1. Transgender Media Portal
  2. Research on Trans-Made Audiovisual Media in Canada and the United States
  3. Trans Reading Group
  4. Monograph: Introduction to Transgender Cinema
  5. Cinema’s First Nasty Women

Transgender Media Portal

Under the directorship of Dr. Laura Horak, the Transgender Media Portal aims to make audiovisual work by trans, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people more available to artists, activists, festival programmers, researchers, instructors, and the public. We want to promote the careers of today’s trans filmmakers, call attention to older works so that they can be programmed and preserved, jumpstart research on these films, and provide artists with access to an innovative tradition of work. We are planning to launch a collaborative database of trans filmmakers and their works in Fall 2022. In the meantime, we have collected resources related to trans filmmaking on this website. Read more about the project goals, meet our research team and advisory board, and contribute to trans creative projects. Join the Transgender Media Portal mailing list. This project is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and an Ontario Early Research Award.

Research on Trans-Made Audiovisual Media in Canada and the United States

Supported by an Ontario Early Researcher Award (2019-2024), Dr. Laura Horak will be recruiting one PhD student and three MA students to conduct independent thesis research on some aspect of transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex and/or gender-nonconforming film- and video-making in Canada or the United States. Potential research topics include: contemporary trans web series, Indigenous trans and Two-Spirit filmmaking, Black and trans-of-colour filmmaking, trans-made experimental animation, regional trans film and video movements, the history of Counting Past 2 (one of the first transgender film festivals, founded in Toronto in 1997), or the theoretical, computational, and ethical aspects related to building the Transgender Media Portal and cultivating its community of contributors. See News section for Transgender Media Lab fellowship announcements.

Trans Reading Group

Founded in 2017 and coordinated by Dr. Laura Horak and Dr. Julia Sinclair-Palm, the Trans Reading Group is a monthly get-together for scholars to read and discuss the latest publications in the burgeoning field of transgender studies. Everyone from undergraduates to full professors to independent scholars and alumni are welcome. Past topics/readings have included: “The Issue of Blackness” Transgender Studies Quarterly special issue, trans and disability studies, trans archives and archiving, intersections of Indigenous and trans scholarship, “transracialism” from transgender and critical race perspectives, Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (2017), trans people and the prison industrial complex, Cáel M. Keegan’s Lana and Lilly Wachowski: Sensing Transgender (2018), trans youth, trans in Latin America, Gayle Salamon’s The Life and Death of Latisha King (2018), C. Riley Snorton’s Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (2017), and Toby Beachamp’s Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices (2019).

In 2019-2020, the group is sponsored by the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Carleton/uOttawa Joint Chair for Women’s Studies. Email laura.horak@carleton.ca to be added to the reading group email list.

Monograph: Introduction to Transgender Cinema

Based on the seminar she has been teaching since Winter 2019, Dr. Laura Horak is writing a short academic monograph on trans-made cinema for use in undergraduate and graduate classes and for the general public. Projected publication date: 2022.

Cinema’s First Nasty Women

Under the directorship of Dr. Laura Horak and Dr. Maggie Hennefeld (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) and in partnership with Kino Video, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto/Pordenone Silent Film Festival, and the Women Film Pioneer Project, Cinema’s First Nasty Women will research, curate, and exhibit the hilarious antics of feminist rabble-rousers in the very first decades of cinema (from 1898 through 1926). The term “Nasty Woman” has been a feminist rallying cry since October 2016, when Donald Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton by calling her “such a nasty woman” during a televised presidential debate. But long before there were “pussy hats” and social media hashtags, film comedienne characters such as Léontine, Rosalie, Cunégonde, Lea, Bridget, and Tilly, as well as female impersonators like Gilbert Saroni, spoke truth to patriarchal power with their gleeful disregard for gendered social norms and feminine decorum. To be a “Nasty Woman” means refusing to be disciplined while embracing the messiness inherent in gender and sexual difference and engaging as an energetic participant in feminist political activism. Our three primary objectives are: 1) To research the lives and careers of cinema’s first Nasty Women; 2) To present our archival film research to international audiences through a 4-disc Bluray set with Kino Lorber and programming screenings and festivals; and 3) To analyze contemporary audience demographics for silent cinema and expand silent cinema’s appeal through feminist outreach.