Defiant Archives Exhibit on Trans Histories Transferring to City Hall


From the "Defiant Archives" opening at the William Way Community Center.

From the “Defiant Archives” opening at the William Way Community Center.

The William Way Center‘s Defiant Archives exhibit, which highlighted trans Philadelphia history and activism, is living on. The collection of materials, artwork, documents, and video will be transferring to a huge, new prominent venue: outside the mayor’s office at Philadelphia City Hall.

Creative Philadelphia has teamed up with William Way and the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs to bring the collection to City Hall starting October 1. The exhibit will run for a solid two months at the new location, and will feature works curated by Sharron Cooks, Wesley Flash, Helyx Chase Scearce Horwitz, Ezra Berkley Nepon, and Mai Schwartz.

Defiant Archives opened at the William Way Community Center in late July, and featured hundreds of trans-related memorabilia, including artwork, letters, newspaper clippings, and a giant Spiral Q puppet head. Guests also had the opportunity to watch movie clips from the Trans Oral History Project, as well as video from the documentary Transpass.

From "Defiant Archives."

From “Defiant Archives.”

Cooks, one of the curators, says that the exhibit “affirms the struggle trans-identified people have had with society and how we still managed to break through certain barriers, and demand the rights and respect we are due and deserve.”

There is something significant to be said about the collection being brought to City Hall, which is quite a historic moment, according to Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director of LGBT Affairs for the city.

“In recognizing the transgender community, who has always been at the heart of the LGBT civil rights movement, there was no better place to feature, highlight and celebrate this powerful, brave and resilient community’s history than right here in the heart of Philadelphia, City Hall,” she said.

The exhibit runs through December 4. For a preview of some of the collection, visit our feature on Defiant Archives.


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