By John Blake, CNN, Updated 7:14 AM ET, Sun November 14, 2021
(CNN)On a rainy spring morning in Muncie, Indiana, a White, middle-aged, conservative woman met a transgender woman for a date.
It did not start well. The transgender woman was waiting at a table when the other woman showed up. She stood up and extended her hand. The other woman refused to take it.
“I want you to know I’m a conservative Christian,” she said, still standing. “I’m a liberal Christian,” the transgender woman replied. “Let’s talk.”
Their rendezvous was supposed to last about 30 minutes. But the conversation was so engrossing for both that it lasted an hour.
It ended with the conservative woman rising from her seat to give the other woman a hug.”Thank you,” she said. “This has been wonderful.”
This improbable meeting came courtesy of the Human Library, a nonprofit learning platform that allows people to borrow people instead of books. But not just any people. Every “human book” from this library represents a group that faces prejudice or stigmas because of their lifestyle, ethnicity, beliefs, or disability. A human book can be an alcoholic, for example, or a Muslim, or a homeless person, or someone who was sexually abused.The Human Library stages in-person and online events where “difficult questions are expected, appreciated, and answered.” Organizers says they’re trying to encourage people to “unjudge” a book by its cover.