Tag Archives: Pride Week

June 2015 Recap

You’re a busy person with many worthy internet essays to read, so we thought we’d try something new to help keep you in the loop with all things Eleventh Stack: recap posts!

On the last weekday of every month Eleventh Stack will publish  a list, with brief descriptions, of posts you might have missed the first time around. Since it’s never too late to discover a good book, film, or other library item, you’ll get a second chance to make your TBR list even longer. Read on to see the topics we tackled in June!


Art by MikaylaM on RedBubble.com (click for portfolio!)

If you enjoyed this highlights reel, you’ll love what the Eleventh Stack team has cooked up for July. See you tomorrow with books, movies, and more!

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And the Winners Are…

Thank you for reading along with us during Pride Week! We close out our 5-day series with a brief look at some award-winning books.


The winners of the 27th annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced on June 1, 2015. The Lammys, as they are affectionately called, honor the best LGBTQIA+ writing in a variety of categories. If you’re new to queer lit and don’t know where to start, why not right at the top?

Here are a few of this year’s award-winners.

Bisexual Nonfiction: Fire Shut Up in my Bones, Charles Blow.

Blow, a dynamic art/op-ed member of The New York Times staff, winds the many threads of his life story around the violation of trust that kept his spirit in chains.

Gay General Fiction: I Loved You More, Tom Spanbauer.

Ben and Hank meet and fall in love in 1980s New York. Years after their affair, Ben falls in love with a woman named Ruth. Their life together is calm and pleasant, until Hank reappears. Whose love will carry the day?

Lesbian Mystery: The Old Deep and Dark, Ellen Hart.

The title refers to an old theatre in downtown Minneapolis two sisters are restoring to its former glory. Unfortunately, there’s a dead body in the basement that’s mucking up the project. Even though she’s hard at work on another case, private investigator Jane Lawless agrees to tackle the problem, and discovers her twin mysteries just might have elements in common.

LGBT Anthology: Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History, Leila J. Rupp & Susan K. Freeman, eds.

Same-sex love and gender fluidity are hardly new concepts in world history. Rupp and Freeman’s textbook collects information and materials teachers can use to incorporate often-neglected queer historical narratives in their classrooms. Also contains essays written by teachers of LGBTQ history describing their experiences.

LGBT Graphic Novels: Second Avenue Caper, Joyce Brabner & Mark Zingarelli. 

Local artist Zingarelli illustrates Brabner’s story about her friend Ray Dobbins, a nurse in New York City. After the government basically turns its back on what was then a frightening new disease, Dobbins and his circle of friends team up to find help for people suffering from AIDS….no matter how risky or dramatic said help might turn out to be.

Transgender Nonfiction: Man Alive, Thomas Page McBee.

In very short chapters that zig-zag through time, Page explores the two traumatic events that shaped his life experiences and questions the mythical elements of manhood.

For a complete list of this year’s winners and finalists, click here. To learn more about queer writing/literature, the Library’s LGBTQ book/film collections, or related programming / community involvement, ask a librarian!

Enjoy Pride Weekend, Pittsburgh, and happy reading.

–Leigh Anne




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We Can Be Heroes

This week the Eleventh Stack blog is celebrating Pittsburgh’s Pride Week with a series of posts about the Library’s LGBTQ/QUILTBAG resources. Although any time of year is a good time to read LGBTQ literature and history, this week is very special to many of our readers and patrons. We hope you enjoy our efforts.


The Advocate published a great piece around the time Man of Steel was released on how that film works as a gay allegory. It hits on a lot of the reasons why I wanted to focus on superheroes for this post – primarily the struggles dealing with secret identities and being seen as “other” (#mutantandproud, yinz.) Luckily, we’ve been given some actual LGBTQ characters over the past few years to push it even further.

Northstar hangs with the X-Men. He’s French-Canadian. He has superhuman speed and durability. And he was one of the first openly gay superheroes in American comic books. Yep, he came out way back in 1992. However, it wasn’t until he joined the X-Men as a regular member in 2002 that his love life became a part of stories. He married his boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu, in 2012. That looks like my kind of wedding.

I love the Runaways series. They have a dinosaur named Old Lace, for Pete’s sake.  Basically, a group of teens learns their parents are not at all who they thought they were and they themselves have powers. Karolina Dean finds out that she is an alien – part of  the Majesdanian race (aren’t alien names great?). After harboring a crush on her fellow Runaway, Nico, she married Xavin – a shape-shifting alien, who naturally takes female human form.

Renee Montoya was a long -time detective with the Gotham Police. But after being outed by Two-Face and framed for murder, she had enough of that biz. She spent some time with the Birds of Prey, but she has since taken over the mantle of The Question. I’ve only known Renee as Jim Gordon’s second-in-command, so I was excited to find out about this new direction for her. (The original Question was the inspiration for The Watchmens Rorschach, so he has to be good!)

Batwoman is probably the most high-profile lesbian comic book characters out there. She’s dated Renee Montoya, but has been in a relationship with Maggie Sawyer, another Gotham detective, since 2011.  She’s super smart and even led the Detective Comics series for a bit, following the Battle for the Cowl run.

For even more from DC:

A few bonus reads: Rat Queens came recommended by a few co-workers and is described as “Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack.” I definitely want to go to there. And while not a comic book, Perry Moore’s Hero follows Thom Creed, a young superhero in training who has to decide whether or not to join the organization that once spurned his father, at the same time as coming to terms with the fact that he’s gay. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

– Jess, who thinks a cape is the perfect accessory


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Pride, Love, Hope

This week the Eleventh Stack blog is celebrating Pittsburgh’s Pride Week with a series of posts about the Library’s LGBTQ/QUILTBAG resources. Although any time of year is a good time to read LGBTQ literature and history, this week is very special to many of our readers and patrons. We hope you enjoy our efforts.


I spent most of this past spring book-talking Beautiful Music for Ugly Children to anyone who would stand still for five seconds. It’s a wonderful novel about music, friendship, and being openly transgender in an urban/suburban environment. The protagonist, Gabe, has a radio show, two terrific best friends (one of whom might be something more), and the chance to show off his DJ chops at a summer music festival contest. Because it’s not a perfect world, he’s also got the same kinds of problems real transgender folks have outside of novels: consistent misgendering, bigotry, bullying (IRL and cyber), and hate crime attacks.

Normally a book reviewer would put a “but” there, as in “but it all works out in the end” or “but Gabe’s tormentors have a change of heart.” Kirstin Cronn-Mills, the author, gets bonus librarian points for saving me from those “buts,” neither of which are realistic. And when I’m not reading about vampires, werewolves, or selkies, I prefer my fiction realistic.

Maybe that’s because I (mostly) read fiction to give my empathy muscles a good workout.  It’s a real thing that can happen, says science. Besides, it gets old reading stories about people who look like me, and who have had experiences like mine. I want to know what life is like for the people in my neighborhood: what lifts them up, what their struggles and stories are,  and so on. I don’t think I can grow if I’m staring in the mirror all the time, and I’d like to grow as much as possible.

Fiction almost always leads me back to non-fiction, because I want to see how the things I learn from novels play out in the real world. And what a wonderfully wide, inclusive world it is. Examples:

Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders (biography)

Redefining Realness (memoir)

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community (consumer health)

A People Stronger: The Collectivization of MSM and TG Groups in India (political activism)

“You’ve Changed”: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity (scholarship)

Transgender History (history)

Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (personal essays, including the voices of people of color)

From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ (religion)

Queering the Popular Pitch (musicology)

Troubling the Line (poetry, on order – keep an eye on the catalog!)

There’s also a lot of material available for family, friends, and neighbors who would like to understand the trans community better. Here’s a small sample:

Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue

Transgender Explained: For Those Who Are Not

Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender Non-conforming Children

Transgender Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy

Helping Your Transgender Teen: A Guide for Parents

It’s a beautiful thing, all that information at your fingertips.

I’m proud that Pride can last all year long, with the right reading material. I love that the power to expand our view of the world around us is in our own hands. And I hope that you will consider checking out one of these titles, and/or asking your local librarian for other suggestions. We like meeting new people, and we want to make sure that everyone in our community feels respected, represented, and–most importantly–welcome to walk through our doors anytime.

–Leigh Anne


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LGBTQ Videos for All

Pride week 2014

We’re proud to Watch LGBTQ as well.

Recently, we here in the Music, Film & Audio Department (at the Carnegie Main library) were able to create a special LGBTQ film collection—mostly due to the support and generous donation of local group The Queer Video Vault.

We already owned quite a few LGBTQ titles, but until recently they did not have their own space in the library, making them difficult to browse.


In the coming months, some 200+ titles will be added to this special collection, thanks to the lovely folks at The Queer Video Vault. From their website:

“The Queer Video Vault is a collection of nearly 350 queer videos from the former Dreaming Ant. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main) hosts the majority of the collection and rental will be available for free for all library card holders. The Big Idea Bookstore hosts a smaller collection and rental is free with sliding scale membership. We host regular screenings to build queer community in Pittsburgh.”


Pittsburgh is lucky to have a positive group like this supporting our library, and we look forward to hopefully collaborating with them in the future on special screenings and film guides.

Happy viewing and happy pride week!



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Pride Week @ CLP: The Stories That Won’t Let Go

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There’s a story that won’t let go of me.

Some days, this book takes the form of a novel. On other days, it has flirted with being a collection of linked short stories and at times, it feels like it wants to be a memoir.

You won’t find this book on our shelves here at the Library (yet) because I’ve written and rewritten this story for … well, let’s just say it has been a few years.  Like most things in our lives, it is a SomedayMaybeLifeIsntGettingAnyShorter work in progress.

As those of you who are writers know, sometimes it takes longer than we’d like for a story to find its voice and its path.  And that’s where I am with this novel/short story collection/memoir of mine, which focuses on a family losing a loved one to AIDS in the midst of the epidemic.

So what to do when the words won’t come and the story won’t allow you to give up?

You write. And you read.

You read the stories of love taken too soon. You discover Mark Doty through his eloquent poetry and his gorgeous memoirs. You listen to Dog Years on audio and you — admittedly, not much of a dog person — cry on your commute home.

You read Paul Monette, who reminds you that we are all on Borrowed Time.

You read the impossible, improbable love story of Marion Winik and her husband Tony in First Comes Love.

You read Randy Shilts’ And The Band Played On and you wonder how different things would have been if better decisions had been made by the people in charge.

You read Michael Cunningham and you believe that every single one of his fictional characters are real.

You read Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, and your admiration for the incredible quality of what is truly groundbreaking YA (young adult) and teen literature today increases exponentially. You are inspired and intimidated to add your words to that.

You read and you read some more. You realize that you have so much you want to and need to read and learn about the LGBTQ history, the sociology, about those who have gone before and those who are here now. You stand in awe at the shelves, at the words they hold, the lifetimes and legacies they capture. There is so much, and at the Library it is yours; it is all right here.

And then you realize why your story – and all of these stories – won’t let go.

It’s because you owe it to those whose stories have already been told and those whose epilogues were written too soon. It’s because you are a privileged white, straight, married female and you have an obligation to be an ally and a voice for those who are silenced and silent, and who don’t have the same legal rights as you do because of who they happen to love. It’s because there is a new generation emerging with opportunities that yours — the one growing up silenced, the one learning about love amid the stigma and fear — never did until it was sometimes too late.

“There is a nearly perfect balance between the past and the future.

As we become the distant past, you become a future few of us would have imagined.”

~ page 1 of Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

~Melissa F.




June 10, 2014 · 5:00 am

We’re Here. We’re Queer. Get Used to it!

pride week_facebookJune is LGBTQ Pride Month and June 9-16 is Pride Week at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Here at the library we pride ourselves on providing access to information and entertainment for everyone. While all of our locations have materials for those wanting to read about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, two of our library locations, the Main Library in Oakland and the Allegheny location on the North Side, have separate GLBT genre collections. These collections contain both fiction and nonfiction books and cover all areas of LGBTQ interest. There are mysteries, historical fiction, love stories, family dramas, and erotica. Nonfiction topics include travel, wedding planning, religion, medical, history (or herstory) and biographies.
For LGBTQ Pride month, I created a display for the First Floor, New & Featured. I presented a selection of biographies, memoirs, and tell-alls. Here are some selections from that display…

A Year Straight: Confessions of a Boy-Crazy, Lesbian Beauty Queen by Elena Azzoni

Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam

Coal to Diamonds by Beth Ditto

Family Outing: What Happened When I Found Out My Mother Was Gay by Troy Johnson

Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex and Gender Diversity – Tracie O’Keefe and Katrina Fox, editors

The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar

Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders by Keith Stern

Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh

Welcome to My World by Johnny Weir

And my absolute favorite title on this display…
Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever by Joel Derfner

Happy LGBTQ Pride Week and Month!
-Melissa M.


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