DARIEN — It was a small group of three people who participated in the LGBTQ open mic night at the library, but it provided an intimate and welcoming setting for them to share their stories.
Mallory Arents, head of adult programming at the library, said this was the first time an event of the like had been held in honor of LGBTQ voices during pride month.
“At these open mic nights, we invite people to sing and perform original works,” Arents said. “Everything is meant to highlight voices from the LGBTQ community, whether it’s material written by an LGBTQ artist or on the subject.”
Dee Saffery, an attendee, recalled when her cousin first told her about the way she felt.
“One day we were walking along the (Charles) river in Boston and she came out to me,” Saffery recounted. “And the only other thing I (asked) was if she was happy. That’s all I wanted for her, to be happy.”
Books that reflected the LGBTQ experience were on display. These included “Mommy, Mama and Me” and “Donovan’s Big Day” both by Leslea Newman, “This Day in June” by Gayle Pitman and “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel.
Olga Frank, who plays the piano, guitar and the accordion, took to the Yamaha piano in the room to perform songs like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Let It Be” as the others sang along.
“Maybe next time there will be more people,” Frank said about the event. “Next time I’ll bring more copies and we’ll be able to sing like a choir. I think it’s a great idea but we just need more people.”
Saffery also told about her time at a hospice, where she worked for over 30 years, and how she met various AIDS patients during the 1980s.
“The First United Methodist Church in Stamford has world AIDS day service in December and it’s fabulous,” Saffery said.
Arents explained that open mic nights had been done for other events and that she wanted to try doing the same for Pride Month.
“We had something similar during Black History Month,” Arents said. “We had a storyteller at the event and so we’re celebrating this in a similar way.”
And though the group was small, attendees were glad they were able to talk about their experiences.
“It sounded like an interesting program,” Saffery said. “It’s a big topic to me, has been all my life and I’m very supportive of the gay community.”
The library will continue to hold events regarding the LGBTQ experience throughout the month of June.