News and Perspectives


Andrea Jenkins: From Chicago to the Transgender Oral History Project

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In young Andrea Jenkins’ Chicago neighborhood, bravado and machismo ruled the streets. It was hardly the place where a young boy—as Jenkins was—could express any feminine tendencies such as his attraction to makeup and women’s clothes.

It’s been a long journey for Jenkins, a poet, writer, and former Minneapolis City Council aide who spent the early decades of her life fighting the feeling that her true identity was female. But she finally accepted and achieved that identity, along with status as a leader of the transgender community.

Last year she was the obvious choice to lead the U of M’s three-year Transgender Oral History Project. The oral historian for the project, Jenkins is recording video interviews of transgender people speaking about their lives and experiences. The aim is to complete 200 recordings that will become part of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies in the U’s Elmer L. Andersen Library. 

“As far as we can tell, this is the most ambitious project of its kind in the world,” says Lisa Vecoli, curator of the Tretter Collection. “It will be used by scholars, researchers, and students, and potentially by filmmakers, novelists and playwrights.

“This project could only be successful if perceived as being by and for the community, with people not feeling they are being put under a microscope. Andrea is a leader in the transgender community with standing to reach out to others and bring them onboard.”

Already funded by Tawani Foundation, the project just received a $10,000 grant from Headwaters Foundation for Justice, which will fund “travel throughout the Upper Midwest to ensure a more diverse, inclusive, and representative collection of life stories for the project.”

Read more of the remarkable Andrea Jenkin's story here.


Creating Community -

Monday, February 1, 2016

When Julie Vang began her first year at the U, she searched for a sense of community on campus. She found it by residing in Hmong House—Tsev Hmoob—one of more than 30 living–learning communities available to University students.

“I am still friends with all of the people I met that first year, and we are all planning to graduate together,” says Vang. “Having that support from freshman year until now has really boosted my energy and growth.”

See the full story on the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) website.

Get Involved

Get involved in creating a welcoming and inclusive campus

Monday, February 1, 2016

By Katrice A. Albert, Ph.D., Vice President for Equity and Diversity

The University of Minnesota is committed to creating a culture where all members of the University community can make equity and diversity a core value of their work and learning. Join the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) in creating a welcoming and inclusive campus by getting involved this spring. You can:


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"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.