Referral Resources for Physical Health and Well-being

As informational professionals, one of our most powerful roles is as referral specialists, connecting patrons with resources, organizations and professionals that can provide the specialized help and support we cannot.

For LGBTQ+ patrons, finding medical information that is both reliable and respectful can unfortunately be challenging. Fortunately there are specialized online and in-person resources designed specifically to meet the medical needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are just a few health-related resources designed to serve the LGBTQ+ community.

National LGBT Health Education Center

“The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programs, resources, and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.” This American organization offers free publications, webinars, and a list of recommended reading and resources, both for individuals and for organizations that support better health for LGBTQ+ patients.

Rainbow Health Care

Rainbow Health Care was designed to meet “the need to do more research to document, understand, and address the various factors that contribute to health disparities in the LGBT community.” It offers articles and recommended resources. Examples of valuable articles include “10 Things Transgender Individuals Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Provider”, and “Lesbian and Bisexual Health Fact Sheet”.

UBC Faculty of Medicine Youth Sexual Health Team

Looking for an organization or resource in British Columbia? Links to more than 10 organizations have been aggregated into a single listing, making it quick and easy to refer patrons to valuable services and information.

Transgender Health Information Program

The “Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is responsible for the provincial coordination of transgender health services in BC. The Transgender Health Information Program (THiP) is a BC-wide information hub providing information about gender affirming care and supports.”

Catherine White Holman Wellness Center

This non-profit organization works “to provide low-barrier wellness services to transgender and gender non-conforming people in a way that is respectful and celebratory of clients’ identity and self-expression.”

Health Initiatives for Men

“HIM involves and engages gay men to improve foundations of their physical, sexual, social and mental health through research-based, community-minded, volunteer-driven activities. Their materials and programs are for adults and deal with gay sexuality positively and explicitly.”

OPT: Options for Sexual Health

OPT clinics “offer sexual and reproductive health care, information, and education from a feminist, pro-choice, sex positive perspective.” While not specifically directed towards LGBTQ+ individuals, the organization is committed to inclusive, confidential, sex-positive health information for all British Columbians.

Qmunity

In addition to being a valuable resource for LGBTQ+ individuals in the Lower Mainland, Qmunity offers a referral service that can help connect patrons to other information and service providers.

Are there any great physical health resources we should add to the list?

 

 

You Belong @ Your Library: LGBTQ+ & Allies Youth Group

You Belong is a weekly, ongoing, after-school drop-in program designed and facilitated by Toronto Public Library Youth Services Librarian Sepideh Mckensy to provide an inclusive and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ young people in the suburbs outside Toronto. The group host one creative LGBTQ+ guest speaker or fabulously fun event every month. Youth get the opportunity, along with their peers, to select and plan the events, create displays, design fliers and be a part of the promotion. This is an opportunity for youth with shared values to network, have fun and make a difference!

youbelong1

In terms of a general overview, the program is structured so that each month the group works towards hosting one big event or guest speaker.  The youth work together to prepare for this event or speaker, advertise, put up displays in the library, prepare decoration and plan.

Some examples of events the group has organized include:

An LGBTQ+ Film festival – in partnership with the local LGBTQ+ film organization Inside Out the group showed films all month long.

Queer Prom (Food, dancing, balloons)

(Here is a link for the local newspaper article they did on this event

https://www.insidetoronto.com/community-story/7388734-fairview-library-s-lgbtq-youth-drop-in-program-hosts-prom/)

In Toronto most LGBTQ+ organizations are located downtown, so the group makes an effort to get all those organizations to come out to a more suburban branch and do satellite programming or guest speaking engagements where they talk about their organizations, so that all those that cannot travel downtown or that never even knew they existed can be better connected.

youbelong2

This type of programming can take a long time to get off the ground – facilitators need to build trust in youth. It can be hard for word to get around since advertising can be tricky, and it’s important not to “out” youth or put them in unsafe situations.  But after a year the group has see a huge increase in stats –   almost 20 youth came out to the Queer Prom. As for all teen programming attendance can be up and down, but the group went from zero youth to 7 consistent members, and many more come in and out. You Belong really is a platform for youth to feel safe, connect with other youth just like them and be better educated on topics that relate to them.  Mentorship is key, and participants have really found the guest speakers to be inspiring.

The facilitator always starts each session with a round table introduction, including preferred pronouns, and giving teens a chance to talk about how their week has been, and their ups and downs.  Then they move on to a group discussion – sometimes they’ll talk about something going on in the world, or something closer to home that concerns them.  Then they start to plan or prep for an event or program.  Here and there they add fun things like field trips and parties.

youbelong3

Group facilitator Sepideh  has very kindly and generously offered to answer any questions library staff might have to help libraries in other provinces start their own LGBTQ+ youth groups, saying

“Let me know if you have any questions and if I can help in any other way. I commend you in BC for starting up programs like this and taking the initiative to take on this challenge.  As difficult it may be with many obstacles it is so rewarding and so very much necessary. I hope one day programs of this nature are as common place as any other programs that librarians conduct.”

A massive thank you to Sepideh for sharing this valuable information!

For more information on You Belong, visit Sepideh’s post on the American Library Association’s Programming Librarian blog.

Does your library offer LGBTQ+ programs for youth, seniors, or any other demographic! Sharing is caring, so help your colleagues across the province better serve their patrons by sharing your knowledge and experiences!

 

 

 

 

Public Library QSA / LGBTQ+ Clubs for Youth

Thinking about starting a Queer/Straight Alliance or LGBTQ+ club for youth at your public library? Here are just a few public libraries across North America who are offering similar programs, and might be great resources and contacts for further information.

Do you know of a great program we missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!

You Belong @ Your Library: LGBTQ+ & Allies Youth Group – Toronto Public Library

Have you always wanted to be an ambassador for equality and empowerment in your community? Come join us to celebrate the unique and diverse LGBTQ+ youth of our community. In this WEEKLY youth alliance we will engage, lead and impact in inspiring ways in our library. We will host one creative LGBTQ+ guest speaker every month. You will get the opportunity along with a team of youth just like you to plan for the event, create displays, design flyers and promote these amazing LGBTQ+ events.

Get involved and let’s make a difference!

Queer Straight Alliance – Surrey Libraries

This program is for teens ages 13-19.

If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, two-spirited, or an ally, this program is for you.

Come join us for games, crafts, movie nights, and discussions! Network with other Gay-Straight Alliances in the Surrey area. This will be a safe, positive, and friendly space. Snacks included.

Library QSA – Prince George Public Library

The Library QSA is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirited, Queer, Questioning, Straight teens and teens with LGBTQ families. Teen friends and allies are welcome. Open to all people in grades 8-12 in Prince George.

Community QSA – Lethbridge Public Library (Alberta)

Looking for a safe space?  Want to support LGBTQA rights?

In partnership with The MAT and OUTreach, the library is now hosting a monthly Queer Straight Alliance meeting on the last Wednesday of every month.  The meetings are open to anyone ages 16-21.

We meet in the Community Meeting Room of the Main Branch at 7:00pm.

You can also connect with the group on Facebook.

Rainbow Community – Longview Public Library (Washington State)

Rainbow Community is an inclusive and safe group for LGBTQ+ teens and allies. Hang and be yourself! We have games and craft supplies available and occasionally show movies, host guest speakers, and have parties.

Rainbow Community meets every Monday the library is open in the library auditorium.

 

Stonewall Book Award Winners 2017

stonewall book award logo

The winners of the 2017 ALA Stonewall Book Awards were announced at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, and the list of winners is truly inspirational!

Barbara Gittings Literature Award

Desert Boys, by Chris McCormick (New York: Picador); ISBN: 9781250075505

Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award

How to Survive a Plague: The inside story of how citizens and science tamed AIDS, by David France (New York: Alfred A. Knopf); ISBN: 9780307700636

Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award

Stonewall Honor Books in Literature

  • Beautiful gravity: a novel, by Martin Hyatt (New York: ANTIBOOKCLUB); ISBN: 9780997592306
  • Dig, by Bryan Borland (Fairfax, Virginia: Stillhouse Press); ISBN: 9780990516989
  • Guapa, by Saleem Haddad (New York: Other Press); ISBN: 9781590517697
  • Hide: a novel, by Matthew Griffin (New York: Bloomsbury USA); ISBN: 9781632863386

Stonewall Honor Books in Non-Fiction

Stonewall Honor Books in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Robin Stevenson is a B.C.-based author who has been interviewed here on the blog before, and we’re beyond thrilled for her! Congratulations, Robin, on this well deserved award!!

You can also read Rick Riordin’s moving acceptance speech here.

Five to Follow – LGBTQ Book Blogs You Should be Following

If you’re looking for great recommendations to share with your patrons, add to your collection, or simply enjoy yourself, book blogs are a fantastic resource to explore. Here are just a handful of the many amazing LGBTQ-themed book blogs that have taken the internet by storm. Be sure to check them out, and let us know which book blogs you love to follow!

I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read?

If you work with or support queer young people, or simply want to improve the diversity of your YA collection, this is definitely the blog for you. Positive, respectful, supportive and inclusive, “it’s for teens (queer or not), for librarians, for teachers, for booksellers, for people with teens in their lives and for anyone interested in YA books with GLBTQ characters and themes. What books are already out there? What’s new? Your answers are here.”

LGBTQ Reads

This carefully curated collection of LGBTQ+ titles spans the whole gamut of queer literature, from picture books to adult selections, but with an emphasis on Young Adult / New Adult fiction, and is maintained by YA author Dahlia Adler.

The Lesbrary

The Lesbrary focuses on lesbian/bisexual books, with a dedicated and diverse group of reviewers providing feedback on a wide variety of titles celebrating literature by and about queer women.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

OK, we might be a bit biased here (Casey is one of our awesome group members), but if you’re looking for queer book reviews and recommendations with a Canadian focus, this is definitely the blog for you.

Gay YA

As the name suggests, GayYA.org is dedicated to everything LGBTQIA+ in YA! Its mission “is to empower authors to write LGBTQIA+ characters, help ensure that what’s being published contains positive and affirming representation, and enable all teens to find themselves on the page! We pursue these goals with things like sharing best practices for librarians and teachers on how to get LGBTQIA+ YA books into the hands of teens, critiquing problematic narratives, and holding space for authors to talk about writing LGBTQIA+ characters.” Sounds good to us!

What are some of your favourite LGBTQ+ book blogs?

#DiverseKidLit Blog Hop

For school and public librarians, blogs can be a great way to discover new diverse children’s materials. The #diversekidslit book-sharing meme, founded by Katie, the teacher behind the amazing book blog The Logonauts, is a fantastic resource for staff looking to diversify their collections, and connect their patrons with great books.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds. While not specifically focused on LGBTQ+ materials, the meme often includes books covering these themes.

Participants in the meme are encouraged to support the diverse blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three other blogs, and by following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. You can spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit
DiverseKidLit

The hope is that the #diversekidlit community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors!

Upcoming Themes

Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. But if you’re interested, you can start planning now …

  • Out of respect for everyone’s increased summer busyness, there will only be one hop each month for June (3rd), July (1st), and August (5th).  Twice-monthly hops will return in September.
  • The theme for the June hop (3rd) will be global books. Please share your favorite diverse books that take place in countries other than your own, and travel the world this summer!

#DiverseKidLit is hosted by a great team of book bloggers:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

The #diversekidlit Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Connect with great bloggers, learn about fantastic materials, and help spread the love for diverse children’s books with the #diversekidlit book-sharing meme!

 

VPL and the Safe Place Program

The Vancouver Public Library, one of Canada’s largest public library systems, recently issued the following public statement on its website:

vpd-safe-place

Vancouver’s library has joined the Vancouver Police Department’s Safe Place program, which identifies places where members of the LGBTQ community can shelter if they experience bullying or harassment or are victims of crime.

All of Vancouver Public Library’s 21 locations around the city are part of this initiative, and the program’s identifying rainbow-coloured stickers will soon be installed on main entrance doors at library branches and the central library downtown.

Businesses and organizations in the program – which launched roughly seven months ago – pledge to provide a safe place for LGBTQ community members to shelter, be welcomed and call police if they have concerns for their safety or are victims of crime.

“VPL has a long-standing commitment to inclusiveness, a commitment that is inherent in the role of the library as a social equalizer in the community,” says chief librarian Sandra Singh.

Does your library participate in a similar “safe space” program or initiative? We’d love to hear what libraries across the province (country or world) are doing to promote safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals in our communities.