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Pride is 365: June is for Celebrations

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Above: Photo Collage – Lyxotic

Pride month power grows as the community becomes larger and stronger

One year ago, June 2020, in correspondence with protests around the country, spurred on by the killing of George Floyd, Pride month parades become protests and took on a new meaning.

In the middle of the pandemic it was a tense time, important elections were on the horizon and the were forces of prejudice and discrimination rising seemingly on all sides. In spite of the challenges and the forces aligned in misguided opposition, bravery and pride could be seen in the street around the US and the world.

Above: West Hollywood, June 2020 Photo: Lyxotic

A year later and there is the feeling, if only a faint one, that a chance exists for all of that to be turned back, not in a day a week or a year, but though the arc of history bending toward equality and inclusion.

And June was wisely chosen with rainbow colors, sunshine and hope for the future in a combination that can lead to hope for the future and joy for today. Joy is a concept that leads to and is a natural part of celebration just as much as pride equals hope, equality, inclusion and love.

June is the time, as spring transforms the world into summer, for us to remember not only the justice that is to come, but the joy of the journey, and even the joy of the righteous struggles to get there.

A way for the world to change must always begin with thoughts, ideas, information, education and, ultimately, understanding. In the books we’ve compiled there are chapters that contain stories of pride and struggles, and with more forthright and open information circulating the possibility for justice can only rise.

So, as June continues to beam it’s sunlit powers throughout the northern hemisphere, it’s a great time to reflect on the road ahead, the progress achieved, and most of all, the reasons for joy and celebration.

What We Will Become : A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation

A mother’s memoir of her transgender child’s odyssey, and her journey outside the boundaries of the faith and culture that shaped her. From the age of two-and-a-half, Jacob, born “Em,” adamantly told his family he was a boy.

While his mother Mimi struggled to understand and come to terms with the fact that her child may be transgender, she experienced a sense of déjà vu–the journey to uncover the source of her child’s inner turmoil unearthed ghosts from Mimi’s past and her own struggle to live an authentic life. 

Mimi was raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, every aspect of her life dictated by ancient rules and her role as a woman largely preordained from cradle to grave.

As a young woman, Mimi wrestled with the demands of her faith and eventually made the painful decision to leave her religious community and the strict gender roles it upheld. 

Having risen from the ashes of her former life, Mimi was prepared to help her son forge a new one — at a time when there was little consensus on how best to help young transgender children.

Dual narratives of faith and motherhood weave together to form a heartfelt portrait of an unforgettable family. Brimming with love and courage, What We Will Become is a powerful testament to how painful events from the past can be redeemed to give us hope for the future. 

The Stonewall Reader

June 28, 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is considered the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

Drawing from the New York Public Library’s archives, The Stonewall Reader is a collection of first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers that documented both the years leading up to and the years following the riots.

Most importantly the anthology spotlights both iconic activists who were pivotal in the movement, such as Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), as well as forgotten figures like Ernestine Eckstein, one of the few out, African American, lesbian activists in the 1960s. The anthology focuses on the events of 1969, the five years before, and the five years after.

Apple Watch Pride Band

Jason Baumann, the NYPL coordinator of humanities and LGBTQ collections, has edited and introduced the volume to coincide with the NYPL exhibition he has curated on the Stonewall uprising and gay liberation movement of 1969.

Fairest: A Memoir

A singular, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir of a Filipino boy with albinism whose story travels from an immigrant childhood to Harvard to a gender transition and illuminates the illusions of race, disability, and gender Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a sun child from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America.

Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as she was treated by others with special preference or public curiosity.

As an immigrant to the United States, Talusan came to be perceived as white. An academic scholarship to Harvard provided access to elite circles of privilege but required Talusan to navigate through the complex spheres of race, class, sexuality, and her place within the gay community. She emerged as an artist and an activist questioning the boundaries of gender.

Talusan realized she did not want to be confined to a prescribed role as a man, and transitioned to become a woman, despite the risk of losing a man she deeply loved. Throughout her journey, Talusan shares poignant and powerful episodes of desirability and love that will remind readers of works such as Call Me By Your Name and Giovanni’s Room. Her evocative reflections will shift our own perceptions of love, identity, gender, and the fairness of life.

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