Dearborn School Board mayhem as Muslim parents clash with LGBTQ+ spokespeople

Chaos erupted at two school board meetings this week when conservative Muslim parents tried to ban LGBTQ+-affirming books from schools in Dearborn, Michigan.

Hundreds of angry parents expressed their opposition to allegedly sexually explicit LGBTQ+ books at the Dearborn Public Schools board meeting on Monday. After the parents refused to calm down, the meeting ended. Despite the venue being under heavy surveillance, disgruntled parents ignored requests from law enforcement officials and booed and taunted pro-book speakers.

“We don’t see any educational value in these books,” some parents reportedly said, according to Firstpost, a news site based in India.

The controversial books are located in media centers in Dearborn Public Schools, Michigan’s third-largest district, and belong to This book is gay, a bestselling non-fiction book about sexuality and gender. Census data shows that about 47 percent of Dearborn’s population is Arab American, many of whom are Muslim, according to Firstpost.

A protester uses the book ‘A History of Gay Rights’ as a base for sketching during a demonstration at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, New York July 25, 2020. Twice this week, Muslim parents in Dearborn, Michigan, got into a heated debate with the school board about LGBTQ+ books in school libraries.
Ira Black/Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

At the board meeting, which resumed Thursday, the room was packed with mostly Muslim parents, some holding signs calling for the books to be banned. A sign read, “Homosexuality is a major sin,” Firstpost reported.

A video of the meeting tweeted by Detroit FreePress Reporter Niraj Warikoo on Thursday shows Brian Stone, a communications specialist who is part of the LGBTQ community, being booed and taunted off stage. Other speakers, including a non-binary guest, received similar treatment from the crowd.

Boos also followed a mention of US Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat who is Muslim free press reported.

news week reached out to the Dearborn School Board for comment.

Some Republicans have joined the debate and shown their support for Muslim parents. Nationally, there have been Republican efforts to ban LGBTQ+-themed books from school bookshelves.

Michigan Republican Party co-chairman Meshawn Maddock and Steven Elliott, a Republican running against Tlaib in November’s election, have backed the Muslim protesters in Dearborn, Axios reported.

Muslim advocates have also joined the debate. The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights group, distributed flyers Monday morning educating parents about their religious and parental rights, Axios reported. news week has asked CAIR for comment.

Other Muslims support the availability of the books in schools. Earlier this week, Muslim leaders and members of the American Federation of Teachers released a joint statement. It states: “Everyone believes that our schools and classrooms should be safe, welcoming and supportive environments free from discrimination and bullying of any kind … and that includes young people who identify as LGBTQ.”

The statement continued, “Having resources and books in our classrooms and libraries that speak to the diversity of our students and the broader world we share is critical to delivering quality and supportive education.”

The Dearborn District said that four out of six books taken from a school library contained LGBTQ+ topics, according to Firstpost, and that online access to those books was restricted. Dearborn School Board mayhem as Muslim parents clash with LGBTQ+ spokespeople

Rick Schindler

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