Learning Where Pride Comes From

It is often said that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

This month, in particular, it is vital to take a step back and remember and celebrate the history of those individuals who stood up to make a difference that is still felt today. This June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and therefore the 49th anniversary of June being celebrated as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. The Stonewall Riots took place June 28th, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City. Official legislation made homosexuality illegal and police raids on known gay bars and clubs were common.

The Stonewall Riots occurred when a police raid was attempted at the Stonewall Inn. Individuals who were in the club but not arrested during the raids remained gathered outside the building as police awaited wagons to transport arrested individuals to jail. A crowd began to gather and violence broke out when an arrested woman yelled out, “Why don’t you guys do something?”. Members of the transgender community, who were often the ones targeted for their appearance, made up a significant portion of the protestors.

The violence lasted for less than two hours, but the spontaneous gathering has had its effects felt ever since. Within two years, every major American city and countries like Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe had gay rights groups.

Here in the Bay Area, LGBTQ+ culture is very influential. Castro Street in San Francisco is globally known as an epicenter of LGBTQ+ culture. San Francisco Pride, opens a new window is the largest pride celebration in the country and takes place the last weekend of June. This year, San Mateo County is hosting its 7th Annual PRIDE, opens a new window Initiative June 15th, which San Mateo County Libraries is honored to participate in for the 3rd straight year.

San Mateo County Libraries is proud to have a history of inclusion and diversity in our community. This month we are offering numerous events to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. Below are a few highlights of what will be offered at our multiple locations. You can find a complete list with dates and details on our events page.

Rainbow Dance Party
Put on your rainbow dance shoes and join us for a Pride Rainbow Dance Party! We will be twirling around in tutus, feather boas, and leis during this family fun dance party. Bring your dancing shoes and show us your best dance moves as we move and groove in the library!

Rainbow Pride Word Art
Celebrate Pride Month with us as we make art using paint, rainbow buttons, and word tiles. Spell the name of your favorite friend, or write a message about love, and then take it with you to fill your home with sunshine and rainbow pride.

Rainbow Concert With Cassie Levy
Local artist and musician Cassie Levy will be leading us in a rainbow sing-along in honor of Pride Month! Come dressed in your best rainbow outfits and be prepared to sing along with Cassie's ukulele.

Face Painting With Cassie Levy
Cassie Levy will also be face painting children in honor of Pride celebrations.

Movie Screening and Discussion
Multiple branches are showing the film A Fantastic Woman, opens a new window, Brother Outsider, opens a new window, or both with a discussion following. A Fantastic Woman is about Marina, a transgender woman who works as a waitress and moonlights as a nightclub singer, who is bowled over by the death of her older boyfriend. It won the 2018 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Brother Outsider is an award-winning documentary that celebrates the work of Bayard Rustin, who is best-remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. It is currently available to watch on our streaming service Kanopy.

Community Discussion
Half Moon Bay will host a discussion by educators and speakers about transgender lives. It will take place on Thursday, June 6th at 6:00 PM and will also include information about programs to support LGBTQ+ adolescents and the community.

Learn more about the Stonewall Riots and LGBTQ+ history/culture from the titles below.

After Stonewall

What Was Stonewall?

Tales of the City

One of These Things First

Brother Outsider

How will you celebrate Pride? Let us know in the comments.