We had a stimulating three days of exploring trans identity and trans history at the University of Victoria’s Moving Trans History Forward 2016 conference, March 17-20.The conference was a grounding in important dates, personalties, and terminology in the transgender community. It also touched on current issues such as the need for preservation of trans histories and the status of trans materials in larger queer collections such as at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA).
Academics, community activists, artists and historians created a stimulating jam-packed event. And like at most conferences, some of the most interesting conversations were with the person you found yourself sitting beside at lunch. One highlight was learning about the Transvengers web comic. A collaborative project between trans youth and researchers at the University of Exeter, that saw the youth interact fantastically with sexologists from the past.
We were delighted to learn that there will be a trans history exhibition at the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary this June. Called Trans Trans, the show will explore the influence of Magnus Hirschfeld on Alfred Kinsey through images found in the Kinsey archive and others in popular culture. Trans Trans is curated by U of C history professor Annette Timm, and her academic partners, Michael Taylor (Portland, Oregon) and Rainer Herrn (Berlin, Germany).
We talked to trans activist, Rupert Raj, about his time in 1970’s Calgary, and his association with the Gender Identity clinic at the Foothills Hospital. Following the conference, we found sources in UVic’s Transgender Archives about the physicians who ran the clinic as well as more on the early days in Calgary of the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT).