On the night that Rochester City Councilor Jim Gray was to have his agenda item regarding Gender Queer: A Memoir discussed by council members Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan moved the agenda item to the top of the meeting.
The reason? There was a large contingent of supporters and members of the LGBTQ community on hand chomping at the bit to mock Gray for his audacity to question images of oral sex in a book that any eight-year-old can check out at the Rochester Public Library.
You might even say they came with pitch forks, something certain city staff use in describing anytime the public dares to second guess their actions, motives and mendacity.
Gray had tasked Blaine Cox, the city manager with sitting down with the city's chief librarian, Marie Lejeune, and getting her take on the appropriateness, or inappropriateness of the above-referenced images in Gender Queer.
But the City Council chose to short-circuit the discussion by removing the agenda item using a rarely employed - at least with this body - Robert's Rules of Order codicil that voids the agenda item with a two-thirds vote. The council voted 12-1 to remove it, with Gray the lone nay vote.
The vote robbed Cox of doing his job. In fact, we don't know if he ever sat down with Lejeune or not.
But we do know that the other paper that purports to uphold the journalistic standards expected among our ranks has failed the industry on this one.
First, they made out of whole cloth that Gray's single objective was to have the book banned. That was their headline the very next day, however truth be told, Gray simply never said that. And that other paper knew that.
Secondly, the only members of the public the newspaper ever spoke with that we can see are those in sympathy with or members of the LGBTQ community that were at the meeting on Sept. 6.
Conversely, The Rochester Voice went out into the greater community, interviewing parents as they picked up their students from Rochester Middle School on a recent Friday. Of the seven we spoke with not one was in favor of having the book available for prepubescent juveniles.
Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kotabe, recounts Kobabe's journey from adolescence to adulthood and the author's exploration of gender identity and sexuality, ultimately identifying as being outside of the gender binary, according to Wikipedia..
Gender Queer is among the graphic novel genre, which is especially popular among young people. The genre includes a comic book look, Lejeune said.
City Councilor Dana Berlin made the motion to cancel Gray's agenda item, saying it was targeting a specific group; we would suppose he meant the LGBTQ community; we don't know, he never explained.
But what about this group: our children.
Lejeune told The Rochester Voice last week that any child who wants to take out the book can. All they have to do is ask. Whether they're a teen, a preteen or even younger.
She said libraries and librarians have no right to infringe on who can take what out of the library, no matter their age.
Meanwhile, young impressionable boys and girls are being taught that sex is relative, that it's a concept, that we can give you testosterone, or testosterone blockers, we can give you a penis or a vagina, breasts, whatever you want. The world is your sexual oyster. Be whatever you want to be.
But if what President Reagan called the silent majority ever questions this lunacy they just tell us to clam up!
One section of Rochester's City Charter defines obscenity in connection with murals on downtown building this way.
"The mural contains no defamation, incitement, obscenity, illegal content, or images of child pornography. Obscene matter is that which the average resident of the City, applying community standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
In a recent editorial The Rochester Voice mused that perhaps the Rochester Museum of Fine Art would like to put a display of such images in the Mayor Harvey Bernier Room at the James W. Foley Memorial Community Center?
Our thoughts were that if it had redeeming qualities of art or literary significance, what would be the harm? Art and literary pursuits go hand in hand.
But recently a city official voiced their disgust that I had suggested such, adding that some residents had come to them horrified that the images depicted in this and other articles done by The Rochester Voice regarding the graphic novel could ever be allowed there.
Heavens no, the city official told the mortified residents.
And yet our young people are subjected to such obscenity in their own public library that we pay dearly for with our hard-earned taxes.
By the way, I thought the motto was "art for everyone!"