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AFGE joins in the Capitol Pride parade in Washington, DC, on June 10, 2017. Photo by Flickr user Jay Mallin. June 10, 2017. Used under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

LGBTQI+ Resources at the Library of Congress

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Tomorrow is the first day of June, and the start of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride month. We celebrate it in June because of the Stonewall Uprising, which occurred on June 28, 1969 in New York City, New York. To prepare, I thought it would be helpful to look at some of the LGBTQI+ resources available via the Library of Congress, with a focus on legal materials.

Screenshot of the Library of Congress’s LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive


The first Library of Congress collection I would like to highlight is the LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. As noted on the About this Collection page, this archive

… collects and preserves online content which documents LGBTQ+ history, scholarship, and culture in the United States and around the world. Sites include domestic and international non-profit organizations, journalism and news, creative works and expressions, historical records, and more. Collection priorities include primary sources, first-hand accounts, coverage of significant events, and essential artifacts of cultural memory. This collection seeks to illuminate LBGTQ+ voices, from margin to center. The sites curated here preserve subjects and perspectives which have been historically underrepresented in Library holdings, are ephemeral in nature, and those which have proven difficult to collect via traditional or print resources.

Along with the web archive above, the Library of Congress also offers the LGBTQ+ Politics and Political Candidates Web Archive. Started in 2018, this archive

… captures digital content related to LBGTQ+ political candidates and political issues and topics at various levels of government, with a focus on lesser-known local and state politics. This archive preserves a representative sample of what is being called “The Rainbow Wave,” which refers to the previously unprecedented number of LGBTQ+ identified candidates openly running for office.

Screenshot of the Law Library’s research guide titled LGBTQ+ Legal Resources: A Beginner’s Guide


The Law Library offers a research guide on LGBTQ+ legal resources. Among other things, this guide offers a list of legal landmarks (case law and executive orders) related to LGBTQI+ issues, as well as selected print and online resources, and helpful subject heading search suggestions for finding resources in our catalog. The Law Library also offers a shorter guide on “the laws and presidential proclamations which establish and designate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month.” The section on government documents within this guide offers brief but helpful explanations on searching for legislative and executive branch materials related to LGBTQ+ issues, with links to selected presidential proclamations.

Screenshot of the Library of Congress research guide on LGBTQIA+ Studies


In addition to the Law Library’s research guides, the Library of Congress also offers a research guide on LGBTQIA+ studies. This guide gives a summary of the homophile movement before Stonewall, a synopsis of the Stonewall Uprising, and information on activism after Stonewall. Each of these sections includes pertinent resources available in the Library of Congress. This guide also offers assistance on searching LGBTQ+ issues by subject (such as law) or by format (manuscripts, microform, etc.).

Another useful research guide on LGBTQ+ resources is provided by the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. This guide offers a list on relevant manuscript collections, including a section of legal manuscript collections. These collections contain the papers of several Supreme Court justices and lawyers, which discuss notable LGBTQ+ cases, such as Bowers v. Hardwick and Romer v. Evans.

Finally, I want to highlight the Resources page of the Library’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month website. The Resources page offers links to several of the guides I have mentioned in this post, and highlights a wide range of collections from the AIDS Memorial Quilt Records to the Truman Capote papers. Of special interest to those looking for LGBTQ legal resources would be the Civil Rights and Government section. Items mentioned here include the Frank Kameny Collection and the History of Pride story map.

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