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The Dictionary of Homophobia - A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience

The Dictionary of Homophobia

A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience

Edited by Louis-Georges Tin
Translated by Marek Redburn
Categories: LGBTQ+, Lesbian Literature, Cultural Studies, Social Issues, Gay Literature, History
Hardcover : 9781551522296, 496 pages, 2008
Read Excerpt (PDF)


Based on the work of seventy researchers in fifteen countries, The Dictionary of Homophobia is a mammoth, encyclopedic book that documents the history of homosexuality, and various cultural responses to it, in all regions of the world: a masterful, engaged, and wholly relevant study that traces the political and social emancipation of a culture.

The book is the first English translation of Dictionnaire de L'Homophobie, published in France in 2003 to world-wide acclaim. The Dictionary includes over 175 essays on various aspects of gay rights and homophobia as experienced in all regions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific, from the earliest epochs to present day. Subjects include religious and ideological forces such as the Bible, Communism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam; historical events such as AIDS and Stonewall, personalities such as J. Edgar Hoover, Matthew Shepard, Oscar Wilde, Pat Buchanan, Joseph McCarthy, Pope John Paul II, and Anita Bryant; and other topics such as coming out, adoption, deportation, ex-gays, lesbiphobia, and bi-phobia.

In a country where gay marriage, while legalized, remains a hot-button political issue, and in a world where adults and even teens are still being executed by authorities for the "crime" of homosexuality, The Dictionary of Homophobia is a both a revealing and necessary history lesson for us all.


More than 70 scholars contributed 160 mini-essays to this wide-ranging survey of where and how in the world homophobia continues to resonate. It's an invaluable eye-opener for North American-centric queer activists who believe that many battles have been won. Originally published in France in 2003, this ambitious translation from a small Canadian press is an honorable achievement.
-Richard Labonte, Book Marks ("Top Ten Non-Fiction Books of the Year")

- Book Marks

This groundbreaking compilation by the organizer of the first International Day Against Homophobia is enlightening about the legal, political, and social weapons used against gay and lesbian liberation around the world.
-The Advocate

- The Advocate

Knowledge truly is power, and The Dictionary of Homophobia is an important resource in gaining that power. It is also a well-documented look into our often-neglected history and an essential reference book for anyone with an interest in human rights, both past and present.
-Outlooks magazine

- Outlooks

Exhaustive, informative, and at times, sad and frightening.
-Uptown (Winnipeg)

- Uptown

This comprehensive resource illuminates not only gay and lesbian experience, but also the psychology of homophobia as it manifests on individual and societal scales. Required reading across this continent.
-The Tyee

- The Tyee

Highly informative and cleverly presented.
-Bay Windows

- Bay Windows

The Dictionary of Homophobia is indispensible.
-Paul Bellini, fab

- fab

This brand new and updated English language translation will instantly impress readers with its scope and insight. ... Modernizing the "critical dictionary," a kind of philosophical exercise popularized centuries ago by Voltaire, The Dictionary of Homophobia encourages readers to immerse themselves in the subject in diverse ways.
-Xtra! West

- Xtra! West

The Dictionary of Homophobia is the best book on gay history ever written. .... Knowledge is power. And in a world where homosexuality is all too often a crime, this book is the weapon we need.
-InsightOut Book Club

- InsightOut Book Club

The book provides excellent coverage of LGBT issues around the world. ... This is a very accessible work.
-The Patriot Spot, University of Texas Tyler Robert R. Muntz Library blog

- The Patriot Spot

A rich, rewarding, enlightening, and often entertaining read that belongs on the bookshelf of every sentient, self-respecting queer. ... The Dictionary of Homophobia is so sweeping in its scope that one can dip into it again and again and learn something, or confront an idea in which even the most well-read queer will find fresh intellectual nourishment and historical illumination.
-Gay City News

- Gay City News

It is comprehensive, well-documented, and often reads like a conversation -- an intelligent, informed, necessary conversation. ... Strongly recommended.
-GLBT Roundtable Newsletter

- GLBT Roundtable Newsletter

It's a testament to how far gays and lesbians have come that this new Dictionary of Homophobia isn't really a dictionary at all. Every entry is a provocative opening up into a larger arena of public or socio-political discourse. ... This book has scope and detail and enough wow-worthy moments to make for enthralling bedside reading. A decade ago, Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia was the final word on queer culture; The Dictionary of Homophobia, with its witty, literate sensibility, is today's definitive document on the subject.
-Chris DeVito, CD Syndicated

- Chris DeVito

It's a comprehensive encyclopedia, the articles often running to several pages and dovetailing history, cultural studies and queer theory. ... The book shows that it's as much about our hidden (or wide open) acts of liberation over the centuries as it is about the seething moralists, whether they rule the playground or the Vatican.

- Xtra!

Dust off those old World Book Encyclopedias and slide over the Britannicas. A new reference tome is in town. The Dictionary of Homophobia isn't a "how-to" guidebook for homophobes but rather an exhaustive compendium of the history, geography and philosophy of anti-gay fear, hatred and prejudice over the ages. Seventy-six writers contributed to this massive effort, edited by Louis-Georges Tin and now translated into English. ...With the same thirst for knowledge that makes illustrated atlases an appealing read on a rainy day, this hardcover edition would be a welcome addition to any school library where it will provide assistance to bookish LGBT youth in resisting the bullying educational atmosphere where shame is first learned.
-Winnipeg Free Press

- Winnipeg Free Press

Thorough and informative. ... A very interesting way to organize queer history.
-Outwords (Winnipeg)

- Outwords

Originally published in France in 2003 and now updated and translated into English by the firebrand Canadian publisher Arsenal Pulp Press, The Dictionary of Homophobia is a harrowing landmark collection of nearly 200 alphabetically organized essays by scholars from 15 countries. Notable for its broad international and historical scope, the book reaches back across centuries and touches down around the globe. ... The passage of Proposition 8 in California serves as an unfortunate reminder that this hefty tome's title is sadly accurate--for all the progress of the LGBT community in recent years, the global history of our experience to date is overwhelmingly dominated by reprobation. ... This is an important book to share with community members in their teens and twenties who may be unfamiliar with the struggles of prior generations.
-Passport Magazine

- Passport

This first English translation of the Dictionnaire de l'Homophobie, edited by a French gay intellectual and activist, presents a thoughtful consideration of the global condition of gays and lesbians in the intellectual tradition of the classical French enyclopedists. ... The comparative (and often highly detailed) worldwide coverage is a valuable complement to other reference works in LGBT studies.
-Choice Magazine

- Choice

The Dictionary Of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience is already one of the foremost lexicons of gay history. From work compiled by seventy researchers in fifteen countries, this encyclopedia-style text charts gay history by focusing on the exploitation, discrimination, and oppression gays and lesbians have faced throughout time. Translated from the original French text by Louis-Georges Tin this book will certainly inform the study of gay history and queer theory for years to come.


Louis-Georges Tin has put together an intriguing five-hundred-page document that is as fascinating as it is overwhelming in its breadth and detail.... approaching The Dictionary of Homophobia is at once exhilarating, daunting, and endlessly fascinating.
-Michael Bronski, Lambda Book Report

- Lambda Book Report

The first work of its kind.... The book's international scope and acuity make it an invaluable addition to the bookshelf of every reader of French, until some smart American press decides to have it translated.
-Lambda Book Report (on the original French edition)

- Lambda Book Report

An absolute must, and not just for gay people.
-Hour Magazine (Montreal)

- Hour