Iovannone presents research at Moving Trans History Forward Conference

Roger Coda
Peggie Ames house

The Peggie Ames house.

Department of History Lecturer and Coordinator of the Women's and Gender Studies Program Jeffry J. Iovannone and Christiana Limniatis, director of Preservation Services at Preservation Buffalo Niagara, presented at the 2021 Moving Trans History Forward Conference, hosted virtually by the University of Victoria in British Columbia, on March 11.

Their presentation, "The Peggie Ames House: Preserving Transgender History in the Rust Belt," combined historic preservation and transgender history to examine the life and legacy of Ames, an early trans activist from Western New York.

In the 1970s, Ames played a significant role in Buffalo’s first gay rights organizations and the gender clinic at Children's Hospital of Buffalo, educating thousands of Western New Yorkers on issues of transsexualism. She was also an established counseling resource for the Erickson Educational Foundation and the Janus Information Facility, both early trans support and advocacy organizations.

The setting for much of Ames’ life and work was a historic Greek Revival style home, circa 1835, in the then rural town of Clarence Center. Not only was her residence architecturally significant, but it provided Ames a place of refuge and allowed her to continue her advocacy in an often-hostile environment.

Dr. Iovannone and Ms. Limniatis discussed how examining Ames through the lens of placed-based history both opens new avenues for historic preservation efforts and expands society’s understanding of transgender history to include Rust Belt and rural perspectives, as well as their ongoing efforts to designate the Ames house as a historic landmark.

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