LGBTQ Resource Fair & Day of Understanding

I have been sitting on this blog for almost two months now. Not for any particular reason other than I got really busy afterward this program took place. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been excited about being able to host an LGBT event at my library. I’m pretty sure I bugged the crap out of a lot of people in my eagerness and excitement. You might have been one of them. #sorrynotsorry The event was not without it’s hurdles, but I’m happy with the way it all turned out. I made, I think, some important connections. Hopefully, next year will be bigger and better. We had total turnout of 75 participants! It is way more than I even dared to hope for, and there were older adults, people my age, and even some community college GSA reps. 🙂

Resource Fair

I’m not going to focus on the hurdles in this post. I will say that I learned that even I think I’m bothering someone, I’m probably not. I had a few organizations not show up, potentially because I did not communicate well enough. I’m not sure why they didn’t come, but I am encouraged by the fact that I learned many things from this experience. I received many words of gratitude from participants and words of encouragement from presenters.

Now, on to the good stuff. I had representatives from three organizations come. Keith Thirion, Acting Director of Equality Maryland, was the first to arrive. At the time of the event, he was the Director of Advocacy and Programs for the organization. Not only was Keith so professional in the way he dealt with the hurdles of the day that directly impacted him, I am grateful that he came. He was a calming presence. It was my first time playing hostess to Pride, and he was just awesome. After he set up his stuff, he helped me decorate the library’s tables. He encouraged me to do the event again and to keep doing it for as long as I’m able. Earl Fowlkes, President of the Center for Black Equity, came in. It was a bit interesting, because he’d given away all of his promotional materials away at a recent Black Pride event. However, I was just grateful that he came! He also had words of encouragement for me as the event went on. The final organization to be represented in person was the Charles County chapter of the NAACP, led by Janice Wilson. She was running late after being at a prayer breakfast for the Charleston Nine. She mentioned that she’d being talking about my event with the head of the county commissioners. Me, being me, I thought it was cool that she’d talked to him about it. I was not, however, expecting him to show up! Yes, the President of the Charles County Commissioners came to my program. I was verklempt.

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Day of Understanding

The second part of the day went better than the first part. Once people I loved started showing up, I felt better. I mean, I was nervous wreck from 1030am to about 1245pm, when my best friend showed up. She brought me tea. 🙂 Our first presenter, Dr. Desirée Melton, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame of Maryland University, spoke on intersectionality, particularly the intersection of race and sexual orientation. She also spent a good portion of her time on bisexuality. The gist of this portion being that bisexuality is real. Bisexual people are not deviant. They are not greedy. They are not indecisive. They are not anything but people with the capacity to love someone else, regardless of their gender. She even managed to get some of our event goers to change their minds about the way they view bisexual people personally.

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The fun part of the event was brought to us by Be Steadwell and her band the Bourgiecats. I’ve talked before about the fabulousness of these musicians and the joy I get from listening to them. They’re amazing, and I feel so privileged to have been able to showcase their greatness to the people of Waldorf. A few interesting new things that happened during this show that didn’t at any other show. Be brought a thunder tube, a little instrument that sounds like rolling thunder. It was really funny and cute. She also did a reading from her favorite book as a kid, Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. That was special. It was completely appropriate for the song she was about to sing, For Sethe, and we were in a library! I enjoyed that part.

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There you have it. My baby, my pet project, my Pride celebration at work. I feel I should mention that I could not have had better timing. The event took place on 6/27/2015. On 6/26/2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in a landmark decision. Wow. Here is the SCOTUS blog coverage of the entire case file and the full ruling.

Now, please enjoy and live vacariously through these photos that Sarah, of CCPL, took for us. In no particular order, I present Charles County Public Library’s First Annual LGBTQ Resource Fair and Day of Understanding

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And now a reading from Tar Beach
And now a reading from Tar Beach

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The infamous loop pedal
The infamous loop pedal

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Be Steadwell and the Bourgiecats take the stage.
Be Steadwell and the Bourgiecats take the stage.
Almost a full house!
Almost a full house!
Dr. Melton focused the main portion of her talk on bisexuality and why biphobia is real and hurtful.
Dr. Melton focused the main portion of her talk on bisexuality and why biphobia is real and hurtful.

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For one day, at least, I got t be one of the cool kids. :-)
For one day, at least, I got to be one of the cool kids. 🙂
I don't know why, but this is my favorite picture of the day.
I don’t know why, but this is my favorite picture of the day.
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