M-E Girard’s Girl Mans Up tells the story of Pen, a gender-nonconforming high-school student, as she navigates a tumultuous year that involves breaking free from her domineering friend Colby, staking her independence from her overprotective parents, and embarking on a romance with her alluring classmate Blake. Pen’s vibrant and funny voice will draw readers in […]
Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQIA’
Public libraries have seen a lot of change in the last three decades: the advent of the Internet and modern computer, the creation of the OPAC/ILS (bye-bye card catalog), the burgeoning eBook industry, and the rise of self-published authors, to name a handful. What hasn’t changed is the ongoing plight of the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Allied) community and the fact that they are often not provided relevant resources in public libraries.
“Anti-Prom provides an alternative, safe space for all teens who may not feel welcome at official school programs or dances because of their sexuality, gender presentation, the way they dress, or any other reason.” The library has been hosting this event since 2004, and the number of attendees has been steadily growing since its debuted attendance of a hundred. Admission is always free, and a DJ provides music. By the end of the night, non-gender-specific King and Queen of the anti-prom are chosen. Some of the guest masters of ceremony over the years has been Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador-at-Large of the New York City-based clothing store Barneys, and Jimmy Van Bramer, an openly gay councilman from Queens.
As we strive to serve every member of the community, especially our YA patrons, public librarians may be looking to learn a bit more about a particularly marginalized group, transgender youth. Transgender youth, defined as those who do not conform to prevalent gender norms, can be an overlooked segment of the LGBT community. As society becomes more accepting of LGBT issues, transgender youth are also increasingly more comfortable being open about who they are. However, despite recent societal inroads, trans youth are at increased risk for being ostracized, as well as physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Currently, 41 percent of trans people attempt suicide, according to the University of California Los Angeles, School of Law’s Williams Institute.1
There are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer children and families in every service community in the country. While libraries all across the country serve queer people in various ways, most likely still rely on heterosexuality and cisgender as defaults. That is, the norms that govern straight people, normal families, and people whose gender expression matches their birth sex.
The teenage years are not easy for anyone, but for many LGBT teens, the struggle to understand themselves and find acceptance from their peers and community can be even more difficult. The public library can be a wonderful resource for LGBT teens looking for answers or for those just needing a safe, welcoming space to gather with friends. If you want to begin to make a connection with your LGBT teen patrons, there are a few easy steps you can take to get started improving service to this often underserved community.
If you work with children’s books and go online, there’s no way you can miss the colorful logo of the “We Need Diverse Books” (WNDB) campaign, which launched in 2014. What started as a tweet between creators Malinda Lo and Ellen Oh has turned into a grassroots movement that has bloggers, authors, librarians, and publishers getting involved and addressing the need for diverse characters and narratives in children’s literature.