Enough With The Tempest In A Teapot


Valerie Fox has instigated what appears to be a firestorm of letters regarding LGBTQ information that may be taught in the Los Alamos Public Schools and more specifically, whatever Ms. Fox means by “…all books that the public schools have that are related to the LGBTQ agenda…”, whatever that means. Sounds like a modern day McCarthyism to me: “LAPS, have you now or have you ever been promulgating an LGBTQ agenda or know of anyone who has?”

A casual perusal of the English literature reveals a host of writers writing about the gay and lesbian experience such as Oscar Wilde, Edgar Prime-Stevenson, the Harlem Renaissance poets Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, the British writer E.M. Forester, Gertrude Stein, Nella Larsen, American expatriates  Natalie  Barney and Djuna Barnes as well as
British writers Renée Vivien, Silvia Townsend Warner, Virginia Woolf, and  Radclyffe Hall. That’s the tip of the iceberg** from one source I looked at.

It would seem that to cleanse the school libraries of all authors whowrite about the LGBTQ experience one would have to have a wholesale book burning rivaling that carried out in the 1930’s by the German Student Union under its “Action against the Un-German Spirit”. That doesn’t sound like the Los Alamos I knew from 17 years of residence on North Mesa.

To reiterate another letter writer’s point, I have worked with LGBTQ colleagues and taught more of the same back in my Univ of Hawaii SOEST faculty days. Indeed, for part of that time I was chair of our graduate studies committee and was on a first name basis with scores of grad students. They looked, worked, talked, ate, drank coffee and beer, and did science just like anyone else. I didn’t inquire into their private habits and they didn’t inquire into mine.

Enough with the tempest in a teapot.

Khal Spencer
Santa Fe, NM

** LGBTQ Literature, 1890-1969, Margaret Sönser Breen