The 2019 Lambda Literary Awards Long List is here!

What good are awards? Do they really mean anything? Are the winners truly better than other books, or is it just a popularity contest? We’ve known readers who only read award winners, and others who actively avoid them, on the theory that award winning books might be more admirable than enjoyable. But there is definitely one aspect of book awards that is a big help to readers: the full lists of nominees – or long lists.

We regularly pore over the longlisted books for the Booker Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Edgar Awards, the National Book Awards and others, looking for titles that both passed their judges’ muster and capture our own individual interest. One of the best – and longest – long lists each year is the LAMBDA Literary Awards (or Lammys), now entering its 31st year of recognizing excellence in LGBTQIA literature. Lammy winners will be announced on June 3, but you can enjoy their long list, spanning a vast array of categories, right now! It is hard to imagine a better way to get in touch with some of the most interesting LGBTQIA narratives and talented authors writing today. And for your convenience, we’ve posted extensive lists of the finalists for fiction & poetry, non-fiction and graphic novels, and books for youth, right there in our library catalog. Continue reading “The 2019 Lambda Literary Awards Long List is here!”

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”