Webs of Transgender
KEY WEBSITES MENTIONED:
Developed/maintained by: 3-D Communications, Inc.
Date of last update: November 1997
Date of review: November 21, 1997
Queer Resources Directory
URL for Transgender Issues: http://www.qrd.org/trans/
Developed/maintained by: Ron Buckmirer, executive director, David Casti, system administrator, and others.
Date of last update: November 16, 1997
Date of review: November 25, 1997
Link revision noted 11/29/00
One of the most noteworthy effects of the development of the Internet is the formation of an arena for marginalized groups to contact one another, exchange and provide access to group-related information, and create a community among people who have traditionally been excluded from mainstream culture. Groups as divergent as model train hobbyists and Goddess worshippers can create a site for interaction between community members while presenting information and resources to both community members and others interested in the topic.
The Internet, then, presents a perfect opportunity for transgendered people to find and exchange information about themselves, their community, and their place in the world at large. There is a wide variety of Internet resources relating to issues of gender and sexuality, but a more limited range on transgenderism. These sources include newsgroups, ftp sites, and World Wide Web sites from individuals, commercial entities, and national and local support organizations. Yahoo's listing for Transgender issues (http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Cultures_and_Groups/Transgendered/) is a good starting place for getting a fairly comprehensive idea of the information available on the Internet. It includes sixteen links to publications, forty-seven organizational links, eighty-three links to personal homepages, in addition to links to chats and forums, mailing lists, and other sites [revised wording 11/29/00].
Another way to become familiar with transgender sites is by taking a tour of the Global TransGendeRing, a linked collection of more than four hundred transgender-related websites from national and local organizations and individuals. You can start your tour at http://tr.webring.org/cgi-bin/webring?ring=tr&id=YOURSITEID&list [If link does not work, see notice from the webring owner at http://www.webcoves.com/tgring.html, noted 11/29/00] or follow the links available from individual sites on the tour.
A major site for transgender issues is Transgender Forum (see address at top). A commercial site produced by 3-D Communications, this site additionally functions as a quasi- community and resource center for the transgendered. Paying subscribers have full [revised wording 11/29/00] access to its online magazine Transgender Forum Magazine, TGF library archives, a photo gallery of subscribers, etc. The rest of the site's information, free to everyone, includes two main parts of the website, the Community Center and the Resource Center. The Community Center provides free Web space for nonprofit, educational, and community support groups wishing to have websites, provides links to groups with established websites; and maintains a directory of national and local support groups in North America and the rest of the world. The Resource Center contains a listing of transgender events (conferences, pride celebrations, marches, etc.), "cool" sites with an archive, personal web pages, an annotated bibliography of transgender reference materials from the 1960s through 1998 , links to state and federal legislation and references affecting the transgender community, and even a version of the online magazine in Hebrew!
Overall, this site is one of the very best on this topic in terms of Web design and maintenance. Though lacking somewhat in substantive information sources, it is very entertaining and serves both its commercial and philanthropic functions well.
A site that is decidedly less fun but more informative is the section of the Queer Resources Directory covering Transgender issues (see address at top of article). The home site is "an electronic research library specifically dedicated to sexual minorities." Information on transgenderism can be found by searching the "subject tree" and scrolling down to the hypertext link "trans," which leads to a list of hundreds of information sources and messages dating from 1993 to the current year [wording revised 11/29/00] and concludes with a short listing of hypertext links to related websites. A variety of sources are included: news and press releases, personal essays, published articles, conference announcements, and organizational notices. Unfortunately, some of the information is dated or of little interest (for example, announcements of social gatherings or planning meetings from 1996). In addition, the site's organization, an alphabetical list of short titles with date and length information, makes searching the list difficult. Taking time to sift through the list, though, reveals a large number of informative pieces including "empire strikes back," an article by Sandy Stone ("THE founding article in transgender studies"); "in your face news roundup," a monthly transgender news digest; and a collection of pieces on social and political actions affecting transgendered people. Despite its cumbersome organization, this site does an admirable job of gathering information sources on transgender issues that would be difficult to find elsewhere.
The sites from Transgender Forum and the Queer Resources Directory provide the most concentrated information on transgender issues currently available on the Internet. After exploring these two comprehensive sites, one can begin to investigate the myriad of smaller organizational or personal websites, from the International Foundation for Gender Education to Julie Walter's homepage to Le Pink Cabaret!
[At the time of writing this review Amy Naughton was completing her Masters in Library Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while working part-time at the Office of the UW System Women's Studies Librarian. She was also proud new mom of Leo.]
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