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Libraries host a range of human activity, some of which is overtly sexual. What's a librarian to do about public displays of affection? cruising? public sex? First, we read up on the issue. Unfortunately, problem patron library literature is spotted with vivid illustrations of irrational bias against gay men, male-to-female transgender women, and men-cruising-men. It also discounts the private nature of most consensual sex in public places. This article discusses sex and gender biases in library literature, arguing that gender equitable, privacy-respecting practices will better serve librarians administering public space.


Originally published as “The Homosexual as Problem Patron,” Reference Librarian, 2002 (75/76) pp. 91-104. Also published as Sarkodie-Mensah, Kwasi, ed. Helping the Difficult Library Patron. Binghamton, NY: Haworth, 2002.



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