Meet Ray of the LGBTQ+ Services Committee

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 Ray B. (he/him/his), who says one of the things he loves most about serving on the committee is "seeing first-hand what our actions do for the community."

If you could be a superhero, who would you be?

This is really tough! There’s so many great ones I’d want to be. Because I recently watched the show WandaVision, I’d go with Wanda, otherwise known as the Scarlet Witch. Wanda is insanely powerful. She can wrap reality, manipulate time, teleport, use telekinesis and so much more. I’d pretty much be unstoppable.

If you could be any LGBTQ+ character, who would you be and why?

I recently read The Darkness Outside Us, opens a new window by Eliot Schrefer so, I would want to be Ambrose, one of the main characters. Ambrose is a gay man on a space mission to save his sister who is light years away on a distant moon. However, things get strange and everything is not what it seems! Ambrose is determined, smart, caring, resourceful, and loving, all of which made me admire him. Plus, he’s an astronaut!

If you could send one message to LGBTQ+ people in our community, what would it be?

There are so many things I want to say to the LGBTQ+ people in our community but one thing I want to stress is that YOU belong! This world is ours just as much as everyone else’s. You get to exist, love and be happy.

What are your hopes for future generations of LGBTQ+ youth?

I hope that one-day future generations of LGBTQ+ youth can just exist without having to fight. I just want them to live their lives and that’s it. I don’t want them to have to do the whole “coming out” thing. I don’t want them to have to worry whether or not they can marry the person they love. I don’t want them to have to hide their affection in public for fear of violence. I hope they’re just able to freely exist like our straight/cis counterparts.

Is there an LGBTQ+ activist that most inspires you? If so, who is it and why?

There are so many great LGBTQ+ activists out there it’s really hard to choose just one that inspires me the most. However, because of a recent post she made, I’ll go with Miley Cyrus today. In Miley’s post she writes, “It’s easier to cancel someone than to find forgiveness and compassion in ourselves or take the time to change hearts and minds. There’s no room for division if we want to keep seeing progress! Knowledge is power!”

I think she makes a great point that we all should have compassion and patience to really try to understand one another. Tough conversations can do much more than shunning someone. However, this is much easier said than done. I know I can barely do this but it’s what I strive for.

What is your favorite color in the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag and why?

Blue is my favorite color on the Pride Flag because it stands for serenity. That’s what I think all my fellow queer people should be able to experience on a daily basis. We deserve to be surrounded with calmness and peacefulness. We deserve the peace of mind of just being our true authentic selves without being told we’re wrong.

For how long have you been a member of the committee?

I joined the committee sometime in 2018 so it’s been around three years.

Why did you decide to join?

I joined because I wanted to be part of a group where everyone shared my same passion for helping and caring for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s amazing to be part of a team where people can relate to your lived experiences and share a common goal.

What do you love most about your work on the committee?

I love seeing first-hand what our actions do for the community. Just the smallest things like putting up a Pride display can have a tremendous effect on people. I’ve seen teens walk up to the display wide eyed and happy to see themselves represented and explicitly welcomed in the space. That’s what I love the most. Making our LGBTQ+ community feel welcomed, valid, safe, and represented.

What books would you like to share with us today?

Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun

The Darkness Outside Us

Date Me, Bryson Keller

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World