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Happy National Coming Out Day!

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Rather, Happy (belated) National Coming Out Day – because NCOD was actually on Friday!

So, Happy National Coming Out Day – Week – Month – Year – Decade – Whatever. Take a moment to celebrate all the glorious gay, bi, trans, queer folks who make this world sparkle.

NCOD LOGO

NCOD logo designed by graphic artist Keith Haring

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is observed annually on October 11th to celebrate individuals who publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ). It started on October 11, 1988 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The day is often marked by events like public rallies, festivals, and gatherings. For some, attending an NCOD event holds an important place in the gay rights movement as a rite of passage.

Fostering  support and building community is a HUGE part of any coming out or pride celebration. And LGBTQ folks and their straight allies are busy building community right here at the Library. Check it out!

CLP Teen Gay Straight Alliance : Bi-monthly Meeting

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Come join us for a meeting of the CLP Teen Gay Straight Alliance. This group is for all LGBTQ and straight teenagers who want to support each other and make new friends!

Location:
Classroom A – Main Library
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

In the mean time, check out some of these titles on LGBTQ history, life, and love!

GLBTQthe letter qqueerboyfriends with girlfriendsi am jbetween mom and joari and dantegrl2grltwo boys kissing geography clubheroshine

Three Cheers for Cassidy Campbell!

This past Friday, Cassidy Lynn Campbell, a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, CA, was voted homecoming queen by her peers.  You might be thinking: So? That’s happened at every school, every fall in, like, the entire history of forever.  Yes, this is true; however, this particular time is slightly more important than most… Cassidy is a transgender teen.  


To me, it’s definitely telling that young people like Cassidy and all the Marina High students who voted for her are making such huge and historic statements like this.

One of the many things I enjoy about my job at the Library is that I get to hang out with an awesome bunch of talented and thoughtful teens.  As a result, I often find myself thinking back to when I was a teenager and comparing how my peers and I differed from the young adults I see everyday at the Library.  While I suppose there might be some truth to the saying that some things never change, one noticeable distinction that stands out to me is how open and more accepting of individual differences most young people I meet are, as opposed to those I was surrounded by way back when – and, at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this is definitely one thing that gives me hope for the future of this country.

So a big congrats to Cassidy and all the teens who voted for her!  Just think, one day something like this won’t make the national news circuit – just like every other homecoming in the entire history of forever.

Jon : Carrick

Come Out… and Come to the Alternative Homecoming!

Today is National Coming Out Day, a day designed to encourage and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, trans*, intersex, queer, questioning, and people from other identities all over the spectrum in their journey to be open about their sexuality or gender.

When it comes to the subject, I’ve always thought, “Comin’ out ain’t easy, but somebody’s gotta do it.”

According to the National Coming Out Day Youth Report, the numbers of LGBTQQIA* teens out in their schools has risen to nearly 2/3rds! At the same time, statistics from GLSEN‘s annual School Climate Survey have shown that schools are becoming increasingly better environments to be out, open, and getting on with the business of everyday life.

While it’s impossible to come up with the exact relationship between those two statistics, a lot of students have reported that social change in their schools was never going to happen until someone, anyone–the more, the merrier–came out.

It’s a lot of pressure to be that first person–and feel like you’re shouldering the burden for all the potential LGBTQQIA* teens past, present, and future in your community–which is why the Human Resources Campaign has put together a number of coming out guides for all kinds of different situations to address questions, concerns, and many other factors leading to you deciding whether you want to take that step.

It’s probably also why Ally Week comes just four days after, though it should probably come before. Oh, well.

Regardless of whether you come out and who you decide to come out to, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh can be a place and resource for you.

And now that you’re out, or even if you’re not–and even if you’re straight but managed to see the word Alternative Homecoming and scrolled this far–you can celebrate with this cool dance!

Maybe your school has no football team. Or maybe you’re not allowed to bring your date. Or maybe you don’t have a school you call home but have a home you call school. Or maybe you just want to go to a really awesome party? The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Youth Council are teaming up to offer the coolest teen dance of the fall!

On Saturday, November 10th, 2012, Pittsburgh teens of all kinds will invade the Hall of North American Wildlife and Botany Hall of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (4400 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15213). In addition to bears and ferns, here are all the different wild things you’ll find:

  • food and drink
  • sweet jams provided by your favorite librarian deejay (me)
  • a silent screening of Perks of Being a Wallflower, to celebrate the hidden wallflower in us all
  • a free raffle for signed Perks of Being a Wallflower movie posters, provided by the Pittsburgh Film Office
  • lots of cool arts activities, provided by the Carnegie Museum of Art
  • a literary live green screen “Homecoming Portrait,” provided by The Labs @ CLP

You MUST have a ticket to enter! Tickets can be bought in advance at the TEEN desk at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main (in Oakland), located at 4400 Forbes Ave. Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 the day of the dance (provided they don’t sell out).

Go stag! Bring one, two, three, four, or more dates! Dress as formal and fabulous as you want! Feel free to come in casual wear or your favorite cosplay! We will be handing out superlatives based on your unique style.

***Wallflowers & Wildflowers is strictly for teens in grades 9-12 or ages 14-17.***

For more information, give us a call at 412-622-5526. Hope to see you there!

~Joseph
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Straight But Not Narrow.

straight ally: n.  a heterosexual person who supports the civil rights, gender equality, and social movements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identified people.

Straight But Not Narrow is a campaign aimed at empowering straight allies (particularly straight guys) to be stronger advocates for their friends, family, and community members who are LGBTQ. So it’s kinda like It Gets Better for awesome affirming straight folks.

Josh Hutcherson AKA Peeta Mellark of Hunger Games fame recently recorded his Straight But Not Narrow video.

After checking out SBNN on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook it’s time to take action.

-Be a straight ally by improving your attitude and actions towards the LGBT people in your life! PLFAG has a handy guide that might answer any questions you might have about being a straight ally.

-At CLP Main – Teen there is now a Gay Straight Alliance that meets bi-monthly. The next meeting is Wednesday, June 6th from 5:00-6:00 PM. There might be one at your school too. If not… START ONE!

-Check out Pittsburgh Pride – June 1st to 10th! The Pride March is Sunday, June 10th at Noon and is immediately followed by the completely free Pridefest on Liberty Ave in Downtown Pittsburgh. My favorite thing about Pridefest are the short films at the Harris Theatre!

-Lastly, don’t overthink it. Being an ally can be as simple as watching your language. Like Wanda Sykes says, “Think Before You Speak.”

-Michael (CLP Hazelwood)

LGBT Friendly Colleges!

When searching for the right college you are faced with literally hundreds of decisions. It is a multi-step process involving countless forms and countless dollars! And on top of all that it can be even more complicated for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students.

Fortunately, there are new and helpful resources available to LGBT high school students (and their allies) who are stepping into the college search scramble.  It is important to learn about housing options, student groups, course offerings, and campus resources because they can all have a huge impact in shaping your college experience.

I would recommend checking out The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students by Shane L. Windmeyer. Here you can explore rankings of the top 100 LGBT friendly higher education institutions in the United States. The book was written with the help of over 5,000 student interviews and 500 interviews with faculty and staff.

The Library also carries The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life.

You might also want to check out the recently released second edition of Kelly Huegel’s GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens.

Don’t forget to check out online resources like Campus Pride. The Campus Pride index is the best online search for LGBT friendly colleges and scholarships.

On a personal note, I would highly recommend considering a college or university with a student resource center for LGBT students and their allies. I found a home away from home when I discovered Penn State’s LGBTA Student Resource Center. It was an escape from the drama and chaos of college life. It was a space where I made friends and complained and laughed and grew and learned so very much. I was even an intern there for two years!

And please don’t forget that YOU are the change! Whether you are at a community college like CCAC, an enormous university like Penn State, or at a tiny liberal arts school like Allegheny College – YOU ultimately shape your own experiences.

Trust me. It Gets Better. Nuff Said. And it also gets better over here too.

-Michael B.

CLP Hazelwood

P.S. Did you know today is the Day of Silence?

BIG THINGS POPPIN’ PARTY STYLE @ CLP, MAIN – TEEN!

School’s underway, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening @ CLP TEEN this fall! Get a sample of what’s poppin’ by taking a look at the events below (and please make sure you register by clicking on the links!):
Continue reading

Good News for Hero and Perry Moore Fans!

According to Newsarama, Stan Lee made a surprise guest appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con’s “LGBT Portrayals in Comics” panel to announce a budding partnership with Perry Moore, the author of Hero. What that partnership actually entails is still up for spectulation (do I smell a movie?).

Hero gained a great following for its epic portrayal of superheroics through the eyes of gay teenager Thom Creed. Thom must navigate both his budding sexuality and superpowers while under the watchful eye of his disapproving, ex-hero father–all while an unseen assailent is murdering the world’s superheroes. While plots and mysteries abounded, Perry Moore managed to keep the book grounded in the characters. It was an altogether exceptional debut.

In the midst of comic-based blockbusters, Hero stands out as a story in which superheroics can be just as much about being oneself as it is about saving the world. And personally, it was nice to finally see a queer superhero save the day (take a look at Moore’s essay “Who Cares about the Death of a Gay Superhero Anyway?” to see what fates have befallen the others).

Joseph
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

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