A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline

A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline is a multi-dimensional project concerned with documenting queer and trans fat feminist community histories and memories. It began as a workshop, transformed into an object that was discussed in various places and archived; it became a paper zine and a download, an audio zine, a video clip, and an academic paper. It’s out there in the world for people to work with creatively.

The workshop

In 2010 I proposed and facilitated a workshop at the NOLOSE gathering in Oakland, California. A big group of us collectively produced a timeline of things that we thought were significant or should be remembered about queer and trans fat activist histories. The timeline itself was a long piece of paper, separated into years, where people wrote directly in pen.

The object

The original paper timeline was a beautiful object. Take a look at it in this short clip.

I took this object to a number of gatherings in California, the UK and Germany, where it inspired lively discussions. The timeline itself is now archived at Bildwechsel, a wonderful feminist archive which has its main office in Hamburg. You can go and visit it and have a look at it.

The zine

Part of the workshop proposal was that I would make a zine of the timeline which would be donated to archives and distributed in an attempt to create conversations about queer and trans fat activist histories. So I made a zine whilst being the artist in residence at Villa Magdalena K in Hamburg. It’s based on the timeline, includes an explanation, some pictures and the text of the timeline itself.

The paper zine has 34 pages, is A5 format with a gold-coloured cover. It is printed on recycled paper and card. 250 copies were printed and it has now SOLD OUT. Many thanks to everyone who bought a copy, and especially those who donated extra cash, this enabled me to send the zine to over 60 archives and zine libraries worldwide.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a paper version, the zine lives on in digital format:

A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline zine – digital version (.pdf, 6.5mb)
Download the file and feel free to share it under its Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline Zine – audio version (.mp3, approx 52 mins, 24mb)
This features me, Charlotte Cooper, reading the entire zine in English, describing images and the object itself. Please get in touch if you have other access requirements.

The academic paper

Here’s the reference and abstract for a paper I wrote about the project. Drop me a line if you have trouble getting a copy of this work.

A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline: Queering Fat Activist Nationality and Cultural Imperialism

A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline is a project located in multiple spaces that began as an attempt to co-create a snapshot of community history. The timeline began as a conference workshop, became an object produced by that workshop, and then transformed into other entities: something that could be discussed and remodelled into multiple forms, on- and offline, and into archival objects. It originated as a fat activist dialogue with community histories and memory, but has moved beyond its original intent. The content of this particular fat activist project is not under discussion here: the process of fat activism and the cultures within which it takes place are the areas with which I wish to engage in this article. However, I encourage readers to downloaded digital copies of the zine from my blog, obesitytimebomb.blogspot.com.

Cooper, C. (2012) ‘A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline: Queering Fat Activist Nationality and Cultural Imperialism’, Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society 1: 1, 61-74.

The Future

There is already at least one other Timeline, created collectively in Brussels at a workshop in 2013. There could be others. Please contact me if you are interested in making one and developing this project.