Tennesse Schools Unblock LGBTQ Websites

In May, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee filed suit against the Knox County and Metro Nashville school district for blocking lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer websites.  Two weeks later, on June 3rd, the school districts announced that they would stop filtering the websites of gay-friendly advocacy groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).  You can read the full article about the decision here.

A lot of schools and libraries filter their Internet to block explicit sexual or violent content.  In fact, post Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA) / and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) legislation, many public libraries are required to use Internet filtering software if they want to receive funding from the federal E-Rate program.

While you can try to make the case that filtering the Internet helps protect the young and innocent, I think you can more convincingly argue that denying people access to information doesn’t make them safer.  We need freedom of inquiry to make the best choices.

Meanwhile, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is calling our attention to a recent troubling Fox News segment, “Unfit to Print?”.  On June 15, Fox News interviewed two parents calling for removal of Gossip Girl and other young adult fiction from the youth section of the Leesburg Public Library in Florida.  Parents Dixie Fechtel and Diane Venetta argue that the books should be pulled from the 12+ young adult section.  In the Fox News segment, Venetta states, “This is not about censorship” but calls upon parents “to go and see what’s in the youth section of your public library.”

The Kids’ Right to Read Project at NCAC has supported the Leesburg library in its effort to retain the books where they are in the youth section, noting that the Constitution “prohibits the public library from censoring material because some people find it offensive or distasteful. The public library’s role is to serve the entire community, not to reflect or cater to any specific viewpoint.”  While the Leesburg Public Library has voted to keep the contested books on the shelf for now, the recent media attention means that they still need our help.  Please spread the word and show your support of intellectual freedom!


3 thoughts on “Tennesse Schools Unblock LGBTQ Websites

  1. i want to see a blog post about GLBT vs. LGBT and how everyone should be ashamed for completely ignoring the last two letters, then even more ashamed for being pedantic enough to use the letter ordering of an acronym to indicate priority. and whats up with the Q cribbed from from your ICPL blog commenter?

    someone needs to invent a quantum alphabet, and then all the letters can exist at the same point in superposition. OR YOU KNOW STOP BEING DICKS ABOUT IT AND USE A GENERIC TERM AND NOT AN ACRONYM THAT ENUMERATES ONLY SPECIFIC GROUPS!

  2. I often find myself defaulting to “GLBT” for the sake of communication — its an acronym that a lot of people recognize and is inclusive of many people who are not traditionally heteronormative. “LGBT” is also recognizable, so why not switch it up? Sadly, BLTG looks more like the name of a sandwich than a social group!

    Thanks to the NCAC commenter over at the ICPL blog, I was reminded that I can add “Q” to the longer acronym. In fact, I do prefer the term “queer” as all-encompassing and I try to use it on its own as often as possible. But like “cunt” and many similar terms of endearment, I think the word itself has a taboo-ish derogatory quality for those who aren’t “in-the-know.” It’s a dilemma! (Whether to be pro, or con…)

  3. The Leesburg Public Library staff members have proposed a compromise. It has been approved by the Library Advisory Board and will be presented to the Leesburg City Commissioners at the meeting on Monday, September 28th.

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