The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet

The internet origins of the American transgender movement

The Two Revolutions explores how the rise of the internet shaped transgender identity and activism from the 1980s to the present. Through extensive archival research and media archeology, Avery Dame-Griff reconstructs the manifold digital networks of transgender activists, cross-dressing computer hobbyists, and others interested in gender nonconformity who incited the second revolution of the title: the ascendance of “transgender” as an umbrella identity in the mid-1990s.

Dame-Griff argues that digital communications sparked significant momentum within what would become the transgender movement, but also further cemented existing power structures. Covering both a historical period that is largely neglected within the history of computing, and the poorly understood role of technology in queer and trans social movements, The Two Revolutions offers a new understanding of both revolutions—the internet’s early development and the structures of communication that would take us to today’s tipping point of trans visibility politics. Through a history of how trans people online exploited different digital infrastructures in the early days of the internet to build a community, The Two Revolutions tells a crucial part of trans history itself.

Praise and Reviews

“The book I’ve been waiting for!…The Two Revolutions promises to revolutionize trans and internet studies.”

– Laura Horak, director of the Transgender Media Lab at Carleton University

“A critically necessary history….Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Two Revolutions is a transformative work.”

Jacob Gaboury, author of Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics

The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet by Avery Dame-Griff is a delightfully readable academic work that tells a story of trans online life since the earliest days of the dial-up modem… it’s as much a straightforward history as it is an experiment in using digital materials to tell recent history.”

– Jamie Lauren Keiles, The Baffler

The Two Revolutions is both an academic history of the trans Internet and a political call for contemporary users to demand more of our digital media platforms. Dame-Griff does a fantastic job weaving together these projects.”

– Lauren Herold, Autostraddle