Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!
Conservatives are afraid of libraries, argues Baylea Jones at Electric Literature because “easy access to information can show marginalized people that we’re not alone. Not everyone wants us to know that”:
“In February, the Trump administration released a budget proposal that would effectively eliminate federal funding of libraries, an institution that serves homeless people, addicts, people of color, immigrants, and those living in poverty. The issue isn’t about the cost of libraries; it’s that conservatives believe some people simply aren’t worth the money. Even more insidiously, it’s that conservatives fear what happens when those people get access to information.
I’m evidence that the worst right-wing nightmare about libraries is true: My library gave me the ability to think beyond my small town’s restrictive ideas of sexuality and showed me that happiness and success as a poor, queer, masculine-of-center woman was possible.”
At the Rumpus, Lyz Lenz writes about why writing matters in the age of despair.
The 2018 Man Booker Prize longlist was announced!
Black language shouldn’t have to be muted for white readers, writes Arriel Vinson at Electric Literature:
“Writers of color are always told — not asked — to center and consider whiteness every time we write. To think about what kind of language white people enjoy reading, how much (or little) they’ll want to work to understand an experience besides their own, and how much push back we’ll get if we continuously write about race. As a black writer, I am told to do the work for the readers. I am told that AAVE needs to be muted so as to not overshadow the one language that matters to white people. I am told to make black experiences white ones instead, or at least experiences that are written in a language they find comfortable. I am asked to forget about the black girls and boys I write for, and instead, write for an audience that already has a spread of white writers to choose from.”
Reading books makes you a better friend.
Read these books by women coming out in August as well as these books in general. Read this queer Caribbean literature. Read these 35 lesbian comic books and memoirs. Read these 25 queer kids’ books. Read these books when you need solitude. Read these books about dogs’ and cats’ inner lives. Read these books at the bar. Read these love stories if you hate love stories. Read these books about fakes. Read these 10 fairy tale retellings. Read these books for the fat babe feminist revolution.
Still working towards becoming a librarian. I anticipate being finished when federal funding is returned by the next administration. :P
Uh, how the hell does one know how people of a different race think? Isn’t everybody speaking the same language? Is this another one of those cases where people are interpreting things in the way that’s most convenient for them a la Cherry Picked Bible?
Trump and his cohorts (or rather, the people he’s a cohort of) likely think libraries are unnecessary because they’ve never used them. The spelling errors, lack of both reading comprehension and critical thinking (or even just thinking) capacity are enough to know the last book they read was the summer reading stuff from school.
I’m a librarian and Baylea’s essay is a perfect example of why I chose this career path and specifically why I chose to work with teenagers. It’s not always an easy job (believe it or not) and sometimes it’s downright discouraging but I hope, hope, hope that I can help kids find themselves, figure out who they are, develop new skills, find solace and welcome and comfort and affirmation. I melt on the occasion that one of my now-adult teens comes back to thank me for including queer books in my lists or displays or because I keep a basket of pronoun pins out or whatever because it gave them the strength to come out to their families or helped them realize they were trans or enby or just let them know someone cares. It’s a hard world and all I want to do is create some softness and happiness for them.