“[I want] teenagers and other kids to be able to see themselves in books that I never had.”
Sharing history through a book talk series
By Alexis Zygan, Contributor
On Wednesday, October 27, the Douglas College Library will host its third Booktalk Series. The event is centred around LGBTQ2S+ history month and will highlight books chosen by faculty and students that depict the queer experience. Organizers believe allies can learn a lot about the importance of queer stories by attending. Organizers also view this as a way to promote smaller indie publishers who distribute many of the novels shared in the series.
The aim is to showcase that queer and trans folks have always been here and that in many societies, their existence has been dismissed or ignored; forcing them to live in the shadows. “Though the language we use to describe ourselves has evolved, LGBTQ2S+ people have always existed and have often had to fight to do so,” emphasizes Lindsay Russell, Library Technician and event organizer.
Douglas College Library has previously organized Book Talks for Black History and Indigenous History Months; regarding these previous events, Russell explains that: “Both were quite successful and fun to help organize. It’s been great connecting with other people at the college over a shared love of books.” Coe Gillis (they/them), who previously worked at a bookstore where they curated a display of queer books, saw the series as a way to get involved in a topic that they’re passionate about. “[I want] teenagers and other kids to be able to see themselves in books that I never had,” says Gillis, a recent graduate of the Gender and Sexuality program at Douglas College.
The LGBTQ2S+ Booktalk will be held on Zoom from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM, and all are welcome, including employees and alumni. Following the talk, there will be a discussion where attendees can discuss their favourite LGBTQ2S+ novels. Everyone is encouraged to join in on the discussion to share their favourite novels or anything related to queer history. Additionally, a reading list will be sent to all participants’ email addresses following the series.
Each student will present a queer read they recommend at the event. Gillis’s selection for the Booktalk is the lesbian romance novel Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers. The book depicts an authentic and dreamy representation of love between a recent astronomy Ph.D. graduate and a radio host woman who marry each other after a night of drinking in Las Vegas. Claudia Mijares—a Douglas College student—saw the poster for the event and decided to get involved. She recommends a poetry collection by Vancouver artist Amber Dawn entitled My Art is Killing Me, featuring an illustrated cover by local artist Puppy Teeth, whose designs are commonly seen on t-shirts. All of the books discussed are available at the Douglas College Library.