Republican Candidate Burns LGBTQ Books in New Ad, Sparking Outrage

Source: Instagram/valentinaformissouri

The burning of LGBTQ books by a Republican candidate has caused outrage and condemnation from many groups. The incident, which occurred at a recent campaign rally, saw the candidate set fire to a pile of books with LGBTQ themes that he called “inappropriate” for children.

Major LGBTQ organizations have decried the act as hateful and an attack on free speech. Meanwhile, the candidate’s opponents have characterized it as an act of bigotry that has no place in modern politics. The controversial event has ignited a debate about LGBTQ rights and what constitutes acceptable discourse for those seeking public office.

Republican Candidate Publicly Burns LGBTQ Books

Valentina Gomez, the 24-year-old Republican candidate for Missouri Secretary of State, posted a controversial campaign video on social media that featured her burning two LGBTQ-themed books that she claimed came from a local public library.

Source: Instagram/valentinaformissouri

According to reports, the books were “Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens” and “Naked: Not Your Average Sex Encyclopedia.” By destroying library property, Gomez’s actions constitute a crime and show a disregard for public institutions.

Outrage and Condemnation from the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community reacted with outrage and condemnation following Republican candidate Valentina Gomez’s viral video of her setting fire to LGBTQ-inclusive books. Many saw the act as threatening and harmful, especially to LGBTQ youth.

Source: Amazon/Kathy Belge

Kathy Belge, co-author of “Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens,” one of the books burned in the video, said Gomez’s actions were concerning given the vulnerability of LGBTQ teens. According to The Trevor Project, 41% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year.

Comparisons to Nazi Book Burnings

Critics compared Gomez’s actions to the Nazi book burnings in Germany in the 1930s, where books considered “un-German” were burned. A memorial in Berlin’s Bebelplatz, the site of one such burning, contains a plaque with a quote from Heinrich Heine: “Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well.” The comparison highlights the threat posed by censorship and the targeting of marginalized groups.

Source: LinkedIn/The US Holocaust Memorial Museum

While Gomez received support from some social media commenters, the overwhelming reaction was critical. Her campaign director declined to respond to the criticism. The video highlighted real-world harm that can result from hateful rhetoric and the spread of misinformation.

Calls to Drop Out of Race After Book Burning Incident

In light of the backlash, some argue Gomez should end her campaign for Missouri Secretary of State. Her tactics seem to go against the principles of free expression and inclusiveness required of public officials. While Gomez and her supporters argue that she aims to protect children, critics counter that her actions could severely damage vulnerable groups and society.

Source: X/Valentina Gomez

Gomez’s campaign director has declined to respond to criticism of her tactics. However, if public outcry continues, Gomez may need to reevaluate her approach if she hopes to remain a viable candidate. Calls for Gomez to end her campaign suggest her tactics may be unfit for public office.

Candidate’s History of Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric and Policies

Valentina Gomez has a history of making public statements against the LGBTQ community. In one social media post, Gomez stated, “You want to be gay? Fine, be gay. Just don’t do it around children. Children need to learn mathematics and science, develop people skills, get fit, and protect their innocence.

Source: X/Valentina Gomez

Gomez has advocated for banning and burning LGBTQ-themed books, especially those aimed at teens. In a campaign video, Gomez torched copies of “Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens” and “Naked: Not Your Average Sex Encyclopedia,” stating, “This is what I will do to the grooming books when I become secretary of state.”

Book Burning as a Form of Censorship and Intolerance

Public officials who aim to censor diverse voices or restrict freedom of expression often turn to book burning and banning as a means of control. As reported by NBC News, Republican candidate for Missouri Secretary of State Valentina Gomez posted a viral campaign video setting LGBTQ-inclusive books on fire.

Source: Shutterstock/Videologia

The act of burning books is a symbolic form of censorship that aims to suppress ideas considered objectionable or contrary to the values of the burner. Throughout history, book burning has been used by those in power to control access to information and promote a single set of beliefs.

Support for LGBTQ Literature and Authors

Many see Gomez’s actions as an attack on the LGBTQ community, especially LGBTQ youth. Kathy Belge, co-author of “Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens,” condemned Gomez’s actions, saying her book aims to provide helpful information for LGBTQ teens facing issues like coming out, bullying, and finding support.

Source: Pixabay/rihaij

Activists argue that banning books about marginalized groups contributes to oppression and discrimination. The executive director of PEN America has called book bans a “pernicious form of censorship” meant to “limit exposure to different ideas and experiences.” PEN America reported that Missouri banned 333 books during the 2022-23 school year, many focused on LGBTQ themes or by authors of color.

What the Law Says About Burning Books as Free Speech

The U.S. Constitution protects free speech, but that right is not absolute. According to legal experts, book burning that constitutes intimidation or harassment may not be protected. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to free speech.

Source: Flickr/Chris

However, that right is subject to certain restrictions. Speech that incites violence or threatens harm is not protected. According to the Supreme Court, intimidating speech that is directed at a “captive audience” and invades their substantial privacy interests may also fall outside First Amendment protection.

Other Politicians Denounce Book Burning Act

Politicians from both parties have denounced Gomez’s act of burning the books. Senator Amy Klobuchar called the act “disturbing and dangerous.” In a statement, Klobuchar said, “Book burning is a tactic used by authoritarian regimes to spread fear and misinformation. We must stand up against censorship and protect the freedom of speech.”

Source: Los Angeles Times/AFP

Governor Gavin Newsom compared the act to Nazi book burnings in the 1930s, calling it “bigoted behavior that has no place in America.” Newsom urged Missouri voters to reject Gomez’s candidacy, stating that “hatred, censorship, and fearmongering should not be rewarded with political office.”

A Disturbing Act That Has Sparked Outrage

This disturbing act by a Republican candidate has sparked outrage and condemnation across the political spectrum. It is a stark reminder that the fight for equal rights and acceptance is far from over. Leaders on all sides must strongly denounce these actions that target and endanger minority groups.

Source: Vecteezy/Serhii Khrystych

Looking ahead, we must remain vigilant and continue pushing for a just and inclusive society. The candidate’s supporters would be wise to reconsider their alignment with someone who so blatantly promotes intolerance. Our shared humanity calls us to build bridges, not burn them. We all want to live freely as our true selves.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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