Brandon school board votes against 2SLGBTQ+ book ban

A solidarity rally takes place outside the Manitoba Legislative Building in support of those against the idea of banning 2SLGBTQ+ and sex education books in Brandon schools.

By News Staff

A school board in Brandon, Man., voted against banning some 2SLGBTQ+ and sexual education books from school libraries.

The Brandon School Board voted 6-1 Tuesday night, following a meeting with members of the public, against creating a committee that would review books in its school libraries.

BACKGROUND: Group calls for removal of 2SLGBTQ+ books in Brandon schools

Prior to Tuesday night’s vote, some Winnipeg residents gathered outside the legislature for a solidarity rally against the book banning.

“That’s what this started as, just a call, to whoever can’t get to Brandon but who wants to be in the community can come down, and it turned into a rally,” organizer Mandalyn Unger told CityNews.

“Acknowledge that these people exist,” said one Winnipegger at the rally. “You can’t pretend they don’t exist by banning books.”

“Not allowing them to see themselves and their families reflected in places like schools, it creates a sense that they don’t belong, it creates a sense that they’re different or bad or wrong,” added another.

Rally in Winnipeg to oppose the proposed banning of some 2SLGBTQ+ and sexual education books from school libraries in Brandon, Man., on May 24, 2023. (Swidda Rassy/CityNews)

Earlier this month some Brandon residents called for the removal of books they deemed led children down a “dangerous path.” It was led by Brandon resident and former school trustee Lorraine Hackenschmidt, who shared concerns of “sexual grooming and pedophilia.”

As of last week, the school board had received nearly 300 emails in response to Hackenschmidt’s request – six supported the idea of banning the books.


During Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard from representatives from the Manitoba Library Association, the Brandon Teachers’ Association as well as several Brandon residents.

“Something like Queer books and sex-ed books that allow our children to explore who they are lead to the betterment of them as people,” said a Winnipegger at Tuesday’s rally.

“I’m also Queer-identified, I work in libraries and it’s important that everyone has representation,” added another.

WATCH: Group calls for removal of 2SLGBTQ+ books in Brandon, Manitoba schools

The debate reached provincial politicians.

“In 2023, it should not be difficult for the leaders of this province to stand up and say that books should not be banned,” NDP critic Lisa Naylor said.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson had previously said the decision rests with school boards, but took a stronger tone Tuesday before the vote.

“The book banning issue in Brandon, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. We’re past that as a society – the banning of books,” she said. “While there is no book ban currently in place, I can assure you that we will consistently and constantly be monitoring the issue.”

Rally organizer Unger said it’s important for politicians to make their voices heard about such issues.

“I think if the premier has the opportunity to protect vulnerable youth and protect the representation that normalizes their experiences and makes them feel safe, then she should do that,” Unger said.

—With files from Swidda Rassy

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