Photo of a Pride Flag against a beautiful blue sky.

Happy Pride Month!

The first pride festival I attended was in Minneapolis with my family. The year was 2000. I was an inquisitive 17-year-old, moving from infancy to adulthood. There was so much to take in, so much to learn about. I do not recall every detail of that first experience, but what I did take away from the festivities was how my soul was moved to observe the joy-filled celebration of a community emitting positivity, light, and acceptance.

Twenty-two years later, I had the pleasure of attending the Eau Claire Pride Festival organized by the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center on June 11, 2022. My youngest daughter requested we attend to watch my sister, her aunt, perform at the event under the library’s tent. I also agreed to balance my sister‘s levels (that is amateur lingo meaning I needed to work the soundboard to ensure her voice and guitar sounded comfortable for audio consumption. I spent a decade in my youth performing in some bands and learning about sound systems…but I digress). It was pouring rain during most of the set, but the rain did not keep many away. Just like my 17-year-old self was moved to witness the joy, this nearly-middle-aged-professional-and-mother-of-two-teens was moved once again, grateful for the supportive community in which we live. Moreover, it was inspiring to see humans make positive connections with strangers, forming a dance circle in front of the performance area (see image below).

Viewing the scene through the public service lens, I was amazed to observe how local organizations and businesses united to present a safe place, representation, and resources to LGBTQ+ and allies. While I surveyed the tents on site, I got a glimpse of happy humans proudly representing their organization or business. Walking around the venue, I gave a quick wave to the library’s Dabble Box makerspace team under their tent as they helped makers create buttons and other DIY projects.

One may ask why the library would participate in Pride Month activities. The answer is simple. The library aims to offer a positive, welcoming, and inclusive space for all members of our community. Throughout the month of June, the library observes Pride Month by fostering representation in our collection, services, and programs. This is our community and this is our library.

Photo of children dancing to the music of Jerrika Mighelle as they perform at Pride in Phoenix Park 2022

Dance Circle at Pride, photo by author

If you wish to learn more about resources and area organizations supporting LGTBQ+ and allies, here are a few local organizations you can start with:

Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center

Their resources page highlights several different support groups available, including a weekly virtual teen hangout for queer and questioning teens ages 14-18 to hangout and chat and a monthly TRANSparents support group. And did you know that they have their very own library, an annual Zine, and a Pen Pal Program?

TRANSforming the Valley

Offering regularly scheduled support groups for trans and gender non-conforming people. Check out their events and groups tab for upcoming virtual and in-person events.

Bolton Refuge House, Inc (BRH)

BRH advocates for LGBTQ+, providing shelter, support groups, and so much more to protect LGBTQ+ members from intimate partner abuse, violence, and sexual assault. Also, check out their community education page under services to find a listing on even more related content.

Here are some resources for your reading pleasure:

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