The Gay Librarian: A Comparative Analysis of Attitudes Towards Professional Gender Issues

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James V. Carmichael, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Librarianship is a feminized profession, and like teaching, nursing, and social work with which it shares the occupational traits of a “semi-profession,” its low status and prestige have been attributed to a negative feminine image. To date, discussion of a corresponding male librarian image, general male issues, and the broader topic of gender issues has been minimal within the profession, while serious discussion of gay male librarians and their professional identity has been virtually nil. This study compares the responses of straight and self-identified gay males to an exploratory survey of male members of the American Library Association. The topics covered by the survey include reasons for entry into the field, the existence and identity of a male librarian stereotype, and gender issues generally, including gender stratification of work and sexual discrimination and/or harassment. Self-identified gay subjects share many characteristics in common with the straight cohort, including the identification of a gay male stereotype and some denial surrounding gender equity issues. On the other hand, the tentative findings of this exploratory study raise the question of whether both gay and straight male subjects overestimate the number of gay men in librarianship. The report concludes with an update on gay issues within the profession since the survey was completed, and recommendations for further research.

Additional Information

Journal of Homosexuality 30 (2) 1995: 11-57.
Language: English
Date: 1996
Librarians, Librarianship, Professional image, Gender issues, Homosexuality, Gay men

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