Transcripts – Tretter Transgender Oral History Project

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

What would a World without transphobia look like? Is life getting better for trans people as a result of visibility? How do the qualms of other social categories intersect with trans identity? What would it take for Black trans people to live out liberation, to live joyfully?

            These are the types of questions that Myrl Beam, Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth University, and Andrea Jenkins, the Vice President of the Minnesota City Council, seek to answer in Transcripts – Tretter Transgender Oral History podcast. What is unique about this podcast is that it is both a form of activism and historical research. Both Beam and Jenkins begin their research on the ground; interviewing local trans activists and dissecting grassroot movements such as the Trans Justice Funding Project to provide a peek into how trans lives have been progressing through time. In plain words, Tretter is an oral history project seeking to fill in the gaps of trans history by collecting primary resources from none other than the local trans community themselves.

            Filling in the gaps of LGBT+ history with more trans-centred content is wonderful, given the lack of extensive research in the past. However, Tretter does more than just report trans history; the podcast seeks to change the future while shining a light on the past. In this podcast series, Beam and Jenkins tackle everyday issues of trans folk that are often overlooked in the media. As illustrated by Diamond Stylz, a Minnesota trans activist, the trans community continues to face issues such as racism and poverty. While the level of trans visibility is increasing – which Transcripts highlights as a potential issue in and of itself – trans people continue to combat other forms of injustice beyond just their gender identity. While the trans narrative is different for everyone, a concept that the podcast seeks to explore, one ubiquitous fact that this podcast successfully conveys is that trans people are multifaceted. How so? Consider giving the Transcripts Podcast a listen to find out more.

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Image taken directly from Transcripts – Tretter Transgender Oral History Project website.