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Why Hiding Information Grinds My Gears

I know this is old news, but I was flabbergasted by yet another attempt to limit the availability of information. The Tennessee legislature has introduced a bill to ban discussions of homosexuality in elementary and middle schools. The claim is that talk of homosexuality is not age-appropriate. Of course lengthy discussion of sex acts either homosexual or heterosexual is not age-appropriate for elementary school students. But banning the words "gay," "lesbian," and "homosexual" from classrooms also means that we can't explain why some kids have two moms, two dads, or a mom and a dad, which is an age appropriate discussion of sexuality.

This is just another one of those news events that confirms my belief that freedom of information is essential for free societies like ours. No matter what my beliefs on homosexuality or any other hot button issue are, the way to support and defend those beliefs is not doing everything I can to hide all information to the contrary.

I guess the thing that bugs me so much about situations like this is just how afraid people must be to think that the only way to preserve their way of thinking is to destroy all information to the contrary. If the only way to keep your ideas relevant is to hide everything to the contrary then at the very least you're not very confident in your beliefs. I'm a big fan of not living your life in fear (I may not always be good at putting this in to practice, but still ...), so when people make fear based decisions and claim that they're for the better good, I'm always a little skeptical.

I guess this is one of the big reasons I decided to become a librarian in the first place. I can be pretty thorough when I'm researching a topic, so I prefer being able to see a wide range of resources covering as many sides of the issue as possible. After looking at the many sides of an issue I'm confident in my ability to disseminate information to decide which side(s) hold(s) the most merit. The thing is, I can guarantee that other equally intelligent people will look at the same information and come to different conclusions. I may not be wild about that, but that often does not mean that that other person is any more wrong or right than I am.

My dad thinks all this open mindedness means that I'm just another one of those liberal librarians (his sister is a librarian and her politics are the polar opposite of my dad's). The funny thing is that I'm not really a liberal. My personal views are a mix of liberal and conservative views. I believe in freedom of information because I think it's essential for people making informed choices.
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