Don Belton Collection at the Lilly Library

Don Belton

Don Belton

Don Belton was a charismatic and accomplished scholar who taught in the Creative Writing Program in the English Department at Indiana University. He was a prolific writer, perhaps best known as the editor of Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream or for his debut novel, Almost Midnight. As a homosexual African-American man, Belton was a pioneer in studying the intersections of race and sexuality in America. Following his untimely death, the Lilly Library received his personal collection of 25,000 items in 2010, including (but not limited to) journals, notebooks, correspondences, course materials, and photographs.

To learn more, visit the Lilly Library’s website or, for a more detailed description of the collection’s contents, click here.

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Zine Workshop

The GLBT Library is teaming up with the instructor of the upcoming LGBT/Q Activisms Worldwide course, Samuel Buelow, and the instructor of the Discovering the Artist’s Book course, Yara Cluver, to conduct a unique zine workshop. Organized in conjunction with the LGBT/Q Activisms course, in which students will be assigned to create a zine, the workshop will provide a broad introduction. We will touch on subjects related to queer and global activism, a history of the zine, and a demonstration/workshop, in which participants will be encouraged to learn how some simple bookmaking techniques.

The workshop will take place next Wednesday, October 28 from 4:00-6:15 in Foster, room 012. Please RSVP to as space is limited. Light snacks will be provided.

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MyDentity: Reflections and Next Meeting

MyDentity is proud to announce that its first meeting was a success! All aspects thought to make up identity were discussed and challenged. The discussion group decided that identity was something: changing, a collection of experiences, and how others perceive and individual.

An interesting topic of hidden vs. visible identities were discussed, and the factor that this has on impressions. This lead into a brief discussion on religion and growing up in religious schools, and the effect that can have on identity,

Race and ethnicity was a major topic. It seemed that different stages of life caused individuals to either cling to or run away from their ethnic origins, and how different people could bring out the heritage pride or embarrassment.

The topic of “what is identity” was a great starter, and the next meetings topic of “education orientation” will be an interesting learning experience for myself as I begin to read the books reserved for this next meeting!

Our next meeting will focus on the range of the LGBTQAI spectrum that is underrepresented and often misunderstood – transgenderism, asexuality, and intersex. We will be discussing what these terms mean, as well as specific issues related to health, culture, and society. Come chat, ask questions, and eat snacks! We will be meeting Thursday, October 29 at 6PM in the GLBT Library, located inside GLBT Student Support Services (705 E. 7th Street).

Recommended reading (available at the GLBT Library):

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
-Also available at Teter Library (Spectrum Collection) and Monroe County Public Library

Intersex and Identity by Sharon E. Preves
-Also available at the Kinsey Institute

Trans 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue by Nicholas M. Teich

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker
-Also available at Teter Library (Spectrum Collection) and Willkie Library, Monroe County Public Library, and the Kinsey Institute

Guest post by Ben Brown

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New Zine Collection

The GLBT Library is proud to debut the new zine collection! These new materials in the library offer an intimate and alternative voice from the queer community.

What are zines?
Zines are self-published, low-circulating works that include both text and image. The term is an abbreviation of “fanzine” or “magazine” and is unlimited in the scope of its contents. Zines can include poetry and prose, political commentary, photography, drawings, collages, and just about anything else.

Our new zine collection!

Our new zine collection!

Though Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (1775) has been cited as a precursor, modern zines have a stronger connection to DIY (do-it-yourself) cultures. Because of this, zine creators are often interested in topics such as social justice, feminism, sexuality, media, and identity, among others.

Since zines have no standard format (often made my photocopies, appropriation, and staples), essentially anyone can make one. This offers the possibility of disseminating an alternative democratic voice, free from censorship by major publishing companies. Queer folks, historically oppressed by mainstream authorities, have taken advantage of this medium as a platform for sharing their beliefs and experiences.

Since zines are typically limited in their number of copies, the GLBT Library’s collection will be non-circulating. This policy is to ensure the preservation of these rare items and to offer everyone the opportunity to check them out. If you’re interested in photocopying the zines or borrowing them for a presentation, please consult the GLBT Library Coordinator to make arrangements at

We’ll be featuring new zines on our Twitter, so be sure to follow us @GLBTlibrary!

The GLBT Library is currently working on some programs in conjunction with the “inauguration” of this collection — stay tuned! (Especially if you’re interested in making zines!)

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MyDentity: A New Book/Discussion Club

The GLBT Library is proud to start MyDentity, a new book/discussion club! Every month we’ll have 3-5 recommended books, based on a certain theme, available here at the GLBT Library. After reading as many and as much of the texts you’d like, join us for a general thematic discussion. Snacks will be provided. Our first meeting will be Thursday, October 1 at 7PM. We will be hosting at the GLBT Library (located at the GLBT Student Support Services Office). Folks of all ages and backgrounds are welcome!

How it works: The GLBT Library has placed the recommended books on reserve for the duration of the month. What this means is that you will be able to borrow each book for 3 business days (or read them in the library!) to ensure that as many folks as possible get the chance to check them out!


Our September theme is: Defining Identity
When did your life become decided by someone else? Are our physical appearances all that determine who we are? Perhaps our identity is determined by our actions? Come explore the many ways in which identities are constructed, including sexuality, gender, race, age, and more!

Recommended reading:
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
-Also available at other IU Libraries and Monroe County Public Library
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
-Also available at other IU Libraries, RPS Libraries, and Monroe County Public Library
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
-Also available at other IU Libraries, RPS Libraries, and Monroe County Public Library
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
-Also available at other IU Libraries and Monroe County Public Library

Questions or suggestions? Contact Ben at or Andrew at! Hope to see you at our first meeting!

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Navigating the Library

The Library can be a daunting place. Too often are students expected to understand our organizational methods without proper introductions. This can be especially intimidating at the GLBT Library, where students may not be familiar with our special classification scheme, based on the Lavender Library, Archives and Cultural Exchange of Sacramento Inc. (LLACE). Then there’s also the issue of navigating our space. The GLBT Library is small, but with all the walls covered in books and DVDs, it can be challenging to find exactly what you need. Patrons need to be able to find exactly what they are looking for, and in some cases they need to find them quickly. Closeted, questioning, or curious students who may feel shy about entering the GLBT Student Support Services Office deserve full access to our library’s collections, and they may not have the time to spend 20 minutes leisurely browsing.

We have done our best to catalog our library materials through LibraryThing so that patrons can see if we carry what they are looking for. It is searchable by titles, authors, and subject tags. Access our catalog here.

We have also created a color-coordinated map of the space to help facilitate browsing:
Map of Library
Here are also some quick tips for searching in our collection:
-The library’s books are divided into non-fiction (in orange) and fiction/literature (in green).
-The Coming Out section is found on Shelf 4 on the map. The call number for these books start at 6.130!
-Our materials are sometimes marked on their spines with a G(ay), L(esbian), B(isexual), T(rans*), Q(ueer), A(sexual), or I(ntersex). We have tried our hardest to be inclusive, and hope that materials related to these topics are easier to find.
-The zine collection will be starting in Fall 2015. Keep an eye out for some exciting new publications!
-The computer is free to use and has full Internet access. The LibraryThing catalog can be accessed through a desktop shortcut.

If you ever have any problems, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the GLBT Library Coordinator at

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Reflections on ‘Midnight Cowboy’

"Midnight Cowboy" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

“Midnight Cowboy” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

After checking the mail one evening, I spotted a familiar iconic red envelope nestled among the bills and grocery circulars. I opened it to find the film Midnight Cowboy. I’d only ever heard of the title, so I asked my partner what it was about. He told me he’d requested it because it was critically acclaimed and also famous for being the only X-rated film to win an Academy Award.

I was intrigued. I anticipated extensive nudity and perhaps explicit sex scenes. But the story was very different from what I expected. After watching the movie, my partner and discussed its history. I wondered whether the drug use depicted was what earned it an X rating. But after a bit of online research, we learned that it was given its rating “due to the ‘homosexual frame of reference’ and its ‘possible influence upon youngsters.’”* Homosexual frame of reference? We laughed a bit at the antiquated phrasing. But the sobering fact is that in 1969, depictions of homosexuality were not warmly received. Yet director John Schlesinger was determined to showcase the lead characters’ humanity—in the words of Dustin Hoffman, “telling a story about two degenerate losers, but what he was saying was, ‘Don’t look at what they are, look at who they are.’ He was determined that we should feel what they had in their souls.”**

The story follows Joe Buck (John Voight), a young, attractive hustler who seeks riches and fame in New York. While most well-known for its sexual content, Midnight Cowboy is ultimately a story about trying to find affirmation and community in a new city, being loyal to a person in spite of a troubled relationship, and the harsh realizations that must be faced when dreams don’t pan out. Hoffman and Voight give masterful performances as two men in a codependent friendship, trying to scrape by in a cold and cruel city.

When viewed in the year 2015, this film also serves as a striking examination of white male privilege. When Joe has trouble coasting on his good looks and charm in New York City, he is utterly baffled. In his small hometown, he’d had no problem wooing women and making money; the thought that his talents and allure wouldn’t be instantly recognized and rewarded never crossed his mind.

Midnight Cowboy is essential viewing, both for its compelling story and its historical significance. The iconic line “I’m walkin’ here!” originated from this movie, when Hoffman is nearly run over by a taxicab while crossing the street—an unscripted moment that prompted Hoffman’s outburst. The movie soundtrack includes the Grammy-winning “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson.

Both the film version of Midnight Cowboy and the novel on which it was based can be borrowed from the GLBT Library.


Written by Jamie, Office Supervisor at GLBTSSS

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Spring Collection Development

LibraryAs our school year comes to a close, the GLBT Office is tasked with the always difficult, but very rewarding, duty of ordering new materials for the GLBT Library. After compiling an extensive list of titles (worth at least 4 times our budget), I managed to whittle it down according to our strategic goals. My main concern for acquisitions was diversity, that our collection had something for everyone. Some of our underrepresented collections include comics, animated films, and horror – all of which are included in our wishlist. More importantly, we will be ordering works that relate to issues of intersectionality, including crip theory, body types, fetishism, race theory, and others. I also hope to expand our resources for underrepresented sexes, sexualities, and genders, including bisexuality, intersex, and trans* issues.

In addition to ensuring that we have the “quintessential” titles and new releases, catering to as many patrons as possible in a variety of mediums and subjects is always a challenge. In the end, I believe we’ll be receiving some very exciting titles this summer!

If you’ll be around, stop by the GLBT Office periodically to check out a book or movie! We’ll continue our regular office hours of Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, all summer long. Good luck with finals!

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Why Transgender Visibility Matters…

Transgender visibility is something that most people have no idea about or don’t really understand. On the most basic level Trans visibility is knowing what the term transgender means and how to interact with those folks in a respectable way. On the more advanced level, it is the understanding of transgender people as an oppressed population that faces violence and discrimination at an alarming rate, and even more so for transgender women of color. For example, 49% of transgender people reported physical abuse, and trans women of color have a 1 in 8 chance of being murdered. Not only do trans folks face violence and oppression from others, but they face increased risks of depression and suicide with 41% of trans people having attempted suicide.

This is the time for the transgender community to be visible not only because of the alarming statistics above, but because of the fight for equality and legal protections for the LGBT community. As individuals who are cisgender, one who affirms the gender assigned to them at birth, we have the opportunity to speak up for those who do not have the same privileges. We can stand in solidarity with the transgender community and be allies in the fight for equal rights.

Last month Tuesday, March 31st was Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate transgender people and to raise awareness of the issues that those in the transgender community face every day. I had the honor to celebrate this day by tabling at the Indiana Memorial Union Commons Desk. Dannie (my partner in this endeavor) and I spent the day handing out information about Transgender Day of Visibility and how students on the IUB campus can be Trans allies.

Although hundreds of students walked by our table throughout the day we only had about 120 people stop and talk and get a handout. That number may seem small, but it is a great start considering the lack of public discourse at IU about trans issues in the past. I hope that in the future transgender students and allies can continue the efforts of bringing more visibility to the transgender population on our campus. With visibility, allies and other students can be more respectful and supportive of our fellow trans students and insure that IU is a safe and affirming place for the trans community and other LGBT students.

Guest post by Deshea Meely
GLBT Student Support Services
Volunteer Coordinator
Social Work Intern

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Biphobia and Bi Erasure

What do these two terms mean?

Male_and_female_sign.svgBiphobia is to bisexuals as homophobia is to homosexuals. Except people who identify as bisexual can also face homophobia. And homosexuals can be biphobic. Bisexual people face scrutiny from all ends of the spectrum of sexuality. Why? In many cases it’s because people believe that bisexuality doesn’t exist. Too often are bisexuals told that they’re being indecisive or that they’re going through a phase. This is considered bi erasure, a manifestation of biphobia. Homosexuals are just as likely to be guilty of bi erasure, and are sometimes more likely to be biphobic to reaffirm their own monosexual relationships. Bisexuals are often seen as promiscuous, tarnishing the gay and lesbian attempt to achieve heteronormative unions.

Even if this were the case, participation in polyamory should not be a reason to ex-communicate a group of people who have undergone similar oppression on the basis of their sexual orientation. More importantly, the myth that bisexual people are unable to love or commit in the same ways a homosexual or heterosexual can needs to be eliminated. Some bisexual people commit to long term monogamous relationships, some bisexual people enjoy short term sexual relations — the same happens for all sexual orientations and should not be a factor in determining the validity of one’s sexual identity. Bisexual people exist. It’s time to get over it.

March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is Mental Health. Don’t forget to let the bisexual people in your life know that you care — that you acknowledge and validate their identity. The fact of the matter is bisexual people are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide than both homosexuals and heterosexuals. We need to let bisexual people know that they are a part of the greater LGBT community.

Bisexual PoliticsStop by the LGBT Library to check out some of our resources.

Free counseling is also available. Contact to schedule an appointment.

For more information on bisexual health, check out:

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