Celebrate LBGTQ History By Becoming an Ally

Evelyn Hooker is the extraordinary woman behind the research, advocacy, and allyship that led to the removal of the “Homosexuality” diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A pioneering psychologist, Hooker was also a poet and a towering figure in LGBTQ+ rights.  Evelyn Hooker and the Fairy Project, written by Stonewall award-winning author Gayle Pitman, captures Hooker’s groundbreaking work like never before. At the end of the book, a “Note to Readers” provides information about how to be an effective ally to LGBTQ+ people; other end matter included are a timeline, discussion questions, reading list, and additional resources, all written by Sarah Prager. Here’s an excerpt from the “How to be a LBGTQ+ Ally” section: Limerick for Dr. Bieber There once was a doctor named Irving whose theories were rather unnerving. It seems so cliché that moms made their sons gay. A theory that’s not worth preserving! Evelyn Hooker wasn’t gay, but she helped gay people live better lives through her actions. That’s what an ally does--advocate on behalf of a group of people they are not a part of. Someone inside the LBGTQ+ community who advocates for gay rights isn’t an ally, they’re an activist. You have to be outside the group to be an ally. The word comes from war talk--your ally in a war is not your own armed forces, but forces that fight on the same side against a common enemy. Here are ways to be an effective Ally: Be Inclusive: This book focuses on gay people because that’s where the discussion was centered at the time. The LBGTQ+ community is made up of many more kinds of people than just gay and lesbian people. To be an ally to one, you should be an ally to the whole extended community. Be a Follower:  Being an ally is often about listening. Allies don’t tell their LBGTQ+ friends what they should do or how they should do it; they help their friends carry out what their friends want...they just help where they are needed and follow the direction of the group they want to  help. Be Proactive:  While following is important in many situations, so is taking initiative in other contexts. Don’t expect an LBGTQ+ person to explain everything about being LBGTQ+ to you. Try to do your own research before asking. It’s also the job of an ally to speak up for LBGTQ+ people in a situation where someone says something mean or incorrect about them. You can speak up without speaking over or instead of LBGTQ+ people. Be a Student:  Learn from your mistakes and realize that you’ll always be learning. Learn about: LBGTQ+ history, gender-neutral pronouns, and current issues important to the LBGTQ+ community. When you make a mistake, own it, apologize, and move on. Be a Friend:  Like you would for anyone, be a kind friend to LBGTQ+ people around you. Listen, offer support, respect people’s pronouns and identities, and show up when you are asked to. In the

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Celebrate LBGTQ History By Becoming an Ally 2021-10-26T18:08:27-04:00

Celebrate LBGTQ+ History with Stitch By Stitch

✩ “Its story is beautifully captured in the book’s smooth pacing and brief paragraphs. Readers will follow its journey from that march as it becomes both a monument to mourning and a means of changing the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS… the book is pretty darn impressive. Storytelling and history, beautifully stitched together.” —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews From the blanket that his great-grandmother made for him as a boy, to the friends he gathered together in San Francisco as a young man, to the idea for a monument sewn of fabric and thread, Cleve Jones’ extraordinary life seems to have been stitched together bit by bit, piece by piece.  Mentored by Harvey Milk, Jones first had the vision for what became the AIDS Memorial Quilt during a candlelight memorial for Milk in 1985. The AIDS Memorial Quilt grew to be one of the largest public arts projects ever and helped grow awareness of HIV and AIDS.  The picture book biography, Stitch by Stitch: Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt by Rob Sanders, is a touching tribute to Jones’ life of advocacy and the positive effects of a community working towards a common goal. The book includes a discussion guide, glossary, more information about Cleve Jones and Gert McMullen, and a timeline. An excerpt from the discussion guide provides strategies for sharing nonfiction with children and sample answers to questions that children may have after reading the book.   When reading any book of nonfiction, questions may arise. It is also to be expected that children’s questions will go deeper and deeper with each reading of a book. Create an atmosphere where children feel their questions are welcome by being honest, succinct, and by providing answers based in fact.  Feel free to ask the child, “What do you think?” or “How are you feeling?” Remember, you don’t have to have the answers to every question. There’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know.” or “Let me think about that.”  The following are some sample answers to questions that children might have after reading Stitch by Stitch. Q: Is there a cure for AIDS today? A: Since the 1980s, thanks to medical advances, medication has helped people living with HIV live full lives. However, people who aren’t treated can still die of complications from AIDS. Q: How do people get HIV/AIDS? A: HIV/AIDS is hard to get. It’s not like a cold or the flu. HIV/AIDS can be passed from person to person through unprotected sex, sharing needles, and in other ways. The most important things to know is that transmission HIV/AIDS can be prevented, that there are treatments if someone is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and that you can be friends with someone with HIV/AIDS and not worry. Q: Was HIV/AIDS just a disease that gay men got? A: It may have seemed that way at first, but over time doctors and scientists realized that anyone could contract the disease. The doctors and scientists also discovered that the disease could

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Celebrate LBGTQ+ History with Stitch By Stitch 2021-10-12T14:54:31-04:00

Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They

Jacob—star of one of the most banned books of the decade according to the American Library Association—is back in his third book and ready to put on a school play! While learning their lines and making their costumes, Jacob’s class finds itself unexpectedly struggling with identity, and what it means to be “he”, “she”, or “they”. Jacob’s School Play is an engaging way to introduce young readers to non-binary people and the pronoun options available to us all. Learning that individuals are more nuanced than how others see them is a developmentally important milestone and helps foster respect of one’s self and one’s peers. Read an interview with Jacob about his play and learning about pronouns. Hear Jacob's School Play read aloud.

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Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They 2021-10-05T15:39:41-04:00