September 16th, 2008

Paul Neyron rose 2

how to classify GLBT books at the bookstore, and other thoughts

I volunteer a couple of days a week at a secondhand bookstore.  The bookstore is to benefit senior citizens, so a lot of the patrons are elderly.  Since a fair proportion of what I read touches on GLBT topics in one way or another, I frequently enough wonder how I'd say to classify book donations on those topics if they came in.  Since I am probably thought of as the expert there on all things gay.

We did get a donation one day that had quite a few several-decades-old books on human sexuality.  And a couple of those books were about homosexuality.  It just struck me as a little poignant, that the former owner of the books had likely been desperately trying to figure things out -- husband, child, their own sexuality?  The books were too dated to put out on the shelves, although I did take home one titled: Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life?  It was originally published in the 1950s.  I said at the time that I was taking it for the entertainment value, but it was really pretty depressing.  Some of the quoted comments of the psychoanalyst author's patients were more heartening in their resistance to him labeling them neurotically ill-adjusted.  And much more plausible in their reasoning to me than the therapist's arguments.  That kind of self-realization on the "uncured" patients' part was amazing, considering the times.  I remember in the 1990s when the big question was, "Is it a choice?"  What I think of as my choice is whether or not to talk about part of myself in "polite" company.  Hey, it's a choice.  My take on it.