This June, the Library's Student Engagement Committee has partnered with campus clubs and organizations to promote the LGBTQ2+ books in our collections as well as campus clubs and the services they provide. Students from Glow, Drag Club, QuAQ and QTPOC.KW sent in their recommendations for the books important to them, describing the impact the book had on their lives.
- This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
“You can’t tell people what to be […] You can only love and support who they already are.” As a parent of a transgender child herself, Frankel tells the story from the perspective of parents Rosie and Penn. Amidst the confusion of trying to figure out how to best support Poppy, Penn and Rosie show nothing but love and affirmation. I rarely cry at books, but this one touched me and had me in tears. This book is great for anyone, but I especially recommend it for parents and grandparents of transgender individuals. — Zoe A., former QuAQ leader
- Crocuses Hatch from Snow by Jamie Burnet
I felt this book was so well written! It told a beautiful story and the characters were so lovable and relatable. I wish I had read this book when I was younger because of how well queer people are portrayed throughout the book. This book was an absolute delight to read, it was a very tranquil escape from the nitty-gritty reality we inhabit. I will say there are a few trigger warnings in terms of self-harm and abuse. —
Adrian Quijano, Drag Club member Manny Manila
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This richly written novel is a retelling of the story of Achilles, one of the most famed heroes in Greek myth. I know that many people feel that the Greek legends are a bit overdone in modern fiction, and I held that sentiment too until I read this book. What I like most about this adaptation of the Achilles myth is that Miller does not retell the story of Achilles from his point of view, and doesn't even focus on some of his more known accomplishments. It instead brings you into his story through a new lens: Patroculus, one of Achille's closest companions. The story is narrated by Patroculus as he tells us of meeting Achilles in their youth, and forming a bond that has had its true nature filtered, diminished, and chipped away by the heteronormativity of our modern view on historical events. The Song of Achilles takes you with the duo as they bare the weight of destiny colliding with personal truth and the ache that comes with loosing someone you love to what those in power shape them to be. I think the real magic of this book is that no matter who you are and who you love, you are likely to find a little bit of yourself within it's pages.
Coming out during university can often feel like a really big deal. Sure, everyone goes through some personal growth during their time here, but adding a sexual identity overhaul into that mix really threw me for a loop in the beginning. Getting to be part of the QuAQ (Queer, Allied, and Questioning) group at Conrad Grebel gave me a place to plant my feet into the ground and grow into the things I was realizing about myself. Spaces like Glow and QuAQ that bring the LGBTQ+ community and Allies alike together are so important for fostering an atmosphere where people can be free to be themselves — I'd definitely encourage you to check any one of these groups out sometime. — Alex Skipper, former QuAQ Leader
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Commonly referred to as the ‘Gay Harry Potter’, this novel portrays the messiness of coming-of-age, coming to terms with oneself, and having to save the world. This novel was the first fiction I’d read where the main characters are queer, as well as complex, messy, and have a larger plot to play a part in — the romance is just one piece of what made this a page turner. Further, the chapters alternate between the character’s perspectives which provides nuance to the plot points. If you are looking for gay representation that isn’t a ‘dark narrative’, or a ‘meet-cute’, then I highly recommend you check it out. And there is the sequel ‘Wayward Son’, for when you want the story to continue. — Mason Carroll, QuAQ member
- Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
You know when you start reading a book and shortly realize that it is one that will stick with you for a lifetime? This is one of those books for me. I read this in quarantine, and it’s the story that was there when I needed it most. Although a fictional fairytale-esque narrative, it is lush with realism and tact. It conveys a story that very well could happen if the stars were to align in a parallel universe. This book gave me a deep fulfillment, joy, peace, and love; in a time when life was feeling pretty bleak, confusing and unknown. The characters and relationships of this plot are relatable peers, role models, and an overall riveting cast. I highly recommend this book; specifically, to queer 20-somethings, who want to find some guidance and fulfillment in the realm of love and justice — beyond petty high school dramas, and yet lighter than ‘adult’ scandals. — Mason Carroll, QuAQ member
Semi queer: inside the world of gay, trans, and black truck drivers by Anne Balay
As someone with a passion for understanding complex systems, I love talking to the people who keep global supply chains running – the couriers, the longshore workers, and truckers. The anthropologist Anne Balay’s Semi Queer is an ethnographic assemblage of the narratives of 66 truckers, collecting their reasons for entering the industry; their relationships to the space of the cab, the truck stop, and the American landscape; the threats of violence they face; and how the regulation of the industry impacts their everyday life. A surprisingly readable academic work, I nominate Semi Queer to be read alongside classic American road stories, as it beautifully weaves together voices typically absent from discussions of landscape, labour, and economics. — Jordan Hale, digital repositories librarian
Glow is the oldest continuously running queer student organization in Canada. Run entirely by dedicated student volunteers, it offers a wide variety of discussion groups, social events, advocacy opportunities, awareness campaigns, resources, and information.
This term, we’re offering our services entirely online, in hopes of better meeting the needs of our community in these times:
- Peer support: If you need someone to talk to, sign up for confidential peer support from trained volunteers anytime from 5-7 p.m. on weekdays
- Weekly events and virtual pride: If you’re feeling lonely now that you’ve moved home, follow our Facebook page to receive notifications about our weekly social events (e.g. tea time talks, trivia night, game night, movie night) and upcoming virtual pride
For more resources and information, or to provide anonymous feedback and incident reports:
Drag Club is a University group that celebrates gender expression through drag performance and appreciation. Everyone is welcome no matter your gender identity or sexuality. We are an accepting community for those who are big fans of drag, completely new to drag, or who just want hang out and make friends. During quarantine we are still very active on Facebook and Instagram @uwdragclub. We host events weekly in an attempt to stay connected and give our members a safe community in these trying times.
QuAQ (Queer, Allied, and Questioning) was founded in 2011 by a group of students at Conrad Grebel University College, and has been a vibrant part of the community ever since. QuAQ meets regularly to plan community events, eat lots of Oreos, and serve as a social support group for Grebel’s queer community. QuAQ also works to further inclusion initiatives within the Grebel community, with their most recent project being a gender-neutral washroom, which opened in September 2019. With COVID-19 preventing the group from meeting in person, QuAQ has been meeting regularly over Zoom to support each other from afar and to plan their own virtual pride! For more information, check out the video on the Conrad Grebel FAQ page under the question “Is Grebel an affirming place for the LGBTQ+ community?”
QTPOC KW hosts monthly events for people who identify as LGBTQI+ and BIPOC with the goal of building and nurturing a more resilient community. This month we virtually held our second annual unity Iftar featuring UW artists and performers. Currently we host tea talks and moderate a community forum where members can share thoughts, experiences, ides, and most importantly receive support. For more information, visit us on Facebook (QTPOC KW) or on Instagram, @qtpoc.kw.
Interested in reading something right now? Below is a list of eBooks available through the library catalogue. Click on the book title to start reading.
- Goldenboy by Michael Nava
- Tongues on Fire: Caribbean lesbian lives and stories by Rosamund Elwin
- Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization by Scott Lauria Morgensen
- A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation by Tan Hoang Nguyen
- Exile and Pride Disability, Queerness, and Liberation by Eli Clare
- Am I safe here?: LGBTQ teens and bullying in schools by Donn Short
- The Mating Game - How Gender Still Shapes How We Date by Ellen Lamont
- Where Am I Going to Go? Intersectional approaches to ending Lgbtq2s youth homelessness in Canada by Alex Abramovich and James Shelton
- Scars: a black lesbian experience in rural white New England by A. Breeze Harper
- Freedom to differ: the shaping of the gay and lesbian struggle for civil rights by Diane Helene Miller
- Sexual orientation and transgender issues in organizations: global perspectives on LGBT workforce diversity by Thomas Kollen