4. Canary

 

For a short time in the 1970s, Canary Conn was everywhere. She was on television. On the radio. And on bookshelves. Her story, that of a Texas-born recording artist, husband and father who transitioned into a woman whom the media described as “young,” “lithe” and “with flowing blonde hair,” captured national attention. Although some newspaper interviews with Canary have been preserved, there are very few accessible recordings of Canary’s many public performances, or her radio and television interviews. What’s more, the trail of evidence disappears after 1980, when Canary inexplicably left the public spotlight and returned to private life. In this episode we introduce and then play a rare extended audio interview with Canary that she recorded with the magazine Psychology Today in 1977. The interview profiles Canary’s childhood, her transition, her sexuality, and her gender identity.

 
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Hosts and Creators: Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman

Senior Producer: Saniya Lee Ghanoui

Producer and Story Editor: Rebecca Davis

Assistant Producers: Chris Babits, Isabel Machado and Mallory Szymanski

Research Assistance: Devin McGeehan Muchmore

Intern: Julian Harbaugh

Music:  “Night Disco,” “Find the Right Spot,” by Audioblocks.
“Suburbanite,” “Boston Landing,” “Dirty Wallpaper,” by Blue Dot Sessions.
Danny O’Connor, “Imaginary Worlds”
Canary Conn, “Oh Baby,” “When I Fly, I Fly High”

“An Interview with a Transsexual,” (1977) courtesy of Psychology Today.

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Selected Readings