The US Department of Labor has selected a number of LGBT books to highlight during Pride Month for its project Books That Shaped Work in America.
According to a press release shared with 429Magazine, the project “serves as an online resource library where people from all walks of life can share books that informed them about occupations and careers, molded their views about work and helped elevate the discourse about work, workers and workplaces.”
The Labor Department’s senior advisor for communications and public affairs, Carl Fillichio, is quoted in the press release as saying, “The Books that Shaped Work in America initiative bears witness to the nation’s promise of opportunity for everyone. This promise cannot be understood and fully appreciated without exploring the LGBT community’s struggle for equality and protections both in and out of the workplace.”
The LGBT books chosen for inclusion include George Chauncey’s “Gay New York,” Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” Leslie Feinberg’s “Stone Butch Blues,” and Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” for their portrayal of “the relationship between work and the LGBT experience.”
Since not every LGBT person is lucky enough to be able to work in the entertainment industry, the struggle of being “different” doesn’t always end with formal education. For many, it continues into adulthood and the workplace. As some in the community began daring to live openly, they also started advocating for legal protections from discrimination and harassment. In the process, the general public discovered something: the positive impact it has when all workers are accepted and valued for their complete selves.
One book with a truly historical impact was Brian McNaught’s “Gay Issues in the Workplace.” Though it was written with very specific issues in mind, its goal of helping to build an inclusive workforce provided tools that could be applied across a broad spectrum of workers. After its first edition was published in 1993, “organizations began to recognize the value of diverse work environments where every individual feels included and valued,” and McNaught’s recommendations have since “been incorporated into the workplace diversity policies of some of the nation’s largest corporations.”
From the beginning, the Books that Shaped Work in America project has taken suggestions from interested parties, which have been included current U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, civil rights leaders, authors, media personalities, and more. For Pride Month, the department was able to incorporate recommendations people such as from Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin and the founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling.
Anyone interested in contributing to the list is encouraged to suggest books here.