Sexual Minorities and Alternative Genders

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee

Question/Answer on cataloging issues – February 2013

Question: How are sexual minorities and alternative genders being treated in subject headings?

By Wade Kotter, Weber State University

The most general subject heading used by the Library of Congress for sexual minorities and alternative genders, including classes of people whose physical sexual characteristics do not match their biological sex and/or their gender identity, is Sexual minorities, which may be subdivided geographically. Narrower headings under Sexual minorities and related headings can be divided for descriptive purposes into four groups:

1.  Headings for classes of sexual minority people based on ethnicity, religion, age, gender & other general criteria (each of these headings may be subdivided geographically):

Alaska Native sexual minorities
Asian American sexual minorities
Hispanic American sexual minorities
Indian sexual minorities
Pacific Islander American sexual minorities
Jewish sexual minorities
Unitarian Universalist sexual minorities
Sexual minority youth
Middle-aged sexual minorities
Older sexual minorities
Sexual minority parents
Sexual minority students
Sexual minority college students
Sexual minority consumers
Sexual minority religious leaders
Sexual minorities with disabilities
Sexual minority women

[As is common in LCSH the term “sexual minorities” is used both for “sexual minority men” as well as male and female sexual minorities treated collectively. In other words, “Sexual minority men” is not an established heading in LC subject headings. LCSH does not usually establish a separate heading for men of a category.]

2.  Headings for various alternative genders, each of which has several narrower headings; note that Gays is used for homosexuals collectively, Gay men for male homosexuals, and Lesbians for female homosexuals (each of these headings may be subdivided geographically):

    Bisexual college students
    Bisexual high school students
    Bisexual librarians
    Bisexual men
    Bisexual parents
    Bisexual students
    Bisexual women
    Bisexual youth
    African American bisexuals
    Asian American bisexuals
    Pacific Islander American Bisexuals    
Gays (Covers homosexuals in general; former heading was Homosexuals)
Gay activists
    Gay actors
    Gay anthropologists
    Gay artists
    Gay athletes
    Gay authors
    Gay bodybuilders
    Gay broadcasters
    Gay businessmen
    Gay caregivers
    Gay cartoonists
    Gay clergy
    Gay coaches (Athletics)
    Gay college students
    Gay college teachers
    Gay composers
    Gay conductors (Music)
    Gay conservatives
    Gay counselors
    Gay couples
    Gay critics
    Gay dramatists
    Gay executives
    Gay fathers
    Gay flight attendants
    Gay heroes
    Gay high school students
    Gay human services personnel
    Gay immigrants
    Gay journalists
    Gay kings and rulers
    Gay labor union members
    Gay lawyers
    Gay legislators
    Gay librarians
    Gay men
    Gay men, White
    Gay men, Black
    Gay military cadets
    Gay military personnel
    Gay musicians
    Gay nurses
    Gay parents
    Gay photographers
    Gay physical education teachers
    Gay police officers
    Gay political refugees
    Gay politicians
    Gay private investigators
    Gay psychiatrists
    Gay psychoanalysts
    Gay psychologists
    Gay real estate agents
    Gay sailors
    Gay singers
    Gay skinheads
    Gay social workers
    Gay spies
    Gay students
    Gay teachers
    Gay teenagers
    Gay travelers
    Gay youth
    Buddhist gays
    Catholic gays
    Christian gays
    Closeted gays
    Gays with disabilities
    Indian gays
    Jewish gays
    Middle-aged gays
    Minority gays
    Mormon gays
    Muslim gays
    Older gays
    Protestant gays
    African American gays
    Asian American gays
    Hispanic American gays
    Italian American gays
    Mexican American gays
    Pacific Islander American gays
    South Asian American gays
    Lesbian activists
    Lesbian actresses
    Lesbian anthropologists
    Lesbian artists
    Lesbian athletes
    Lesbian authors
    Lesbian businesswomen
    Lesbian cartoonists
    Lesbian clergy
    Lesbian college students
    Lesbian college teachers
    Lesbian composers
    Lesbian couples
    Lesbian dramatists
    Lesbian girl scouts
    Lesbian high school students
    Lesbian librarians
    Lesbian mothers
    Lesbian motorcyclists
    Lesbian musicians
    Lesbian nuns
    Lesbian nurses
    Lesbian photographers
    Lesbian physical education teachers
    Lesbian police officers
    Lesbian private investigators
    Lesbian psychotherapists
    Lesbian rabbis
    Lesbian students
    Lesbian teachers
    Lesbian teenagers
    Lesbian youth
    Abused lesbians
    Abusive lesbian partners
    Christian lesbians
    Indian lesbians
    Jewish lesbians
    Middle-aged lesbians
    Minority lesbians
    Older lesbians
    Puerto Rican lesbians
    Rural lesbians
    Working class lesbians
    African American lesbians
    Asian American lesbians
    Cuban American lesbians
    Hispanic American lesbians
    Italian American lesbians
    Mexican American lesbians
    Pacific Islander American lesbians
Transgender people
    Transgender athletes
    Transgender children
    Transgender college students
    Transgender librarians
    Transgender military personnel
    Transgender musicians
    Transgender parents
    Transgender prisoners
    Transgender veterans
    Transgender youth
    Christian transgender people
    Female impersonators
    Jewish transgender people
    Male impersonators

3.  Headings for classes of people whose physical sexual characteristics do not match with their gender identity (and sometimes their biological sex as well) and who usually undergo sex change surgery (each of the following headings may be subdivided geographically):

    Transsexual college students
    Transsexual librarians
    Transsexual parents
    Transsexual students
    Transsexual youth
    Christian transsexuals
    Female-to-male transsexuals
    Jewish transsexuals
    Male-to-female transsexuals
    Older transsexuals
    African American transsexuals

4.  Headings for classes of people whose physical sexual characteristics do not match their biological sex (each of the following headings may be subdivided geographically):

Intersex people
    Intersex athletes
    Intersex children
    Intersex military personnel

1 Response to Sexual Minorities and Alternative Genders

  1. Wade Kotter says:

    Thank you for your suggestions, David. My apology for not responding sooner. The list given in this Q&A was meant to include only current, officially established LC subject headings. The three suggestions you give are not established headings. In order to propose these as new subject headings you would need to work with a SACO certified cataloger to submit a new subject heading proposal to the Library of Congress. I’m very doubtful that these suggestions would be accepted because LC clearly distinguishes (rightly or wrongly) between Transgender people as a class of people and Gays, Gay men and Lesbians as classes of people. Regardless, if you would like to pursue the process of proposing these as new subject headings, please let us know. Wade

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