Qualia Folk is a group of scholars and activists dedicated to the LGBTQ community.

Our mission at Qualia Folk is twofold: education and celebration. Evolving since 2003 from an annual festival in Columbus, Ohio, Qualia now provides the Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay People (QEGP), open access to all and free of charge. You don’t even need to register – we do ask that you cite us if you use articles for research. Please let us know when and how you use the information we provide. Encyclopedia articles are listed further down on this page.

For information on methodology and innovation, go to QEGP Introduction. For a list of authors and the articles they wrote, see QEGP Authors and Articles.

Help us improve the Encyclopedia. Feel free to comment, critique, and even propose new articles for the Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay People. We could always use more contributors! All comments and articles will be reviewed before publishing to ensure they are in keeping with our academic standards.

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Articles in the Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay People:

To find information on a subject, use the Search box in the right-hand corner at the top of this page. You can also click on any of the article titles listed below.

ACT UP AIDS activism
Emperor Ai Chinese icon
Aikāne Hawaiian
Robert Aitken Hawai‘i, Buddhist icon, ally
A-mei Taiwanese icon
Angel Action funeral activism
Gloria Anzaldúa Tejana icon and scholar, Texas, Mexico, identity
Aravani Festival Hindu, Trans
Ardhanari Hindu deity
Aswat Palestinian women
Azis Bulgarian icon


Bahuchara Mata Hindu goddess
Ballroom Scene African American competition
Bar, Nightclub
Bear identity
Bear Music
Alison Bechdel cartoonist
Gladys Bentley African American musician
Bitch women’s music
Black and Blue Montréal festival
Body Fascism ethical issue
Boston Marriage women’s relationships
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell marriage equality


Camp aesthetics
Camp Records
Carlos Las Vegas: drag king
Cartoons and Comics
Castro Theatre architecture
Stacyann Chin spoken word poet
Meg Christian and Cris Williamson women’s music
Circuit dance, festival
Closet homophobia, ethics, identity
Code homophobia, self-protection
Coming Out identity
Corrective Rape homophobia, women’s rights


Daughters of Bilitis Lesbian organization
Gerald Davis Gay African American folklorist
FolkWitness: Davis AFS Speech
Day of Silence activism
Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan comedians
Michael Dillon first transman
Dinah Shore Weekend Lesbian festival
Disabled and Differently Abled
Disco music, dance
DJ music, dance
Documentary history, activism
Drag aesthetics, gender
Drag Ball festival, gender
Drag King gender, performance
Drag Queen gender, performance
Dykes On Bikes Lesbian, festival


Bulent Ersoy Turkish Trans icon
Erzulie Dantor Haitian goddess
FolkWitness: Ethics and Assisted Suicide
Ex-Gay identity, homophobia
FolkWitness: Ex-Gay Therapy and Torture


Fa’afafine Samoan identity, gender
Fag Bomb and Gay Bomb military, homophobia
Fairy homophobia
Fire Island geography, sanctuary
Flag material culture
Flagging dance
Flame homophobia
Folklore and Folklife


FolkWitness: Natalia Gaitán Argentina, homophobia
Gay American Heroes homophobia, activism
Gay Games sports
Henry Gerber Chicago, Germany, activist
Joe Goodwin folklore (work in progress)
Steve Greenberg Orthodox Judaism
Sakia Gunn African American, gender, homophobia


Halloween festival
Mabel Hampton African American activist
Hanh Thi Pham Vietnamese photographer
Hanky Code Gay male code
Harm Reduction healthway
Hatshepsut Egyptian pharaoh, gender
Hercules and Love Affair music
Hi’iaka Hawaiian
Hijra Southeast Asia, Trans
Hinaleimoana Hawaiian icon
FolkWitness: Hinaleimoana’s Chant Celebrating Marriage Equality
HIS Kings performance, gender
Homokaasu humor, internet
Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos (work in progress) Catholic saint
FolkArt: Hu Ming Chinese artist
Hu Tianbao China, Daoism


I Was Born This Way disco music, activism
Power Infiniti African American, performance, gender
Institute of Sexology Germany, activism
International Court System performance, gender
Intersex physiology, gender, healthway
Invasion of the Pines festival
Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees Iran, activism


Grace Jantzen philosophy, theology
Jazz and Blues music
Marsha P. Johnson (work in progress)
Juana Inés de la Cruz Mexican nun


Ka’ahumanu Hawaiian, gender
Kamehameha III Hawaiian
Kathoey Thailand, Trans
Frankie Knuckles DJ, house music
Kvisa Shchora Israel, activism


Labrys Minoan, Lesbian
The Ladder Lesbian, activism
Ladies of Llangollen Irish, Welsh, Lesbian
Ladyfest (author needed)
Leather identity, performance
Lesbian Avengers activism
Lesbian Herstory Archives history, activism
Lesbos geography, identity
Larry Levan DJ
Steven Levinson: Marriage Equality (work in progress)
LGBTQ identity
Li Yu Chinese playwright
Lozen and Dahteste Native American
Luster Lustivious Ohio, African American, gender, drag
Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Lesbian activists


Machismo Spain, Latin America, gender
Māhū Hawaiian, gender
Mallinath Jain, gender
Irshad Manji Moslem activist
Man-Love Thursday Afghanistan, US military
Joey Joleen Mataele Tonga, fakaleiti, transwoman
Mati Work (author needed)
Mattachine Society activism
Metropolitan Community Church religion, activism
Dawn McKinley and Cathy Reynolds Cherokee
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival
Milk activist, icon, San Francisco
Mishima Yukio Japanese author, nationalist
Mixing and Remixing music, dance
Mohini Hindu, gender
Maryam Molkara Islam, Iranian Trans activist
Molly homophobia, code
Mona’s San Francisco Lesbian bar
Susan Morabito
Murder Music homophobia, Jamaica, music
Muxe and Nguiu Oaxaca, Mexico, Zapotec, gender
Myth and Legend


National Women’s Music Festival
Holly Near women’s music
FolkWitness: Huey Newton on Gay and Women’s Rights activism, ally, African American
Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep pre-Muslim Egypt
Melka Nilsa and Wetka Polang India, marriage
Willi Ninja African American icon, performance, dance
Nyumba Ntobhu traditional same-sex marriage, women, Tanzania, Africa
Nzinga Angolan king/queen, gender


Olivia literature
Kevin Omni African American icon, performance, dance
Orixá African Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Yoruba, religion
Shane Ortega Transman, military, Army, Marine Corps
Outing identity, homophobia, ethics
Out of the Shadow, Into the Sun Spain, Latin America, documentary, bullfighting


Paradise Garage iconic club, Manhattan, dance, music
Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton (author needed)
Pat Parker African American Lesbian poet
Gretchen Phillips musician, women’s music
Pilgrimage religion, geography
Pink Triangle homophobia, Nazi Germany
FolkWitness: Pink Triangle and Problems With Verification
Place and Geography
Polari linguistics, code
Pride festival
Project Lazarus AIDS, healthways
Pussy Palace Raid activism
Pussy Riot Russian activist-musicians


Queer identity
Queering literature, politics, identity
Queers On Wheels disabled/differently abled, internet, activism
The Quilt material culture, activism, AIDS


Rabbit God Temple Daoism, Taiwan
Rainbow code, symbol, activism
Ramakrishna Hindu saint, closet
Kaleo Ramos Trans, Hawaiian
Sultan Raziyya (author needed)
Toshi Reagon African American musician, women’s music
Red Party Circuit, Ohio, festival
Red Ribbon symbol, AIDS
Revelations theater, Appalachia, folklore
Sylvia Rivera activist, Trans icon, New York, Stonewall
Rosabel DJ, Circuit, music
Christina Rossetti Anglican icon (work in progress)
Bayard Rustin African American icon, activism


San Domino Island geography, place, homophobia fascist Italy (review pending)
Sahq Lesbian, Islam (review pending)
Sappho icon, Ancient Greece, poetry
José Sarria San Francisco icon, activist, drag
Bert Savoy first drag queen
Scarlet Oh! Fire Island, Lesbian, drag
Sex Garage Montréal, activism
Sexology activism, identity, psychology
Sex Wars Lesbian, pornography, misogyny
Shrine spirituality, geography, place
Oliver Sipple outing, closet, homophobia, politics
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence activism, drag queen, spirituality, performance
Smash Lesbian, education, romance
Sodom homophobia, myth, identity
Somewhere over the Rainbow music, folklore, code
Sports Icon
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Lesbian, literature
Polly Stewart folklorist, musician, Utah
FolkWitness: Polly Stewart’s “What Parson Weems Didn’t Tell You”
Stonewall geography, place, activism, New York
Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park shrine, activism
Sworn Virgin Albanian identity, gender
Sylvester African American singer, drag, disco, San Francisco


Takarazuka Revue Japan, performance, gender
Tango Argentina, dance, music
Dan Taulapapa McMullin Samoan artist, gender
The Theater Offensive Boston, activism, theater
Billy Tipton musician, identity, gender
Toronto Bathhouse Raids Canada, Gay male, activism, homophobia
Trembling Before G-d Orthodox Judaism, documentary
Turkish Oil Wrestling Turkey, sports, masculinity, homoeroticism
Two-Spirit Native American-First Nation-Native Mexican identity


Urania Greek myth, literature, identity


San Vicente myth, Roman Catholic, Oaxaca, Mexico, Trans
Village geography, place
Le Village Montréal, place
Village People disco, gender performance


Louisa Wall New Zealand, Maori, politics, activism
Mae West American actress, icon, ally
We’wha and Nancy Native American, Zuni, gender, New Mexico
Wigstock Riots Israel, festival, activism
Oscar Wilde Anglo-Irish writer and icon
Saint Wilgefortis Catholic saint, gender (review pending)
Woman Chief Native American, Gros Ventre-Crow, gender
Women’s Land Movement geography, Lesbian
Women’s Music
Women’s Music Festival


Xena icon, Lesbian


Yagli Gures Turkish oil wrestling
‘Yan Daudu Nigeria, Haussa, spirituality, gender
Yaoi and Yuri Japan, literature, erotic fantasy


Zap activism, performance, humor
al-Zarqa’ Iraq, legend, Lesbian (review pending)

Below are brief depictions of each article. To continue browsing, click on Older posts. To find an article, type its title in the Search box or click on its name in the above list.




This gallery contains 20 photos.

Accessorizing refers to the use of something in such a way that it accents one’s appearance. In the LGBTQ community, accessorizing is a highly valued folk art, a means for sending coded messages to attract likeminded people and romantic partners, a strategy for calling attention to oneself and one’s cause, and the overall fabulous presentation of self in carnivalesque settings. Continue reading



This gallery contains 23 photos.

Activism is public performance for the rights of a specific group of people. It encompasses activities such educational seminars, distribution of information (paper and online), fundraising, protests, and rioting. LGBTQ activists have played an important role in Gay folklife, and activism is an important Gay folkway that intersects with many other folkways in the community. Among the many strategies developed by Gay folk activists since the late 1800s, rarely has violence been used. Continue reading



This gallery contains 7 photos.

Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP or ACT-UP) is an LGBTQ activist group that promotes direct action (dramatic performance of public confrontation) as a folkway for getting its message spread through news media outlets on behalf of people with AIDS. Continue reading

Emperor Ai


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Emperor Ai was not interested in women. Ai noticed the tall, handsome official, Dong Xian, in the court and requested him to stay in the palace for company. The Emperor’s affections to Dong became legendary because of the story of an incident that occurred when he was sleeping with Dong one afternoon. Ai was called to the court, but he did not want to wake up Dong, who was sleeping on the Emperor’s sleeve. The Emperor cut off the sleeve and got up. The style of the abbreviated sleeve became fashionable among the courtiers, and “cut sleeve” was recognized as a common term for same-sex love. Continue reading



This gallery contains 12 photos.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS is a medical condition that is characterized by a severe suppression of the immune system, often resulting in numerous opportunistic infections.
AIDS awareness and activism are important aspects of Gay identity and community. Many of the LGBTQ AIDS activist folkways that began in the USA have inspired similar organizations and movements across the globe, with an ethic of inclusion that extends across ethnic, gender, racial, religious, and orientation lines. Continue reading



This gallery contains 6 photos.

Aikane is a term used in classical Hawaiian culture for an intimate male friend of lower rank involved with a man of ali’i (noble) rank. In contemporary Hawaiian folklife, it now refers to a close masculine male confidante to another masculine man, and with whom the masculine man might or might not have a sexual relationship. It may also refer to a dear friend of any sex or gender. Continue reading

Robert Aitken


This gallery contains 9 photos.

Robert Aitken, a retired lay Zen Buddhist priest in Honolulu, Hawaii, was a Straight ally and an icon to socially-engaged Buddhists and Gay Buddhists worldwide. In 1995, Aitken gave written testimony supporting same-sex marriage to a commission authorized by the Hawaii State Legislature, and has instituted same-sex marriage within his own congregation. Aitken is also attributed having said the following: “You can’t find enlightenment in the closet.” He died in Honolulu on August 5, 2010. Continue reading



This gallery contains 11 photos.

Allies are people who do not identify as LGBTQ, and who offer support to LGBTQ causes and communities. Although there is some dispute as to whether allies are members of the Gay community, some classifications give them honorary membership within the umbrella category of “Queer.” Continue reading



This gallery contains 7 photos.

Zhang Hui-Mei (also known as A-mei) is a Taiwanese pop music singer, Straight ally, and icon for the Gay community. She has achieved superstar status all over East Asia and portions of Southeast Asia. She is also known by her Taiwanese Aboriginal name: Gulilai Amit. Continue reading