On October 23 at 7:00 p.m., our library will host a presentation, “No Cinderella Story: Friends Remember Ben Scott “Benderella” Rae,” by Laura Hodgman. This program is offered as part of this year’s One Book One Valley series.
In this talk, Dr. Hodgman will delve into the life of Ben “Benderella” Rae, a developmentally disabled victim of transphobia murdered in Tacoma, Washington in 1977. Before she died, Benderella led a life full of family strife, state institutionalization, hustling, self-advocacy, and friendship. She was part of a family, and part of communities, who accepted or rejected her. The many stories surrounding Benderella’s life and death help to increase understanding of transgender lives both past and present.
Laura Hodgman, Professor Emerita of History at Eastern Washington University, moved to Tamworth about 18 months ago. Between 2012-2016, she conducted an oral history project collecting stories of Rae’s life. The article she wrote on the project was published in the peer-reviewed Oral History Review’s Winter/Spring 2016 issue.