You are librarians at the Filtrado Public Library. Your library serves a very poor neighborhood and has opted to install filtering in order to qualify for the e-rate.

Your library is popular with teenagers and pre-teens who use the library as a meeting place as well as a place to do their homework.

Unknown to you...

Raul has entered adolescence and is feeling confused. He realizes that his sexual feelings are "different" from his older brothers and his friends.

Raul comes from a conservative family. His parents ban even saying the words that refer to persons with different sexual orientations. Raul's older brothers are either married or have girlfriends.

Raul's friends brag about their relationships with girls and speak of persons with different sexual orientations in highly derogatory terms.

The clergyman at Raul's church sermonizes against nontraditional relationships.

Raul knows that he cannot discuss his "problem" with his family, his friends, or anyone at his church, lest he be condemned and ostracized. He dare not speak of it to anyone else lest they inform his parents.

One day Raul goes to the library with his friends as usual. But he goes up to the 3rd floor to an isolated computer to search for information that would help him deal with his feelings. Every time he sees a listing in his search engine results that he thinks might help clicking on the link elicits a message that the site is blocked due to "inappropriate content." Those messages seem like confirmation to him that his feelings are forbidden. More than ever he feels that there is something wrong with him. He feels lonelier than ever.

Discussion Questions

What are the issues here? What are the possible consequences? Are there actions that might ameliorate the situation? Keep in mind that Raul will not ask for help at the reference desk because he might be overheard by his friends and because he feels that he cannot discuss his situation with anyone.