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Gay and Lesbian Librarians Seek ALA’s Help

I’m forwarding the following message from the ALA Council list, where it was distributed by OLOS (ALA’s Office of Literacy and Outreach Services) . Go GLBTRT!


Dear Mr. Fiels, Ms. Hayden, Ms. Brey, Ms. Grady, and Ms. Sheketoff:

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table (GLBTRT) urges ALA and ALA-APA to take a public stand against discriminatory philosophy and treatment of gay and lesbian employees. We believe that such policies are in opposition to not just one but various of ALA’s priorities and principals. The policies go against equity, diversity, and intellectual freedom.

The proposed new interpretation by the new federal Special Counsel Scott Bloch of federal workplace protections would have a deleterious effect on federal gay and lesbian librarians and library workers, but if implemented its effects would go even beyond that. It would result in a rollback of their rights. But it would also encourage further discrimination in other aspects of life towards GLBT individuals and groups. Bloch has already in his brief tenure removed all references to protection from discrimination within federal employment from Web sites in his office. He has also removed this protection from presentations and materials available to federal employees. This protection was first given after the decision in Norton v. Macy when the United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit found that being gay was not a reason for dismissal from federal employment. The Office of Personnel Management has held since 1980 that discrimination based on sexual orientation is covered as a prohibited personnel action under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act. Mr. Bloch seeks to roll back 24 years of protection for federal employees and legal precedence.
As we have seen repeatedly in the history of this country, legal decisions that codify discrimination often give the general public a license to not only discriminate, but sometimes even to carry out acts of hate and violence. Perhaps the most extreme and powerful example of this is the Plessy versus Ferguson Supreme Court decision that established the “absurd” separate but equal doctrine. History has shown that the epidemic lynchings that occurred in the decades following this decision were not coincidental. Likewise, this administration has made it clear that the removal of equal opportunity protections from all types of employees, applicants, student loan recipients, is in danger of revocation based on its court cases and rulings. Once the protections are rolled back for one group of people it will be that much easier for protections to be rolled back for other groups and individuals.

We strongly believe the American Library Association has a duty to enter into the public debate on this issue and to advocate against discrimination toward those we serve and the federal employees among our membership. Doing so will continue the long tradition of equity and non-discrimination on the part of the Association. Therefore, we urgently request that ALA and ALA-APA take a strong public stand against rollbacks in job discrimination protections for federal workers.


Anne L. Moore
Stephen E. Stratton
Co-chairs GLBT Round Table

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