Mid-Continent Public Library has rescheduled its Trans 101 event after placing the program on hold

A transgender education program that was postponed last week after the Mid-Continent Public Library’s Board of Trustees requested time to think about the event has been rescheduled.

“I’m really happy, of course, that it’s being rescheduled,” says Riley Long, the presenter of Trans 101. “It’s necessary education that needs to be available to the public.”

Last Thursday’s program would have been the second iteration of Trans 101, an event focusing on what it means to be transgender. But after the first presentation, last month, a petition was circulated asking MCPL to discontinue future trans-related events at the library. Several people opposed to the event also spoke out at a recent MCPL board meeting. The board decided to postpone Trans 101 and take some time to consider the community reaction. 

That decision was met with a counter-petition to immediately bring Trans 101 back to the library. In a six-day span, the petition gathered over a thousand signatures. 

The library’s CEO and Library Director Steve Potter says the intention was always to reschedule the event.

“The delay was never meant to be interpreted as a reevaluation of the program content,” Potter wrote in a blog post on Monday. “Unfortunately, by postponing the program, we inadvertently delivered a message to some that the Library didn’t value them as members of our community. For this, I am truly sorry. This Library is here for all, and we will always work to deliver content that meets the needs of every individual by incorporating a variety of perspectives and sometimes addressing competing needs.” 

Today, the library announced that the program has been rescheduled for Tuesday, October 15, at Vault Studios in Buckner. (MCPL’s Buckner branch is under construction for a remodel.) Due to high interest, Mid-Continent has also decided to add a third event on Wednesday, October 30, at the Blue Springs South Branch.

Long has also been invited to give his presentation elsewhere: a class at UCM, a local church, and other local libraries. He tells The Pitch he doesn’t harbor any negative feelings toward MCPL, and he’s excited to work with them for future events. 

“I’m just happy that they’re on board,” Long says. “I think they feel bad, and they’re definitely sorry for what has happened and are really making up for it by giving me more programs.”

For more information about the Trans 101 events, visit the library’s event page here.

On Twitter: @ByEmilyAPark.

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