Skip to Main Content
Ask A Librarian HoursLibrary CatalogArticle Databases RESEARCH SERVICESHELPINFORMATION FOR...

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Marshall: Queer Studies

Introduction and Overview

Letter QThis guide is designed to introduce Marshall students to queer studies in its academic and cultural contexts. In this guide's pages (see the pull down menu), you’ll find information ranging from queer studies' historical foundations to its theoretical output to  contemporary culture and queer media studies. One of the field’s foundational scholars, Eve Sedgwick, famously defined queer studies as “the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone's gender, of anyone's sexuality aren't made (or can't be made) to signify monolithically.” We hope this guide builds on Sedgwick’s perceptive words: in its pages, we attempt to highlight the field’s openness, broadness, and, in effect, its constant sense of possibility.

Note: As queer studies has developed, one persistent concern is its title: does “queer” work as an umbrella term? While this guide’s creators certainly understand the many complications of the term (see this blog post from Duke University for an insightful discussion), we’ve chosen to use “queer” because of the term’s significant history in academic inquiry. Queer Studies, as Isaac N. West explains, is “indebted to and conversant with critical race, feminist, and lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender studies.” In other words, queer studies is broad and connected—it is in productive conversation with a variety of academic disciplines. Such is our goal with this guide: we hope to open a variety of academic conversations and to connect with many disciplinary fields.  Welcome!!

Important Figures in Queer Studies

George Takei in tux at HRC Gala

George Takei

George Takei at 2014 HRC gala in LA by Greg Hernandez- Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer in 2010 by David Shankbone- Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Laverne Cox in red dress

Laverne Cox

Cox at the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards: by Greg Hernandez- Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Jazz Jennings cheering in a convertible in NYC Pride Parade

Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings at NYC Pride Parade in 2016 by Steven Pisano- Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk filling in for Mayor Moscone for a day March 7, 1978 by Daniel Nicoletta- Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres by Tulane Public Relations- Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae at Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019 by Myles Kalus Anak Jihem Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons at PaleyFest 2013 for the TV show "Big Bang Theory" by iDominick Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0


RuPaul and his Pit Crew at DragCon 2019 by dvsross Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Billy Porter

Billy Porter in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2017 by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue- Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Sally Ride

1979 NASA portrait of astronaut Sally Ride

Sir Elton John

Ambassador Barzun, Sir Elton John, David Furnish & Brooke Barzun at the AIDS/PEPFAR reception with the Elton John Foundation at Winfield House. © U.S. Embassy London

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart at the Cannes Festival by Georges Biard Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0



Sir Ian McKellan

Ian McKellen at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International by Gage Skidmore Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean holds his microphone out to the crowd while performing at Coachella 2012 by david_hwang Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X back stage at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019 by fabebk Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 

Kate McKinnon

Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon in an interview for ColliderVideo in 2018 by ColliderVideo Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Anderson Cooper



71st Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon Waldorf=Astoria Hotel

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Dan Savage

Sex advice columnist, journalist, and newspaper editor Dan Savage provided by Dan Savage Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Sam Smith

Sam Smith at  Lollapalooza 2015 by © Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen (1954) by Maurice Seymour, New York

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin at news briefing on the Civil Rights March on Washington in the Statler Hotel, half-length portrait, seated at table by Warren K. Leffler

Billie Jean King

By King Enterprises 

Gilbert Baker

Hi-res image of activist and designer of the Pride flag Gilbert Baker - photographed in the Castro during SF Pride 2012 by Gareth Watkins Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Peter Staley

American AIDS Activist

David France

David France and Joy Tomchin accept the Peabody Award for "How to Survive a Plague" by Peabody Awards Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Randy Shilts

Randy Shilts, 1987. Credit: Scott Sommerdorf / San Francisco Chronicle / Polaris / Randy Shilts Papers, Hormel LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Edie Windsor

Edie Windsor at DC Pride 2017 by Rex Block Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication

Michael Sam

Fans flock senior defensive end Michael Sam as he carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after the win vs Texas A&M by Marcus Qwertyus CC BY-SA 3.0

Lena Waithe

Lena Waithe speaking at the 2018 WonderCon in Anaheim, California by Gage Skidmore Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Janet Mock

Taken in Manhattan on February 12th, 2012 by Juston Smith Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae at Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019 by Myles Kalus Anak Jihem Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris at a ceremony for Harris to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in September 2011 by Angela George Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne shows her fantastic L.A. Home to Architectural Digest in one more episode of "Open Door".
Originally uploaded by Architectural Digest on 22 June 2021, later reloaded by VOGUE Taiwan.Creative Commons Attribution 3.0


Halsey at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles California - Photo by Glenn Francis of Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0