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LGBTQ+ Pride


Prince George’s County Memorial Library System celebrates and honors the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals. We pride ourselves in creating and maintaining a safe environment that respects and is inclusive of diverse traditions, religions, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, genders, ages, heritages, abilities, and experiences. PGCMLS acknowledges the fundamental role of Black activists in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. The LGBTQ+ community owes its current freedoms to the work of leaders like Marsha P. Johnson, Storme DeLarverie, Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Phill Wilson,  Barbara Smith, and countless others who have fought on the front lines of racial and LGBTQ+ rights. 

George Takei



George Takei

George Takei is a Japanese American actor. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise, on the 1960s series Star Trek. Takei is also an outspoken advocate for equality. In 2012 he began to dabble in social media and soon had millions of followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. He also writes a popular blog.

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Harvey Milk



Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk (1930-1978), a San Francisco city politician, helped open the door for gays and lesbians in the United States by bringing civil rights for homosexuals, among many other issues, to the political table. Since Milk's murder in 1978, he has remained a symbol of activism.

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Lil Nas X



Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X is the Atlanta rapper whose half-country, half-hip-hop single "Old Town Road" became a stunning number-one hit in the spring of 2019. Less than six months after its release on SoundCloud, Nas X had made his first live stage appearance at a California music festival and released the EP 7, his major-label debut for Columbia Records. "As hip-hop continues to push the limits of its sound," declared Pitchfork writer Sheldon Pearce, Nas "X is far from the only rapper to experiment with country themes, but he was the one who figured out how to package them just earnestly enough for a mass audience." The artist received six Grammy Award nominations in 2020 and took home two trophies for his song "Old Town Road."

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Sylvia Lee Rivera



Sylvia Lee Rivera

Famously known for tossing a Molotov cocktail during the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots in New York City, Hispanic-American transgender activist Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) devoted her life to the gay, lesbian, and transgender liberation movements. In 2015 a photograph featuring Rivera was added to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, making her the first transgender American to be featured there. In 2019 the city of New York unveiled plans to build a monument in honor of Rivera and fellow transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson.

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Jacqueline Woodson



Jacqueline Woodson

Winner of the 2001 Coretta Scott King Award and nominee for the 2002 National Book Award, Jacqueline Woodson writes about "invisible" people: young girls, minorities, homosexuals, the poor, all the individuals who, many feel, are ignored or forgotten in mainstream America. They are the people, as the author wrote in a Horn Book article, "who exist on the margins." An African American and lesbian herself, Woodson knows first-hand what it is like to be labeled, classified, stereotyped, and pushed aside. Nevertheless, her stories are not intended to champion the rights of minorities and the oppressed. Rather, they celebrate people's differences. Her characters are not so much striving to have their rights acknowledged as they are struggling to find their own individuality, their own value as people. "I feel compelled to write against stereotypes," Woodson commented, "hoping people will see that some issues know no color, class, sexuality. No--I don't feel as though I have a commitment to one community--I don't want to be shackled this way. I write from the very depths of who I am, and in this place there are all of my identities."

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Bayard Rustin



Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin never stood directly in the media spotlight that shone upon other black activists, but his contributions as a strategist and tactician place him among the most influential of twentieth-century civil rights leaders. In a career spanning more than five decades, Rustin worked on behalf of equal rights with a variety of organizations--including the Communist party, labor unions, and pacifist groups--and exercised a leading role in the creation of two significant civil rights organizations: the Congress of Racial Equality and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Rustin was particularly instrumental in the development of the nonviolent protest movement that evolved from the Montgomery bus boycott associated with Martin Luther King, Jr. Although it was King who was catapulted into a position of national leadership by the boycott, it was Rustin, a man twenty years King's senior, who provided much of the organizational know-how, political savvy, and theoretical underpinning for King's civil rights victories.

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Janet Mock



Janet Mock

Janet Mock is an American activist and journalist. A transgender woman, Mock speaks about issues that affect the transgender community. She also works as a journalist for several media sites. Mock published two memoirs about her life.

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Danica Roem



Danica Roem

Danica Roem is a former journalist who made history in 2017 when she became the first openly transgender candidate elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Roem was facing a 13-term incumbent who had introduced legislation to prevent transgender individuals from using restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. Although Roem acknowledged that her victory was for those who had been "singled out" or "stigmatized," her campaign mostly focused on the issues she cared about, such as improving education, job opportunities, and traffic in her district.

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Jared Polis



Jared Polis

Colorado voters made history in the 2018 midterm elections when they chose Democratic Party candidate Jared Polis to become their state's next governor. The first openly gay man to win a US gubernatorial race, Polis is a technology entrepreneur, education philanthropist, and five-term Congressperson. "Tonight we reaffirm what an amazing state we live in," he said in his election-night speech, according to the Denver Post. "In Colorado, we dare, we dream, and we do."

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David Wojnarowicz



David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz was an artist whose work stands among the most visceral and confrontational in the late twentieth century. Images of death, decay, sex, and destruction populate his art. When he died at the age of thirty-seven from an AIDS related illness in 1992, he left behind an amazing legacy of creative work--writings, paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, films and videos, music, and installation and performance art. Between his first solo exhibition and his death, Wojnarowicz presented his artwork in an impressive nineteen individual and nearly two hundred group shows.

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Josephine Baker



Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker is remembered primarily as a spirited entertainer, the glamorous "Josephine" who became the toast of France. But there was a great deal more to Josephine Baker than the banana skirt she wore in the Folies-Bergeres or the leopard she walked along the streets of Paris. She was a great lover of life and humanity and devoted herself to making the world a more hospitable place and securing a better future for its citizens.

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Roxane Gay



Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is an American writer of fiction and essays. Although she began publishing her work in the late 1990s, it was not until 2014 that she rose to literary prominence with the publication of her first novel, An Untamed State, and a collection of essays titled Bad Feminist. A survivor of childhood sexual assault, Gay is particularly concerned with writing about the experience of trauma and its aftermath. Her work also explores topics in contemporary popular culture as well as issues dealing with race, body image, sexuality, and desire. Gay's writing has appeared in publications such as Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Time, and Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Laverne Cox



Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox captured the attention of television watchers in 2013 in the role of Sophia Burset in the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Her character is a transgender woman, incarcerated for using stolen credit cards to fund her sex change. Cox herself is the first transgender woman of color to appear in a regular role in a scripted television series. Her scene-stealing appearances earned her an Emmy Award nomination and a ticket to fame. In 2014 her photograph appeared on the cover of Time magazine--another first for the transgender community. Cox, who has appeared in numerous film and television roles and coproduced a reality television series, is also a writer, motivational speaker, and advocate on behalf of a highly disadvantaged minority. She shuns the term "role model," however, preferring to think of herself as a "possibility model." In 2018, Cox became the first transgender model on the cover of Cosmopolitan.

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James Baldwin



James Baldwin

The American Civil Rights Movement had many eloquent spokesmen, but few were better known than James Baldwin. A novelist and essayist of considerable renown, Baldwin found readers of every race and nationality, though his message reflected bitter disappointment in his native land and its white majority. Throughout his distinguished career Baldwin called himself a "disturber of the peace"--one who revealed uncomfortable truths to a society mired in complacency. As early as 1960 he was recognized as an articulate speaker and passionate writer on racial matters, and at his death in 1987 he was lauded as one of the most respected voices--of any race--in modern American letters.

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Sappho



Sappho

Sappho (ca. 625-570 BC), a Greek lyric poet, was the greatest female poet of antiquity. Her vivid, emotional manner of writing influenced poets through the ages, and her special quality of intimacy has great appeal to modern poetic tastes.

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Frida Kahlo



Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a painter whose work fascinated prominent and diverse artists around the world. The wife of world-renowned Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Kahlo forged a place in the art world that was completely her own. Her dramatic work consisted primarily of self-portraits, although she did capture her family and friends on canvas on occasion. Some critics contend that Kahlo's paintings were reflections of her personal history, her relationship with Diego Rivera, her damaged physical condition, her philosophy of nature and life, and her individual and mythological worldview. Although Kahlo never had formal training in art, she developed into an artist who fascinated a wide range of fellow artists, including Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, painter Pablo Picasso, and novelist André Breton. In addition to these literary and artistic luminaries, her circle included political figures such as Leon Trotsky and the Rockefeller family. In 2019, the Mexican government released an audio recording that appeared to include Kahlo's voice. However, skeptics allege that the voice may belong to someone else.

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Janelle Monáe



Janelle Monáe

Eclectic performer Janelle Monáe rose from her humble beginnings and gained a well-deserved place in the spotlight for her unique style and vision. She has been compared to music legends Michael Jackson, David Bowie, James Brown, and Grace Jones, but her creative talent and music is all her own, a product of her wild imagination and various influences. After taking on roles on many noteworthy films, Monáe also proved that she was also a talented actress.

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Rebecca Sugar



Rebecca Sugar

Rebecca Sugar is an American cartoonist, writer, and composer, known for her artistic and musical contributions to the highly popular Cartoon Network animated series Adventure Time. Sugar later created her own animated show, Steven Universe, which debuted on the network in November of 2013. She was the first female show creator in the Cartoon Network's history. She has also worked as a storyboard artist for the big screen animated feature Hotel Transylvania.

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Sally Ride



Sally Ride

Sally Ride (1951-2012) will be remembered as the first American woman sent into outer space. She also served the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in an advisory capacity, being the only astronaut chosen for President Ronald Reagan's Rogers Commission investigating the mid-launch explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in January, 1986, writing official recommendation reports, and creating NASA's Office of Exploration.

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Phyllis Ann Lyon and Del Martin



Phyllis Ann Lyon and Del Martin

For well over forty years, two American women have stood for much that is insightful, brave, pioneering, and progressive in the development of a successful lesbian community in the United States: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin of San Francisco.

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Alexander Chee



Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee's debut novel, Edinburgh, addresses the painful subject of child abuse. "If a story about child molestation could ever be beautiful, this first novel comes very close to that unusual mark," wrote Michael Spinella in Booklist. In the story, Aphias Zee, nicknamed Fee, is a young Korean American in a professional boys' choir, whose director turns out to be a serial child molester. "Big Eric"'s sexual assaults have devastating results on Fee and his friends, especially his first love, Peter, who kills himself rather than live with the shame and the pain of what happened to him. Even after the choir director's arrest and conviction, Fee's life continues to spiral out of control. "Chee is a gifted, poetic writer who takes big risks, from the background and sexual orientation of his protagonist to the chapters dealing with drugs, pedophilia and casual sex with grace and unflinching honesty," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.

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Rivers Solomon



Rivers Solomon

Rivers Solomon's debut science fiction novel is titled An Unkindness of Ghosts, and it has attracted attention for its provocative examination of race, gender, and sexuality. It is set on a multigenerational colony ship that is sharply divided by race. Protagonist "Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak," explained a Qwillery website contributor in a plot summary linked to an interview with Solomon. "Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster." However, Aster is not as powerless as she seems--she has inherited her late mother's notes on making medicines from herbs grown on the ship, and she has been asked to use them to heal the ship's commander. "Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer," continued the Qwillery contributor, "Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot--if she's willing to sow the seeds of civil war."

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Publick Universal Friend



Publick Universal Friend

Wilkinson, Jemima (Nov. 29, 1752 - July 1, 1819), religious leader, was born in Cumberland, R. I., daughter of Jeremiah and Elizabeth Amey (Whipple) Wilkinson and sister of Jeremiah Wilkinson [q.v.]. Her father, a prosperous farmer and a member of the Colony's Council, was almost exclusively interested in profits and politics; her mother, who belonged to the Society of Friends and who might perhaps have exercised more influence on her daughter's development, died, worn out with child-bearing, when Jemima, the eighth of twelve children, was about ten years old. Owing to her prettiness and cleverness, the future prophetess managed to avoid the hard work on the farm and grew up as a self-indulgent girl devoted to the reading of romances and other "frivolous literature," without further discipline than that afforded by irregular attendance in the common schools. Her religious interest was first aroused when she was about sixteen by the sermons of George Whitefield and by the meetings of the "New Light Baptists," an evangelizing sect which just then appeared in Rhode Island. Later, in 1774, the coming of Ann Lee [q.v.] aroused a spirit of emulation in her. Soon afterward, during the course of a fever, she fell into a prolonged trance from which she emerged with the conviction that she had died, that her original soul had ascended to heaven, and that her body was now inhabited by the "Spirit of Life" which came from God "to warn a lost and guilty, gossiping, dying World to flee from the wrath . . . to come." Her belief was not shaken by the insistence of Dr. Mann, the physician in charge of the case, that there was no evidence whatever of her having died.

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Lana Wachowski



Lana Wachowski

Lana Wachowski is an American film director, screenwriter, and film producer best known for writing and directing The Matrix trilogy of science fiction-action films with her brother, Andy Wachowski. Other notable films Wachowski has written or directed with her brother include V for Vendetta (2006), Speed Racer (2008), and Cloud Atlas (2012). In 2015 the Wachowskis wrote and directed the science fiction film Jupiter Ascending and created the Netflix science fiction series Sense8.

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It Gets Better

It Gets Better: U.S. National Archives

National Archives (NARA) staff share their personal messages and stories of hope for LGBT youth with the It Gets Better Project .

http://www.itgetsbetter.org

It Gets Better - Rebecca

It Gets Better - Chris

It Gets Better - Teresa

Videos

Richard Blanco on the Poetry of LGBTQ Historical Docs | National Conversation on #RightsAndJustice

Richard Blanco describes being on the margins of history at the National Conversation on #RightsAndJustice: LGBTQ Human and Civil Rights.

The Wedding Heard ’Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage

On September 3, 1971, Michael McConnell and Jack Baker exchanged vows in the first legal same-sex wedding in the United States. Repercussions were immediate: Michael’s job offer at the University of Minnesota was rescinded, leading him to wage a battle against job discrimination with the help of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union. The couple eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court with two precedent-setting cases. Their remarkable story is told here for the first time—a unique account of the passion and energy of the gay liberation movement in the sixties and seventies. A book signing follows the program. Presented in collaboration with Stonewall@NARA, the National Archives LGBTQ employee Affinity Group.

Upcoming Events

George M Johnson on "All Boys Aren't Blue"

"Here For It" with R. Eric Thomas

Activism and Recognition of the LGBTQ+ Movement

1

1924

Henry Gerber founds the Society for Human Rights, the first gay rights organization in the United States. Published the earliest-documented homosexual periodical, Friendship and Freedom.




1951

The Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization in the U.S. is formed.

2



3

1952

The American Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance.




1953

President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, banning homosexuals from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors. Part of the “Lavender Scare”, a concerted effort to drive LGBTQ+ people out of government and public life, strongly influenced by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

4



5

1955

The Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian rights organization, is formed.




1962

Illinois becomes the first U.S. state to decriminalize homosexuality.

6



7

1966

Compton’s Cafeteria Riot




1969

Stonewall Uprising

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9

1973

The American Psychological Association (APA) stops recognizing homosexuality as a mental disorder.




1974 (closed in 2010)

Lambda Rising, first LGBT bookstore in Washington DC, opens.

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11

1987

AIDS Memorial Quilt laid on National Mall first time.




1990

ACT UP protests at the National Institute of Health for equitable medication and healthcare.

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13

2001

Maryland passes Antidiscrimination Act of 2001, granting protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.




2011

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is overturned.

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15

2013

Same-sex marriage is legalized in Maryland.




2013

“Gender Identity Disorder” is renamed to the less stigmatizing “Gender Dysphoria” with the release of the DSM-5.

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17

2014

Maryland passes the Fairness for All Marylanders Act (2014), expanding Maryland’s antidiscrimination laws to include protections for gender identity and expression.




2015

Maryland General Assembly passes law allowing ID changes consistent with gender identity.

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19

2015

Supreme Court guarantees marriage equality nationwide.




2016

President Obama designates Stonewall National Monument.

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21

2017

Moonlight wins Oscar for Best Picture.




2018

Conversion Therapy on minors is banned in Maryland.

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LGBTQ+ eBooks for Kids

LGBTQ+ eBooks for Teens

LGBTQ+ Fiction eBooks for Adults

LGBTQ+ Nonfiction eBooks for Adults

Streaming Resources

Online Exhibits

Local Organizations