It’s been a while since I’ve written to update you on what’s been happening at the Chair in Transgender Studies and the Transgender Archives. Of course the two big events have been the announcement in January of the establishment of the world’s only Research Chair in Transgender Studies and the Moving Trans History Forward conference in March.
I am both deeply honoured and tremendously excited to have been appointed as the first Chair in what I hope will be a long-standing tradition of Chairs in Trans Studies, not only at UVic but around the world. The overarching objective of the Chair in Transgender Studies is to foster and support increased research into a broad range of topics concerned with the lives and circumstances of trans and gender-variant people. The Chair will bring together some of the world’s best researchers and scholars, advanced students, community activists and thought leaders, and assist them to work together. Please help us to build this valuable resource.
No sooner was I appointed than work went into high gear preparing for the2016 Moving Trans History Forward Conference in mid-March. We had a fantastic team and the conference turned out to be a big success. The conference spanned four days, Thursday evening to Sunday noon and attracted 175 people, teens to octogenarians, from all across Canada and the US, as well as folks from Mexico, Germany, Sweden, the UK, and Japan. We had a very healthy mix of trans community people, allies, students and academics, and thanks to donations from UVic, the Chair in Trans Studies, and friends of MTHF, we were able to offer over $20,000 in general registration subsidies and travel subsidies for presenters. We also made our signature Founders Panel and all of our arts events open to the public.
Our theme this year was Building Communities, Sharing Connections. Almost everyone who responded to our request for feedback said that they made many or some new connections at the conference (95%) and said that they would recommend MTHF to their friends or colleagues (86%). Almost three-quarters said that it was one of the best conferences that they had ever been to (20%), or that it was a great conference (53%).Presentations, photos, and videos are accessible from the conference web site. Also take a look at our Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram accounts for more images from the conferences and the collections of the Transgender Archives. We’ve also put out a new edition of The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future. Download your copy now.
Coming up in July as part of Pride Week, the University of Victoria Farquahar Auditorium will be hosting a special dance theatre production as a fundraiser for the Chair in Transgender Studies and the Transgender Archives. Don’t miss Sean Dorsey Dance performing The Missing Generation on July 8th as part of their 20-city tour. This powerful show is a love letter to a forgotten generation of survivors–those who witnessed and experienced the loss of part of an entire generation of gay and transgender people to AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. Sean Dorsey is a widely acclaimed trans choreographer originally from Vancouver and now based in San Francisco. Tickets are on sale now.
Aaron H. Devor
Content ©2016 by Aaron Devor. Reprinted with permission.