Famous journalist and writer Andrew Solomon publicly complained about the cancellation of his lecture at the Central University Library in Bucharest after the administration found out he would talk about gay identity.
“My book is climbing the bestseller list here in Romania–but my lecture at the National Library in Bucharest was canceled when the administration found out I would talk about gay identity. Never think the battles are won,” Solomon wrote on his Facebook page. His lecture however took place at another location.
The organization Accept, which was partnering for this event, said library officials firm agreed informally on hosting the lecture, but changed their minds afterwards. Library officials however say it was all about bad communication, as they never signed anything, and it was all a discussion which never became reality because of the bad approach, according to Mediafax.
Solomon’s lecture at the library was to be centered on sexuality and identities in the 21st centuries, staring from his book The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression. The lecture eventually took place on June 14, at the National University of Theater and Cinema in Bucharest.
The incident pointed out by Solomon triggered local reactions.
Member of the Parliament Remus Cernea, a well-known defender of human rights and equality in Romania, asked the Education Ministry to punish the people responsible within the Central University Library.
The Accept organization too raised several issues: “What’s to understand from all this? A human rights organization which defends the rights of gay people in Romania could not get space at the most important library in Bucharest? A well-known writer and journalist should not speak about identity and sexuality in a cultural institution? The books of Romania and foreign gay writers will be ousted from the academic world because of the authors’ sexual orientation?” said Florin Buhuceanu, director of the Accept association.
A bill aiming to legalize the union between same sex persons was rejected by an overwhelming majority in Romania’s Chamber of Deputies earlier in June. Only four MPs were in favor of passing the bill, and 298 were against. There were also three abstentions.
Andrew Solomon is an American writer, whose books became best sellers, and who won numerous awards. He is a columnist for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Travel and Leisure, among others.