Brandon University will welcome a speaker to defend the presence of queer and trans content in schools and public libraries.
Professor Melissa Adler, from the University of Western Ontario, will be at BU Thursday evening. Her talk, entitled “My Queer Manitoba, in Books” will be held in the Gathering Space of the John E. Robbins Library at BU, starting at 7 p.m. All are invited to listen, learn, and demonstrate their support for welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
“We are inviting people in with an opportunity to listen carefully and thoughtfully. If they have a genuine question, let it be asked, and that’s an opportunity to do what we do best: inspire,” said BU professor Dr. Jonathan Allan, a Canada Research Chair and BU professor in English, Drama, and Creative Writing who is also a member of BU’s Gender and Women’s Studies program. “We invite people to the discussion hoping to change minds and hearts about libraries, if necessary, or at least give them a chance to pause and reflect. And for those in the room who already know all of this, I hope they feel reinvigorated and reconvicted of the need to defend libraries, to celebrate the virtues and pleasures of reading.”
Professor Adler will talk from the perspective of a queer single mom, scholar, and former librarian on the necessity of 2SLGBTQIA+ books and their readers and why they belong in school and public libraries.
“My talk is based on a love for queer connections and perverse reading practices,” Adler said, using perverse in a way to emphasize how queer people must often forcefully insert themselves into heteronormative society, including by deliberately acting in a way that’s contrary to what others expect. “I’ll bring this set of ideas to the talk, and I’ll describe how I found Manitoba by reading this way.”
The event is hosted and supported by BU’s Gender and Women’s Studies program, by the John E. Robbins Library, by the BU Faculty Association, BU Human Resources, the BU Office of the Provost, the BU President’s Office, and Brandon University itself. Funding also comes from the Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund
“We are presenting this talk in part because it provides an interesting, engaging, and essential perspective for helping understand the full richness of our world,” said BU President Dr. David Docherty. “The empathy of being able to consider peoples’ experiences other than our own is one piece of the magic that makes us human; programs like Gender and Women’s Studies are critical to helping us all open our minds up to that fullness of humanity.”
Docherty said that it was especially important to support queer perspectives now, against a rising tide of intolerance that has been aimed at queer and trans people, especially in schools.
“We know that programs like Gender and Women’s Studies can be a lightning rod for controversy coming from people who do not understand — and often aren’t even trying to understand. But creating shared understanding is precisely what universities do,” Docherty said. “We stood up strongly for inclusive education with our ‘Don’t’ campaign earlier this summer, and we continue our resolve to ensure education is welcoming for everyone. I’m very much looking forward to Professor Adler’s talk.”
- Brandon University
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