Author Archives: transcollaborations

Important Meeting Called to Address Future of Trans* Group – Sunday March 30 4pm

Hello Friends!

As some of you may have noticed, the trans* group has slowly been shifting towards inactivity over this academic year. We have accomplished a lot in our 6 years of existence and now it is time to have some difficult conversations about the viability of this group. Yet, there are exciting projects in the works and many community/campus partners are slowly starting to take on trans* specific education.

For this first meeting (of several) to discuss important issues, we are inviting trans*-identified (broadly defined) people into this space to have an intra-community conversation before we reach out to allies. Yet we are asking our allies to forward this message on to people who may not otherwise be involved with this group.

The meeting is this Sunday at 4pm at WRAC (130 N. Madison Street Iowa City) to discuss two timely issues related to trans* organizing in the Iowa City area:

1) The future directions of the group and looking ahead to next year and beyond to put in place structures for other organizations to take on some of the work that we do in programming, educational outreach, and activism

2) One of our co-organizers recently met with the UI Department of Public Safety and it was a wonderfully productive conversation. We have some ideas in the works about creating more communication with that department, as well as how to get trans* folks access to the Nite Ride program.

We will intermittently have meetings over the next few months as well to celebrate our successes and plan for the future

If you need to reach out to the co-organizers, our email address is:


Trans* Oral History Project Installation Still Up until May 6th!

Attention Iowa City folks who missed the April 19th – 20th Trans* Oral History Project events. The multimedia installation will stay up in the LGBT Resource Center (125 Grand Avenue Ct) through May 6th. Come on down and check it out. Featuring 4 decades of trans* oral histories from the project collections plus an interactive gender web (don’t be shy).



Trans* Oral History Project Visit April 19th – 20th

Trans Oral History Project Logo

Trans Oral History Project Logo

The Trans* Oral History Project Installation and Workshop

April 19th – 20th 2013

Hosted by TransCollaborations

All events are free and open to the public.


Friday April 19th 5-9pm @ The UI LGBT Resource Center

Event Description: On Friday April 19th, the Trans Oral History Project will set up a temporary multimedia installation in the UI LGBT Resource Center (125 Grand Avenue Ct). The installation will portray four decades of activism through videos of trans activists and zines from the time period while constructing a narrative of political change and cultural contradiction.

Join us at 6pm for opening remarks. Trans* Oral History Project members will reflect on the process of the project, strategies to counteract trends in mainstream media, ethical dilemmas involved in creating public histories, and notions of authorship (who gets to tell stories and what that means for transgender communities). Participants will be able to check out the exhibit, watch videos, and take zines from trans* authors before and after the discussion.


Saturday April 20th 3-5pm @ IC Public Library Room A

Event Description: Histories of LGBT social movements are populated with mainstream accounts of activists and issues and thus, only some stories are told. This workshop will attempt to work against the grain of mainstream accounts by challenging prevalent notions of who is a part of LGBT movements. The Trans* Oral History Project will work with our community to create a timeline in the workshop to highlight the famous people and events of LGBT movements, juxtaposed against participant’s experiences with LGBT movements. The workshop will challenge all of us to reflect on how our personal experiences are integrated with the common history and points of conflict and resonance within this narrative.  Video footage from the Trans* Oral History Project’s archive will be shown in the workshop to highlight alternative narratives.

Zine Machine!

Be sure to check out the zine machine at the UI Main Library during the month of April for copies of zines from the Trans* Oral History Project’s collections. A permanent collection will be generated through this event, in collaboration with the UI Main Library’s Zine Collection. Contact Kelly McElroy ( for more information on the zine collections at the UI.

This event was made possible by the support from: Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Digital Studio for Public Humanities, Women’s Resource & Action Center, Center for Student Involvement and Leadership,  Executive Council of Graduate & Professional Students, UI LGBT Resource Center; University of Iowa Student Government, and the Main Library Zine Machine.

Everyone is encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the Center for Student Leadership & Involvement in advance at 319-335-3059.

Trans* Oral History Flyer

Trans* Oral History Flyer

Meeting schedule through April!

– Sunday March 10th 12:30pm @ WRAC (130 N. Madison St. Iowa City)
Discussion: Social Justice Projects in Iowa City

Over the last few months our group has quietly shifted from focusing on social support and gatherings to increasingly working towards social justice work in our town. While oftentimes we check in with each other about projects going on, and work as a group, other times we engage in this work independently. This meeting is to check in with each other about works-in-progress and discuss meaningful ways to push through some of these projects. Topics might include: Insurance Changes to having trans-specific healthcare; Restroom Revolution; Gender Affirming student housing options. Bring your ideas and updates.

– Sunday March 24th 12:30pm @ WRAC (130 N. Madison St. Iowa City)
Film Screening & Discussion: Let Me Die a Woman

Since last summer when we hosted the Trans* Medical Symposium there has been a lot of movement in our town to make healthcare more trans* affirming. This particular movie is quite outdated, and quite caustic, too. It seems like creating space to reflect on historical documents such as this video allows for reflection on where we have been, and the directions we are heading. The discussion following the screening can focus on: 1) the ridiculousness of the premise that providers were working from in the 1970s 2) the triggering aspects of the movie 3) what has changed since the movie was released 40 years ago 4) other assorted topics

– Sunday April 14th  12:30pm @ WRAC (130 N. Madison St. Iowa City)
Planning Meeting for: The Trans* Oral History Project visit to Iowa City

The Trans* Oral History Project is coming to Iowa City April 19th and 20th. We will use this meeting to finalize plans for the project’s visit, and brainstorm any topics that need to be discussed before they come. For example, oftentimes our public programs attempt to move beyond Trans-101, yet we consistently find that while as a group we are ready to ‘move beyond’ that conversation, many folks who attend the programs are not. How do we navigate this conundrum as a community to address these dilemmas so that we (or our guests) are not put into the ‘educator role’ but instead we can have meaningful dialogue and programs, and engage in the rich topics that we want to engage in?

Meeting Schedule through February!

TransCollaborations finally has a meeting schedule for the upcoming weeks. Consider stopping by, building community, and working on projects/events with us! All are welcome.
– Sunday January  27th 12:30pm at WRAC (130 N. Madison St. Iowa City)
bring a dish or beverage to share (if possible)…potluck to celebrate a new semester and new year of fierce and fun transactivism

– Sunday February 10th 12:30pm at WRAC (130 N. Madison St. Iowa City)
we will continue working on (and finalize?) the community art project from TransWeek! back in November

– Sunday February 24th 12:30pm at WRAC (130 N. Madison St. Iowa City)
Topic TBA

Hot off the press! TransWeek Zine!

Hooray it is finally here! Check out the bad-ass zine that our community put together on the last day of TransWeek 2012! Many many thanks to all of our contributors!

To view the zine on-line, click here: TransWeek Zine (web version)

Want to print some  copies to share with your mom, your lover, friends, and other folk? Use this link to print it out (double-sided) your self! TransWeek Zine (print version)

TransWeek ZIne

Upcoming Meetings for TransCollaborations

Upcoming Meetings and Dates are now posted under “upcoming events” tab…

1. Sunday November 18th 1pm @ WRAC – for trans* identified people only (Topic: reflecting on TransWeek)
2. Sunday November 25th 1pm @ WRAC – open to everyone (Topic: reflecting on TransWeek (and even if you did not make any of the events, would love to hear your perspectives on why that might have been the case if intentional/chosen decision) and directions for future work)

TransWeek! 2012 Event Schedule now Posted

 Check out this page for a full schedule on this year’s TransWeek!

“Organizing Against Transnormativity” November 2nd – 5th, 2012 in Iowa City, IA

 Transnormativity is an insidious aspect of the increased visibility of trans* communities. The concept plays out in the lives of trans* people where all of us who identify as trans* are expected to narrate our identities along mainstream understandings. We’re sure you know the common narrative – from an early age we knew we were different, our bodies don’t match our minds, we want to transition to “the other” gender. These are all myths associated with a transnormative narrative, and they simply aren’t true. We are much more complex and nuanced and there are many ways that trans* people narrate our understandings of our identities. This year, TransWeek! takes aim at transnormativity through many opportunities to engage in dialogue – through workshops and performance art – around the systemic problems associated with this aspect of trans* communities and dominant rhetoric.

Call for Solidarity with Iowa City Trans* Communities and Concerns with Media Coverage during TransWeek!

A Call for Solidarity with Iowa City Trans* Communities and Concerns with Media Coverage during TransWeek!:

Over the last several years, many of us in the Iowa City trans* community have agreed to participate in interviews with local newspapers. Sometimes, every once in a very infrequent while, a journalist does it right, does their homework, and follows journalistic integrity practices for their discipline (as outlined in the Associated Press stylebook). However, we have found that usually our pronouns are not respected, our names have been distorted, or that the journalist simplifies our identities down to a simplistic and transnormative narrative, even when we take the time to explain that we might not fall into that medicalized discourse (i.e. born in the wrong body, etc).

Our Request of You
We ask that if the Daily Iowan (and this only applies to the Daily Iowan) contacts you to comment on TransWeek! that you reply with the following statement. Additionally, if a reporter from the Daily Iowan asks for a quote during a TransWeek event, please also consider not engaging and mentioning something like what appears below:

I am not able to grant you an interview on TransWeek! events for this year. While I appreciate the DI attempting to cover social justice issues, as they are vital to creating an affirming and safe place for all people – trans-identified folk included – on this campus and in our Iowa City community, it has been brought to my attention that your news organization does not honor the Associated Press’ guidelines on how to work with and report on transgender populations. Recently a trans-identified person requested that their birth assigned name be removed from an on-line story, from the DI, for privacy and safety reasons and that request was denied. Therefore, in solidarity with trans* communities in Iowa City, I cannot consent to an interview until you change your policies. A blanket policy on not changing or updating stories might be “equal” in that it is applied to everyone. However, equality is not the same as equity. Trans* populations have specific concerns and needs that cisgender populations may or may not have to negotiate with media sources.

TransWeek! Planning Meeting Sun. Oct. 14th 1-3pm @ WRAC

The next TransWeek! planning meeting is Sunday October 14th from 1-3pm at WRAC. Stop by to make buttons, cut fliers, and plan our publicity campaign.

If you are not available for Sunday planning meetings but want to help out by organizing, sharing ideas, putting on a workshop/leading a discussion, or volunteering your time, please let us know via email at