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Connie in "Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects" !

[Filmmakers note:]

We were honored to be invited to submit an entry about Connie Norman for the groundbreaking trans art and history book project, "Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects" edited by Chris E. Vargas, David Evans Franz and Christina Linden, a project of the Museum of Trans Hirstory and Art (2024). An exploration of trans art, activism and resistance, the book contains stories of 99 significant, diverse and impressive historical and current trans and gender non-conforming cultural figures, activist and artists, each represented by a visual 'object' that illustrates some part of their story and contribution.


For our two pages honoring Connie Norman, the 'object' was the fact of her 1990's public-access cable television program that she hosted decades ago, represented here by a sequential grouping of six portrait stills from a particularly emotional program clip from 'AIDS Diva', visually illustrating her powerful communicative talent. We are so proud that Connie Norman is included with these other trans and gender non-conforming luminaries in this ambitious, important, groundbreaking book, as she begins to take her rightful place of historical stature among them and become part of the larger collective memory.


Chris E. Vargas is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist, an artist, the founder of the Museum of Trans Hirstory and Art, and co-editor of Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects. His work deploys humor and performance to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical and institutional memory and popular culture. He is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital award and a 2020 John S. Guggenheim fellowship.









[ The text below are the words spoken during this grouping of photos above ]


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CONNIE NORMAN:

“Tribal Writes : It has been a remarkably shitty couple of weeks. My T-cells took a big drop. I am now officially a person with AIDS. No longer am I just HIV positive. I have AIDS. I am going to die soon. I may have a couple of good years left, but I’m going to be a statistic and I’m not going to hold on to false hopes. Oh,I’ve had plenty of support and all that. My friends cried with me and worked hard to cheer me up. Sometimes it worked, but mostly it didn’t. How can I be cheerful about losing my life? I’m pissed, pissed for life.

We know how to prevent the spread of this virus. And yet this virus is spreading, to the women and the children and the teenagers and the gay men of color and our neighbors and our high school students and our high school teachers and our sons and our daughter and our brothers and our sisters and our fathers and our mothers and our aunts and our uncles and our priests and our preachers. And none of you yuppie scum, baby boomer, upward mobile limousine-liberal, red ribbon wearing death-cult assholes are doing enough to stop its spread. Is there no human compassion left in the world? Is the acceptance of this slaughter the best the queer community can do: …You disgust me.

Till next time, I warned you it had been a really shitty week and I’m really pissed off.

And my words are just musings and tribal writes.”



CONNIE NORMAN:

“Boy that was a hard one to do. But you know, writing this column, if I really go to my space of truth, when I sit down to write the column, it does become somewhat cathartic for me and I’m able to shed some of it, you know.

So thank you for letting me dump.”


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NOTES

-Transcription from video stills of Connie Norman during her “Tribal Writes” segment of Gay and Lesbian Newsmagazine,

Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA, 6/21/1993 [Topic: Women and AIDS]

- Source of Video: Peter Cashman collection ( personal DVR from TV broadcast ).

- From the documentary film AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman ( 2021) directed by Dante Alencastre and John Johnston




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FROM THE PUBLISHER:

"Spanning over four centuries, this volume brings together a wide-ranging selection of artworks and artifacts that highlight the under-recognized histories of trans and gender-nonconforming communities. Through the contributions of artists, writers, poets, activists, and scholars, this title reflects on historical erasure and imagines trans futures. An expansive array of objects chart not a patriarchal history but a gender-neutral, trans-centric hirstory. The first publication of its kind, this survey celebrates trans forebearers, highlights struggles and triumphs, and reflects on the legacies of trans creative expression.”


"This star-studded collection of essays is quite simply the best work of transgender art history in the history of art history to date.”

— Susan Stryker, Trans History scholar and Dornsife Dean's Professor in Residence of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Southern California and author of "Transgender History, The Roots of Todays's Revolution." ( 2008, 2017)


Contributions by Kate Bornstein, Ria Brodell, Vaginal Davis, Leah DeVun, Mo B. Dick, Zackary Drucker, David Getsy, Martine Gutierrez, Andrea Jenkins, Jade Guarano Kuriki-Olivo (Puppies Puppies), Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, Abram J. Lewis, Miguel A. López, Amos Mac, Cyle Metzger, Deborah A. Miranda, Morgan M Page, SA Smythe, C. Riley Snorton, Dean Spade, Sandy Stone, Jeannine Tang, Michelle Tea, McKenzie Wark, and many others probe new horizons where institutional critique and trans culture meet.







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