Oliver Wendell Holmes used to say that upon first glance at the books in a library “one gets a notion very speedily of the [reader’s] tastes and the range of his pursuits.” One can only imagine what Holmes would have thought about our “range of pursuits” had he visited the University of Michigan’s Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, which I use heavily as a visiting scholar, last October during Gay History Month.

On the walls of the foyer behind the Grad Library’s main entrance are several large (roughly 4.5′ x 5′) display cases, normally used for showcasing art or rare books or to educate patrons in proper care for books by displaying varieties of book damage (vandalism, food and drink spills, insect pest damage, broken spines from mishandling, etc.). Throughout October, however, most were propagandizing for homosexuality.

The second one on the left wall contained a rainbow flag (horizontal orange, red, yellow stripes) on loan from Common Language Bookstore, a local gay-lesbian bookstore, with a large “Gay History Month” sign, plus two books on gay-lesbian role models, The Gay 100 and Uncommon Heroes.

The next case addressed homosexual literary figures: black lesbian feminist Audre Lorde; Pier Paolo Pasolini; and Yukio Mihshima, a Japanese homosexual who received a feminizing upbringing from a smothering mother, rebelled against it, and ended up committing seppuku in 1970 after giving a fiery ten-minute speech to an unappreciative audience of Japanese servicemen at the Ichigaya military headquarters. Oddly enough, they missed the biggest pervert of all: the bisexual, sodomy-obsessed Marquis de Sade, of Justine, Juliette, and The 120 Days of Sodom fame and godfather of modernity. But perhaps not so oddly. Sade makes a pretty unconvincing martyr, and as I know from a conversation with Catharine Mackinnon a few years back, he’s none too popular among anti-pornography feminists.

Moving on to music, the next display case showed the ballet dancers Rudolf Nureyev, Diaghilev, and Nijinsky; composers Tchaikovsky, Benjamin Britten, and Leonard Bernstein. The mathematics display on the rear wall featured computer pioneer Alan Turing, who headed the British team of mathematicians at Bletchley that broke the German “Enigma” machine cipher during World War II. On the right wall, the Pop Culture, Sports and Politics display showed Greg Louganis and Harvey Milk.

Best of all was the Michigan case, on the right wall, between the right stairway to the second floor and the entrance to the circulation desk, making it almost impossible to avoid seeing if you were heading upstairs or going to charge out books or request a book search or recall. Here were portraits, biographical information, and so on for the university’s directors of its Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office (LGBPO), part of the Division of Student Affairs. But the chief attraction in this last display case, and my favorite, was a banner packed with leftist and gay political buttons. Clinton-Gore buttons, portraits of Martin Luther King; “Housing is a right not a privilege”; “Pro-choice is pro-life yours and mine”; “Silence = Death”; “Born Again Pagan”; “U.S. out of my uterus”; “No little Dutch boy is going to plug this dyke”; “If you’re a pro-lifer, then adopt an interracial mongoloid or shut the f–k up!” and much else.

In all my years as a student (1976-1984) and employee (1985-1990) of the university, I never saw anything like this. Fortunately, it’s history; when I stopped by the next day to return some books and photocopy the following data from this year’s university budget, the homosexual display eases had been cleaned out, except for the music exhibit. Perhaps someone on the library staff has a crush on Nureyev.

The Gay History Month display was arranged jointly by the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Library Association (BGALLA) and the University Library Exhibits Committee. The unavoidable conclusion is that promoting homosexualism is the official policy of the University of Michigan, a public, taxpayer-supported institution. “U.S. out of my uterus”—my tax dollars at work.

They’re at work promoting homosexualism at the university in other ways, too, through the good offices of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office. Located in the Michigan Union, LGBPO provides educational programming and events, information and referral services, support groups, a resource library, a speaker’s bureau (one doubts, somehow, that speakers not openly homosexualist would be scheduled), mentorship for new students, faculty and staff, etc. The “resources” it furnishes include OUTspoken, a locally published gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender monthly newspaper. I picked up a copy of the November issue from a literature rack in the Division of Student Affairs front office. It denounces the “radical Christian rightwing” and “arch-homophobe Senator Jesse Helms” and deplores the banning of Heather Has Two Mommies in schools. A feature article purports to explode “the Christian nation fallacy.” There are also lesbian comics, a calendar of events, and so on. LGBPO’s booklet of area resources for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, available on the same rack as OUTspoken, mendaciously claims impartiality with a disclaimer on its back cover: “Publication of listings in this guide is done as a public service and does not imply endorsement or affiliation.” Really?

The university’s general funds budget for the Ann Arbor campus budgeted $124,343 for LGBPO m fiscal year 1990-91, rising to $135,008 m fiscal 1994-95. To put this in perspective, in fiscal 1990-91 Student Services had a general funds budget of only $89,362 for the Office of Ethics and Religion. Meanwhile, the College of Literature, Science and the Arts budgeted $1,118,897 for Classical Studies and $59,591 for Judaic Studies. In fiscal 1994-95 the general funds figures for these programs are: Classical Studies, $2,098,680; Judaic Studies, $70,792, and the Office of Ethics and Religion, nothing—it disappeared from the general funds budget in 1993-94.

In 1990-91 state appropriations were 43.6 percent of the Ann Arbor campus’s general funds budget, meaning taxpayers paid $54,514 for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office. For 1994-95, the state taxpayers’ share was 37.3 percent, so their share in funding LGBPO was $49,612. The figures are less important than the principle. Michigan taxpayers are being forced to finance a militant ideology of sexual perversion, which few of them endorse.

If how an institution spends its money reveals its priorities, and common sense says it does, the University of Michigan is more concerned with providing “support” for student perversity than with providing ethical and religious counsel, and legitimizing perversion is more important than studying the history and culture of the people who gave us Moses and monotheism.

Judging from the lack of outrage over all this, most Michigan taxpayers either have no idea this is happening or don’t care. Nor, one suspects, do the alumni, thousands of whom send the university millions of dollars every year, and hundreds of whom make the pilgrimage to town every fall, with their fluttering Michigan car pennants, Michigan sweatshirts and block-letter M and “Go Blue!” buttons. Their awareness of what’s going on at their alma mater seldom goes beyond their beloved Michigan football. One only hopes that some of these happy strollers down memory lane swung also by the Grad Library on their way to or from the stadium.