In this series, we’re talking about things to read! We try to cover as much as we can on this blog, but in the hopes of expanding your knowledge of gender and sexuality, we put together this list of resources for you to reference as you need it.
In this installment, we’re recommending resources about intersectionality, disability, history from the perspective of marginalized communities, and sex positivity. Some of the selections below are a little more scholarly than others, but there is a wealth of information on these subjects available online, of course (some of it much more accurate than others!), but if you want to supplement the reading you do online, these books are certainly a place to start.
Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics by Kimberle Crenshaw
Our first pick in this section is Kimberle Crenshaw ’s influential paper on intersectionality. This piece was the first to link the concept of intersectionality to feminism, where she explored the intersections of being black and being a woman, and how both identities often influence each other in ways that cannot be ignored. This is really a foundational read on this topic!
Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis
Angela Y. Davis is an internationally recognized scholar on the topics of women, race, and class, which she dives into in this book. She traces the history of the women’s movement and how it was designed to benefit middle-class white women, leaving all others behind. In this analysis of the mainstream feminist movement in the United States, she examines the intersections of gender, race, and class, and argues that feminism is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
History from the Margins
A Queer History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) by Michael Bronski, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and A Disability History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) by Kim E. Nielsen
There are a lot of groups who get left out of mainstream history - aka the history you probably learned about in school. Unfortunately, the burden falls on us to educate ourselves on these topics. These volumes give a compelling overview of the history of three hugely marginalized groups in the United States - the queer community, Indigenous people, and disabled folks. If you’ve ever wondered what was left out of history class, you may want to give these volumes a read.
This is a history and analysis of black women’s representations and performances within pornography and BDSM, from the 1930s until now. This book illustrates the idea that sexuality is not just one common experience for everyone - there are intersections and identities that influence sexuality, and they should be explored.
Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk by Melinda Chateauvert
Sex work is still wildly misunderstood in the United States (even by otherwise progressive folks) and so it is especially important to educate yourself on the topic. This book looks at the history of civil rights movements of the last 50 or so years, and how sex workers were incredibly important to their success, although their contributions are largely ignored. This book details how sex workers are fighting for their own liberation, and actually tells the stories of sex workers, instead of leaving them out of the discussion entirely.
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness by Miriam Kaufman
Although it is hardly ever represented in the mainstream, disabled folks are still sexual people. This book is a guide to having a sex life that works for you, with information from a medical doctor, a sex educator, and a disability activist. The book covers a range of disabilities, so it is relevant for many people. Some of the topics covered include positive sexual self-image, positions to minimize stress and maximize pleasure, dealing with fatigue or pain during sex, finding partners and talking with partners about sex and disability, and adapting sex toys.
Sex and Disability by Robert McRuer
Disability is rarely mentioned in the same breath as sexuality, even in queer spaces. This book is a collection of essays that works to disprove the notion that disabled people are not sexual. In an ableist and heteronormative world, this book explores what is sexy and sexual, from many perspectives, including queer theory.