Meet Dr. Joy Michael Ellison


Writer.  Scholar.  Activist.

StoriesPoetry.  Nonfiction.

Resistance.  Resilience.  Imagination.


My name is Joy Michael Ellison.  I am a writer, a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Rhode Island, and a grassroots, community activist.  I am interested in using stories, both fictional and true, to build community, document social movements, and imagine a liberated world.  I believe that storytelling is integral to healing, transformation, resistance, and survival.

“You write in order to change the world…the world changes according to how people see it and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” – James Baldwin


Current Projects

final cover

Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution! tells the story of transgender heroes Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. My debut picture book is coming out from Jessica Kingsley Press in November 2020.

You can follow my work on an ongoing basis.  I write a biweekly opinion column focused on LGBT topics called Rainbow Rant for Columbus Alive. You can read my latest every other Tuesday.  I completed my dissertation Coalitions at the Crossroads: Transgender History in the Midwest from 1945-2000 and am currently revising it into a book. I share my ongoing research through my public history blog If We Knew Trans History.  Finally, find me performing my poetry at Writer’s Block Columbus and the Uptown Poetry Slam.