Cornell University

Billy Tipton’s “My Wubba Dolly”: Transgender Negative Disidentification and Racialized Femininity

Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, 258 - English Lounge
232 East Ave, Central Campus

This talk looks at the ways in which mid-century female-to-male transgender jazz musician Billy Tipton crafted a normative masculinity by crafting a negative disidentification with white femininity embodied in the song “My Wubba Dolly.” After that examination the paper reflects on what it means that “My Wubba Dolly” was popularized not by a white woman, but African American Ella Fitzgerald, in a time when black women were struggling to be seen as having access to femininity at all.

Stephan Pennington is an Assistant Professor at Tufts University’s Department of Music, with affiliations with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, the American Studies Program, and the Africana Studies Program. Professor Pennington specializes in the performance of identity in popular music with special attention to issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

Event Type



Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies, Music, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Department of Music



Free and open to the public

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Samara Selden

Contact Phone



Stephan Pennington

Speaker Affiliation

Tufts University

Disability Access Information

Open To

The Public

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