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Human Library: Catalog of Human Books

Meet our Human Books!

Borrow a human books listed below for 20 minutes from 3:30 to 5:30 pm on November 8, 2019, Collins Library.

Sit down with people from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences and gain a rich, personal understanding of others.

A Christian Community Apologizes to the Queer Community

I was recently involved in creating a Service of Lament for Queer people, enabling the corporate church to apologize for its treatment and wounding of Queer people. It was a powerful and moving service, with poetry by Andrea Gibson and Joy Laden, both Queer poets. We also had a Litany of Apology spoken by our clergy, as well as the Beatitudes of Dignity. I would love to tell the story of this beautiful Service of Lament.


Stereotypes & Prejudices: Gender/ Identity/Sexual Orientation, Religious Beliefs, Lifestyle

A Couch is a Couch, No Matter Who Takes a Nap on it

Over the course of my life, I have wandered in an out of various closets related to faith, gender, and sexuality.   I came out (discreetly, and only to a few safe friends and partners, given that I planned to be a minister) as bi years ago...then married a woman and lived generally in a very privileged closet for about 15 years, totally straight passing, out only to my spouse.  In my mid-30s, changes in my life and communities allowed me to begin testing out what it would look like to be openly bi, to be clergy, to own and wrestle with all the marriage-based cis/het privilege I benefit from, to actually try and be fully myself for the first time in decades.   After much processing and listening, a VERY patient but increasingly exasperated friend said, "Dave, a couch is a couch no matter who naps on it! You are who you are, no matter who you love."

Stereotypes & Prejudices: Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation, Religious Beliefs, Socioeconomic Status, Occupation

Da Mama

My story as a non-biological parent in a two mom family and the legal challenges that come with it. The public's continual heteronormative lens and assumptions I had to correct...over and over. Teaching my kids about differences and hopefully broadening their perspective.



Stereotypes & Prejudices: Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation, Occupation, Lifestyle

From Desk to Stripper Pole

As a gender studies major I encountered sex work through scholarly articles, documentaries, and studies. Since graduating I have moved beyond these second hand accounts and lived my field of study, working as a dancer and bikini bartender. Though I love my work, I contend daily with misconceptions and bias regarding sex work, from customers and members of the general public alike. Further, my fellow dancers and I face difficult and sometimes dangerous working conditions. I want to reimagine how we think about sex work, how we treat sex workers, and challenge the legal and institutional obstacles which impede sex workers ability to practice in safe and empowering environments.

Stereotypes & Prejudices: Occupation, Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation

Gender Transition: Finding Peace and Happiness

Thirteen years ago, at the age of sixty, I began my transition from living as a man to begin my new life as a transgender woman. While my 35 year marriage eventually ended, as did my 40 year career as an engineer/project manager, so many wonderful opportunities and experiences have come my way. My adult children initially struggled with my transition, but they are now my most ardent supporters- yes, I’m still their dad. Most amazingly, a cisgender man who knew me long before I transitioned has become my husband. Transition from pretending to be a man to living my truth out loud as a woman has allowed me to find peace and happiness.

Stereotypes & Prejudices: Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation, Occupation, Lifestyle

Growing up under Jim Crow Laws and Succeeding Against the Odds

Jim Crow was not a person but a caricature version of a significant period of time in this country’s history that reflected the unfair conditions and treatment primarily of Black Americans in all aspects of life: criminal justice, education, employment, housing, health care, etc. How was I affected as a young Black female growing up in Deep South Alabama during this tumultuous period of time, yet succeeding against these odds?


Stereotypes & Prejudices: Race

Learning My Way Out

I grew up in a poor, conservative Christian family with a very sick sibling. I made school my passion, exchanging my purity ring for a PhD. I now hope to encourage others from a less-than-traditional background to consider a career in academia .



Stereotypes & Prejudices: Socioeconomic Status, Religious Beliefs, Physical/Mental Health

Living Black in Rural Washington

As an African American child living in Mt. Vernon, Wash. from 1958-1962, many experiences were mixed with emotions of isolation and loneliness due to discrimination and prejudice. My father was unable to find work for almost a year even though he was a professional welder. My brother and I were alienated at school. And, my mother was only hired to do laundry for white people.


Stereotypes & Prejudices: Race

Reclaiming Christianity as an Out Lesbian

From an abomination to a beloved child of God. I left the Catholic Church when I was seventeen after being shamed about my sexual orientation one too many times. At fifty-two, I walked into an Episcopal church, hoping to find welcome and acceptance. Luckily, I found both and began to reclaim my faith through the power of forgiveness, meeting people where they are, and in the small acts of loving kindness that are, for me, the center of my faith.

Stereotypes & Prejudices: Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation, Religious Beliefs, Lifestyle

She Wears a Tie? Genderqueer Leadership in Action

I came out as queer as a teenager in the early days of the HIV epidemic, in a time when anti-LGBTQ activity was a significant part of the national discourse (think Matthew Shephard). I currently walk through the world as a genderqueer person who uses female pronouns while generally presenting as masculine. The basic fact that I lead a fairly well-known and long-established nonprofit in Tacoma defies stereotypes and prejudices.

Stereotypes & Prejudices: Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation, Religious Beliefs, Physical and Mental Health, Occupation, Lifestyle