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The History of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Issues in Higher Education

Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR,volume 33)

Abstract

This historiographical essay surveys histories of higher education that have examined lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) issues as a central theme, or included substantial analysis of LGBTQ issues as part of a larger argument. The focus is decidedly on experiences of sexual minorities in higher education, as students, professors, or administrative staff, and related issues. The thematic overview of this literature begins with early work that simply established the presence of LGBTQ people in the academy. Sexual politics shifted in the middle decades of the twentieth century so that by the post-World War II era government purges of homosexuals made their appearance on college campuses. A considerable part of the bibliography on the history of LGBTQ issues in higher education addresses these purges. Scholarship on LGBTQ students’ efforts to organize on campuses, and work on gender and sexuality that intersects with LGBTQ themes in higher education (in particular, studies of masculinity and the late-twentieth century sexual revolution) round out the analysis.

Keywords

  • Bisexual
  • Florida Legislative Investigation Committee
  • Gay
  • Gay Academic Union
  • LGBTQ
  • Lesbian
  • Jeannette Marks
  • Masculinity
  • Purge
  • Queer
  • Queer theory
  • Smashing
  • Student Homophile League
  • Student organizations
  • M. Carey Thomas
  • Ttransgender
  • Wellesley marriages
  • Mary Woolley
  • Women’s colleges

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Eaklor (2008) reports that the University of Nebraska offered the first gay studies course in a college curriculum in 1970 and California State University, Sacramento established the first gay studies program 2 years later.

  2. 2.

    Karen Harbeck’s 1997 landmark work, Gay and lesbian educators: Personal freedoms, public constraints, is a useful starting point for analyzing the legal terrain during this period.

  3. 3.

    Informally, FLIC was known by the name of State Senator Charley Johns, a co-sponsor of the bill that established the committee and one of its most ardent members.

  4. 4.

    In “Gendering the history of education” (in press), Lucy Bailey and I made a similar point about gender history.

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Graves, K. (2018). The History of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Issues in Higher Education. In: Paulsen, M. (eds) Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, vol 33. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72490-4_4

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