Intersectionality is defined as “an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.”  The term was coined by UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.  In counseling, we are asked to consider the intersectionality of our clients’ experiences to better serve them, particularly when we encounter marginalized identities.

Today, we are going to consider the intersectionality of race and sexuality by considering the experience of the black LGBTQIA+ community.  In our continued effort to raise black voices, here are four books from black authors who speak from their personal experience living in this intersectionality.  Please note that each picture is linked to the Amazon page where it is available for purchase.

Mind Your Own Life: The Journey Back to Love by Aaron Anson

This memoir follows Anson’s experiences growing up both black and gay in the deeply religious South.  Exploring themes such as religious abuse and the conditional love he felt in the church of his youth, Anson chronicles his journey to find the universal love and acceptance he feels is our birthright as humans.

The Price of the Ticket by James Baldwin

This book is actually a collection of essays by acclaimed author and activist James Baldwin.  Spanning four decades of his work, these essays explore what it means to live in a racist American society through his personal commentary on race, sexuality, and identity.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

A collection of 15 speeches and essays from black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, this book explores topics such as sexism, racism, and homophobia.  Lorde captures her struggles with these issues while ultimately instilling hope through a call for action and change.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around by Barbara Smith

Book on Intersectionality

Written as a reflection of her 40+ years working in activism, this book focuses on Smith’s contribution to the social justice movement.  Covering themes such as Civil Rights, Black feminism, and lesbian and gay liberation, it celebrates the lifetime achievements of a pioneer in all three arenas.

Of course, this is just a small sample of the many black voices that have risen to speak against the inequalities of racism, sexism, and sexual identity.  If you would like to learn more, click here to read an article by that highlights 35 authors who stand at this intersection of race and sexuality.  In addition, if you would like to talk to someone about your own experiences with the intersectionality of race and sexuality, our counselors are available to meet you in that place.  Feel free to reach out to us at (816) 287-0252 to schedule an appointment today. 

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