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LGBTQ+ Pride

people holding a rainbow flagCelebrating LBGTQ+ Pride!

Check out the resources and materials we’ve put together to inform and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in Los Angeles County and beyond. This page will be updated regularly, and feel free to check back for more new and exciting videos, booklists, activities, learning pathways, and more. There’s also info on accessing relevant archives on LGBTQ+ history that researchers will find valuable.

For February, we’ve added a new Viewer’s Guide for the documentary, Brother Outsider and refreshed our LGBTQ+ Romance for Adults booklist!

Featured LGBTQ+ Trailblazers

Learn the stories of advocates that helped advance LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.  Click the plus sign (+) for the full bios and links to items available to borrow with your LA County Library card.

Gloria Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldúa was a Chicana scholar, writer, poet, and activist. She was born in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in 1942. Her upbringing in the borderland region influenced her perspective on identity, culture, and the concept of borders, which she explored extensively in her writings. Her work played a crucial role in reshaping Chicana and feminist theories, literature, and activism.

Her writings often explored issues of race, gender, sexuality, and the intersections of these identities. She was a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and her work delved into the challenges faced by queer individuals within marginalized communities.

Her most influential writings included the book “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza” (1987). In this groundbreaking work, Anzaldúa discusses the experience of living in the borderlands, the area between the United States and Mexico, and how it creates a unique, hybrid identity for those living there. She coined the term “mestiza consciousness” to describe the blending of various cultural and social identities in the border region. She is also known for co-editing This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981). This seminal anthology of writings by feminist women of color examines the relationships between feminism, race, class, and sexuality.

Adult Books
This bridge we call home : radical visions for transformation by Gloria Anzaldúa
Borderlands : the new mestiza = La frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa
Light in the dark : rewriting identity, spirituality, reality = Luz en lo oscuro by Gloria Anzaldúa

Children’s Books
Prietita and the ghost woman = Prietita y la llorona by Gloria Anzaldúa
Friends from the other side = Amigos del otro lado by Gloria Anzaldúa

Author and activist Helen Zia

Helen Zia

Author and activist Helen Zia’s life and work have left an indelible mark on both the Asian American and LGBTQ communities. Born in 1952 to Chinese immigrant parents, Zia's upbringing in the United States exposed her to the complexities of being both Asian American and LGBTQ in a society that often marginalized and discriminated against these groups. Her journey towards becoming a prominent activist and advocate was deeply influenced by her own experiences navigating these intersecting identities.

Zia’s identity as a lesbian further added to her commitment to advocacy. Her public coming out was a courageous act in a time when LGBTQ individuals faced widespread discrimination and prejudice. She recognized the importance of visibility and authenticity, becoming an inspirational figure for LGBTQ communities. Zia’s activism within the LGBTQ community extended to advocating for LGBTQ rights, particularly during the early days of the AIDS crisis, when she worked tirelessly to raise awareness and promote compassionate policies.

In addition to her advocacy work, Helen Zia is an accomplished writer and journalist. Her books include Last Boat Out of Shanghai and Asian American Dreams, the latter a staple of many Asian American Studies courses. Zia’s writings often explore the complexities of identity, belonging, and the intersection of race and sexuality. Through her books, articles, and speeches, Zia has been instrumental in raising awareness about the experiences of Asian American LGBTQ individuals, shedding light on their unique challenges and contributions.

Adult Books
Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People By Helen Zia
Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution By Helen Zia
My Country Versus Me: The First-hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy By Wen Ho Lee with Helen Zia
Notable Asian Americans By Helen Zia

Documentaries:
Not Your Model Minority directed by Jon Osaki (On Kanopy)

Online Resources:
“Helen Zia on the Asian American Movement.” Facing History and Ourselves.
“Helen Zia.” Museum of Chinese in America
“Helen Zia.” PBS Learning Media

Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz

“I am an indigenous woman, a queer woman, a Latinx woman. What I hope my work can offer a queer writer, a queer identifying person in general is the space to one, hold the ways we’ve been hurt and the ways we’ve been erased, and also to hold in the other hand simultaneously the way we deserve love, our capacities for love, and all of the innovative ways we’ve managed to find to express that love to one another.”--Poet Natalie Diaz, 2018 MacArthur Fellow

Born in 1978 in Needles, California, Diaz spent her childhood going between the library, gym, and basketball courts. At age 42, she became the youngest chancellor elected to the Academy of American Poets. In addition to this, she was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, Bread Loaf Fellowship, Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellowship, and many other prestigious awards. Diaz received both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Old Dominion University. When My Brother Was an Aztec was her first published collection of poems and won the American Book Award. Her other published collection of poems, Postcolonial Love Poem, earned her the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Both her experience as an athlete and a linguist has shaped her literary work. Her poetry reflects the power of language which she believes is a very physical energy that she finds similar to when she played basketball. You can find this in her descriptions about the body and her usage of English, Spanish, and Mojave words. Her poems explore many topics such as reservation life, Mojave life, Native issues, politics, and the sensuality and appreciation for her partner’s female body. She’s been recognized by many for her Indigenous, multicultural, and queer voice that challenges colonial and mainstream thinking.

Adult Books
Postcolonial love poem by Diaz, Natalie
When my brother was an Aztec by Diaz, Natalie

Online Resources
PBS – Conversation: Poet Natalie Diaz
MacArthur Foundation – Poet Natalie Diaz
T.S. Eliot Prize – Natalie Diaz Talks About Her Work

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was a key activist in the Civil Rights Movement. He organized the 1963 March on Washington, worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and is credited with introducing Dr. King to Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence. But Rustin’s name and accomplishments were often relegated to the background because he was openly gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal.

Bayard Rustin was born in 1912 in eastern Pennsylvania, and was raised by his grandparents, from whom he learned the Quaker value of pacifism. This may be why, as a young man, Rustin fully embraced Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence both as a way of life and as a vehicle for advancing the cause of justice. Rustin’s commitment to pacifism and his opposition to the racial discrimination present in the U. S. armed forces resulted in him spending 26 months in prison as a conscientious objector during World War II. There, Rustin organized other inmates into protests against the racial segregation built into the prison system.

Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, Bayard Rustin continued to engage in the struggle for justice, both nationally and internationally. In the 1980s, until his death in 1987, he was active in the movement for gay rights and worked to bring knowledge of the AIDS crisis to the attention of the NAACP. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, saying, “For decades, this great leader, often at Dr. King’s side, was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay. No medal can change that, but today, we honor Bayard Rustin’s memory by taking our place in his march towards true equality, no matter who we are or who we love.”

Adult Books
Lost prophet : the life and times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio
Bayard Rustin : troubles I’ve seen : a biography by Jervis Anderson

Children’s Books
Unstoppable : how Bayard Rustin organized the 1963 March on Washington by Michael G. Long
Bayard Rustin by J. P. Miller
Trouble maker for justice : the story of Bayard Rustin, the man behind the March on Washington by Jacqueline Houtman

Documentary on DVD
Brother outsider: the life of Bayard Rustin

Online Resources
“Who Designed the March on Washington?” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS’s The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
“Remembering Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the March on Washington,” NPR Thoroughline
“Before Montgomery: Bayard Rustin and the Fight for Racial Justice During World War II,” National World War II Museum

LGBT Collection at the West Hollywood Library

Our West Hollywood Library holds our LGBT Collection, a comprehensive collection of LGBT fiction and non-fiction literature and history in a variety of formats: books, journals, periodicals, VHS, and DVD. The collection reflects the rich history, culture, and experiences of the LGBT community both locally and globally. It includes popular and academic materials, out-of-print and hard-to-find titles, LGBT classics, current bestsellers, and new Lambda Literary Award winners and nominees.

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