What is the Transgender Oral History Project?
The TOHP is a community media initiative. We are a volunteer grassroots group of queer, trans, and gender variant people who travel around recording and distributing stories of other trans, gender variant, and gender non-conforming people so that we can help folks in our community have a voice. Anyone can become a part of the project by getting involved.
How long have you been around?
We were founded in 2008 by André Pérez. The first interviews that became part of this project were with the organizers of the first New England Transgender Pride March and Rally.
Where do you get funding?
We got started on a shoe-string budget and a $200 student grant. We have since won larger grants from the Chicago Filmmakers Fund, Valentine Foundation, and Crossroads Fund, but we remain a low-budget organization. We regularly raise money by selling merchandise at our Etsy shop, and conducting fee for service workshops at Colleges and Universities. We can only sustain the project with a broad base of support from folks who think the work we do is valuable. Buy a poster, zine, or button today and support the Transgender Oral History Project!
What projects have you done in the past?
We have put on multiple multimedia historical exhibitions since 2009. We developed a poster that was featured in Celebrate People’s History. We’ve hosted interactive workshops on trans identity, intergenerational storytelling events, and media skillshares. Learn more about our past projects on our achievements page.
Who is included in the Transgender Oral History Project?
We are out to share stories of gender variant, gender non-conforming, and transgender folks. We use these terms to broadly encompass folks who live outside of traditional gender norms assigned to them at birth. We are open to using our resources to interview and collaborate with trans-identified people. While we do not produce or actively seek out stories from allies and partners, we welcome SOFFAS to submit relevant material to the project.
How can allies get involved?
Anyone who wants to host an event or discuss specific volunteer opportunities should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What kind of stories are you interested in capturing?
We’re open to collecting nonfiction stories about people’s experiences. We are especially interested in collecting stories from folks who are excluded from mainstream coverage of the trans community–people of color, sex workers, genderqueer people, older trans folks, etc. We pick topics or ask questions to help prompt folks, but the bottom line is that we’d like to help you share whatever you’d like to share.
Does the project include media other than recorded interviews?
Yes! Contribute your zine about coming out, your spoken word piece about the first time you had sex, your video about transitioning. Send it all to email@example.com
Why do you want to interview me?
We want to share stories that reflect the breadth of the trans and queer community, and if you are a part of it then your experiences count. There may be folks in a similar position to you who could really benefit from knowing there’s someone they can identify with out there. It’s entirely optional–we are just inviting you to participate in a community project.
What will happen with the interview material?
It depends on what you want. We cannot guarantee you that we will use footage of you in the project; however, if we do use it, we will likely put it on this website. We may want to edit it together with other stories and include the compilation on an educational DVD, CD, etc. Any money from selling these will go directly back into paying our operating costs (website hosting, printing flyers, making DVDs, etc.).
Our consent form allows you to give us blanket consent for educational purposes or to put conditions on your consent (like not attaching your name publicly). If you want to participate but have concerns, please voice them, and we will work with you.
Will I get paid to be interviewed?
Unfortunately, we do not have the funding at this time to pay folks who generously contribute their stories. We can, however, reimburse you for any expenses you incur to contribute your story like giving you a bus card, paying your parking, etc. We want to support people of all income levels telling their stories, so please let us know what you need. We promise that we will not be making money off of you, and we will try to make this project as financially sustainable as we can for as long as we can.
Do you have to have some kind of qualification to be an interviewer?
We believe that trans, gender variant, and queer folks should be telling our own stories–not entertainers, not sensationalist newscasters, not Hollywood producers. We are not professionals, rather we are community members who are passionate about listening and sharing. If you have an issue with an interviewer who is connected with the project, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Will you make me look good as an interviewee or participant?
We strive to portray all the folks who contribute to the oral history project in the most honest, respectful, and glamorous way possible. If you have a concern about any of the footage that is included in the project, we work with you to resolve it or will honor your request to have it taken down.