KENT MONKMAN - Saturday Keynote



The Moving Trans History Forward Conference is proud to announce that Kent Monkman will deliver our Saturday evening keynote address, “Trans as the New Frontier.” This event is also open to the public (entrance by donation).

WHEN: Saturday evening, March 24th, 2018.

WHERE: David Lam Auditorium UVic

HOW MUCH: FREE for all conference registrants.  Open to the public by donation.

Kent Monkman uses brilliant artistic talents and a sharp wit to explore indigenous and anti-colonialist perspectives on Canada's History. Monkman is a Canadian Two-Spirit artist of Cree ancestry who works in painting, film/video, performance, and installation. Monkman has had solo and group exhibitions and performances at numerous prestigious Canadian and international museums, festivals, galleries, and other venues. Monkman's works are exhibited in important collections including the National Gallery of Canada and the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian, among others.

ANDREA JENKINS - Friday Keynote



UPDATE: Andrea Jenkins just became the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the United States (link)! Congratulations Andrea!

The Moving Trans History Forward Conference is proud to announce that Andrea Jenkins will deliver our Friday evening keynote address, “The 'T' is Not Silent.” This event is also open to the public (entrance by donation).

WHEN: Friday evening, March 23rd, 2018.

WHERE: Michele Pujol Room - Student’s Union Building

HOW MUCH: FREE for all conference registrants.  Open to the public by donation.

Andrea Jenkins is an oral historian and curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota's Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, a Minneapolis City Council Member, a poet and performance artist, Chair of the Board of Intermedia Arts, and a black trans woman active with Black Lives Matter. Jenkins' talk, "The 'T' is Not Silent: Centering Black Trans-Identities in an Historical Context," will explore how blackness has been a source of value for transgender politics and identity, how blackness and transness are performed in culture and society, and how the lived experiences, activism, intellectual work, and expressive knowledge of black transgender and gender non-binary people put pressure on dominant articulations of trans identity, trans politics, and notions of coalition and solidarity. 


ELDERS PANEL - Sunday Morning


“The Elders Panel" features a panel of trans elders providing live first-hand oral testimony about their experiences as elders of trans activism.

WHEN: Sunday morning, March 25th, 2018.

WHERE: Michele Pujol Room - Student’s Union Building

HOW MUCH: FREE for all conference registrants. Open to the public by donation.


Stephen Whittle: “Hearing Voices: Exploring Mid-20th Century UK-Based Trans Histories”
Christine Burns: “Rescuing Trans History”
Miqqi Alicia Gilbert: “One Week A Year: The Pragmatic Reality of Self-Actualization”
Aidan Key: “A Gender Odyssey: Aidan Key’s Journey to Leadership, Education & Activism”

"Hearing Voices: Exploring mid-20th Century UK Based Trans Histories"

Stephen Whittle OBE, PhD, MA, LLB , BA is Professor of Equalities Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 1975, aged 19, Stephen set up the UK’s first local trans support group in Manchester. The same year he transitioned to living as Stephen. In the 1970s and 80s he lost many jobs because of being trans. In 1985 he decided things would only change if trans people became lawyers. He qualified in law in 1990, and in 1992, Stephen was a co-founder of Press For Change (PFC), the UK's transgender lobbying group. PFC fought cases at the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights to gain legal recognition for Trans people in the Gender Recognition Act 2004. In 2005 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE, 2005) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his work on transgender rights. In 2010, PFC also achieved full protection for trans people under the UK’s Equality Laws. Stephen has been an advisor to the UK, Irish, Italian, Japanese and South African governments, the Council of Europe & the European Commission. He advises lawyers and regularly writes court briefs, or is an expert witness in courts across the world. In 2015, he was appointed special advisor to the Parliamentary Women & Equalities Committee Inquiry into Transgender Equality. Stephen and his wife Sarah married in 2005, after Stephen gained legal recognition as a man, but have been partners for 37 years. They have 4 children by donor insemination; the eldest has graduated and is teaching in China, the others are currently at University.

This paper addresses the complex and problematic nature of doing an historical evaluation and analysis of the UK’s mid-20th Century trans ‘patients’, and their medical and surgical teams, as they jointly established what became, for a short halcyon moment, a pioneering and inventive National Health Service ‘sex change enterprise’. Exploring influences, and ascertaining reasons for choices and the decisions made is never straightforward when examining the historical record, but it is even more so when those involved knew that to speak freely would have immediately ended the ‘adventure’. Medical practitioners would disguise the nature of the treatments offered to avoid censure. Trans ‘patients’ would explore and write of external, preferably biological, justifications for their decision to undergo gender reassignment, as they fought to survive, with some dignity intact, the stigma and opprobrium brought down on them by an intrusive and judgemental media industry. Undoubtedly, making discovery requires objective scrutiny. However, I will argue, using research undertaken over the last 20 years, that without an empathetic and compassionate understanding of the medical and social stigma confronting these pioneers, and the beliefs underpinning their actions, the scholar can but simply stand in the shallows, drawing a façade of what were, at the time, energised and thrilling personal and medical projects. Hearing the voices of this founding generation is crucial to understanding how their foresight became the bedrock of the futures now being experienced by trans and other gender variant people in the UK today.

"Rescuing Trans Histories"

Christine was a key part of Britain’s ‘Press for Change’ campaign for transgender rights from 1993 until 2007, becoming one of the vice-presidents in 1996. This means that she was involved throughout the years when the organisation was at its peak and had a key role in many of the groundbreaking successes which occurred, culminating in the passage of the UK's Gender Recognition Act in 2004. She has written several books, including a two-part history of the PFC campaign, Pressing Matters. She also penned the first National Health Service policy guide relating to trans patients and staff. She is now editing an anthology-based history of Britain’s trans community. Christine lives in Manchester, England, officially retired in 2013, and concentrates most of her time doting on her grandchildren, researching her family’s ancestry, reading detective fiction, gardening and riding her bike.

Excavating the social history of any marginalised group is never easy. Academic works are more likely than not to present a problematised and pathologising outsider perspective. Newspaper archives tend to reflect the dominant majority’s discriminatory viewpoint. It’s a universal phenomenon affecting the history of women, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), and disabled people. For sexual minorities the problem is compounded by the social forces which drove people underground into secret lives, plus the problems of evolving language. Private collections of records are often lost when the owners die — relatives seeing no value in the material they find hidden away in lofts and basements. Telling a coherent story from even just fifty years ago demands access to first person recollection. Christine Burns is a former trans activist who recognised that there is already a young generation of trans people with only a sketchy understanding of their community’s recent history. She describes how, in retirement, she has set out to provide road maps for professional historians to follow whilst also meeting a wider public need to understand where trans people ‘suddenly’ appeared to have come from.

"One Week a Year: The Pragmatic Reality of Self-Actualization"

Miqqi Alicia Gilbert, Ph.D. aka Michael A. Gilbert, is Full Professor of Philosophy at York University, Toronto, Canada. Miqqi Alicia has published scholarly articles in gender theory including an essay in Hypatia in 2009, “Defeating Bigenderism.” S/he is a life-long cross-dresser and an activist in the transgender community. Miqqi Alicia has made a point of being out and public and has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines in Canada and the US, as well as interviews on radio and television. S/he has been the book review editor and regular columnist for Transgender Tapestry, a recipient in 2007 of an IFGE Trinity Award, and Director of Fantasia Fair for 8 years. S/he has presented workshops at numerous trans events including Fantasia Fair, Southern Comfort, Esprit, IFGE and First Event. Hir website is located at: Hir newest book, Arguing with People, was published by Broadview Press in the spring of 2014.

The progression from initial self-awareness as someone who is gender variant or, perhaps, gender curious, to undertaking an exploration of that sometimes strong, sometimes subtle, discomfort is a slow and often arduous one. My journey began many years before the term and concept of “trans” was in general public awareness, and certainly before the Internet provided the contact and information so readily available today. I will begin my talk with a brief history of those bygone days when being in the closet was an ordinary, albeit existentially stultifying, phenomenon. My personal revolution began in 1986 with the passing of my second (common-law) wife. Eventually, in 1995 I attended the 1st International Conference and Cross-dressing, Gender and Sexuality (Northridge, CA), and that lead directly to my turning up at Fantasia Fair the following October. For me, as for many transfolk, especially in those days, this was the first time I could walk freely and safely in the sunshine. It was a crucial step in my self-actualization as a trans person and as a cross-dresser (Gilbert, 2011). In the title I refer to the “pragmatic reality,” because the Fair provided me and others with a chance to practice a role that had been denied to us. This enabled growth, both personal and social, and lead me further into an awareness of who, what and why I am (Gilbert Various).

"A Gender Odyssey: Aidan Key’s Journey to Leadership, Education & Activism"

Aidan Key is the founder of Gender Diversity, an organization dedicated to providing support and educational services with respect to the inclusion of transgender and gender-diverse children. Key has served as a consultant to dozens of school districts across the United States navigating the questions and concerns regarding transgender K-12 student inclusion. Key is the co-author of Gender Cognition in Transgender Children (Psychological Science 2015), the Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Transgender Student Advocacy and Support: Evolving Ethics in a Time of Devolving Policy (presented 2017: Philosophy of Education Society Annual Conference). He facilitates the nation’s largest network of parent support groups and offers trainings and policy development for schools, organizations, and other youth-based agencies across the nation.

Aidan Key will share his intentional and unintentional pathway to leadership that spans over two decades and counting. Key’s path, like that of many leaders, has involved slogging, sprinting, leaps of faith, and falling down. He will share parts of his journey, how his work has evolved, and the profound foray into providing support, and simply breaking ground, for parents and their transgender children.