by Adrian Farris (he/him), Public Services Assistant for Cedar Mill Library
I had been working at the Cedar Mill Library for a few months, and I noticed that our booklists for LGBTQ+ teens were 3 or 4 years out of date. I asked if I could address the gap this had created in our services. With the new lists, I wanted to highlight our collection as well as valuable community groups. This inspired the decision to have multiple guides, featuring nonfiction titles and links to connect teens with local and online resources.
As I was researching and gathering in-person resources, I made sure to check at what capacity they were operating (many I had initially wanted to add to my list had closed completely or stopped serving the public directly due to COVID). I tried to make the resource list as varied as possible. There are links for healthcare, food and housing assistance, support groups, and gender transition information. I have, or someone close to me has, utilized many of the linked resources at some point, and I can vouch for the majority of them. It was important to me that I was not sending teens on any wild goose chases when seeking help. LGBTQ+ teens are typically already low on time and money; we do not want to waste it. Due to limited options, many of the resources I listed were in a neighboring county, but I tried to ensure that every physical location was accessible by public transit and no more than an hour away. This was also an advantage to having a split in-person/online guide. I was able to provide a wider selection of resources, and felt I wasn’t limited to what was only offered in our county. If someone cannot access online aid, hopefully they could access an in-person location, and vice versa.
Since I am a queer transman, I understand firsthand how often LGBTQ+ teens can find themselves in scary or vulnerable situations and are lacking the support they need. It is important to cover essentials. I made sure to include places that provide showers, food, and shelter. Mental and physical health is also incredibly important, and crisis-focused centers are often dealing with too many other factors to put them at the forefront, so I also added links that concentrate on healthcare. However, I also wanted to make sure there were resources that paid attention to teens’ social and emotional health. This is why I added links like online book clubs and moderated chat spaces.
I wanted to ensure there were resources specifically seeking to serve QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) included in the guide. People who are at sites of multiple intersections of oppression should have support that aims to address their specific needs and hardships. QTPOC are moving through the world differently than their white queer peers and cishet people of color. This should be a source of constant conversation within our community.
Once I had finalized the nonfiction booklist, I made physical copies with a QR code on the back, which links to the digital resource guide. The physical list is now in the teen section; we updated the digital versions on our website, and emailed the lists out as well. They went up on December 1st, and I was glad to be able to provide the resource at that time. Too often, the LGTBQ+ community only receives attention or support during June, and winter months can be challenging for many because of holiday and family strife, seasonal depression, and inclement weather.
Browse through both the nonfiction list, and resource guide below!
Nonfiction list: https://wccls.bibliocommons.com/list/share/2163131349/2214387109
Resource guide: https://wccls.bibliocommons.com/list/share/2163131349/2214349811