chapter
PROLOGUE
Pages 8

My initial fieldwork was carried out during periods of research in major British cities between 1979 and 1985-sometimes as a casual participant, sometimes as an overt observer. During this period I gained access to all the major subcultural settings-drag balls, bars and clubs, ‘transvestite’ weekends, private parties and contact magazine and erotica networks throughout the United Kingdom. A further period of fieldwork followed between 1993 and 1995. From 1984 onwards, my focus has been on intensive life history work with selected informants. Since 1986, the research has taken an increasingly international flavour. From that date, I have directed the Trans-Gender Archive at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. The Archive is supported by the major ‘transvestite’ and ‘transsexual’ organisations throughout the worldmost notably throughout the United Kingdom, North Western Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It contains a comprehensive collection of material on cross-dressing and sex-changing, and is the first public collection of its type in the world (Ekins 1988; 1989a; 1990b). Moreover, as the Archive’s Director, I have maintained access to a mass of unpublished and hitherto unavailable material.