May 21, 2020
Katlyn PetersonStaff Writer
Gay history is American history. That’s the premise of “Our Gay History in 50 States,” a book that Best Buy was the first to sponsor.
The book, which came out last summer, acts as a travel guide through each state and its LGBTQIA+ history and was written with the help of diverse LGBTQIA+ youth and teens from across the country. Author Zaylore Stout empowered young people to participate in the research, providing a unique opportunity to learn about their history and amplify their voices.
“I highlighted people, places and queer facts, so you’re able to open the book and look at your birth state, the state you live in or a state you’d like to visit and get a snapshot of the LGBTQIA+ history from our country’s founding to the present,” Zaylore said. “There’s a mix of different individuals and stories within the book. Being a person of color, it was important the book is as diverse as the communities we live in.”
Becoming a sponsor for the book was an easy decision for Best Buy. When Best Buy’s Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) approached the company’s leadership team about the opportunity, the reaction was how can we get this done — not why.
“It’s inspiring to see our company’s leaders want to elevate the history of a particular community that hasn’t been represented in traditional history books or conversations,” said Luke Austing, community lead for Best Buy’s Pride ERG. “This gives the LGBTQIA community a voice to speak to their own history in a way that’s written by members of that community.”
The partnership wasn’t only a good fit from a diversity and inclusion lens, but also because of Zaylore’s support of youth and teens.
Youth and teens are at the heart of Best Buy’s social impact mission. Best Buy is committed to helping youth and teens from disinvested communities, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community, build brighter futures by ensuring they have access to technology, training and mentorship they need to learn and grow.
“I’m proud Best Buy was my first sponsor and supporter of this important resource because they’ve been at the forefront of LGBTQIA+ equality issues,” Zaylore said. “Their work in funding and supporting youth and teens across the county not only provides them with the tools for the careers of tomorrow but makes the world get more equitable and accepting with each generation.”
Best Buy plans to distribute copies of the book to teens and youth who are involved in the company’s various social impact programs.