Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Martha Copp

Committee Members

Dr. Kelly Foster, Dr. Joseph Baker


Over the past 30 years, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) groups have called for children’s books to include LGBTQ characters and themes to help children understand our multifaceted social world. Few LGBTQ characters have appeared in children’s literature. This qualitative study analyzes the text and images of 29 children’s books published between 1972 and 2013 that have any LGBTQ characters. Books featuring lesbian and gay characters often presented them as conforming to heteronormative standards to find fulfillment. The majority of books with gender-deviant characters focused on boys harassed by other characters for their conventionally feminine behaviors. Surprisingly few books in this inclusive sample depicted any non-white characters. This study concludes by offering recommendations for how authors of children’s books could approach this genre without reinforcing other long-standing inequalities tied to gender, race, class, and sexuality.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.