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Margaret Berg

Interviewed By Rafaela Anshel

Margaret Berg discusses growing up in rural Ohio—generational trauma, farm life, high school support networks, and suicide attempts—until moving to New York at the age of 30. Margaret is candid about her experience transitioning later in life, dating, recovering from an alcohol addiction, the election of Donald Trump, and the joys of growing comfortable in her own skin and finding her own voice. (Summary by Evie Zavidow.)

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Ohio (01:34)
Appalachia (01:40)
gender roles (04:12)
dress-up (05:18)
family (06:44)
alcoholism (09:37)
domestic violence (09:59)
suicide (10:39)
misogyny (10:43)
cross-dressing (12:19)
sports (13:48)
puberty (14:37)
Christine Jorgensen (15:52)
transsexual (16:36)
medical transition (17:05)
high school (18:11)
coming out (18:52)
family (20:36)
suicide (21:38)
domestic violence (21:52)
being outed (22:27)
therapy (22:46)
Columbus Medical Center (22:59)
healthcare (23:31)
college (24:35)
shame (24:55)
Harry Benjamin (25:14)
alcoholism (28:32)
cross-dressing (30:47)
sexual violence (32:46)
misogyny (38:42)
internet (39:56)
Cincinatti (41:57)
estrogen (42:09)
clocking (43:13)
drag (44:20)
rehab (49:32)
12 step program (49:40)
Chelsea (51:59)
shame (53:14)
transitioning later in life (54:53)
therapy (55:30)
religion (56:12)
Donald Trump (59:54)
family (01:00:03)
twink (01:02:51)
aging (01:02:59)
changing body (01:03:17)
writing (01:08:36)
misgendering (01:09:58)
COGIATI Test (01:10:40)
Gender Identity Project (01:12:33)
LGBT Center (01:12:35)
cross-dressing (01:14:49)
Apicha Community Health Center (01:15:46)
hormones (01:15:48)
Manhattan (01:15:52)
facial feminization surgery (01:18:35)
LGB exclusion (01:20:28)
misogyny (01:23:30)
Inwood (01:28:39)
Washington Heights (01:28:40)
harassment (01:30:45)
sports (01:31:34)
dating (01:35:19)
fetishization (01:36:11)
feminism (01:42:36)
Donald Trump (01:43:51)
safety (01:44:13)
healthcare (01:44:31)
employment discrimination (01:46:58)
music (01:48:18)
gender confirming surgery (01:51:01)
Donald Trump (01:53:44)
trans visibility (02:02:09)


Read transcript.

Interview Data

Date of Interview
September 5, 2018
Place of birth
Zanesville, Ohio
Writer, Producer
Birth Year
Rights Statement
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About This Collection

NYC Trans Oral History Project

NYPL's Community Oral History Project is teaming up with the NYC Trans Oral History Project to collect, preserve, and share oral histories from our city's transgender and gender non-conforming communities. 

We'll be training a community corps of interviewers to collect these largely undocumented oral histories in order to build a lasting and expansive archive on NYC transgender experiences.

About the NYC Trans Oral History Project:

We are a collective, community archive working to document transgender resistance and resilience in New York City. We work to confront the erasure of trans lives and to record diverse histories of gender as intersecting with race and racism, poverty, dis/ability, aging, housing migration, sexism, and the AIDS crisis. 

We are inspired by the public history activism of the ACT UP oral history project to build knowledge as a part of our anti-oppression work. We believe oral history is a powerful part of social justice work, and that building an alternative archive of transgender histories can transform our organizing for transgender liberation. 

You can listen to interviews, search interviews tags (like #genderfluidity #self-knowledge #gentrification and #queerfamily), and soon read transcripts. We hope the interviews and tags will preserve and proliferate new knowledges about trans and gender non-conforming experiences.

Content warning: Many of the interviews here include personal accounts of violence, sexual assault, abuse as children, or trauma.