Remove transphobic material from Auckland Libraries

Remove transphobic material from Auckland Libraries

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Marama G started this petition to Auckland Libraries

To Auckland City Libraries,

As a fellow librarian, I am writing to say that I’m incredibly disappointed in your decision regarding transphobic material on your shelves,

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters by Abigail Shrier
and
When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson


The items in question promote harmful attitudes and practices towards trans people, and in particular trans children and youth. For example, one encourages parents to reject their children's gender identities - an incredibly harmful and painful practice.

Additionally, claiming that being trans is a mental illness is not only blatant disinformation, it is othering, dismissive, and stigmatising. While gender dysphoria is a recognised mental condition, identifying as transgender is not considered a mental disorder. 

These items claim to examine "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria" - this is not a recognised condition, is not clinically validated, and has been rejected by experts.


I understand that you are citing freedom of access to information to justify your decision.

Freedom of access to information is incredibly important. However, freedom of access to information should not protect either discriminatory information, or mis- or disinformation. This is not a case of material that "might offend" someone, this is a case of material that is directly harmful to vulnerable people.


It is worth considering that IFLA encourages libraries, public libraries in particular, to consider the United Nations 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, and use those goals in their practices. I would also point out that New Zealand in general is dedicated to these goals as well.

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs

The UN Development Programme has stated that ending LGBTI+ discrimination is integral to the Sustainable Development Goals
( https://www.europe.undp.org/content/geneva/en/home/our-perspective/2015/9/29/Ending-LGBTI-discrimination-is-key-to-achieving-SDGs.html )

It is clear, also, that the UN chooses to use inclusive language, and that gender identity does not exclude groups from their goals. ( https://action4sd.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/LGBTIHealth.HLPF_.pdf )

 

If I may quote your website directly, you aspire to “be a leader on the national and international scene.”

Allowing disinformation and discriminatory material in your library is not being a leader, and is directly against the directives and objectives of the United Nations, and of IFLA’s intent to contribute to the United Nations’ goals.

(Worth noting: Christchurch City Libraries has shown how to lead when it comes to diversity - it is a shame that you could not live up to your mission statement: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125265969/christchurch-libraries-refuse-to-host-controversial-group )

As librarians, you have a duty to your communities - and that wholeheartedly includes minority and vulnerable groups. We should be supporting vulnerable groups, and working to remove access to hateful rhetoric which preys on that vulnerability and further promotes discrimination. Surely you would not be so willing to hold material that promoted white supremacy, or religious persecution, or sex discrimination? The principle is the same.


Allowing transphobic disinformation gives a voice to oppressors. Allowing transphobic disinformation marginalises an already vulnerable group. Allowing transphobic disinformation makes your community less safe.


We can do better.


Ngā mihi,
Marama G. (RLIANZA)

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