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Trans Rochester Speaks digital files

Identifier: RITSpec-0009

Scope and Contents

The Trans Rochester Speaks collection contains oral histories, photographs, papers, clippings, and timelines related to Ben Eshelman's project on the history of transgender people in Rochester.

Culminating in the website, Trans Rochester Speaks ( Eshelman celebrates the history of Rochester's transgender community by drawing together the voices of trans activists and advocates in a series of oral history interviews. Topics covered include finding community, transitioning in the workplace, health care, political involvement, transparenthood, and visibility.

Files include approximately 30 jpgs of columns called "Frankenstein In Drag" and "Over The Rainbow" by Renee Joy Hughson from the Empty Closet publication, and other clipped articles from the 1970's and 80's, an archive of Empty Closet which appears to be a timeline from 1971 - 2011 of highlighted events surrounding LGBTQ population in Rochester, NY., digital photographs of a trans equality event and much more.


  • 2014-2015


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Ben Eshelman is an RIT graduate and Wolf Scholar. While attending RIT he researched Rochester's transgender history and worked at RIT's Q Center.

From his LinkedIn page: "I am a historian, advocate, and designer with one simple goal: educate the world. After graduation, I want to continue developing programs for LGBTQIA+ resource centers and contributing to our understanding of queer history.

By developing an individualized degree program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I have gained a unique foundation of History, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Graphic Design. These diverse fields have given me the skills to understand complex social issues and share that knowledge through visual media.

Outside of the classroom, I have been able to exercise these skills as program coordinator at the RIT Q Center and as a research assistant at the RIT Department of History. In both departments, I employed design and research skills to develop educational resources and programming, many of which are now being used across the RIT campus and beyond.

In my work, I value creativity, collaboration, and constant improvement. I love connecting with people and audiences. By utilizing my unique set of skills, I am eager to continue learning, empowering others, and ultimately, making the world a better place."


5454 Digital File(s)




Materials related to the Trans Rochester Speaks project of Ben Eshelman. Trans Rochester Speaks was a project to celebrate the history of Rochester's transgender community. The collection includes oral history interviews, photographs, and other resources related to the project.


The collection is divided into two series: Trans Oral History Project, and Trans Rochester Speaks. The Trans Oral History Project series is then divided into clippings, profiles, and materials from individual contributors. The Trans Rochester Speaks series is then divided into introduction, people, topics, timeline, impressions, glossary, and resources.

Physical Location

Digital files are located in Archives/Digital Donated files. Contact RIT Archivist for access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to RIT Archive Collections by Ben Eshelman in August 2016. Accession number(s): 2016:040

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jennifer Roeszies in October 2016.

Trans Rochester Speaks collection
RIT Special Collections
Jennifer Roeszies
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA