Though it’s hard to imagine LGBTQ+ Pride month in Philadelphia without being able to gather in person as a community to celebrate, the Free Library is marching online and taking the celebration virtual this year with a month of programs exploring LGBTQ+ lives, stories, and histories.
The first Pride march was organized in 1970 as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots the previous summer, which were, fundamentally, an uprising against police brutality led by Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera, and other queer and trans women of color. LGBTQ+ Pride has always been an act of protest and solidarity, and that spirit guides the Free Library of Pride this year.
Whether you’re looking to brush up on your queer history, find uplifting stories for the whole family, be inspired by new performances, or just be together in community during a difficult time, here are some not-to-miss online happenings to put on your Pride 2020 calendar:
- Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community has endured, organized, thrived, and evolved over the last seventy years, and Bob Skiba, Curator of Collections at the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives at the William Way Community Center, will trace these changes on Tuesday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m. in a talk on the history of LGBTQ+ Philadelphia from 1950 to 2020.
- LGBTQ+ history is something of a theme for Free Library of Pride this year. On June 10, explore Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele’s groundbreaking graphic novel Queer: A Graphic History, which guides readers through recent histories of queer culture, activism, and thought.
- You can also log on every Thursday afternoon in June to join drag queen Lili St. Queer for an LGBTQ+ History Happy Hour. Make a mocktail or cocktail with a recipe from the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center, then settle in with your drink for an entertaining retelling of an LGBTQ+ historical event. Thursdays will be extra fun in June because on the 4th, 11th, and 18th at 11:00 a.m. you can also join drag queen Brittany Lynn for LGBTQ+ trivia!
- Lili St. Queer and Brittany Lynn will also lead the ever-popular storytimes for children of all ages and their families. The whole family is invited to listen to stories about the importance of kindness, inclusivity, and love!
- Librarians are also joining in on the storytime fun. Join children's librarians from Oak Lane, West Oak Lane, and Falls of Schuylkill libraries for storytimes with books like And Tango Makes Three, a children's book about two male penguins who hatch and raise a baby together. They'll demonstrate how to make a fun craft, too (the librarians, not the penguins).
- Teens can educate themselves about attraction, gender, and gender differences during Yes Please! Healthy Sexuality workshops led by Von Eaton of the Mazzoni Center. At home during their own time, teens can view pre-recorded videos presented by Von, and then engage with him during a Q&A and discussion on Mondays, June 22 and 29, and July 6.
- On June 23, Philadelphia playwright Josh A. Campbell will present an excerpt from his new work Your Body Calls Me Home, a poetic journey into the inner lives of a group of queer black and brown millennial men. This live performance will be followed by a Q&A with Josh and the other performers.
- There is plenty of queer history to be found in the Free Library’s Special Collections, too. On June 18, The Rosenbach will present In Bed with Ishmael: Queer Approaches to the Life, Work, and Legacy of Herman Melville (did you know the author of Moby-Dick may have carried a torch for Nathaniel Hawthorne?). And on June 28, take a dive into the Free Library’s Theater Collection with Queer Authors and Playwrights, offered in collaboration with the William Way Community Center.
Finally, be sure to check out our LGBTQ+ Resources Page, which includes book and film recommendations for all ages; links to information about health, activism, bullying, LGBTQ+ youth, legal support, and more; podcasts from our Author Events series; and blog posts on a range of topics.