Pride Parade in Princeton, NJ, June 22, 2019. Photograph by Edwin J. Torres / NJ Governor’s Office. Courtesy of Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Exploring LGBTQ+ Pride Month

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer (or Questioning) Pride Month. This month offers an opportunity to explore the stories and perspectives of those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Princeton Public Library aims to include such topics in programming and content throughout the year, and this month serves as a chance to focus our efforts.

What we now know as LGBTQ+ Pride Month began as a grassroots effort to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising, when LGBTQ+ patrons of a New York City gay bar and their supporters fought back against police officers raiding the establishment. In the years after Stonewall, many celebrated what they called Gay Pride Day on the last Sunday in June. Celebrations varied from place to place and went on to include monthlong activities and events across June. In the mid-1990s, education organizations joined forces to formalize June as LGBT History Month. President Bill Clinton was the first U.S. president to issue a proclamation acknowledging Pride Month, with Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden following suit.

Programs | Learn | Educator Resources

Programs at the Library and Beyond

Kick off Pride Month on June 2 during the annual Pride Flag Raising that is hosted by the Municipality of Princeton at noon in front of the flagpole at Monument Hall. Also on June 2, dance the night away during the open air Pride Dance Party being held by the Arts Council of Princeton and Princeton Record Exchange.

On June 3, the library will co-host the third annual Princeton Community Pride Picnic on Palmer Square starting at noon. Celebrate Princeton’s LGBTQ community with live music, activities, giveaways and more at this family-friendly event featuring local nonprofits and community groups. Rain date is June 4. 

Learn more here.

The library will host an Author Tea on June 4 featuring Stephanie Cowell discussing her recently released “The Boy in the Rain” with Lauren B. Davis. The novel tells the story of two Englishmen during the Edwardian era who fall in love when homosexuality was a crime. Full details here

Library staff will be marching in the Princeton Pride Parade, held on June 17 and organized by the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. The parade route will go primarily through the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood before ending at the Princeton Family YMCA field. Click here for further details. We welcome anyone in the community looking to take part in the parade to join us as we march along the parade route.

Two films will be screened in the library’s community room for Pride Month. During the afternoon on
June 17, in partnership with the Princeton Festival, we will show the biopic “Milk” in advance of their production of “I am Harvey Milk” and on the evening of June 28 we will show the film “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” 

Learn about LGBTQ+ History and Experiences

See below for lists of nonfiction and fiction and essays geared toward adult readers and centered around LGBTQ+ experiences and perspectives.

For teens, kids, and the youngest readers, below are lists of books that highlight varied narratives and perspectives of those in the LGBTQ+ community.

To learn more about the Stonewall Uprising, watch a recording of a 2020 virtual library program with Jason Baumann, New York Public Library’s coordinator of humanities and LGBTQ+ collections. Baumann discusses the anthology of first-person accounts of the Stonewall uprising he curated from the library’s archives. Published in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the uprising that started the fight for American LGBTQ+ rights, “The Stonewall Reader” chronicles some of the gay liberation movement’s most iconic moments and figures in the years before and after those tumultuous events.

YouTube video

Online resources include:

  • Resources from the Library of Congress
  • Materials from the National Archives and Records Administration
  • S.O.G.I.E. Handbook from New York State Department of Health and One Circle Foundation.

Resources for Educators

See the materials below for potential starting points for engaging learners. You’ll find lesson plans, digital tools, curricula, and more.

Content made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities