It is no secret that queer and trans communities have been facing unrelenting abuse, violence, and harassment over the past few years from highly organized and well-funded far-right groups. This is not just a problem south of the border. Across Canada, hateful actions directed at queer spaces and bodies are leaving members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities fearing for their safety and the safety of their children.
From drag story time protests, to public and school library book challenges, to anti-Pride demonstrations at schools, to government legislation that will hurt queer kids, to the refusal to fly the Pride flag in some municipalities – attacks on 2SLGBTQI+ communities have reached a crisis point.
We must all turn our hearts and minds to defending and supporting 2SLGBTQI+ communities and their hard-fought rights. One of the first steps is education – educating ourselves and those around us. Books provide an immediate gateway to knowledge and learning that can help to combat misinformation and intolerance.
Besides being repositories of free knowledge and information, public libraries also serve as safe spaces for everyone. They seek to represent the diversity of voices in their communities through their collections and programming. Many anti-Pride and transphobic actions have been directed at libraries. As a result, library workers are on the frontline of defense against right-wing attempts to control freedom of expression and to erode our cherished public services.
CUPE celebrates public libraries and everything they and library workers provide to our communities. With this reading list, we hope to show that we support Pride year-round, and stand in solidarity with CUPE library workers, 2SLGBTQI+ members, and the struggles they face.
The books on this list feature stories of empowerment and the pursuit of equality. Due to the subject matter, some titles will contain content that may be emotionally challenging to some readers. Try accessing these titles at the local branch of your public library. If they’re not part of your library’s collection, ask the library to obtain a copy through inter-library loan or by buying a copy so it can be broadly available for future readers.