Celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month with Sonoma County Library
LGBTQ+ History Month is a month-long celebration that occurs in October to observe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history, a history which often is, and has been, down-played, distorted, or erased.
In 1994, high school teacher Rodney Wilson worked with other teachers and community leaders to develop this month-long celebration. They decided on October because it occurs when school is in session. It also coincides with National Coming Out Day, which is on October 11, as well as the first and second LGBT Marches on Washington, which took place in 1979 and 1987. From its inception, LGBTQ+ History Month has been challenged. However, due to the past, and continued, work of the queer community and allies, there is more positive LGBTQ+ representation than ever before. While our community has made great strides, it is important to remember that LGBTQ+ history isn't just a reminder of what we've overcome, but is inspiration for the future as well.
This remembrance has come under renewed attacks as more states attempt to silence any discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in classrooms and libraries. PEN America reports that 23 of 137 educational gag orders introduced in state legislatures across the country specifically target teaching about LGBTQ+ identity, history, and other related topics. This censorship is an attack on intellectual freedom, and has real-world consequences to the health and safety of the LGBTQ+ Community. The Sonoma County Library continually works to ensure that LGBTQ+ stories and resources will always be freely available to all members of the public. By doing so, we make sure that the strides made by the LGBTQ+ community will endure and resist this period of backlash, hate, and censorship.
LGBTQ+ History Month is a time to remind ourselves of the vital importance of engaging with history honestly and accurately, and to learn from that history as we celebrate the triumphs of, and the challenges to, the queer community—our community—today.
Here + Queer, Sonoma County
Here + Queer, Sonoma County collects, archives, and amplifies the histories of Sonoma County’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities. Throughout history, LGBTQ+ people have fought for equality, representation, and dignity in society.
Here + Queer strives to uncover the rich and dynamic stories of queer culture and activism, documenting the struggles and joys of queer life.
This project accepts digital content in the form of personal narratives, essays, anecdotes, photographs, creative works, audiovisual material, and more.
The project actively seeks submissions from all ages and backgrounds, from all time periods in Sonoma County history. Anonymous submissions are supported, as well as submissions in English and Spanish.
Your stories will empower, enrich, and deepen our understanding of queer communities.
UPLOAD & SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES
Librarian Stuart Wilkinson at Sonoma County Pride Festival 2022, photograph by Terra Emerson.
Tuesday, October 11, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Join us on Zoom as Magi Fedorka, an LGBTQI+ activist in Sonoma County, shares a video and talks about community building to support activism and changing Sonoma County to be more inclusive.
Magi Fedorka is known for drafting the first Pride Resolution for Sonoma County in 1987. She also spearheaded the 5-year LGBTQI+Allies community campaign to get the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to pass a Pride Resolution which succeeded in 1992. Members of Forward Together, a community building Lesbian and Gay group organized Pride events from June 1987 through 1993. Magi coordinated the June Pride Picnic/Celebrations during those years.
Magi Fedorka collaborates with Adam Richmond and Tina Dungan on LGBTQI+ LEGACY SONOMA COUNTY.
Advanced registration is required. Please register with your email address to receive the Zoom link one hour before the event begins. This event is presented in English.
Queer Book Club - (adults) - Virtual
Wednesday, October 12, 6:00pm
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Join librarians virtually to discuss books centering on LGBTQ+ voices. Meetings are on the second Wednesday of the month (January-December) from 6-7 pm. For more information please visit: https://sonomalibrary.org/queerbookclub.
Physical copies of the book are available (while supplies last).
Curated by two local LGBTQI historians, the Sonoma County LGBTQI Timeline will be displayed at the Central Santa Rosa Library all of October for LGBTQ+ History Month! It will also be displayed at the Guerneville Regional Library in November from 11/12-12/3.
Sonoma County has had an LGBTQI presence for many decades. We have had a significant role in LGBTQI culture and politics regionally, statewide and nationally. Women's studies classes at the SRJC and SSU were two of the first programs in California. Gay men from around the US flocked to the Russian River for vacations in the 1970s and 1980s. Sonoma County helped stop a national anti-LGBT movement by successfully fighting against the Brigg's Initiative in 1978. The Sonoma County LGBTQI Timeline contains 6 panels that describe our history from the late 1960s to 2000. See how your life is reflected in the LGBTQI history of Sonoma County. Presented in partnership with LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County.
Saturday, October 1, 12:00pm-1:30pm
Spooky Story Time with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
at the Guerneville Regional Library
Join library staff and the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for stories and games that are just a little bit spooky and a whole lot of fun!
Monday, October 10, 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Making Good Trouble with Shad Reinstein
at the Rincon Valley Regional Library
Join local LGBTQI+ historian and activist, Shad Reinstein, who will share stories and photos from over 30 years of protesting. Learn from history, get to know your rights, and create a bookmark or write a letter to share your message. For teens in grades 7-12.
Family is a Rainbow
Join us for an inclusive event for queer families and allies focused on celebrating the importance of family, diversity, and community. Parents, caregivers, and guardians are welcome to bring their children for an hour of stories, crafts, and exploring what it means to be a family. Recommended for ages 0-6.
Saturday, October 22, 1:00-3:00pm
Celebrate LBGTQ+ History: Exhibit Reception & Oral History Event
at the Central Santa Rosa Library
Share your pride and record an oral history for the Here + Queer, Sonoma County project! We want to hear your stories, big or small, about being LBGTQ+ in Sonoma County. Have a meaningful conversation with us and preserve your voice!
Library staff will interview and record your story. Participants will be asked to sign an interview agreement form, which allows your story to become part of the library's digital collections for future generations to explore and learn.
Wednesday, October 26, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Understanding the Transgender Experience
at the Petaluma Regional Library
Join us for a panel discussion with transgender youth and parents of transgender children who will share their perspectives with us. This program will support, educate and inspire anyone who attends.
Take a look at some of Sonoma County’s wonderful LGBTQ+ community organizations and their history. Visit the websites of our fantastic community partners for more events and resources!
LGBTQ Connection - Description from website:
- “What was born as a support group for LGBTQ youth at the VOICES youth center in Napa in early spring 2010, has grown into a comprehensive, multi-county initiative fostering healthy, diverse and inclusive communities, driven by youth and other emerging leaders in the rural and suburban north SF bay area--and a model program for the state of California! As both a hub of LGBTQ information and a thriving center of the community, LGBTQ Connection increases awareness, visibility & wellness.”
Positive Images - Description provided by organization:
- “Positive Images was founded by Jim Foster, a gay LMFT, in 1990. Since then, we've provided a weekly peer-support group for LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults ages 12+. Today, we still have a weekly youth group (ages 12-18), a weekly adult peer support group (18+), and a youth leadership development program (ages 12 - 24). Our community center in Santa Rosa features drop-in hours where folks can hang out or receive referrals to other supportive resources. We have a media library and a free closet called our Transformation Station. We are open 12-5pm Tuesday through Friday.”
Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County - Description provided by organization:
- “In 2007 six older lesbians got together to share our concern for the lack of public information about the formidable Sonoma County Lesbian Movement. Over a few months' time we had generated a list of sixty organizations and businesses created or led by lesbians who were active during the politically turbulent years of 1965 and 1995. Today we are a small group of nine lesbians dedicated to preserving the history of the Sonoma County lesbian community that began during those years of social upheaval.”
TransLife - Description from website:
- “In 2015, a group of dedicated individuals came together to create an event to foster a vibrant, healthy, and responsive community of, for, and by our transgender and gender-nonconforming population, those who love them, and those who serve them. This became the first TRANSLIFE Community Conference. The vision of the TRANSLIFE Community Conference and the TRANSLIFE Professional Symposium is the foster a vibrant, healthy, and responsive community of, for, and by our transgender/gender-nonconforming population, those who love them, and those who serve them. The outcome of these two events is strengthened social networks, deeper community engagement, and increased skills across all three of these groups.”
North Bay LGBTQI Families - Description provided by organization:
- "Founded in 2017, North Bay LGBTQI Families seeks to provide families with LGBTQIA+ parents, caregivers, and children with a means of building community and advocating for inclusive, diverse, and welcoming spaces in Sonoma County and the surrounding areas. In addition to planning family-friendly social events, our group hosts workshops and other training opportunities for parents to develop the tools and skills they need to engage in intersectional advocacy for equity in schools, local government, and elsewhere in our rural, semi-rural, and suburban communities. We also host monthly social and family gatherings for gender expansive youth under 12."
Amor Para Todos (APT) - Description provided by organization:
- Mission: To join with schools and communities in an innovative, intersectional approach to cultivate more gender and LGBTQIA+ affirming environments for our youth. We believe our work will be the early intervention that can serve as a catalyst to change systematic invisibility for LGBTQIA+ youth.
- Vision: That all people, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, feel safe and comfortable to be their true authentic selves and to express themselves freely, and are supported and treated with respect.
- When people can be their true authentic selves in a safe and respectful environment we will see reduced mental health disparities, improved wellness and strengthened social connections. We are working to support that.
- Our two main projects are the Saving Lives Now Project (SLNP) and the Rainbow Awareness Project (RAP).
LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County - Description provided by organization:
- LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County Facebook Group
- LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County is a new group that works toward preserving, collecting, and archiving historical materials from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex communities of Sonoma County, California, through the year 2000. We think it is vital to preserve and record the story of how Sonoma County became a desirable place where LGBTQI+ people lived, worked, and created a vibrant community. Our work is not only valuable for the LGBTQI+ community, but also to the heritage of Sonoma County.
- LGBTQI+ stories from non-metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas of the United States have been poorly documented, inaccessible, and lost. We are interested in papers, fliers, publications, photographs, videos, digital items, and other items.
Sonoma Valley LGBTQ+ Seniors - Description provided by organization:
- This community building social group has been holding monthly group discussions at Vintage House, the senior center in Sonoma, since 2009. For the first three years the group had a coordinator/facilitator paid for under a grant to the LGBT Center in Marin County. When the grant ran out, the Sonoma group participants decided to keep it going with volunteers. In addition to the monthly discussions, the group has also sponsored Pride dances, group meals at local restaurants, outings to places of interest, and intergenerational gatherings. A popular annual event is providing an opportunity for LGBTQ+ elders an opportunity to participate in Sonoma's famous 4th of July Parade including riding in colorfully decorated vehicles (see photo).
- In addition to being a co-facilitator of Sonoma Valley LGBTQ+ Seniors, Professor Gary "Buz" Hermes also teaches "Aging Gayfully!" through SRJC's Older Adults Program.