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A Women and Gender Studies Library Guide


note: cataloging of library content does not include
a full spectrum of terms LGBTQ+ communities use
to describe themselves


  • Combine search terms to improve the relevance of your search results
    • queer AND art
    • queer AND culture
    • queer AND "pop culture"
    • gay AND culture
  • Build and keep list of terms to mix and match in various sources
    • make a word list
    • do multiple searches
    • keep adding to your search term list as you explore sources
    • note language changes over time
    • as you view search results, note the different words used
      • in various time periods
        • to find the precedent or history of an issue, we may need to use the language of the time to retrieve relevant results
      • in different disciplines
        • use the results of a "peer reviewed" article search in the library catalog, read the keywords, subject headings, descriptors, these all work like hashtags
  • Note and explore related topics
    • places to find related topics and concepts include Wikipedia, the item descriptions and content suggested in library search results, and subject search suggestions and refinements offered by a library discovery tool or database

Examples of historic LGBTQ+ terminology

  • historical terms common place in historic content may include homosexuals, gays, lesbians, sexual minorities, transsexual, and transvestism
  • Queer and transgender is used more frequently now
  • older terms include female/male impersonator for drag performer

Tools to explore words