ALA Virtual Conference – Serving the Transgender Community – It’s More than Just Bathrooms

I attended a panel presentation at ALA Virtual Conference 2020 about libraries serving the transgender community. Here are some of the ideas I took away from the session:

How can we make libraries a more welcoming place for LGBTQ people?

Use gender neutral terms.
Wear a pin with your own pronouns. (Little things like that show you are approachable.)
Don’t ask invasive questions.
Be intentional about being welcoming.
Actively build connections with local organizations such as PFLAG, Pride, and more. They can help you bring in speakers, and then they will see the library as a resource.
Don’t silence trans stories.
Put Trans stories on book displays. Let people know they are there and available.
Go over institutional policies that are obstacles. Getting a library card — is it easy to change your name and gender? Are your only options for gender binary?
Do your own research — you don’t have to make the LGBTQ people you know educate you.
We hope the bathroom is a given at this point. It’s a basic starting point and a human right.
Those local organizations that you’ve gotten to know — have them come in and tell you if there are changes you should make.
Make resources more available — such as name change and gender change resources.
Have programs all year round, not only in June.
In an effort to present both sides, don’t give a place to denying trans people’s existence.
Find even small things to show the library is a safe place.

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