Digital Transgender Archive

Interview with Jess Dugan

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Jess Dugan identifies as genderqueer and gender variant and was assigned female at birth. Her parents divorced when she was 7 after her mom came out as a lesbian. She grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. She went to a school that was in a predominantly African American, low income neighborhood. As soon as she could pick out her own clothing, she wanted boy’s clothes. Since she was perceived to be a boy, she was often picked on and had trouble using the bathroom, being chased out by students and teachers. She went to high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she moved with her mom after several custody battles and where she joined the GSA, Gay Straight Alliance. She was involved with the art department in theater, dance, drawing, and photography. At 13, she came out as being attracted to female identified people and began to like the term dyke. She attended conferences in high school such as True Spirit and Transcending Boundaries. She had top surgery at 18 after binding in high school for years. She went to the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. She used male pronouns and male restrooms but now uses she/her and the women’s restroom. She has a close relationship with her mom while her relationship with her dad since they haven’t spoken since Dugan married her partner. She now lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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