Preserving the Transgender Past in the UK: Possibilities and Probabilities

Richard Ekins, Dave King

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Whilst there are a number of important antecedents, the events of the past 40 to 50 years constitute a particularly rich period in transgender history. In this presentation we argue that it is important that what we might call the ‘outpourings’ of this period: the books, magazines, television and radio programmes, websites, society records etc. are preserved and made available for future generations. We begin by explaining the origins, development and present position, in terms of possible and probable futures of the University of Ulster’s Transgender Archive. We then consider what other material is available and the possible strategies that might be pursued in order to safeguard it for the future.

We’ve divided our talk into two main parts. First, Richard will give a brief outline of the origins, development and probable future of the Transgender Archive that he established in 1986 at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, and is now planning to deposit – in due course – with the Hall-Carpenter Archives, held at the London School of Economics, London University.

Then Dave will set the context of Richard’s outline more broadly within debates about how best to preserve transgender pasts more generally.

Our title – ‘Preserving the Transgender Past in the UK’ – refers both to our wish to maintain hard copy transgender material ‘in the UK’ and to maintain a focus – although not an exclusive focus – on the history of trans activity in the UK. You might, of course, see this as contentious and, if so, we would very much like to hear your views.

We would also like to hear your views on issues surrounding digitization of Archive material – its advantages and disadvantages, and so on. For Richard, however, this is not an issue. For the Hall-Carpenter Archives housed, as they, are in an institution of higher education, copyright issues loom so large when the topic of digitization comes up, that they would not digitize Richard’s deposits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransgender 2010, Conference held at the University of East Anglia, September 3-4, 2010
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2010


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