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Featured Books and DVDs: Pride

Celebrate by delving into LGBTQ+ stories this month.

A library scene with a stack of books on a table, titles visible, and blurred figures in the background, suggesting a quiet, studious atmosphere. Titles include the DVDs Potato Dreams of America, Waking Up Dead, Framing Agnes, 8 Years, Homo Say What, Like Me, Estuaries, and Blue Jean, followed by the books David Bowie Made me Gay, Bright Lines, A Sturdy Yes of People, Nobody Needs to Know, and The Unfortunates.

Pride Month looks different for everyone, and here at the Penn Libraries, we celebrate Pride each year by highlighting LGBTQ+ stories and resources. Whether you want to explore classic queer literature, find new queer authors and filmmakers, or find ways to incorporate pride into your everyday life – such as discovering local history or taking a “gaycation” - our librarians are here to help! Start with the list below, and then check out the highlights of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Collection for further study. We also offer access to Kanopy, where you can stream films from their Pride Month collection. And don’t forget we have lists from 2023, 2022, and 2021 for you to comb through!

You can find the selections highlighted below, and many more, on display on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, next to New Books.

Note: The descriptions below are collected from publishers and edited for brevity and clarity.  


Our Work Is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance by Syan Rose

Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed the rise of queer and trans communities that have defied and challenged those who have historically opposed them. Through bold, symbolic imagery and surrealist, overlapping landscapes, queer illustrator and curator Syan Rose shines a light on the faces and voices of these diverse, amorphous, messy, real, and imagined queer and trans communities in this graphic work of nonfiction. In their own words, queer and trans organizers, artists, healers, comrades, and leaders speak honestly and authentically about their own experiences with power, love, pain, and magic to create a textured and nuanced portrait of queer and trans realities in America.

High Yella: A Modern Family Memoir by Steve Majors

Steve Majors was the white passing, youngest son of an all-Black family who referred to him as “high yella.” His memoir tells the poignant story of how he tried to leave behind a childhood of poverty and abuse to create a new identity, only to discover he ultimately needed to return home to truly find himself and help his two adopted Black daughters find their own place in the world. Majors’ journey toward Blackness, queerness, and parenthood delivers its hard-won lessons on love, life, and family with exceptional grace.

A Sturdy Yes of a People: Selected Writings by Joan Nestle

For over 50 years, Joan Nestle has been chronicling lesbian and queer life boldly with guts, heart, and moral suasion. A Sturdy Yes of a People gathers Nestle’s most influential writing into a single volume, presenting her persistent involvement in liberation movements, LGBTQ histories, erotic writing, and archives that document gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives. Embedded in tales of lesbian desire are Nestle's concerns with the power of class and race in America to exile bodies. This collection presents Nestle as a bold and original thinker, deeply connected with her communities, with an abiding willingness to reexamine and reimagine queer lives by integrating new ideas, challenges, and experiences.

The Pride Atlas: 500 Iconic Destinations for Queer Travelers by Maartje Hensen

This is the ultimate guidebook for LGBTQ+ travelers—whether you're planning your next getaway, daydreaming from the comfort of your armchair, or seeking to learn about queer culture in other parts of the world. Maartje Hensen and a diverse team of international travel writers have put together information on the best drag shows, Pride parades, and film festivals all around the world, as well as resources regarding laws, restrictions, and cultural attitudes—ensuring that travelers can safely enjoy their sojourns and find community wherever they go. Whether you're looking for relaxation, romance, or adventure, The Pride Atlas will help you plan your next gaycation.

Queer Silence: On Disability and Rhetorical Absence by J. Logan Smilges

In queer culture, silence has been equated with voicelessness, complicity, and even death. Queer Silence insists, however, that silence can be a generative and empowering mode of survival. Triangulating insights from queer studies, disability studies, and rhetorical studies, J. Logan Smilges explores what silence can mean for people whose bodyminds signify more powerfully than their words. Smilges urges queer activists and queer studies scholars to reconcile with their own ableism by acknowledging the liberatory potential of silence, a mode of engagement that disattached queers use every day for resistance, sociality, and survival.


Workhouse Queen

By day, Ed Popil worked as the manager of a telemarketing center for 18 years. By night, he transformed into drag queen Mrs. Kasha Davis. After seven years of auditioning to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ed Popil was finally cast onto the show and thrust into a full-time entertainment career at the (relatively) late age of 44. This documentary follows Ed’s life and career before and after being cast, focusing on the growing divide between members of a small town drag community – those who have been on TV, and those who have not.

Blue Jean

It’s 1988 in England and a series of laws has passed that prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality.” Jean, a closeted PE teacher at a secondary school, is forced to live a double life. When a new student arrives and threatens to expose her, Jean is pushed to extreme lengths to keep her job and her integrity.

Jack & Yaya

From a young age, Yaya and Jack saw each other as they truly were, a girl and a boy, even though the rest of the world didn’t see them that way. As they grew older, they supported each other as they both came out as transgender. Decades later, Jack and Yaya remain best friends. This documentary follows the two friends for a year and explores their unique relationship, drawing on home videos and conversations with their eclectic cast of friends and family.

Elena Undone

Elena is a devoted wife to her pastor husband, mother to her teenage son, and daughter to her traditional Indian family. When she meets lesbian writer Peyton, Elena is confronted with intense, unexpected feelings for a woman, and their relationship evolves into a passionate romance. The two women fall deeply in love, both keenly aware a future together might be little more than a dream.

Framing Agnes

Agnes, the pioneering, pseudonymized, transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s, has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. In this rigorous cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt explores where and how her platform has become a pigeonhole. Through a collaborative practice of reimagination, trans actors take on vividly rendered, impeccably vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans healthcare.