Trans Oral History JOB POSTING

archiving oral history / community-based oral history / oral history / public humanities / publishing / trans history
Screengrab taking directly from @TransMediaPortl Twitter

Join the Transgender Media Lab and Transgender Media Portal project in 2021!
Carleton University / University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
These positions are open to students from any country. Some of the positions are also open to Ontario students who are already in graduate programs.The deadline is coming up soon—February 1.

The Transgender Media Lab (TML) at Carleton University investigates the aesthetic, political, and cultural work of audiovisual media created by transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming filmmakers and artists. As part of that investigation, the lab is building the Transgender Media Portal, a collaborative digital tool that will enable new ways of analyzing these works and their circulation while making information about them available to trans arts communities and the public.This year we have 5 positions for new graduate students!

1.MA: Transgender Media Lab Fellowship (x 2!)

We are seeking two MA students to conduct original thesis research on some aspect of transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex and/or gender-nonconforming film- and video-making in Canada or the United States and to contribute to the development of the Transgender Media Portal. Host program: Film Studies at Carleton University. For more info on this position see:

2. MA: Contributor Experience DesignerWe are seeking an incoming MA student to lead the user experience and interface redesign for the Transgender Media Portal and to manage volunteer contributor outreach and training. We welcome applicants who are applying to these or other degree programs: Communication, Computer Science, Digital Transformation & Innovation, Feminist & Gender Studies, or Information Studies at the University of Ottawa. For more information on this position see:…/contributor-experience-designer/

3. MA: Transgender Digital Privacy and Security AnalystWe are seeking an incoming MA student to design and analyze approaches to digital privacy and security for the Transgender Media Portal. Host program: Human-Computer Interaction at Carleton University. For more information on this position see:…/2020/privacy-and-security-position/

4. PhD: Front End Developer & AnalystWe are seeking an incoming PhD student to lead front end development and analysis for the Transgender Media Portal. We welcome applicants who are applying to the following or other degree programs: Communication, Computer Science, Digital Transformation & Innovation, Feminist & Gender Studies, or Information Studies at the University of Ottawa, or Communication, Computer Science, Cultural Mediations, or Information Technology at Carleton University. For more information on this position see:

These positions are run in collaboration with the Humanities Data Lab at the University of Ottawa and the Security and Privacy Interactions Research Lab at Carleton University. Questions? Feel free to reach out to TML director Laura Horak at

The Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa

archiving oral history / community-based oral history / oral history / public humanities / trans history

Oral history projects are seemingly becoming important for the Trans community. As stated by Aiden Bettine, the creator of The Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa in the Daily Iowan, “there’s something really personal about sitting and listening to an oral-history interview where you just become immersed in someone else’s story and their life in a really particular way.” In essence, oral history projects allow trans folks to document and speak of their experiences without any visual stigma. Oral history allows trans people to document their lives without the fear of whether their passability or their self-expression could be seen to limit or invalidate their stories. 

In regards to The Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa, Aiden Bettine hopes to connect and document the Iowan trans experience. This project aims to “recognize, collect, preserve, and celebrate the lives and stories of transgender and gender non-conforming people across the state of Iowa.” Thus, this project is more than just historical, aiming to piece together a fragmented part of history. Rather, the Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa is vocal about being a productive space for the trans community. As a result, Bettine’s project has transgender and gender non-confirming people not only as the subject of the interviews but also as the interviewers, providing proper training. This is what makes Bettine’s project particularly unique – he not only gives queer folks to opportunity to tell their stories, but creates a safe space by giving them the ability to collect these stories. “It is a mechanism for developing new forms of cultural transmission,” Bettine says, –  “That work itself is bringing trans folk together.”

More on TOPI can be found here
TOPI Twitter account can be found here

The Trans Collection Guide Launch on Youtube!

archiving oral history / community-based oral history / gay history / oral history / public humanities / trans history / Uncategorized

Couldn’t make it to the Trans Collection Guide Launch on December 3rd 2020?
The session is now up on the UofT Digital Humanities Network’s Youtube!

This roundtable discusses the trans holdings of The ArQuives and the histories and futures of trans archival practices.
Click here to watch!

Trans Activism Oral History Project – Joanna Clark

archiving oral history / community-based oral history / gay history / oral history / public humanities / trans history
Short clip of Joanna Clark’s interview:

Excerpt from the Trans Activism Oral History Project – Presented in Collaboration with the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory (project lead, Dr. Elspeth Brown), the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, and The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives.

Joanna Clark (she/her) interviewed by Dr. Evan Taylor (they/them)
Original recording using Zoom platform on December 30, 2019

To view the full interview, visit:
More on The Trans Activism Oral History Project

Collaborating Scholar Q&A with Chase Joynt

archiving oral history / community-based oral history / gay history / oral history / public humanities / trans history
Watch the Q&A here!

A short Q&A session with Dr. Chase Joynt, assistant professor, director and writer! Joynt is currently working as a filmmaker on the Trans Activism Oral History Project in collaboration with the Transgender Archives at University of Victoria and The ArQuives, Toronto.

More on the Trans Oral History Project
More on the Transgender Archives at UVic

Country Queers Podcast by Rae Garringer

archiving oral history / community-based oral history / gay history / oral history / trans history / Uncategorized
Image taken from Country Queer’s Instagram

Podcast alert! With the recent surge in research on Trans oral history, different kinds of projects are beginning to emerge as well. As covered in an earlier blogpost, Transcripts seeks to share the different trans narratives in the city of Minnesota. Quite similar to Transcripts, this week we have Country Queers, which, on a fundamental level, shares the same goal: putting an emphasis on queer history to make up for the lack of research in it. However, Country Queers is unique given that this podcast highlights the histories of queer people living in rural areas. 

Being from a metropolitan area myself, I’m aware of how easily rural life can be overlooked or completely forgotten about. Given the hustle and bustle of the city in addition to smaller subcultures within multiple city communities, we often forget how the trans experience might differ in a rural setting in comparison to the metropolitan. That is why Country Queers is an oral history project that brings something new to the table, something new to contemplate. It questions and considers how geographical setting can really impact not just any identity but the queer one specifically. Rae Garringer is the founder of this project which began in 2013, “out of an intense frustration with the lack of easily accessible rural queer stories at the time, and a sense of isolation from queer community after having moved back home to rural West Virginia.” Existing while being queer does not exclusively take place within the city and Garringer demonstrates that by bringing together a myriad of rural queers across 15 states. 

This podcast opens up the doors for others to learn about the different types of experiences that queer people have while living in rural settings. Moreover, Garringer does not focus primarily on cis gay people but includes other aspects of the queer community like trans folks. Thus, this podcast reasserts the importance of not viewing rural communities as a monolith, bringing in various queer experiences to express the plurality of being queer in the country. 

Country Queers podcast can be found here

Trans Activism Oral History Project – Marsha Botzer Clip

archiving oral history / gay history / oral history / trans history
Short clip of Marsha Botzer’s Interview:

Excerpt from the Trans Activism Oral History Project – Presented in Collaboration with the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory (project lead, Dr. Elspeth Brown), the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, and The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives.

Marsha Botzer (she/her) interviewed by Dr. Evan Taylor (they/them)
Original recording using Zoom platform on February 19, 2020

Full interview found here:

A Reflection on The Trans Oral History Panel: Narrative as Trans Worldmaking.

gay history / oral history / public humanities / trans history / Uncategorized

Narrative as Trans Worldmaking”: this concept has been foundational to the multiple projects that were presented on the Friday October 23rd Trans Oral History Panel for the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Oral History Association. What this concept aims to convey is that creating a world for trans people begins with trans people telling their own stories. Traditionally, trans people, much like other queer folks, have been expected to self-navigate in the cisheteronormative world that ostracizes them. In other words, trans people are expected to overcome oppressive obstacles to advance through a society that conventionally neglects their existence, while little attention is paid to how trans folks construct worlds for themselves. The lack of research in trans history has resulted in the trans world often being perceived as something of a mystery. There are many questions left unanswered, such as: how might the understanding of trans identity evolve over time? What other aspects of one’s identity impact their experiences as a trans person? What are the benefits of taking a look into trans history with an intersectional approach? These are all questions that inform this concept of “worldmaking” for trans people, creating a collective project that is intended to become a safe space for growth. Moreover, worldmaking would presumably remedy the impacts of any oppressive obstacles or ostracization experienced outside the trans world. Consequently, this roundtable was an opportunity for the scholars, archivists, and/or activists to share their projects, which not only present but also preserve trans narratives.

Myrl Beam, an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, briefly mentioned an important concept when studying trans narratives: the constant struggle of manifesting the “Visibility Trap.” This concept argues that trans visibility is inherently positive, because the idea is frequent representation of trans identities would normalize trans existence. While this may be true to a certain degree, Beam argues that this is not entirely true. Beam dives more into this concept in the Transcripts podcast, explored in more detail in an earlier blog post, noting that with visibility, “we let our enemies know where we’re at.” In other words, visibility does not promise a safe livelihood nor normalize identity for trans people. When it comes to trans oral history, Beam focuses on world-building for trans folk and not just personal narratives.

Similarly, Blu Buchanan, currently a PHD candidate at the University of California, also looks into the representation of trans narratives through their project, specifically the narratives of Black trans folks. Relevant to the paradox found in the Visibility Trap, Buchanan notes that in pop culture, Black trans folks are often objects of violence. Thus, not only does the representation of Black trans folks bring forth the dangers of visibility, the type of representation that they receive only pertains to violence. Therefore, Buchanan’s project, the B.Trans Oral History Project, seeks to expand the representation of the Black trans community. An interesting cultural phenomenon that Buchanan noted was “FUBU,” otherwise known as, “For Us, By Us,” which Buchanan found that Black trans people practice as a concept of Black culture that was passed down. This cultural concept outlines that the resources created in the community are created by respective members for other members.

Lastly, Evan Taylor presented their project, which focuses on elders in the trans community. In this project, Taylor examines trans literacy and, more importantly, how the concept of “transness” differs across generations. The terminology within the community has changed generationally, ultimately offering different kinds of narratives in worldmaking for the Trans community. In conclusion, all of these projects examine the intricacies of world-building for the Trans community. The research being conducted in the trans community, working with primary resources – community members themselves – allows for a more comprehensive viewpoint in worldmaking by taking a bottom-up approach. Importantly, these projects also demonstrate the importance in considering the intersectional social categories that yield certain experiences. Exploring the different facets of the trans identity such as race or age, these projects exercise a more in depth approach to enriching trans history. 

Myrl Beam

Myrl Beam is an Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, currently on research leave, serving as the Fellow in Oral History at the Tretter Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on queer and trans social movements, racialized projects of inclusion and normativity, and the affective economies of neoliberal capitalism. Beam received his PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2014. He is the author of Gay, Inc.: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). Most recently, his work has appeared in the edited volume Queer Activism After Marriage Equality (Routledge, 2019). In addition to his scholarly work, Beam is active in queer and trans leftist movements, specifically around issues of prison abolition, homelessness, and supporting the leadership of trans youth in movements for justice.

Elspeth Brown

Elspeth H. Brown is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. Her research concerns the history and theory of photography; the history of US capitalism; queer and trans history; and oral history. She is the Director of the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, a five-year digital history and oral history research collaboration that connects archives across Canada and the United States to produce a collaborative digital history hub for the research and study of gay, lesbian, queer, and trans oral histories. She has been a co-investigator for the Family Camera Network collaborative research project, where her research focuses on queer and trans family photography and oral history, in the context of global migration. She has received fellowships from the Getty Research Institute; the National Museum of American History; the American Council of Learned Societies; the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the Library of Congress Kluge Center; the American Philosophical Society, and others. She is the author of Work! A Queer History of Modeling (Duke University Press, 2019) and the award-winning The Corporate Eye: Photography and the Rationalization of American Commercial Culture, 1884-1929 (Johns Hopkins 2005). She is co-editor of Feeling Photography (Duke University Press, 2014, with Thy Phu), “Queering Photography,” a special issue of Photography and Culture (2014), and Cultures of Commerce: Representation and American Business Culture, 1877-1960 (Palgrave, 2006). She is an active volunteer and Vice President of the Board, The ArQuives, the world’s largest LGBTQ2+ community archive.

Blu Buchanan

Blu Buchanan is a Black, genderqueer femme, unionista, and grad student working for liberation in California. They are currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Davis, with a completion date of Spring 2020. Blu’s research concerns n conservative gay social movements and the construction of the far right – spanning political organizations like the Log Cabin Republicans to the far-right National Socialist League (a neo-Nazi organization founded in 1974 explicitly for gay neo-Nazis). Blu writes for The Medium, and has published and/or has articles forthcoming in Radical History Review, PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America, and Black Feminist Sociology: Perspectives and Praxis. Blu has also founded the B. Trans Oral History Project, a collaboration between the Black trans community and its scholars. The goal is to compile and transcribe Black trans oral histories, to understand the life course and strategies of Black trans life in the United States.

Rachel Mattson

Rachel Mattson is an archivist/historian/writer with special interests in the areas of community-engaged archival practices, audiovisual preservation, and queer and trans histories. She currently serves as the Curator of the Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her writing has appeared in the Radical History Review, the Scholar and the Feminist, Movement Research Performance Journal,KULA (A Journal of Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies), in books published by Routledge, Washington Square, and Thread Makes Blanket Press, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in U.S. History from NYU and an MLIS from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Michelle Esther O’Brien

Michelle Esther O’Brienhas served as the coordinator of the NYC Trans Oral History Project since 2016. She is completing her doctoral studies at NYU, writing on how class politics and political economy have shaped LGBTQ organizing since the 1970s. She previously worked in trans, queer, HIV and housing advocacy. Michelle also co-edits Pinko, a magazine of gay communism. Her writing is published in Commune, Endnotes, Historical Materialism and Social Movement Studies.

Evan Taylor

Dr. Evan Taylor is the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory Postdoctoral Fellow in Trans Oral History. Evan has been doing the interviewing for the joint project between the University of Toronto and the University of Victoria. Evan holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work, and a PhD from the University of British Columbia’s Department of Language and Literacy Education. Evan’s considerable experience has found them working at the intersections of LGBTQ+ identity, Trans(gender) literacy, health literacy, and culturally appropriate access to public institutions and citizenship for marginalized populations. The previous project they worked with as a researcher was the Cancer’s Margins project – which was Canada’s first nationally-funded project to investigate the intersections of breast and gynecologic cancers with both sexual and gender marginality – and part of the project was to develop the first online archive of queer cancer stories.