Thursday, April 14, 2011

Libraries: the new crisis lines.

During a particularly busy stint in the library on Monday, I was answering the business line because I was the first to get to it. The man on the other end reluctantly asked if there was someone on staff that just answered questions. I told him that everyone else was fairly busy at the moment but that I'd be happy to answer his question. He proceeded to ask for a clarification of the definitions of "bisexuality" and "homosexuality," and what the difference between the two was, if any.

I proceeded to calmly explain that bisexuality is the sexual attraction to individuals of both sexes, and homosexuality is the exclusive attraction to individuals of the same sex.

He then asked what it would be if, say, an individual was coerced into performing "certain acts." I calmly explained that sexual orientation is typically a product of the individual's chosen, natural preference, and that such actions would not matter if the coerced individual didn't want them to. He then told me that he'd recently been at a bachelor's party, where his friends had coerced him into performing "certain acts," and that he wasn't sure of what it meant.

I explained that, again, these actions didn't have to mean anything if he didn't want them to. And if he decided that he enjoyed these actions, he was free to explore more of those actions and then make a decision from there. But that, again, if he didn't want to be described in a new way, that he didn't have to be, because it was his choice as to whether or not these actions would redefine his identity.

He thanked me before saying goodbye, and sounded like he felt better.

A coworker joked that perhaps he'd called the grocery store before that, and I couldn't stop laughing.

But I generally feel really good about what I said.

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