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Trans Accessible Libraries Initiative

This guide provides practical information and library resources for transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming students, and those interested in trans studies.

What are primary sources?

The "Library of Congress, repository of more primary source collections and more primary source expertise than any other institution in the world… [says]:

Primary sources are original items or records that have survived from the past, such as clothing, letters, photographs, and manuscripts. They were part of a direct personal experience of a time or event.

Other cultural institutions may offer variations on the Library of Congress definition, but all of them list some combination of the following:

  • A record created at the time a historical event occurred.
  • An event described or recorded by someone who either participated in or witnessed it.
  • Information derived from a direct participant.
  • An object created as part of daily life.
  • An artifact or record of its time."

Johnson, Mary. (2009). Primary Source Teaching the Web 2.0 Way. Linwood Publishing, Inc. Worthington, Ohio.

Dallas Voice Bathroom Bill Portal to Texas History

Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 32, No. 50, Ed. 1 Friday, April 22, 2016, newspaper,

And why should I use them in my research?

Primary sources can be invaluable in historical research by providing a snap shot of a particular point in history. Primary sources can help drive your research since they may be an incomplete view of a topic so additional research could be required to get the full story, but that's what makes them so exciting!

Did you know...The University of North Texas Libraries has become a known repository of primary source materials for LGBTQ+ studies through its collections and trained personnel?

But, what's with the out of date terminology?

Gender study is an area that is relatively new and has expanded in the late 20th and early 21st centuries to be broader, more inclusive, and more sensitive to people who identify as non-heterosexual. Be aware that you may need to use terms from past practice to search for information on gender study topics. As with any rapidly evolving research area, the existing research infrastructure may take years to update its taxonomies and terminology to accurately reflect the language as it is currently used.

Example: Transgender people is a subject heading from the Library of Congress; variants of this term include trans-identified people, transgendered people, transgenders, trans people or transpeople, and older works may refer to these people as transsexuals. Transsexual was a medical term for people who needed what was called "sex reassignment surgeries." Some people continue to self-identify as transsexual while many others have abandoned the term because they associate it with medical pathologizing.

Primary Source Discovery Databases

Type your search terms, transgender discrimination, in the text box (highlighted in yellow below), then click the red search button to the right. You can also use the search box on the top right of the page. 

LGBT thought and culture

If you mouse over the See details link below the image of the item, detailed information will appear about the resource including transcript links that will allow you to skip to where your search terms show up.

LGBT Thought and Culture see details

Primary Source Discovery on the Web

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