Żywa Biblioteka / Human Library Wrocław 2012
Have you ever read a Human Book?
I did. I read 3 human books with the following controversial titles: “ANTIDUDE”, “GAY” and “BLACK PERSON”. Amazing experience!
Imagine, you are face to face with people you meet for the first time, people that have a special story to tell, their own life story. And you are sitting just in front of them ready to listen and ask whatever you want, because this is what books are good for.
Books are good for being able “to answer” to all our questions. Human books are good for being able to make us feel the way they feel. In this way they teach us to be empathic. Human books can give us their energy, in this way we remain energetically connected with that book, with that special human being. Human books have a great emotional load in them. Once we “open” a human book we cannot stay indifferent, we proceed in “reading it” and by the time we read it, we start to understand things that we’ve never been aware of. Human books teach us to be tolerant.
Some weeks ago, on a cloudy Saturday afternoon I decided to go out to meet some new interesting people in Wroclaw, this was my single expectation about attending Żywa Biblioteka / Human Library event at Mediateka. Actually, I had a vague idea about what is going to happen there. So I went. After receiving a badge with my name I was asked to pick up a “human book” from a catalogue. I looked through the list and picked the “human book” called ANTIDUDE, I didn’t know what this concept means, so I considered it the best time to find it out. In some minutes the librarian brought my human book.
And here all the fun began 🙂 what I’ve seen in front of me was a man dressed in clothes for women, in a skirt, wearing ostentatious earrings and elegant little heel shoes, having pink lipstick and a perfect manicure done. Our 30 minutes of talking passed like 3 minutes. I’m very curious by nature, but the open and relaxed atmosphere created at the Human Library increased my curiosity. I didn’t feel ashamed to ask “uncomfortable” questions and I was glad to hear answers to all of them. The concept “antidude” also called “antibloke”, or “antyfacet” in Poland, is related to the attitude of being anti males. Well, this man is not trying to deny his genetics and is not going to take some female hormones to grow boobs or to make a sex change surgery. Don’t confuse an “antidude” with a gay, a travesty or a transsexual. He is just against the role of men perceived in the society. By the way, this man is a university teacher and says that attendance at his courses is higher than at other courses, because his extravagant appearance motivates students to attend classes.
The second human book I interacted with was called GAY. The society in Moldova, the country I come from, is kind of homophobic. The situation in my country is not very optimistic. There were even some cases of suicides among LGBT* youth. I was interested to find out if polish society accepts homosexuality and how people perceive it here.
My third human book called BLACK PERSON opened my eyes, properly. I had a conversation with a young student from Rwanda. He is living in Poland for 2 years and every single day copes with xenophobia and racism. It seems that polish community don’t accept black people. After several attacks on the street, my human book is afraid to walk alone in the city, and not only in the evenings, but on daylight as well. He told me he feels safe in just 3 places in Poland: in his room, in the class and at the office he is working. In any other places he should watch out his back. The stereotype polish guys have towards foreigners, not only about black people, is that they are going to seduce their “dziewczyny” (polish girls) and this is the reason they become so aggressive. Another fact that I found out from the experience of “my human book”, is that a polish girl will be considered a prostitute if she will date a black guy. This prejudice displeased me the most. I think polish guys have a problem with their self-confidence, if they think their girlfriends will easily leave them, for another guy, just because he has a different skin color.
I bookmarked my human books, I took their contacts, just to be in touch with them and keep on “reading” their special stories.
It was a great pleasure to attend the Human Library event, which is not just in Poland, but all over the world. The next events are going to take place in Turkey and Romania. Check here if there is any Human Libraries in your country. If you ever have the opportunity to participate, don’t miss it.
P.S. This event was a special edition of Human Library, in the frame of WrOPENup Campaign.
P.P.S. At the event 101 readers borrowed 25 Human Books.
*Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender