A collection under construction: trans-versing access with the Tranny Fest Collection
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 14:55 by Magnus Berg
The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, formerly known as Tranny Fest, was the first trans film festival in North America, having been founded in 1997. The Tranny Fest Collection (2006-26) is held by the GLBT Historical Society Archives & Museum, and contains one hundred and sixty-nine video and audiotapes, which have gone unprocessed since their deposit in 2006. This thesis examines the barriers to access faced by the Collection primarily using a radical empathy archival framework, as theorized by Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor, in order to reveal the power dynamics at play when archiving intersectionally marginalized collections and the resulting ethical responsibilities. Through an exploration of the Collection’s dubious legal ownership, copyright complications and preservation issues, this thesis aims to provide solutions to improve the overall accessibility of the tapes in the Tranny Fest Collection, and similarly marginalized collections.