Chelsea Thacker is hoping to paint a reading rainbow over Yellowknife.

“It’s like everything that gay dreams are made of,” says Chelsea Thacker, executive director of the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, about the new queer book club, which launched this week. Jessica Davey-Quantick/NNSL photo

“It’s like everything that gay dreams are made of,” she said.

The club, new this month, came from hearing feedback from youth and people who access the centre.

“They wanted to learn more about queerness, about transness, different perspectives, history, all that kind of stuff,” she said. “So we thought about a way that they could do that but still be engaged and have fun with it … I’m really excited for it.”

Currently, the club is targeted at people aged 16 and up. Thacker says if there is demand, there is the potential to start a club particularly for younger teens in the future. What’s on the reading list will be determined by the club’s members.

The focus will be on queer literature by queer authors, but that that can take any form – from non-fiction to literature to poetry. She’ll also be on the look-out for literature highlighting the experience of Indigenous people and people of colour.


“A lot of our youth are Indigenous,” she said. “So I would definitely be trying to find a book that echoes the experience of a young Indigenous queer person … Having young people be able to read a book that was written by someone that kind of echoes their experience makes them feel less alone.”

But first, she’ll have to get the books. The coalition’s Rainbow Library originally started with help from the NWT Human Rights Commission and has been fleshed out with community donations. It currently contains a small collection of books and films, available for members of the coalition.

“We definitely need to beef up our collection,” said Thacker, adding she intends to reach out to the city and the public library.

The next meeting of the club will be on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Rainbow Coalition.


Chelsea Thacker’s queer reading list

  • Juliette Takes A Breath, by Gabby Rivera – Juliet Milagros Palante is newly out to her family and heading to Portland to intern with her favourite author, who knows just about everything there is to know about white feminism but might not know quite as much about what it means to be Juliet.
  • Luna, by Julie Anne Peters – This is the story of Liam as he transforms into Luna, the beautiful girl he longs to be, behind closed doors with the help his sister’s clothes and makeup, before finally opening up and introducing Luna to the rest of the world. Told through the eyes of Regan, Liam’s sister, the novel focuses on one transgender teen’s struggle to be accepted.
  • The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed, by Judy Shepard: In 1998, Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die, tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyo. This biographical book, written by his mother, follows his family in the days immediately after he was found, until his death six days later and what happened afterwards, when Matthew became a rallying cry for gay rights.