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Finding Out

Finding Out
An Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

Third Edition

January 2017 | 464 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Finding Out is an excellent and much-needed overview of LBGTQ studies, providing a thorough history and evocative readings reflecting a variety of perspectives and experiences.” 

Brecken Chinn, Curry College


The new Third Edition of Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBTQ Studies provides readers with an accessible and riveting introduction to LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer) studies. Designed as a combination of introductory text and reader, Finding Out helps students understand the growth and development of LGBTQ identities and the interdisciplinary nature of sexuality studies. The book combines comprehensive introductory and explanatory material with primary source readings. The authors provide context (from history, literature and the arts, media, politics, and more) to form a coherent framework for understanding the included debates and readings. Going beyond simply providing a historical account, this easy-to-follow text offers an in-depth examination of LGBTQ culture and society—making LGBTQ studies a central part of your course coverage.

Introduction: To the Reader
Some Theoretical Starting Places

About This Book

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, from “Queer and Now”

Michael Warner, from “Queer and Then?”

SECTION I: Histories
Chapter 1. Before Identity: The Ancient World through the 19th Century
Greek Paiderastia

Pederasty in Other Early Cultures: The Middle East and Asia

Gender Variance in Pre-Columbian America and India

Same-Sex Relationships and Desires in Judeo-Christian Cultures

Desires for Identity

Romantic Friendships and Boston Marriages

Molly-Houses: Early Homoerotic Subculture in England

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Sappho, “To a Maiden"

Abu Nuwas, “In the Bath-house” and “My Lover Has Started to Shave”

Zulali Khwansari, from the Epic Poem "Masnavi"

Ihara Saikaku, “Bamboo Clappers Strike the Hateful Number”

Wu Meicun, “Song of Beau Wang”

Ancient Egyptian Binding Spell

Order for Solemnization of Same-Sex Union

Wadham Limericks

Chapter 2. Sexology: Constructing the Modern Homosexual
Victorian Sex: Some Background

Sexology: Defining a Field of Study

A Sexologist in Depth: Havelock Ellis

Paving the Way for Freud

Sexology and Early Sexual Rights Movements

Sexology’s Legacy

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Havelock Ellis, from “History II” and “History XXXVI. — Miss H. Aged 30”

Kurt Hiller, Appeal to the Second International Congress for Sexual Reform on Behalf of an Oppressed Human Variety (Introduction and translation by John Lauritsen)

John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity”

Chapter 3. Toward Liberation
Medical Models of Homosexuality

Urban Life and Sexual Expression

World War II and Homosexuality

McCarthy and the Purge of the “Perverts”

The Homophile Movement

Emerging Visibility and Activism

The Politics of Liberation

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

“Donald Webster Cory” (Edward Sagarin) and John P. LeRoy, “Should Homosexuality Be Eliminated?”

Marilyn Barrow, “Living Propaganda”

Radicalesbians, “The Woman-identified Woman”

Combahee River Collective, “The Combahee River Collective Statement”

Chapter 4. Queer Normalization and Beyond
AIDS: Epidemic and Activism

Antigay Backlash and Hate-Crimes Legislation

The Attractions and Effects of Normalization

Inclusion versus Assimilation: Two Approaches to Securing Rights

Trans Becoming Visible

LGBTQ Rights in a Global Context

The Cost of Assimilation

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

From the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Preamble and Section on Equality from the Bill of Rights

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights," Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 12 December 2011

U.S. Congress Original Defense of Marriage Act Legislation, One Hundred Fourth Congress of the United States of America

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage, June 2015, Obergefell et al., certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

SECTION II: Politics
Chapter 5. Nature, Nurture, and Identity

After Kinsey

Challenging Binaries

The Quest for the Gay Gene

Nature–Nurture: What’s at Stake?

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Windy M. Brown, Christopher J. Finn, Bradley M. Cooke, and S. Marc Breedlove, “Differences in Finger Length Ratios between Self-identified ‘Butch’ and ‘Femme’ Lesbians”

Albert Mohler, “Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something about It?”

Rictor Norton, from “Essentialism”

Chapter 6. Queer Diversities
L . . . G . . . T . . . : A Story of Push and Pull

Bisexual Erasure in the LGBTQ Community


Q: Beyond Sexual Identity

A for Allies

Diverse Controversies

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Amber Hollibaugh, “Queers without Money: They Are Everywhere. But We Refuse to See Them”

John Aravosis, “How Did the T Get in LGBT?”

Susan Stryker, “Why the T in LGBT Is Here to Stay”

Chapter 7. Intersectionalities
The “Down Low” and Applied Intersectional Theory

Women, Class, and Internationality

Tools for Intersectional Analysis

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Kathy Y. Wilson, “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”

Richard Thompson Ford, “What’s Queer about Race?”

Sonnet Gabbard, “Preserving the Nation: Transitional Serbia, the European Union, and Homophobia”

SECTION III: Representations
Chapter 8: Queer Literatures
Whitman and His Descendants

Oscar Wilde

Radclyffe Hall

Lesbian Pulp Novels

Gay Male Pulp Novels

Transgender Novels

Emerging Queer Literary Voices

Queering Books for Young People

Queer Literature: Global Disruptions

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Walt Whitman, “We Two Boys Together Clinging”

Michael Field, “Sometimes I Do Despatch My Heart" and "It Was Deep April"

Edward Carpenter, “Love’s Vision”

Langston Hughes, “I, Too, Sing America”

Judy Grahn, “A History of Lesbianism”

June Jordan, “Poem about My Rights”

Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks”

Ann Bannon, from I Am a Woman

Chapter 9. Visual and Performing Arts
Visualizing the Homoerotic

The Expatriates

Physique Magazines

Fine Art: From the Beautiful to the Political

Backlash Against Queer Art

Performing Queer: Theater

Art and Consumerism

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Steven C. Dubin, from “Art’s Enemies: Censors to the Right of Me, Censors to the Left of Me”

Chapter 10. Film and Television
Visibility and Representation

Varieties of Queerness in Contemporary Film

Fire and Carol

Small-Screen Queers

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Maria Pramaggiore, "Fishing for Girls: Romancing Lesbians in New Queer Cinema"

Kara Keeling, "'Joining the Lesbians': Cinematic Regimes of Black Lesbian Visibility"

Gayatri Gopinath, from "Local Sites/Global Contexts: The Transnational Trajectories of Fire and 'The Quilt'"

Chapter 11. Queers and the Internet
Queer Social Networking

Internet Censorship and Corporatization

Internet Activism

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Andil Gosine, “Brown to Blond at Passing White in Queer Cyberspace”

Uttarika Kumaran, “Disabled, Gay, and as Normal as You”

Chapter 12. Queer Cultures: Alternative Media and the Search for Queer Space
Documentary Films

Film and Music Festivals

Queer Music

LGBTQ Journalism: Magazines, Newspapers, and Comics

Many Journeys, Many Homes

Questions for Discussion

References and Further Reading

Michael Sibalis, from “Urban Space and Homosexuality: The Example of the Marais, Paris’ ‘Gay Ghetto’”

Sergio Arguello, “They Were Here First: LGBTQ Seniors in Los Angeles”

About the Authors

"Finding Out is an excellent and much-needed overview of LBGTQ studies, providing a thorough history and evocative readings reflecting a variety of perspectives and experiences." 

Brecken Chinn
Curry College

“Great introductory book that gives equal weight to historical and contemporary topics”

Parandeh Kia
Clarion University of Pennsylvania

 “I can’t remember ever enjoying reading a textbook so much since I was a graduate student. "

Teresa Sabourin
University of Cincinnati

"…The information and history provided in [Finding Out] are unlike anything I’ve had the opportunity to read. Queer history is so often completely ignored in schools, so this really gives me an opportunity to talk about where we’ve been, and where we’re going, and hopefully encourage our students to get out from behind their computers and help to continue making change for the LGBT community!"

Lynn Zlotkowski
Curry College

"Only introductory textbook for LGBT studies AND it covers a good range of topics, quality of scholarship is good, and has some good primary source readings; students in an introductory, general education course find it both accessible and interesting."

Diana L Swanson
Northern Illinois University
Key features


  • A completely reorganized structure brings together important discussions of history, politics, culture, and representations of LGBTQ people in a coherent and intellectually stimulating fashion.
  • Thoroughly updated content includes recent and relevant historical, political, social, and cultural developments, issues, and research, particularly focusing on national and international developments in the last four years.
  • Expanded discussions and enhanced analyses of key topics and theories, including queer theory, offer a robust exploration of the field.
  • Comprehensive overviews of current, important issues in LGBTQ studies present a more complete introduction to LGBTQ studies.


  • Context—taken from history, literature and the arts, media, politics, and more—provides a framework for student understanding.
  • An accessible writing style and carefully structured textual material give readers an easy-to-understand introduction to an otherwise complex emerging field of study.
  • Lambda Links connect chapter topics to similar content in another chapter to help facilitate analysis and discussion.
  • A collection of primary source readings within each chapter strengthen foundational concepts and contextualize key topics—all related to LGBTQ rights and issues.
  •  "Find Out More" boxes direct readers to relevant studies and information within each chapter.
  • Discussion questions and suggestions for further reading encourage readers to continue their own exploration of the many contexts in which same-sex desires and gender variance exist.
  • Boldfaced terms in each chapter are defined in the glossary to ensure readers accurately understand and know how to appropriately use common LGBTQ terms.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506337401