Note: The information on this page was written in 2008. You may wish to search the internet or the Gould Library website for more recent resources. Carleton’s Gender and Sexuality Center also offers a wealth of resources for students.
All of the books listed below are widely available, and many can be found in Gould Library. In the selection process, emphasis has been placed on books that examine Western constructions of sexuality, foreground cross-cultural interactions, and/or feature the voices of sexual minorities in different local contexts. Some are academic, coming from sociology, anthropology, literary studies, and other disciplines, and some are more casual. In addition, a few examples of gay and lesbian travel guides have been provided.
This list should be taken as provisional — most of these books suggest a wider range of literature that can be discovered by LGBTQ students preparing for study abroad.
- General Resources
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Middle East and North Africa
- Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing, Edited by Raphael Kadushin, 2004.
Avoiding gay travel writing’s trope of touring gay sex hot spots abroad, Wonderlands brings together gay men’s experiences of travel, eroticism, and cross-cultural engagement in a variety of locations. Many of the pieces are written by well-known gay writers like Edmund White, and so the writing will prove to be both informative and enjoyable for LGBTQ travelers. One small criticism is that all of the pieces are by gay male authors, thereby maintaining the historical exclusion of queer women’s voices from conversations about travel.
- The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement, Edited by Barry D. Adam, Jan Willem Duyvendak, and André Krouwel, 1999 (Gould Library).
Like many discussions of LGBTQ politics and social movements, this book primarily focuses on Western queer mobilizations, thereby calling in question its claim of representing a “global emergence of gay and lesbian politics.” Yet its extensive documentation in North America, Europe, Australia, and even South America and Southern Africa will be useful for travelers who want to study or participate in LGBTQ movements while abroad. In addition, readers may gain a sense of the connections between different national movements in terms of ideology and practice.
- Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism, Edited by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé and Martin F. Manalansan IV, 2002 (Gould Library).
Bringing together different scholars of transnational and diasporic queer studies, Queer Globalizations is a great introduction to academia’s and activism’s explorations of Western gay perspectives, corporate globalization and consumption, and queer subjects and resistances in the Two-Thirds world. The book’s language is more specialized and complicated than others in this list, but its arguments are often quite sophisticated and relevant to experiences of LGBTQ travelers. If you’re taking a gay travel guide, don’t leave this book behind!
- Global Sex, By Dennis Altman, 2002 (Gould Library).
From HIV/AIDS to sex work to neoconservative “moral panics,” Altman, an Australian activist who initially wrote about the American gay liberation movement in the 1970s, discusses various issues that have come about with the globalization of sex and sexuality. In particular, he is able to tie sexuality with economic and political processes with examples that are clearer than those used by other writers working in the field of transnational sexuality. LGBTQ student travelers will find a thorough and engaging, if politically cautious introduction to global sex on micro- and macro-levels in this volume.
- Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language, Edited by William L. Leap and Tom Boellstorff, 2004 (Gould Library).
Given that language is a fundamental component of many study abroad programs, it seems that Leap and Boellstorff’s compilation of articles on the negotiations between dominant gay languages and the languages of sexual minorities in different nations would be useful for LGBTQ student travelers. Moreover language is one of the most powerful organizing tools of LGBTQ people in the U.S., making cultural contextualization a valuable process for LGBTQ readers. Falling into the domain of transnational sexuality studies, this book is careful to address questions of mobility, hybridity, hierarchy, and difference.
- Spartacus International Gay Guide 2008, By Bruno Gmunder, 2008.
Probably the most extensive of international gay guides, Spartacus will lead you to all the beaches, clubs, and hotels that offer a friendly atmosphere for LGBTQ travelers. As indicated by its front cover, its major focus is gay men, and it is mostly concerned with well-priced social activities. Nonetheless it will have some useful recommendations for LGBTQ student travelers who want to safely experience some of the social and cultural worlds that different destinations hold.
- Lavender Lodging: A Travel Companion for Women, By Susan Press, 2005.
The majority of gay travel guides focus on resources and advice for gay male travelers, making this guide extremely useful for queer female students going abroad. Enjoying travel safely is particularly difficult for all women travelers, but this guide will lead students to women-owned businesses as well as activities that are welcoming of female travelers. Having some of these resources at hand will make it easier for female LGBTQ student travelers to engage with cross-cultural sexuality.
- Frommer’s Gay and Lesbian Europe, 2003.
Taking a similar focus as the Spartacus guides, this book offers more specific and little-known recommendations for LGBTQ travelers going to Europe, especially those who want to venture away from gay hotspots like Amsterdam. While the guide seems to offer some tips for lesbian travelers, it is sure, like most gay travel guides, to ignore the needs and interests of transgender and intersex travelers. Some sifting and close reading will certainly be necessary!
- Miller, Neil. Out in the World: Gay and Lesbian Life from Buenos Aires to Bangkok. 1992. Pierce, Heather & Carol Wishik. Sexual Orientation and Identity: Heterosexual, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Journeys. 1995.
- Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities, Edited by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, 2001 (Gould Library).
Roscoe and Murray, who are well-known scholars of cross-cultural sexualities, have produced the first thorough compilation of documentation of same-sex sexual practices in scattered parts of the African continent. Countering the myth that these practices either do not exist or are solely Western imports, they use historical documents and contemporary ethnographic information to explore different manifestations of alternative sexualities. A weakness of the book, and of this field more generally, is the lack of African scholarship and/or testimony represented.
- Queering India: Same-Sex Love in Indian Culture and Society, Edited by Ruth Vanita, 2001 (Gould Library).
A revolutionary in speaking about alternative sexuality in Indian cultural expressions and historical contexts, Ruth Vanita here represents different historical and contemporary discussions of queerness in India. Not only are the articles accessible, but the writers come from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Although this book is one of her best, check out the other studies that Vanita has released on these topics.
- Queer Voices from Japan: First Person Narratives From Japan’s Sexual Minorities, Edited by Mark McLelland, Katsuhiko Suganuma, and James Welker, 2007 (Gould Library).
Because first-person testimony is usually absent from studies of transnational sexuality unless under the gaze of anthropology, this collection of narratives and others like it are important to discover in preparing for study abroad. Too often it is assumed that sexual minorities outside of Western nations are completely oppressed and/or invisible, but LGBTQ readers will come away from this book with a more subtle awareness of the situations of sexual minorities in Japan. McLelland has published other books on Japanese sexualities in different historical contexts that may be worth investigating.
- The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China, By Tze-Lan D. Sang, 2003 (Gould Library).
While The Emerging Lesbian is quite historical, reaching as far back as 1600, its ultimate research question is why intimate relationships between women more explicitly entered conversations in the public sphere of twentieth-century. By tying her conclusions to the formation of Chinese modernity, Sang addresses the concern with modernity that is vexing many nations today. Finally, in a field that overwhelmingly privileges sexualities between men, this book is unique in foregrounding female sexualities and their connections with female emancipation and feminist movements.
- Sites of Desire/Economies of Pleasure: Sexualities in Asia and the Pacific, Edited by Lenore Manderson and Margaret Jolly, 1997 (Gould Library).
While other books on this list have focused on East and South Asian nations, Sites of Desire/Economies of Pleasure is especially useful in its coverage of sexualities in Southeast Asian and Oceanic locations like Thailand, the Phillipines, and Papua New Guinea. Participating in and also moving away from anthropological understandings of sexual practices and identities in the Two-Thirds world, the book looks at histories, politics, and economies as well as cultures. Exoticizing fantasies of “the Orient” are taken as a point of departure for the articles.
- Gay and Lesbian Asia: Culture, Identity, and Community, By Gerard Sullivan and Peter A. Jackson, 2001. AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities, By Fran Martin, 2008.
Latin America and Caribbean
- The Night is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS, By Hector Carrillo, 2001.
Amidst a range of books on same-sex sexuality in Mexico that over-generalize and ignore power hierarchies between Western researchers and queer people living in the Two-Thirds world, this book is refreshingly nuanced and contextualized. Carrillo, a Mexican-born ethnographer, looks at configurations of gender and sexuality in Guadalajara as they interact with HIV/AIDS prevention models and strategies. Given the disproportionate prevalence of HIV/AIDS among sexual minorities in many nations of the Two-Thirds world, it will often be important for LGBTQ travelers to use the epidemic as one framework for understanding sexuality abroad.
- Tongues on Fire: Caribbean Lesbian Lives and Stories, Rosamund Elwin, 1997.
Tongues On Fire is unique amidst these books in many respects. Rather than a scholarly study, it compiles the writings and life stories of Caribbean queer women in different locations, thus challenging the andocentrism of portrayals of same-sex sexuality in the Two-Thirds World. Also readers will get some sense of both the Caribbean as a location and as a diaspora with ramifications for sexual practices and identities. Some of the contributors are well-known authors, while others are writing for the first time.
- Tropics of Desire: Interventions From Queer Latino America, By Jose Quiroga, 2000.
Challenging the constructions of Latin America that LGBTQ student travelers will find in most gay travel guides, Quiroga primarily looks at cultural productions within the scholarly framework of transnational sexuality studies to demonstrate the political agency of queer people in Latin America. Unlike some of the previous listed books, Tropics of Desire uses Latin America as a site of analysis, perhaps allowing for some innovative transnational and diasporic links. An acknowledged pitfall of the book is its omission of queer female interventions.
- Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American, and Spanish Culture, By Susana Chávez-Silverman and Librada Hernández, 2000.
- Queer in Russia: A Story of Sex, Self, and the Other, By Laurie Essig, 1999.
The preponderance of cross-cultural engagement with sexuality in Two-Thirds world locations makes this sociological study of queer sexualities in Russia a refreshing break. Essig argues that criminalization of homosexuality has been internalized by sexual minorities, despite Putin’s 1993 decriminalization of consensual sex between same-sex adults. The book is both journalistic and theoretical, offering readers a range of literary modes in which to access the book.
Middle East and North Africa
- Gay Travels in the Muslim World, Edited by Michael T. Luongo, 2007.
This collection of informal reflective and narrative writings looks at the experiences of same-sex sexuality among non-Muslim and Muslim men in different parts of the Muslim world. While Luongo has primarily written for travel guides in the past, this book aims to move beyond the perspectives of paranoia and tourism that have dominated explorations of Islam and sexuality. Given media constructions of persecution of homosexuality in Muslim nations, this book’s nuances and corrections will be informative for LGBTQ travelers.
- Queer Nations: Marginal Sexualities in the Maghreb, Jarrod Hayes, 2000 (Gould Library).
Readings of Maghrebian novels and other writings form the core of Haye’s analysis of how marginal sexualities do and do not fit into nation-building projects of the Maghreb region, consisting today of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Literary analysis is a new approach taken amongst the books listed here, and in addition, the Maghreb is a vastly under-studied, yet extremely complicated set of places in this field. As more and more study abroad offices send groups to North African and Middle Eastern locales, it will be imperative for LGBTQ student travelers to move beyond post-9/11 paranoia and sensationalism in looking at these sexual formations.
- Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing: An Anthology, Edited by Robert Dessaix, 1993 (Gould Library).
The vibrancy of the Australian gay movement would suggest that this anthology of creative writing is worth perusing before traveling to the continent. It spans historical contexts from the colonial period to the present, showing the development of gay and lesbian perspectives. However, given the racial and economic hierarchies dominant in Australia, readers should be on the lookout for which voices are represented and labeled as “gay” and “lesbian” here.