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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies (LGBTQ): Keywords & Search Strategies

Provides an overview of resources locally and within Fordham University Libraries covering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies.

Welcome to the LGBTQ Studies Research Guide!

decorative  Selecting keywords for research in LGBTQ+ Studies can be challenging for a variety of reasons:

  • Language for naming and describing LGBTQ+ communities changes over time and varies across regions and cultures.
  • Terms and/or subject classifications used in academic literature may be different from the language that is used in everyday speech or activist movements.
  • Using initials like "LGBT" or "LGBTQIA" or "GLBT" as search terms might not generate desired results in library catalogs or databases because:
    • Some scholarship focuses on specific identity groups (gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans* communities, etc.) rather than including a spectrum of identities.
    • These initials reflect more recent naming conventions and were not used widely before the late 1990s.

This page provides tools to take these issues into consideration when selecting keywords and developing search strategies that cast a wide net when searching library catalogs and databases.

Search Tips & Tricks

  • Use Boolean Operators [AND, OR, NOT] and Modifiers [ "", *, ( ) ] to structure your search terms within a database to maximize your results. Some databases provide boxes to support Boolean searching:

Search example


  • Consult the Database Search Tips from MIT Libraries for additional insights into structuring your search terms.

  • As you search through library databases, look for subjects, subject headings, index terms, categories, or author-supplied keywords. You can use these terms to improve your search based on how the database is structured. If the terms are hyperlinked, you can click on them to generate similar results.

Glossaries and Terminology Guides for LGBTQ+ Communities

From the Digital Transgender Archive

Button containing the words transsexual, transgender, transgressive (highlighted), genderqueer, two-spirited.

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

Library Liaison to LGBTQ Studies

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Tierney Gleason
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Rose Hill Campus | Walsh Family Library | Room 129

Library Liaison to LGBTQ Studies

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Jane Suda
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Rose Hill Campus
Walsh Family Library
Room 128

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