In True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the 20th Century
(New York University Press, 2017), Emily Skidmore
weaves in a vibrant discussion on how trans men created community and crafted their lives in rural America at the turn of the twentieth century. As Skidmore contends, “True Sex reveals not only did trans men at the turn of the twentieth century often chose to live in small towns and rural outposts, but they also often sought to pass as normative men aligning themselves with the values of their chosen communities rather than seeking consolation in the presence of other queer individuals.” Her work contributes and also challenges conventional understandings of LGBT community formation. By incorporating the stories of Harry Gorman, Jack Garland, Frank Dubois, George Green, Ralph Kerwineo, and many more, Skidmore illustrates that local newspapers and residents understood queer embodiment under heteronormativity, whiteness, and acceptability, but this positionality was not always in accordance with national newspapers. And more specifically, Skidmore finds that U.S. involvement in global affairs also influenced the ways in which Americans understood the lived experiences of trans men at the turn of the century. Skidmore has conducted meticulous research and thereby opens a window for understanding the richness that comes from relying on digital advancements for writing LGBT histories. Turn the volume up and listen in to this episode!
Tiffany Jasmin González is a Ph.D. candidate of History at Texas A&M University. Her research centers on the 20th Century US, Latinx history, American politics, social movements, borderlands, and women & gender. Her dissertation, Representation for a Change: Women in Government and the Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement in Texas showcases the labor that Latinas conducted for the realignment of the Democratic Party since the 1970s. You can follow Tiffany on Twitter @T_J_Gonzalez