After a man filmed himself burning a library’s LGBT+ children’s books, the internet has raised more than $3,000 to replace them.
Paul Dorr, a fundamentalist Christian, uploaded a video to Facebook Live on October 19 in which he burned a string of LGBT-inclusive books from the library in Orange City, Iowa, which has a population of 6,004.
The library did not immediately confirm whether the books—which included young adult novel Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan and illustrated LGBT+ history book This Day in June by Gayle Pitman—would be replaced following the incident.
A Facebook fundraiser launched by Justin Scott, the Iowa state director of American Atheists, has crowdfunded $1,321 to help “fill the Orange City Library with even more books that celebrate the life experiences and contributions of LGBTQ+ people.”
Separate fundraisers on GoFundMe have raised a further $2,300 to supply LGBT+ books to libraries across the US after the incident, making a total of $3,621.
Scott said in a Facebook post: “I’m thinking Paul Dorr would have been better off keeping his homophobia and transphobia to himself.
“Look at the outpouring of support—from Christians, atheists and everyone in between—that the LGBTQ+ community has received as a result of his disgusting stunt.”
Dorr has said he has no intention of paying for the books he destroyed. He has several weeks to pay a library fine, but could be charged with fifth-degree misdemeanour theft if he does not.
The charge comes with a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $625 fine.
In Dorr’s Facebook Live video, he said: “I cannot stand by and let the shameful adults at the Orange City Library Board bring the next group of little children into their foul, sexual reality without a firm resistance.”
Dorr expressed the belief that people become gay because of “the harm that adults did to you as children” and urges LGBT+ people to “walk away from your degeneracy… repent and turn back to Christ.”
There have been renewed attacks on LGBT+ content in US public libraries in recent months.
In September, Rumford Public Library in Maine faced pressure to ban LGBT+ books including Two Boys Kissing from its display of frequently-banned books, after evangelicals claimed they were inappropriate for children.
Also in September, anti-LGBT activists filed a lawsuit against Lafayette Library in Louisiana for holding a Drag Queen Story Time event to promote inclusion.