Geleni Fontaine is an acupuncturist, RN and healer based on Brooklyn. In this interview, they share on their growing up in a working class Cuban family in Park Slope, Brooklyn, prior to the neighborhood's gentrification. Geleni politicized as a feminist through Brooklyn Women's Martial Arts, which later became the Center for Anti-violence Education. Through organizing there, Geleni became involved in the early NYC trans group the Metropolitan Gender Network, where they were inspired by Les Feinberg, Sylvia Rivera and Imani Henry. The interview emphasizes the spiritual dimension of their upbringing, healing work, and trans community.
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.