Mackenzie Reynolds

Interviewed By Ric Tennenbaum

Mackenzie Reynolds is Jewish leader and participant in New York queer life. Beginning with their membership in United Methodist Church in Spokane, Washington, Reynolds has explored their faith and gender identity simultaneously. Queer two-step dancing at Appel Ranch and Karen's Queer Country Events; Sylvia Rivera Law Project; and queer bars including Wild Rose, The Gutter, and Twin Peaks have also facilitated their exploration of gender identity. Reynolds advocates for the integration of class issues into the NYC trans community. (Summary by Murielle O'Brien.)

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Mackenzie Reynolds (00:05)
July 23, 2017 (00:24)
38 years old (00:48)
they/them (00:49)
multiple transitions (00:50)
Spokane, Washington (00:54)
McCarthy era culture (01:19)
white working class (01:43)
Christian (01:44)
difficulty fitting in (01:48)
lack of parental support (02:31)
feminism (02:51)
bullying (03:04)
public library (03:45)
Am I Blue? (04:30)
coming out (05:30)
childhood abuse (05:37)
church queer community (05:57)
Reconciling Ministries Network (06:05)
United Methodist Church (06:18)
queer exclusion from religious life (06:31)
Methodist Students for an All-inclusive Church (06:38)
church legislative work (07:13)
ordination (07:32)
self-advocacy (08:33)
bodily alientation (08:53)
embodied effects of abuse (09:38)
sexual safety (10:35)
healing (11:50)
play (12:32)
mind-body split (13:25)
Ma Vie en Rose (14:30)
University of Washington (14:31)
Seattle University (14:46)
Wild Rose (15:10)
The Gutter (15:37)
queer bars (15:47)
Twin Peaks (16:16)
The Lexington (16:54)
Sweet (18:22)
2003 move to NYC (18:46)
queer two step dancing (19:49)
multigenerational space (20:06)
socio economically diverse queer spaces (20:27)
country music (20:37)
Apple Ranch (22:54)
first-generation college student (23:29)
concert clarinet (25:04)
Oberlin College (25:18)
family pressure to join the army (28:05)
Union TheologicalSeminary (30:29)
networking (31:10)
coming out (33:03)
misgendering (34:46)
"pronouns as a strategy for moving about the world" (35:00)
Rabbi (35:58)
loss of Christian faith (37:34)
humanist approaches to religion (39:37)
Judaism (40:12)
belief in God (41:46)
gender queer identification (42:41)
transphobia (43:00)
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (43:17)
trans identification (43:59)
top surgery (44:15)
changing birth certificate (44:56)
androgynous presentation (46:01)
femme identity (46:17)
expressing sexuality through clothing (46:56)
skirts (47:22)
stigma aroundmultiple transitions (49:43)
SRLP (55:45)
T (56:20)
body alterations (56:33)
voice coaching (56:56)
health care experience (59:41)
paraprofessional social work (01:02:30)
Rabbinic school (01:02:49)
case management (01:03:05)
"understanding trans feminine people as non-binary" (01:10:29)
safety concerns (01:10:56)
fear (01:12:11)
goal of becoming a Chaplain (01:12:33)
fascism (01:13:10)
uncertainty (01:20:16)
beauty standards (01:22:47)
yoga (01:25:24)
harm reduction (01:27:17)
PTSD (01:28:29)
alcohol use (01:37:35)
play (01:39:53)
mediated experiences (01:44:42)
scenes (01:45:44)
Brooklyn queer scene (01:46:17)
Jewish radical scene (01:46:31)
Karen's Queer Country Event (01:47:29)
Dyke March (01:47:35)


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Interview Data

Date of Interview
July 23, 2017
Location of Interview
Mackenzie's Apartment, Brooklyn, New York
Place of birth
Spokane, Washington
Rabbinic Student; social work (former)
Gender Pronouns
Birth Year
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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.