A Reading List for Every Tradesqueer

At nearly every training someone asks me for the readings I pull my data and statistics from. I have a list, but I imagine most people are bored with academic journal articles, so I’ve kept that list in a file deep in my computer. I am wrong. Apparently, I am not the only nerd who likes combing through research.

I’ve pulled that list out, updated it, and it’ll be available on our Resource page (as well as below). The list is not exhaustive and if you have more readings you think should be on there, let us know! This list is also not an endorsement of any of the texts specifically—just a list with all the things I find that are labor-related.

Much of this list focuses on women because honestly, there is almost no data on LGBTQIA+ tradesworkers (but we’re gonna change that!). So why do I list data on women? Because we can infer—if it’s happening to women and/or Black, Indigenous, and people of color, it’s happening to LGBTQIA+ folks. I’d also love to find more data on gay men in the trades, but as you might imagine, that is also a topic no one writes about.

As an extra pitch, check out work by Anne Balay (on the list). She’s one of the few people writing specifically about LGBTQIA+ folks in blue-collar/trades work.


The list is broken up into keywords, and many of them are only available through academic journals or kept behind a paywall (ahem, New York Times). I could go on about how knowledge should be free, but that’s for another blog post. Hope you enjoy and check back for future blog posts where I’ll use this data to argue for support of LGBTQIA+ tradesworkers.

academic journals


Avenadaño, Ana. “#MeToo Inside the Labor Movement.” New Labor Forum. 2019. Vol. 28(1) pg. 66-75

Paap, Kris. “How Good Men of the Union Justify Inequality: Dilemmas of Race and Labor in the Building Trades.” Labor Studies Journal. 2008. Vol. 33(4)

Curtis, Hannah M. et.al. “Gendered Safety and health Risks in the Construction Trades.” Annals of Work Exposure and Health. 2018. 

Kelly, Maura., et.al. “When Working Hard is Not Enough for Female and Racial/Ethnic Minority Apprentices in the Highway Trades.” Sociological Forum. 2015. Vol. 30(2).


Denissen, Amy M. “Crossing the Line: How Women in the Building Trades Interpret and Respond to Sexual Conduct at Work.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 2010. Vol 39(3) pg. 297-327

McLaughlin, Heather., Uggen, Christopher., Blackstone, Amy. “The Economic and Career Effects of Sexual Harassment on Working Women.” Gender and Society. 2017. Vol 31(3) pg. 222-258.

Avendaño, Ana. “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Where were the Unions?” Labor Studies Journal. 2018. Vol. 43(4). Pg. 245-262.


Denissen, Amy M., Saguy, AC. “Gendered Homophobia and the Contradictions of Workplace Discrimination for Women in the Building Trades.” Gender and Society. 2014. Vol 28(3).

Frank, Miriam. “Hard Hats & Homophobia: Lesbians in the Building Trades.” New Labor Forum. 2001. Vol. 8 pg. 25-36


Mumby, Dennis K. 1998. “Organizing Men: Power, Discourse, and the Social Construction of Masculinity(s) in the Workplace.” Communication Theory. 8:2. 164-183.

Ness, Kate. “Constructing Masculinity in the Building Trades: ‘Most Jobs in the Construction Industry Can Be Done by Women’.” Gender, Work, and Organization. Vol 19(6). pg. 654-675

Ross-Smith, Anne, and Kornberger, Martin. 2004. “Gendered Rationality? A Genealogical Exploration of Philisophical and Sociological Conceptions of Rationality, Masculinity and Organization.” Gender, Work and Organization. 11:3. 280-305.

Padavic, Irene. “The Re-Creation of Gender in a Male Workplace.” 1991. Symbolic Interaction Vol (14)3 pg. 279-94.


(NYT Article kept behind a paywall)

Chira, Susan. “The ‘Manly’ Jobs Problem.” New York Times.  

Chira, Susan. “The #MeToo Moment: Blue-Collar Women Ask, ‘What About Us?” New York Times. 

Chira, Susan. “Dead Mice, Stolen Tools and Lewd Remarks: Coping with Harassment in Blue-Collar Jobs.” The New York Times.

books (popular trade books & academic)

Balay, Anne. 2016. Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers

Balay, Anne. 2018. Semi Queer: Inside the World if Gay, Trans, and Black Truck Drivers

Deaux, Kay, and Joseph C. Ullman. 1983. Women of Steel: Female Blue-collar Workers in the Basic Steel Industry. 

Eisenberg, Susan. 1998. We’ll Call you If We Need You: Experiences of Women Working in Construction. 

Greene, Jeanie Ahearn. 2006. Blue-collar Women at Work with Men: Negotiating the Hostile Environment. 

Maclean, Nancy. 2006. Freedom is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace. 

Martin, Molly. 1997. Hard-Hatted Woman: Life on the Job.

Schroedel, Jean Reith. 1985. Alone in a Crowd: Women in the Trades Tell Their Stories.


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