The Whitehorse Public Library is pictured on May 3. Yukon Public Libraries has decided not to censor a book that drew criticism and support. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

The Whitehorse Public Library is pictured on May 3. Yukon Public Libraries has decided not to censor a book that drew criticism and support. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

Yukon libraries won’t censor book that detractors call transphobic

Yukon Public Libraries made public its decision to reconsider book that drew complaints and support

Yukon libraries have decided not to censor a book that has drawn complaints of transphobic content, according to a statement.

The book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, was the subject of the Yukon Public Libraries’ catalogue review process.

The book was the subject of complaints made on social media and directly to the library. Detractors were concerned its content amounted to transphobia. The complaints were spurred on by the book’s labelling with a “staff pick” sticker.

A June 16 statement on the Yukon Public Libraries’ reconsideration of materials decision indicates the libraries received several requests to reconsider the book as part of its collection in April and May.

In total, Yukon Public Libraries received 29 forms, according to a communications analyst with the territorial Community Services department. Twenty-one forms expressed concern with the material, which includes 16 forms from Porter Creek Secondary School’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Eight forms expressed support for keeping the book in the collection.

Of the forms received, seven individuals confirmed they had read the book, with three showing concern and four expressing support.

The formal review process is outlined in the libraries’ reconsideration of materials policy.

Per the statement, a review committee carried out a review. After reading the book and measuring its content against the libraries’ collection development policy and the Canadian Federation of Library Association’s statement of intellectual freedoms, the committee decided against censoring the book.

The statement indicates the intent of the “staff pick” recommendation — highlighting a book of interest — did not match the impact it had on some community members.

“We are grateful for those who engaged in open, respectful dialogue about seeing the book identified as a staff pick,” reads the statement.

“As a result of those conversations, the sticker has been voluntarily removed and the staff pick process has been updated to better meet the library’s goals of upholding freedom of expression and promoting inclusion and diversity.”

The statement notes the “fear and concern regarding the discrimination transpersons face” was heard. It draws attention to the “recent and relevant trans-affirming works” as well as programming, displays and resources to “engage with trans and other equity-deserving communities while also educating the broader public.”

“In a free and democratic society, libraries do not presume why people borrow materials or assume the outcome of what will happen when someone reads a particular book,” reads the statement.

“Libraries believe in an individual’s ability to discern the content and foster this by making available the broadest array of materials possible for individuals to make informed decisions.”

READ MORE: Library book in Whitehorse catalog under review after complaints

—With files from Jim Elliot

Contact Dana Hatherly at