Kai Pelton is a co-facilitator of the Trans-Generational Theatre Project, a community initiative in NYC for trans-folk. Here, the 21 y.o. New York City native describes their journey as a trans person of color from the perspective of a lifelong fine and performing artist who emphasizes natural expression. This interview takes you through Kai’s coming-of-age transformation from an "awkward caterpillar" who is unsure of who they were to a "beautiful butterfly" who realizes their authentic self through emotional and energetic expression and gender fluidity. (Summary by Sydnee Novack.)
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.