Donna M. Cartwright

Interviewed By Michelle Esther O'Brien

Donna Cartwright discusses her long history in the labor movement, as a socialist militant, in leading roles in trans rights organizing and LGBTQ organizations. She recounts her 30 years spent as a New York Times copy editor, active in the left caucus within the union of employees at the New York Times, and her leadership work with Pride at Work, the LGBTQ constituency group of the labor movement's AFL-CIO. She also describes controversy in the national trans organization GenderPAC, the her leading roles in the formation of New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), Gender Right Advocacy Association of New Jersey (GRAANJ), and the National Committee for Transgender Equality (NCTE). (Summary by Michelle Esther O'Brien.)

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resignation from board of GenderPAC (01:17:20)
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Southern Comfort Transgender Conference (01:20:27)
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Orange is the New Black (01:43:15)
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Steve Kindred (02:43:53)
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Eldridge Cleaver campaign (02:45:37)
Dick Gregory (02:45:58)
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) (02:46:09)
Bill Ayers (02:46:47)
Bernadine Dorn (02:46:48)
Cathy Wilkerson (02:46:55)
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1969 SDS Convention (02:47:16)
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Detroit (02:50:47)
Hal Draper (02:51:41)
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Steve Kindred (02:53:40)
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) (02:53:44)
United Autoworkers (UAW) (02:53:58)
1973-74 recession (02:54:19)
oil crisis (02:54:24)
"Right Turn" by Thomas Ferguson (02:54:33)
International Socialist Organization (ISO) (02:54:50)
Workers Power (02:54:54)
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Betsy Wade (02:58:39)
Labor Notes (02:59:11)
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1987 (03:01:50)
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Against the Current (03:03:24)
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2009 (03:10:45)
Nancy Wohlforth (03:10:56)
Jeremy Bishop (03:11:51)
becoming co-president of Pride at Work (03:12:18)
Stan Kiino (03:13:24)
Peggy Shorey (03:13:44)
coming out to parents as trans (03:15:43)
"True Selves" (03:17:05)

Transcript

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Interview Data

Date of Interview
December 23, 2017
Location of Interview
NYU Department of Sociology
Place of birth
Hackensack, New Jersey
Occupations
Copy Editor
Birth Year
1946
Gender Pronouns
she, her
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About This Collection

NYC Trans Oral History Project

NYPL's Community Oral History Project is teaming up with the NYC Trans Oral History Project to collect, preserve, and share oral histories from our city's transgender and gender non-conforming communities. 

We'll be training a community corps of interviewers to collect these largely undocumented oral histories in order to build a lasting and expansive archive on NYC transgender experiences.

About the NYC Trans Oral History Project:

We are a collective, community archive working to document transgender resistance and resilience in New York City. We work to confront the erasure of trans lives and to record diverse histories of gender as intersecting with race and racism, poverty, dis/ability, aging, housing migration, sexism, and the AIDS crisis. 

We are inspired by the public history activism of the ACT UP oral history project to build knowledge as a part of our anti-oppression work. We believe oral history is a powerful part of social justice work, and that building an alternative archive of transgender histories can transform our organizing for transgender liberation. 

You can listen to interviews, search interviews tags (like #genderfluidity #self-knowledge #gentrification and #queerfamily), and soon read transcripts. We hope the interviews and tags will preserve and proliferate new knowledges about trans and gender non-conforming experiences.

Content warning: Many of the interviews here include personal accounts of violence, sexual assault, abuse as children, or trauma.