A Witness with a Mind of Her Own: Hannah's Role in the Crawford Case

While Hannah was repeatedly placed in the archive as someone whose gender expression should not have been taken seriously, there were instances and relationships in her life where she was seen and appreciated. This point is evidenced through the Rural Electrification article about her work as a laundress; despite multiple attempts to discredit her gender identity, expression and personhood in the archive, there is evidence of Hannah living outside of and in spite of it. 

Comparing Hannah’s story and life to the present, we are met with anti-trans legislation on the state and national level. Current Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed off on state model policies that states “practices such as compelling others to use preferred pronouns is premised on the ideological belief that gender is a matter of personal choice or subjective experience, not sex. Many Virginians reject this belief.” To deny the truths of trans youth is to deny the existence of trans elders, ancestors, and people.  Our existence cannot be denied, and we have always been her. These policies also erase stories like Hannah where Black, trans women are respected and seen. Legislation such as this, and the societal treatment of Black, trans women, mirrors the violence that Hannah’s story faced in the archives. 

By Leeana Norman

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