All types of families should be respected


To the Editor:

All types of families should be respectedLast week I brought my two children to the Marlborough public library. When it was time to check out, the librarian held up one of our books and cheerfully informed me that “Tango” (And Tango Makes Three by Richardson and Parnell) was a book about a same-sex family, and some people like to know that in advance.
“Oh.” I said. “Since we'se a same-sex family that's not a problem for us.” But I was thinking to myself: She just told my children that their family is offensive to some people.
I have to wonder: Is it really the library's job to vet books for parents? Don's the books in the library represent hundreds of cultures and perspectives? Isn's that what makes the library so great in the first place?
When I think back over my ten years as a member of a same-sex couple, there were many things I would have preferred to know about “in advance.” Like the time some parents of my middle school students told me I deserved no respect because of my sexual orientation, and if the students acted out in class it was my fault. Or the time my partner was accused of wanting to steal someone's purse because “you just never know about you people.” Or the time we were loudly called dykes by kids in a restaurant with their parents sitting nearby, saying nothing. But the trouble is, I never have the advantage of knowing when these things are about to happen.
In my experience, minority groups are generally the ones who need protection. But this library wants to protect the majority from being accidentally exposed to ideas about people like me. They do this even though Tango is a true story about penguins, and even though it mentions nothing about human sexuality whatsoever. My family is the one that had to pay $6000 dollars more in federal taxes last year than identical heterosexual families. My family is the one that has to scratch out “father” and write in “mother” on countless school and medical forms every year. My family is the one that needs protection, because so often it seems there is no safe place for us, not even the children's room at the public library.

Sarah Richards

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