Happy Pride month, Levittown! Celebrated every June, Pride month is a way to acknowledge the influence and importance of LGBTQ individuals, foster a spirit of community among members and allies, and call attention to the continued need for equal rights and visibility. The connection between gay pride and the month of June can be traced back to the Stonewall Riots of 1969, an event that served as a tipping point for activitists, who soon began organizing the types of parades and marches that we see now. In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, New York City is hosting “the largest Pride celebration in the world,” composed of rallies, parties, and lectures and culminating in the iconic NYC Pride March on Sunday, June 30th. If you want to stay local, the 29th annual Long Island Pride Parade will be happening in Long Beach on June 23rd.
The public library is a great resource for information about the history and culture of Pride. We have a great selection of fiction and nonfiction books for all ages. It would be impossible to list them all here, but I would recommend you contact the individual department to inquire about book lists, bibliographies, and recommendations. Whether you’re looking to gain information about terminology, resources for support, or more inclusive stories that better represent your experience, you can depend on our librarians to connect you with the right title. Speaking of library resources, The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of materials related to LGBTQ Americans, including manuscripts, audio recordings, musical compositions, and more. For an easily accessible compendium of book lists, opinion pieces, and even playlists, you should check out the LGBTQ page from the New York Public Library.
For those seeking support from professionals, there are many outstanding organizations equipped to handle everything from mental health and physical wellness to housing. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides the following list of resources:
- The American Psychological Association (APA) provides countless educational and support resources on a range of LGBTQ topics
- The Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling delivers educational and support resources for LGBTQ individuals, as well as promoting competency on LGBTQ issues for counseling professionals
- The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists offers numerous resources for LGBT individuals experiencing mental health conditions and psychiatric professionals with LGBT clients
- The National Center for Transgender Equality offers resources for transgender individuals, including information on the right to access health care
- The Trevor Project is a support network for LGBTQ youth providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention, including a 24-hour text line (Text “START” to 678678)
- The LGBT National Help Center offers confidential peer support connections for LGBT youth, adults and seniors including phone, text and online chat
- The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Provider Directory is a search tool that can locate a LGBTQ-inclusive health care provider
Support from family and friends is key for any of us to maintain our well-being, but it can be especially important for those within the LGBTQ community. Studies have shown that LGB high school students are nearly five times as likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual peers. Almost half of all transgender adults say they have considered suicide within the past year of being questioned; when it comes to the general population, only 4% have been in the same situation (really, any number is too high when it comes to something as serious as this).
The good news is that there are ways to help. The easiest is to simply learn how to be an ally. GLAAD and GLSEN provide examples, many of which are generally important lessons in how to be a good human in this world, like learning how to listen and having an open mind. Families and friends who are looking for guidance or connection can also find their local chapter of PFLAG.
At the Levittown Public Library, our Young Adult Department hosts a Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) that meets the third Tuesday of each month. It’s a safe and fun space for teens to connect with others and feel comfortable being themselves. Anyone interested should contact Jody in the Young Adult Department for more information and to sign-up! Throughout the month of June, library visitors can also take a look at the awesome Pride display outside the Teen Lounge.
As we move through this month, spotting rainbow EVERYTHING while we’re out shopping (and buying a few of these items along the way!), let’s remember these words from former President Obama in the “Presidential Proclamation: LGBT Pride Month, 2016:”
“There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.”
Peace, Love & Pride,