June is Pride Month and the Free Library’s Author Events series has an extensive archive of podcasts and videos to help you celebrate a diverse range of writers working in politics, fiction, health and fitness, literary fiction, poetry, religion, and much more.
Before we look back at some of our previous authors, check out these upcoming events that will feature LGBTQ+ speakers:
Sarah McBride | Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality
Recorded June 7, 2018 - In conversation with State Representative Brian K. Sims, former staff counsel for policy and planning at the Philadelphia Bar Association.
(Sims recently stepped down as both the president of the board of directors of Equality Pennsylvania and as chairman of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP).)
Sarah McBride made history in 2016 as the first openly transgender American to address a major party convention. Also one of the first transgender people to work at the White House, she helped influence the Obama administration’s stances on trans issues, served as an aide to Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, and currently serves as National Press Secretary at the Human Rights Campaign. McBride’s trailblazing story has been featured in a variety of periodicals, including The New Yorker, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Cosmopolitan. Tomorrow Will Be Different takes a deep dive into her tale of love, loss, and accomplishment as a doorway to a larger discussion of identity and LGBTQ+ rights.
Jason Baumann | The Stonewall Reader with Mark Segal, Karla Jay and Joel Hall
Recorded June 20, 2019
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the riots that started the fight for American LGBTQ+ rights, The Stonewall Reader highlights some of the movement’s most iconic moments and figures in the years before and after those tumultuous events. Assembling archival research and first-person accounts, editor Jason Baumann—the New York Public Library’s coordinator of humanities and LGBTQ collections—planned the book’s release to coincide with Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50, the library’s exhibition on the Stonewall riots and the ensuing gay liberation movement. Joined by Mark Segal, founder of the Philadelphia Gay News, who will discuss his contribution to the anthology, “And Then I Danced”; Karla Jay, author of Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation and a distinguished professor emerita at Pace University; and Joel Hall, part of the Third World Gay Revolution movement in Chicago, and a dancer, choreographer, and activist.
Michelangelo Signorile | It's Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality
Recorded April 23, 2015
Michelangelo Signorile is famous for his gutsy and outspoken gay rights advocacy. His seminal 1993 manifesto, Queer in America, examined the political forces responsible for the LGBT closet. He is also the author of three other books, as well as articles for dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Salon, and The Los Angeles Times. A founding editor of OutWeek and a columnist and editor-at-large for The Advocate, Signorile is currently an editor of the Gay Voices section of The Huffington Post. He also hosts a daily talk show on Sirius XM radio. His new book, It's Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality, argues that while some Americans think the struggle for gay rights has been won, there continue to be hidden and insidious obstacles in the path toward true equality.
Roxane Gay | Difficult Women
Recorded March 24, 2017
Roxane Gay’s "commanding debut" (The New Yorker) novel, An Untamed State, is the tale of a willful Haitian kidnap victim and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the acclaimed essay collection Bad Feminist and the forthcoming memoir Hunger, and her other writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Best American Short Stories, and McSweeney’s. Gay is also the founder of Tiny Hardcore Press and co-editor of PANK, a nonprofit literary arts collective. A story collection of the privileged and impoverished, the loved and forsaken, Difficult Women portrays a beautiful, haunting cross-section of modern America.
Saeed Jones | How We Fight for Our Lives with Clifford Thompson | What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues
Recorded November 12, 2019
Saeed Jones is the author of the "hard and glaring and brilliant" (NPR Book Review) poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. He was also the co-host of BuzzFeed’s morning show AM to DM and was the website’s former LGBT editor. How We Fight for Our Lives is a memoir of Jones’s life as a young, Black, gay man in the South searching for his place in the American landscape.
The recipient of the Whiting Award for nonfiction, Clifford Thompson’s writing has appeared in a diverse array of publications, including The Washington Post, Village Voice, and Wall Street Journal. The author of an essay collection, Love for Sale, and a novel, Signifying Nothing, he teaches writing at New York University and Sarah Lawrence College. In the tradition of James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Thompson’s latest book, What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues, ruminates on race in America amidst the tumult of Trump’s America.
Alison Bechdel | Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
Recorded June 22, 2006
A cult favorite in the comics world, Alison Bechdel has chronicled the lives of fictionalized characters in her Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip since 1993. Called "one of the preeminent oeuvres of the comics genre, period" by Ms. Magazine, Dykes is syndicated in fifty alternative newspapers and is collected into a book with a quarter-million copies in print. Fun Home is her memoir, in graphic novel form, marked by gothic twists and sexual angst in the family-owned funeral home.
Garth Greenwell | Cleanness
Recorded January 16, 2020
In conversation with Carmen Maria Machado, most recently the author of In the Dream House
"A subtle observer of human interactions" with "an inborn ability to cast a spell" (New York Times), Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, a novel that follows a gay man seeking to know his own heart. Winner of the British Book Award for Debut of the Year and a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, it was named a Best Book of 2016 by more than 50 publications. His stories and criticism have appeared in a wide range of periodicals, including the Paris Review, the New Yorker, and The Atlantic. Cleanness revisits the characters and Bulgarian setting of What Belongs to You.
Carmen Maria Machado | In the Dream House
Recorded November 7, 2019
In conversation with Emma Eisenberg, author of The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia
Carmen Maria Machado’s bestselling debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the National Book Award and is being adapted by the FX network as a feminist spin on Black Mirror. The Artist in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and a Guggenheim Fellow, her work has been published in the New Yorker, Granta, and Tin House, among other periodicals. Told with wit and bare self-reflection, In the Dream House is a candid account of Machado’s relationship with a charming but psychologically abusive woman.
Barney Frank | Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage
Recorded March 23, 2015
In conversation with Dick Polman, "Writer in Residence" at the University of Pennsylvania, and national political columnist at WHYY's Newsworks.org
An outspoken Democratic member of Congress from 1981 to 2013, Barney Frank is widely considered America’s most influential gay politician. Known for his scrappy eloquence, prodigious intellect, and combative zeal, he served as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and was a co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the most significant reform of the U.S. financial industry since the Great Depression. He is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and is the author of 1992’s Speaking Frankly: What’s Wrong with the Democrats and How to Fix It. From Boston’s city hall to the Massachusetts Legislature to Washington D.C., Frank’s memoir employs the unique insights of a remarkable career to provide a roadmap for political change.
Richard Blanco | How to Love a Country: Poems
Recorded April 9, 2019
Richard Blanco made history four times at Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration: He was the first immigrant, the first Latino, the youngest person, and the first openly gay person to be the U.S. inaugural poet. Exploring heritage and identity, his poetry collections include City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and Looking for the Gulf Motel. He is also the author of The Prince of Los Cocuyos, a memoir that delves into his upbringing as the child of Cuban exiles, and his artistic, sexual, and cultural identities as an American. Through seemingly disparate historical events and motifs, his new poetry collection asks—"How do we love this country?"
Joey Soloway | She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy
Recorded October 17, 2018 - In conversation with Hannah Gadsby
The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning creator of the Amazon series Transparent, Joey Soloway is the director of the feature film Afternoon Delight, creator of the series I Love Dick, and was a writer and executive producer for Six Feet Under, How to Make It in America, and United States of Tara. They are also the author of Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants and the founder of the activism groups 5050by2020 and East Side Jews. Pondering the #MeToo movement, gender dynamics, and the nature of inclusion, She Wants It draws on Soloway’s own unique truth, including their experience in the entertainment industry and their metamorphosis from a married mother of two to identifying as queer and nonbinary.
Gene Robinson | God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage
Recorded June 12, 2013
The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, Gene Robinson served as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire and is the world’s leading religious spokesperson for gay marriage. He is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., where he works to develop policy about faith and LGBT issues, and a longtime advocate for anti-racism training in the diocese and wider church. He is the co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, as well as the book In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God. Knitting theology with secular arguments, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage, makes a clear case for the necessity of same-sex marriage.