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Charis and Left Bank Books welcome Diana Goetsch in conversation with Charis Circle Executive Director, E.R. Anderson for a discussion of This Body I Wore, a captivating memoir of one woman’s long journey to late transition, as the trans community emerges alongside her. This event is co-sponsored by Left Bank Books in St. Louis, MO. Founded in 1969, Left Bank Books' mission is to spark public conversation by curating an intelligent, relevant, culturally diverse selection of books..
Long before Laverne Cox appeared on the cover of Time, far removed from drag and ballroom culture, there were countless trans women living and dying as men, most of whom didn’t even know they were trans. Diana Goetsch’s This Body I Wore chronicles one woman’s long journey to coming out, a path that runs parallel to the emergence of the trans community over the past several decades.
“How can you spend your life face-to-face with an essential fact about yourself and still not see it?” This is a question often asked of trans people and a question that Goetsch, an award-winning poet, and essayist, addresses with the power and complexity of lived reality. She brings us into her childhood, her time as a dynamic and beloved teacher at New York City’s Stuyvesant High School, and her plunge into the city’s crossdressing subculture in the 1980s and ’90s. Under cover of night, crossdressers risked their jobs and their safety to give expression to urges they could neither control nor understand. Many would become late transitioners, the Cinderellas of the trans community largely ignored by history.
Goetsch has written not a transition memoir, but rather a full account of a trans life, one both unusually public and closeted. All too often trans lives are reduced to before-and-after photos, but what if that before photo lasted Fifty years?
Diana Goetsch is an American poet and essayist. Her poems have appeared widely, in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and in the collections Nameless Boy, In America and others. She also wrote the “Life in Transition” blog at The American Scholar. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The New School, where she served as the Grace Paley Teaching Fellow. For twenty-one years Goetsch was a New York City public school teacher, at Stuyvesant High School and at Passages Academy in the Bronx, where she ran a creative writing program for incarcerated teens.
Charis Circle Executive Director, Errol "E.R." Anderson ( they/them or he/him) manages the programming, fiscal, and daily operations of Charis Circle, and is always interested in the ways our communities can share skills and resources. A native Atlantan, E.R. came to Charis as one of the founding members of the Young Writer's Group in 1997, and has enjoyed helping build connections between communities of activists, artists, and academics in this city ever since. E.R. co-facilitates the Race-Conscious Parenting Collective, the Gender Creative Parenting Collective, and Trans and Friends. When not at Charis, E.R. is working on a novel, And Let God Sort Them Out.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A captivating memoir of one woman’s long journey to late transition, as the trans community emerges alongside her.
“Achingly beautiful.” —Manuel Betancourt, The New York Times Book Review