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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Studies: Search Strategies for LGBT Research

Selecting keywords for research in LGBT Studies can be challenging for a variety of reasons:

  • The "LGBT community" is not a monolith; there are divisions and hierarchies amongst various identities leaving "the community" to experience a range of social, political, and economic issues differently.
  • Language for naming and describing LGBT+ communities changes over time and varies across regions and cultures.
  • Many terms for naming LGBT+ communities remain contested and debated from within the community and can include reclaimed terms that were once considered offensive.
  • Terms and/or subject classifications used in academic literature may be different from the language that is used in everyday speech.

This page will help you take these issues into consideration to select keywords and develop search strategies that cast a wide net when searching library catalogs and databases.

Tips and Tricks for Database Searching

Reference Books & Language Sources

Bibliographies can be helpful with researching terms and topics pertaining to LGBT+ communities.

Resources documenting language and slang can assist with locating outdated terms to describe LGBT+ communities when searching through historical sources.

As always, please check the library catalog for additional resources. For research assistance, feel free to ask one of the librarians listed on this guide for help.

Image from the Digital Transgender Archive

[Image description : Button containing the words transsexual, transgender, transgressive, genderqueer, two-spirited.]

Image credit : Button Collection from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives via the Digital Transgender Archive.

Glossaries and Terminology Guides

A selection of glossaries and terminology guides offering terms pertaining to LGBT+ communities.