Susan Stryker

Susan O'Neal Stryker (born 1961)[3] is an American professor, author, filmmaker, and theorist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality. She is Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, former director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, and founder of the Transgender Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona, and is currently on leave to while holding an appointment as Visiting Professor of Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University (2019–20). Stryker also serves on the Advisory Council of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence). She is the author of several books about LGBT history and culture.

Susan Stryker
Born1961 (age 5758)
OccupationProfessor, author, editor, filmmaker
Alma materUniversity of Oklahoma (BA)
University of California, Berkeley (PhD)
SubjectGender studies
LGBT culture
LGBT rights in the United States
Women's studies
Notable worksThe Transgender Studies Reader (2006)
Notable awardsLambda Literary Award[1]
San Francisco / Northern California Emmy Award[2]

Early life

Stryker received a bachelor's degree in Letters from University of Oklahoma in 1983. She earned a Ph.D. in United States History at the University of California, Berkeley in 1992;[4] the doctoral thesis she presented was Making Mormonism: A Critical and Historical Analysis of Cultural Formation.[5]


Stryker is Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona, and is the former director of the university's Institute for LGBT Studies.[6][7] She has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Simon Fraser University.[8] She is an openly lesbian trans woman who has produced a significant body of work about transgender and queer culture.[9]

She came out as transgender and began to transition shortly after earning her doctorate.[10][11] Her scholarly article "My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix", published in 1994, was her first published academic article, and after trail-blazing Australian transgender academic Roberta Perkins who began publishing her research on female sex workers in the 1980s, one of the first articles ever published in a peer-reviewed academic journal by an openly transgender author.[12]

She was later awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship in human sexuality studies at Stanford University, sponsored by the Social Science Research Council and the Ford Foundation.[8] From 1999 to 2003, she was the executive director of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.

In 2004, Stryker was distinguished visiting faculty in the Department of Critical and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. In 2007-8 She held the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Visiting Professorship in Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. In fall 2008 she was distinguished visiting faculty with the Committee on Degrees in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Harvard University, and in Spring 2009 she was Regents' Distinguished Lecturer in Feminist Studies at University of California-Santa Cruz. She was hired with tenure as Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University in 2009, and left to accept a position as Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona in 2011.

In 2013, Stryker established the Transgender Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona.[13] She focused on "hiring faculty of color", in her own words.[13]

In 2015, Yale University awarded Stryker the James Robert Brudner Class of 1983 Memorial Prize for lifetime accomplishment and scholarly contributions in the field of lesbian and gay studies. In 2007, the Monette-Horowitz Trust honored her for her anti-homophobia activism.[14][15] Among her other honors are a Community Vanguard Award from the Transgender Law Center, and recognition as a "Local Hero" by San Francisco public television station KQED.[14]



Stryker's first book, Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area (Chronicle Books 1996), coauthored with Jim Van Buskirk, is an illustrated account of the evolution of LGBT culture in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. This book and its successor, Queer Pulp, were each nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.[16]

In the critical survey Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback (Chronicle Books 2001), Stryker turned her attention to the lesbian pulp fiction and gay male pulp fiction published in the United States from the 1930s through the 1960s.

With Stephen Whittle she co-edited The Transgender Studies Reader (Routledge 2006), which was her first work to win a Lambda Literary Award. Her following book, Transgender History (Seal Press 2008), covers transvestism, transgender people, and transsexualism in the United States from the conclusion of World War II to the 2000s.[17][18][19][20]

Stryker is now working on a new book project, Cross-Dressing for Empire: Gender and Performance at the Bohemian Grove. The Bohemian Grove is a campground in Northern California, and the summer meeting-place of the Bohemian Club, a private organization of American men with considerable political and economic power or cultural influence.[21][22][23]

Film and video

Stryker received a San Francisco / Northern California Emmy Award for her directorial work on Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria (2005),[24] a documentary film about the Gene Compton's Cafeteria riot of 1966; the film was co-written, -directed, and -produced by Victor Silverman. With director Michelle Lawler and executive producer Kim Klausner she subsequently co-produced Forever's Gonna Start Tonight (2009), a documentary film about Vicki Marlane, an HIV-positive, transgender performer at nightclubs and lounges. Stryker's most recent documentary is Christine in the Cutting Room (2013), an experimental film about Christine Jorgensen.[25]

Monika Treut filmed and interviewed Stryker for the 1999 documentary film Gendernauts: A Journey Through Shifting Identities. She was also interviewed for a 2002 episode of the long-running television documentary series SexTV, and for two episodes of Sex: The Revolution (2008). She is featured in the documentary film Reel in the Closet (2015), directed by Stu Maddux.

Articles, essays, and scholarly papers

Stryker and Paisley Currah co-edit TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, the first non-medical academic journal devoted to transgender issues.[26] The journal premiered in 2014.

Stryker's scholarly papers have been published in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies,[27] WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly,[28] parallax, Radical History Review, and other academic journals. In 2008, she was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for her article "Why the T in LGBT is Here to Stay",[29] a response to John Aravosis' 2007 article "How did the T get in LGBT?".[30]

In one paper, "Transgender Studies: Queer Theory's Evil Twin" (2004), Stryker describes how transgender people are often marginalized within the queer community, and how the academic discipline of Queer Studies privileges specific narratives of sexual orientation over gender identity.[11]


  • Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area (1996), Chronicle, ISBN 978-0811811873
  • Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback (2001), Chronicle, ISBN 978-0811830201
  • The Transgender Studies Reader (2006), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415947091
  • Transgender History (2008), Seal Press, ISBN 978-1580052245
  • The Transgender Studies Reader 2 (2013), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415517720


  • Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria (June 18, 2005)
  • Forever's Gonna Start Tonight (2009)
  • Christine in the Cutting Room (2013)

See also


  1. "Northwest News: Cal Anderson Memorial Lecture at the Evergreen State College". Seattle Gay News. Volume 37 Issue 06. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. Szymanski, Zak (September 14, 2006). "Friends set up defense fund for author". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  3. "Meet the FAC - The Institute for LGBT Studies is pleased to introduce FAC member, Professor Susan Stryker". University of Arizona LGBT Studies.
  4. Rudacille, Deborah (2006). "Conversation with Susan Stryker, Ph.D.". The Riddle of Gender. New York: Anchor Books. pp. 52–61. ISBN 978-0-385-72197-4.
  5. Stryker, Susan O'Neal. Making Mormonism: A Critical and Historical Analysis of Cultural Formation (Thesis). University of California, Berkeley. OCLC 32257293.
  6. "Susan Stryker, Ph.D." Department of Gender & Women's Studies. University of Arizona College of Social & Behavioral Sciences]. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  7. Bolinger, Joyce (8 June 2011). "Susan Stryker takes Ariz. post". Windy City Times. Windy City Media Group. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  8. "Susan Stryker". The Center for Sex and Gender Research. California State University, Northridge. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  9. ""My Words to Victor Frankenstein..." by Susan Stryker". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  10. Silverman, Victor (director, writer); Stryker, Susan (director, writer, presenter) (2005). Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria (DVD). San Francisco, California: Frameline Distribution. 3 minutes in. OCLC 68045197. I had recently finished my Ph.D. in History, come out as transsexual, and started my transition from man to womanall in the same year.
  11. Stryker, Susan (2004). "Transgender Studies: Queer Theory's Evil Twin". GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Duke University Press. 10 (2): 212–215. doi:10.1215/10642684-10-2-212.
  12. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women. New York [u.a.]: Routledge. 2000. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-415-92088-9.
  13. Joselow, Maxine (June 22, 2016). "A Push for Transgender Studies". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 22, 2016. "One reason why the search didn't work the first year is that the three people who had been hired were all white, and we were really trying to prioritize hiring faculty of color," she said.
  14. Cassell, Heather (1 March 2007). "Vote is on for SF Pride marshals". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  15. "2008 Awards". Monette-Horowitz Trust. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  16. Sullivan, Nikki; Murray, Samantha, eds. (2009). Somatechnics: Queering the Technologisation of Bodies. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing. p. viii. ISBN 978-0-7546-7530-3. OCLC 319247423. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  17. Roth, Benita (2010). "Book Reviews: Transgender History". Signs. University of Chicago Press (Spring): 762–5. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  18. Kornstein, Harris (2008). "Trans Activism". Left Turn (October/November). Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  19. Tebbutt, Clare. "Book Review: Transgender History". Women's History Review. Taylor & Francis. doi:10.1080/09612025.2011.643006.
  20. Kelly, Reese C. (2009). "Moving Across and Beyond Boundaries". GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Duke University Press. 15 (4): 646–8. doi:10.1215/10642684-2009-007. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  21. Kay, Jane (July 6, 2009). "No retreat from uproar over Bohemian Club woods". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  22. Bohemian Club. Constitution, By-laws, and Rules, Officers, Committees, and Members, Bohemian Club, 1904, p. 11. Semi-centennial high jinks in the Grove, 1922, Bohemian Club, 1922, pp. 11–22.
  23. Parry, 2005, pp. 218–219.
  24. "Pomona College Professor Wins Northern California Emmy Award; Documentary Screaming Queens to Air Nationally on PBS in June". AScribe Law News Service. 24 May 2006. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  25. "Christine in the Cutting Room (work in progress)". Frameline. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  26. "Duke Univ. Press Debuts Academic Journal for Transgender Studies". 27 May 2014.
  27. Stryker, Susan (1998). "The Transgender Issue: An Introduction". GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Duke University Press. 4 (2): 145–58. doi:10.1215/10642684-4-2-145.
  28. Stryker, Susan; Currah, Paisley; Moore, Lisa Jean (2008). "Introduction: Trans-, Trans, or Transgender?". WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly. The Feminist Press. 36 (3–4): 11–22. doi:10.1353/wsq.0.0112.
  29. Stryker, Susan (11 October 2007). "Why the T in LGBT is Here to Stay". Salon. Salon Media Group. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  30. Aravosis, John (8 October 2007). "How did the T get in LGBT?". Salon. Salon Media Group. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
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