When the University of Ulster Trans-Gender Archive (TGA) was founded in January 1986 by Richard Ekins at the University of Ulster, UK, it was the first such collection in the world to be housed within a University setting, and the term “trans-gender” was barely in use. The TGA became “The Transgender Archive” in 2000, in recognition of the widespread use of the term “transgender” by that time. The Archive ceased its connection with the University of Ulster in July 2010, when Richard Ekins became Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies at the University of Ulster and it was donated to the University of Victoria in 2013.
The collection is focused on understanding how attitudes and representations of transgender people have developed and changed over time. It looks at three broad aspects of transgender–biology and the body, gender expression, and erotic expression and representation–through the lenses of expert knowledge, as recorded by scientists and social scientists; transgender-community-member knowledge, as recorded by and for transgender people themselves; and common-sense knowledge, as recorded by and for members of the general public. This extensive collection includes transgender books, magazines, newspaper clippings, scholarly papers, audio tapes, video tapes, films, photographs, artifacts, ephemera, biographical and autobiographical writings, and miscellaneous papers.