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Proposed state law would make it simple — and potentially lucrative — for parents to ban LGBTQ books in Oklahoma school libraries

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Sen. Rob Standridge
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Norman Republican State Sen. Rob Standridge (center, in blue polo) with members of the Norman Police Department in a photo posted to social media on July 7, 2020.

An Oklahoma state senator wants to make it easy for parents to ban books concerning topics like gender identity and support for transgender students from public school libraries.

Under a bill proposed by Norman Republican Sen. Rob Standridge, a school district would be forced to remove material from their libraries if even just one parent requested they do so. The bill would require noncompliant librarians to be fired and banned from public school employment for two years, and would entitle complaining parents to $10,000 per every day past 30 days that a book remained on shelves.

"Public school libraries are not the appropriate place to provide and promote such sexual material; this is exclusively the role of parents and guardians unless a parent or guardian explicitly gives informed permission for such sexual training," Standridge wrote about the bill on Facebook.

Titles Standridge has held up as examples of material he considers inappropriate include A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities, Trans Teen Survival Guide, and Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride and Protest in the Fight for Queer Rights.

Standridge told the McAlester News-Capital he did not know of any heterosexual content in school libraries he finds objectionable.

In a tweet, Freedom Oklahoma executive director Nicole McAfee wrote: "Sen. Standridge is doing what he does best: using extremist rhetoric and copy from national organizations to target Oklahoma youth in exchange for media time."

"2SLGBTQ+ Oklahomans deserve to see themselves represented in literature," McAfee wrote. "Kids deserve access to a wide variety of narratives, especially those which allow them to explore and expand their thinking beyond the limitations of their parents."