Yeah, I feel somewhat sorry for this guy/gal in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Libraries are great places to hang out and great places to study, but since they are public places designed for use by everyone in the public, transsexual or otherwise, there are rules in place for appropriate behaviour.
Owen Maloney, Library Director, says: “You know, we’re a public library. We get all kinds of people come in here dressed in all different kinds of ways. We’ve never had a problem with dress before, and we still don’t.”
Instead, the library director says it was Christ’s behavior. Owen Maloney cites repeated questioning of staff, staring at patrons, and lack of common courtesy.
Owen Maloney, Library Director, says: “There are certain behaviors that are not allowed in a public library. And if you insist on exhibiting those behaviors, we have no choice but to ask you to leave.”
Something about Christ’s behaviour creeped patrons out enough to complain and the staff followed their bylaws and booted Christ out for a while. The story does not say for how long. Fair? Maybe not, but rules are rules. Christ is trying to claim s/he has been discriminated against on account of clothes and colour and lifestyle. The library is saying that’s not the case at all. Christ is planning to take them to court over it anyway.
Our library has had its share of problem patrons over the years. Some only get banned for a few months, others a year, and the worst get a lifetime ban across the city.
There was the woman who used to mutter to herself and freak out the Pages with her sudden shouting. There was the lady who chopped recipes out of every cookbook. There are always people who get caught looking at internet porn. There are people who masterbate in the reading rooms or use drugs in the bathrooms. There are people who want to have sex in the story rooms. Public drunkenness, public urination (and other voiding of bodily refuse), horrible body odour, persistently obnoxious attitudes toward patrons and staff, hogging computers. There are a lot of behaviours and actions that are going to get a person warned or tossed out entirely.
A free public service it may be, but a library still needs to be a comfortable and safe place for everyone inside and out. If Christ’s behaviour was making people overly uncomfortable then s/he had to go. Plain and simple.
I suspect any judge who’d wind up with the case would wind up saying the same.