Contact Us

"Word of Mouth" How The Trans+ Community Found Itself

Early Internet

Trans+ communities were quick to recognize the value of the Internet. Even as early as 1986, organizations like the IFGE had connected and were sharing information online. Often, these took the form of bulletin board systems, an early form of electronic communication that allowed users to share short messages. While primitive by today’s standards, many people were able to connect and organize thanks to these services.

Tri-Ess BBS Survival Guide

In the early days of the Internet, there were no search engines; an exact internet address was needed to find the site you were looking for. This could prove to be quite complicated. To help, Tri-Ess published this guide on how to access their online bulletin board system.

The landscape to get online was vastly different in the 1980s. Few people had access. Both Joanna Clark and Yvonne Cook-Riley were among the early adopters. Listen to them discuss what it was like.

Joanna Clark Discussing AEGIS Getting Online - December 30, 2019
Yvonne Cook-Riley Discussing IFGE Going Online - January 7, 2020
Yvonne Cook-Riley (2003) © Mariette Pathy Allen

Hear from Deirdre McCloskey and barbara findlay about how the early Internet provided vital community connection, and how it also became a place of hostility towards Trans+ people and their allies.

Deirdre McCloskey on meeting crossdressers online - January 10, 2020
barbara findlay discussing discrimination online - May 20, 2020
Deirdre McCloskey (early 2000s) © Mariette Pathy Allen

To read more about IFGE's work, browse these pages:

To explore more of the exhibition, follow these pages:

For more internet activism, browse these pages:

< The Internet Lynn Conway's "Successful" Trans+ People Websites >