| By Gale Staff |
With the end of the spring semester looming, librarians can begin preparing for the start of summer. And what better way to kick off the season than by celebrating Pride Month? Taking place in June, Pride Month is a celebratory observation of LGBTQ+ accomplishments, culture, struggles, and injustices. The celebration happens this time each year to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising—the first Pride parade was held just one year later in New York City. Using Gale In Context: College, your library can highlight Pride Month by showcasing LGTBQ+ champions and their stories.
Give Voice to LGBTQ+ Leaders
There are many LGBTQ+ individuals and allies who have contributed to expanding LGBTQ+ rights throughout the past several decades. Your students can find helpful, comprehensive biographical information to learn more about these advocates. Plus, Gale In Context: College features critical thinking questions appropriate for college-level research, helping to prompt deeper consideration about the role these individuals played within the context of history.
Harvey Milk is one of the most prolific activists in history for LGBTQ+ rights. In 1977, he was the first openly gay man elected to public office in California when he joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk worked tirelessly, despite discrimination and threats, to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ population in the state. He advocated against legislation that would have banned LGBTQ+ individuals from teaching in schools, and he helped create a pathway for more underrepresented people to pursue leadership positions. Sadly, Milk was assassinated when he was just 48 years old, but his young age belies his powerful legacy.
Stormé DeLarverie was a LGBTQ+ activist who played a prominent role in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. During this time, police could arrest U.S. citizens for not wearing at least three pieces of “gender-appropriate” clothing—a law known as the three-article rule. However, during a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, DeLarvarie encouraged patrons to fight back against the unjust law, inciting the riot and going on to inspire LGBTQ+ individuals around the world. DeLarvarie herself frequently dressed in male clothing, and she famously performed as a man in a successful variety show called the Jewel Box Revue. DeLarvarie served as a staunch protector of LGBTQ+ rights.
Engage Students with Multimedia
Reading the biographies of Harvey Milk and other LGBTQ+ activists can help inspire, but audio and visual content is especially effective in engaging your students even further. Gale In Context: College includes videos, images, and audio files for your students to access. Watch as former President Barack Obama champions better protections for LGBTQ+ workers. Hear the actual voices of young Americans participating in their community’s Pride parade. And look at dozens of images from Pride celebrations around the world. These momentous occurrences are all captured in user-friendly, downloadable formats within Gale In Context: College, making it easy to use in your library.
Consider Current Dialogues
The LGBTQ+ community is an evolving, inclusive population, celebrating new gender identities and sexual expressions every year. At the same time, states continue to develop legislation regarding these groups. The dialogue around LGBTQ+ people and their rights is rich with complicated and sometimes oppositional perspectives. Gale In Context: College integrates unbiased content from newspapers and magazines, including stories from around the world. Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ conversations in recent years have been affected by violence, bans, and pressure to limit rights, but members and allies of these groups continue to fight back. Personal beliefs regarding LGBTQ+ people may differ within your student body but Gale In Context: College ensures the information your patrons discover is accurate and unbiased.
Plan Events for Your Library
Your academic institution likely hosts an LGBTQ+ student group who may be planning their own events for Pride Month, but there’s no reason your library can’t get involved as well. Start by asking your school’s LGBTQ+ student organization how the library can help. You might begin by developing a list of recommended LGBTQ+ materials and resources to share via your social media channels. You can also consider these Pride-themed activities:
- Show your pride: There are dozens of different, colorful flags for Pride Month to help capture the various sexual orientations and gender expressions found within the LGBTQ+ community. Flags are important symbols, whether for a country or a movement. Consider honoring the many different Pride flags through a display.
- Encourage conversation: Give students a voice by finding ways to share the stories of LGBTQ+ members of your student body. Ask students to submit a personal anecdote about inclusion. What aspects of your campus help them feel welcome? What barriers have they faced? Students can submit stories via email for librarians to share or the library might consider inviting them to speak.
- Display LGBTQ+ materials: Select some meaningful titles or images to display throughout the library space—you might consider curating a special collection featuring LGBTQ+ artists and authors. There are many prominent LGBTQ+ literary figures, including household names like Truman Capote, Oscar Wilde, and Walt Whitman.
June is a month of transition as college students graduate and enter the real world. It’s also a time for positive change, and Pride Month serves as an inspiring theme for your student body. Exposing your college students to reliable, accurate information regarding the LGBTQ+ population and other underrepresented groups of people improves their visibility on campus.
Ready to create a more inclusive community at your college or university? Learn more about Gale In Context: College or request a product trial.