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Trans/Active: A biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith
By Sophia Cecelia Leveque
Dedicated to Secondary Sources And Gwen
In an email towards the end of our interview process, I asked Gwen what her thoughts
were when I first requested to talk to her. She wrote back,
“I remember opening the email and having to read through it a few times, to try to grasp,
exactly, what it was asking of me. That there was a person who wanted to do an interview of me,
about the things I've done. That this person had also done a Wikipedia page on me. It was, in a
word, baffling. I'm just doing things, after all. But, I agreed nonetheless. What could it hurt? I
wasn't sure what to expect not that first call. What was I to be asked? What would this lead to? I
felt I had as many questions as my potential interviewer.”
Writing something true about someone still living is as difficult as it is to write about
someone who is long dead. This book could have become a lot of things; it could have included
more about gender theory, interviews with other people, scholarly sources… but what I wanted it
to be was about Gwen’s work, or as she said, just doing things.” The nuances of life make truth
difficult. Each chapter begins with a quote from Gwen, I hope you feel her crackling spirit
resonate in the pages. My truth for this project is this: There are many people murdered, hurt, and
silenced for their gender identification and I want to give one woman who has worked against
these injustices a narrative in our shared memory.
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