The state of Texas has reportedly ended its association with the American Library Association (ALA) following the election of a self-described “Marxist lesbian” as its president.
Republican Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison disclosed on August 17 that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) will not renew its affiliation with the ALA, a decision that came after Harrison urged the Commission to dissociate with the ALA over the election of ALA President Emily Drabinski.
In a letter penned to TSLAC Commissioner Martha Wong in July, Harrison wrote: “I have been made aware that the American Library Association (ALA) has elected Emily Drabinski, a self-proclaimed ‘Marxist lesbian’ and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, as President. Texas should be leading the fight against Marxist ideology, not subsidizing it.”
The aforementioned description is based on Drabinski’s now-removed social media post: “I just cannot believe that Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect of @ALALibrary. I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity!” Furthermore, Drabinski confirmed her Marxist orientation in a 2022 interview, stating, “I never thought in a million years they’d give a Marxist a chance.” Although she identified as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), she mentioned she was “not active in the movement.”
Drabinski has been open about her sexuality, as seen in a 2021 discourse on “teaching the radical catalog.” She elaborated: “I could be straight. I could be a lesbian. I could be queer. … But when I started at Sarah Lawrence in 2003, everything had changed. There were so many other ways to be gay.”
In his communication to the commission, Harrison also expressed concerns about the ALA’s stance on keeping certain sexual content on library shelves, which many parents find inappropriate. He quoted the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom: “children and teens have the right to find the information they choose” and “no one has the right to make rules restricting what other people use, or to make decisions for other families.” He contended, “This means the ALA may be undermining Texas statutes designed to protect children.”
The ALA, established in 1876, is the world’s oldest and largest library association, boasting over 49,727 members as of 2021. So far, Texas is the third state to sever ties with the ALA, following Montana and Missouri.