Celebrate Diversity – Somewhere Else
Monday, June 27, 2005
(SNN Florida) When Meagan Albright, a graduate student from the University of Florida created an exhibit on gay authors and literature to fulfill a requirement for a course on diversity, she had no idea that it would stir national controversy. But when the Hillsborough County Commission approved a vote of 5 - 1 to "abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating" in gay pride recognition or events, attention was gotten.
They referred children to youth groups outside Hillsborough County to explore their sexuality
Commissioner Ronda Storms, who introduced the measure and has received the brunt of local criticism about it, said the support pamphlets available at the diplay troubled her the most. "One of the things that occurred was that pamphlets were being distributed to children by librarians who are county employees," Ms. Storms said, "and they referred children to youth groups outside Hillsborough County to explore their sexuality." It is not known if Storms is herself a homosexual, or if her own sexuality has been thoroughly explored.
Storms said that being referred to groups outside the county could lead the children to engage in "high-risk behavior." It is not known how gay and lesbian youth groups within Hillsborough County would be a safer place for a young person to explore their sexuality.
Renee Lee, the Hillsborough County attorney, said it was legal.
While the measure is not popular with gay rights supporters, Renee Lee, the Hillsborough County attorney, said it was legal. "If the county doesn't want to spend money promoting gay rights, they can do that," Ms. Lee said. "It's not a constitutional breach. This is not a free speech issue."
This just is one of the controversial issues the Hillsborough County Commission has dealt with this session. They worked to get land rezoned for the University of Florida, they pledged support for a spay, neuter and canal dredging project, and Commissioner Kathy Castor also participated in this year’s Plant City Strawberry Festival with special guest Rog Stewart.
Attempts of NewsBlog 5000 staff to contact Commissioner Storms about the thorough exploration of her sexuality were unsuccessful.
Please check out my site for another story about honoring diversity in our military.