The Dothan Houston County Library System (DHCLS) may not have a dedicated gay pride section or display at either of its two locations like other Alabama libraries have installed during Pride Month, but it does offer dozens of books containing LGBTQ content, many of which are aimed at teenagers, young adults and children.

The library system carries several young adult LGBTQ selections for readers aged 12 to 18. One is “Pumpkin” by Julie Murphy, the story of a gay teenage cross-dressing Texan named Waylon who runs for prom queen after his drag show audition tape is leaked to his high school. While running for prom court, Waylon begins to fall for the “very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.”

Pumpkinhc1 Alabama News
Art by Josh McKenna and Design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell.

Another DHCLS young adult LGBTQ novel is “The Summer of Jordi Perez” by Amy Spalding, which one reviewer describes as “The queer, fat girl rom-com of my dreams."

More distressing to some members of the Dothan community is the libraries’ selection of juvenile LGBTQ fiction. Among them are two LGBTQ picture books, “Rainbow: a first book of Pride” and “Julian is a Mermaid.” Both books appear on the library’s list of 102 “Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity, Equality, and Tolerance.”

According to the author’s website, “Rainbow” “is a sweet ode to rainbow families” that “celebrates LGBTQ+ pride and reveals the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe.” The author intended the book for readers ages three and older.

“Julian is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love tells the story of Julian, a gender-questioning child who wants to become a mermaid. Love says she wrote the book for children who may be questioning their gender identity and was inspired by a friend who transitioned late in life. She originally intended for Julian to become a drag queen before realizing the significance mermaids held to the trans community.

Mermaid Alabama News
(Jessica Love)

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