Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Gender Studies

The study of gender as a fundamental category of social and cultural analysis.


Welcome to the Gender Studies subject guide for Indiana University Bloomington

We're glad you're here. This guide contains information and resources pertaining to the field of gender studies. Here you'll find featured content, new titles, instructional support information, research tips, and curated, subject-specific resources for performing research in gender studies. You will also find a list of campus & community resources for women and LGBTQ+ people.

The subject specialist and collection manager for this area is nicholae cline. If you would like to contact them, please use the profile box located on the left-hand side of this page. If you would like to request a purchase for our collections, you can use this form.

About Gender Studies

The study of gender as a fundamental category of social and cultural analysis, while also considering the intersection of gender with other substantive categories of identity, including sexuality, race, religion, class, disability, and nationality. Gender studies encourages scholars to think beyond common sense accounts of gender to examine its complex construction in a range of historical epochs, cultural arenas, and global processes. The field of gender studies utilizes a wide variety of innovative approaches and methodologies, broad in reach, yet unified through a critical angle of vision.

To learn more about the IU Department of Gender Studies, visit their website.

Featured | Spotlight on Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA Peoples

This page provides suggested resources (books, video & film, articles & databases) relevant to Two-Spirit Identity and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) Indigenous Identity.

The term Two-Spirit (2S, 2Spirit, Two Spirit, Twospirited) was coined in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg. The term is a pan-Indian, umbrella term used by a number of Indigenous Native Americans to describe Native Peoples who fulfill traditional third-gender or variant-gender roles in their communities and cultures. The term is generally accepted but faces controversy from critics who consider it as reinforcing western notions of binary gender or attempting to erase terms that already exist in traditional communities for gender-variant members. 

Acceptance, treatment, status, and rights of LGBTQIA Indigenous peoples and Two-Spirit individuals have varied historically. Contemporary understandings of Two-Spirit identity and what it means to be Indigenous and LGBTQIA vary greatly from tribe to tribe. We hope the resources collected in these pages will help readers gain a nuanced understanding of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA Indigenous Identity. 

In his talk, Nick Metcalf gives insight into his experiences being a two spirit, and explains why gender fluidity is necessary in today’s world.

About the Playlist
This mix features two-spirit and other Indigenous LGBTQIA and nonbinary/transgender artists from across Turtle Island, as well as other parts of the world. A work in progress, we welcome suggestions for artists from these groups for inclusion.

Note: To enjoy the playlist in full, click on the white Spotify icon in the upper-right corner of the playlist, and press the "like" (♡) button in the application to save.

To learn more about the artists and communities represented in this playlist, check out some of the resources we consulted:

Further Reading & Resources

Next Steps
If you'd like to learn more about this month-long celebration of Indigenous communities and identity, we've created a guide with list of resources, as well as a playlist featuring Indigenous musicians, on the Media Studies Research Guide. There is also an overview of Indigenous Philosophy on the Philosophy Research Guide. 

For more information about the Indigenous communities with ongoing and traditional ties to this land, and how to support Indigenous groups and movements, take a look at our Land Acknowledgment and Local Indigenous Resources guide.






Featured Videos

"In this series for News Talk Radio's Meeting Ground we take the journey of indigenous gender identity tracing gender diverse First Nations people (or Two-Spirit) through their lives pre contact and then after residential schools. We learn what that journey means for the future of Two-Spirit people on Turtle Island today." – Kelly Malone


"In this webinar, three indigenous community leaders discuss their work and how it benefits the communities in which they live. They focus on how their identity as Two Spirits has influenced their activism, art, scholarly work, and vision. The webinar is presented by Rep. Susan Allen, LaDonna BlueEye, and Isaiah Brokenleg, and moderated by Sharon M. Day." - SAMHSA


Feature Films

Short Films

  • Aviliaq:Entwined - Short film by Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, as part of the Embargo Project. In the 1950s, two Inuit women attempt to protect their relationship when pressure from their new colonial culture forces them to marry men.
  • "I Still Believe" - Short film by Raven Davis about love, hope and wonder
  • "It's Not Your Fault" - Short movie by Raven Davis about the violence of online comments made towards Indigenous people, specifically Indigenous Women, children and 2 Spirit people. Bringing attention to the negligence of online/social media outlets allowing hate speech in Canada.
  • Kent Monkman Studios - compilation of short films on YouTube from Kent Monkman (also known as Miss Chief Eagle Testickle), a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry working in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance and installation.
  • "Mars-Womb-Man" - short film by James Diamond. Man from Venus (super 8, 4 min, 1998) meets Mars Womb-Man. She's an answer without a question and he a question without answer. A sustainable foreground emerges only when they forge paths. A motion portrait where opposites distract and the peripheral rule is born.
  • "Meskanahk (My Path)" - 'Meskanahk' is a video narrative of a young 'half-breed' man's journey off a Cree reserve. This video highlights the motivations that progressed his journey and the questions, regrets and fears raised on his path from childhood to adulthood. 'Meskanahk' chronicles the plight of this young man's fears of being in situations where he was always labeled as an: 'other', and how this had propelled him to run from situation to situation. In the end, when this young man stops running, he wonders if his parents hate him for having run away.
  • The Misadventures of Pussy Boy - series of animated shorts by Alec Butler, featuring Alick, a trans/2spirit/intersex teen, going on various misadventures
  • Thirza Cuthand - collection of short films by queer transgender Plains Cree artist TJ Cuthand
  • Two-Spirit & Queer (NFB) - Collection of films by Indigenous two-spirit and queer filmmakers, from the National Film Board of Canada

Other Online Videos

  • 21st International Two Spirit Gathering Powwow - footage is of the Grand Entry of the 21 International Two-Spirit Gathering held at Aspen Lodge in Estes Park Colorado, for the Two-Spirit Society of Denver
  • As They Are: Two-Spirit People in the Modern World - 20 minute film by Mike Garrido and Tarek Tohme featuring Elton Naswood (Navajo), Ben Lucero Wolf (Kiowa), and Richard Eric Dearmore (Paiute)
  • C2C: Two Spirit and Queer People of Colour Conference - C2C: Two Spirit & Queer People of Colour Call to Conversation with LGBT & Allies" met from Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22, 2017 at The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba. C2C was hosted by the University of Winnipeg (UW) in partnership with Two-Spirit People of Manitoba and QTPOC Winnipeg
  • The Candy Show - The Candy Show is a National variety TV series featuring the Aboriginal Comedian Candy Palmater and her music guest and a Performing artist on each episode.
  • Ma-Nee Chacaby talks about Two Spirit identities - Author and Indigenous elder Ma-Nee Chacaby talks about Two Spirit identities
  • Our Families: LGBT / Two Spirit Native American Stories - We all go through some of the same struggles: we struggle to access healthy food, quality education, and affordable healthcare. These struggles affect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) families of color in very unique ways. This Our Families video features Native LGBT/Two Spirit families sharing their personal stories of struggle, acceptance, and family.
  • Queer Profiles: Alec Butler (Cathexis LGBTQ Oral History) - In this fascinating interview, award-winning filmmaker, playwright and 2spirit/trans/intersex activist Alec Butler shares his story of growing up queer in Cape Breton and being drawn to art as a way of getting through decades of questioning his identity and gender.
  • Two Spirit  (Injunuity) - Two Spirit: A person of First Nations or Native American descent possessing both a male and female spirit. An umbrella term used to describe the fluidity of First Nations/Native American gender identity and sexuality with respect to traditional tribal roles. Featuring: Mica Valdez (Mexica), Nazbah Tom (Navajo/Diné), Arlando Teller (Navajo/Diné), Charlie Ballard (Anishinaabe, Sac & fox), Esther Lucero (Navajo/Diné).
  • Two Spirit People - An overview of historical and contemporary Native American concepts of gender, sexuality and sexual orientation. This documentary explores the berdache tradition in Native American culture, in which individuals who embody feminine and masculine qualities act as a conduit between the physical and spiritual world, and because of this are placed in positions of power within the community.

Streaming Resources

Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA Drag Artists

Academic Texts

Selected Scholarly Articles

Suggested Keywords for database searches relating to Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous* identity: 
*while there is some overlap and commonalities in understandings of gender and sexuality across groups, when doing research relevant to Indigenous identities, it is always best practice to search using the names of individual tribes, nations, and communities when possible




First Nations


POC (people of color)

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color)










Sexual Orientation

Two-spirit (sometimes "two spirit", "two spirited" or "two-spirited")




Gender Studies
















Relevant Databases

Online Resources
Selection of resources freely available online

Lists of Resources & Readings
Lists of recommended titles from online sources

Featured | Spotlight on Disability Studies

A group of activists, including Judy Heumann (center, with yellow stockings) protest for the enforcement of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, in April of 1977Introduction
Throughout history, communities of disabled, neurodiverse, crip, and sick people have been overlooked and oversimplified in academic conversations. Disability activism and political movements carved out a space for addressing ableism in research and academia; as a result, disability studies has emerged. Disability studies is an interdisciplinary field that explores disabled identities in the humanities and social sciences. For this spotlight on disability studies, we include neurodiverse, crip, and sick identities in our definition of disability. 

To read more about disability language and the use of "crip," enjoy this article by Dean Strauss: "Queer Crips: Reclaiming Language," and Brittany Wong's Huffington Post article "It's Perfectly OK to call a Disabled Person 'Disabled,' And Here's Why."

We also recommend the following resources that helped with this feature:

Resources for Further Exploration
A selection of articles, online compilations, and other resources relevant to disability studies

Next Steps
The following features also cover topics of disability studies:

Image Description: A group of activists, including Judy Heumann (center, with yellow stockings) protest for the enforcement of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, in April of 1977. Later that month, the protesters would occupy a federal building in San Francisco in protest in a sit-in that lasted more than 25 days. Photo by Wally McNamee / CORBIS / via Getty Images


Journal Articles

Study Resources

New Titles in Gender Studies

Medieval Women and War

For the first time, Sophie Harwood uses the Old French tradition as a lens through which to examine women and warfare from the 12th to the 14th centuries. The result is a skilled analysis of gender roles in the medieval era, and a heightened awareness of how important literary texts are to our understanding of the historical period in which they circulated. Structured around five pivotal female types - women cited as causes for violence, women as victims of violence, women as ancillaries to warriors, women as warriors themselves, and women as political influences - this important book unpicks gendered boundaries to shed new light on the social, political and military structures of warfare as well as adding nuance to current debates on womanhood in the middle ages.

Like a Boy but Not a Boy

A revelatory book about gender, mental illness, parenting, mortality, bike mechanics, work, class, and the task of living in a body. Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett's experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book's fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through trueing a wheel). With thoughtfulness and acute observation, andrea bennett reveals intimate truths about the human experience, whether one is outside the gender binary or not.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History- Critical Readings is an authoritative four-volume survey of the seminal essays on the subject from the last half century. It traces both the intellectual arc and larger theoretical implications of the field, including Queer Theory, which emerged from this scholarship in the early 1990s. Edited by Michael Bronski, a world-renowned, leading scholar in the field, the four volumes cover theory, the pre-modern period, the modern era and contemporary times. This is an essential resource for all scholars interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and LGBT studies more generally.

Gender Variances and Sexual Diversity in the Caribbean

Gender Variances and Sexual Diversity in the Caribbean: Perspectives, Histories, Experiences is a collection of critical perspectives on fundamental questions of how sexual orientation and gender in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean are conceived, studied, discoursed and experienced. Bringing together and updating existing and in-progress scholarly work on minority genders and sexualities in the region, this collection seeks to provide a fresh set of lenses through which to examine the issues affecting people in the Caribbean who fall outside the traditional binary categories of heterosexual males or heterosexual females.

Gender Politics at Home and Abroad

Hyaeweol Choi examines the formation of modern gender relations in Korea from a transnational perspective. Diverging from a conventional understanding of 'secularization' as a defining feature of modernity, Choi argues that Protestant Christianity, introduced to Korea in the late nineteenth century, was crucial in shaping modern gender ideology, reforming domestic practices and claiming new space for women in the public sphere. By placing gender and religion at the center of the analysis, Choi shows that the development of modern gender relations was rooted in the transnational experience of Koreans and not in a simple nexus of the colonizer and the colonized.

Feminist Connections

Feminist Connections: Rhetoric and Activism across Time, Space, and Place reconsiders feminist rhetorical strategies as linked, intergenerational, and surprisingly consistent despite the emergence of new forms of media and intersectional considerations. Contributors to this volume highlight continuities in feminist rhetorical practices that are often invisible to scholars, obscured by time, new media, and wildly different cultural, political, and social contexts. Thus, this collection takes a nonchronological approach to the study of feminist rhetoric, grouping chapters by rhetorical practice rather than time, content, or choice of media.

Feminism Backwards

Feminism Backwards is part memoir, part documentary. A founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement Rosita Sweetman gleefully recalls the triumphs – and the tribulations – of trying to drag a reluctant Ireland into the 20th Century, crucially, re-appraising Chains or Change the IWLM’s famous pamphlet, detailing what life was like for women in 1970s Ireland - appalling.
Feminism Backwards is also a howl of despair at how women have been treated worldwide down through the centuries, and how misogyny and sexual repression got such a stranglehold on Ireland.

The Double X Economy

In The Double X Economy, Scott argues on the strength of hard data and on-the-ground experience that removing those barriers to women's success is a win for everyone, regardless of gender. As Scott takes us from the streets of Accra, where sex trafficking is widespread, to American business schools, where women are routinely patronized, the pervasiveness of the Double X Economy becomes glaringly obvious. But Scott believes that this rampant problem can be solved. She proposes concrete actions and urges her readers to rise up and join the global movement for women's economic empowerment that is gaining momentum by the day.

Disability and the Victorians

Disability and the Victorians brings together in one collection a range of topics, perspectives and experiences from the Victorian era that present a unique overview of the development and impact of attitudes and interventions towards those with impairments during this time. The collection also considers how the legacies of these actions can be seen to have continued throughout the twentieth century right up to the present day. Subjects addressed include deafness, blindness, language delay, substance dependency, imperialism and the representation of disabled characters in popular fiction. These varied topics illustrate how common themes can be found in how Victorian philanthropists and administrators responded to those under their care.

A Cultural History of Marriage

How have ideas of marriage evolved in Western culture? How has its influence changed, and been shaped by its social and cultural conditions? In a work that spans 2,500 years, these ambitious questions are addressed by 48 experts, each contributing their overview of a theme applied to a period in history. The volumes describe the role of marriage, its contributions to society, and how it engages with matters of religion, law, society and love.

All Gender Studies Guides

Contributors' Notes

Brett Hoffman (they/them) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant, 2019-'21

Wendy Lee Spaček (she/her) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant, 2019-'21

McLain Chadsey (he/him) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant, 2021-'22

Jo Otremba (they/them) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant, 2022-present