To new friends and old, welcome to The Quiet Pond!
A warm and heartfelt welcome to the month of June, friends. Today marks the beginning of our Pride Month event at the Pond – a celebration of queer identities, people and history. The month of June was chosen to celebrate Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots that took place in June 1969, which was 51 years ago.
If you are not familiar with the history of Pride and what happened during the Stonewall uprising, I highly recommend that you take some time during June to educate yourself on the history of Pride! To offer a starting point, I’d like to talk about two important Black activists, who were prominent figures in the Stonewall Uprisings and paved the way for queer rights today.
Marsha P Johnson was a Black trans woman, an activist, drag queen, sex worker, and a prominent figure during the Stonewall uprising. Alongside Sylvia Rivera, a Latina trans woman, Marsha started STAR – Street Trans Action Revolutionaries – and formed the STAR House, a shelter and place of support for trans and queer homeless youth. She continued her work as an activist and organiser for ACT-UP – AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – that worked towards helping people and advocacy during the AIDS pandemic.
Stormé DeLarverie was a Black lesbian, singer, drag king, bouncer, and activist. Stormé was largely attributed to be the person who threw the first punch at Stonewall, igniting the Stonewall uprising. After Stonewall, she worked as a bouncer (though she considered herself the “babysitter of my people”) and sung at charity events and fundraisers, specifically for violence and domestic abuse victims.
Though I think it is vital that we are thoughtful and learn about queer history, it is also important to look to the future — and I hope that we can do both. With the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the start of June and have continued throughout, I encourage all of you to be inclusive in your Pride Month activism and celebrations, which means being thoughtful and actively inclusive of queer people of colour, especially Black queer people, not just during Pride but every month of every year forever.
I hope that after reading the words and thoughts and discussions that will take place at The Quiet Pond during June, I hope that you will feel empowered, stronger, and hopeful for a future that is brighter and better. And of course, creating such a future begins with us and embodying the changes that we want to see and supporting each other.
Introducing: Pride Month at The Quiet Pond!
It is with excitement that I announce that The Quiet Pond will be celebrating queer voices and queer books for Pride Month! Throughout the month of June, we will be hosting 20 queer authors and bookish content creators from around the world to talk about their book, their work, or something that is meaningful to them. Similarly to our Asian Heritage Month event, we will have invited some of our wonderful friends to visit the Pond as their very own ‘pond-sona’ (pond + persona)! This month-long event is our way of showing solidarity with our queer friends and family.
This month, however, the theme of our Pride posts will be about exploring how queer identity can intersect with other identities. We have endeavoured to invite and host queer people from a diversity of identities, to uplift their voices and showcase their incredible work. Intersectionality is particularly important to us at The Quiet Pond, as queer identity and experience is not a singular or uniform thing, but is something that can be shaped and influenced by different and just-as-important parts of us, thus creating a unique journey of being queer.
The Pond’s Recommended Read for Pride Month
Throughout Pride Month at the Pond, I will be sharing with you five book recommendation posts filled with beautiful and wonderful queer books from across the rainbow spectrum. However, before I close, I want to spotlight one book that I read recently and that I think everyone – and I mean everyone – should read.
The book is All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson; a memoir-manifesto for Black queer folx everywhere. In this book, Johnson details his story of growing up and explores topics such as masculinity, heteronormativity, the intersections of Black identity and being queer, and family. Johnson delves into Black identity, and explores its many complex intersections (with sexuality, with masculinity, with history, with gender) without making it complex. It is truly a powerful book and mandatory reading for Pride Month 2020.
Support Black-owned Indie Bookstores!
During our Pride event, I will be sharing with you five book recommendation posts dedicated to spotlighting and recommending a wide array of queer book. From lesbian and f/f books to books with questioning, asexual and aromantic characters, The Quiet Pond will be your stop for all queer books. Even better: most of the books that we recommend will be by and about queer people of colour (in fact, 75% of the books recommended across my five recommendation posts are by queer people of colour!).
This Pride Month, we encourage you to show solidarity with Black people. Therefore, I have compiled a list of places where you can order your books – particularly if you have found them through our book recommendation post.
A huge thank you to Victoria Lee for this wonderful resource of Black-owned indie bookstores in the US and this list of Black-owned indie bookshops in the UK. You can now purchase books from this list of Black-owned indie bookshops:
Don’t live in the US/Canada/UK? No problem! Support an indie store through Bookshop.
We are excited for our very first Our Friend is Here: Pride Month Edition guest series! I firmly believe that it is going to be an exciting and wonderful month. My hope is that our Pride Month guest series will get you curious, provoke thought, encourage you to reflect, and, for our allies out there, to feel empowered to be better and do better. Moreover, I hope that you will also come away from our Pride Month series with plenty of books to add to your to-read lists — and I have no doubt that you certainly will.