Pride Month

Pride Month

by Stacy Gilbert, member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee


June is Pride Month, a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and more (LGBTQIA+) identities, culture, and communities around the world. It marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of resistance demonstrations in 1969 following a violent police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Though LGBTQIA+ groups had protested for equal rights in the years prior, the Stonewall Riots were the impetus to the annual “gay pride” marches that followed, sparking the modern LGBT-rights movement and transforming into the Pride parades now held worldwide. The American Library Association (ALA) recognizes June as Rainbow Book Month (formerly GLBT Book Month), an initiative of the Rainbow Round Table. Rainbow Book Month “provides an opportunity for book lovers and libraries to highlight the very best in LGBTQIA+ literature” (ALAnews, 2020, para. 2). VAASL affirms the right of all students to see themselves and their world reflected in their libraries, stands by Virginia’s LGBTQIA+ youth and their right to school libraries that support and affirm them, and supports all librarians’ efforts to create more inclusive collections and programs for all their students.

A supportive and inclusive library can be a safe haven, but the lives of LGBTQIA+ students outside of school can sometimes be tumultuous at best. LGBTQIA+ youth are more likely to attempt suicide (Facts, n.d.) and more likely to suffer from mental health issues (Flentje et al., 2016, para. 2-3) than their heterosexual peers. Unfortunately, eight of the ten most frequently challenged books in libraries in 2019 were challenged due to LGBTQIA+ content (Top 10, n.d.). However, libraries can support their LGBTQIA+ students, as described in this article from BookRiot, and help them feel a little less alone. Your diverse library can literally save lives. 

Ensuring an equitable and LGBTQIA+ inclusive library can seem daunting, but there are many resources available to support you. Teaching Tolerance has an excellent article on best practices around serving LGBTQIA+ students in your library, and the NCTE blog has a helpful post about making your library an LGBTQIA+ affirming space. When looking to diversify your collection, it is important to first assess its current state, which can be done through a diversity audit. Diversity audits are helpful tools to help you make informed collection-development decisions and ideally should be conducted regularly. This article from School Library Journal can help you begin, and this three-part blog series from Teen Librarian’s Toolbox details one librarian’s process from start to finish. Once you understand the state of your LGBTQIA+ collection, there are a plethora of resources available to help you find books to add to your collection (or help you assess books already in your collection). From ALA and the Rainbow Round Table, the Rainbow Book List and the list of Stonewall Book Award winners and honorees are excellent resources to utilize. Lists of quality LGBTQIA+ books for children and teens can also be found on other websites, including LGBTQ Reads, I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?, We Need Diverse Books, and the Human Rights Campaign.

Have you used any of these tools in your library? Are there other resources that you have found useful? What have you done to make your library more inclusive of LGBTQIA+ experiences? We would love to hear from you! Please add your thoughts to the Discussion Forum on the VAASL website so that we can all learn from each other. 


ALAnews. (2020, April 27). GLBT book month given new name. American Library Association.

Facts about suicide. (n.d.). The Trevor Project.

Flentje, A., Leon, A., Carrico, A., Zheng, D., & Dilley, J. (2016, October 3). Mental and physical health among homeless sexual and gender minorities in a major urban US city. PubMed Central, 93(6), 997–1009.

Top 10 most challenged books lists. (n.d.). American Library Association.
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