Friday, August 30, 2019

Packed In A Trunk

How many of us started off that way?

Hiding our stash from our families, kept secret from all. I have always wondered after our death what would have happened our stash of clothes, would they be found by our families?

The title of this post came from “Packed In a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson,” she was a lesbian artist from the 1920s who was labeled insane and locked away in an asylum where she died. But when her grand nieces found her art packed away in a trunk in the attic.

Back at the turn of the Twenty-first Century I went to a support group for the first time, after I attend for a few year one of our long term members passed away but no one knew that she did because we only knew her fem name. It wasn’t until her daughter emailed us about her passing.

You have to wonder how many of us passed away without our community knowing or their family knowing that they were trans until they found “the trunk.” I wrote a letter and stuffed it in the “trunk” or in my case a large plastic box.

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use,
I also have to wonder how much of our history is “Packed in a Trunk” and how much will be lost to history. Up in the Catskills was Casa Susanna where crossdressers from NYC came up for a weekend get-away and its history was lost until photographs that were packed in a trunk was found at a yard sale.
A Safe House for the Girl Within
The New York Times
By Penelope Green
September 7, 2006

THERE was a pilot and a businessman, an accountant, a librarian and a pharmacologist. There was a newspaper publisher, and a court translator. By day, they were the men in the gray flannel suits, but on the weekends, they were Felicity, Cynthia, Gail, Sandy, Fiona, Virginia and Susanna. It was the dawn of the 1960’s, yet they wore their late 50’s fashions with awkward pride: the white gloves, the demure dresses and low heels, the stiff wigs. Many were married with children, or soon would be. In those pre-Judith Butler, pre-Phil Donahue days, when gender was more tightly tethered to biology, these men’s “gender migrations,” or “gender dysphoria,” as the sociologists began to call cross-dressing, might cost them their marriages, their jobs, their freedom.

And so they kept their feminine selves hidden, except for weekends at Casa Susanna, a slightly run-down bungalow camp in Hunter, N.Y., that was the only place where they could feel at home.

Decades later, when Robert Swope, a gentle punk rocker turned furniture dealer, came across their pictures — a hundred or so snapshots and three photo albums in a box at the 26th Street flea market in Manhattan — he knew nothing about their stories, or Casa Susanna, beyond the obvious: here was a group of men dressed as women, beautiful and homely, posing with gravity, happiness and in some cases outright joy. They were playing cards, eating dinner, having a laugh. They didn’t look campy, like drag queens vamping it up as Diana Ross or Cher; they looked like small-town parishioners, like the lady next door, or your aunt in Connecticut.
I have donated all my photos and documents to a local college library (with a 20 year time-lock on them before they can be released.). I urge you also donate you memorabilia (not only photos but also buttons, program guides for trans conferences, etc.) to a library or Connecticut Historical Society and your printer literature to the digital trans archive.

We need to save our history or else it will be claimed by others.

Earlier in the week I wrote about the problems of going through security at airports, well the topic has been picked up on the campaign trail by Sen. Warren.
Elizabeth Warren condemns ‘dehumanising’ screenings of trans people at airports
Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has condemned the news that transgender people in the US are being subjected to invasive screenings at airports in order to travel.
Pink News UK
By Vic Parsons
August 29, 2019

A ProPublica investigation revealed that trans passengers are being forced to endure invasive searches by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) in the US.

“Trans and non-binary people shouldn’t have to face invasive and dehumanising screenings to travel,” Warren, 70, tweeted on August 27.

“We must do better – and I’ll keep working to ensure that every trans and non-binary American is able to live without fear or discrimination,” she added.

Warren, who is currently senator of Massachusetts, recently added her pronouns to her Twitter and campaign bios in what is being hailed as a show of solidarity with the trans community.

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