Digital Transgender Archive

Interview with Andrea Jenkins

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Andrea Jenkins identifies as a transgender female and was assigned male at birth. Her mother and father were separated by the time she was about five. Their separation wasn’t necessarily by choice since her father went to prison for a long time for robbing a bank. Her father’s parents took her to visit her father in Statesville Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois so she got to have a relationship with him growing up. Jenkins grew up on the west side of Chicago in a low-income family in a mostly black neighborhood. Jenkins’ family is from the South. Jenkins got good grades in school and was a pretty social, popular kid. She had a few fights in school. She always tried to fit in with the boys because she felt like a girl but knew that wouldn’t win her friends. Jenkins wore her grandmother’s nightgown at night to sleep in, waking up before everybody else and put on her pajamas back on. She played sports like baseball and basketball. She was hit by a truck at 10 and was in the hospital for a long time. She always knew deeply inside that she was a girl and tried to conceal it the best she could. By 19 she came out as trans and was kicked out of her fraternity in college when they found her sleeping with a guy. She ended up just packing up her car and driving back to Chicago. She began identifying as bi and then gay, believing that was the closest she could get to her true self. After a break up, she went back into the closet. She married, hoping that would resolve her gender identity issues but then divorced. Later, Jenkins started going to the Program in Human Sexuality and discovered her identity. She broke up with her girlfriend at the time who couldn’t accept her. Jenkin’s has a master’s degree in Community Economic Development and a second master’s degree in Fine Arts. She’s volunteered at District 202, PFund, TYSN, Rainbow Health Coalition. She got a job as a policy aide in City Hall and worked in City Hall for 12 years. She is the Oral Historian for the Transgender Oral History Project at the Tretter Collection.

Item Information:

Oral Histories with People of Color
Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection, University of Minnesota
Jenkins, Andrea
Anderson, Roxanne
University of Minnesota Minneapolis Libraries
Date Created
Jul. 20, 2017
Oral Histories
CeCe McDonald
Center for Gender Spectrum Health
Kate Bornstein
Leslie Feinberg
My Momma's Gonna Call Me Anna
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Rainbow Health Initiative
Minnesota > Hennepin County > City of Minneapolis > Minneapolis
Illinois > Cook County > City of Chicago > Chicago
Illinois > Will County > Joliet Township > Joliet
Assigned gender
Black people
Coming out
Gender dysphoria
Gender identity
Socioeconomic characteristics
Transgender people
Resource Type
Moving image
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