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What a Queer Idea: LGBT Resources for Your Library

MLA Conference 2012

Library of Congress Subject Headings

John C. DeSantis at Dartmouth University has compiled this list of LCSH subject headings, current as of 2000. While the list has not been updated for some time, it is still a useful reference point to find terms used by the LCSH vocabulary both for selection in the classification process and for selection for searching library catalogs.

Tips for Supplying Subject Analysis

Avoid judgemental analysis and clinical terminology. Clinical terminololgy is offensive because it suggests a medical or psychiatric disorder.

For example, if you have a graphic novel about young adult gay men being normal teenagers, use

“Gay teenagers--Comic books, strips, etc.”
“Dating (Social customs)--Comic books, strips, etc.”


“Gay men--Sexual behavior--Comic books, strips, etc.”
"Homosexuality--Comic books, strips, etc."

Use “Lesbians,” “Gay men,” “Transgender people,” or “Bisexuals” not “Sexual minorities” or “Paraphilias.”

Use “Gays” for an inclusive term, not homosexuals.

Use “Gays--Religious life” for works about gay people and spirituality, not “Homosexuality--Religious aspects.”

Generally avoid "Homosexuality" as a catch-all subject heading for works dealing with LGBT topics.

You may want to replace the LGBT concept with something easy, like “People,” “Women,” or “Teenagers” for example. Construct your pre-coordinated heading, and then replace the generic term with a more specific term (Gays, Lesbians, or Gay teenagers).


Terms to Avoid

Several clinical terms are considered pejorative and should be avoided. These include:

  • Homosexual Lifestyle
  • Preference
  • Sexual preference
  • Transsexual
  • Transvestite

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