Under the guidance of the CA Department of Public Health and San Diego County’s Public Health Officer, the San Diego Public Library will be closed until further noticeOnline library servicesContactless Holds Pickup, and most book drops are available to the public. Find specific information on operations.


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LGBTQIA Library Services

San Diego Public Library LGBTQIA Committee
San Diego Public Library’s LGBTQIA Library Services Committee celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQIA community in a welcoming and inclusive library space that fosters connections to knowledge and each other.

Pride 2020 Library Card Contest

In partnership with San Diego LGBT Pride and with support from the San Diego Library Foundation, the San Diego Public Library LGBTQIA Library Services Committee held it's first Pride Library Card Design Contest in February/March of 2020. 89 designs were submitted and one winner was chosen from each of three age categories: Children, Teen, Adult. The top three winners will receive a $100 gift card to the Library Shop located at the Central Library. And the winners are.....
Children's Category Favorite and the card chosen to represent the San Diego Public Library as the 2020 Pride Library Card by Jasmine Nguyen
Children's Category Favorite and the design chosen to represent the San Diego Public Library as the 2020 Pride Library Card.
Artwork by Jasmine Nguyen from the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch Library
2020 Pride Card Teen Category Favorite by Kailani Thrasher
Teen Category Favorite
Artwork by Kailani Thrasher from the Balboa Branch Library
2020 Pride Card Adult Category Favorite by Jessica Halley
Adult Category Favorite
Artwork by Jessica Halley from the Mira Mesa Branch Library
Thank you to all the artists who submitted their designs. We look forward to distributing the 2020 Pride Library Card in October in recognition of the LGBT+ History Month.

Upcoming Events

Throughout the month of March, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ+ Womxn at SDPL!

Photo of Lili ElbeIn 1930 Germany, Danish painter, Lili Elbe became one of the first individuals that history would track as having had male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. The transition was intense, comprising of a series of surgeries to remove her original reproductive organs as well as implantation of those that matched her identity (Folley, 2017). Having married her wife pre-transition, Elbe was able to find a loving support system through the difficult times of transitioning, relocating and living as a lesbian couple. Despite the success of having changed her name on paper, once she changed her sex, Elbe’s marriage was nullified due to the Parisian government not recognizing same-sex marriage at the time. After undergoing a uterus transplant in 1931, Lili Elbe suffered from heart failure and died shortly after. A fictionalized story of her life was published in 2000, and adapted into film in 2016. Her posthumous autobiography, Man into woman: the first sex change, can be found at university libraries across the nation.
Photo of Christine Jorgensen by Maurice SeymourChristine Jorgensen, an American soldier in the 1940’s, made headlines on December 1, 1952 as America’s introduction to sex reassignment surgery (SRS). With the operation being illegal in the United States at the time, Jorgensen had to travel to Europe to complete herself, originally planning to have to see a surgeon in Sweden, but stopping in Denmark and coming across a surgeon who specialized in the procedure. And though she was far from the first recipient of SRS, her case was one of the few that included hormone therapy. After serving with the Army during World War II, Jorgensen dabbled in several other career fields. She settled into her unsought after fame upon her repatriation to New York. Jorgensen’s notoriety provided a platform for her to become an actress and singer (Rosenthal, n.d.). While she did achieve professional success as a result of her surgical procedures, Jorgensen remained unmarried due to the state of New York refusing to issue a marriage license to her and her intended husband (Long, 2010). In May of 1989, Christine Jorgensen passed away from cancer, after having given the sexual revolution “a good swift kick in the pants” (Parke, Roisman, Rose, 2019).
In the 21st Century, these types of surgeries have evolved well past the visions of the women who were first to go under the knife in order to become their true selves. In 2017, an individual received gender affirmation surgery in New York City after giving her surgeon the novel idea to redesign the surgery using incised tissue from another part of her body. The surgery was a success.


Folley, A., (2017). The tragic story behind the world’s first documented transgender person. Aol.com. Retrieved from www.aol.com/article/news/2017/06/22/the-tragic-story-behind-the-worlds-first-documented-transgender/22534834/.
Long, T., (2010). Dec. 1, 1952: Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty. Wired. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2010/12/1201first-sex-change-surgery/.
Parke, R. D., Roisman, G. I., Rose, A. J., (2019). Biological Factors in Gender Differences. Social Development 3rd edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ.
Rosenthal, M., (n.d.). Christine Jorgensen. A compendium of queer people in the 19th and 20th centuries. Retrieved from https://www.queerportraits.com/bio/jorgensen.

Painting of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia RiveraIn the summer of 1969, a gay club called the Stonewall Inn in New York City was raided by NYPD. As a result, LGBTQ+ community members protested for six days against the violent treatment. The days that followed are now known as The Stonewall Riots, and have become what many now refer to as the catalyst for the gays rights movement not only within the United States, but around the world (History.com, 2019). Being that homosexuality was still illegal at the time, many gay bars were owned and operated by the Mafia, as they had the money and influence to keep the police at bay (Pruitt, 2019). The relationships between Mafia families and the police meant that gay bars often got tipped off before police raids, however, in the case of the Stonewall Inn, the tip off never came. The Stonewall uprising became the springboard for many early gay rights organizations such as Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and PFLAG.
Transgender women often were on the front lines of the early Gay Rights Movement. Most notably, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, are thought to be some of the first to antagonize police on the night of the raid.
Johnson & Rivera were not only monumental in the early days of gay rights activism, but dedicated themselves to providing resources to homeless, transgender and HIV-positive youth until their deaths (Maxouris, 2019). The two women co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), a group that fought tirelessly for equal civil rights for transgender and queer youth.
After being booed off stage at a Pride March in 1973, Sylvia Rivera took her exit from activism, returning only after Johnson’s tragic death. Rivera’s presence was requested annually across the globe to reflect on that first riot night in 1969, and the evolution of civil rights within the queer community. Rivera, who was involved in civil rights struggles until the moment she passed from liver cancer in 2002, was referred to as the “Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement” (Brockell, 2019).
Having been photographed by Andy Warhol in 1975 and performed abroad with the Hot Peaches, Marsha P. Johnson found fame in New York City. But her status was not enough to protect her. Johnson’s July 1992 death was originally ruled a suicide, but the case reopened in 2012, and remains unsolved.
In 2019, as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots was celebrated, New York City began planning to permanently honor Johnson & Rivera with a statue in Greenwich Village. The monument will hopefully be completed by 2021 (Jacobs, 2019).
Interested in reading more about the Stonewall Riots?
To learn more about Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.
Please visit the San Diego Public Library’s eLibrary for free, unlimited access to Archives of Sexuality & Gender.
Photo Credits: Gary LeGault


Brockell, G., (2019). The transgender women at Stonewall were pushed out of the gay rights movement. Now they are getting a statue in New York. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/06/12/transgender-women-heart-stonewall-riots-are-getting-statue-new-york/.
History.com., (2019). Stonewall Riots. Retrieved from www.history.com/topics/gay-rights/the-stonewall-riots.
Jacobs, J. (2019). Two Transgender Activists Are Getting a Monument in New York. The New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/arts/transgender-monument-stonewall.html.
Maxouris, C., (2019). Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman, was a central figure in the gay liberation movement. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2019/06/26/us/marsha-p-johnson-biography/index.html.
Pruitt, S., (2019). What Happened at the Stonewall Riots? A Timeline of the 1969 Uprising. Retrieved from www.history.com/news/stonewall-riots-timeline.

Photo of Sally RideSally Ride was the first American woman and the youngest American to go into space at the age of 32 in 1983. Ride was a Southern California Native who received her English and Physics degrees from Stanford University. She later earned a master’s and PhD in physics, also from Stanford, before becoming the first known LGBTQ+ astronaut (Garofoli, 2012). After spending over 343 hours in space, it was Ride who eventually discovered that O-rings (a packing joint used to create a seal) becoming stiff at low temperatures is what caused the 1986 Challenger disaster (Dean, 2016).
At the San Diego Public Library, we recognize Sally Ride’s accomplishments and contributions to her community by making available to the public her many biographies, books that she has written and science themed workshops done in conjunction with Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego with our Library NExT programming. Sally Ride Science was reacted by Ride and her long-time partner Tam O’Shaughnessy to provide a platform for young girls who are in STEM.
Want to learn more about Sally Ride?
Dean, M.L., 2016. The Oral History of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. Retrieved from https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a18616/an-oral-history-of-the-space-shuttle-challenger-disaster/
Garofoli, Joe., 2012. Sally Ride ‘never hid,’ just private. Retrieved from https://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/Sally-Ride-never-hid-just-private-3732556.php
Photo credits: NASA

Book Recommendations

Research Database

Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender graphic
Research sexuality and gender in relation to LGBTQ+ history and activism, cultural studies, psychology, health, political science, policy studies, and other related categories.


  • The San Diego LGBT Community Center
    The Center is the nation's second oldest and one of the largest LGBT community centers that provides direct program services to the many different facets of the LGBT community, including men, women, youth, seniors, families, LGBT Latino community members and their families, and those living with HIV.
  • San Diego Youth Services
    Mental health services and drop-in centers for LGBT youth and their families.
  • The Trevor Project | 1-866-488-7386
    24/7 crisis and support hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth ages 13-24. Also offers text and chat services.
  • GLBT National Help Center
    Free and confidential hotlines, chatrooms, and other resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people.
  • Trans Lifeline | 1-877-565-8860
    Hotline that offers support and resources to transgender people in need. Staffed by the transgender community for the transgender community.
  • San Diego LGBT Pride
    San Diego LGBT Pride fosters pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally. Pride supports a number of programs for all ages that meet the diverse needs and interest of the LGBTQ community.

Pride Library Card

San Diego Public Library Pride 2019 Card
In partnership with San Diego LGBT Pride, the San Diego Public Library is presenting our first-ever San Diego LGBT Pride commemorative card. The design concept was developed by the San Diego Public Library's LGBTQIA committee and carried out by local San Diegan artist and library employee Rachel Murray. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Art from SDSU, she also has previous experience working as a live caricature artist.
These commemorative cards will be issued at our Lit Cafe booth, located at the San Diego Pride Festival, as well as all San Diego Public Library locations beginning Friday, June 12. Quantities are limited to what is on hand at each location.
Commemorative cards are no longer available as all were given out during the month of June 2019.
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