Why do we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community in June?

The Stonewall Riots, also known as The Stonewall Uprising, began at a bar called The Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969.  In the 1950s and 1960s, there were very few places for people with different sexual orientations to relax and be themselves and often places where they did choose to gather were raided by the police.  In 1969, The Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia, but the gay population was welcomed.  When police raided the bar on June 28, 1969, roughly removing employees and patrons from the bar, the patrons and the local Christopher Street neighborhood protested for six days, which lead to violent clashes with law enforcement and eventually the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement.  Each year since 1970, there has been a Pride Parade in New York City, where people can come together and be themselves, the parade culminates in front of the now legendary Stonewall Inn.  Due to the pandemic, the 50th Pride Parade, which was to be this year, had to be cancelled.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June, “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month”.  In 2009 and every year that he was President, Barack Obama declared June, “LGBT Pride Month”.  Donald Trump was the first Republican President to acknowledge “LGBT Pride Month” in 2019.

In 2015, the American Library Association started a month-long nationwide celebration called GLBT Book Month.  In 2019, to acknowledge and honor all of the many different sexual orientations, the ALA has changed the name to Rainbow Book Month, a name that encompasses everyone.

Middlesex Public Library joins libraries across the nation to celebrate June as Rainbow Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and books that reflect the lives and experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community.


Books that celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community:

Childrens’ Books:

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
by Rob Sanders

In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world.

And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

The sweet, true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who created a family.

Stonewall: A Building, An Uprising, A Revoluton
by Rob Sanders

The moving story of the 1969 police raid and ensuing protests that played a crucial role in the gay civil rights movement. Narrated by the Stonewall Inn itself, this accessible and empowering book is an essential piece of pride history.


Middle Grades Books:

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution
by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Hazel would rather get lost in the pages of an encyclopedia than deal with the mounting changes in her life: starting over at a new school in her last year of middle school; worrying about her mom’s pregnancy following two miscarriages; and questioning romantic attraction as other girls focus on boys.

Better Nate Than Ever
by Tim Federle

Nate has big dreams to be in a Broadway show, but he lives in Jankburg, Pennsylvania where no one appreciates a good show tune. Together he and his friend, Libby, hatch a plan to visit to New York City.

George
by Alex Gino

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.


Young Adult Books:

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. This book was adapted into the major motion picture, Love, Simon.

How (not) to Ask a Boy to Prom
by S.J. Goslee


Nolan Grant has never had a boyfriend and never been kissed, but his older sister decides to step in by planning an elaborate “prom-posal” to help Nolan ask out his crush.

Red, White and Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston

When Alex’s mom becomes President of the United States, he’s forced to call a “truce” between him and his archenemy, Prince Henry from across the pond. What started off as a fake friendship for Instagram likes and global diplomacy turns into a secret romance that may cause more problems than they even thought possible.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green and David Levithan

Told in alternating chapters, with Green writing one Will Grayson and Levithan the other, this is the story of two teenagers with only the same name and their friend Tiny Cooper in common, who meet up one night in Chicago and find their lives changed in ways they could never have imagined.

If I Was Your Girl
by Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. She wants to fit in and make friends, when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant and the two start spending time together, Amanda is terrified to tell Grant her big secret, but she know she must. In her old school, she used to Andrew. Will this secret cost Amanda her new life and love?

What If It’s Us
by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in this smart, funny, heartfelt collaboration about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart.


Adult Books:

Rubyfruit Jungle
Rita Mae Brown

 In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.

A Little Life
by Hana Yanagihara

A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

How We Fight For Our Lives
Saeed Jones

Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

This Is How It Always Is
Laurie Frankel

This is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

Sources:

Library of Congress website

History.com

American Library Association website

Rainbow Book List

Stonewall Book Awards

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