gender liberators

gender liberators (digital mockup)

gender liberators (closeup of marbled paper)

gender liberators (process shot of marbling)

gender liberators (closeup of uncut pages)

gender liberators is an anthology of writing, poetry, correspondence, photos, paintings, flyers, and other ephemera by trans*, two-spirit, nonbinary, and trans-adjacent authors and creators from 20th century turtle island/North America. The materials in this book were identified and selected based on hundreds of interviews that I have conducted with elders, archivists, scholars, and cultural workers about their lives and work, and about moments, individuals, and groups that were deeply influential but have been underappreciated in accounts of trans* history. Through this community guidance, this anthology centers the perspectives and visual and print culture of trans and queer life, and resists some of the biases of existing histories and archives that under represent the geographic South and Midwest, trans* communities of color, and trans masculine communities. This book seeks to let the included authors and materials speak for themselves and dialogue with each other, while honoring the multiplicity of voices, formats, and perspectives included: gender liberators is printed on more than a dozen different paper colors with multiple inks and printing techniques including risograph, letterpress, digital offset, and traditional paper marbling. The cover wrap includes a citation for each image in the book as well as an index for researchers.

This work grows out of my larger project which seeks to bring the wisdom of trans* elders and ancestors to bear on the current challenges we face in gender justice movements, using archival materials as a bridge between trans* pasts and futures. Over the last two years, I have located and digitized over 13,000 pages of documents of trans* history in several dozen university, community, and private collections, and am sharing these on a digital archive at Most of these materials were not previously digitized or accessible outside of the archives in which they are held. I believe that collecting and sharing these stories is healing work.

Our stories are key to healing our communities from the scars of transphobia. We heal when we connect with ancestors and learn more about ourselves through them. We heal when we receive testament to our continued existence in this world. We heal when given the opportunity to repair rifts from past conflicts. Finally, we heal when we can grow from the wisdom of passing time. Gathering around material histories and holding space for dialogue offers us the opportunity to engage with all these modes of healing.

Deep gratitude to Erin Zona, Chris Petrone, and all of staff and interns at Womens’ Studio Workshop who have provided tremendous practical, technical, and moral support and a safe space for creating and producing gender liberators. Endless thanks and admiration to the projects’ founding advisory committee: Che Gossett, Finn Enke, Jeanne Vaccaro, and Susan Stryker, and especially to Malcolm Shanks whose mentorship, advice, coaching, and assistance with this project has been invaluable.

Thank you to Aaron Devor, Abby Bass, Ace Lehner, Aiden Bettine, AJ Lewis, Alec Butler, Alex Gilliam, Alexander L Lee, Allee Mondheim, Anderson Toone, Andy , Ariel Goldberg, Ashley Armstrong, Barrie Jean Borich, Billy Lane, Camille Lawrence, Charley Burton, Che Gossett, Chelsea Goodwin, Chris Vargas, Chris Petrone, Christina Linden, Christine Walde, Chrystos , Craig Highberger, Dallas Denny, Dan Cameron, Daniel Louis Duncan, Daria Dorosh, Darla Bjork, David France, David Harrison, Dee Farmer, Dee Dee Chamblee, Del La Grace Volcano, Dena Muller, Dionne Stallworth, Donna Kessinger, Efrain John Gonzales, Elliot Marrow, Erin Zona, Finn Enke, Frances Woods-Baugh, Gayle Rubin, Gordene MacKenzie, Harmony Hammond, Harrison Apple, Heather Dean, Ignacio Rivera, Jamison Green, Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, Jeanne Vaccaro, Jessica Xavier, Joan Jett Blakk, Joanna Rivera, Joe E. Jeffries, John Anderies, Jolene Rickard, Jonathan Thunderword, Joshua Burford, Jude Patton, Judy Grahn, Judy Greenspan, Kai Pyle, Kan Seidel, Kaspar Saxena, Kat Griefen, Kay Turner, Kelly Wooten, Kerry Downey, KJ Rawson, La’Cretia L’Amour, Lara Wilson, Laura Bailey, Lauren Berke, Leah DeVun, Leo Valdes, Linda Simpson, Loni Shibuyama, Lou McCarthy, Louis Mitchell, Lynn Ballen, Madsen Minax, Malcolm Shanks, Margo Anderson, Mariette Pathy Allen, Marisa Richmond, Marsha Botzer, Martha Wilson, matt dilling, Maureen Jolie Anderson, Max Wolf Valerio, Merrick Moses, Micah Bazant, Mike Hernandez, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Mo B. Dick, Mollie Biewald, Morgan Gwenwald, Ms. Bob Davis, Muriel Miguel, Myles McLean, Nancy Azara, Nancy Nangeroni, Os Keyes, Pat Califia, Pendra Wilson, Rachel Ryan, Rahne Alexander, Reneé Imperato, Richard LaFortune, Riki Wilchins, Rollie Matthews, Rosa von Praunheim, Rupert Raj, Sandi Salas, Sarah Calise, Saskia Scheffer, Shannon O’Neill, Sharon Day, Simon Fisher, Stephanie Crawford, Susan Stryker, Suzanne Iacenza, Tobaron Waxman, Vann Millhouse, Venus de Mars, Veronica Vera, Vickie and Sharon Baker, Wes Enos, Xiomara Niculescu, and many many others for your questions, insights, anecdotes, stories, notes, archives, and conversations that continue to shape the direction of this project.

gender liberators is made possible by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the Cowles Charitable Trust, the Windgate Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Agnes Gund Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Ruth Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, public funds from Creative Engagement, a regrant program supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by LMCC, and by The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.