Livin’ My Vida Loca

I work part-time at my local library, where I often feel like the odd woman out. I’m the youngest member of the staff, with the exception of a high school kid who shelves books a few days each week. While a couple of staffers are only five years old than I am, they’ve been in their jobs for over a decade. September will mark two years for me.

We have three librarians on staff, including our director. They all have master’s degrees. None of the rest of the staff does, except me. And my degree isn’t in library science. Among the circulation staff, I’m probably the most avid reader. I’m not sure how my reading habits measure up to the librarians’ because they don’t mingle with the rest of us much. You know, those fancy degrees keep them above the fray.

I’m the only writer on staff, as far as I know. I’m also the only LGBTQ person. Everyone else is straight, and most have kids and/or grandkids now.

Since I am a lesbian, I’m used to feeling like the oddball in just about any room I’m in. But that feeling gets wearing after a while. Everyone needs a space where they can be themselves and stop worrying about what others think. It’s a big reason why I’m such a homebody and not a fan of having guests in my home. It’s my sanctuary from the rest of the world’s expectations.

That’s part of the relief of June being Pride Month. For 30 days, it feels… okay to be out and outspoken. It still isn’t, not really. Ask any of the transgender, lesbian, gay, or bisexual people who have been threatened, assaulted or murdered this year.

But a month of greater visibility reminds us we’re not alone. That reminder can mean so much.

For those celebrating, Happy Pride. And let’s not forget this month started as a protest of police violence against our community’s members who most obviously violated the heteronormative rules of dress and conduct.

This year, with our current regime, keeping the protest in Pride Month seems critical. To my LGBTQIA global family: I see you, I love you, and I support you. If you can be out and proud, do so. If you need to be circumspect for protection, then do that.

If you’re not out or are still questioning, I hope you find resources that help.

And if you’re a supportive ally, thank you. You’re welcome at Pride events, but please be mindful that our spaces and events are primarily so we feel connected to one another. Be respectful of our many communities and their members’ needs as you celebrate and protest with us.

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