“Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People

MEHRA, Bharat and GRAY, LaVerne (2014) “Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 151 - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Users Special Interest Group. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1011
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Language: English (Original)
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Language: French (Translation)
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Abstract

“Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People

In recent years the geographic state of Tennessee in the United States has acquired a national notoriety and shameful reputation as a toxic place on issues of sex and gender (Mehra 2011; Mehra and Braquet, in press; Mehra and Braquet, 2011; Mehra and Braquet, 2007a, 2007b; Mehra and Braquet, 2006), especially owing to the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that thankfully died a second death when lawmakers failed to pass the measure banning elementary and middle-school teachers from discussing sexual activity that is not “related to natural human reproduction” (Ford, 2013; McDonough, 2013; Staff Reports, 2013). In the light of such failed, yet repressive and homophobic efforts, how are the state’s school, public, and academic libraries representing the needs and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in providing web access and coverage of information related to this marginalized population in a region that proudly identifies itself as the buckle of the conservative Bible-belt in the United States. This paper highlights findings from an exploratory website study to identify key trends, best practices, and case representations across different types of library environments of LGBTQ information resources, collections, programs, and services. It shows how library agencies around the state have the potential to serve as virtual spaces of resistance and protectors of human rights of LGBTQ people against the dictates of hegemonic, prejudiced, and hateful regime representatives and unjust laws.

"Don't say gay" ("Ne parlez pas d'homosexualité") dans l'État du Tennessee: les bibliothèques comme des lieux virtuels de résistance et de protection des droits humains des personnes lesbiennes, gays, bies, trans et queers (LGBTQ)

Ces dernières années, l'état du Tennessee des États-Unis a acquis une désastreuse réputation au niveau national pour son climat délétère sur les questions liées au genre et au sexe (Mehra 2011; Mehra and Braquet, in press; Mehra and Braquet, 2011; Mehra and Braquet, 2007a, 2007b; Mehra and Braquet, 2006), en particulier si l'on pense à l'infâme projet de loi « Don't say gay » (« Ne parlez pas d'homosexualité »). Ce projet est heureusement mort une deuxième fois quand les législateurs d'état ont échoué à faire passer cette mesure qui visait à interdire aux instituteurs et aux enseignants en collège d'évoquer des relations sexuelles non « liées à la reproduction naturelle » (Ford, 2013; McDonough, 2013; Staff Reports, 2013). Compte tenu de cet échec, et malgré tant d'efforts répressifs et homophobes, comment les bibliothèques publiques, scolaires et universitaires répondent-elles aux besoins et aux préoccupations des personnes lesbiennes, gays, bies, trans et queer (LGBTQ) ? Comment fournissent-elles un accès au web et aux informations nécessaires à cette population marginalisée dans cet État qui se définit fièrement comme la pierre angulaire du conservatisme religieux aux États-Unis ? Notre article présente les conclusions d'une enquête exploratoire en ligne visant à identifier les tendances principales et les bonnes pratiques observées auprès de plusieurs bibliothèques de type différent proposant des ressources, collections, actions culturelles et services autour de l'information destinée aux personnes LGBTQ.

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