Hello and happy Friday readers. It's the first Friday of June and we've officially kicked off Pride Month. Pride is something I personally celebrate all year round but this month lends extra focus to the LGBTQ+ community which has been under fire in the U.S. this year due to sweeping Anti- LGBTQ legislation in several states. As reported in April of 2023, this year has seen a horrifying 417 Anti- LGBTQ bills introduced across state legislatures. That number has since escalated to 491. To give you some perspective, there were 180 in 2022. Of those bills 283 were education based, seeking to strip LGBTQ media from classrooms, curriculums, and school libraries. These bills attack everything from Healthcare to literature to drag performances. Not every bill is passed but those that are have had cascading effects in the community such as Florida's 'Don't Say Gay'. So what are some ways you can support and push back against the hate?
Ways to Support the LGBTQ+ Community
Get Involved and Stay Involved in Local Politics
There has been a resurgence in interest of local politics since the last election, but we may find ourselves getting complacent. Due to the empowerment of state over federal law in the last presidential term, the most harmful legislation is coming at state to state levels. Now more than ever, this is where allies need to make themselves heard. Write, call, protest, vote. Remember to exercise your democratic rights, that your local government is the representative of a whole community, not just a part of it. If you are a parent, get involved in school boards and meetings. Many of these are open to parents and the public to make their concerns heard.
Push for LGBTQ Media in Public Libraries
Public Libraries are so vital I can't even begin to list all the ways. With so many school libraries under fire by Ant-LGBTQ legislation, public libraries may be the only way teens who need these stories have access, and even these places are not safe. However, recent court cases have ruled in favor of protecting the contents of public libraries, such as the case in Texas which deemed the removal of books based on LGBTQ and Racial content unconstitutional. These books were removed in the first place due to the protest of 7 residents. SEVEN.
Request LGBTQ+ books for the catalog of your local library. Donate books if you can. Many libraries do work on tight budgets and limited space but can accept donated materials to include on their shelves. Ask your local library about hosting online and in-person events for LGBTQ+ authors.
Raise Awareness of Charities, Foundations, and Projects
Whether you donate monetarily or donate your time and energy, there are many worthwhile charities, foundations, and projects out there to support the LGBTQ+ community. Research those that operate at a national level and at a local level. Spread awareness. Many of these organizations focus on legal rights like the American Civil Liberties Union, pushing back against LGBTQ legislation, while others support and aid the most vulnerable members of the community such as the Trevor Project that provides crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth.
For Readers- Read, Review, and Shout
Read LGBTQ+ books. Leave reviews. Shout about these books to the rooftops. Word of mouth has power. Success for LGBTQ+ books, especially for Teens, are often driven by intense and passionate readers but publicity support is often lacking for these books. In order to keep driving diversity in publishing, readers need to keep showing up for LGBTQ+ books. If you love a book, the best support you can give it is shouting about it to everyone you know. Be loud about how much you love these books, because I promise you, there are already plenty of loud voices trying to make these books vanish.