No Pride Fair? No problem, says library

Hundreds of LGBTQ activists and their supporters were disappointed to find out this year’s Keizer Pride Fair was canceled due to safety concerns. The threatening conduct of a small group of anti-gay activists who disrupted last year’s inaugural Pride Fair and have “doxed” and harassed event organizers in the months since prompted the recent decision. However Queer, Trans activists and their supporters, as well as the general public, can participate in an information-packed series of discussions surrounding Pride Month – the history of the movement, its current issues and its future – at Salem Public Library.

Keizer’s LGBTQIA+ community and their supporters may not have a Pride Fair to attend this year, but that’s not going to stop local librarians from filling brains with facts and information.

“LGBTQ+ people have always existed, and many have had pride for themselves even when society casts them out,” according to the Salem librarians and staff curating a new discussion group this summer.

June is Pride Month and Salem Public Library has a program to meet the need. For Keizer residents wishing to learn about LGTBQIA+ history, Pride month, and what the future looks like for the Queer and Trans communities, the library is offering a three-part “Summer of Pride” reading and discussion group beginning on June 18, from 3-4 p.m. at the Salem Public Library main branch.

Library staff will act as facilitators for these conversations, and will work toward establishing a respectful and supportive space. Each meeting will highlight a different topic and includes a separate list of reading and viewing materials available through Salem Public Library and the Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service.  

The June 18 meeting will focus on the history of Pride, a July 16 meeting will be on Trans rights, and an August 20 meeting will discuss the future of the Queer and Trans communities. 

This month’s meeting will cover the history of the Pride movement from the Stonewall Riots in 1969 through the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law currently being debated in Florida and other states. According to facilitators, while many may be familiar with the events in 1969 which have been documented and dramatized in popular culture, there are many details about the first Pride Parade and its surrounding events which often get overlooked.

The resources curated by the library staff are split into three sections and allow participants to choose from seven different books, three recent articles, and three videos available through either the Salem or Chemeketa library systems for each of the three meetings. Participants are asked to read or view at least one of the recommended resources prior to attending.