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Bring Back Trans 101

This petition had 1,171 supporters

On September 3, 2019, Mid-Continent Public Library’s Colbern Road branch hosted a program called Trans 101. The program was created in response to community need, and was designed to provide education about what it means to be transgender. This program outlined basic definitions that are used in the transgender community, information regarding social/medical transitioning, and strategies for being a good ally. 

While most of the comments MCPL received before, during, and after the program were positive, some library customers also expressed concerns. These offended parties felt that the library was an inappropriate venue for such a program. They created a petition inviting people to speak out against the program, and brought their concerns to the recent library board meeting, which is open to the public. They were given a chance to voice their concerns to the board, and supporters of the program were given the same opportunity. The board heard comments from both sides.

The next iteration of Trans 101 was scheduled to take place on September 26 at the library's Buckner branch. Unfortunately, a few days before the program, the library contacted the presenter and told him the scheduled program would not be taking place. The board had decided that they needed time to discuss the concerns brought to them at the board meeting before proceeding with the program.

The library claims to value intellectual freedom and inclusion, and the actions of the board in canceling the program this week fly in the face of these values. The library is supposed to provide access to information and content for everyone, and representative of everyone. Censoring this program was a mistake that we want corrected.

The people who don’t want this program to take place have given a few reasons for their concerns, but what it boils down to is transphobia. They do not believe that transgender people should be given a public platform to speak about their experiences. They would like to restrict access to this content, not only for themselves and their families, but for everyone. While we respect the rights of everyone to choose what content is right for them, it is unacceptable for them to make that choice for an entire community. Anything less than reinstating this program immediately amounts to cowardice and censorship.

Trans people deserve and demand better. We have always existed, and we deserve to have a public library that supports our needs and our interests. We face very real discrimination, bullying, and violence in our community. We will not go back into the closet, and we will not be silenced. The library is for everyone.

If you agree with this statement, please sign the petition and tell the board and the administration of MCPL why you demand #trans101now at Mid-Continent Public Library.

(image courtesy of @lilboybluish and used with permission)

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