Welcome to the Macalester Queer and Trans Oral History Project, a collaboration between Macalester College’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department and the Tretter Trans Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota. We are students enrolled in WGSS/AMST 294, and we are collecting oral histories with trans and gender fabulous activists in movements for justice, and will be donating them to the Tretter Trans Oral History Project.

Much about mainstream narratives of queerness and gender transgression are determined by powerful, cis-dominated institutions, still even to this day: the media, schools, police, the law, doctors and psychiatrists. These are institutions structured by a racialized, heteronormative gender binary, and for whom trans people pose a problem to be managed. Oral history offers possibility for queer and trans people to tell their own stories, and, in doing so, give more nuanced, complex analysis of identity, activism, and of the intersectional operations of systems of power. Oral history also makes room for the complex interplay of joy, playfulness, grief, anxiety, and connection that makes queer and trans life so valuable. In this course, students will have hands on experience building an archive of queer and trans oral histories in the context of the pandemic and uprisings for racial justice.