The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experiences

In 2003, Presses universitaires de France published the groundbreaking Dictionnaire de l’homophobie. But though the text was highly acclaimed and “unanimously well-received,” its editor, Louis-Georges Tin, found himself a victim of his dictionary’s topic. Upon Dictionnaire de l’homophobie’s publication, Tin learned that “doors that had previously been open were now closed” to him, and his contract at the University of Paris was terminated. Thus, while literary society lauded Tin’s achievement, homophobia among Tin’s colleagues dictated his fate, and simultaneously provided ironic proof of the profound need for Tin’s book.

This 2008 translation – the first English translation – updates rights gained and abuses committed since the 2003 edition. It is comprehensive, well-documented, and often reads like a conversation – an intelligent, informed, necessary conversation. Standard dictionary format is used; however, the articles can be divided into five categories: (1) Theories used to justify homophobia; (2) Historical agents and victims of homophobia; (3) Homophobia in regards to geographical and historical places and settings; (4) Homophobia in environments and institutions (i.e., schools, homes, workplace); and (5) Homophobic rhetoric.

The Dictionary of Homophobia contains 160+ enlightening essays, written by over 70 people from over fifteen countries. And though (as the subtitle states) its focus is homophobia, Tin includes informative, thorough entries on biphobia and transphobia as well.
Strongly recommended for all libraries.

Reviewed by, Tracy Marie Nectoux
Cataloger, Illinois Newspaper Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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