Item Keywords

These keywords help aid in your search. Every item, including oral histories, has keywords. Olivia recommends looking at all the available keywords before searching so you can recieve the best results.

How To Search

Every item has "identities" linked to it. Working in archives, fielding questions from other Queer people, Olivia noticed that they wanted to find materials by "Black people, Trans people, or Disabled people", for example, even when the materials themselves were not of/about those identities. In order to ameliorate those search problems, every piece has an identity. If you wanted to find Black poetry, you would search "African American lesbian" AND "poem OR poetry" regardless of if the poetry talks about Black identity.
The keywords are separated here into seven series: Art, Identities, Item Type, Lesbian Lives, Location, Miscellaenous, and Pop Culture. These groupings surfaced after Olivia had been assigning keywords to all the materials and wanted a way to categorize keywords so that they were not just a long list of hundreds of terms. 


This series contains all the keywords related to art and art making. The keywords are both about medium (oil pastel, linocut mixed media, etc.) as well as subject terms (trans art, landscape, nude, etc.).


This series contains all the keywords related to identities. This includes all the marginal identites which are linked to every item, race, gender, pronouns, class descriptors, and other identities like "butch", "fat", "punk", etc.

Item Type

This series contains all the keywords describing what the item is. If you wanted to just see all the oral histories, you would go to the keyword "oral history". If you want to see all the people who opted to write their life stories, you would go to the keyword "written story". Item Type also includes descriptions of different materials like journal entries, paintings, photography, tumblr posts, voice memos, etc. Combine Item Type with Identity keywords to get "transfemme poetry".

Lesbian Lives

This series contains all the keywords describing activities and themes that felt integral to the particpants' lives as Lesbians. For example, astrology, Audre Lorde, lesbian fashion, trans community, lesbian history, and lesbian youtube were recurring throughlines within storytellers lives. Use these keywords to learn what was important to the majority of participants.


This series contains all the keywords describing locations of participants. 'On Selfhood' includes particpants from all over the world with most of them based in the United States. Every oral history has a region of the United States or a country of origin: Southeastern united states, Southern united states, southwestern united states, western united states, midwestern united statgesm and northeastern united states. There are also cities and locations where particpants discovered and deepened their connection to Lesbianism and Queer community broadly like Lesbian bars, Brooklyn, queer nightlife, and historicallly women's colleges.


This series contains keywords that act as content warnings as well as keywords that did not properly fit into other series. In an effort to respect the transperancy of the particpants, there are no "trigger warnings" on the oral histories but just keywords like every item has that can allude to the content. Olivia chose not decide what required a content warning and what did not. She chose to tag all content. If you want more specific content warnings, scan the transcripts, fill out the contact form, or email

Pop Culture

This series contains all the keywords related to pop culture concepts that surfaced from participants' oral histories or donated materials. They include lots of specific fandom terminology, lesbian ship names, and other pop culture and internet terminology that greatly influced the Lesbians in this project.

About The Keywords Creation

Instead of using existing controlled vocabulary, in December 2022, Olivia made the decision to create her own. She chose to do this because, at the time, Homosaurus and other similar thesauri did not include language surroudning fandom, fanfiction, and specific phrasing of identities Olivia wanted to maintain from the participants. She opted not to mix Homosaurus and local (self-created) terminology because of the hassle. Additionally, a large portion of the keywords come directly from the mouths of the storytellers themselves reflecting language they used during their oral histories.
Olivia is constantly changing these keywords as language grows, evolves, and changes just like our vibrant community. She especially wants to add more specificity to the "Miscellaenous" grouping which is a catch-all for keywords that did not fit the six other series. If you see a problem, want to add keywords to your work, or have questions about how specific keywords were formulated, either fill out the contact form on the website or email: