Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Studies

Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures. 2 vols. New York: Garland, 2000. Garland Reference Lib. of the Social Sciences 1002, 1008. HQ75.13 306.766.

  • Vol. 1: Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Bonnie Zimmerman. 862 pp. HQ75.5.L4395 306.76′63′03.

  • Vol. 2: Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Ed. George E. Haggerty. 986 pp. HQ75.13.G37 306.76′6′03.

An encyclopedia of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer culture, including entries on persons, organizations, cultural identities, places, terms, media, popular culture, literature, film, theater, theory, and sexual practices. Each entry concludes with a selected bibliography. The two volumes share a common introduction and treat some of the same topics but are separated to ensure “that both histories receive full and unbiased attention.” Lesbian Histories includes a valuable entry on bibliographies and reference works; Gay Histories, unfortunately, does not. Indexed in each volume by persons, titles, and subjects. The impressive range of readable, informative entries makes this the standard encyclopedia of lesbian and gay culture.

Although more current, LGBT: Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America, ed. Marc Stein, 4 vols. (New York: Scribner’s-Gale, 2004; online through Gale Virtual Reference Library [I535] and Gale Biography in Context [J572]), restricts its coverage to the United States, as does Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States, ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson, 2 vols. (Santa Barbara: Greenwood–ABC-CLIO, 2009), which focuses on post-1980 writers and works. Entrants in LGBT are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Guides to Primary Works


Bosman, Ellen, and John P. Bradford. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Literature: A Genre Guide. Ed. Robert B. Ridinger. Westport: Libs. Unlimited, 2008. 423 pp. Genreflecting Advisory Ser. Z1229.G25 B67 [PS153.G38] 016.8108′0920664.

A guide to English-language fictional, biographical, and dramatic works written by gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered (GLBT) writers or with GLBT themes or protagonists. The more than 1,100 titles are mostly published after 1969 and were chosen on the basis of quality (works that won or were shortlisted for major GLBT awards) or popularity. Entries are organized alphabetically or topically in chapters on genres or themes: classics; general fiction; coming out; HIV/AIDS and other health issues; historical fiction; romance; fantasy; science fiction; horror fiction; mystery and crime fiction; comics and graphic novels; drama; and biography, autobiography, and memoir. Entries provide a citation, annotation, interest indicators (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, teen), awards, subject headings, and (in some entries) a note on a related or similar work. Two indexes: authors and titles; subjects. Since the indexes cite page numbers, users will have to skim all entries on a page in search of an index entry. Although intended as a “readers’ advisory tool,” the subject indexing allows researchers to identify works on a specific topic or theme.

Additional titles can be found in Barbara Grier, The Lesbian in Literature, 3rd ed. rev. (Tallahassee: Naiad, 1981; 168 pp.), a list of approximately 7,000 English-language works (including translations) published through 1979 that deal with lesbians or lesbianism. The majority are novels, short stories, poems, plays, biographies, autobiographies, or anthologies, though some nonfiction (primarily after 1967) is included. Listed alphabetically by author, some entries are accompanied by brief annotations that identify the lesbian content; all are coded for the amount and quality of lesbian content (see pp. xix–xx for the coding system). The lack of any subject index substantially hampers accessibility.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Surveys of Research


Reader’s Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies. Ed. Timothy F. Murphy. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000. 720 pp. HQ75.15.R43 305.90664.

A selective, evaluative guide to scholarship, primarily in English, on gay or lesbian culture. The approximately 440 signed entries treat culture, health and medical issues, art and artists, ethnic groups, geographic areas, education, gender studies, history, legal matters, literature (including authors, genres, and national literatures), media, music and the performing arts, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, social and cultural issues, and transgender studies. Each entry begins with a list of studies, provides a brief overview of the subject, and then summarizes each study (frequently evaluating and comparing approaches and conclusions). Two indexes: author index of books and articles discussed; subjects. Several entries are by graduate students, but the generally judicious selection of scholarship accompanied by evenhanded summaries and by evaluations makes Reader’s Guide a valuable introduction to the state of scholarship on gay and lesbian topics.

See also

Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (U6133) sometimes devotes a chapter to queer theories and culture.

Other Bibliographies


Nordquist, Joan, comp. Queer Theory: A Bibliography. Santa Cruz: Reference and Research Services, 1997. 64 pp. Social Theory: A Bibliog. Ser. 48. Z7164.H74 N67 [HQ76.25] 016.30676′6.

A bibliography of English-language writings (through mid-1997) about queer theory. Entries are unnecessarily separated into books and articles under divisions for theory (with subdivisions for general works, lesbian theory, bisexuality, transsexualism and transgenderism, and race), pedagogy, academic disciplines (with subdivisions for language and linguistics, literature, film, and drama and theater), politics, personal accounts, and bibliographies. Although restricted to English-language publications, taking several entries from other sources rather than using a firsthand examination, and lacking an index, this bibliography does offer a place to begin when searching for discussions of queer theory. However, researchers must also consult the serial bibliographies in section G, especially MLAIB (G335), which the compiler claims to have searched but which includes a substantial number of works that were apparently overlooked.



LGBT Life. EBSCOhost. EBSCO, 2013. 28 Jan. 2013. <>.

LGBT Life with Full Text. EBSCOhost. EBSCO, 2013. 28 Jan. 2013. <>.

Abstracts of articles, reviews, books, and other documents dating from 1953 that treat issues of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. Most of the content dates from 1990 to the present. The database uses the standard EBSCO search interface (see entry I512 for an evaluation). For literature researchers, the primary value of LGBT Life lies in its coverage of periodicals addressed to gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and transgendered individuals.