In this new blog series, we'll be introducing you to members of the Library's LGBTQ+ Services Committee. Today, we're excited to introduce you to Tara W. (they/them/theirs), who has worked on the committee since 2017.
Why did you decide to join the committee?
I’ve been a member of the LGBTQ+ Services Committee, opens a new window since around 2017, after I had come out at work. I’d finally been honest about my pronouns (they/them) and my branch had been very accepting. I’d then gotten an email requesting people to join the Committee, and when I went to ask my boss for permission it turned out she’d already guessed I had wanted to join, and had penciled the time in in advance! I’ve been helping out with the Committee ever since, even after department changes, usually with outreach events and with assisting with making of pride materials and displays.
What do you love most about your work on the committee?
I love being able to make an impact, and showing others that people like us are here, and we aren’t going anywhere.
If you could be a superhero, who would you be?
If I could be some kind of hero, I’d want to be some kind of healer or alchemist. I’d be able to help people with magic or potions, whichever would help them more.
If you could be any LGBTQ+ character, who would you be and why?
I don’t know that I’d want to be someone other than myself, but if I had to choose one… maybe Lena ‘Tracer’ Oxton, opens a new window. Even after all the struggles she’s been through, all the battles she’s faced, she’s still optimistic. Still fights for those who can’t. She’s still herself, and happy, and is able to balance saving the world with spending time with her girlfriend.
If you could send one message to LGBTQ+ people in our community, what would it be?
If I could send any message, it’d be one I needed to hear when I was younger. “You’re not broken. You’re not alone. There are others like you, there are words to describe how you feel. You’re not an outlier. You belong.”
What are your hopes for future generations of LGBTQ+ youth?
I hope that future generations will not have to deal with the strife of the past and present. But I hope they remember to learn of the past. Even after rights are given, after things have improved, it’s still important to remember what happened to get them there. To remember Stonewall, to remember the AIDS crisis, to remember the fight for gay marriage in the United States. To learn about the struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals in other countries, and if they haven’t reached that improvement in rights, to help them too. We’re all members of the same planet, after all.
Is there an LGBTQ+ activist that most inspires you? If so, who is it and why?
While there are many different activists who can be inspiring, I’m honestly most inspired by the average people. The people who live their true lives for themselves, even if it’s not the ‘safest’ decision. The two girls walking down the street hand in hand, the boy buying flowers for his boyfriend, the transgender youth trying on the ‘opposite gender’s’ clothes for the first time. The young adults talking unworriedly about crushes, how they’re discussing with friends about the difference between romantic and sexual attraction. That kind of thing is what inspires me the most.
What is your favorite color in the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag and why?
As far as any LGBTQ+ flags go, I’ve of course got a soft spot for the green in the Agender flag, because that’s the flag that applies to me and that shade of green absolutely rules. In the rainbow flag though, I really like the blue, but not for any deep reason either; blue is just one of my favorite colors.
June is Pride Month, opens a new window. Can you tell us what it means to you and why you think it's important?
Pride Month is important to me because of the chance it gives me to be unabashedly ‘out’. I wear rainbow shirts, I break out the makeup, I have fun with it. I get to celebrate being me. It’s still gotta be done with care, depending on where you live, but to have a month of celebration where I don’t feel scared all the time is really good. And Pride events, when they can happen, just feel good. I remember a few years ago, (maybe two or three?) I went to Pride in the Desert for the first time and saw all these people wearing their respective flags, and that was nice. And then I started looking around, and one of the vendors there had the agender flag, which I’d never really seen people have as ‘merch’ outside of like, those two dollar tiny flags. I wore it like a cape for the rest of the day while I was there, and it just felt so cool to be included. The identities that fall under the A tend to get overlooked (or at worst, outright told we’re ‘not queer enough’ to belong), so it’s the small things that help make me feel more included.
Of course, this wouldn't be complete without a book list. What have you read recently?
Tara W. (they/them/theirs) works in the Technical Services Department at Joel D. Valdez Main Library. Read more from them in this Arizona Daily Star column, opens a new window, "The Library stands for respect, equality, and inclusion."