Submitted by temerson on Fri, 09/29/2023 - 12:59

Remembrance. Resistance. Resilience.

Celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month with Sonoma County Library.


Welcome to the Sonoma County Library's LGBTQIA+ History Month celebration! October has arrived, ushering in our annual tribute to the rich and diverse history of LGBTQIA+ communities. This month-long commemoration, conceived by high school teacher Rodney Wilson and fellow educators in 1994, aligns with the school year and National Coming Out Day on October 11.

As we explore this history, we're reminded that it's not only about the challenges we've overcome, but also the hope it sparks for our future. LGBTQIA+ communities have made remarkable strides, fostering more positive representation than ever before.

For example, the library saw incredible turnout here in Sonoma County for Drag Story Hour events this summer! Locals from all walks of life came together to celebrate the beauty of diversity and the power of storytelling.

Though we remain hopeful, it's crucial to acknowledge the challenges we face today, including ongoing attempts to suppress discussions about LGBTQIA+ topics in schools and libraries nationwide. Some states have even introduced measures explicitly targeting LGBTQIA+ education.

Despite these attempts at censorship, the Sonoma County Library remains committed to providing LGBTQIA+ stories and resources to everyone, always at no cost. Our dedication ensures that progress continues, even in the face of adversity.

As we commemorate another LGBTQIA+ History Month, we renew our commitment to understanding and care. Join us throughout the month for a series of events and resources that will inform and inspire. Together, we continue to shape a future characterized by acceptance, love, and unity.

Celebrate with the library all month long with the events and resources listed below!

Here + Queer, Sonoma County

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Share your pride. Reclaim your history. Connect with your community. Here + Queer, Sonoma County collects, archives, and amplifies the histories of Sonoma County’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities. Throughout history, LGBTQIA+ people have fought for equality, representation, and dignity in society. Here + Queer strives to uncover the rich and dynamic stories of queer culture and activism, documenting the struggles and joys of queer life.

This project accepts digital content in the form of personal narratives, essays, anecdotes, photographs, creative works, audiovisual material, and more. The project actively seeks submissions from all ages and backgrounds, from all time periods in Sonoma County history. Anonymous submissions are supported, as well as submissions in English and Spanish.

Your stories will empower, enrich, and deepen our understanding of queer communities.

Upload & Share Your Experiences


Sonoma County Library Events

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Virtual Queer Book Club: Afterparties
(Adults) - Virtual

Wednesday, October 11, 6 – 7 pm

Queer Book Club meets virtually the second Wednesday of every month. Print copies are available while supplies last. To have a copy sent to your local library for pickup, request the book from the library catalog, or email and leave your name, phone number, and requested library location in the message.

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Pride (un)Book Club for Teens
(Grades 7-12) - Cloverdale Regional Library

Wednesday, October 11, 6 – 7 pm

In this unbook club, there is no assigned book! Everyone reads whatever they like within a single theme: books that center LGBTQIA+ voices. Drop in Fridays to hang out and talk about what you've been reading. This is a safe and inclusive place for LGBTQIA+ teens (and allies) to connect and de-stress. Snacks, tea, and hot chocolate provided!

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Family is a Rainbow Storytime

Join us for an inclusive event for queer families and allies focused on celebrating the importance of family, diversity, and community. Parents, caregivers, and guardians are welcome to bring their children for an hour of stories, crafts, and exploring what it means to be a family. Recommended for ages 3-8 years.

Rincon Valley Regional Library
Friday, October 13th, 10:30-11:30 am

Central Santa Rosa Library
Saturday, October 14th - 11:30-12:30 pm

Cloverdale Regional Library
Tuesday, October 17, 10:30-11:30 am

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Saturday, October 7, 11 am-2 pm

Queer Family Social at the Town Green at Windsor Bring a lunch and come meet other Sonoma County LGBTQIA+ families for a fun day on the Windsor Town Green! Enjoy lawn games, light refreshments, and arts & crafts.

Guerneville Library LGBTQIA+ image

Saturday, October 14, 11 am-12 pm

Guerneville Library LGBTQIA+ Book Club
(Adults) - Guerneville Regional Library

The Guerneville Regional Library invites you to its new book club for adults that centers on LGBTQ+ voices. Meetings occur on the second Saturday of the month. Print copies will be available in the branch a month before the discussion. Please call or email the hosting librarian, Stuart Wilkinson, with any questions.

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Friday, October 27, 4-5 pm

Pride Book Club for Teens(Grades 9-12)
Sebastopol Regional Library at the Town Green at Windsor

Meet with other teens to discuss books centering LGBTQIA+ voices! Free copies of the books will be available at the reference desk. Registration is encouraged but not required. Drop-ins are welcome. If you didn’t have time to read or finish the month’s book, you are still welcome to attend. Snacks will be provided. This is a safe and inclusive space, and all teens 9th-12th grade are welcome (including allies).

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Wednesday, November 15, 6-7:30 pm

Understanding Gender Identity and Supporting Trans Youth - Cloverdale Regional Library

Join us for a panel discussion on gender identity and understanding the transgender experience. Facilitated by Janna Barkin, author, educator, and mom. Janna’s youngest child is transgender, and she has made it her mission to foster more compassion, understanding, and acceptance in our society. This program will support, educate, and inspire anyone who attends. For teens and adults. Free; no library card required.

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Saturday, November 18, 1-3pm

Rainbows by the River: Preserving LGBTQIA+ History in West County - Guerneville Regional Library

Join us for a short overview of Russian River queer history by Shad Reinstein and Jody Laine, followed by a panel conversation on archiving Sonoma County queer history. The event will conclude with a public community conversation on Sonoma County LGBTQAI+ history, particularly events, individuals, and businesses in the Russian River area, which has historically been a haven and bustling vacation destination for the queer community.

Featured speakers:

LGBTQI+ Legacy Sonoma County – Tina Dungan, Magi Fedorka, Adam RichmondSonoma
Sonoma County Library’s Here + Queer, Sonoma County – Zayda Delgado, Stuart Wilkinson
Independent Researchers of Russian River Queer History - Jody Laine, Shad Reinstein

This event will be recorded.

Library Appearances at Community Events

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Saturday, October 14, 12-5 pm

Petaluma Pride Festival at Walnut Park, Petaluma

Join us at Walnut Park from 12 to 5 pm for music, food, and a community fair with local organizations and businesses.

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Sunday, October 15, 12-5 pm

Russian River Pride Parade & Festival

Parade: 12 pm on Main Street, Mill Street to Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville
Festival: 1 – 5 pm - Johnson’s Beach Parking Lot

Community Partners

Take a look at some of Sonoma County’s wonderful LGBTQIA+ community organizations and their history. Visit the websites of our fantastic community partners for more events and resources!

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LGBTQ Connection
Description from website:

  • “What was born as a support group for LGBTQ youth at the VOICES youth center in Napa in early spring 2010, has grown into a comprehensive, multi-county initiative fostering healthy, diverse and inclusive communities, driven by youth and other emerging leaders in the rural and suburban north SF bay area--and a model program for the state of California! As both a hub of LGBTQ information and a thriving center of the community, LGBTQ Connection increases awareness, visibility & wellness.”
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Positive Images
Description provided by organization:

  • “Positive Images was founded by Jim Foster, a gay LMFT, in 1990. Since then, we've provided a weekly peer-support group for LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults ages 12+. Today, we still have a weekly youth group (ages 12-18), a weekly adult peer support group (18+), and a youth leadership development program (ages 12 - 24). Our community center in Santa Rosa features drop-in hours where folks can hang out or receive referrals to other supportive resources. We have a media library and a free closet called our Transformation Station. We are open 12-5pm Tuesday through Friday.”

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Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County
Description provided by organization:

  • “In 2007 six older lesbians got together to share our concern for the lack of public information about the formidable Sonoma County Lesbian Movement. Over a few months' time we had generated a list of sixty organizations and businesses created or led by lesbians who were active during the politically turbulent years of 1965 and 1995. Today we are a small group of nine lesbians dedicated to preserving the history of the Sonoma County lesbian community that began during those years of social upheaval.”
  • Videos interviews recorded by the Lesbian Archives can be viewed here.
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Description from website:

  • “In 2015, a group of dedicated individuals came together to create an event to foster a vibrant, healthy, and responsive community of, for, and by our transgender and gender-nonconforming population, those who love them, and those who serve them. This became the first TRANSLIFE Community Conference. The vision of the TRANSLIFE Community Conference and the TRANSLIFE Professional Symposium is the foster a vibrant, healthy, and responsive community of, for, and by our transgender/gender-nonconforming population, those who love them, and those who serve them. The outcome of these two events is strengthened social networks, deeper community engagement, and increased skills across all three of these groups.”

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North Bay LGBTQI Families
Description provided by organization:

  • "Founded in 2017, North Bay LGBTQI Families seeks to provide families with LGBTQIA+ parents, caregivers, and children with a means of building community and advocating for inclusive, diverse, and welcoming spaces in Sonoma County and the surrounding areas. In addition to planning family-friendly social events, our group hosts workshops and other training opportunities for parents to develop the tools and skills they need to engage in intersectional advocacy for equity in schools, local government, and elsewhere in our rural, semi-rural, and suburban communities. We also host monthly social and family gatherings for gender expansive youth under 12."
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Amor Para Todos (APT)
Description provided by organization:

  • Amor Para Todos joins with schools and communities in an innovative, intersectional approach to cultivate more gender and LGBTQIA+ affirming environments for our youth. We believe our work will be the early intervention that can serve as a catalyst to change systematic invisibility for LGBTQIA+ youth. When people can be their true authentic selves in a safe and respectful environment, we will see reduced mental health disparities, improved wellness, and strengthened social connections. We are working to support that.

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LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County
Description provided by organization:

  • LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County Facebook Group
  • LGBTQI+ LEGACY Sonoma County is a new group that works toward preserving, collecting, and archiving historical materials from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex communities of Sonoma County, California, through the year 2000. We think it is vital to preserve and record the story of how Sonoma County became a desirable place where LGBTQI+ people lived, worked, and created a vibrant community. Our work is not only valuable for the LGBTQI+ community, but also to the heritage of Sonoma County.
  • LGBTQI+ stories from non-metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas of the United States have been poorly documented, inaccessible, and lost. We are interested in papers, fliers, publications, photographs, videos, digital items, and other items.
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Sonoma Valley LGBTQ+ Older Adults
Description provided by organization:

  • This community building social group has been holding monthly group discussions at Vintage House, the senior center in Sonoma, since 2009. For the first three years the group had a coordinator/facilitator paid for under a grant to the LGBT Center in Marin County. When the grant ran out, the Sonoma group participants decided to keep it going with volunteers. In addition to the monthly discussions, the group has also sponsored Pride dances, group meals at local restaurants, outings to places of interest, and intergenerational gatherings. A popular annual event is providing an opportunity for LGBTQ+ older adults an opportunity to participate in Sonoma's famous 4th of July Parade including riding in colorfully decorated vehicles (see photo).
  • In addition to being a co-facilitator of Sonoma Valley LGBTQ+ Older Adults, Professor Gary "Buz" Hermes also teaches "Aging Gayfully!" through SRJC's Older Adults Program.
  • For more info, phone (707) 227-6935 or (415) 608-5792