Samantha Rosenthal (she/they) is associate professor of history and coordinator of the public history concentration at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City, and Beyond Hawaiʻi: Native Labor in the Pacific World. They are co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, a nationally recognized queer public history initiative. Her work has received awards and recognition from the National Council on Public History, the Oral History Association, the Committee on LGBT History, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Working Class Studies Association.
This commentary is republished from The Conversation. In 1976, a woman from Roanoke, Virginia, named Rhoda received a prescription for two drugs: estrogen and progestin. Twelve months later, a local reporter noted Rhoda’s surprisingly soft skin and visible breasts. He wrote that the drugs had made her “so completely female.” Indeed, that was the point. […]