Where does the association of trans womanhood and sex work come from? This talk considers the remarkable life of Mary Jones, a Black trans woman arrested in 1836 in New York City. At trial, Jones testified to the Black social world in which she lived and worked, including a reference to visiting New Orleans. Following the riddle of her journey from New York to the Mississippi Valley, Jones prompts how trans womanhood as a modern way of life may have been built into the emergence of the service economy in the antebellum era, with Black gender caught in the contradictions and symbiosis between enslaved labor and wage labor.
It will serve as the 2023 Lucy Somerville Howorth Lecture and Trans Studies Lecture.
About Jules Gill-Peterson:
Jules Gill-Peterson is an associate professor of History and Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Histories of the Transgender Child (2018) and a general co-editor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. Her next book, A Short History of Trans Misogyny, will be published by Verso.
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