Document Type


Publication Date

September 2017


Purpose – Social justice themes permeate the social studies, history, civics, and current events curricula. Thepurpose of this paper is to examine how non-fiction trade books represented lesbian, gay, bisexual,transsexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and issues.Design/methodology/approach – Trade books published after 2000 and intended for middle grades (5-8)and high school (9-12) students were analyzed.Findings – Findings included main characters’ demography, sexuality, and various ancillary elements, suchas connection to LGBTQ community, interactions with non-LGBTQ individuals, the challenges and contestedterrain that LGBTQ individuals must traverse, and a range of responses to these challenges. Publication date,intended audience, and subgenre of non-fiction – specifically, memoir, expository, and historical text – addednuance to findings. Viewed broadly, the books generally engaged in exceptionalism, a historicalmisrepresentation, of one singular character who was a gay or lesbian white American. Diverse sexualities,races, ethnicities, and contexts were largely absent. Complex resistance structures were frequent and detailed.Originality/value – This research contributes to previous scholarship exploring LGBTQ-themed fiction forsecondary students and close readings of secondary level non-fiction trade books.