The Digital Transgender Archive Features Books, Magazines & Photos Telling the History of Transgender Culture

draq q combo

Trans­gen­der issues have entered the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion in a big way. To those with­out much direct con­nec­tion to them, they might all seem to have come up sud­den­ly, with lit­tle prece­dent, with­in the past few years. But most phe­nom­e­na that seem to have achieved instant promi­nence have a rich, if long-hid­den, his­to­ry behind them. In this case, you can now dis­cov­er a great deal of the his­to­ry at the new Dig­i­tal Trans­gen­der Archive, an “inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion among more than twen­ty col­leges, uni­ver­si­ties, non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions, and pri­vate col­lec­tions” aim­ing to cre­ate “a gen­er­a­tive point of entry into the fas­ci­nat­ing and expan­sive world of trans his­to­ry.”

OC Transgender Archive 2

Hyper­al­ler­gic’s Claire Voon has more on the site’s ori­gins, includ­ing words from the pro­jec­t’s leader, Col­lege of the Holy Cross Eng­lish pro­fes­sor K.J Raw­son. Its impe­tus came from the prob­lem that “a lot of trans-relat­ed mate­ri­als were held in dis­si­pat­ed col­lec­tions, and it wasn’t real­ly clear who had what, why they had it, how it relat­ed to oth­er col­lec­tions, and how it was acces­si­ble to researchers.” The Dig­i­tal Trans­gen­der Archive replaces some of the unnec­es­sary ardu­ous­ness under which those researchers used to labor, pro­vid­ing them with a sim­ple search box or, an abil­i­ty to browse by col­lec­tioninsti­tu­tiongeo­graph­ic loca­tion, genre, or top­ic.

OC Transgender Archive 3

Ranked by the num­ber of the items in the archive, that top­ic list gives a vivid overview of the sorts of social prac­tices and cat­e­gories best rep­re­sent­ed there: cross­dressers and cross­dress­ing rank first and sec­ond, respec­tive­ly, fol­lowed by the rest of a top-twen­ty, includ­ing drag queens, pho­tog­ra­phy, activists, and actors.

OC Transgender Archive 1

Giv­en the impor­tance of the visu­al to trans­gen­der cul­ture, it should come as no sur­prise that the Dig­i­tal Trans­gen­der Archive’s grow­ing col­lec­tion of doc­u­ments, pho­tographs, peri­od­i­cals, and “ephemera,” orga­nized all togeth­er for the first time, offers plen­ty of strik­ing mate­r­i­al to look at — as well as to intro­duce the his­to­ry of a world about which few could open­ly com­mu­ni­cate before now.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Judy!: 1993 Judith But­ler Fanzine Gives Us An Irrev­er­ent Punk-Rock Take on the Post-Struc­tural­ist Gen­der The­o­rist

Down­load 834 Rad­i­cal Zines From a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Online Archive: Glob­al­iza­tion, Punk Music, the Indus­tri­al Prison Com­plex & More

Allen Gins­berg Talks About Com­ing Out to His Fam­i­ly & Fel­low Poets on 1978 Radio Show (NSFW)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


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