Trans Oral History Project installation, workshop held April 19, 20
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

(Editor's Note: Trans is a shortened version of transgender.)

The University of Iowa will offer several opportunities for people to develop a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences of those in the transgender and gender variant communities during the month of April—as well as provide folks in these communities opportunities to share their stories.

The UI’s student and community-based group TransCollaborations recently announced the schedule for the upcoming Trans Oral History Project installation and workshop.

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Trans Oral History Project logo

The Chicago-based Trans Oral History Project will set up a temporary multimedia installation from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 19 in the UI Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, located at 125 Grand Ave. Ct. in Iowa City.

The installation will portray four decades of activism through videos of transgender activists and zines from the time period while constructing a narrative of political change and cultural contradiction.

There will be opening remarks at 6 p.m., and Trans Oral History Project members will reflect on the process of the project, strategies to counteract trends in mainstream media, ethical dilemmas involved in creating public histories, and notions of authorship such as who gets to tell stories and what that means for transgender communities. Participants will be able to check out the exhibit, watch videos, and obtain copies of zines from transgender authors.

The public is also invited to a workshop on LGBT public histories from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

"Histories of LGBT social movements are populated with mainstream accounts of activists and issues and thus, only some stories are told," says TransCollaborations co-organizer stef shuster.

shuster adds that this workshop will attempt to work against the grain of mainstream accounts by challenging prevalent notions of who is a part of LGBT movements.

"We will create a timeline in the workshop to highlight the famous people and events of LGBT movements, juxtaposed against participant’s experiences with LGBT movements," shuster says. "Video footage from the Trans Oral History Project’s archive will be shown in the workshop."

During the month of April, the zine machine in the UI Main Library will have copies of zines from the Trans Oral History Project’s collection.

Members of the Trans Oral History Project will also be conducting oral history interviews with transgender people in Iowa City during their visit.

All events are free and open to the public. A full schedule of events may be found on the TransCollaborations website at The website for the project is

For more information about this event, contact shuster at or at 502-594-7094.

This event was made possible by support from the following: Digital Studio for Public Humanities; the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies; the UI Women's Resource and Action Center; Center for Student Involvement and Leadership; Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students; UI LGBT Resource Center; UI Student Government; and the UI Main Library Zine Machine.

Everyone is encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the Center for Student Leadership and Involvement in advance at 319-335-3059.

To read a related story, see Transgender activist, academic pioneer.