Canada will soon have a library for LGBTQ people of color, and it’s all thanks to two friends.
Winnipeg resident Renu Shonek noticed that there lacked a space where LGBTQ people of color could easily find texts for and about them.
"I was the kid who woke up early to watch Reading Rainbow and when LeVar opened that book, I saw people like me," said Shoneck to CBC Arts. "I didn't have an idea about my queer identity, but I knew that LeVar had the best books, and I was like, 'Why aren't those in my library?' I was always told my name was different, and LeVar would have books by people who had different names like me."
To Shoneck, “representation is a huge [issue],” and accessibility to it in literature needs to be addressed.
“There’s a whole lot of people that we didn’t hear voices of, especially people of color and especially queer people of color. There’s a lot of people that didn’t have people to look towards.”
“We’re focused 100% on people of color — the books, the poetry, the everything. [Usually] everywhere you go white people are heard, and POC aren’t,” they add.
But now with the help of their friend Carla Taylor, they can provide a space for LGBTQ people of color to read about people like them.
Taylor has provided space at the Revolution Wellness Centre, which she owns.
"This library really fit into the vision of the space: we really wanted to provide resource space to 2SQTBIPOC people,” said Taylor.
The library space, titled 2sqtbipoc will provide writings of Two-spirit, Queer, Transgender, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. And while everyone is invited to visit and read the texts, the focus will always be on representing those who are less read about or heard.
h/t: CBC Arts