Legendary transgender writer, activist, spiritual leader, and transgender symbol creator Holly Boswell passed away this weekend at the age of 66.
“We need to recognize that each of us, in our own small way, are makers of our culture.We can exercise that function best by expressing our true selves, not by simply fulfilling our culture’s expectations. We are all in transition..” – Holly Boswell
She was born in November 1950 and was raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C. Boswell studied English literature and music composition at Oberln College in Ohio. Graduating as a senior scholar in 1972, she would go on to write groundbreaking essays such as “The Transgender Alternative (1990)”, “The Transgender Paradigm Shift toward Free Expression (1997)”, and “The Spirit of Transgender (2000)”
Boswell was a student of world religions, mysticism and philosophies. It was her belief that human evolution must transcend binary gender. She worked as a transgender peer counselor, a community builder and developer of educational curriculums. She founded the Phoenix Transgender Support group in Asheville, North Carolina in 1986 and was well known for her innovative seminars performed at transgender conferences since 1991. Boswell founded the “Kindred Spirits” trans spiritual network in 1993. In the year 2000, she built a year-round retreat facility for gender and spirituality called the Tree House.
It was in 1993 that she created the transgender symbol that is universally known and recognized today in a drawing that she gave to Wendy Parker, who in turn drew it for Nancy R. Nangeroni, who would later digitize the image.
The cause of Boswell’s death is unknown at this time. Her symbol and spirit will go on for generations to come. Rest in power Holly Boswell.