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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Gender Studies


According to The Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Ed. Jodi O'Brien. Vol. 2.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2009. p689-690.


The term queer has traditionally meant “odd” and “not normal.” Not coincidentally, it has more recently been used as a way to think about sexualities that do not fit into society's assumptions of feminine or masculine heterosexuality. More contemporary meanings of queer have been picked up and used by activists and academics to mark movements within sexual identity politics and theoretical frameworks for understanding gender and sexuality. Queer, however, is a contested term. Scholars and activists constantly disagree on what queer means and the way in which it should be used, as described in this entry.

Queer is often used as an umbrella term to denote sexual identity within a particular community. A queer community may be made up of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and so on. Some find queer an easy way to describe such a large community. Labeling people whose sexual identities fall outside of heterosexuality may create solidarity among people based on commonality, which may in turn encourage them to identify with one another and create a community in which they find support and organize to initiate a political movement.

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The term transgender refers to a diverse group of individuals whose gender does not match their biological sex at birth. It is an umbrella term that describes a wide range of gender-variant groups and individuals, from those who engage in transgender behavior on occasion, such as cross-dressers, to those who do so at all times.

(read more of this article online in Gale Ebooks)


Keywords and Subject Headings

Try the following phrases and words as either keyword or subject words in OneSearchAcademic Search Complete, Criminal Justice Abstracts, PsychInfo OneSearch or any of our other databases. [use AND between your subject words and phrases to narrow your search]

Transgender People * Transgender AND Youth * Transphobia AND Law & Legislation * Gender Identity * Transgender Identity * Transgender AND College Students * Intersectionality * Intersex People * Transgender Prisoners * Transgender AND Inmates *  Transgender AND Imprisonment * Transgender AND Violence Against * Transgender AND Legal Status * Sexual Minorities

See also: Greenblatt, A. (2015, December 11). Transgender rights. CQ Researcher, 25, 1033-1056. [CUNY or JJay login required]

Need an e-book? The OpenLibrary has a LGBTQ+ list of titles available to check out with a free login.

Blogs and Web Resources


A selection of books & e-books available in the library


Handbook of LGBT Communities, Crime, and Justice Peterson, Dana ; Panfil, Vanessa R; Panfil, Vanessa R. ; Peterson, Dana

2013 available as an e-book

Taylor, Y. (2013) Queer presences and absences. available as an e-book

 Captive genders: trans embodiment and the prison industrial complex. Available as an e-book.

Lee, Julian C. H. (2011) Policing sexuality: sex, society, and the state. available as an e-book

 Trans bodies, trans selves: a resource for the transgender community. available as an e-book