As October’s LGBT History Month comes to a close, this reflection post shines the spotlight on a Pride exhibit from June 2016. This exhibit was created by our very own Women's Studies & Open Access Librarian, Meredith Kahn with help from the Spectrum Center. It was displayed in the Shapiro Lobby during LGBT Pride Month and additional slides were later included to support of victims of the June 12 Orlando shooting and the LGBTQ+ community.
Every year throughout the US and abroad, major cities hold “Pride” celebrations during the month of June. These events—and Pride Month itself (commonly referred to as just “Pride”)—commemorate the Stonewall riots, memorialize the lives of people lost to violence, hatred, and illness, and make visible the history and present of LGBTQ people.
For the last two years, the University Library has created a digital display in the lobby of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library in celebration of Pride and to support LGBTQ members of our campus community. The exhibit includes historical events, art, contemporary statistics, and book recommendations related to the lived experience of LGBTQ people.
After the Orlando Pulse shooting on June 12, 2016, the University Library decided to keep the exhibit up all month long and to display the slides on screens in many other library buildings across campus, including the Taubman Health Sciences Library and the Hatcher Graduate Library. Additional slides were included in the exhibit to direct viewers to U-M Counseling and Psychological Services for care, to a fund set up in support of victims of the shooting, and to resources on how to register to vote and how to contact one’s elected representatives.
We expanded the exhibit in order to demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive campus and a responsive University Library that recognizes the needs of our LGBTQ community. The goal of the original and expanded exhibits was not to provide platitudes, but instead to call attention to the continuing challenges LGBTQ individuals face, and to provide opportunities for engagement and action.
- Meredith Kahn, Women's Studies & Open Access Librarian