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LGBTQIA Resources Workshop: Overview

Introductory Guide to LGBTQIAA resources at Penn Libraries.


Welcome to Penn Libraries LGBTQIA Resources Guide!

Divulge into the fields concerned with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Queer, Gender & Sexuality studies etc. It will help anyone who has an interest the above fields or is doing interdisciplinary research.

This guide focuses on only the LGBTQIA history of the United States. It lists the many resources that Penn Libraries has regarding LGBTQIA+ resources that Penn Libraries has access to. As a member of the Penn Community you should have access to these resources as well. 

Primary Databases & Article Indexes

Secondary Databases & Article Indexes

Library of Congress Subject Headings & Keyword Searches

It is important to know how to search a Library's Catalog and Databases.  Two prominent ways of doing so are with Keywords and Library of Congress Subject Headings. 

What is a Keyword? 

  • Keywords are the significant words or concepts that express an idea or topic. Examples of keywords relating to LGBTQIA Resources at Penn Libraries can be anything that is remotely related to your topic: sex, gender, love, politics etc. 

Have you ever conducted a Google search with words that were connected or related in some way? Good news! You have completed a Keyword Search!


What are Library of Congress Subject Headings? 

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings are specific words related to a topic that the librarian describes specific items for. There are Library of Congress Subject Headings for each subject.  To discover what Library of Congress Subject Heading suits your research topic, search the following website: 
  • Once on this website, you can identify a Library of Congress Subject Heading relating to your research. 


Important Institutions/Organizations

Here are a list of former and current well known LGBTQIA organizations in the United States of America. 

  • The Society for Human Rights
    • The Society for Human Rights was created by Henry Gerber in 1924. It is widely known as the first Gay Rights Organization in the United States. He created it out of what he saw the successful German movement for Gay rights as a Soldier in WW1. The journal The Henry Gerber-Pearl M. Hart Library contains resources and information on this organization that may be of use. 
  • Daughters of Bilitis
    • The Daughters of Bilitis was the first lesbian and civil rights organization in the U.S.A.  It was founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in 1955 and four other couples when they found that there wasn't a lesbian organization where they could meet other lesbian couples and individuals. 
  • The Mattachine Society
    • The Mattachine Society is known as the first successful Gay Rights organization. It was founded in 1950 by Harry Hay who is the founder of the modern day Gay Rights Movement. For more information on Harry Hay and this organization, I would recommend the following books in Penn Libraries catalog: Radically gay: gay liberation in the words of its founder by Harry Hay. 
  • The Lavender Menace
    • The Lavender Menace was an informal group of lesbian radical feminists formed to protest the exclusion of lesbians and lesbian issues from the feminist movement at the Second Congress to Unite Women in New York City on May 1st, 1970. Check out Tales of the Lavender Menace : a memoir of liberation by Karla Jay from Van Pelt Library for more information.
  • Human Rights Campaign
    • The Human Rights campaign is an organization that works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans. It was founded in 1980 by Steve Endean and was one of the first political action committees on gay and lesbian issues. Since its advent it represents well over 1.5 million individuals with the U.S.A. 
  • ACLU
    • The American Civil Liberties Union is a non profit organization that fights for the individual rights of individuals in American when they are being mistreated in anyway shape or form. The organization was founded in 1920 and since then has served on many cases that have helped minority populations, unions, and countless individuals. 
    • PFLAG, which stands for the organization Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays was founded in the year 1972 by the act of a mother - Jeanne Manford - who marched with her son, Morty, in New York's Christopher Street Liberation Day March. For more information, visit their website:

Related & Important

Here you will find related guides that will assist you. You can also find related terms used to describe LGBTQIAA individuals over the centuries.

Your Librarian

David Azzolina is a librarian in Van Pelt Library's Research and Instructional Services department. He is also an instructor in Folklore at Penn. He earned his BA, MA, and PhD from Penn in Folklore, concentrating on the study of oral narrative in everyday life. He also holds an MS from the School of Library Service at Columbia University. David worked in the Reference departments at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and Rice Universities, where he was also the Social Science and Map librarian. Presently David's collection responsibilities include Religion, Folklore, and the History and Sociology of Science. He also has broad experience with U.S. and British government publications. David manages the Reference collection at Van Pelt, and is the bibliographer for the Yarnall collection, a specialized Anglican studies collection. David has published articles on multiculturalism in the American West, and has contributed to the Guide to Reference Books and a range of other library publications

This Library Guide was originally created for the LGBTQIA+ Resources Workshop at Penn Libraries and presented by Carly Sewell a TRL Intern. 



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