Who Am I?

Hacking into the Science Museum

Trans Heritage

This project takes two main heritage focuses aimed at both trans and non-trans audiences. These are:

1.) to consider a history of science and medicine in relation to transgender heritage.
2.) to capture the memories and experiences of older members of the trans community partly in relation to a history of science and medicine.

What is heritage?

The visibility of trans lives is poor and awareness across the general public regarding trans heritage is imperative. Trans heritage and current experiences of trans lives offers alternative ideas of gender and identity, particularly in relation to a history of medical science. By sharing our stories with the wider public, we can contribute to wider narratives that respond to the question “who am I?”.

The transgender community is thinly spread across regions. Consequently we are highly active on-line and gather across many social media networks. However, despite this, there is very little on-line content dedicated to our heritage. We hope that this website offers an opportunity for trans people to find out about their past, as it pertains to medical science.

Why we need to look back

Exploring our heritage as part of this project for us was not about digging for the truth, but about asking questions.  By looking back  we can focus on the mal treatment and the values that pertained from the turn of the 19th Century and we can consider what has shifted and changed, but also what is still current today because of that past.  We can’t conceive of gender variance today without considering a history of psychiatry for instance and without the establishment of endocrinology administering hormones would not be available today.  

History is as much about the present as the past, because we interpret the past through the present, through our current values and ideas. Because of this, when we do look back we can see things differently.  Today people do regard gender as something more flexible, complex and dynamic. We can see that by not conforming to gender norms or gender stereotypes this does not make a person a ‘deviant’; such acts are no longer deemed as criminal nor pathological the way they were in the past. 

Young participants walk through the corridors at Blythe House, where the Science Museum stores their vast collection

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