It’s time (it’s past time) for Queer in the LCSH

I was cataloging Violence against queer people / Doug Meyer, and again came up against the non-existence of ‘Queer people’ in the LCSH.

Offers the first investigation of anti-queer violence that focuses on the role played by race, class, and gender. Drawing on interviews with forty-seven victims of violence, Meyer shows that LGBT people encounter significantly different forms of violence – and perceive that violence quite differently – based on their race, class, and gender.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that there is no term to express intersectionality in the LCSH, I was frustrated by what terms I did have to assign to this resource.

The topical subdivision –Violence against is an obvious one, but what term to use for the Class of persons against whom the violence is enacted?

As I’ve now spent a great deal of time with the various LGBTQ subject headings (see this post, if you missed it), I knew the answer was the term “Sexual minorities“.

Check out some of its 450s:

  • GLBT people
  • GLBTQ people
  • LGBT people
  • LGBTQ people

That’s the term LCSH prefers for any kind of umbrella term for the gamut of sexual identities. But does ‘Queer’ have better literary warrant? Let’s take a look:

  • “ti:Sexual minorities”, all resources that have ‘Sexual minorities’ in the title has about 4000 hits in WorldCat
  • “ti:Queer”, all resources that have ‘Queer’ in the title has about 24,000 hits in WorldCat

Now obviously this is not a scientific demonstration that ‘Queer’ is the preferred term in use, there will be many false positives for the latter. But that should at least be enough to demonstrate that it needs re-evaluating.

In fact, they already have two terms using ‘Queer’ just not as a term for people.


Then it came time to catalog the darn thing. HV6250.4.H66 was where it ended up which is less than ideal. The HV6250.4.A-Z section is given for:

Criminology. Victims of crimes. Victimology. Special classes of persons as victims, A-Z

‘Homosexuals’ is the .H66 cutter and it’s the only one on the given list that applies to sexual identities. Even checking LCs catalog one finds the need for a more expansive cutter provided beyond homosexuality.

All of these books are cataloged by LC as HV6250.4.H66, but as you can see, they do not limit their scope to ‘homosexuality’ as neither does the resource in hand above. We need a Q in our cutters.

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