The Transgender Historian Zagria

A site about transgender history

How did you come up with the idea of starting a site about transgender history?

Access to journals

As I am not associated with a university, access to journals was a problem. An academic friend allowed me to use his library ID and I was thereby able to access journals until he retired and the ID stopped working.

Costly books

I managed the cost of books by buying only one a week or so, and by waiting until I could get it for $20 or less (usually AbeBooks or Amazon Marketplace). If you buy a 1,000 books at $10 on average, that is $10,000. Therefore I must be careful. However by spreading it out, I acquired most books that I need for less than some people spend on beer. There is of course no chance of selling them for what I paid.

How to choose whom to write about

At present I have a long to-do list, much longer than I had in 2007. There are several articles that I did many years ago that need to be redone because books came out later that provided a lot more information: for example David Martin, Donna Langan, Lou Sullivan — and I have just finished a rewrite of Liz Eden in time for the anniversary on 22 August.

Violette Morris (1893–1944) French trans man and “performer, chauffeur, black-marketer.”

Plagiarism

Do you have problems with plagiarism?

Being disregarded

I have a bigger problem with the opposite, being disregarded. I include all previous relevant work on the topic in my bibliography at the end, even those that I dislike.

Randolph Trumbach

Which historians are you most influenced by?

Colin Wilson

A second historian is Colin Wilson. An odd choice in that he is neither gay-positive nor trans-positive, and as he recounts re Charlotte Bach, was quite naïve re gender transition. However his history of sex is an alternate social construction, and some of his insights are worth paying attention to.

Trans on trans

Trans persons have been writing on transness since the 1940s, although the early ones were theory rather than history: Michael Dillon’s Self; Oakley (Sex Change and Dress Deviation); Turtle (Over the Sex Border).

Local trans histories

In recent years there have been regional or city gay and lesbian histories, particularly in the US. These often have trans content that is otherwise unknown. We need more local trans histories. I have written timelines for Atlanta and Seattle-Portland. I have also started such for Argentina, northern England, New Orleans and Hungary.

Organizing the content

What is the sort order of the occupations in your index?

  • Religion (in the widest sense) and health workers (tasks originally done by shamans or medicine men)
  • Military and police, lawyers and criminals
  • All other occupations except (e), and then marriage and pregnancy
  • The arts: sports, circus, musicians, dancers, fashion, performers, actors, writers, artists

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