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LGBTQ+ Rights

LGBTQ+ Rights charts the gay rights movement in America, showing the civil rights codified into law in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the inequalities that still exist today.

Documents and Content

Browsing Content

Throughout the LGBTQ+ Rights database, users may encounter items and viewpoints that they find offensive. These items are included in order to properly foster dialogue and to fully understand both the progress our society has made and the inequalities that still exist today. 

Content in the database is grouped into specific areas of focus.

  1. Marriage and Family—This subcollection focuses on same-sex marriage and the rights of same-sex couples to adopt, raise children, and form family units. It also focuses on the rights of heterosexual parents with respect to their LGBTQ children, such as with the state of Texas authorizing child protective services to investigate parents who provide gender-affirming care to their trans children.
  2. Employment Discrimination— This subcollection consolidates titles focused on discrimination faced by LGBTQ people in the workplace. Prior to 2020, when the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, there were no federal-level protections for LGBTQ employees.
  3. AIDS and Health Care—The AIDS crisis initially targeted the gay community, killing thousands through both a lack of effective medical treatment and social stigma. Despite the invention of effective treatment regimes, nearly 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV today. As late as 2009, being HIV positive was a valid reason for exclusion to entering the United States, and gay men are still barred today from donating blood over fears of infection. Trans people face barriers and discrimination in receiving both basic health care and gender-affirming treatment. This subcollection explores multiple facets of both the AIDS epidemic and how LGBTQ people interact with the heatlh care system.
  4. Military Service—LGBTQ Americans have served their country ever since the Revolution, even as the official policy of the U.S. military about their service has shifted from an outright ban, to allowance based on silence, to open acceptance. Despite repeal of the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, trans servicemembers were barred from service in 2019, before being reinstated in 2021. This subcollection explores various policies around LGBTQ people serving their country with pride, even when their country did not always accept their sacrifice.
  5. Public Spaces and Society—This subcollection focuses on areas of society not explicitly covered under other specific subcollections. Within this subcollection, users can find titles on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and other religious discrimination against LGBTQ people, issues facing LGBTQ students in public schools, violence committed against LGBTQ people, and other issues.
  6. Supreme Court Briefs—The United States Supreme Court has been instrumental in granting and, at times, denying, rights to LGBTQ people. Issues before the Court have included the right to marry, the right to work, and the right to privacy. Step inside famous cases before the Court with briefs filed in the cases alongside briefs filed by LGBTQ organizations in cases that, while not directly concerning LGBTQ issues, are still important to the community.
  7. Historical Attitudes and Analysis—This subcollection presents historical texts whose views some users may find offensive today, but understanding the prejudicial beliefs circulating in society is essential to understanding the laws of the time. Within this subcollection, users will find titles that attempt to "diagnose" the cause of homosexuality, "explore" the psyche of gender-nonconforming persons, and describe purported "treatments" for homosexuality, among other controversial positions.
  8. Williams Institute—This subcollection contains publications from UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, a leading research center on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Users can access the Institute's multidisciplinary research on a broad range of LGBTQ topics.

All of these subcollections can be navigated using the A-Z Index.

browsing options


HeinOnline editors have created 15 new subjects to help users discover the content most relevant to their research. Every title in this collection has been analyzed by HeinOnline editors and assigned one or more subjects based on its subject matter. Explore these new subjects and their scope below:

Conversion Therapy and Pseudoscience

Covers explanations for homosexuality, conversion therapy, and other "cures" for homosexuality. Titles include:

Criminalization of Sex

Homosexuality has long been legally punishable. Learn more about its criminalization with:

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the official policy of the U.S. military on LGBTQ servicemembers from 1994–2011. Learn about this controversial policy with:

Gender Roles and Identities

This subject focuses on how preconceived gender roles, gender identities, and attitudes about sexuality shape our culture. Titles include:


The AIDS epidemic disproportionally affected gay men in the 1980s and 1990s. Fears over HIV contamination still prevent gay men from donating blood today in the United States. Learn more about how HIV/AIDS continues to impact the LGBTQ community with:

LGBTQ Athletes

This subject explores controversies over transgender athletes playing sports on teams that align with their gender identity with titles such as:

LGBTQ Military Service

This subject explores military service by LGBTQ persons outside of the specific focus of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Titles include:

LGBTQ Pride and Visibility

This subject encompasses how LGBTQ people are present and visible in myriad facets of our society, outside the specific areas delineated in other subjects in this collection. It focuses on other equality efforts through activism and legislation such as:

LGBTQ Rights in International Law

This title examines LGBTQ rights in other countries, with titles such as:

LGBTQ Students

This subject collects issues affecting LGBTQ students, from bullying to bathroom access. Titles include:

Religion and the LGBT Community

This subject explores the often controversial intersection between religious beliefs and LGBTQ people with titles such as:

Same-Sex Adoption and Parenting

This subjects analyzes barriers to same-sex couples adopting children and other issues affecting LGBTQ family units.

Same-Sex Marriage

This subject explores the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act and other landmarks related to same-sex couples gaining the right to marry.

Supreme Court Cases

This subjects collects briefs filed in U.S. Supreme Court cases affecting LGBTQ rights, and other titles commenting on these landmark cases.

Violence and Hate Crimes

This subject concerns hate crimes, acts of violence, intimidation, and other institutional discrimination perpetuated against LGBTQ people. 

Workplace Protections and Discrimination

This subject concerns issues affecting LGBTQ people in the workplace, including discrimination, and their recent protections conferred under Title VII in 2020.

In 2018, William S. Hein & Co., Inc. published Sexual Orientation, Gender Identities, and the Law: A Research Bibliography, 2006–2016, the third published iteration of an ongoing commitment by the Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). This volume, the only work of its kind, provides a bibliometric analysis of legal scholarship to evaluate scholarly trends, patterns, and the development of major themes and voices. It provides clarity of language incorporating a detailed glossary in the front matter of the volume. The information within this bibliography—the chosen citations, the publication details, the annotations both summary and evaluative—offers more than accurate details about each specific entry; it provides a story with a point of view as well as raw data for future studies that the editors and the contributors could not have anticipated.

  • Excellent and unique bibliographic resource for librarians, students, and researchers containing more than 950 entries
  • Revolutionary voices collaborate to provide an expert overview of this complicated and evolving topic
  • Together, this volume and its predecessor titles cover more than 40 years of historical and current analyses of LGBTQ-related scholarship
  • Continues the 2005 edition with more in-depth commentary, plus substantial legislative and judicial changes
  • Features an introduction (Why Bibliography) by James M. Donovan, Director & Dorothy Salmon Professor of Law, University of Kentucky College of Law, and a Foreword by Suzanne B. Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life & Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia University

In addition to this title, users can also access the two previous iterations in HeinOnline:

Sexual Orientation and the Law: A Research Bibliography Selectively Annotating Legal Literature through 2005

"Sexual Orientation and the Law: A Selective Bibliography on Homosexuality and the Law, 1969–1993"

Using the Timeline

This collection features an interactive timeline that illustrates the gay rights movement in America from 1950 up until the present day. View photographs and videos of the people involved, the documents discussed, and links to additional sources both within and outside HeinOnline to dive deeper into the events described in the timeline.

  1. Photographs and videos provide a visual portrait to the people and events mentioned on a given timeline point. Source information is provided underneath the media on the right-hand side, with a caption on the left-hand side. 
  2. Hyperlinks take users to relevant documents where they reside in HeinOnline or to additional, supplemental resources (and in some cases, both). In the example shown below, this hyperlink takes users to a related HeinOnline Blog post on the subject.
  3. These arrows will take users ahead (3a) or backwards (3b) in the timeline.
  4. This linear calendar plots all the timeline points by month and year. It can also be used to jump to different events rather than moving point-by-point via the arrows.

Timeline elements

To use the timeline, click the white arrow on the right-hand side of the screen to page ahead through the various points of the timeline. Need to back up to a previous slide? Use the white left-hand arrow that will appear once a user begins moving through the timeline. Previews of the next and preceding points' headlines will also populate below the white arrows.

Need to speed ahead into the future (or fly back into the past) and don't want to click through the timeline point by point? Every point is plotted along a linear calendar, showing the year and month an event occurs, offering a visualization of where events fall in relation to each other. Users can also see a preview of the media type displayed on a point. To navigate this feature, click + pull across this linear calendar and select a desired point to jump ahead to on the timeline. Change how this linear calendar is displayed by using the plus or minus magnifying glasses to increase or decrease the zoom level.

Timeline is motion


HeinOnline editors have curated a bibliography of hundreds of titles on various LGBT issues. While copyright restrictions prevent us from adding the full text of these titles to HeinOnline, users can use the provided OCLC link to locate these titles at a nearby library, helping take your research beyond HeinOnline. Sort the list by Titles or by Author.

Bibliography page

Scholarly Articles

HeinOnline editors have curated a list of scholarly articles on various LGBTQ rights from across all of HeinOnline. By default articles are listed by Most-Cited; change the view to sort instead by Article Title, Author, Year (Newest First), or Year (Oldest First), or perform a Search within to find a specific article.

Scholarly articles for further research

*Please note: in order to access these articles, you must be subscribed to the appropriate HeinOnline collection.