McCloskey, Deirdre Interview and Transcript

Span Dates: 1953-2020
Bulk Dates: 2020
Volume: 1 pdf; 1 mp4


In this interview, McCloskey narrates her choice to transition to female, with some emphasis on the role of supportive congregations in several denominations.

Hist/Bio Note

McCloskey is the eldest child of Robert McCloskey, a professor of government at Harvard University, and Helen McCloskey (née Stueland), a poet. McCloskey was born Donald McCloskey and lived as a man until the age of 53. Married for thirty years, and the parent of two children, she made the decision to transition from male to female in 1995, writing about her experience in a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Crossing: A Memoir (1999, University of Chicago Press).[10] It is an account of her growing recognition of her female identity, and her transition—both surgical and social—into a woman (including her reluctant divorce from her wife). The book describes how in her teenage years, McCloskey would commit gender burglaries of neighbors' homes, dressing up in the crinoline dresses favored by young women of that era, in addition to "shoes, garter belts and all the equipment of a 1950s girl". The memoir then goes on to describe her new life, following sex-reassignment surgery, in her career as a female academic economist and scholar of femininity. McCloskey has advocated on behalf of the rights of persons and organizations in the LGBT community.[11] She was a vocal critic of J. Michael Bailey's 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen, which popularized the theory of autogynephilia as a motivation for sex reassignment, by the sexologist Ray Blanchard. McCloskey has described herself as a "literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not 'conservative'! I'm a Christian Classical Liberal." In 2008, McCloskey was awarded an honorary doctorate by NUI Galway.

Finding Aid

The interview and transcript are available online as part of the Trans Activism Oral History Project.


The University of Victoria TransArchives is located at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.


Author/editor | Episcopal Church | Chicago | Illinois | Iowa | Netherlands | Trans activism