Library Journal, June 2023
The Digital Transgender Archive (DTA), based at Northeastern University in Boston, has been bringing together transgender archival materials from institutions of higher education and grassroots collections to a central digital location since 2016. Seven years in, the DTA has collaborated with 76 organizations (with more likely to come on board) to build the archive with more than 10,600 items from around the world, focusing on materials originating prior to 2000.
At the 2008 TransSomatechnics conference at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, professor K.J. Rawson and scholar Nicholas Matte recognized a need for a centralized database of transgender archival materials. The DTA website notes, “Through a series of conversations, K.J. and Nick realized that their own challenges researching transgender history were representative of systematic challenges, which K.J. began to develop a plan to address with the DTA.”
“Transgender history is often hidden”—both intentionally and unintentionally—“within archival collections due to several major access barriers,” explained Rawson, now associate professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and director of DTA.