Celebrating Pride Month with Books and DVDs

Published Thursday, June 20, 2024

In 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, later renamed LGBTQ Pride Month by President Barack Obama in 2009. June was chosen to honor the riots that took place outside of the Stonewall Inn beginning June 28th, 1969. After consistent police harassment targeting LGBTQ+ people within the club, the people began a protest lasting 6 days.

Today LGBTQ+ people still face harassment and discrimination both societally and legally, making good representation as important as ever. This year my blog post will focus on representation in popular media that I find tells a good story with good LGBTQ+ characters.

Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I will admit shamefully, I watched the show first and did not find out it was a book until later but the book is truly a treasure. Gaiman and Pratchett are wonderfully witty and whimsical in their own rights and together they uplift each others writing in phenomenal ways. The characters are enchanting and I couldn't help but fall in love with each of them for their own reasons.

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The Birdcage
directed by Mike Nichols, adapted by Elaine May, and starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, and Dianne Wiest

I watch the Birdcage at minimum once a year. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is funny, heartwarming, dramatic, and stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. What more could a movie need? I find myself laughing out loud and profoundly moved every year by its quick-witted comedy and truly heartfelt scenes about what family means. Every year I find myself thinking of watching it for the first time with my mom and hearing stories of my grandmother who was apparently just like Nathan Lane in this movie. Every year I enjoy this movie thoroughly and cannot recommend this story of an unconventional family living above a drag club highly enough.

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Sappho: a New Translation
by Mary Barnard

This entry is not exactly representation through fiction, but it is such fascinating representation I still want to include it because I want more people to know about it. The excerpts of Sappho is one of my favorite historical LBGTQ+ pieces. It gives insight into love in ancient times through some of my favorite ancient poetry. I find it is often difficult for translators to properly convey the emotion and really capture the beauty of the text in the original language, but Mary Barnard does so expertly. Sappho is so important to LGBTQ+ history that the term "lesbian" was coined in reference to her. Sappho was born on the Greek island of Lesbos, creating the term Lesbian from the name of her home.

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Superman, Son of Kal-El. Vol. 1, The Truth
by Tom Taylor

I really genuinely love this run. It came out a little after I started to get back into comics and discovered my love for Superman. This arc is heartwarming and loving as Jon Kent, son of Clark Kent and the new Superman has to learn how to come into his own identity and learn what it means to take up the mantle of Superman while his father, the original Superman is away. Not exactly small shoes to fill. I really like Jon as a character and a contrast to Clark, and this volume is one of my favorite Superman story. Additionally, volume 2 has one of my personal favorite coming out scenes

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by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson; illustrated by Daniel Sousa.

Kapaemahu is one I read specifically for this display and this post. It is a beautiful story, well written and wonderfully illustrated. The story is about four people of the Two-Spirit identity. Two-Spirit is an indigenous, umbrella term for people who are born with both a male and female spirit. Historically, as in this book, Two-Spirit people fulfill both masculine and feminine roles such as both a hunter and a healer. Because indigenous cultures were broadly oral cultures, and colonizers in early America destroyed nearly all writing about the Two-Spirit identity, there is very little cultural recognition of this so it was important to me to highlight it in this blog post and bring some knowledge to those I can. This book is wonderful, and I highly recommend it to anyone curious to learn more.

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About the Author

Robby is a circulation clerk and a history major at SIUE. He began working at EPL in February of 2023 and has loved it ever since. His favorite genres are fantasy, cosmic horror, and graphic novels. When not working, studying, and reading he tries to find time to play his favorite video games, cooking, or spending time out with friends.

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