British Columbia Library Association

Not Cis in LIS: A Roundtable Discussion about being Trans in Libraries

By Allison Jones, Hazel Jane Plante, Leah Tottenham, Shelby, and syr

In this article, five transgender library workers share our perspectives on different workplaces and educational experiences. We discuss barriers we have faced, strengths we bring to libraries, requests for cis colleagues, and advice for other trans folks considering library work or school. The questions posed were prepared by Allison, and participants chose which to respond to independently.

Participants

Allison Jones (they/them) is a recent UBC iSchool graduate and works as a public librarian in the lower mainland area.

Hazel Jane Plante (she/her) is a liaison librarian at Simon Fraser University.

Leah Tottenham (they/them) is a library technician at the Vancouver Public Library.

Shelby (she/her or they/them) is a student in UBC’s MLIS program and works at Vancouver Public Library.

syr (they/them) is an archivist at a community organization in the Lower Mainland.

Questions

Let’s begin with introductions. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, share your pronouns, and describe how you are connected to libraries?

Leah: I’m Leah, I’m a queer, non-binary trans person and I use they/them pronouns. I’ve been a library technician for ten years and I have worked for the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) for the past 5 years. My current position at VPL involves plenty of teaching and hosting programs, mostly focusing on digital literacy. I am also a former co-coordinator of Out on the Shelves, Vancouver’s only LGBT2QIA+ library.

Hazel: My name is Hazel, and I’m a queer trans woman who uses she/her pronouns. I’ve worked in six different library systems in the Lower Mainland and have been a liaison librarian at SFU for the past 10 years. I’m also a writer, and my novel Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) comes out in September with Metonymy Press, which “publishes work that transgresses boundaries, undermines the status quo, and sustains those on the margins.”

Allison: My name is Allison. I’m non-binary and use they/them pronouns. I recently finished my MLIS at UBC and am now working on-call at two public libraries in the lower mainland. Before library school I worked in digital communications for a national nonprofit, and I’m very involved in Spartacus Books, an all volunteer-run bookstore in East Vancouver. My main interests are teen and community-led librarianship, and digital literacy work.

Shelby: My name is Shelby. I’m a non-binary trans woman and my pronouns are she/her/hers or they/them/theirs. I have worked at the Vancouver Public Library for eight years, and have been attending library school at UBC since January 2018. I’ve come out as transgender in both locations within the last year.

syr: Hi! I’m syr, and I use they/them pronouns. I’m a queer and trans non-binary person. I’m an archivist at a community organization in the Lower Mainland. I’ve been in this position for about a year and a half. I’m one of only a couple staff, and juggle many different aspects of archival work alongside my colleague – arrangement and description, reference, staff education, preservation, records management, tours, long term visioning, and so forth. I also went through the dual MAS/MLIS program at UBC. When I was a student I worked at an area public library as well as one of the archives at UBC. As of earlier this summer, I also sit on the board of the LIS Scholarship Archive. What excites me about Library/Archives/Information work is alternative systems of knowledge organization, community-led archives and libraries, and connecting youth and archives.

What is the experience of attending library school or working in libraries like for you as a trans person? Does your school or workplace have any trans-inclusive policies or practices in place?

Allison: When I started library school I began identifying myself as non-binary in academic and professional settings, although I had been doing so in my personal life for a number of years previously. I encountered a lot of well-meaning, but poorly-informed, people while in library school and often found myself explaining why policies (like UBC’s (n.d.) mandatory binary sex options in the student information system) and practices (such as including gendered titles in offical letters about students) were transphobic and exclusionary.

Outing myself to each new employer while in library school was stressful and exhausting. I never knew how people would react and never encountered an employer who provided public information about trans-inclusive employment practices. This has been the same for me when applying for jobs after graduation.

In one of my co-op jobs I had the opportunity to help develop trans-inclusive policy recommendations for hiring and on-boarding new staff, and I really appreciated being encouraged to participate in that process. As well, in one of the public libraries I work I am now a member of our new trans-inclusion working group. I’m glad these workplaces want to be more trans-inclusive, but I wish these were policies they’d developed years ago.

Shelby: I feel privileged to have had a smooth transition process in my workplace. I began publicly transitioning after years at VPL, and the strength of the relationships I built over that time meant my coming-out was well received at the work sites I frequent. VPL’s trans and gender-diverse inclusive policy was helpful in this journey, and I appreciated that I was able to easily change my name on any work-related accounts. There are some systems that aren’t the best equipped for the needs of trans and non-binary folks but these are improving. For example, SuccessFactors, City of Vancouver’s internal job board, currently asks candidates to self-identify their gender as “male, female, or transgender”, although I have been informed these will soon be updated to a clearer and more inclusive “man, woman, or non-binary/gender diverse”.

My current duties are very patron-focused, and I encounter questions from patrons about my gender identity and expression fairly regularly. These interactions range from being sort of enjoyable, when a patron is particularly bemused by my appearance, to stressful and dysphoria-inducing, and I find myself occasionally on edge when speaking with patrons for concern about how they might react to me.

My experience at library school has been generally positive, although as Allison mentions, UBC could stand to do a lot to improve its systems to accommodate trans and non-binary students. I have felt comfortable talking about issues affecting transgender people in different classes, and am working with some faculty members towards a thesis project related to the information-seeking habits of transgender individuals.

Hazel: I had a relatively painless transition at work. I’d already worked at SFU Library for several years when I started contemplating transitioning. While there are no overt trans-inclusive policies or practices in place, I was fairly sure most of my colleagues (including my rad supervisor) would support me, which has proven to be the case. That being said, transitioning would have been less daunting and frustrating if my workplace had policies and practices to support trans and gender-diverse employees.

Overall, I’ve had fewer negative experiences in my workplace than nearly any other trans person I know. Then again, I am a white trans woman working in a feminized profession at an academic institution who transitioned mid-career. (The overlapping privileges that I benefit from shouldn’t be underestimated.)

Leah:  I began identifying as non-binary in the workplace in 2016, a couple years after I had started working at VPL as an auxiliary library technician. Around the same time, VPL began implementing trans-inclusive policies and practices, modelled after the City of Vancouver’s Trans, Gender Variant and Two-Spirit Inclusion action plan. I began using different pronouns in the workplace and I worked to raise awareness of gender-neutral pronouns at my various worksites. Currently, my voice and appearance are starting to change due to hormone therapy, and I’m confident that my workplace will continue to be supportive as my gender expression shifts.

In terms of mainstream narratives surrounding transness, I think that non-binary trans identities are still a bit of a mystery to lots of folks; I hope that the that self-advocacy I have done, and continue to do in my place of work will encourage my colleagues to get curious and learn about the diversity among trans identities. Overall, I feel like my experience has been very positive and that the majority of folks in the library and information profession are interested in and dedicated to upholding and celebrating diversity.

syr: Well, when I receive phone calls asking for donations, or receive the alumni magazine, I’m still addressed by my dead name (Roschke, 2018)–despite having changed my name within the UBC student database systems while attending UBC. The complex patchwork of many systems and databases means it may never be possible to fully eradicate one’s old name from UBC. I would log into a new piece of software while in school, and there the old name would be, sometimes just for me, and sometimes for classmates. This story feels like it encapsulates being trans in library school.

The sense that there is no way of knowing when the work to correct these errors could ever end creates a sense of exhaustion – this was my feeling while in library school and sometimes still professionally.

I often struggle with the exhaustion of this extra work I can do, and sometimes need to do, to be seen and supported. I’m lucky to be in a workplace that is generally personally supportive, however, we lack specific institutional policies or practices to support me or other trans people.  I am ‘visibly trans’ so while in school and in my various workplaces often have had different people all use different pronouns for me, ask well-meant but invasive questions about my gender or gender history, or make assumptions about me.

Partly because of the above, I tend to feel that I had a more isolating experience in library school and in my student work experiences than some of my colleagues. The toll of this extra labor, and the lack of the ability to discern why I was feeling unsupported (“is it because I’m trans?” ), has had a significant impact on my experiences.

I generally have struggled with the balance between self-advocacy (that may not change my treatment substantially or lead to larger policy shifts) or trying to not care (leading to a sense of isolation). I don’t have the desire to be correcting or informing people or, worse, systems constantly, and long for better policies and better systems. What structures need to change or be replaced? How can we all be doing that work?

When I worked in the public library, I also had lots of gender conversations with patrons. I enjoyed having conversations about gender (“Are you a boy or a girl?”, “”Why are you a boy that looks like a girl?”) with children, though I imagine that isn’t an experience most cis librarians have had. I  didn’t feel like library school necessarily addressed these kinds of experiences in the program – though I have read about and attended panels about this kind of emotional/education labor at the reference desk (such as this colloquium in 2016). Being visibly different than most librarians, meant conversations about that with patrons and sometimes with other staff.

What kinds of barriers disproportionately affect trans library students and workers? Has being trans presented any barriers to you personally in your library studies or work that you would like to share?

Hazel: Trans folks working in libraries will likely encounter barriers that cis folks won’t, such as when providing credentials and references to hiring committees (e.g., we often have degrees granted under previous names or have to give references who knew us by different names and pronouns), having to disclose our dead names or use gender markers we reject (e.g., in order to get paid), and having to gracefully navigate occasional misgendering or deadnaming (especially when precariously employed).

One ongoing barrier that may sound minor is that SFU has been unable to change my computing ID, which is derived from my dead name. So, every time I log into my computer or any system at SFU, I have to use a shortened version of my dead name. (I’m not the only person who experiences this issue, which extends to anyone who has trauma associated with their previous names.) I have been able to correct my name in every other online system and official document (from my passport to my birth certificate), but I remain unable to adjust my computing ID. HR and IT are aware that it’s an issue, and I’ve been told that they consider it a priority, but the proof is in the pudding. Maybe that should be “the proof is in the putting” (i.e., where you put your resources proves whether or not you care about something)?

Leah: One of the most significant barriers I can think of is precarious work. According to two recent CUPE surveys (Leonard-Boland, 2018), precarious workers in the public library sector are disproportionately queer, gender diverse, Indigenous or racialized, and/or living with a disability.

As a precarious worker, it can feel very vulnerable to be out as trans/non-binary at work, and also to be vocal about trans and queer issues as they pertain to the worksite or to librarianship and information science in general. I know that many trans and queer staff are living in these precarious employment realities, not just in the public library sector, and it can make it challenging to show up as your authentic self at work. VPL has 21 locations, so when I was auxiliary, being out as non-binary at work would involve coming out every single shift to a different group of staff at a different worksite, which is exhausting just even to think about! I often just didn’t do it, and that feels difficult in a whole other way.

Now that I have a permanent position with regular hours, it has really changed how I engage in the workplace. I have developed trusting and supportive relationships with co-workers in my department and I have felt more comfortable to speak up in recent conversations at VPL around trans and queer rights. I also feel happier and much more invested in the work I am doing when I know that I can be myself.

Allison: As Leah shared, working in precarious positions has made it very difficult to be myself at work. I make a point of asking new employers how I can share my pronouns with colleagues and am usually given an opportunity to do so in a staff bio which is sent by email or posted online. However, colleagues frequently misgender me and it’s hard to correct people or address this when our interactions are fleeting and I have so little job security. This is a daily challenge.

I’ve also encountered situations where I have learned that staff at potential workplaces that I have considered applying for are transphobic. Sometimes I’ve learned this by word-of-mouth from other trans people, and in other cases by looking up someone online and seeing their public social media posts. This presents situations where I have to ask myself questions like, can I work for this person if I know this is what they believe? If I worked with them, would I decide to not be out at work? How actively should I be sharing this information with classmates or colleagues considering working at these organizations? Do I share this with cis as well as trans people I know? If this person works for an organization that claims to be trans-inclusive, should they be alerted that a member of their staff posts transphobic hate publicly online? Deciding not to apply for some of these positions limited what I was able to try and learn in library school.

Shelby: I think a lack of opportunities for education and training creates a work environment that’s less trans-competent than it could be. While directors, managers, and supervisors are required to take gender diversity training from TransFocus Consulting or the City of Vancouver’s PRISM Transgender Inclusion 101 class, training options are scarcer and less visible for many other staff. In terms of training that has been offered at VPL, in February 2019 the VPL Allies group hosted a meeting about supporting transgender colleagues and patrons, but it covered topics very superficially. VPL used to advertise PRISM Trans 101 classes to staff but hasn’t done so in over a year. These events were only advertised to staff who had joined VPL’s LGBTQ Allies mailing list – so the training was only advertised to staff who had already shown interest in discussing LGBTQ topics at work, and staff who could have benefitted the most from this training were not made aware of it. They were also not offered as official VPL training, so auxiliary staff would not have been paid to attend them.

I’ve encountered staff who are unaware that you shouldn’t ask for or share a trans person’s deadname, or why ‘attack helicopter’ jokes are offensive. It’s jarring to encounter this stuff expressed so casually, and it’s stressful to feel that the onus is on me, as a trans employee, to explain why this behavior is harmful.

The City of Vancouver is preparing gender diversity and inclusion curriculum that will be incorporated into VPL’s core Respectful Workplace training in the future, so I am hopeful that this will help reduce this barrier within my workplace.

syr: I touched on some aspects of these barriers with my response before, oops!  The additional work and preparation to ensure we are respected and safe, as well as the extra kinds of labour we might do in reference encounters.

As well, some of the ways professional values are construed (neutrality, freedom of expression) by various people or organizations can lead to having to be on guard often. As some of my colleagues have mentioned in this article–there are positions I wouldn’t apply for, places where I would be uncertain of my safety.

What kinds of organizing are you or others doing to address these barriers? What successes have you achieved or challenges have you faced in doing so?

Hazel: Last year, I met with an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) specialist in HR to share my experiences being a trans faculty member (and transitioning) at SFU, though I don’t think that has led to any degree of success. (The person in HR who I met with was unaware there were any trans faculty members at SFU, which has over 1000 faculty members. She was also gobsmacked when she saw how much work it is to transition in a system that sees gender as binary and identities as fixed. As Dean Spade [2015] argues in Normal Life, trans people are often told that “we are impossible people who cannot exist, cannot be seen, cannot be classified, and cannot fit anywhere” [p. 19].) Workwise, I’ve mostly put my energy into broader equity-focused work (such as being a member of the SFU Faculty Association’s Equity Committee) because I think the barriers faced by trans employees/students/patrons are deeply connected to those experienced by other marginalized folks.

Allison: Most of my efforts to combat transphobia in library school were quite individual. I’d really like to see what an ongoing, collective effort by trans library workers and students could do together. I’m also really inspired by the community response to the Feminist Current room booking at VPL this year.** Trans people and allies have made clear that we expect public libraries to take stronger stances against transphobia. Knowing that library patrons care about libraries being trans inclusive and will advocate for this has been deeply reassuring to me in the wake of the betrayal I felt from VPL’s actions as an institution.

Leah: I joined my workplace’s Trans, Gender-Variant and Two-Spirit working group when it was established a couple of years ago to address the Trans, Gender-Variant and Two-Spirit Inclusion action plan. While the work of advocating for trans inclusion is never done, I think there are definitely some barriers experienced by trans folks that were significantly reduced by the efforts of this working group — for instance, implementation of trans-inclusive bathroom signage and allowing patrons (and staff) to use their non-legal names on their library accounts. One of the initiatives I worked on with that group was incorporating non-gendered language into the documentation that is used for events, public programming, and training purposes.

Shelby: Recently, I’ve been involved with a newly-formed committee in my union, CUPE 391, intended to address issues related to transgender employees in the workplace. I’m excited by this opportunity and hope we get the chance to affect positive change soon.

syr: Much of my organizing has also been individual – however I am most called to organizing that is intra-communal. I connected and continue to connect with other trans and queer students and colleagues, providing mentorship and being visible. I believe being visible in the profession affirms that I am here and that trans people  belong in this profession. In other words, I hope I am being a possibility model. 

Being trans is obviously about a lot more than facing barriers. What strengths and insights do you think you bring to your library studies or work as a trans person?

Shelby: I think the work I have done to understand my gender identity has helped me become a more empathetic, emotionally attuned person, which has been helpful when assisting and building relationships with patrons in vulnerable situations. It has also motivated me to be more active in my workplace community, as I have joined advocacy groups, and am more willing to call-in or call-out behavior from colleagues, as appropriate.

Leah: As you would expect in a large urban public library system, I interact daily with a very diverse patron base. I think for our patrons, it is so important to see themselves reflected in the public library staff. It is so important for trans folks to see that representation, especially trans kids and youth. I often think of people who helped me become more confident in my non-binary identity, and often it was gender-diverse folks who I saw out and about at a coffee shop, at a store, walking down the street, living their lives, working their jobs, and thriving in a world that often feels dehumanizing and invalidating. These people will ever know that they did this for me, but just seeing them out there existing made such a positive difference in how I saw myself. As public-facing figures, I think library staff have the power to be this person for somebody else.

syr: I think about the ways that trans folks have a long legacy of information sharing in our communities, and about the power of a wide range of folks not just being information professionals but transforming the information profession!

Hazel: So much “YES!” to everything Shelby, Leah, and syr said. I’d also like to say there is an increasing body of literature showing that employee diversity strengthens organizations. Having been at the same workplace before coming out as trans and after coming out as trans, I undoubtedly bring more to the table at my library and my university since coming out as trans.

The push-back against transphobic comments on BCLA’s LGBTQ listserv in recent months have highlighted to me how grateful I am to have supportive trans peers from library school, as well as helped me connect to other trans librarians around the province. What does building a supportive trans community in the library profession look or feel like to you? 

Allison: In library school I felt this community when people would use my pronouns, challenge binary thinking, and listen to and support one another through transphobic situations. I really started to connect more intentionally with trans classmates and colleagues in the wake of the Feminist Current/Megan Murphy room booking at VPL. Through conversations on the BCLA LGBTQ listserv, social media, and at the BCLA conference this year, I’ve heard more about others’ experiences and it has been extremely validating to know that I’m not alone (not that I wish trans-phobic experiences or frustration on others!). I hope that writing this article together will connect us to more trans people working in libraries so that we can discuss organizing together in an ongoing way.

Hazel: To be honest, I don’t think it should fall to trans folks to push back against transphobic comments. We shouldn’t need to engage in dialogue with transphobes. As Sara Ahmed (2015) has stated, “But transphobia and anti-trans statements should not be treated as just another viewpoint that we should be free to express at a happy diversity table. There cannot be a dialogue when some at the table are in effect or intent arguing for the elimination of others at the table.” That being said, it was wonderful to hear from other trans librarians because I genuinely didn’t know any other trans folks working in libraries in the Lower Mainland. I don’t know exactly what a supportive trans library community would look like, but I think communities and collectives are how/where/why change happens. They can be sites of resilience and resistance. It’s nearly impossible to change systems as an individual. To quote Sara Ahmed (2019) again, “A lot of our history [that is, the history of queer folks] is about creating complaint collectives.”

Shelby: Over the last year I have really started to build a network of coworkers who are either queer or have proven themselves as allies. This ended up being a positive outcome of the Feminist Current event – it created a lot of workplace discussion about issues facing trans employees, and this really allowed me to identify staff who I felt I could trust. We regularly check in with each other about events happening at work. While I am lucky to have a robust support network outside of work as well, it is helpful to have folks I can talk to within the organization as well. This group tends to have a more complete understanding of events and their context, which allows us to have better in-depth conversations about how we feel, and what actions we might take.

Leah: As Shelby noted, there is a very supportive, informally networked group of trans, queer and allied staff at VPL, which has proven to be a great resource for me especially during this past year. With the Feminist Current event taking place in January and VPL’s subsequent exclusion from the Vancouver Pride Parade, this informal network has provided a place to debrief, discuss, and support one another during the challenges we are facing as queer and trans VPL staff.

It’s a very difficult position to be in currently, as a trans person working for VPL. For me personally, I struggle to reconcile the disconnect I feel between my identity as a member of diverse queer and trans communities, and my identity as a Vancouver Public Library staff member. I can only speak for myself, and not on behalf of my employer or on behalf of other VPL staff, but I have had many difficult days due to the Feminist Current event. The emails, phone calls, and in-person interactions with patrons concerning this subject were often heartbreaking. Sometimes these interactions were with transphobic supporters of Feminist Current, and that was difficult and triggering. Other times, the people shouting on the other end of the phone were trans and queer patrons and that was just as difficult; they had no idea they were shouting at a fellow trans person who shared their pain and anger.

Having a network of trans and non-binary staff who were in the same boat as me was invaluable, and it helped me show up to work every day to continue providing patron-centred service despite the tremendous challenges being faced. Trans and gender-diverse staff did our best to stay focused on how best to do our jobs and serve our patrons, many who are also trans and gender-diverse people, and I am so proud of us for that.

Let’s look ahead to the future. Do you have any advice or guidance you would offer to younger generations of trans people considering working in libraries or starting to do so now? Are there any structural changes you’d like to see library schools or workplaces work towards?

Shelby: It’s important to find out who your allies are. I would recommend seeing if you can identify any trans-friendly colleagues or locate openly trans or queer colleagues who can help you navigate a new workplace. Finding these folks can help you feel supported if you need to come out at work or challenge problematic behavior, and it can be useful just to have someone who you can debrief with after any stressful situations.

Hazel: I’d recommend actively working to build a support network. They take time and effort to build and sustain, but they are necessary and vital. For me, it comes back again to care and collectivity. The (admittedly unsolicited) advice I’d have for cis librarians (paticularly if you are in a position of power) is to educate yourself about issues affecting marginalized communities (including your colleagues and patrons) that don’t directly affect you.

I was deeply disheartened by the lack of pushback from librarians (particularly academic librarians in positions of power, who have academic freedom) in the face of transphobia. I recognize that you can’t take on every battle, but trans people are literally dying because of the views espoused by so-called “gender critical” activists. As Gwen Benaway (2018a), an amazing Indigenous trans writer and scholar, said on Twitter, “@VPL you are a public institution and you’re granting space to folks who actively hate trans and 2S [Two-Spirit] folks, use discredited science, and are advocating positions which result in trans and 2S [folks] being murdered/denied healthcare [and] housing, and discriminated against: it’s wrong.” Benaway (2018b) added, “There’s a reason they are booking a public library instead of other venues: it’s claiming respectability and the veneer of learning/intellectual debate to cover the ugliness of what they actually say and do.” Murmuring “intellectual freedom” and shrugging isn’t good enough.

Sorry to be a downer, but this isn’t an issue that will go away. Librarians need to really think about what they will do when a transphobic (or homophobic or racist) event is slated to happen at their library (or at another library). This isn’t a hypothetical scenario. It keeps happening and libraries continue to grapple with how to react, especially when our language (“intellectual freedom” or “censorship,” in the case of the short-lived so-called Vancouver Women’s Library) is co-opted by groups that seek to exclude and discriminate. We all know libraries aren’t (and shouldn’t be) neutral. As Emily Drabinski (2018) stated at an ALA conference debate on neutrality in libraries, “Those steeped in and rewarded by dominant ways of seeing the world don’t have to know how intensely political the ostensibly neutral position is. If the white supremacists booking your meeting space are not after you, you don’t have to know how dangerous they are.”

syr: Echoing what everyone else has said – but it is so important to connect with other folks and create a support network. Especially as a student and part time worker, it is so easy to become isolated or to know who to speak to. In special libraries and archives we can also be both insulated and isolated from the public. Also we belong in information professions, and it is work of transformation of this profession.

I also just want to re-affirm that institutions are not neutral, which includes all libraries and archives.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Leah: Thank you, Allison, for bringing us all together to have this conversation. I am grateful to have been invited to share my perspective as a library paraprofessional. It was also such a privilege to hear everyone else’s experiences.

Hazel: Yes, thanks for organizing this Allison and to everyone else for participating. I’ve really appreciated being able to hear about all of your experiences.

I also want to add that I wish there had been a panel at this year’s BCLA conference that resembled this pixelated roundtable discussion. A conversation between trans folks who work in libraries or (at least as important) trans folks who don’t work in libraries. There would be no Q + A and the microphone would not be shared with non-trans folks. It would be trans folks talking about what they think cis folks in libraries need to hear. I went to a session like this at the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH) conference two years ago, where trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary youth asked each other questions while everyone else (mostly health care professionals) listened to them. It was amazing and eye-opening.

Allison: Yes! That would have been incredible, Hazel. I’m also reminded of the Open Book event at VPL in November. Instead of doing their scheduled author reading and discussion, Kai Cheng Thom and the other presenters spoke to VPL about the impact of the Feminist Current booking on trans communities. It was a powerful and emotional evening, and I think that something similar would have sparked very different conversations at the BCLA conference this year. Maybe next year we should make this happen?

For now, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who collaborated on this article. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. I’d also like to thank Lindsay Russell, who chairs the BCLA LGBTQ interest group. Although its listserv has been a divisive place at times this year, it’s also been a place where I really connected with some amazing people and I’m grateful for the work Lindsay has done to keep it active.

syr: Thanks so much all for collaborating on this article – I’ve enjoyed hearing how our experiences echo one another. I look forward to building upon this work!

 

** From the editors: The Feminist Current event references when Meghan Murphy booked a space at VPL for a talk. Murphy is the founder of Feminist Current, a website that puts forward several views, one of which being that trans women are really men. This event sparked protest from the LGBTQ+ community and allies, and it led to a debate in the library community and beyond about how neutrality and intellectual freedom can be at odds, and how BCLA’s values of intellectual freedom and inclusion and diversity collide.

 

References

Ahmed, S. (2015, February 15). You are oppressing us! [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://feministkilljoys.com/2015/02/15/you-are-oppressing-us/

Ahmed, S. (2019, June 21). Mind the gap! Complaint as a queer method. Lecture presented at the Present is Not Enough: Performing Queer Histories and Futures Festival, Berlin, DE.

Benaway, G. [GwenBenaway]. (2018a, November 30). @VPL you are a public institution and you’re granting space to folks who actively hate trans and 2S folks, use discredited science, and are advocating positions which result in trans and 2S golks being murdered/denied healthcare n housing, and discriminated against: it’s wrong. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GwenBenaway/status/1068524839172890625

Benaway, G. [GwenBenaway]. (2018b, November 30). There’s a reason they are booking a public library instead of other venues: it’s claiming respectability and the veneer of learning/intellectual debate to cover the ugliness of what they actually say and do. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GwenBenaway/status/1068525421086498824

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Leonard-Boland, J. (2018, November 5). Surveys highlight need to bargain against precarious employment in library sector. Retrieved from https://cupe.ca/surveys-highlight-need-bargain-against-precarious-employment-library-sector

Roschke, R. (2018, June 18). What It Means to “Dead-Name” a Transgender Person, and Why You Should Stop. Retrieved from https://www.popsugar.com/news/What-Dead-Naming-Transgender-Person-43923268

Spade, D. (2015). Normal life: Administrative violence, critical trans politics, and the limits of law (2nd ed.). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

University of British Columbia. (n.d.) Trans and gender diversity. Retrieved from https://students.ubc.ca/campus-life/diversity-campus/trans-gender-diversity

Yes, the attack helicopter “joke” is harmful. (2018, April 15). Retrieved from https://culturewerewolf.com/2018/04/15/yes-the-attack-helicopter-joke-is-harmful/

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