Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kara Doyle

Second Advisor

Jordan Smith




sexuality, terminology, lifestyle, society, queer


This thesis discusses the evolution of terms used to define different types of sexuality and theories of sexuality from the nineteenth to twenty-first century. This is observed through the work of four homosexual poets as well as multiple theorists during different social eras. Works from Sigmund Freud and the Catholic Church set the social standard, labels and definitions for homosexuals at time while Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud tried to break down the barriers of what was considered perverse sexual acts through their poetry and lifestyles. It was not until the time of Allen Ginsberg “Howl” that society started to show acceptance towards homosexuality and its terminology. More terms to describe those who differ from the heterosexual norm appeared in the works of Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick and Judith Butler, which ultimately lead to the establishment of Queer Theory. With the help of the terminology from these theorists and societal response to what were once considered vulgar and obscene works written by homosexual poets, a chartable spectrum emerges. As time passes, more terms emerge on the spectrum. As more labels are added on the spectrum, terms become diluted and form other meanings with society’s acceptance. As society continues to develop into Post Queer ideologies, the meanings of the terms on spectrum will become so diluted that they will eventually no hold any meaning at all. However, confusion over the transgendered and transsexual individuals could prevent society from ever becoming Post Queer.