June is LGBT Pride Month – this is when cities across the country show support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights, culture, and communities. It’s currently celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.
In June of 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City, resisted the police harassment and staged an uprising. Why did people have to resist the police? Basically, through history (and in many other countries) gay bars were illegal in America and LGBTQ Americans didn’t have the same rights as other Americans.
The Stonewall uprising marks the beginning of the movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ Americans.
The events that took place at the Stonewall Inn led to the first gay pride parades in the United States and in many other countries. Now, cities host events to commemorate the Stonewall Riots and bring awareness to the issues that LGBT+ Americans still face.
In 1998, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13087 expanding equal opportunity employment in the Federal government by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. On June 11, 1999 President Clinton issued Proclamation No. 7203 for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month:
Thirty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a courageous group of citizens resisted harassment and mistreatment, setting in motion a chain of events that would become known as the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Gays and lesbians, their families and friends, celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
On June 1, 2009, President Obama issued Proclamation No. 8387 for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In this proclamation the President pointed to the contributions made by LGBT Americans both in promoting equal rights to all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and in broader initiatives such as the response to the global HIV pandemic. The President ended the proclamation by calling upon the people of the United States to “turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.” (From the Library of Congress).
The Central Library has new book club for the summer that will discuss books by and about people across the LGBT spectrum. It meets the last Tuesday of the month at 6pm at the Central Library. The June 26 meeting will discuss Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu.
Here are a few books to try out:
Tell the Wolves I’m Home (fiction) by Carol Kifka Brunt – “It is 1987, and only one person has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus — her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down.”
The Gods of Tango (fiction) by Carolina De Robertis – “February 1913: seventeen-year-old Leda, clutching a suitcase and her father’s cherished violin, leaves her small Italian village for a new home (and husband) halfway across the world in Argentina. Upon her arrival in Buenos Aires, Leda is shocked to find that her bridegroom has been killed. Unable to fathom the idea of returning home, she remains in this unfamiliar city, living in a commune on the brink of destitution. She finally acts on a passion she has kept secret for years: mastering the violin. Leda knows that she can never play in public as a woman, so she cuts off her hair, binds her breasts, and, as a young man, joins a troupe of musicians bent on bringing tango into the salons of high society.”
Redefining Realness (nonfiction) by Janet Mock – “An extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age as a transgender teen–a deeply personal and empowering portrait of self-revelation, adversity, and heroism. In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society. Redefining Realness offers a bold new perspective on being young, multiracial, economically challenged, and transgender in America.”
Forcing the Spring (nonfiction) by Jo Becker – “Forcing the Spring begins on Election Night 2008, when a controversial California ballot initiative called Proposition 8–which removed the right of gay men and women to marry–passed alongside Barack Obama’s stunning victory. Forcing the Spring details how a small but determined group of political and media insiders took the fight for marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court.”