We’re excited to announce the addition of a new member of our team – Dr. Evan Taylor! Our new Post-Doctoral Fellow in Trans Oral History, 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. Read on to learn more about Evan and their work with the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria!
You have an extensive academic and work background in the intersections of LGBTQ+ Identity and Healthcare. How have archives shown up in your previous work?
The previous project I 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. www.lgbtcancer.ca
Elevator Pitch time – what’s your position with the Collaboratory?
My post-doctoral fellowship is a joint fellowship that partners the University of Victoria’s Transgender Archives and the University of Toronto’s LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory. We are collecting oral history interviews with trans elders about their history of activism on behalf of trans people and communities in order to establish trans-specific and trans-positive primary source historical narratives that can be preserved for future generations.
You’ll be working primarily with the Transgender Archives at University of Victoria – can you tell us a little bit about that archive?
For this one, I’ll refer you to the website, which says it all quite succinctly (https://www.uvic.ca/transgenderarchives/collections/index.php).
“University of Victoria Libraries is home to the largest Transgender Archives in the world. We preserve original documents recording the history of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers who have contributed to the betterment of trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit people. Our records span over 160 meters or 530 linear feet (1.5 football fields long), go back over 120 years, and are in 15 languages from 23 countries on six continents. We are accessible to everyone, free of charge.”
What are you excited to bring to the Collaboratory?
I think we are living in exciting times of increasing trans visibility and community. But, with that being said, visibility doesn’t come without risk surrounding the production of marginalized populations. And one of those risks is that history will forget those who fought to create that visibility and safety. So, I think there is great value in documenting the history of trans activism to both honour those who have sacrificed so much to build and mobilize trans communities, and to preserve the history of social activism.
What are you excited to learn from the Collaboratory?
I’m really excited to learn about how generations of trans people before me found each other and created community activism [before the internet]. I’m really most excited to learn about the history of trans activism – from the people who were actually doing it!
We’ll be posting regular updates on Evan’s work here and on our social media over the next few months. Find us at @lgbtqhistory on Twitter and join the LGBTQ Oral History and Digital Archives Collaboratory Facebook Group!