Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-22-2009

Abstract

The anonymity the Internet provides represents an invaluable resource where LGBTIQ youth can freely discuss their issues, concerns and problems without fear of reprisal from a frequently homophobic community. LGBTIQ youth may find the Internet, and its online communities and social networks, to be the only conduit through which they can express themselves, reach out to others, and access health information that addresses their particular issues and needs. LGBTIQ adolescents often deal with environments that lack sufficient social networks, such as empathetic adults or friends, and they may face daily discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender expression.

The mandated use of Internet filtering in public libraries, however, threatens this special relationship. With the passage of CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act), and its constitutionality subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court, libraries are faced with the challenges presented by Internet filtering, and the obstacles to access it creates for disadvantaged patron groups. While library science literature has frequently discussed the problems of Internet filtering, LGBTIQ adolescents are often neglected by these studies despite filtering having a disproportionate impact on their communities. The need for anonymity, which the Internet can provide, is a more crucial need forLGBTIQ youth who often must construct their social networks in an environment hostile to their emotional, social and informational needs.

 
 

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