The latest episode of Sexing History, a podcast about how the history of sexuality shapes our present, tells the story of singer and author Canary Conn, whose experiences as a trans woman were widely publicized in the U.S. in the 1970s.
For a short time in the 1970s, Canary Conn was everywhere. She was on television. On the radio. And on bookshelves. Her story, that of a Texas-born recording artist, husband and father who transitioned into a woman whom the media described as “young,” “lithe” and “with flowing blonde hair,” captured national attention. Although some newspaper interviews with Canary have been preserved, there are very few accessible recordings of Canary’s many public performances, or her radio and television interviews. What’s more, the trail of evidence disappears after 1980, when Canary inexplicably left the public spotlight and returned to private life. In this episode, we introduce and then play a rare extended audio interview with Canary that she recorded with the magazine Psychology Today in 1977. The interview profiles Canary’s childhood, her transition, her sexuality, and her gender identity.
Sexing History is a research tool for teaching histories of gender and sexuality and is hosted by historians Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman. Sexing History uses oral histories, archival sound clips, commentary and analysis, and interviews with other scholars in the field to tell compelling stories about the past to illuminate our present. You can listen to the latest episode here.
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Isabel Machado - Assistant Producer