Celebrating Pride Month with Books and DVDs

Published Thursday, June 8, 2023

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.

This year, I volunteered to put up the Pride display at EPL. Though I am a member of the community and will likely be attending Pride, I did not put this display up for myself. My younger brother recently came out and has faced some bullying because of it. Knowing the nerve-wracking experience of coming out and facing similar hate, it broke my heart that he had to go through the same. But, I saw him light up when he saw representation in a TV show he was watching. That's why I elected to do this display because representation, even something that may seem small, like a book display, goes a long way and could make a little brother's day. - Robby

It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living
by Dan Savage and Terry Miller

I think this book is an incredibly important addition to this display, especially in the current landscape. When times are tough, it's important to remember that It Gets Better. Progress is like a pendulum, it swings between progress and regress, but it will swing back to progress eventually. What makes this book special is, while the celebrity stories are cool and at times fun to read, I found the stories from the common person very impactful and often relatable.

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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

The Birdcage is probably in my top ten favorite movies of all time. It is a fun, heartwarming story of a certainly nontraditional family trying to hide who they are for the sake of their son's engagement to the daughter of a rich traditional family. It's a great comedy with loveable characters and a phenomenal cast. I fondly remember watching it for the first time with my mom and laughing the whole way through. We both cried from laughter at many of the Nathan Lane and Robin Williams bits, as she regaled me with stories of how her mom reminded her of Nathan Lane in this movie (Love you, Mom).

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Sappho: a New Translation
by Mary Barnard

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.

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Branded by the Pink Triangle
by Ken Setterington

The Nazi regime changed Germany in countless, horrific ways. One such change involved LGBTQ+ individuals. Before the regime, Germany was one of the most tolerant places for homosexual individuals, with supporters including Albert Einstein, but when the Nazis came to power, homosexuality was deemed unsavory and LGBTQ+ people were added to the list destined for a concentration camp, marked by a pink triangle. This book, another example of historical LGBTQ+ existence (forgive me, I'm a history buff) gives readers a glimpse into what this change was like for people of that time, and the terrible consequences.

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

As a massive comic nerd, this storyline is one of my recent favorites. Jon Kent, son of Superman is a very fun, easy to love character. When Superman goes off world for an unknown amount of time, it's up to Jon Kent to fill the mantle, as the world needs a Superman. For that to happen, though, Jon has to learn what it means to be Superman and how to be himself in this identity.

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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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