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Lycoming County Commissioners at odds over library Pride Month display

Two Lycoming County Commissioners shared disapproval of an LGBTQ Pride Month display in the James V. Brown Library.

Commissioners Tony Mussare and Scott Metzger both spoke out against the display in the library’s children’s section, which includes a “Celebrate Pride Month” sign and several books connected to LGBTQ issues.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito had a different perspective on the matter, claiming the presence of children’s books such as “Julian is a Mermaid” and “Jack (Not Jackie)” are not being used to ‘indoctrinate’ children as his fellow commissioners contend.

Rather, it’s about creating a community of tolerance.

“We are elected to represent everybody,” he said. “Our personal beliefs can’t get in the way of upholding the law.”

Mussare said he did not believe the books should be removed from the library itself, but from the children’s area, known as the Welch Family Wing.

He said he asked Library Executive Director Barbara McGary to consider removing the books.

“Our children are confused enough,” he said.

McGary could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Metzger said his position on the issue is not an attack on the LGBTQ community, nor is it about censorship.

He said he has been contacted by people in the community who are upset about the issue.

He agreed with Mussare that the books should not be removed from the library, only from the children’s section.

“Why are these books on display?” he asked. “I’m asking them to be taken off display.”

Mirabito said, “When we hide books, we are saying, ‘You folks are second-class citizens.’ Intolerance often escalates into violence, even death.”

He said he realizes the display may conflict with the belief systems of many people, but added, “I think we need to really be aware of the times we are in.”

Mussare said indoctrination of children can have multiple meanings.

“It’s when you tell them a different point of view or giving them a different idea or opinion from what they believe in,” he explained.

Metzger said it means trying to instill one’s own beliefs or values into someone else’s way of thinking.

He said his stance on the issue is not an attack on liberty or the LGBTQ community.

“Kids at that age have no idea of what this stuff is about,” he said. “Adults are going to make their own decisions about these things.”

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York, an event considered the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S.

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