A number of years ago, a young man came to the reference desk with a question for the Social Science, Philosophy & Religion department librarians. He asked me why books about gay men were next to the shelves with incest and sexual bondage books. He said that wasn’t how he was at all. His face showed deep hurt and from his expression, I read that as a gay man who came of age in the 21st century, he had never experienced the kind of marginalization, ostracization and ridicule I had seen my friends fight when I was his age. It had likely never occurred to him that the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) itself would assign lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and transgender people (LGBT people) to a call number, 301.4157, as a kind of “abnormal sexual relations” (modified 14th edition of the DDC). But, as a librarian and classificationist, I knew that earlier call numbers had been more demeaning.
From LGBT Collections moving to new call number area | Los Angeles Public Library