Queer stories are some of the most eye-opening, honest and emboldening in literature, and have paved the way for many queer people to also tell their own personal stories. Aesop champions this, and through the Aesop Queer Library, it will be offering 142 titles by LGBTQIA+ authors for anyone to take home and read.
Shelves that previously featured Aesop's products are now stacked with books, with a predominant focus on ones written by and exploring the stories of the BIPOC trans community and their experiences. "By championing these historically marginalized voices within the queer community, the library cultivates an awareness of the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality, highlighting a more expansive view of the queer canon," explains the brand's press release.
Author interviews on Aesop's website include Vivek Shraya, Paul Tran and Meredith Talusan, who will continue to explore and discuss queer culture and their perspectives on the various topics throughout the Aesop Queer Library. All of the books are from either the queer bookstores BookWoman in Austin and Glad Day in Toronto, or they were donated by Penguin Random House, with many titles selected by Aesop’s LGBTQIA2S+ community, Prism.
Nelson Derry, Aesop’s Head of Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, says of the Aesop Queer Library: "After launching nine Queer Libraries across five countries and giving away over 35,000 books to visitors in 2021, Aesop is proud to announce the launch of the second iteration of the Queer Libraries, which will see us share even more stories from the community, alongside providing new opportunities to explore queer creativity in its various forms, from a wide range of voices. We unfortunately still live in a society where the LGBTQIA2S+ community experiences unprecedented levels of discrimination, oppression and violence. There also continues to be a rise in hate crimes and anti-trans legislation, and therefore we have chosen to amplify BIPOC trans voices within the LGBTQIA2S+ community in solidarity, recognizing that those of colour and trans face compounded adversities as they navigate multiple layers of oppression."
The New York, Los Angeles and Toronto Aesop Queer Library stores are operating until June 26. Stores in London, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei will continue the Pride Month initiative. Head over to your nearest Aesop Queer Library to pick up one book for free. In addition to the library, The Aesop Foundation is donating $100,000 USD to two global charities, OutRight Action International, which defends and advances rights for LGTBQIA2S+ people, and All Out, which turns solidarity into action by guiding individuals and organizations on how to effectively campaign against discriminatory laws.
For more reading material, take a look at HYPEBEAST's list of the best books to read on social justice.
Aesop Queer Library Locations:
Aesop Silver Lake, 3513 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
Aesop Williamsburg, 85 N 3rd Street, Brooklyn, New York
Aesop 880 Queen Street West, Toronto