Affect in the Mirha-Soleil Ross Archive


Archival objects can be powerful and moving. When they are centred around LGBTQ people, they can bring hope and joy. Some objects found  in the Mirha-Soleil Ross fonds demonstrates this hopefulness to me.

In her collection Mirha-Soleil Ross donated some pictures that were professionally taken of her and her partner at the time, Xanthra Phillippa MacKay. When Ms. Ross donated the photos to the CLGA, she attached a note requesting that we digitize them soon, showing their precious status to her.

Photograph of two white trans women embracing and looking at the camera.

Photo of Mirha-Soleil Ross and Xanthra Phillipa MacKay, 1993. Photo grapher: Jennifer O’Connor. See Mirha-Soleil Ross digital collections:

The amount of bravery it took to be queer and trans in the 1990s and before astounds me, especially since many trans people were fighting to deny that queerness was intrinsically linked to transness. The idea of trans normativity has been rampant for many years in the queer and trans community. This essentially means policing other trans people’s identities and making them palatable for the general straight and cis public (Matte, 126).

As a queer trans person, Ms. Ross and Ms. MacKay’s bravery and activism inspires me over twenty years later as I recognize those who paved the way and came before me.

Source Cited:
Matte, Nicholas.  “Rupert Raj, Transmen and Sexuality: The Politics of Transnormativity in Metamorphosis Magazine during the 1980s,” We Still Demand: Redefining Resistance in Sex and Gender Struggles, ed. Patrizia Gentile and Gary Kinsman (UBC Press, 2017):117-137.