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Lavender Literary Society

The American LGBTQ+ Museum’s Book Club is a space for community and connection, bridging generations through the magic of storytelling, and illuminating our history and culture.

The Lavender Literary Society isn't just a book club—it's a movement!

Reading and reflecting together on our literature becomes a powerful act of empowerment, a catalyst for change, and a testament to the resilience of the LGBTQ+ spirit. Participants will be part of something extraordinary. In this book club, we’ll not only read, we’ll weave the threads of our stories into a tapestry of strength, resilience, and pride.

The selections will be a mix of popular queer history and memoir, with inspiring authors and iconic guest facilitators coming to you both in-person and online. The pages we turn together will become stepping stones for inspiring intergenerational dialogue and fostering understanding, empathy, and unity. Together, we’ll traverse the landscapes of queer culture, savoring the nuances and complexities that make our stories uniquely ours.

Why lavender?

In the 1950s, during the McCarthy era, state-sanctioned discrimination became part of a national witch-hunt to purge gay men and lesbians from federal government jobs. Dubbed “The Lavender Scare” by historian David K. Johnson, the suffocating climate of fear and suspicion subsequently led to around 5,000 federal agency employees losing their jobs. In the post-Stonewall era, the color lavender became a symbol of empowerment. Lesbians protesting their exclusion from NOW by Betty Friedan proudly called themselves “The Lavender Menace.”

And once you sign up….

  • We’ll email you invitations to upcoming sessions. In 2024, we’ll be hosting six book club sessions. RSVP at the link provided to attend.
  • The amazing folx at Reparations Book Club in LA are providing book club members with discount codes for purchasing the books we are featuring.
  • Read the book on your own or in community with one of our partners.
  • Join us online or in-person for time with the author followed by a 30-minute Q&A.
  • All those who’ve registered for the session will also receive the recording.
  • Book club members will receive a free, downloadable bookmark with beautiful graphic designs by the incredible Loveis Wise (they/he), a multidisciplinary artist, designer, creative director, and Capricorn, drawing reimagined futures and playfulness in Los Angeles.

April Book Selection & First Meeting

Monday, April 29 at 7:00p ET

The Risk It Takes To Bloom by Raquel Willis

Hosted by B. Hawkes Snipes

“The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation” is Willis’ first book, exploring her journey into her own womanhood as a transgender person, navigating Southern Catholic family dynamics, social justice work and transphobia both in the media and in real life. Across its pages, readers are transported alongside Willis’ life, growing and blooming with her at every step of the way.CNN Style

As an activist, public speaker, and journalist for more than a decade, Raquel Willis’ powerful voice has shed light on the unique struggles faced by trans women of color. From grassroots organizing in Atlanta, to challenging police profiling and mass incarceration, to leading the Atlanta Trans Liberation Tuesday mobilization with Black Lives Matter, Raquel’s dedication to advocacy for Black folks is unwavering. Among many projects and award-winning publications, Raquel also created Black Trans Circles to address anti-trans violence, focusing “on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces.” Additionally, Raquel continues to use her platform to fundraise for Black-led LGBTQ+ initiatives and champion campaigns for Black and LGBTQ+ communities.

B. Hawk Snipes (They/She) is an entrepreneur, award winning social activist, non-binary ballroom trailblazer, music artist, entertainer & model from The Bronx,NY. They’re on a mission to conjure honest and captivating projects to explore diversity within the arts through a Black, Queer & Trans lens. She is also one of the board members for the BTFA Collective which helps Black Trans Femmes succeed in the Arts. If you would like to know more…Google THEM.

National Book Club Partners

Looking to join a reading community? These bookstores, libraries and LGBTQ+ centers across the U.S. will be participating as Lavender Literary Society partners. And there are more on the way! Contact the Book Club Partner closest to you to get involved, or start your own chapter at your local bookstore: