Stephen O. Murray

Last updated
Stephen Omer Murray
Born(1950-05-04)May 4, 1950
DiedAugust 27, 2019(2019-08-27) (aged 69)
Nationality American
Academic background
Alma mater
Thesis "Social Science Networks"  (1979)
Academic work
Discipline Sociology, Anthropology

Stephen O. Murray (May 4, 1950 – August 27, 2019) was a sociologist, anthropologist, and independent scholar based in San Francisco, California. He was known for extensive scholarly work on the sociology, anthropology, and comparative history of sexual and gender minorities, [1] [2] on sociolinguistics, history of the social sciences, and as an important editor and organizer of scholarly work in these areas.


Early life and education

Stephen Murray grew up in rural Minnesota. A member of the second class at James Madison College within Michigan State University, Stephen Murray had an undergraduate double major in social psychology and in Justice, Morality, and Constitutional Democracy. He earned his M.A. degree from the University of Arizona in sociology in 1975, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, also in sociology in 1979, and then undertook post-doctoral training in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley (1980-1982).


His work included studies in sociolinguistics, and the history of social sciences (anthropology, sociology, linguistics), and extensive publications on the historical and cross-cultural social organizations of homosexuality. [3] His main areas of fieldwork were in North America United States Mexico, Canada, and Taiwan (with his partner Keelung Hong). [4] He also co-edited books on homosexualities in sub-Saharan Africa and across the Islamic world with Will Roscoe.

With Regna Darnell, he co-edited the monographic series "Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology" for the University of Nebraska Press. He worked for more than a decade in public health with California county health departments and also wrote on public health issues, particularly in regard to HIV/AIDS.

He held positions on the editorial boards of several social science journals including the Journal of Homosexuality and the Histories of Anthropology Annual , and was a contributor to the online encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture, GLBTQ and other reference volumes. [5] He was a regular contributor at and

Stephen Murray died in San Francisco, California on August 27, 2019 of complications of a B-cell lymphoma. [6]

Selected publications

Related Research Articles

Queer studies

Queer studies, sexual diversity studies, or LGBT studies is the study of issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity usually focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender dysphoria, asexual, queer, questioning, intersex people and cultures.

Khanith is a vernacular Arabic term used in Oman and parts of the Arabian Peninsula to denote the gender role ascribed to males who function sexually, and in some ways socially, as women. The word is closely related to Arabic: مخنث‎, romanized: mukhannath, "effeminate".

Homosexuality in China gay and lesbian sexuality in China

Homosexuality in China has been documented in China since ancient times. According to one study, for some time after the fall of the Han Dynasty homosexuality was widely accepted in China. However, this has been disputed. Several early Chinese emperors are speculated to have had homosexual relationships accompanied by heterosexual ones. Opposition to homosexuality, according to the study by Hinsch, did not become firmly established in China until the 19th and 20th centuries, through the Westernization efforts of the late Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China. On the other hand, Gulik's study argued that the Mongol Yuan dynasty introduced a more ascetic attitude to sexuality in general.

LGBT slang, LGBT speak, or gay slang is a set of slang lexicon used predominantly among LGBT people. It has been used in various languages since the early 20th century as a means by which members of the LGBT community identify themselves and speak in code with brevity and speed to others.

Luiz Mott Brazilian activist

Luiz Roberto de Barros Mott or Luiz Mott, is a researcher and an anthropologist, a historian and one of the most notable gay civil rights activists in Brazil.

Robert Allan "Laud" Humphreys was an American sociologist and author. He is noted for his research into sexual encounters between men in public bathrooms, published as Tearoom Trade (1970) and for the questions that emerged from what many believe to be unethical research methods. He influenced generations of scholars who research issues related to sexuality and sexual identity.

LGBT history History of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

LGBT history dates back to the first recorded instances of same-sex love and sexuality of ancient civilizations, involving the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples and cultures around the world. What survives after many centuries of persecution—resulting in shame, suppression, and secrecy—has only in more recent decades been pursued and interwoven into more mainstream historical narratives.

LGBT rights in Cameroon

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Cameroon face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Cameroon and LGBT persons face stigmatisation among the broader population.

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."

Esther Newton is an American cultural anthropologist best known for her pioneering work on the ethnography of lesbian and gay communities in the United States.

Will Roscoe is an American activist, scholar, and author based in San Francisco, California.

Same-sex relationship Type of relationship

A same-sex relationship is a relationship between people of the same sex and can take many forms, from romantic and sexual, to non-romantic homosocially-close relationships. The term is primarily associated with gay and lesbian relationships. Same-sex marriage refers to the institutionalized recognition of such relationships in the form of a marriage; civil unions may exist in countries where same-sex marriage does not.

LGBT themes in mythology

LGBT themes in mythology occur in mythologies and religious narratives that include stories of romantic affection or sexuality between figures of the same sex or that feature divine actions that result in changes in gender. These myths are forms of LGBT expression, and modern conceptions of sexuality and gender have been applied to them. Many mythologies ascribe homosexuality and gender fluidity in humans to the action of gods or of other supernatural interventions.

The relationship between religion and LGBT people can vary greatly across time and place, within and between different religions and sects, and regarding different forms of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender identity.

Two-spirit umbrella term for the third gender in the indigenous North American cultures

Two-Spirit is a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender ceremonial role in their cultures.

William Leap is an emeritus professor of anthropology at American University and an affiliate professor in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Florida Atlantic University. He works in the overlapping fields of language and sexuality studies and queer linguistics, especially so, queer historical linguistics.

Frederick Lee "Fred" Whitam was an American sociologist who studied homosexuality from a cross-cultural perspective. Scholar Paul Vasey described Whitam as "an essentialist during a time of rampant social constructionism."

Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature is a collection of essays edited by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe and published in 1997 by New York University Press.

<i>Sexuality and Its Discontents</i> book by Jeffrey Weeks

Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities is a 1985 book about the politics and philosophy of sex by the sociologist Jeffrey Weeks. The book received positive reviews, crediting Weeks with explaining the theories of sexologists and usefully discussing controversial sexual issues. However, Weeks was criticised for his treatment of feminism and sado-masochism.

A mudoko dako is an effeminate male who is considered by Langi society to be a different gender, though were mostly treated as woman among the Langi in Uganda. Mudoko dako also could be found among the Teso and the Karamojan people. Recognition of the mudoko dako can be traced back prior to colonialism in Africa.


  1. Altman, Dennis (1996) Rupture or Continuity? The Internationalization of Gay Identities," Social Text 48(Autumn):77-94 DOI: 10.2307/466787
  2. Lewin, Ellen, & Leap, William L. (Eds.). (1996). Out in the Field: Reflections of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
  3. Patrick, Jeremy (September 1, 2001), "Stephen O. Murray's Homosexualities (Review)", The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
  4. John Grant Ross (January 13th, 2018) Review: "Looking Through Taiwan: American Anthropologists’ Collusion With Ethnic Domination • Keelung Hong and Stephen O. Murray" The East Asia Book Review. accessed 21 Sep 2019.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-02-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)