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District 300 Celebrates LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

Dear D300 Community,

June 1st is the official launch of Pride Month, which serves to honor and acknowledge members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Over the next month, communities across the country will host parades, workshops, celebrations, and concerts that celebrate the beauty and diversity of LGBTQIA+ individuals and further the dialogue regarding inequities within our laws, their implementation, and how to promote continued effective change.

 

History:

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as ‘Gay Pride Day,’ but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation, the ‘day’ soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, [queer, intersex, and asexual] individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2021).

Pride month is a time to remember those who paved the way for the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to do so. It’s a time for education, breaking down barriers, and considering the work still to come.

 

D300 Suggested Resources:

With school officially concluding before June (Pride Month), we wanted to ensure that our families had access to resources that they could use to learn and celebrate Pride Month. We will miss the opportunity to conduct virtual Read-Alouds with our families, but June is a time when we hoped that our students could unplug from the computer and walk or bike to our local libraries.  Below is a list of twenty educational and fun books for students, broken down by grade ban. All of the text celebrate LGBTQIA Pride. 

  • I Am Jazz, Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas, 2015. (K-3) From the time she was 2-years-old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothes. Though they were always loving, her family was confused — until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience, and she tells it in a simple, straightforward way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

  • Jacob’s New Dress, Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman, and Chris Case, 2020. (K-3) Jacob loves playing dress-up when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.

  • Sewing the Rainbow: A Story About Gilbert Baker, Gayle Pitman, 2018. (K – 2) This book takes readers from Gilbert’s childhood in a small town in Kansas where he didn’t fit into creating the rainbow flag and his historical, artistic career in San Francisco.

  • When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community, Gayle E. Pitman. (K – 2) Phyllis and Del point out landmarks throughout the city that can be seen out their window. This clever tribute to a notable couple introduces children to untold stories in history.

  • PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, Rob Sanders, 2018. (K – 2) Trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today's world. A Junior Library Guild Selection.

  • I am Billie Jean King, Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos, 2019. (K - 3) As part of the Ordinary People Change the World series, young readers learn about the traits that made some of the most influential people in history tremendous and how they can emulate these traits in their own lives. In this picture book, they’ll learn not only what it takes to become a world champion tennis player but also a champion for women’s rights. Billie Jean King is a great role model for girls, for those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and for anyone who feels like the world doesn’t take them seriously and is out to prove them wrong.

  • Be Amazing: A History of Pride, Desmond Napoles. (K – 3) Twelve-year-old drag kid Desmond is Amazing walks you through LGBTQ history with courageous people like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and RuPaul, who have paved the way for a safer, more inclusive society for LGBTQ individuals. Thanks to them, people just like Desmond can be free to be who they are.

  • Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution, Rob Sanders. 2019. (1 – 3) From the building’s origins as a stable in the 1800s to the Stonewall Inn of the 1960s, the story captures a sense of place, community, and the people who stood up for their rights at the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

  • The Gay Rights Movement, Eric Braun, 2018. (3 – 6) What has changed throughout the history of the gay rights movement? Learn about the key people and events that have paved the way for the modern gay rights movement.

  • Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community, Robin Stevenson, 2016. (4 – 8) Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice and celebrate a diverse and vibrant community. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it? Includes extensive photos and descriptive text. 

  • Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present!, Arabelle Sicardi. 2019. (4 – 6) Discover the inspiring stories of a diverse selection of LGBTQ artists, writers, innovators, athletes, and activists who have made significant contributions to culture from ancient times to the present day. Full-color portraits accompanied by short biographies. 

  • The Stonewall Riots: The Fight for LGBT Rights, Tristan Poehlmann, 2016. (4 – 8) Discusses the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which are now commemorated each year with LGBTQ Pride. Looks at what led up to them, what happened at Stonewall, key people, and how the riots launched the modern LGBT rights movement. A well-researched, engaging read. 

  • The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets, Gayle Pitman, 2019. (5 – 8) Learn about the Stonewall Riots by looking at the people, places, news clippings, and artifacts from the time in short, readable chapters. It also covers events leading up to Stonewall, as well as the aftermath.

  • Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, Jerome Pohlen, 2015. (5 – 8) This book puts the historic struggle for LGBTQ equality into perspective. Given today's news, it would be easy to get the impression that the campaign for LGBTQ equality is a recent development. This resource helps put current events into context. 

  • Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington, Jacqueline Houtman, 2019 (5 – 12) Bayard Rustin was one of the most influential activists of our time who was an early advocate for African Americans and gay rights. He was a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., teaching him about the power of nonviolent direct action. A Best Book of 2019 by School Library Journal. 

  • Transgender Role Models and Pioneers, Barbra Penne, 2017. (5 – 8) Profiles a host of accomplished transgender people who have made their names in various fields, including sports, politics, activism, entertainment, and the arts. 

  • Every Day, David Levithan, 2013. (young adult) A is a teen who wakes up every day in a different body, living a different life. This seems to work for A until he meets Rhiannon and everything changes. David Levithan’s novel is so creative and accurately depicts what it feels like when you don't know where you belong and how grounding it can be to find the people who make you feel like you’re home.

  • Beyond the Gender Binary, Alok Vaid-Menon and Ashley Lukashevsky, 2020. (young adult) Poet, the artist, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate, Alok Vaid-Menon, doesn’t see the world in black and white; they see the world in full color! A world where people have the opportunity to express themselves however they want. This book is a great resource, demystifying what it means when gender is malleable and empowering readers to live their most authentic selves.

  • Girls at the Edge of the World, Laura Brooke Robson, 2021. (young adult) Set in a world that is coming to an end, this thrilling romantic fantasy follows two girls with a will to survive at any cost. As the end approaches, will they give in to despair, or have they given each other a reason to live?

  • Juliet Takes a Breath, Gabby Rivera, 2019. (young adult) Juliet Takes a Breath is a brilliant, funny, and honest journey of self-discovery. When Juliet comes out to her family, it doesn’t go as smoothly as she wanted. She then hopes that an internship opportunity across the country will be the perfect time to figure out everything in her life, only to discover that no one has all the answers. As Juliet delves into what it means to explore her race and identity, she’ll learn how to come out to her family, the world, and herself.

 

Thank you,

Adrian W. Harries, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion