November is for transgender and intersex awareness

This November marks an important time for transgender and intersex communities — not only as a crucial moment for intersex political organizing, but also as a period of celebration and remembrance: Intersex Solidarity Day is celebrated on November 8th, the birthday of Herculine Barbin.  Barbin was a French intersex woman who was forcibly assigned male by a court after her affair and medical examinations were made public.  Transgender Awareness Week is the second week of the month, leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. This international observance honors the lives of trans people, and remembers those who have been killed due to transphobic violence. As nonbinary library employees of color, we’ve compiled this list of books that center the lives and experiences of intersex, transgender, and non-binary people.

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shreya
This short volume of essays is a deeply vulnerable examination of masculine violence in our society. The essays are accessible, profoundly honest, and they serve to help us all think more deeply about gendered violence. Content warning for self-harm, transmisogyny (violence against trans women), abuse. Continue reading “November is for transgender and intersex awareness”

Celebrating Transgender Awareness Month

Back by popular demand! The University Branch will be hosting the third annual Trans Shorts and Speed Friending event on November 12th from 6 – 7:30 p.m. to coincide with Transgender Awareness Month and Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. We’re partnering with Three Dollar Bill Cinema and TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival to make this event possible, and along with Three Dollar Bill, we’ll also have Seattle Nonbinary Collective, Lavender Rights Project, and Camp Ten Trees on hand to share information about their organizations during the event.

Trans Shorts & Speed Friending will be a fun evening consisting of film shorts made by transgender filmmakers followed by Speed Friending.  If you’re looking for a low-stress and fun way to meet other queer/trans folks in a friendly environment then this is the event for you. This is a welcoming environment with refreshments and entertaining discussion prompts that will be sure to help facilitate connections and promote lively conversation.   Folks with accessibility needs can be buzzed into the building on the north side of the library and there are several single occupancy restrooms in the building. Continue reading “Celebrating Transgender Awareness Month”

Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors

“There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” With this final despairing statement, gay film historian and activist Vito Russo ends The Celluloid Closet, his landmark study of representations of LGBTQ people in film.

When Russo first published The Celluloid Closet in 1981, he could not imagine that over a decade later LGBTQ directors would make movies that depicted the complex and varied experiences of LGBTQ people with respect and pride, and that Hollywood would begin to finance and distribute these films. Nor could he foresee that 35 years later, Barry Jenkins, a black gay director, would win the Best Picture Academy Award for Moonlight, a sensitive, nuanced, and beautifully filmed story of a young gay black man’s coming of age.

Sadly, Russo died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 and did not live long enough to see the blossoming queer cinema that began to emerge shortly thereafter. In 2013, GLAAD created the Vito Russo Test in his honor. Mainstream Hollywood filmmakers still have a way to go in terms of positive portrayals of LGBTQIA characters, but queer filmmakers around the world have been producing excellent films that pass the Vito Russo Test and then some for decades. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading “Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors”

Celebrating Trans Lives

November is Transgender Awareness Month! Seattle Public Library is excited to honor this celebration of transgender folks through events, book displays, and this book recommendation list of books by trans people.

transgender-historyThe first book I would recommend reading this month is Transgender History by Susan Stryker, because the transgender community wouldn’t be where we are today without the community activists who have fought for our rights. The depth of Susan Stryker’s research combined with the personal touch of her strong connections to many trans activists make this book a fast and educational read. For those who prefer a documentary film to a book, Stryker also filmed Screaming Queens about a 1966 act of resistance by trans women in San Francisco. Continue reading “Celebrating Trans Lives”

Embracing Gender Diversity

they~posted by Micah K.

Here at Seattle Public Library we think a lot about how we can be a more inclusive resource for our communities. When the American Dialect Society announced in January that the singular “they” was the word of 2015, we started discussing in more depth the benefits of using gender neutral language when serving our patrons. We live in a world that attaches gender to everything: from toys to books to clothes, we’ve been socialized to see things as either masculine or feminine. We recognize that as professionals that interact with the public, it is second nature to assume gender in our brief interactions with you lovely humans. Instead of taking the easy route of relying on our assumptions about gender, we are challenging ourselves to use gender inclusive language to welcome our transgender and gender non-conforming patrons and create more space for gender diversity in our libraries. (We also really do not want to misgender, or use a word or pronoun that does not correctly reflect the gender with which an individual identifies, our patrons.) Continue reading “Embracing Gender Diversity”