Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

A June 1969 riot at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan is often considered to be the beginning of the gay liberation movement in the United States. Launched in 2000, Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is held in June to commemorate this important event in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) history.

As the National Women’s History Project puts it, “June is now the month of acceptance and the month to welcome diversity in communities regardless of sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost from HIV and AIDS, and other group gathering events that attract thousands upon thousands of individuals. This month is meant to recognize the impact Gay, Lesbian and Transgender individuals have had on the world.”

Library Programming

  • The San Antonio Public Library celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride Month with the Be OUT series of three panel discussions focusing on different facets gay life and a special movie screening. In Come OUT, local GLBT community members shared their personal journey. GLBT business leaders spoke about workplace equality, coming out at work, and drafting corporate policies concerning a diverse work force at Work OUT. For Speak OUT, local GLBT writers, including Jesus Alonzo, Anel Flores, and Dino Foxx, spoke about their work and process. Finally, Watch OUT screened movie selections from Ignite Magazine’s Top 50 Greatest Gay Films by Julian Ledesma. (See photos from these events on Flickr.)

  • Minneapolis Central Library offered “two opportunities to support, hear from, and discuss contemporary politics with GLBT writers.” Queer Voices featured authors and poets from the past year’s Intermedia Arts’ Queer Voices reading series, and Queer Twin Cities featured several authors from Queer Twin Cities as well as a slide show, video clips, and a Q&A session.

  • The Queens (N.Y.) Library held a variety of programming for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, kicking off with Publicly Queer, which included readings and interpretations of works created by older GLBT members of SAGE’s Creative Writing education workshops as well as a screening of Antonio’s Secret (Ang Lihim ni Antonio) and a talk with the film’s director, Joselito Altarejos. Other programs included author talks with Michael Montlack, editor of My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, and Michael T. Luongo, author of Gay Travels in the Muslim World; a Spanish-language program on protecting yourself from discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation; and a talk by entertainer Barbara Herr and authors Maya Islas and Hector Santiago on gay culture, gay history, gay identity, prejudices and taboos.

  • The Oakland Public Library celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride Month with a family storytime for GLBT parents of children aged 2–5 years; an exhibit featuring the Lavender Scrolls Project, which portrays the lives of eight lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders through photographs, life-story excerpts, and quotations that defy stereotypes about being old and gay; and a GLBT elders dialogue with teens that allowed teens to meet the subjects of the Lavender Scrolls.

  • The University of Virginia Library hosted “Clips from an Opening Closet: Sexual Orientation in Soaps and Sitcoms,” a video-viewing and panel discussion program. Bernard Mayes, College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean and Director of Media Studies, showed clips from twenty years of television programs portraying gays and lesbians. Mayes also facilitated a panel discussion after the video with panelists are Matt Chayt, IV Year Arts and Sciences student and president of the student-run Film and Media Society; Claire Kaplan, Sexual Assault Education Coordinator; and Dona Yarbrough, English graduate student studying American lesbian novels and program director for the Women’s Center.

  • The Sacramento Public Library held special programs and a month-long exhibition recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Local attorney M. Jane Pearce discussed legal issues involving gay marriage, domestic partnership, wills, and trusts for lesbian and gay couples, and the impact of Proposition 8; and local author and poet Michael R. Gorman filled in the gaps of little-known gay California writers and artist throughout history. The library screened Milk, an award-winning film about openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, followed by a discussion. In addition, the library hosted a display of archival items highlighting Sacramento’s GLBT community’s history and the many changes it has endured.

  • Several branches of the Ocean County Library presented programs to celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.“Growing Up Gay: A Discussion” was organized by Jersey Shore PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) with gay and lesbian senior citizens to discuss what life was like as a gay teenager in the 1940s through the 1970s. Jim in Bold, which trace the story of a gay teen who was bullied and committed suicide, was screened. A discussion marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion (June 28, 1969) in Greenwich Village, New York City, including its history and significance on American life was held. “Help! My Kid Just Came Out Of The Closet—What Do I Do Now?” featured a panel discussion with Jersey Shore PFLAG and GLBT children sharing their experiences.

Other Resources

  • The Library of Congress offers a wide range of GLBT resources, including “many books, posters, sound recordings, manuscripts, and other material produced by, about, and for the GLBT community. The contributions … are preserved as part of our nation’s history, and include noted artistic works, musical compositions, and contemporary novels. The Library’s American collections range from the iconic poetry of Walt Whitman through the manuscripts of the founder of GLBT activism in Washington, D.C., Frank Kameny.”

  • Library Journal offers an excellent list of GLBT-related graphic novels in “The Library Don’t Have a Closet: 19 Graphic Novels for Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.”

  • KQED public television and radio has collected an extensive community guide to GLBT resources, including advocacy, arts, education, family and children, health and safety, and seniors.

  • You can find a comprehensive GLBT webliography at Northern Illinois University Library covering art, media, periodicals, politics, organizations, and libraries and archives.

  • Check out Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library’s groundbreaking Transgender Resource Collection, which earned the library the 2010 Gordon M. Conable Award from the Public Library Association.