Dr. Horak’s article “Curating Trans Erotic Imaginaries” was recently published in Transgender Studies Quarterly’s special issue on “Trans Pornography.” Go to article
This article considers the archival, political, and ethical questions raised by curating a public exhibit of archival trans erotic material through a case study of the author’s 2019 exhibit Trans Porn Imaginaries: A Half-Century of Transvestite Lawmen and Gendertrash from Hell, which presented materials from the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies’ Sexual Representation Collection and the ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives at the University of Toronto’s iSchool. The exhibit explored intersections between trans erotic representation and BDSM, gay liberation, Playboy’s vision of straight male sexual cosmopolitanism, the feminist porn movement, and sex worker politics. In this article, the exhibit’s curator discusses the importance of pornography to trans cultural production, the limits of the archive (especially when researching pornography), and the ethics and politics of putting trans sexual representations on display. Ultimately, the author argues that exhibits such as this one can demonstrate the breadth, diversity, and longevity of transness in popular erotic imaginaries and the creativity of earlier generations of trans cultural producers, as well as create the opportunity for some people to see themselves and their desires represented.