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Library hosting public forum on gender identity and sexual orientation

Library hosting public forum on gender identity and sexual orientation

The Rochester Public Library will hold a public forum next Tuesday to expand community dialogue on the topics of sex, gender and sexual orientation.

“LGBTQI* Defined: An Introduction to Understanding and Caring for the Queer Community,” will be presented by Dr. Joe Gallego, a Mayo Medical School graduate and rising Yale psychiatrist, based on the curriculum he designed for healthcare providers. LGBTQI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex.

 

The program will begin at 7:30 p.m in the library auditorium.
 
“The forum is an opportunity for community members to participate in an open discussion,” librarian Sarah Joynt said in a news release. “Communicating differences and acknowledging commonalities is often a great way to begin understanding others."

The forum comes amid a national debate over whether transgender individuals should be allowed to use bathrooms based on the gender they identify with. Two states, North Carolina and Mississippi, have passed laws requiring people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex. A similar bill has been introduced in the Minnesota House; however, Gov. Mark Dayton has already pledged to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

'Rally for Inclusion'

A peaceful protest advocating for "fair representation on appointed committees" is scheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Rochester City Hall rotunda.

Here's an explanation of the event, courtesy event organizer Tim Hawkins:

I think most would agree that recently there has been low satisfaction with the Heart of the City Community Advisory Committee. The makeup of the groups demographics and the selection process. I'm not going to say that those on the committee are bad selections. What I am saying is shouldn't the Heart of the City be inclusive of the demographics of the community? The first thing I notice is it seems there are not enough women. Also it seems more crony selections and low on true community representation. This isn't the first time this has happened but by bringing awareness we can hopefully bring an end of lack of inclusiveness.
 

Last week, the Med City Beat helped organize a community discussion on what can be done to improve the diversity of Rochester's boards and committees. More than 50 people attended, including four council members.

A recap of the forum can be found here. And for some potential next steps, check out our friend Dave Beal's blog, A Life and the Times.


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