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LGBTQIA+ Information Behavior

A research guide composed of resources for research on LGBTQIA+ information behavior.


It is important to recognize that LGBTQIA+ individuals have unique information needs and behaviors due to their experiences and identities. As such, it is important to provide inclusive and supportive information resources that are accessible to all members of the community. The LGBTQIA+ community is a diverse group of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and other non-heterosexual and non-cisgender identities, and with each passing year, social attitudes about LGBTQIA+ individuals evolve to become more understanding of the idea that the community is not a homogenous group, but rather it is one of various identities across a diverse map of sexual orientations and genders. 

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community face a scope of challenges, including discrimination, harassment, and violence, as well as societal stigma and marginalization, which can have a negative impact on mental health and well-being, and can make it difficult to access healthcare, education, and other informational needs. Despite these challenges, members of the LGBTQIA+ community have made significant progress in recent years in terms of legal recognition, acceptance, and visibility. However, there is still much work to be done to achieve full equality and inclusion for all members of the community.

As an additional note, because the language and culture of the Queer community is constantly evolving, the initialism that has been previously used, and will continue to be used throughout this research guide is 'LGBTQIA+.' Overall, the LGBTQIA+ initialism feels the most respectful and inclusive towards all of the identities represented in the community.

It is important to provide accurate, inclusive, and up-to-date information resources that meet the unique needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, which includes developing LGBTQIA+ specific information sources and promoting the inclusion of diverse perspectives and experiences in mainstream information sources.

LGBTQIA+ Best Practices

It's important to use language that is inclusive and respectful of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Avoid assumptions about someone's gender identity or sexual orientation, and use gender-neutral language whenever possible. Consider using "they/them" as a gender-neutral pronoun, or ask someone what pronouns they prefer.

Take the time to learn about the LGBTQIA+ community and the issues they face. This will help you understand their experiences and how to best support them. Be open to feedback and willing to correct any mistakes you make. Use your knowledge to educate others and help create a more inclusive community. And avoid perpetuating stereotypes about LGBTQIA+ individuals. Instead, focus on the individual and their unique experiences.

When interacting with members of the LGBTQIA+ community, listen to their experiences and validate their feelings. Show empathy and respect for their identity and experiences. Respect individuals' chosen names, gender identities, and sexual orientations. Do not ask invasive or inappropriate questions about someone's personal life.

Support policies and organizations that advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and equality. Speak out against discrimination and bigotry, whether it is directed at LGBTQIA+ individuals or other marginalized groups. Being an ally means standing up for the rights and equality of the LGBTQIA+ community, and supporting LGBTQIA+ individuals in your personal and professional life.

Create safe and inclusive spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. This can include using gender-neutral restrooms, providing LGBTQIA+ resources and information, and ensuring that everyone feels welcome and accepted.

American Library Association - Equity of Access

Under the "Issues and Advocacy" section of their website, the ALA notes that it is important that the LGBTQIA+'s population is reflected in library collections and provided with services at the library, because representation promotes inclusivity, education, access, and support for all members of the community. 

The Library Bill of Rights affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas and provides for access to information for all people.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender peoples’ access to libraries may be limited or prohibited by many issues, including:

  • Collections which do not present LGBTQIA+ content or perspectives. LGBTQIA+ materials can often be censored under partisan or doctrinal disapproval
  • Environments which are not welcoming or inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people and which, through actions by staff or other patrons, may be made unwelcome to LGBTQIA+ people and their families
  • Programs which do not address the LGBTQIA+ experience
  • Services which are not promoted to LGBTQIA+ populations or in collaborations with local LGBTQIA+ organizations.

(ALA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, 1996-2023)

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