Hello All! Welcome back from Spring Break, we hope you’ve had a lovely time visiting folks, bird watching, netflixin’, playing Catan, or just plain hanging out. We’ve been busy over here with some spring cleaning and wanted to let you know what’s up: We shifted our collection and are evaluating books to de-accession. The fictions are all in one place now! And graphic novels, children’s books and oversized materials were shifted into the short shelf in front of the computer. Non-fiction is now spread out throughout where the fiction was and if you’re wondering what all this really means, please check out the updated map below! If you have trouble finding an item please ask.
Like most other genres, there is a long precedent of marginalizing queer characters in mainstream comics. From 1954-2000s, the Comics Code Authority regulated publications to protect the innocence of young audiences by banning violence and other graphic content, including “illicit sex relations.” This, in part, led to the underground comix movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which championed hippies, freaks, and all manner of outsiders. Several notable LGBTQ publications include Gay Comix and Wimmen’s Comix.
Although the Comics Code eventually dissolved, queer characters in mainstream comics remain few and far between. Some comics trailblazed the way by breaking norms of gender and sexuality, such as the character Desire in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (1986-1996). More recently, titles from Image Comics like The Wicked and the Divineand Saga feature several queer characters and queer characters of color. While mainstream, serial comics continue to be marketed by large publishers to audiences they perceive to be largely heterosexual, the demand for queer content has created opportunities for small publishers and independent artists to put their work into the world. The popularity of online platforms like websites, blogs, and Tumblr make self-publishing and disseminating content much easier! It allows queer folks to share their experiences, stories, and art to a wider audience. We’ve gathered a range of webcomics featuring queer characters for your perusal. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we wanted to highlight some gems from queer webcomics past and present.
Erika Moen’s work spans this divide with DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Diary Comic, which ran from 2003 to 2009, and her current series Oh Joy Sex Toy (NSFW), a wonderful look at the wide world of sex, from toys to education, terminology and consent. Yu + Me: dream by Megan Rose Gedris, begun in 2004 and finished in 2010, takes the cliche premise of meeting a lover in a dream and turns it on its head. While Gedris and Moen have been publishing since the early aughts, newcomers like Trans Girl Next Door and Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls have been active on Tumblr since 2013. These series depict trans lives, from the expectations and double standards we put on feminine folks to plain ol’ oppression in a funny, cute, and authentic manner. Also on Tumblr, Queermo’s Journey, as described by the creator: “Life is confusing. One queer dude’s attempts to muddle through it.” Amen. If you’re looking for gorgeous art to get lost in, look no further than O Human Star and Princess Princess. Khaos Komix is a world to get lost in, a coming of age epic following Steve, Amber, Tom, and Charlie, as well as a series of NSFW side stories. Khaos Komix artist Tab also covers many identities, embodiments and forms in their other works such as Fukkit the Demisexual Demigod and Vlad the Vegan Vanilla Vampire. All these and more are available below.
Find a new favorite? Or do you draw a comic you would like to see featured on the GLBT Library Blog? If there’s anything we missed we would love to hear about it, feel free to leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
After a brief hiatus from the GLBT Library Blog, we’d like to a take a moment to introduce some of the new student employees at the GLBTSSS Office. We’ll share a little bit about ourselves and recommend our favorite books or movies in the library!
Thom, Library Coordinator
Hello everyone! My name is Thom. I use they/them pronouns. I identify as genderqueer and non-binary and I’m very excited to work with the library at the wonderful GLBT Student Support Center! Queer books have meant a lot to me since stumbling across a copy of Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren as a teen. What I thought was going to be a sci-fi epic turned out to be a complex meditation on identity and memory, writing and queerness. It was the first book that I read that portrayed queer sexuality and queer modes of being that fully embraced the the richness of language and the difficulties of pinning experience down in language. Every time I get my hands on a copy to re-read some passage, it winds up in someone else’s possession. Serendipity brought the book to my attention, picking a fat tome off the shelves of Barnes and Noble. I’m hoping that you come across something on our shelves that resonates deeply with you, becomes your new favorite book or the thing you can’t stop talking about fifteen years later. If there’s something you are looking for and can’t find it, we want to hear about it!
Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village 1960-1965. It is Delany’s memoir about being a black, queer writer of science fiction in New York in the 1960’s. He recounts sitting in on Allan Kaprow’s performance art Happenings, his open marriage to the queer poet Marilyn Hacker, meeting Bob Dylan and Albert Einstein, all told in beautiful, rich prose.
Hi! I’m a first-year MLS student, I have an feisty black cat named Lilith, and like reading poetry and comics. I identify as a queer woman, and I’m looking forward to making sure the library fits the needs of our students and represents the spectrum of intersectional diversity here on campus. I previously did a little bit of work at the library in the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville where I did my undergrad in English, so I’m excited to be working here with Thom this semester and beyond! Feel free to ask me for help with GLBTQ-related research, or just stop in to chat. I also hope that more people will take advantage of our cozy little space to just hang out, study, and feel surrounded by a community of people and books! The things you read can also help tell a story about who you are and what you like, so I thought I’d also share a few books in our collection that have either been influential in learning more about myself, or just fun reads that I would highly recommend!
The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy. I read the second edition about a year ago and since have been reveling in its eye-opening greatness. If you’re interested at all in polyamory or open relationships, there is a wide range of ways to experience multiple romantic partners. I don’t necessarily identify as polyamorous, but I’m comfortable with non-monogamy. I have limited experience, but open relationships and overcoming jealousy can be tricky stuff; feel free to talk to me about it!
Mysterious Acts by My People by ValerieWetlaufer. This is a wonderful poetry collection that was recently added to the library. Wetlaufer has a colorful voice and interesting perspective on queer relationships and intimacy, as well as grief and loss. Things in this book: “kinky boots & cat suits,” herbal remedies (re: spells) for unexpected house guests, a love letter written on the skin of a baby lamb, and as the cover suggests plenty of elk.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. You may know Bechdel from her hilarious strip Dykes to Watch Out For (1982-2008) or the infamous Bechdel Test (Do at least two women talk to each other about something other than a man?). In the tradition of cartoon autobiography similar to Maus and Persepolis, Bechdel tells a visually striking coming-(out)-of-age story about her childhood living in a funeral home, her relationship with her closeted queer father and her own sexual discovery. Drawing literary allusions from
Ulysses throughout, my favorite part about Bechdel’s narrative is the major role libraries and books played in her discovery of her lesbian identity and feminist theory.
Blue is the Warmest Color directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and based on the French graphic novel by Julie Maroh. I haven’t read the graphic novel yet (I’ve been meaning to get to it!), but I would highly recommend the film. We have both in our collection, so if you’d like to torture yourself by comparing the book with the film adaptations let me know what the difference are! This is truly a warm film with both sweet romance, hot sex, and heartbreak.
Sydney, Office Assistant, QNews and Graphic Design
I’m Sydney Ziegler, a Freshman studying Media Advertising. I love to binge watch on Netflix, bake delicious cupcakes, obsess over cats, and practice calligraphy. I believe that everyone has something to offer, and I love getting to know people better. I deeply, whole-heartedly suggest reading The Danish Girl in the GLBT Library. It’s a beautiful piece of literature that so simply and delicately describes a situation that many people are attempting to understand. I haven’t had the chance to explore many other of the GLBT Library resources, but to have such a facility where one can feel represented in media is amazing.
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.
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 email@example.com as space is limited. Light snacks will be provided.
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):
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!)
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!
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:
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 email@example.com.
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.