Saturday, January 15, 2011

ALA Screws Gay Librarians; Gay Civil Rights Community Should Demand ALA Action; Rank and File Rebellion Against the ALA Leadership Needed

Flag, The Castro, San Francisco, CA
The American Library Association [ALA] has screwed gay librarians.  This is not a joke, not a cute headline.  The disrespect shown by the ALA to the gay community can be described no other way, except, perhaps by Robert Kent of The Friends of Cuban Libraries:  "Among the most recent outrages ignored by the ALA, the association at its just concluded San Diego failed to take action against recent raids on gay libraries in Cuba. (For details, see the Recent News section of our website.)"

See also "Endless Shame of the Spineless American Library Association," by Nat Hentoff, The Register-Mail, 13 January 2011.

Ironically, the nation's first gay museum has just opened in "The Castro." See: "Gay History Museum Finds Home, Identity," by Jessica Kwong, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 January 2011.

The library community is already discussing this: "SF Gay History Museum Finds Home, Identity," by Steven M. Cohen, Library Stuff, 12 January 2011.  (Hat tip Mr. Cohen.)

That's nice.  I want the gay civil rights community to demand the ALA act to protect the rights of gay Cuban librarians.  We already know the ALA will not defend Afro-Cuban civil rights.  What's going on?  And the ALA is supposed to be considered authoritative in local public libraries?  The concern is best expressed by Nat Hentoff:
I still cannot understand why the leading Officers of American Library Association have abandoned these other librarians.  Nor do I understand why there has not been a rank-and-file rebellion against this by the ALA membership around our country.  Don't they all believe in the freedom to read?

Lastly, here is the entire contents of Robert Kent's communication, emphasis in original.

"[ifforum] Presentation by Camila Alire at UCLA, 1/13"
by Robert Kent 
The Friends Of Cuban Libraries 
13 January 2011

dateThu, Jan 13, 2011 at 1:06 PM
[ifforum] Presentation by Camila Alire at UCLA, 1/13

From the Friends of Cuban Libraries
Jan. 13, 2011

In a message dated 1/12/2011 12:52:42 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
The UCLA ALA Student Chapter invites you to join Dr. Camila Alire, Past-President of the American Library... for a Lecture on

Advancing Your Career through Service, Leadership. Advocacy, and Diversity

Date: Thursday, January 13th
Time: 12:30-1:30pm (feel free to bring your lunch)
Location: GSEIS Building 111

UCLA Students and the California library community should welcome this event by the past president of the ALA on the theme of "service, leadership, advocacy and diversity."

But it is to be hoped that those attending her presentation will ask Ms. Alire questions about her adherence to these principles.  Why, during her presidency of the ALA, did Ms. Alire fail to defend library workers in a neighboring country who are being persecuted?  What good does it do to advocate high principles in theory while failing to implement them in practice?

Among the most recent outrages ignored by the ALA, the association at its just concluded San Diego failed to take action against recent raids on gay libraries in Cuba.  (For details, see the Recent News section of our website.)

Yesterday civil liberties journalist Nat Hentoff, in his latest column on this subject ("The Endless Shame of the Spineless ALA," see link below) asks some of these questions regarding Ms. Alire's failure to respond to appeals, which Ms. Alire has declined to answer for many months. The library community has a right to ask Ms. Alire why she refuses to defend in practice the rights she defends in theory.

We in the Friends of Cuban Libraries urge the people attending Ms. Alire's UCLA presentation to politely insist that she provide answers to these important questions.

NOTE:  Nat Hentoff's column on Camila Alire's lamentable silence as ALA president can be read at:




  1. The gay agenda should NOT be compared to the fight for civil rights. They are NOT the same, period. There is absolutely NO PROOF that people are born gay and there is plenty of proof that a person can change. You can find lots of ex-gays out there but you will never find an ex-black, period. It's really time the country stops trying to normalize perversion and sin and gets back to the real truth and what marriage really is: ONE MAN,ONE WOMAN. It doesn't matter how you repackage it, it's still sin. God created marriage and set a standard, and we should not keep trying to think we know more than God and trying to change that standard. In the end, it's only God's truth that matters, period.

  2. Melinda, thanks for commenting. I look at how the gay librarians were treated and I see that as violating human rights and/or civil rights. See if you agree:

    "We were together, watching the documentary 'A Force More Powerful,' when René said the whole block was occupied by State Security officials; we barely had time to shut the door when two officials, accompanied by two armed policemen, entered by pushing their way in. They insulted us, shoved us around, and took away the literature that we had, in addition to CDs and the DVD," said Henri Solís Estévez.

    They took away a lot of materials printed from the Internet, many were printouts from the Web de Colegas [a Spanish-language gay Internet resource], stated Lucia Acosta, an art history student, who noted that 19 gay youths were attending the meeting, and all of them were arrested.


    Last Monday, May 17, at approximately 11:23 A.M., the complete LGBT book holdings of Henry Solís Estévez, coordinator of the Gay Freedom Party, Dunia Ortega, lesbian activist, and Aliomar Janjaque were confiscated by the State Security police during raids of their homes.

    According to Dunia Ortega, "The first thing they did was to dismantle our libraries. Many gays and lesbians would ask us to loan books. We had all kinds of books, but the ones that caused the most annoyance [to the police] were the collected works of the emblematic author Reinaldo Arenas. Each of us had built up a mini-library in our houses which were collected with great effort.  They [the secret police] respect nothing; the only thing that interested them was messing us up and being a wet blanket. But we will reconstruct [the libraries] again, little by little...."


Comments of a personal nature, trolling, and linkspam may be removed.