is emblematic of how invested conservatives have develop into within the tradition wars. Up and down the poll and throughout the nation, varied GOP candidates have made it a cornerstone of their campaigns to focus on the LGBTQ+ group. This typically comes within the type of attacking books with LGBTQ+ themes, claiming that they’re pornographic or secretly indoctrinating youngsters.
Republicans in lots of states, together with Missouri, have efficiently whipped up an ethical panic about books and have handed legal guidelines that limit what books can be found to youngsters in colleges and at public libraries.
In 2022, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a regulation that was meant to ban sexually express books from college libraries. Nevertheless, librarians and different critics argued that the measure was obscure and didn’t supply a transparent definition of “sexually express,” and warned that it will result in the elimination of books conservatives merely don’t like. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is suing the state over the coverage.
Missouri banned 333 books in the course of the 2022-23 college yr, based on PEN America, an anti-censorship nonprofit group.
And final April, Missouri Home Republicans voted to defund the state’s public libraries, a measure that did not move within the state Senate.
Gomez isn’t the primary Missouri GOP candidate to vow to burn books. In September, Invoice Eigel, who’s operating for governor, posted a video during which he symbolically burned cardboard packing containers representing “leftist insurance policies.”
“However let’s be clear, you carry these woke pornographic books to Missouri colleges to attempt to brainwash our youngsters, and I’ll burn these too ― on the entrance garden of the governor’s mansion,” Eigel stated in a submit on X.