LGBT Oral History 056: Mara Kiesling

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September 15, 2017

Mara Kiesling was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1959. Mara is a transgender woman, who is a transgender rights activist and founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality based in Washington D.C. In this interview, Mara discusses her upbringing in a political household as her father had political books and always watched the news, which influenced her interest in politics and activism. Also, she elaborates on her various jobs and the relationships she established and maintained at those places. Mara explains her transitioning stage and how she frequently traveled to different states to be a part of groups where she felt most comfortable in the journey to finding herself. She also explains her reactions to transgender people when she occupied certain spaces, prior to transitioning. Furthermore, Mara compares her experiences as a transgender women in cities versus small towns. She constantly acknowledges how lucky she is to have one of the best support systems in comparison to other transgender people. Ultimately, she expresses the strategic way she came out to her family, and their reactions.

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Gift of Mara Kiesling
LGBT Oral History - Kiesling, Mara - 056
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections