CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Public Library and PFLAG will host a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community through history, art, music and literature Saturday at the library.
The You, Me & LGBT event from 10 a.m. until early afternoon is an opportunity for Cedar Rapids residents, especially youths, to ask questions about being LGBTQ, said Jen Rowray, president of PFLAG Cedar Rapids.
“A lot of times there are kids that have questions,” she said. “They hear ‘gay,’ they hear ‘trans’ and they have questions. Everybody says ‘Don’t ask those questions, don’t be rude.’ One of the things PFLAG does through outreach is to allow people to ask those questions they might not feel comfortable asking in school or work settings.”
But the event also will celebrate LGBTQ culture.
Anna Tunnicliff, processing librarian for the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa, will speak at 11:30 a.m. about items in the collection that document Eastern Iowa’s lesbian history and the fight for LGBTQ rights in the past decade.
“We have a few dozen collections that touch on this topic,” Tunnicliff said. “I’ll be pulling out some things I especially like and hope people enjoy seeing those things as well. I’ll also talk about how we collect and preserve the items and how people can visit (the archives) themselves.”
One item Tunnicliff will highlight is a card game called “Spinster,” printed in 1982 by the Iowa City Women’s Press, a group of lesbians that printed books and other materials in the 1970s and 1980s.
“It’s a tongue-in-cheek play on Old Maid,” Tunnicliff said of what is described as a “lighthearted lesbian card gayme.”
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Tunnicliff also will show photos of some items from a relatively new collection from a recent UI graduate, Miranda Welch, who was an out lesbian at Webster City High School and was in college when same-sex marriage was legalized in Iowa. The collection includes Welch’s high school graduation cap adorned with rainbow decorations.
“It’s kind of unusual to get papers of a young activist,” Tunnicliff said. “Normally, people wait until they get older. This is a really special collection. I think it demonstrates how much things have changed in a short period of time” for LGBTQ Iowans, Tunnicliff said.
You, Me & LGBT attendees also can see work from an Indianola artist, spoken word poet who will talk about gender, and a photographer, Rowray said.
If you go
All events are in Room Beems A of the Cedar Rapids Public Library unless noted:
• 10 to 10:30 a.m.: Children’s story time
• 10:30 to 11:20 a.m.: Special presentation for young adults by a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender speaker with Q&A following
• 11:20 to 11:45 a.m.: Anna Tunnicliff from the Iowa Women’s Archives will present on collections that focus on the lives and activism of lesbians in Iowa, particularly from the 1960s to today
• 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Art, music and personal stories (event in library Commons)
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