Exploring LGBT Themes in YA Lit & Everyday Library Life

On June 1, 2012, President Barack Obama declared June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.  In this monumental proclamation, the President recognized that American citizens of all races, nationalities, genders, and religious creeds have fought since our inception as a country for their freedoms.  THe LGBT community is no different.  At the end of his speech, the President says this:

I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

The creation of LGBT Pride Month as a nationally recognized month of recognition offers libraries the opportunity to display with pride their adult and teen titles, both fiction and non-fiction, that either tackle the topic of sexual orientation or include LGBT characters. There are any number of ways that you could celebrate this month of pride at your library. Displays, blog posts, and book lists are the easiest starting point of passive programming. These types of measures put this part of your collection on display for the world (well, YOUR world–your patrons) to explore.  Various blogs celebrated the month with author interviews and book reviews, including author Malinda Lo.  A great post to check out is her YA PRIDE: 2012 LGBT YA BY THE NUMBERS post.  She offers readers a glimpse into the relatively small world that is currently literature featuring LGBT characters.  Hopefully someday soon we’ll see increasing diversity in this area!

Looking to go beyond passive programming? Plan a book club. Host an LGBT author or an author who writes LGBT characters (either in person or virtually). Have a short story writing contest where stories must feature LGBT characters. Host speakers or activist groups. Talk to teens about The Trevor Project.  Have them create their own “It Gets Better” videos. The possibilities are virtually endless and you have a whole month to celebrate!

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