Jenkins will record, organize up to 300 stories from transgender people
Andrea Jenkins, who spent 12 years as a Minneapolis City Council policy aide, has joined the University of Minnesota Libraries as staff for the Transgender Oral History Project, part of the Libraries’ Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies.
Jenkins recently was featured in the Minnesota Daily and in the Star Tribune talking about her new position and sharing her personal story.
“I play tennis, but I’m not known as a tennis player,” Jenkins told the Star Tribune in a story published April 27. “I eat bubble gum, but … you’re not labeled by that. I didn’t want to be The Transgender Person. I wanted to be a person who happens to be transgender.”
At the Libraries, Jenkins will lead a project that will collect up to 400 hours of oral histories from 200 to 300 people over the next three years in support of the Upper Midwest transgender community. Jenkins will help empower individuals to tell their story, while providing students, historians, and the public with a more rich foundation of primary source material about the transgender community.
She told the Star Tribune that she hopes these shared memories will carry the power to change the way people think and talk about their transgender neighbors and co-workers.
About the project
Funding for this project comes from Tawani Foundation. The Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota Libraries is collaborating on this project with the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Materials will be housed within the Tretter Collection at the University’s Elmer L. Andersen Library.
Project goals include:
- Increasing awareness and use of the archives in the Tretter Collection
- Adding to the holdings of the Tretter Collection through the oral histories and the addition of other materials, such as journals and photographs
- Documenting the role of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School
- Making information about the transgender community accessible online to researchers and the public
This project being led by Andrea Jenkins is a tremendous gesture. Oral histories in the LGBTQ community have disproportionately been lost to time. Collecting these stories is not only our duty to record the past, but to preserve these records for the future. By remembering from where we came, we will know better where we are and we will know better who we are.