Logo by Alex Frades

A Briefing on the 1st Annual unBanned! Book Display Event (June 15, 2006)

A Year in the Life of the Hillsborough Book Display Banning Policy

By Shirley J. Rhodes - Submitted to University of South Florida, Department of Library & Information Science, August 12, 2006

Introduction    The Unbanned! Book Display Event    You Can Help!   About the 1st Annual Banned Book Display and Book Reading including Video Clip Resources     Response to  Book Banning By Author, Chris Crutcher    Presentation Materials & GLBTQ & SA Teen Readers Links       Audio Clip Newscast of Banned Book Display Event    Florida Library Association (FLA) Library Services Support Information    Celebrate Your Freedom to Read September 23–30, 2006      More News Articles, Communications & Resource Links    Reflections of the Past Year of the Book Ban Display in Hillsborough County    Conclusion

Introduction

Purpose of Briefing: Knowledge sharing about efforts of the  Florida library community and supportive advocates, striving to protect the rights of Florida’s Young Adults (YAs) identified as Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgendered, or Questioning (GLBTQ) and the Straight/Gay Alliance (SA).

(NOTE:  Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of USF, FLA, Brandon PRIDE or any other group.)

Goal of Supportive Advocates: Provide safe reading environments in public educational institutions to access appropriate GLBTQ materials and sufficient information resources.

Research Methodology:  A study conducted by the author, Shirley Rhodes, examined the absence of safe environments for satisfying the educational and recreational needs of the target population, which occurred as a result of a Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners
(HCBOC) creation of a discrimination policy issue that banned book displays, gay pride events in public areas, and reportedly has become a political platform to remove the rights of gay foster parents and other related equal rights concerns.  Documented responses from the opposing library and educators in the community, and other advocates that dispute the ban/censorship on the displayed award-winning books with GLBTQ themes, continue as selected books in libraries, media centers, and schools are challenged. These issues are explored, including the counter-responses from the supportive advocates.

Validation: The study was conducted under the direction of Dr. Linda B. Alexander, University of South Florida/Tampa campus, College of Arts and Sciences, in the Academic Department of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

Updated Banned Book List with Book Reviews - compiled by Shirley J. Rhodes (from Dr. Linda B. Alexander's Banned Book List), as part of this Report and LIS6565 requirements, Summer 2006.)

More Materials from Dr. Linda B. Alexander:

Florida Library Association Conferences (Source:  Florida Library Association’s Presentations from the 2004 Conference - <www.flalib.org/conf/2004/presentations.html>) Including Multicultural Teen Programs by Dr. Linda Alexander and Ebony Grigsby, presented at the, “81st Annual Conference & Exhibition, Vibrant Voices! Vital Libraries!!”  

Alexander, Linda B.  Gay Display Controversy: A Threat to Intellectual Freedom.  Florida
Libraries, Vol. 48, no. 2, Fall 2005 pp.24, 26-27.

Alexander, Linda B.  The Importance of Workplace Speech. American Libraries. Vol. 36
no. 9, Oct. 2005, p. 41.

Alexander, Linda, & Miselis, Sarah. Hear the Silent Pleas of our Gay Youth.  KQ Web.
Vol. 34 no. 5, June (or Summer) 2006, pp. X-X. put url. (This vol. has not been posted to their page yet
but should be soon).

Multicutural Materials for Children and Young Adults - GLBTQ Links

(Source:  Dr. Linda B. Alexander’s links page Multicultural Materials for Children and Young Adults and other Course Materials: <http://www.cas.usf.edu/~lalexand/multicultural.htm>

Gay & Lesbian characters & Themes in Children's Books

American Library Association Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table web site

BOOKS FOR GAY & LESBIAN TEENS/YOUTH

Reading Rants

Gus Fiction

GLSEN- website geared to help everyone with this subject:  For information on Building a Gay-Themed Collection (while avoiding book challenges) and other Recommended ResourcesGLSEN. (2005) School of Library Journal, Retrieved Saturday, June 24, 2006 from the Library Information Science & Technology Abstracts database. 

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The "Unbanned" Book Display Event

Catalyst for the Banned Book Event:  A Hillsborough County policy that removed the original book display. Facts about the event are available courtesy of Brandon PRIDE on The controversial book display was a school project by a University of Florida/MLS graduate student, Meagan Albright (June, 2005).

"Unbanned" Is: Poetic Justice as local residents produced a short film called "Unbanned" that; exposes Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms, Tom Scott,Jim Norman, Ken Hagan, and Brian Blair....What started out as simply releasing live video footage of the June 15th Gay Pride display and Book Reading - blossomed into even a bigger idea - a documentary on...the discrimination of the current (HCBOC) have revealed to the GLBTQ community (and) how they have mistreated others based on race, color, creed, sex, nationality, and gender identification equality."

The momentum to make the film was fueled by statements and actions such as:

Commissioner Norman saying he does not want Hillsborough County to be a San Francisco east; Ronda Storms saying that people of color are not able to go through Law school and stating Planned Parenthood Promotes death; actions by County Commissioners that can be considered very questionable: Brian Blair pushing his Christian Ethics on a School Board; rejection of placing Muslim holidays on a calendar; Ronda trying to stop a Bikini Bar from opening.

[Brandon Pride Times:  Volume 1, Issue 3 July 5th, 2006]

The Documentary: A longer film called "unBANNED", is currently in production to open the eyes of Hillsborough County voters, prior to going to the election booth, by informing the community of the facts of the original, banned book display, and creating a historical account of the discrimination our communities are facing today.

You Can Help!

Brandon PRIDE needs your help! We want to gather as many informative remarks/quotes, and/or questionable decisions from all media resources such as television/radio news programs and printed news articles. Please forward them directly to Shelby or Mark.

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How it all started

As reported in the St. Petersburg Times on June 16, 2005:

Hillsborough bans county from recognizing gay pride

What began as a ban on library displays grows into a broad county policy.

By BILL VARIAN, Times Staff Writer
Published June 16, 2005

 TAMPA - Hillsborough Commissioner Ronda Storms promised last week to seek a county policy banning public library displays that promote Gay Pride and Lesbian Pride Month.

Storms went a step further Wednesday, getting most of her fellow commissioners to ban the county government from so much as acknowledging gay pride.

And she made it tough for the policy to be rescinded.

After scant discussion that contrasted with many impassioned pleas from gay rights advocates during the morning public comment period, the board passed the proposal 5-1.

Commissioner Kathy Castor voted no, and Commissioner Ken Hagan was out of the room during the vote.

The discussion went like this:

Storms: "I move that we adopt a policy that Hillsborough County government abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating in gay pride recognition and events, little g, little p."

Castor: "I think it's inappropriate for government to promote discrimination."

Commissioner Brian Blair double-checked Storms' wording.

Then they voted.

Storms followed up with a second proposal, that commissioners can only repeal the policy on a 5-2 super majority vote that follows a public hearing. This time, Hagan was in the room and joined the majority in a 6-1 vote, with Castor again dissenting.

An attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights immediately pledged to file a lawsuit contending the policy violates free speech and equal protection rights for gays and lesbians.

"You don't hide the discrimination by making it broader," said Karen M. Doering of St. Petersburg, who serves as regional counsel to the group. "She found a mole hill she didn't like and blew up the mountain saying, "I don't like the mole hill.' "

Others cast blame on all of the commissioners who stood with her.

"I think that Hillsborough County commissioners sent a very clear message that not everyone is welcome here," said Vonn New, Central Florida director for the gay, lesbian and transgender rights advocacy group Equality Florida. "I think it's shameful what the commission has done."

By Wednesday, Equality Florida had already scheduled a town hall meeting on the topic at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Metropolitan Community Church, 408 E Cayuga St. in Seminole Heights. The church pastor, the Rev. Phyllis E. Hunt, attended Wednesday's meeting and left with her eyes welling, admitting her un-pastorly anger.

"I'm stunned, disappointed and shocked that there was zero conversation about the vote," she said.

The vote comes about a week after a story in the St. Petersburg Times noted that a book display recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month was taken down at West Gate Regional Library after some library patrons complained. The story mentioned a similar exhibit at John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa.

Library officials have said the exhibit at West Gate was removed due to a misunderstanding and was later moved to a less prominent area in the fiction part of the library.

In the public comment portion of Wednesday's meeting, several speakers protested the library actions and any effort to squelch such displays, thinking that was all Storms had in mind.

With Storms' "little g, little p" footnote, the vote appears to ban any recognition of gay pride, even outside of June.

However, county officials were still trying to figure out the ramifications of the new policy.

Does it necessarily ban any display about gay issues at libraries? Storms would only say afterward that she feels the language is clear.

How about a display of books written by gay and lesbian authors, or that explore gay themes? Again, the language is clear, Storms said.

What if a gay student group wants to meet at a county library or any other meeting space?

Only on that point would Storms elaborate. "We're not saying that because of your sexual orientation you can't come into the library," she said.

[Last modified June 16, 2005, 01:05:14]

(Source:  For educational purposes only): 

Title:

Hillsborough bans county from recognizing gay pride

Author:

BILL VARIAN

Publication:

 St. Petersburg Times

Publisher:

St. Petersburg Times Inc.

URL

<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/16/Hillsborough/Hillsborough_bans_cou.shtml>

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About the 1st Annual Banned Book Display and Book Reading including Video Clip Resources

BEFORE THIS ISSUE

April 7, 2004

County rejects same-sex health benefits
<http://www.sptimes.com/2004/04/08/Hillsborough/County_rejects_same_s.shtml>
Storms on Wednesday led a narrow majority of the commission to reject the idea of extending health benefits to the domestic partners of county employees. The vote was 4-3."Hillsborough County has not
historically been supportive in this regard," Storms said afterward.  "The institution of marriage has stood the test of time. I'm going to do my part to strengthen it, not weaken it." "I see this as (leading) to gay marriage next," said Commissioner Jim Norman. "This is not going to be San Francisco east. That's the way I see it."

January 6, 2004 -- Public Access TV
<http://www.afn.org/~iguana/archives/2004_01/20040108.html>

County Commission Chair Mike Byerly extended a professional courtesy to Hillsborough County Commissioner Rhonda Storms, who was present and wished to address the Commissions and talk about Hillsborough's experience with Public Access.

Storms blew into town hell-bent on showing our commissioners the true evil that Public Access television is. After thanking the Commission for allowing her the courtesy to break in line, as it were, and offering the assistance of the Hillsborough staff and County Attorney (as if our own County Attorney Dave Wagner weren't capable of understanding the complexities of the law), Storms said, "I know it backwards and forwards, had all kinds of threats against me, including rape, and all kinds of horrible things for my position. I know it backwards and forwards." This was the beginning of a lengthy harangue in which Storms recounted the horrors that Hillsborough County had endured during its experience with Public Access.

Sheila Bishop stepped up to the microphone upon Storms' departure and asked the Commission to consider placing a time limit on such professional courtesies in the future, pointing out that some in the audience who had come to speak on the issue had simply given up and left. Chair Byerly admitted she had a good point.

(Source:  <http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBC2TEF0AE.html>)

In the 1990s, Storms was active in "Take Back Tampa,'' which successfully pushed to rescind the amendment to the county's Human Rights Ordinance that protected gay residents. At the time, she said "government should not be in the business of saying this is acceptable behavior.''

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As reported by Mark Ferguson in the Brandon Pride Times newsletter, "65 people attended this event at the Bloomingdale Library in Valrico, where the staff of the (Bloomingdale) Library went above and beyond in making our event a huge success.

        1st Annual Banned Book Display and Book Reading in Video, Shared Slideshow Link and Photo Video

Contact Webmaster for more information on obtaining a Real Player Video Clip of the 1st Annual Banned Book Display and Book Reading.  (Courtesy of Brandon PRIDE, Facilitators, Readers, Volunteers, and Attendees/Filmed by Shirley J. Rhodes and Editing by Shelby McIntyre)

Invitation to Shared Photo Slideshow (Photos and Captions by Shirley J. Rhodes)

Contact Webmaster for more information on obtaining a Photo Video of the 1st Annual Banned Book Display and Book Reading.  (Courtesy of Brandon PRIDE, Facilitators, Readers, Volunteers, and Attendees/Photos and Editing by Shirley J. Rhodes)

Response from author, Chris Crutcher on Challenged / Banned Book in Video

Contact Webmaster for more information on obtaining a DVD Video from author, Chris Crutcher's Video response to the Banned Book Display in Hillsborough County.  (Courtesy of Chris Crutcher and assistant Kelly Halls)

The readers, and coordinators were extremely fantastic in making this a night to remember forever. Special thanks goes to Mark Nash, Zeke, Shirley Rhodes, Bart Birdsall, Dr. Linda B. Alexander, Dr. Kathleen De La McCook, Mark Spencer, David Stroud, Cliff Beasley, Kevin Beckner, Michael Friencle, Liz Mossad, Jean Batronie, Bloomingdale Librarian Julie Beamguard and her staff, and Pastor Carolyn Mobley. Your dedication, and willingness to make this event happen will help strengthen our community for generations to come."

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Link to Brandon PRIDE web site "unBANNED"

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Response from author, Chris Crutcher on the Hillsborough County, FL on the

Book Banning of Athletic Shorts and Ironman (in Print)

Link to Equality Florida's web site on Hillsborough Pride is Bank!

Hillsborough County, FL
ATHLETIC SHORTS & IRONMAN
June 15, 2006

In June of 2005, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms insisted a book display including two Crutcher books in her local library be removed -- and soon after, they were. 

Although the covers were not in any case sexually graphic, they fronted books for teens that treated homosexual characters with respect and dignity and were posted to mark the regions celebration of gay pride. 

Storms demanded the display be dismantled and, eventually won the battle to end any public gay pride demonstrations. 

“I do not want to have to explain to my [6-year-old] daughter what it means to be questioning one’s sexuality … or what a transgender person is, or what a bisexual is or what a gay or lesbian is,” said Storms. The library, she said, shouldn’t be “used as bully pulpit to introduce those concepts to a child outside of their parents’ purview.” Only one county commissioner voted against the ban, which resulted in the removal of the shelf of books, as well as a larger display in the central library.

On June 15, 2006 and throughout the month of June, dozens of organizations joined forces under the banner "Hillsborough Pride is Back,"  to protest the ban of books and gay pride expression and invited Crutcher to attend a special reading.  Unfortunately, he was unable to make the trip, but he fully endorses the protest and wishes he could have been there in body as well as in spirit.

Links

Hillsborough County Government -- Storms BIO
<http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/bocc/commissioners/storms.cfm>

Pride is Back
<http://www.eqfl.org/active/prideback.php>

Library No Place for Gay Pride, Storms Says
<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/09/Hillsborough/Library_no_place_for_.shtml>

Hillsborough Bans County From Recognizing Gay Pride
<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/16/Hillsborough/Hillsborough_bans_cou.shtml>

Storms Bid for State Senate
<http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBKN5TO3OE.html>

Resources for Providing GLBTQ & SA Library Services for Young Adults

bulletNEW Teaching Guide!
Thanks to Greenwillow/HarperCollins, you can now get a copy of, "A Guide to Teaching  Challenged and Banned Books: Featuring the novels of Chris Crutcher."  There are low resolution (72dpi) jpgs of each of the 8 pages HEREBut for a real paper copy, email Kelly with an address and she'll get them right out to you.

(Source:  Via email on July 31, 2006, from Kelly Halls, Chris Crutcher's Assistant with article timeline  information/research) 

Crutcher has worked with the state ACLU in several instances and they are dogged about trying to move these kinds of lawsuits forward whenever possible.  But Karen Doering is right, a concise synopsis of what's happened needs to be put together. 

I've put together an article timeline for Crutcher's benefit...But the ACLU (NOTE: For example, if the ACLU decides to take any more action at this particularly time) responds, and will need everything documented (as noted in other cases in other states) -- all the emails anyone has access to directly from Storms and her associates, anything that proves she had the materials pulled, based on her own personal taste." 

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(Timeline and additional articles added to the following "Timeline" was compiled by Kelly Halls, Shirley Rhodes, Mark Ferguson, President of Brandon PRIDE, and USF LIS professors, Dr. Alexander and Dr. McCook - Please submit any more materials or information via email to Dr. Linda B. Alexander.)

Ronda Storms Summary/Timeline
Hillsborough County, Florida
June 9, 2005
Library no place for gay pride display, Storms says

Commissioner Ronda Storms said she will schedule the issue for a board discussion where she intends to ask that such displays be banned. As the mother of a 6-year-old daughter, she said she does not want to be forced to explain homosexuality and transexuality if her child passes such a display and starts asking questions.

"I do not want to have to explain to my daughter what it means to question one's sexuality," Storms said during a budget workshop Wednesday.

June 15, 2005
<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/16/Hillsborough/Hillsborough_bans_cou.shtml>

Hillsborough bans county from recognizing gay pride.  What began as a ban on library displays grows into a broad county policy.   Storms: "I move that we adopt a policy that Hillsborough County government abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating in gay pride recognition and events, little g, little p." The vote comes about a week after a story in the St. Petersburg Times noted that a book display recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month was taken down at West Gate Regional Library after some library patrons complained.

The story mentioned a similar exhibit at John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa.  October 6, 2005, County Commission Votes Against Gay Protection. The Hillsborough panel rejects a proposal prohibiting workplace discrimination and makes it more difficult to put the issue on a ballot.

(NOTE:  One week before National Coming Out Day October 11, 2005.
<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/10/06/Hillsborough/County_Commission_vot.shtml>

At the time, Storms and commissioners said they weren't discriminating against gays, but they just didn't want taxpayer money to recognize their lifestyle. Now was their chance to prove they
didn't mean to discriminate, Castor said. Not so, said Storms, who said the board had already decided the issue a "long time ago.")

(Note:  April 28, 2006, Storms makes Political vows. The state Senate
candidate says she would work to bar gays and lesbians from being
foster parents.)   "I don't support putting at-risk children in homes that I think are
at-risk themselves," she said of gay foster parents.)

<http://www.sptimes.com/2006/04/28/Brandontimes/Storms_makes_politica.shtml>

June 16, 2005
Commission bans county from recognizing gay pride
<http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBC2TEF0AE.html>

Storms bolstered her proposal with an unusual second motion to require a public hearing and supermajority vote by the commission to overturn the policy. The motion also passed with only Castor voting no.

June 21, 2005
Gay rights activists unite in opposition
<http://www.abcactionnews.com/stories/2005/06/050621gayrights.shtml>

Monday night, Equality Florida held an emergency meeting to share some ideas about how to get that policy reversed. So many people showed up at Metropolitan Community Church that overflow rooms had to be set up to accommodate everyone.

June 21, 2005
Library display's organizer wants the books to be found  (Original St. Petersburg Times article included a book list that had errors.   PLEASE NOTE: Updated Banned Book List with Book Reviews - compiled by Shirley J. Rhodes (from Dr. Linda B. Alexander's Banned Book List), as part of this Report and LIS6565 requirements, Summer 2006.)

<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/21/Hillsborough/Library_display_s_org.shtml>

Meagan Albright could see herself working in library administration, or perhaps with the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

But what she would really love to be is a librarian who works with young adults - which helps explain the teen-friendly book display she put together for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month at West Gate Regional Library in Town 'N Country, where she works part time.

"Suicide is the No. 1 leading cause of death for gay teens," she said. "I wanted to provide outreach to that particular segment of the population."

June 25, 2005
Storms irate at gay flier at a library
<http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBYTRXADAE.html>

The pamphlet "Lesbian & Gay Support Groups: You are not alone!'' includes telephone numbers and Web addresses for groups such as Also Out Youth, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition and The Other Queer Page. The pamphlet contains an "OK to be Gay'' logo.

"In my opinion, it engages Hillsborough County in very high-risk behavior, not to mention encouraging children to engage in very high-risk behavior,'' Storms said.

She suggested the pamphlet directs children to people and places without their parents' knowledge. The list of Web addresses includes Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays and Gay Parent Magazine.

Storms obtained the pamphlet Friday, nine days after proposing the policy to ``abstain from acknowledging, promoting and participating'' in gay pride recognition or events. The gay pride display at West Gate and a presentation of gay-themed books at the John F. Germany branch downtown were ordered removed after the June 15 vote.

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June 23, 2005
Storms defends new policy
 
"The question is whether Hillsborough County should promote gay pride, and the answer to the question is, 'No,' '' Storms said during an interview in her office.
 
July 2, 2005
Real life, storybook ideals collide
<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/07/02/Floridian/Real_life__storybook_.shtml>

[It was] her posterboard that made Tampa and Hillsborough County the epicenter of a national debate on homosexuality.

And to think: All [Megan] Albright wanted was an A on her graduate school final.

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August 19, 2005  SEPARATE ISSUE
A dilemma over sheltering sex offenders (during a hurricane)
<http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4807625>

Kelly's summary:  Sex offenders sent back to jails as shelters because they can't go to shelters where kids are.  No family, no smoking, wear name tags, can't leave or they're violating probation and will be arrested.  
 
Strictest, Hillsborough County -- driving force behind the policy was Ronda Storms, according to NPR.  They will provide no alternative housing, not even jails.
 
December 17, 2005
Storms considering race for State Senate
<http://www.sptimes.com/2005/12/17/Hillsborough/Storms_considering_ra.shtml>

"Everybody understands that I've been heavily courted by constituents and those interested in this seat," Storms said. "People who understand this process, they say they've never seen anyone so heavily lobbied.

"Any time that happens, you have to give it serious consideration."

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April 23, 2006
Storms says threats won't make her change her views
<http://www.sptimes.com/2006/04/23/Hillsborough/Storms_says_threats_w.shtml>
On Political Connections, Storms said she supported state lawmakers intervening to keep Terri Schiavo alive, wants to pass as many restrictions on abortion as possible and supports changing Florida's practice of allowing gay and lesbian couples from serving as foster parents. Gays and lesbians can care for foster children, but under Florida law cannot adopt children.

"I don't support putting at-risk children in homes that I think are at-risk themselves," she said of gay foster parents.

Storms said the hostility she has received from gay and lesbian residents has been unfair: "I've had all sorts of threats and horrible things said and done to me. ... I never attacked anybody's appearance and in fact worked very closely with people who are out-of-the-closet homosexuals and they will tell you I have never done anything but treat them with dignity and respect in my personal working relationship with them."

May 5, 2006
Reporter fired (asked to resign) for MySpace Storms spoof
<http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBXYKXZTME.html>

Storms found the fake profile on Myspace.com, a social networking Internet site, while doing a routine search on her name Sunday night. Monday, she asked county officials to file an objection with Myspace, and the site apparently was taken down hours later.

The site included legitimate information about Storms' education and positions on county boards but satirized her views on gay people, sexual mores and religion. It included comments directed at Storms' backing of a ban on county support of gay pride.

A second site featuring Storms' official county commission picture, but little else, remained active Thursday night. So did Vivinetto's personal Myspace page, which included an image of a poster promoting an anti-Storms event held in October.  A caption under the poster, which features a stylized rendering of Storms' official photo, reads, "B-I-G-O-T, and BIGOT was her name-o."

June 7th, 2006

Wednesday, 9am the County Commissioners will meet for their monthly meeting. Brandon Pride encourages everyone to show up early that morning to let the Commissioners know that even without their approval that our community will still continue to promote Diversity, Equality, and Gay Pride in Hillsborough County. 

Regular meetings of the Board of County Commissioners are open to the public and are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, beginning at 9 a.m. Speakers generally are limited to three minutes. So get there 8am to sign up. The Commissioners offices and boardroom are located on the 2nd floor of County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa. For more information call 813-272- 5660.

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June 15, 2006

(Source:  Embracing Tolerance/Gay Pride Display - <http://www.hcplc.org/hcplc/liblocales/bdl/>)

(Note:  At least 2 other Banned Book Displays - University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, and Orlando Public Library (OCLS) had similar (Gay) Pride display set up in the Libraries.)

Does the Hillsborough County Commission have the best interest for the GLBT Community? You judge for yourself?

June 15th, 2006, Thursday, 7-9pm. Embracing Tolerance/Gay Pride Display. Readings from Library books that were removed from Pride displays last year that embrace Pride, Diversity, and Equality, and to let Hillsborough County Commissioners that we have not forgotten their decision to not show any support, or recognition towards the gay community.  Venue: Bloomingdale Library Community Room, 1906 Bloomingdale Avenue, Valrico.

Audio Clip of Newscast of 1st Annual Banned Book

June 16, 2006 WMNF Newscast on Pride Banned Book Display event held on June 15, 2006

<WMNF 88.95 Local Newscast

(5:39 in Real Player media player)

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June 25, 2006

Pride amid a protest
<http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/25/Tampabay/Pride_amid_a_protest.shtml>

“You're a sodomite! You're filthy! You need Jesus Christ!” yelled a 23-year-old evangelist who would not give his name or occupation.

He called himself “John the Baptist,” and kept preaching even after someone threw a drink on him. Ice cubes sat melting on his shoulders.

“You probably have AIDS. Is that why you're so small?” he yelled at a gay man.

June 29, 2006
Storms resigns her District 4 county seat to run for District 10 State Senate seat
<http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/29/Hillsborough/Storms_makes_resignat.shtml>

Asked why the county staff was publicizing the event, and not her campaign, Storms said, “It’s a resignation from my county commission seat.’’

When it was observed that the announcement felt like a campaign event, Storms said, “Sorry about that. I can’t help how you feel. There’s therapy for that.’’

July 11, 2006
Storms backs out of debate
<http://www.sptimes.com/2006/07/11/Hillsborough/Busy_Storms_backs_out.shtml>

Storms originally accepted an invitation from the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9 to take part in a debate on Aug. 10, but had to back out when the commission scheduled a public hearing for the controversial Lake Hutto development project for the same time.

The Times offered Storms four alternate dates, but Storms said her agenda is packed with board meetings, public hearings and campaign events on those days.

"I cannot miss official commission duty to go engage in a debate," Storms said, adding that she already participated in several debates held by the Plant City Republican Women's Club, the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee and the Sun City Center Republican Club.

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August 3, 2006

(Source:  Via emails/listserv responses to question (See below) posed by Shirley J. Rhodes.)

In a message dated 8/3/2006 10:08:37 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, sjrhodes@tampabay.rr.com writes:  "Why isn't the ACLU, NCLR, Equality Florida, teachers, school media specialists, librarians, or any gay pride group rallying right now?" 

Response from Bart Birdsall via email dated August 6, 2006:

"I can only speak for media specialists. I posted 3 emails about the gay pride march downtown last summer and the library display issue when it first occurred on the school district media specialist folder/message board. I think I received 2-3 responses that had supportive words but no commitment to work with me on it. Then, the school district pulled me into Professional Standards for posting those messages saying it was "political use of the school district email system." School district employees are scared to death to speak out on things. When they are not, they get punished. It's ridiculous. This is wide spread in Hillsborough County. No one wants to speak out, and it makes it harder for those of us who do.
    

There is more to my case and it can be read easily, if you Google my name. Basically, the Superintendent jumpstarted the investigation with a newspaper article I appeared in and home emails I sent to the public library director complaining about his not standing up for Intellectual Freedom, and when Professional Standards found out I had 1st Amendment Rights to appearing in the newspaper and sending home AOL emails to the library director, they decided to lock up my email system at school and go hunting for a technicality to call me in and chastise me and while I was there let me know that the Superintendent gave them the AOL emails and the newspaper article, so I would be scared and hush up. Two days after the meeting I read from the books taken off display with a bullhorn in front of the county building. I decided I cared more about my freedom and 1st Amendment Rights than any job. I wish more people felt this way."

    Bart
 

Responses and Attachments of Information from Mark Ferguson via emails dated August 6, 2006:

"Shirley,

I dont think the ACLU, and NCLR are interested after talking to them about what happened. Read the attachment anyway." (NOTE:  A second email on a similar subject matter, and two additional attachments will be included below, from Mark Ferguson, August 6, 2006.)

Attachment 1/Related Subject: The county argues and The First amendment just went down in flames in a federal district court in FLorida/July 26, 2006...

History of rejection by:

County Parks we wanted to reserve for Brandon Pride fest on June 17th, 2006

Clayton Park, Brandon Recreational Center

As far as the County Parks Dept I was constantly getting the run around by Scott Burkett, Lois Castler, Marty Bradley and the staff of the Athletic, and Recreational Parks on if Brandon Pride can hold a Pride event, or not. 

Either there were issues on if people smoked, and drinked, along with the music would disturb the neighbors, and the wildlife. The issue of not enough parking would not be able to accommodate an attendance of over 100 people. Then I was told that every athletic park would not be available June 17th because of Little League. Therefore none of the Athletic Parks, or Recreational Parks would not be available that day. But Scott Burkett later told me that all the parks staff has to get approval from the Hillsborough County Commissions for any group/organization that wants to reserve a park.

Marty Bradley stated that the Brandon Recreational Center was available on June 17,2006, and suggested that Brandon Pride re-submit another application which I sent out to them, and then Jason at 931-rent stated that it was not available at all.

State Parks

I also contacted the Florida State Parks Dept on seeing if Lithia Pinecrest State Park, or any other parks was available and I received the same excuses the County Parks Dept gave.

State Fairgrounds

So I then contacted the Florida State Fairgrounds

Joyce Covington, and Julie Dean who is in charge of reservations stated that they would mail us the application packet since June 17th was available. We still have not received the packet, or they have not returned any of our phone calls.

Westfield Mall

We then tried to reserve the grounds outside of the Westfield Mall in Brandon.  Mall Reservations agent Taylor Clifton told us that it was available that day, but then after we applied the next day we were told by Mall Reservations agent Erik Carlson that it was reserved two months prior to our request.

Schools:

I called the Brandon HCC Facilities Operator Richard Cronan who stated that their school property is not available that weekend because they are doing construction, and landscaping.

I also called King High, Armwood High, Bloomingdale High, Brandon High, East Bay High, and Riverview High as directed by the Secretary of the School Board Administrator. None of the School Principles have returned my messages.

Hotel Banquet Halls

I tried every Hotel within, or near the Brandon area, and the majority of them stated that they had availability. But when I called the next day none of them had any availability at all.

Churches

I called all the churches in the Brandon area that could hold a huge congregation including Bell Shoals Baptist, and First Baptist.  I was told by the church secretary at each church that they heard from other churches I contacted, that they knew that I would be calling them next, and that their church does not condone such sinful behavior. 

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Attachment 2/Related Subject: The county argues and The First amendment just went down in flames in a federal district court in Florida/July 26, 2006...
Are Candidates for County Commissioners being bought out by power broker for his own financial gain? You judge for yourself.

Each election, Hughes, his family and close business associates, donate thousands of dollars toward local political candidates. Those candidates, generally Republican, have enjoyed success in recent years. Six of seven Hillsborough County commissioners have received money from the Hughes bloc.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/13/news_pf/State/Activist_s_company_bo.shtml

The pair have ponied up more than $80,000 of their own money to statewide candidates since 1996, public records show. And since 2000, they have put more than $30,000 into the coffers of county politicians. http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBNJFI92XD.html

Related Links:

http://www.sptimes.com/2002/04/21/news_pf/Hillsborough/Conservative_giver_fi.shtml 

http://www.sptimes.com/2002/07/24/news_pf/TampaBay/Insider_benefits_from.shtml 

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/11/11/Hillsborough/Local_Republican_acti.shtml

http://voiceoffreedom.org/

http://www.votehillsborough.org/CFFilingDetail.aspx?type=contribution&file_id=1408

http://www.votehillsborough.org/CFElectionFilings.aspx?elect_id=-1804&office_id=81&cand_id=-1904

http://www.votehillsborough.org/CFFilingDetail.aspx?type=contribution&file_id=1250 

http://www.sptimes.com/2002/04/07/news_pf/Hillsborough/Commissioner_to_chall.shtml

http://www.votehillsborough.org/CFFilingDetail.aspx?type=contribution&file_id=1398

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/26/news_pf/Tampabay/Among_officials__unab.shtml

http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBFHVGVIGE.html

http://www.voiceoffreedom.com/archives/storms.html

http://www.voiceoffreedom.com/archives/tampabay/ronda.html

http://www.votehillsborough.org/CFFilingDetail.aspx?type=contribution&file_id=925

http://www.votehillsborough.org/CFFilingSummary.aspx?file_id=1472

 

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Attachment 3/Related Subject: The county argues and The First amendment just went down in flames in a federal district court in Florida/July 26, 2006...

Press Release!

Transgendered Candidate banned from public debate

Transgendered Candidate for Hillsborough County Commission District 4 Jean Batronie has been banned from participating in a live on air public debate on Bright house networks public access channel 20 that was set for August 9, 2006 on the COUNTY SUPPORTED cable access show called Voice of Pride.  http://www.voiceofpride.org/

According to Jean Batronie she was contacted by a Guest Coordinator for the show, and was told that the Station Manager Louise Thompson did not want her come to her station for the debate.  Jean has been banned from producing a show at the station for four years.

Jean and Arleen Batronie produced two shows that station operators temporarily canceled because of alleged rule violations. The Two former show producers at Hillsborough County's public access television station have sued its operators, saying their suspensions violated the First Amendment. "Both say the charges that led to their suspensions were bogus and that they were singled out because station operators did not like the content of their shows. The station is backed by taxpayer dollars and some of the more risque shows it runs by independent citizen producers have rankled Hillsborough commissioners - particularly Batronie's 2004 political opponent, Ronda Storms a candidate now running for Florida Senate District 10. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come down to the station and view the records with regard to the way that these producers' suspensions were handled, and decide for themselves what they think about it," said Louise Thompson, who directs the station.

Back in 2001, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms was offended by some of the public access programs, and told Board Chairman Louise Thompson that her mind was already made up not to support funding for public access, and that she would do all she could to get others on the commission to vote against it. Since then Louise Thompson has removed any type of programs that the public access channel major contributors the Hillsborough County Commissions would find offensive.

Jean will file a suit against the station, and the for breaking Chapter 97 of the Florida Code concerning appearances by political candidates, and is clearly stated on page 22 of TBCN Policies and Procedures Manual. TBCN has also violated their discriminatory conduct policy by not allowing Jean to participate because of her sexual orientation located on page 8 of the manual.  http://www.tbcn.org

Resources:

http://www.weeklyplanet.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A818&comments=yes

http://www.voiceoffreedom.com/archives/publicaccess/funding111202.html

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/02/01/news_pf/Hillsborough/Two_public_access_TV_.shtml

Ronda Storms who is now running for Florida Senate District 10 has played an active role as far as the County's funding for the channel 20 TV station, TBCN http://www.tbcn.org/, since 2002 when questioned some of the programs that had aired.

Section 9.11 Discrimination Prohibited.
To be consistent with federal and state constitutions, laws, rules, and regulations, the county government shall not deprive any person of any right because of race, sex, age, national origin, religion, physical handicap, or political affiliation. The administrative code shall provide adequate means for protecting these rights, including equal opportunity assurances. http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/charterreviewboard/charter/home.cfm?viewfull=yes

http://election.dos.state.fl.us/publications/pdf/2006TreasHandbook.pdf

See Chapter 21 Filing a complaint

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August 3, 2006

(Source:  Quoted from Bart Bardswell from <gpdisplay@yahoogroups.com>)
 Tonight I attended the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County's Candidates Forum
 for school board members.)

"The School Board, District 2 race show will be telecast on Brighthouse channel 18 and
beginning August 31st on Verizon FiOS tv channel 32. There will also be demand streaming
on <www.educationchannel.org>."

Here are the dates of the telecast:

August 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 (all 8pm)
August 20 (2pm)
August 21 (10am and 8pm)
August 22 (8am)
August 23 (8pm)
August 24 (8am)
August 25 (8am)
August 26 (8pm)
August 27 (2pm)
August 28 (10am and 8pm)
August 29 (8am)
August 30 (8pm)
September 2 (8pm)
September 3 (2pm and 8pm)
September 4 (10am and 8pm)

 
(NOTE from Bart:  Candy Olson tried to kick gays by asking me why I don't support making schools safer for ALL kids and not just gay ones.  I answered (paraphrase): "I believe making schools safer for one segment of the population makes them safer for all students, and I just came back from a summit in Denver where I learned that schools with no or very general harassment policies that focus on all students instead of specifying categories have much higher incidents of bullying than schools that list the categories of students such as sexual orientation, physical appearance, etc. You have to give concrete examples to children, and to adults to send a clear message about what will not be tolerated.")

(NOTE:  See supportive statistics from Colorado Public Libraries Study - This Fast Facts not only looks at challenged materials in Colorado public libraries in 2005, but at some trends over the years as well.  (Source:  <Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2005>)

August 3, 2006  SEPARATE ISSUE

(Source:  ALIS Listserv, August 3, 2006, for informational purposes only.)
Subject: Protecting Civil Liberties in the Sunshine State

 ************************************************
 American Civil Liberties Union of Florida
 Protecting Civil Liberties in the Sunshine State
www.aclufl.org
 ************************************************
 "We're proud to share several recent civil liberties successes in our Sunshine State with you. We regularly share news and action alerts regarding our work in Florida with members, and want you to have the opportunity to be up-to-date on our fight to protect our freedoms in your own backyard.

It is easy to sign up today and continue to receive local civil
liberties alerts and news:  <http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=2bELrY_YQMgKG6Ai53SAMw..>

Although there is still work to be done to protect our freedoms, we want to take a few moments to share these successes with you, as well as some upcoming battles.

We had a victory this summer in protecting free speech and resisting efforts to impose censorship. In June, the Miami-Dade School Board voted 6-3--ignoring the advice of two committees of experts, the School Superintendent and its own attorney--to enforce censorship by removing a children's library book on life in Cuba, which was challenged by a parent who found the book offensive, and the entire 24-book series in which the book was included.

In the landmark 1982 Pico decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to ban library books based on objections to content or a political viewpoint. On July 24, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Alan S. Gold said that it is still unconstitutional and issued an 89-page Order for Preliminary Injunction against the Miami-Dade School District. You can read the injunction here:  <http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=eqcBNaXFJeQXEgfSwQyyIg..>

While an appeal is possible, we hope that the district will cease the misuse of taxpayer dollars on what is a clear violation of both the Constitution and the school's own policies. The fight for free speech in Cuba cannot be fought against the First Amendment in Miami; the answer continues to be additional information, not enforced censorship.

In another victory, a federal judge struck down an outdated Florida law in June and followed a six decades-old landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling which prohibited schools from punishing students for respectfully refusing to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance.  Cameron Frazier v. Cynthia Alexandre et al, an important Palm Beach case which the ACLU argued, prohibits mandatory flag saluting -- bringing Florida up to what has been the standard practice in the rest of America for more than sixty years. To read more about the Palm Beach case, go to:  <http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=6Yfo47aBPAZBP4helyxgnw..>
<http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=pEmWE5OHPNlAd3zmELg20A..>

Finally, in one of our biggest wins this year, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the Governor's "Voucher" program
that violated the State's responsibility to provide a "uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools," which would have been undermined by the diversion of state tax dollars to private and mostly church-run
schools. We were part of the legal team that filed the challenge to the voucher program shortly after it was enacted by the Legislature in 1999. The news is unfortunately not all good; three other voucher programs, enacted by the legislature in defiance of the Constitution, are still in place.

With attacks on our rights from all sides, it is more important than ever for Floridians to stand up and make their voices heard. Freedom of speech and separation of church and state are, after all, protected by the First Amendment.

One very important way you can be involved is to stay educated on what's happening locally and stand up for freedom with your fellow Floridians. That's what our weekly email is all about --  keeping you up to date and giving you the chance to do something about protecting our liberties. It's quick and easy.

Sign up now to continue to receive these local ACLU emails.

<http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=Dmszp-3izQoKVxsFyKr5ng...>

We share these victories together. I urge you to get further involved in our work to protect our freedoms. Getting our regular email is the best way to do so, or visit our Web site."

Sincerely,

Howard Simon
Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

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For informational Purposes Only: 

July 26, 2006

Ferlita draws fire from primary foe

(Source:  St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg, Fla., Janet Zink)

Brad Swanson has three opponents in the Republican primary for Hillsborough County Commission, but he’s coming out swinging at one: City Council member Rose Ferlita. A Swanson mailer sent July 13 says the local gay community has endorsed Ferlita. In an interview, Swanson said he’s referring to a Brandon Pride Web site. The organizations president, Mark Ferguson, lists candidates who would get his vote. Ferlita is the only Republican among them.   I am not going to discriminate against anybody, said Ferlita, who is Hispanic. She said she remembers growing up in Tampa and seeing signs on a Tampa beach that warned no dogs, no Latins.  
 

For informational Purposes Only: 

August 2, 2006

The Gay Agenda

What is it, and where can we get a copy?

BY WAYNE GARCIA

Published 08.02.06 (Sourcehttp://www.weeklyplanet.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A83824)

 

The Gay Agenda

What is it, and where can we get a copy?

By Wayne Garcia

Published 08.02.2006
(Sourcehttp://tampa.weeklyplanet.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=83824)

Just as surely as the swallows return annually to San Juan Capistrano, we've had the semi-annual playing of the "gay" card in Florida politics. This year it comes courtesy of Republican Brad Swanson, who wants to be a county commissioner in Hillsborough.

His target: Republican opponent Rose Ferlita.

Earlier this month, Swanson sent out a mailer to hardcore, frequent Republican voters in which he questioned Ferlita's conservatism, her record and her support in the gay community.

Swanson's letter to voters said that he's "not surprised that our local gay community has endorsed my opponent" because of what he calls her "proactive role in defending local gay issues." He then reprinted a St. Petersburg Times story about the St. Pete Pride parade that didn't include a reference to Ferlita -- because she wasn't there. That story likewise doesn't mention any "endorsement" of Ferlita. But it does include a photo of two men kissing, a shot so apparently incendiary that Swanson was forced to blur the image lest anyone be offended or faint -- or worse.

I have to say up front that I am not a babe in the woods when it comes to playing the gay card. I was, after all, a Republican political consultant for nine years and was involved in plenty of campaigns where the client was adamantly opposed to gay rights.

And in full disclosure, I must say I worked in Ferlita's successful 1999 Tampa City Council election. I've tried to avoid writing about their race, but apparently what little I have written has ended up as fodder for another of Swanson's mailings, which uses three quotes from this column as evidence of Ferlita's alleged liberality.

Swanson is a new face in the Republican camp, but he has some strong allies and a socially conservative platform. The former child actor-turned-chamber of commerce spokesman has an uphill climb ahead of him, in some ways. He's one of three men running against one woman; he's raised quite a bit less money than the frontrunner, Ferlita; and she is a two-term Tampa City Council member with strong name recognition.

But Swanson has more than a few things going for him, as well. He's got the eastern Hillsborough conservative brain trust on his side, including strategist Sam Rashid and a consultant with a strong track record of Republican victories; Republican primary voters tend to skew to the more conservative candidates; and some of those same voters don't like homosexuals or any of the political issues they identify as "the gay agenda."

I wasn't aware of any gay-oriented endorsements in any of the local races, so I called Swanson to find out what he meant.

"Facts are facts," he said. "Every opportunity that the gay agenda has come up before my opponent, Rose, she has supported it. ... She needs to explain to Republican voters why she votes so hard for the gay agenda."

Ferlita's voting record is not one that is particularly "pro gay." One vote that Swanson cited, favoring same-sex benefits for city employees, was actually the result of an executive order signed by Mayor Pam Iorio, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

Ferlita, however, did disagree with the county's slapdown of a gay pride display in its public libraries. Ferlita was quoted in the Times saying, "Personal prejudice should be left aside. I do not agree with what the majority decided."

Unfortunately, that kind of crazy talk can get you killed in a Republican primary.

"She is a liberal on every issue, from raising taxes [to social issues,]" Swanson said in his conversation with me. "This is one example of her showing her strength as a liberal. The coordination [between her campaign and the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community] I feel is out there. I am already receiving harassment calls from the gay community. But I will say this, we have received many more very supportive calls from Republicans ... that have been very supportive of the voters knowing about the facts."

(Ferlita's campaign countered that the only endorsements it has received came from Republican Sheriff David Gee, Republican State Attorney Mark Ober and the Tampa firefighters union. She also voted last week against a pay increase for Iorio, the only no vote on the City Council.)

Swanson cited as the source of his contention that the "local gay community" had endorsed Ferlita in an online message written by Brandon Pride president Mark Ferguson. In it, Ferguson said he was voting for Ferlita, but didn't say his preference was an endorsement, nor did he claim to be representing the local gay community.

In the aftermath, in fact, Ferguson was livid that Swanson was using him as the crux of a political attack.

"For the record, as President of Brandon Pride I will not tell other members to vote for, or support a particular candidate, or party," Ferguson said in an online message intended for Swanson. "Nor ... will Brandon Pride endorse a particular candidate, or party. As a nonprofit organization we cannot support a candidate, or political party. But if you ever have a beef about who I am voting for then, I ask you to approach me FIRST before you include me in any cat fights you have with any other candidate on where they stand concerning issues that effect the GLBT community."

Which leaves the issue of the gay agenda. What exactly is the gay agenda? I've heard it invoked many times, especially from social conservatives who fear gay marriage, but I've never really studied it to see what all the hubbub is about. So I turned to the one person I knew would have a copy: Nadine Smith, of Equality Florida. I fired off an e-mail asking her to send me one. She responded:

"Funny you should write me today. I had the gay agenda earlier this week and forgot I'd put it in the pocket of my comfortable cotton draw-string pants when I was trying on a pair of Birkenstocks at the Farmer's Market and Fair Trade Emporium.

"After stashing my purchases in the back of my hybrid and heading home, I decided to wash a load of clothes in environmentally friendly detergent and hang them on the clothesline. Imagine my embarrassment when I discovered that the agenda was now a useless wad of soggy debris, bobbing in the wash basin.

"I'm having to reconstruct the whole thing, and for the life of me I can't remember what comes after 'Destroy heterosexual marriage.' Oh well."

Political Whore can be reached by e-mail at wayne.garcia@weeklyplanet.com, by telephone at 813-739-4805 or on our blog at www.blurbex.com.

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August 3, 2006

A misguided accusation of bigotry

(Source:  Subject: st pete times 8/3/06 letter to editors)


As a result of the press reports surrounding my recent letter to Republican voters regarding Rose Ferlita, which questioned her proactive role in supporting and defending "gay" issues, I have been the recipient of vitriolic attacks from the gay community in our county as being a bigot and "homophobic" and have been accused of gay-bashing by your editorialists.

This is a complete misunderstanding of my comments. I would like to clarify my personal position. It appears that everyone who doesn't actively support a "gay" lifestyle is labeled a bigot, or accused of "bashing" by members of this group. This is quite ironic because, in my opinion, that attitude is as bigoted as one can conceivably be.

I'm proud to support all individuals in their right to live and work productively in our society. What I find intolerable is granting special "privileges" based on sexual orientation. As a "straight" person, I don't celebrate my sexual orientation, nor do I ask to put displays of offensive "straight" lifestyle books or graphics within view of the general public, nor do I ask for special consideration as a result of my "straight" lifestyle. I simply live and work productively.

So the next time you choose to attack conservative-minded individuals and call us bigots, please look to yourselves. That's where the real bigot resides.

Brad Swanson, candidate for Hillsborough County Commission, Tampa

August 4, 2006

(Source: <http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/04/Brandontimes/Storms_afraid_of_a_re.shtml>)

Storms afraid of a real debate

Letter to the Editor
Published August 4, 2006

Re: Storms says her schedule rules out debate, July 14 Thanks for the article on Ronda Storms. As usual, Ronda put up a front that she can't make the debate because of prior commitments. Truth is, she is afraid of a true debate because she has never been in one. I attended the so-called debate in Sun City Center. This was not a debate in any sense of the word but a time and forum for the candidates to express their stances on what they considered important.   At the above-mentioned forum, Storms did not answer any questions but took up an overage of her time to deride Sandy Murman, extol her own virtues as a schoolteacher and have her minions circulate petitions for qualifying for the Florida Senate seat while the other candidates were talking.  

Roger F. Meissner

Sun City Center

 

 

August 4, 2006

Swanson is Totally misguided

(Source: Via email to Shirley Rhodes from Brandon PRIDE president, Mark Ferguson, regarding response to Brad Swanson's alleged attack on Brandon PRIDE and Mark Ferguson, on a personal level.)

 

  Re:  Mr. Swanson,

1st) As a registered voter I have the right to vote for who ever supports Equality, and Human Rights. Yes I am Gay, but it does not mean the Gay community supports, or endorses these candidates. It means that me Mark Ferguson will support, and or endorse any candidate that I feel supports Equality, and Human rights. You sir do not.

2nd) I can also practice my First Amendment rights as far as Freedom of speech goes to inform others on who I am voting for. You misunderstood my intentions and therefore assumed that I was speaking on behalf of the GLBT community.

3rd) The Gay community is not asking for as you so put it "Special Privileges." All we are asking for is Equality. Nothing More, Nothing less.

4th) I find it disgraceful that you would use me, or others to try and win a election. You have proven that you will step on people for your own political gain. Finally, you do not deserve any recognition, nor support considering the things you have said, and done as a candidate. You have lowered your standards by attacking others for your own political gain. Therefore you deserve what you call "vitriolic attacks" for the way you spoken out against Equality, and Human Rights.

Mark Ferguson, Brandon Pride President

Registered Voter

Mark Ferguson 08.04.06

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Related PowerPoint Presentation Materials & GLBTQ & SA Teen Readers Links

bullet Presention by Meagan Albright, USF MLS student and Dr. Linda B. Alexander, USF SLIS faculty submitted to the FLA Annual Conference 2006, Orlando, FL, at the 1st Annual GLBTQ Discussion Group meeting, regarding Ms. Albright's book display, banning, and other relevant information.
bullet Handouts from 1st Annual UNBANNED Book Display sponsored by Brandon PRIDE 2006 (Presentation Materials prepared by Meagan Albright, Shirley Rhodes, and Dr. Linda B. AlexanderThese views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of USF.)
bullet

http://www.brandonpride.com/

bullet "Banned Books Week." American Library Association. 2006.
http://www.ala.org/bbooks (Accessed 21 Jul, 2006)
bullet Rainbow Reading: gay and lesbian characters and themes in children's books.  Notes from the Windowsill annotated bibliography by Wendy E. Betts.
bullet http://www.armory.com/~web/gaybooks.html
bullet Young Adult Librarian's Help/Homepage Last modified: August 11, 2006 05:54 PM
tfiresto@suffolk.lib.ny.us http://yahelp.suffolk.lib.ny.us/
bullet Library Q: The Library Worker's Guide to GLBT Resources
bullet Gerber/Hart Library
bullet Stonewall Library & Archives
bullet The James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center
bullet http://www.BooklistOnline.com
bullet National Center for Lesbian Rights / Resource Links
bullet About Chris Crutcher
bullet ALA's 2006 Press Releases for "Challenged Books" 
bullet

ALA's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Round Table

bullet

The new Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2005 Fast Facts has been posted. This Fast Facts not only looks at challenged materials in Colorado public libraries in 2005, but at some trends over the years as well.  (Source:  <http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/241_Challenged%20Materials%20in%20Colorado%20Public%20Libraries_%20Rev.pdf>

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Florida Library Association (FLA) Library Services Support Information

Florida Library Association's (FLA) GLBTQ Mission Statement / 2006 "Not at my Library" (draft form)

The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Library Services Support Group of
 the Florida Library Association exists to assist with recognition of
 problems and inequities in the provision of services and materials to all
 groups, especially the GLBT community. The group works toward solving these
 unequal conditions in order to provide for a more diverse human experience
 in the interest of the common and democratic good. Participation is open to
 all FLA members.

Contact Webmaster for more information on obtaining a Real Player Video Clip of the 1st Annual FLA GLBT Discussion Group.  (Courtesy of FLA GLBT Discussion Group/Filmed by Shirley J. Rhodes and Editing by Shelby McIntyre)

(Source:  FLA Member Group Leadership June 5, 2006)

FLA Discussion GLBT Group

Jerry Notaro, Contact

University of South Florida 

notaro@stpt.usf.edu

Additionally, from FLA Listserv, Go to "5 Things Civic Leaders Should Know About Libraries and the Public" and other resource for ...the fifth of which lists the "four specific opportunities for public libraries to integrate themselves more fully into the life of their communities" -- the first of which is "a safe and engaging place for teens" - From Carole Fiore to FLA Listserv, July 23, 2006, "The public wants more library service to teens."

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Celebrate Your Freedom to Read September 23–30, 2006

(Source"BBW Kit." American Library Association. 2006.
<http://www.ala.org/bbooks/resource.html> (Accessed 03 Aug, 2006)

Logo to link to Banned Book Week Toolkit and other ALA Information

Banned Books Week Materials
(Guide, Posters, Fax FormOnline Form, Plus)

New this year!  The ALA Online Store is now selling the 2006 Banned Books Week materials.  Phone information is 1-866-SHOP-ALA.  See additional ordering information.

| A Quick and Easy Guide to Banned Books Week for Librarians | The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books | BBW Press Kit | Related Links | Book Burning | Dealing with Challenges | Reporting Challenges | Banned Books Bracelets Online Order Form |

 
 | BBW Kit | Resource Guide | Annual List of Books Challenged and Banned | BBW Order Form to Fax or Mail | Secure Online Order Form | Posters | Bookmark | Buttons | T-Shirt | Postage and Handling | Ordering Information |
 

BANNED BOOKS WEEK KIT

Banned Books Week: It's Your Freedom We're Talking About, Celebrating Your Freedom to Read is an opportunity to conduct or sponsor positive educational programs, including exhibits, lectures, discussions, plays, and films, demonstrating the harms of censorship.

The 2006 Banned Books Week Kit includes three full-color posters, the List of Books Challenged or Banned in 2005-2006, 100 bookmarks, and 1 Banned Books Week button. Only $35! ($43.00, if purchased separately)

Image of the Resource Guide | Image of the Adult Poster | Image of the Young Adult Poster | Image of the Children's Poster | Image of the Bookmarks | Image of the Buttons | Image of the T-shirt

What You Can Do to Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!  Links to Ideas on How Individuals and Bookstores, Libraries, and Other Organizations Celebrate Their Freedom to Read During ALA's Banned Books Week (BBW), including:

bullet Action Guide, Suggested Activities  from Banned Books: 2001 Resource Book, edited by Robert P. Doyle.

If you have any ideas for “Suggested Activities” for Banned Books Week, please send them to Don Wood.

Inside the Resource Book are Display Ideas, a Selected Annotated Bibliography of First Amendment Resources, a Selected List of Concerned National Organizations, Suggestions for Dealing with Concerns about Library Resources, Banned Books Abroad, Clip Art, as well as recent books challenged or banned, Notable First Amendment Court Cases, and Quotes on the First Amendment.

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More Internet Resources

From GPAC to Gender Public Advocacy Coalition listserv, June 14, 2006, "Dartmouth Acts: 90% Ivy League Adopts Gender Protections" - "A resolution to include the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" was passed by the Yale College Council in April; the issue remains "under study" by administrators.  Adding gender identity and expression to Yale's non-discrimination policy would provide real protections to students, faculty and staff and would also send a powerful message about the University's commitment to equality, diversity and respect in our community," said Hugh Baran, coordinator of the student body's Queer Political Action Committee and GenderYOUTH activist...'Gender identity' is a sense of being male or female, and 'gender expression' is how people manifest feeling masculine or feminine by how they look, act and dress; while 'sexual orientation' is a romantic attraction to one sex or the other."; The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition works to ensure that children can reach their potential without barriers imposed by stereotypes, every person has an equal chance to pursue their career and succeed in the workplace without discrimination, and schools and communities are safe places to learn, grow and succeed. Send inquiries to GPAC.
Additionally, from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) & Equality Florida, FREE BASIC MEDIA TRAININGS are available,"Whether you are a leading spokesperson for an LGBT organization frequently speaking with the media or just someone who wants to learn about the media and how to talk about our lives to others, you will find value in this workshop...Learn how to communicate effectively with members of the media, constituents and your communities on LGBT issues of faith, family, and marriage. The workshop will provide tools for developing your personal message to the media, building relationships with journalists and conducting interviews with print, radio and TV reporters. The workshop is interactive and will include a copy of a GLAAD manual outlining essential media strategies...GLAAD Southeastern Media Manager Alex Shoor, in partnership with Equality Florida and local organizations, will facilitate the trainings...HOW TO REGISTER: The workshops are offered free of charge, but each session is limited to 30 participants and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Send inquiries to shoor@glaad.org.

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A Year in review and response from University of South Florida MLS Candidate, Shirley Rhodes on the Book Ban Display in Hillsborough County, FL

Professional competencies and Developing Library Services for the GLBTQ/SA Users

A short list to develop professional competencies related to issues related to intellectual freedom and Young Adult GLBTQ & SA users, is found in an outline for a 2003 ALA seminar called, "Gay Teens in the 21st Century: Access for the future," (American Library Association 2006), which is posted as the following, and included guest speaker and author, Chris Crutcher at the ALA annual meeting:

bullet Join colleagues and teens to discuss and learn about intellectual freedom issues that affect gay teens  
bullet Develop advocacy skills to support information access for gay teens and other young adults in the new millennium  
bullet Explore effective leadership techniques for addressing print and electronic censorship incidents in your community  
bullet Become familiar with quality information resources for gay teens and other young adults  

In fact, the ALA is considered a leading expert in GLBTQ & SA studies, by virtue of becoming the, “first U.S. professional organization to sanction a gay and lesbian group (1970)” and the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) was set up to “address issues previously neglected by library science, which eventually instituted the “Task Force on Gay Liberation” (Completely Queer 30).

As described in the American Library Association’s web site on the subject of outreach to specifically to the GLBTQ and SA population, “Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q&A" (American Library Association 2006):

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

However, the need and purpose for a GLBTQ & SA library services research and advocacy, is for all to experience freely the cultural literature, music, history, art and any other ‘expression’ that the GLBTQ community has to offer in a public setting. 

Being an original means finding out who you are from the inside out, listening to that inner voice. It means being brave enough to “go for it” even when all around you are scared and reminding you of your limitations.  ~ Chandra Alexander

(SourceAugust 2, 2006 email distribution from Chandra Alexander's newsletter:  "Cutting through to The Real Truth.")

References:

Gay Teens in the 21st Century: Access for the future. American Library Association. 2006.        <http://www.ala.org/ala/olos/outreachresource/gayteens21stcenturyaccess.htm> (Accessed 29 Jul, 2006)

Hogan, S., & Hudson, L. (1998). Completely queer: The gay and lesbian encyclopedia. New York: Henry Holt. p 30.

Intellectual freedom and censorship q&a. (n.d.). American Library Association.
     Retrieved June 22, 2006, from
<http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/intellectualfreedomandcensorship.html>

Credits and other information

bullet

Brandon PRIDE 2006 event sponsorship, facilitators, volunteers, readers, shared informative emails from individuals and listserv research, and especially the attendees of the events researched in this report.

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"unBanned!" and FLA GLBTQ Discussion Group Video Short - by Shelby McIntyre and Shirley Rhodes

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Video/Technical Editing - Shelby McIntyre

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Banned Book Display Reviews - Shirley Rhodes and Cliff Beasley (From Dr. Linda B. Alexander's List of Banned Books)

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"unBIASED" Proofreading - Carol Chronister

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Chris Crutcher Response Video (With special thanks to Chris Crutcher's Assistant, Kelly Halls and technical editor, Shelby McIntyre.

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Photo Credits - Shirley J. Rhodes

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Logo Graphics Credits - Alex Frades

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Permission granted by Meagan Albright and Dr. Linda B. Alexander for use of Presentation Materials

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Audio - WMNF 88.5 Radio Broadcast, June 16, 2006, by Dawn Michelle Morgan

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Copyright Licensure Resource

bullet WMNF is a non-commercial community radio station that celebrates local cultural diversity and is committed to equality, peace and social and economic justice.  WMNF provides broadcasts and creates other forums to serve the community by the exposure and sharing of these values.

Interested in owning your own copy of reports from the WMNF 88.5 FM web site:

"WMNF can provide a copy of individual, locally produced stories on the Evening News if you send a check for $10.00 to WMNF Radio, attn: Evening News, 1210 E. ML King Jr. Blvd, Tampa FL 33603 - or call 813-238-8001 during business hours to use a credit card. Please give us the topic of the story and the date it aired."

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Conclusion

From USF MLS Graduate Candidate, Shirley J. Rhodes, August 3, 2006 :

"The discrimination/legal/political argument surrounding the book banned display in Hillsborough is notably complex; yet not to be ignored.  As a graduating librarian student, I am left wondering how concerned citizens will be able to Make a Difference, in order to preserve our individual rights, without living in fear in Florida to be the person that we are born to become.   

At the end of this independent study on the issues, I am only starting to realize how important our involvement in the process of sharing best procedures, within our expert communities of educators, media specialists, and librarians, has become.  We must continue to share ideas and exercise intellectual freedom practices, not just as a "freedom" venture, in of itself, but as a way to truly live in a free democracy.   

Through communication of our ideas, facts, and insights of ourselves and respect for others - the issues that protect our government, society, and our future, are set in place to provide a better world, to walk the talk of integrity, and hope that our at-risk, Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual, Transgender, & Questioning Young Adults including advocates, such as Gay/Straight Alliances and other youth-oriented, supportive services in education, government and yes, our local libraries; will soon come to understand that our future society depends on the risk-takers that will continue to battle bigotry, censorship and other intellectual freedom issues - Whether, in-your-face or quietly voting on conscience, or openly discussing the banned book display issues - do we not understand how dependent we are in educating our future leaders that will be exposed more and more to prejudices and bigotry on a global level, not just in our own backyard?  Our Young Adults need and deserve to be prepared to continue efforts to eliminate bias, promote intellectual freedom, and "ban" discrimination."

Shirley J. Rhodes

Bullies can only thrive when good people remain silent.  End the Silence! ~ Quoted from Karen M. Doering's email signature on August 1, 2006 to Shirley Rhodes

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More News Articles/Resource Links

bullet <http://www.wmnf.org/>
bullet <http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid28063.asp>
bullet <http://www.outfront.org/links/national.html>
bullet <www.brandonpride.com>
bullet <http:ww.prideinexile.com>
bullet <http://news.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB7ALAM4LE.html>
bullet <http://www.sptimes.com/2006/04/28/Columns/Let_Storms_win_a_Sena.shtml>
bullet <http://www.sptimes.com/2006/07/07/Brandontimes/Party_switch_may_clin.shtml>
bullet <http://www.eqfl.org>
bullet <http://news.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB7ALAM4L#.html>
bullet <http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/18/State/Storms_raises_Castor_.shtml>  
bullet <http://www.publicagenda.org/research/pdfs/long_overdue_teens_fact_sheet.pdf>  
bullet Code of Ethics of the American Library Association - "Code of Ethics." American Library Association. 2006. <http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/ethics.html> (Accessed 22 Jul, 2006)  
bullet <http://www.glaad.org>  
bullet

<http://www.gpac.org>

bullet

<http://genderyouth.typepad.com/network/resources_updates/index.html>

bullet

<http://www.gpac.org/youth/>

bullet

<http://www.tolerance.org>

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Shirley J. Rhodes / Summer 2006 MLS Graduate / Independent Study at the University of South Florida, under the direction of Dr. Linda B. Alexander, University of South Florida/Tampa campus, College of Arts and Sciences, in the Academic Department of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

Last updated: 08/11/2006