Charleston's Trans Treatment: Medical, Social, and Political Spheres

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Arendall, Judith
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This thesis examines the trans-medical, social, and political history of Charleston, South Carolina through taped interviews and oral histories. The essential goal of this project is to increase trans visibility within the historical narrative of this city and offer researchers potential avenues. This study showcases how trans folks survived through language manipulation in the 19th and 20th-century linguistic contexts. However, the pendulum swung backward when HIV/AIDS decimated the community and stigmatized and marginalized trans individuals. The HIV/AIDS epidemic reinforced medicalization while queer activist forums left behind trans voices and stifled trans histories. It is through the lens of language, identity, and silences that this thesis showcases the permanence of gender-affirming care in the city's history and fills an archival void. In furtherance of this project, it includes a digital map listing of queer repositories in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. The project eliminates obstacles researchers face when gathering resources on the topic of Southern trans and queer studies.