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10 Aug, 2023 18:15

US Library of Congress apologizes for calling woman ‘she’

The publicly-funded institution hosted non-binary author Casey McQuiston for a book signing
US Library of Congress apologizes for calling woman ‘she’

The US Library of Congress, the largest library on earth, issued a public apology via Twitter (now rebranded as X) on Monday for using “incorrect pronouns” to describe a non-binary author hosting a book signing at the taxpayer-funded institution.

“We deeply apologize to Casey McQuiston for using incorrect pronouns for them in our last post,” the oldest federal cultural establishment in the US tweeted. The offending post was apparently deleted, as it did not appear in the library's Twitter feed on Tuesday.

The Library of Congress hosted a book signing for McQuiston, who self-identifies as queer as well as non-binary, on Tuesday to celebrate the Amazon Prime adaptation of the author’s book “Red, White, and Royal Blue” and formally added the novel to its LGBTQ+ collection. The book tells the story of a feud between a British prince and the son of the US president that blossoms into a homosexual romance. 

Followers of the storied cultural institution on Twitter recoiled from its embrace of grammatical incorrectness in service to political correctness, describing the post as “embarrassing” for the US, for librarians, and for literacy in general. 

Even professional anti-wokesters like Libs of TikTok appeared to be at a loss for words – the account merely called the library’s tweet “beyond parody” – while several others questioned whether the Library of Congress did not have more pressing matters to attend to. 

Last September, the library’s decision to allow proudly obese pop star Lizzo to play a 200-year-old crystal flute that had belonged to founding father and fourth US president James Madison during her Washington DC concert similarly polarized onlookers. The singer, a classically-trained flautist, boasted in a tweet after the show that she was “THE FIRST & ONLY PERSON TO EVER PLAY THIS PRESIDENTIAL 200-YEAR OLD CRYSTAL FLUTE” alongside a video of her trilling on the instrument while twerking in a bedazzled gold leotard. 

Despite its legendary status – it holds more than 175 million works in over 470 languages – the Library of Congress has recently come under pressure to follow the example of the Biden administration in emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion.