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This guide provides an overview of research strategies and resources on the topics of sexuality and gender identity in the law at the UNC School of Law.

What is in this guide?

This guide provides information on how to research sexuality, gender identity, and the law. While the legal issues surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation are frequently talked about as if they fall into a singular category, they involve multiple areas of law, including family law, employment law, immigration law, juvenile law, tax law, and health law, among many others. This introductory page provides an overview of legal research strategies and recommended sources for updating research in the field. The other pages in this guide provide a list of selected texts on specific topics. It is organized into the following sections:


Primary Legal Sources

Secondary Legal Sources

Additional Resources

Use of Language in This Guide

It is a common misconception that libraries and library catalogs are neutral and unbiased. They are not. Bibliographic indexing terms used in libraries were created within historically situated hegemonic information infrastructures and frameworks. Click the link below to view a list, created by Harvard libraries, of selected open-access writings on this topic.

Bias, Neutrality, and Libraries, Harvard Law Library Research Services

This research guide was created to help researchers effectively navigate the University of North Carolina Libraries' collections to research gender, sexuality, and the law. Because of the origins of libraries' classifying languages, research in this area may require the use of language that is othering, objectionable, triggering, and/or offensive to people of many backgrounds, identities, identifications, and presentations. This language may not reflect the most current beliefs on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or any number of categories of identity.

For more on considerations of language and LGBTQ+ identities, GLAAD's Media Reference Guide provides a list of terminology and offers guidance.

Selected Law Journals and Databases

Both new and foundational legal scholarship in LGBTQ+ law can be found in many law journals and reviews. Researchers may want to browse the following titles, which are available to the UNC community through HeinOnline. Additionally, HeinOnline provides a database on LGBTQ+ Rights, which covers subjects like marriage and family, employment discrimination, health care, military service, and historical information. That database can be accessed from the HeinOnline homepage.

Conducting Research on Gender, Sexuality, and the Law at UNC Libraries

Legal issues surrounding gender identity, sexuality, and other aspects of LGBTQ+ life are evolving. While some law is well established, other trends may change rapidly. New scholarship is also constantly being produced. This libguide offers some core materials related to LGBTQ+ law, but researchers will also want to check multiple databases, journals, and publications for new developments. The subject is also interdisciplinary in nature, so a good researcher may want to venture beyond legal databases for articles and books.

Library of Congress Subject Headings can be used to find materials on topic in the library catalog. Some useful subject headings are:

Additional LGBTQ+ Legal Guides

Library of Congress LGBTQ+ Legal Resources Guide provides introductory information for researching many legal issues relevant to LGBTQ+ communities and individuals.

UConn Gender & Sexual Minorities (LGBTQIA) Studies Subject Guide: This UConn guide provides tips and resources for locating books, films, journal articles, news sources, and websites for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual, and other gender and sexual minorities studies.

Williams Institute Reading Room: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resources in Law and Public Policy: From the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law, this guide contains comprehensive bibliographies of relevant resources.