UPDATE: Leander City Council votes to end room rentals and require background checks. Read more here. We will continue to update as this new policy is enacted. It remains unclear whether Lilah Sturges’s event will be rescheduled.

Help Kids’ Right to Read Project get #JusticeForLilah and Lumberjanes in Leander, Texas

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 15, the Leander, Texas City Council will meet to discuss changes to their Public Library Programming Policy that recently led to the discriminatory cancellation of an event with renowned transgender comics author, Lilah Sturges.

NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project, in partnership with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, is urging the city council to immediately reschedule Lilah Sturges’s planned Lumberjanes event, and to use this meeting to adopt library policies that reaffirm their commitment to free expression and inclusion, preventing discriminatory actions in the future.

After the event was canceled with only two hours notice, for reasons the city couldn’t quite explain, KRRP wrote to the Leander City Council, challenging their discrimination against Sturges. The city had blamed miscommunication, temporary changes to library policy, and a brand-new background check requirement. We wrote:

Since adopting temporary event policy, Sturges is the only guest speaker to be denied access to the library. Several youth events have been held in meeting rooms without city official review, including a Mad Science children’s event during the week Sturges was scheduled to speak. Guest speakers unaffiliated with the library, like REPCO Wildlife, have since been allowed access to library spaces and young patrons without background checks or prior city approval. This capricious application of expanded restrictions strongly suggests a bias against Sturges’s gender identity and a serious violation of First Amendment principles. 

Since that letter was sent, Leander Councilwoman Christine Sederquist went on the record demanding to know who put the policy changes into effect without a vote. When her reasonable questions about this blatant discrimination were met with silence, and she took to Twitter to call for #JusticeForLilah.

The Leander City Council is meeting tomorrow. Join KRRP in demanding Leander City Council immediately reschedule the planned Lumberjanes event and adopt inclusive library policies that guarantee this sort of discrimination does not happen again. If you’re in the Leander/Austin area, you can attend the event, which is open to the public. And all supporters of free expression can speak up about righting this injustice, by emailing and tweeting the city of Leander to insist on #JusticeForLilah and support #UncensoredPride!

Want more details on the policy proposals?

The American Library Association explains the changes here.