Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MoCo Libraries Focus on Gay and Lesbian Artists

The Montgomery County Friends of the Library are sponsoring a series of speakers in Montgomery County through the next month. One is a black writer and publisher of LGBT material and the others are gay and lesbian filmmakers. The series is called "Out at the Library." The motto is "Explore. Question. Celebrate."

For instance, tonight, Wednesday June 11th, at 7 PM, Lisa C. Moore, "Founder and editor of the DC-based publishing company, RedBone Press will discuss the world of African-American gay and lesbian writers" at the Twinbrook Library, right near where I live. (I'm quoting from the flyer here.) That's in Rockville on Veirs Mill and Meadow Hall, a block up from Twinbrook Parkway. As an extra bonus, since they're working on the streets around my house today and tomorrow, you just might see one of my cars parked in that parking lot.

Next Wednesday, the 18th, Brian Sloan will be at the Kensington Park Library at 7 PM. It says HERE "The Kensington-born filmmaker and author of A Really Nice Prom Mess is the master of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) teenager misadventures."

Then, Wednesday June 25th, Joan E. Biren, "Filmmaker and producer from Silver Spring brings the screening of No Secret Anymore, a documentary about the founders of the lesbian civil rights movement." This will happen at the AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center. That's at 8633 Colesville Road, at the intersection of Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue, over in the new downtown Silver Spring. You've seen it, right?

Ah, somebody mentioned the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum had this on their web site. They have an alarming red box that says, "Montgomery County Libraries Promoting "Coming Out Day" -- Contact Director of Public Libraries, Parker Hamilton at ..." and they give the poor guy's email address. Is that classic, or what? "Out at the library" just wasn't vivid enough for them, they had to make up a name for it that even their followers could understand. "Coming Out Day." Just what they've always done, make up something and then oppose it.

I guess it's interesting to know they still have somebody who can make changes to their web page. I noticed the other day that their forum has disappeared from the Internet. Their blog (HERE) hasn't been updated since July 2005. But they updated their main page for this speaker series, what's that tell you?

These talks will be interesting to young gay and lesbian people and others who may want to have a career in the arts, and to others who would like to hear these creative people's stories. I went to a thing at the library once where some guys from Peru played Peruvian music. I ended up getting an instrument they used called a cajon, it's a percussion instrument, it's in my living room now. Whatever, Peruvian, gay, the library is a good place for our community to feature our diversity, for groups to gather and share their thoughts and their culture. People can drop in and learn about something they might not have known about, be inspired by some creative people, it's a good thing.

(Also, Peruvian people gather in a park near my house to play soccer and picnic, I sometimes go over there to watch the games and practice my Spanish a little bit.)

I do feel sorry for this poor library guy if the CRC's mailing list gets instructions from headquarters to call him up and complain. Man, he is going to be talking to some ... help me out here ... "different" people.

You might want to show your support by turning out for some of these presentations. Looks like they could be pretty good.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Whatever, Peruvian, gay, the library is a good place for our community to feature our diversity"

I'm going to go ahead and forward this to the Peruvian Embassy. They're not as tolerant of perverted lifestyles down there so they'll probably be pretty offended by your implication that being Peruvian is the equivalent of being gay.

June 11, 2008 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You might want to show your support by turning out for some of these presentations. Looks like they could be pretty good."

Sure, if you can get in the door. There will probably be a line around the block for this stuff.

It'll be just like the time TTF had a conference on faith and religion. I heard a few rows had more than one person in them.

Rock on!

June 11, 2008 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Oh, AnonBigot-

Actually, Lima is quite progressive. I've been there several times when I was dating a Peruvian man for two years. We traveled all over the place, people were quite tolerant.

I think you should forward the email-- you'll just show yet more how bigoted you are, especially if you were to talk about immigration.
PS- the Peruvian embassy is an Equal-Opportunity Employer.


Pobre AnonBigot. ¿Qué te van a decir en la embajada? ¡Yo lo sé! Te van a decir que eres ignorante, maleducado y mala onda. Déjanos saber lo que te digan. Te esperamos.

June 11, 2008 3:05 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim,

I would not get too worked up over the CRC folks encouraging their folks to call, email and complain. I say this because a very good friend of mine is a reference librarian in Southern California and they are among the most patient of souls with those insufferable busybodies. He always takes it as an occasion to explain how public libraries are suppose to be a resource to every segment of the community.

Certainly this is not my "cup of tea" but then again, it doesn't have to be...there just have to be enough people in the community that have an interest to support such a program. Nothing like putting together a program and having few people show up.

Don't like the theme of the program? Don't go.

June 11, 2008 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Don't like the theme of the program? Don't go."

Oh, thank you.

Are we allowed to say we don't like it?

June 12, 2008 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Dear anon,

This is America; you may say that you don't like queer people as much as and in whatever way you would like (within limits of not damaging other people's interests).

We can also say we don't like you.

Let me repeat: don't ask me for a character reference.

rrjr

June 12, 2008 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was actually adressing Orin, Robert.

It's interesting that you feel that free speech is only permissible "within limits of not damaging other people's interests".

I guess when these high school gay support groups encourage teens to come out and express their sexuality, against the personal interests of these young people, they should be liable for damages and should be thrown out of the public schools, right?

June 12, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 12, 2008 1:11 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Previously I wrote,

"Don't like the theme of the program? Don't go."

To which Anonymous replies,

Oh, thank you.

Are we allowed to say we don't like it?


Sure, why not?...this is the US, and the last time I checked we have a First Amendment that guarantees your right to free speech (as opposed to free "expression"). Go for it.

And then after a comment by Robert, Anonymous writes,

I was actually adressing Orin, Robert.

It's interesting that you feel that free speech is only permissible "within limits of not damaging other people's interests".


Well...I think this way as well (within limits, of course). For example, I would not think as a teacher that it is ok for one student to verbally attack another student because they think that student may be homosexual. This will naturally bring out those on any side of any controversy that only want to test the limits, as opposed to searching for the truth of the matter at discussion. While this is more a matter for individuals to work out in the spirit of compromise and learning to endure our differences together in a peaceful manner, nobody ought to kid themselves that actors on both sides would love to use the powers of the State to enforce their POV.

Still, I cannot shake the feeling I get that certain groups would use new found political powers to oppress those they formally were oppressed by...

I guess when these high school gay support groups encourage teens to come out and express their sexuality, against the personal interests of these young people, they should be liable for damages and should be thrown out of the public schools, right?

I have a close family member that is dealing with a high school age daughter that thinks she is a "lesbian". I have reason to doubt that she is, and that this new found identity is more an expression of something she thinks is "cool". As homosexuality goes from losing any stigma at all to becoming "cool" I do not think any of us ought to be surprised that more of our youth self-identify in this manner.

With that all said, I support our public libraries within fairly wide parameters. I have alot of faith in the marketplace of ideas to sort things out.

June 12, 2008 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Orin, for telling us about your doubts about a "close family member"...dealing with a high school daughter that thinks she is a "lesbian". You...being the authority on the subject that you purport to be, must be right in your judgement about this young girl's thinking and feelings. She, of course, being a teenager, could not possibly know her own feelings! That doesn't happen until we reach 18 or 21 - or so some people think.
Unfortunately your description of her situation "that this new found identity is more an expression of something she thinks is "cool" is precisely the kind of damaging denial-thinking that most heterosexuals shield themselves behind.
Please give her the room and support she needs to come to terms with whether she is or is not a lesbian. My hope is that she will emerge from her search as an individual who is supportive of those of us who have a different sexual orientation, and if she is in fact a Lesbian, will not end up being judgemental about how other people should lead their lives according to your desires.
RT

June 12, 2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

When I said something about "against others' interests" I was thinking, of course, of the usual limits around free speech about libel, slander and shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre.

It goes without saying that a student shouldn't attack another student for being gay. In the same vein, a student shouldn't attack another student for opposing same-gender marriage (I have seen and stopped both instances).

Now, as for stating "opposition to homosexuality" in school. As much as I support free speech rights, I think that students should feel safe in school, and there should be stricter limits on speech in school than in the wider world.

The biggest test of this that the religious right (groups such as PFOX and ADF) and oddly enough, California's Russian immigrant community, is students' rights to wear shirts that say things like "be happy, not gay." As Orin says, a shirt like that is designed to test the limits (no one, of course, would allow a shirt to quote from the Westboro website). I think that in an appropriate forum, such as the editorial page of the school newspaper, or an after school club meeting, students should be allowed to express dislike for specific policies and laws such as MoCo's Trans-inclusive non-discrimination policy, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, DOMA, ENDA, etc.; BTW, that implies that I would allow discussion in those fora of affirmative action, integration, immigration policy, anti-miscegenation laws, and all that.

On the other hand, an editorial expressing disdain or dislike for a racial or national group, or members of such a group, is specifically designed to make members of that group feel less welcome and comfortable in their school, and shouldn't be allowed. In the same way, a shirt that expresses such sentiments, as does the "be happy, not gay" shirt, goes over the line in making the environment of the school unsafe.

Let me be clear: opposition to groups, such as race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, etc., or members of that group, should not be allowed in school. "Opposition to homosexuality" should not be allowed to school. Opposition to ENDA, on the other hand, should.

Colleges are different;they should not have such restrictive speech policies. College students are adults and do not require the protections that children do.


rrjr

June 12, 2008 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What shouldn't be in schools is encouragement and enabling of homosexuality.

Teachers shouldn't be running gay support groups.

June 12, 2008 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Anon should stay out of the library- he/she might see a book he/she disapproves of or a gay parent with a child or two gay people.

I have to wonder with people like Wyatt, Theresa, Michelle, Johnny, weepy Ruth at al- how much evil their own hatred does to them and their families?

June 12, 2008 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Anonymous responded:

"What shouldn't be in schools is encouragement and enabling of homosexuality."

Almost Pavlovian, isn't it? I ring this little bell and....

rrjr

June 12, 2008 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon should stay out of the library- he/she might see a book he/she disapproves of or a gay parent with a child or two gay people."

As long as it's not targeting young kids at an impressionable age, that's fine.

The gay agenda has a special recruitment plan for children and the taxpayers shouldn't support it.

June 12, 2008 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

According to anon:

"The gay agenda has a special recruitment plan for children and the taxpayers shouldn't support it."

Almost makes you, well, salivate, doesn't it?

June 12, 2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert, think about this:

These gay teachers, who are very unhappy with own lifes, create these "support" groups that encourage kids who are confused to "be who they are" because they have no choice if they ever have these type of feelings. It's all biological and even the AMA agrees that you can't change. Even your health teacher agrees (she'd better or she'll be thrown out of the NEA).

It's a cult indoctrination into a miserable and unhealthy lifestyle that is, in an Orwellian joke, called "gay".

Get it out of the schools.

June 12, 2008 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think about this Anon...

The Gay-Straight Alliance faculty sponsor at my kids' MCPS high school is a straight man who is married with children. There are many straight allies who think all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, should learn about themselves in public high school classes on human sexuality. Learning about human sexuality is not recruitment to a gay or straight lifestyle, it's information intended to enable kids to learn facts about an important aspect of their lives.

Anon, who is filled with hate and homophobia, is giving straight people a bad name. This heterosexual supports full marriage equality for gays, full anti-discrimination protection for trangender people, and full abstinence based comprehensive sex education for all public school students.

MCPS Mom

June 12, 2008 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Learning about human sexuality is not recruitment to a gay or straight lifestyle,"

It is when you teach incorrectly that perverted same gender desires are the equivalent of natural desires for the opposite sex.

"it's information intended to enable kids to learn facts about an important aspect of their lives."

How does it do that for normal kids?

"Anon, who is filled with hate and homophobia, is giving straight people a bad name."

A bad name with whom? Gay people? Darn. I did so want to get on with the nice gay people.

"This heterosexual supports full marriage equality for gays, full anti-discrimination protection for trangender people, and full abstinence based comprehensive sex education for all public school students."

I guess since you're also full of it, you've got all the "fulls" covered.

June 12, 2008 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Dear MCPS mom,

I've enjoyed working with students in GSAs for the last 10 years. As much as people have worked in MoCo to amend the Family Life curriculum, the heart of the movement to change hearts and minds in schools is led by the students. I can attestthat having a GSA really alters the atmosphere in a school; wise principals know that a school that is accpeting of LGBT people is more open and welcoming to all students.

Thanks for your support of the GSAs.

rrjr

June 13, 2008 7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've enjoyed working with students in GSAs for the last 10 years."

I bet you have.

"I can attest that having a GSA really alters the atmosphere in a school"

I bet it does.

June 13, 2008 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Robert. I am filled with joy by your kind and loving spirit. Your students are fortunate to have you in their lives, and this blog benefits from your thoughtful remarks.

Being open and welcoming scares some people, who lurk in fear even in this comment section. I used to be like that, judgmental and unsure of people I didn't understand. But I have reached out and sat down with people in the LGBT community and found that they are my brothers and sisters. Our diversity is a blessing.

MCPS Mom

June 13, 2008 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I used to be like that, judgmental and unsure of people I didn't understand."

Really? What do you understand now that you didn't before? I want to see if I can reach this heightened state of enlightenment.

Please help me!!!

June 13, 2008 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Thanks, mom.

I too have been very judgemental (and at times still am). It's hard to be patient all the time. I know in my career I need to change what I do every so often or take a break, otherwise I am too impatient with my students. I will admit I am much less tolerant of irresponsibility and ignorance among adults, whom I think should know better.

Even within the LGBT community, there is much intolerance. We all have a lot to learn.

rrjr

June 13, 2008 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am too impatient with my students"

Hey, teacher

leave those kids alone

all in all

you're just another brick in the wall

June 13, 2008 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard on yourself, Robert. It's often too easy to judge others and not so easy to tolerate them. The good news is you know "we all have a lot to learn." That's put you at least halfway there, my friend.

MCPS Mom

June 14, 2008 4:17 PM  

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