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Come Out, (COME OUT!) Wherever You Are!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

This post is dedicated to a queer artist whom I love with all my heart - one Beric Manywounds, who continues to challenge my views about men, women, sex, gender, and love. May you revel in your sexuality; may you find a love that makes your heart sing!

The Calgary Public Library is proud to celebrate diversity in our community. Whether that diversity is ethnic, linguistic, cultural, or sexual, we have materials and programs that allow for various views and voices to be heard and understood. This September, like every other, we wish you a very happy PRIDE. Celebrate the fact that families come in a glorious variety of forms, and so do sexual preferences and practices.

Visit your library for books by and about gays, lesbians, transfolk, queers, and all of their many allies. Find materials that might help you come out - or dialogue with a child (or parent!) who just has. Borrow books about planning your gay wedding, or browse some of our gay audience magazines. If you’re writing a paper about sex, sexuality, gender, or gay issues, be sure to check out our e-library databases for academic and peer reviewed journals.

And if you’re free this Sunday, September 2, then head downtown to take part in Calgary’s PRIDE parade.

As for me, I don’t identify as gay. But I’ve got rainbow striped knee-high socks that have been waiting in fashion storage for nearly a year, and I’ll be wearing them with pride, in celebration of all the gays I’ve known and loved (and a few of the lesbians I’ve had crushes on, too).

From drag racing to drag queens, the Calgary Public Library has resources about everything you’re into!

Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That? By Henry Alford

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I've been taking a few online courses through the U of C’s continuing education department, so I haven’t had very much time to keep up with my leisure reading, lately. But, one book that I recently read in only a few days (even though I had multiple deadlines looming) was Would It Kill you to Stop Doing That: A Modern Guide to Manners, by Henry Alford.

Pick this book up if you take the C-Train to work or school, or if you find yourself baffled at today’s lack of common decency. It’s what Emily Post might have written had she been born an acerbic gay man, in a different decade. It’s sharp and observant, off-beat, well written, and very, very funny.

Calgary Public Library has everything you’re into!

Happy International Women's Day!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Celebrate International Women’s Day by joining us in our John Dutton theatre for a discussion of how women are creating strong and vibrant communities.

This year, in solidarity with feminists throughout the world (men included!), I give to you a list of some of my recent favourites: writing about women and women’s sexuality.

Self Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back Again, by Norah Vincent. An interesting examination of the pressures confronting men, from a lesbian point of view. Crass, funny, and insightful, even though the project of chronicling a year as a man was based on deception.

My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies, by Nancy Friday. This book had enormous impact when it was first published, and it’s still popular today. Read it for titillation, of course, but also to realize that you’re perfectly normal and that your fantasies are, too.

The Sexual Life of Catherine M, by Catherine Millet. I included this book here not because of the graphic sexual descriptions it contains, but because it’s a reflection of one woman’s choices. It’s not just sex but choice that’s important to feminism. The choice to marry or not, have children or not, have multiple (and concurrent!) sexual partners or not, and so on. Millet lives life on her own terms.

Our Bodies, Ourselves, by Boston Women's Health Book Collective. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this classic. It's been informing women about their bodies for over 4 decades!

Your local library has all sorts of resources about women’s sexuality: relationships, sexual health, gay/lesbian/trans/queer issues, sexual education and pregnancy, and lots more! Learn to create more safety, intimacy and pleasure in your sexual routines. Learn about who’s doing what to whom, and how.

The Calgary Public Library has resources for everything you’re into!

Bossypants, by Tina Fey

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

I tore through this autobiography in a matter of days, and I relished it! If you love Tina Fey’s work as a sketch and sitcom writer, you’ll find her prose equally amusing.

In Bossypants, Fey comments on her childhood, her early years as a writer for SNL, the importance of her relationship with her father, and even the unmentionable topic – that scar on her face.

It’s been a very long time since a book made me laugh out loud (repeatedly) on the train, but this book made me do just that. I looked like a total psycho, but it was worth it.

What I really appreciated as I read this book was Fey’s attitude. Improv classes taught her the value of saying yes within a scene and that’s a lesson we can all apply in our daily lives, as well. I also appreciated her comments about what she learned from Lorne Michaels, and what she hopes for her own daughter. Fey is gay positive and body positive (except when she’s mocking herself) and with this book, she’s proven that she’s much more than just a funny one-liner or a Sarah Palin impersonator (although she excels at that, too!).

If you need a really good laugh, then check out Bossypants today!

Through Thick and Thin, by Gok Wan

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

A number of years ago, when I lived at home and had access to television (oh, the things you take for granted!) I used to watch a British show called How to Look Good Naked. A self conscious woman (typically one who was disheveled and encased in horrendous, baggy clothing) would be put through a series of challenges, all designed to convince her that her body was beautiful, attractive and sexy – and that so was she! The show would culminate with the woman strutting down a catwalk in only her underwear – a testament to her newfound confidence and acceptance of her body. I loved it!

The host of the show was a stylist named Gok, who would help the woman select strategic wardrobe pieces – items that tucked, concealed, supported or disguised whichever body parts induced insecurity. Gok loved the clothes, but you knew that he loved the women more. In fact, he played the token “gay best friend” that every woman needs – supportive, hilarious, and committed to the idea that beauty comes in every size.

I’ve just finished reading Gok’s autobiography, Through Thick and Thin, and I really enjoyed it. Frankly, it’s a beach read. There’s nothing in here that’s profound or intellectually rigorous. Rather, it’s a nice light read for people who watched and loved the show, or for people who might be interested in how to break into the styling business.

Gok’s road to stardom wasn’t an easy one. He was obese and then anorexic; he worked several dissatisfying jobs before finding the one he loved, and he both made and lost friends along the way. Indeed, life wasn’t simple for a self-described “fat, gay Chinese kid”, yet Gok’s determination and the love of his family saw him though challenging times. This biography has an ultimately heartwarming tone.

Check it out if you need a nice, light read. Or if you’re interested in a career in fashion and styling. Or if you’re a fat, gay, Chinese kid. And especially if you’re struggling with body issues, and you just want to feel better.

Proud - Just not in Calgary

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

This year, I’ll be absent from Calgary’s Gay Pride festivities, and though I’m sad to miss them, I’ll still be surrounded by gays, lesbians, transfolk and allies of all kinds – because I’ll be in Montreal!

If you’re here in Calgary during the first week of September, then check out some of the events. There’ll be a parade, a dance, a dyke march, and more. Show your support for gender equality and gender-bending; send a message to your leaders that inclusive and vibrant cities need gay people and gay culture!

And don’t forget about all of the items in your library, too! We’ve got books for, by and about gays. Looking for manuals on gay or lesbian sex? We’ve got those, too! Learn to talk to your children (or parents!) about gay issues, or check out some of our gay interest magazines. You may even encounter gay library staff!

The Calgary Public Library is committed to diversity and inclusion, and we wish you a very happy Pride!

The Lesbian Kama Sutra, by Kat Harding

Bash'd: A Gay Opera, by Chris Craddock

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