Digital Transgender Archive

Martina Downey Oral History

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In this interview, Martina Downey discusses her experiences navigating many different communities in her life: the Black church, the university, predominately white institutions, corporate offices, the LGBT activist scene, and others. She tells us where she found the support and safety she needed—fellow Black trans women, her therapist, her love of music, allies along the way—to embark on her journey of becoming her true self. She describes life as a continual transitioning process: even though she’s reached a place where she is solid in her identity, there are always places to grow. Listen to Martina describe her life growing up in Paterson, NJ; her search for community amongst many different religious organizations, including the internationally known Lavender Light Gospel Choir; and how she sees herself moving into the future, supporting trans youth.

Item Information:

Identifier
d217qp73w
Collection
Oral Histories with People of Color
Institution
NYC Trans Oral History Project
Creator(s)
Tennenbaum, Ric
Downey, Martina
Contributor(s)
Parsons, Rachel
Publisher
New York Public Library
Date Created
Jul. 3, 2017
Dates Covered
1962 to 2017
Genre
Oral Histories
Subject(s)
Al Sharpton
David Bowie
Martina Downey
Phil Donahue
Places
New York
New Jersey > Middlesex County > City of New Brunswick > Rutgers University
New Jersey > Passaic County > City of Paterson > Paterson
Topic(s)
Abuse
Activists
Bathrooms
Bisexuality
Black people
Bullying
Butches
Change of name
Class struggle
Colleges
Colonialism
Coming out
Dormitories
Drug abuse
Ethnic groups
Families
Gay-straight alliances
Gender diversity
HIV/AIDS
Judaism
Labelling
Lesbian movement
LGBTI community
LGBTI movement
Missionaries
MtFs
Music
Night life
Nurses
Passing
Politics
Religions
Roman catholicism
Transgender community
Transgender identity
Transgender youth
Transitioning
Violence
Visibility
Working class
Resource Type
Audio
Digital Format
duration: 2 hours 9 minutes 45 seconds
Language
English
Rights
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