LGBTQ+ Rights: New Database Added to the Social Justice Suite


In honor of International Pride Day, we’re proud to present the LGBTQ+ Rights database, the newest addition to the perpetually free Social Justice Suite. This collection consists of materials relating to the gay rights movement in America from 1950 until present day, including an interactive timeline, as well as subject-coded court cases, scholarly articles, books, pamphlets, reports, and more.

Understanding LGBTQ+ Rights

LGBTQ people have lived, loved, and thrived since humans first evolved. Written records of homosexuality, both thinly veiled and explicit, exist in all ancient civilizations, with the amount of openness afforded to homosexual, bisexual, and gender-nonconforming individuals varying from culture to culture. In Europe, persecutions of LGBTQ persons in a wide-spread, sustained way rose sharply during the Middle Ages (c. 500–1500), increasing during the Renaissance (c. 1300–1600), largely through the efforts and influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Sodomy was illegal in America almost from its establishment; Thomas Jefferson proposed castration as an appropriate punishment.

Societal attitudes towards LGBTQ persons underwent rapid change throughout the end of the 20th century, ushered in alongside the sexual revolution of the 1960s. For decades, the great aim of the gay rights movement was to secure the right to marry and solemnize their relationships with the same legal protections afforded to heterosexual couples. Same-sex marriage was declared a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court in 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges. In 2020, LGBTQ persons were granted protection from discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. However, the full integration of LGBTQ people into American life remains tenuous and debated. According to the latest data from the FBI, 1,656 people were the victims of a hate crime in 2019 because of either their sexual orientation or gender identity.

About the LGBTQ+ Rights Database

To continue honoring its core value of corporate citizenship, HeinOnline presents its newest addition to the Social Justice SuiteLGBTQ+ Rights. This collection 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. All titles in this collection have been assigned one or more title-level subjects relating to their scope, and are further divided into six subcollections, whose areas of focus constitute Marriage and FamilyEmployment DiscriminationMilitary ServiceAIDS and Health Care, and Public Spaces and Accommodations. A separate subcollection, Historical Attitudes and Analysis, presents books, pamphlets, reports, and more that some researchers may find offensive: viewpoints expressed in these items range from the cause of homosexuality and its alleged cures to the “problems” LGBTQ persons create in society. These items are not presented to endorse their viewpoints. They are included because to understand our present—how far we have come, the obstacles that were overcome, and those that still exist today—one must fully acknowledge the reality of our past, no matter how ugly, dangerous, or offensive it may be.

This collection is rounded out by a curated list of Scholarly Articles selected by Hein editors, as well as a Bibliography of titles to launch your research outside of HeinOnline. Finally, an interactive timeline, incorporating documents from HeinOnline with other media from around the internet, plots out an overview of LGBTQ rights in America from 1950 to the present day, helping to demonstrate the relevancy of the content within the database to the real-world events to which they are connected.

Subject Coverage in the Database

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. These subjects include:

  • Conversion Therapy and Pseudoscience
  • Criminalization of Sex
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
  • Gender Roles and Identities
  • LGBTQ Athletes
  • LGBTQ Military Service
  • LGBTQ Pride and Visibility
  • LGBTQ Rights in International Law
  • LGBTQ Students
  • Religion and the LGBT Community
  • Same-Sex Adoption and Parenting
  • Same-Sex Marriage
  • Supreme Court Cases
  • Violence and Hate Crimes
  • Workplace Protections and Discrimination

Database Content and Features

Content within this database is grouped into the following six areas of focus:

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.

Employment Discrimination

In this subcollection, you’ll find titles focused on discrimination faced by LGBTQ people in the workplace. Prior to 2020, there were no federal-level protections for LGBTQ employees.

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. Nearly 1.2 million Americans have HIV.

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.

Public Space and Society

Within this subcollection, users can find titles on religious discrimination against LGBTQ people, issues facing LGBTQ students in public schools, violence committed against LGBTQ people, and other issues.

Historical Attitudes & 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.

Interactive 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).
  3. The arrows will take users ahead or backwards 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.

About HeinOnline’s Social Justice Suite

Free of charge to HeinOnline Core subscribers and any interested organizations.

To honor our core value of corporate citizenship, Hein offers five of its databases free of charge to its core American and international subscribers, and to the libraries of any other interested organizations or institutions. Our cataloging partner, Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc., also offers free MARC records for all of these databases, which are available upon request.*

The Social Justice Suite consists of the following resources:

Watch this short video to learn more about the Social Justice Suite:

Registering for free access to any one of these databases will provide complimentary access to the entire suite. We hope that in making these materials accessible to all, we can help foster knowledge, facilitate civil discourse, and encourage action for the betterment of our nation.

Free MARC Records for the Social Justice Suite

Our official cataloguing partner, Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc., has made MARC Records available for these five databases at no additional charge to you.*

These robust records contain multiple access points of metadata including title, variant titles, author, editors, compilers, series notes, contents, and best of all, a one-click URL to take your users directly to the content. These are the same high-quality records utilized for all HeinOnline databases and for Cassidy print publications.

This valuable tool will be delivered in two .mrc files that are easily loaded into any ILS or discovery platform that accepts MARC records. Near the end of the year, Cassidy Cataloguing Services will offer an update file of records for newly added titles. They will also alert you if any records should be deleted for any reason.

For HeinOnline’s newest LGBTQ+ Rights database, Cassidy is pleased to offer optional homosaurus subject headings, in addition to Library of Congress subject headings.

*Please note, the initial archive file of the MARC Records will be provided at no additional cost. If you would like to continue receiving updates of records for these databases, Cassidy charges a small annual fee.

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