This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1100 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing - especially in the year-end summaries (see links in right sidebar.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the page. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

30 March 2015

25 trans Europeans who found their destiny in North America


See also 22 trans Americans who found their destiny in Europe
  1. Charles Hamilton (171? - ?) quack doctor in Somerset, inspiration for Henry Fielding's The Female Husband, moved to Philadelphia. GVWW
  2. Frenchy Vosbaugh (1827 – 1907) from France, became male when moved to US. Opened restaurant in Trinidad, Colorado. GVWW
  3. Murray Hall (1841 – 1901) from Govan, Scotland, became Tammany politician in New York. GVWW

  4. Albert Cashier (1844 – 1915) from Clogherhead, County Louth, fought in US Civil War, then labourer in Illinois. GVWW   EN.WIKIPEDIA

  5. Emma Becker (184? - ?) from Germany, became cook to Theodore Roosevelt, until arrested while drunk and outed. GVWW
  6. Fanny Park (1848 – 1881) from London, performer, featured in the 1871 homophobic show trial in London, moved to New York but without success on the stage. GVWW   Amazon
  7. Stella Boulton (1849 - ?) from Peckham, London, performer, featured in the 1871 homophobic show trial in London, became a pioneer of glamour drag on the New York stage. GVWW Amazon

  8. Jean Bonnet (1849 – 1876) born in Paris, frog catcher in San Francisco, murdered protecting a woman. GVWW Amazon

  9. Jenny O. (1862 - ?) from Voralberg, Austria, became a bookseller in San Francisco. Featured in Hirschfeld's book. GVWW
  10. Alfred Taylor (1862 - ?) co-defendent with Oscar Wilde in 1895. Afterwards emigrated to Chicago. GVWW
  11. Carla van Crist (189? - ?) from Berlin, taken to San Francisco. Returned to Berlin for surgery in Hirschfeld's Institute, 1931. Voice coach, actress in New York. GVWW
  12. Cynthia Conway (1916 – 2009) Emigrated from UK as a child, became a scientist in San Diego, than a doctor in Berkeley, transitioned in her 70s. GVWW.
  13. Susan Huxford (1921 – 2009) From Portsmouth, school teacher in Hamilton, Ontario, ran FACT. GVWW

  14. Dawn Langley Simmons (1922 – 2000) from Sussex. In New York and then Charleston became celebrity biographer, wife and mother. GVWW    Amazon

  15. Erica Rutherford (1923 – 2008) artist, born in Edinbugh, raised in Portsmouth, settled in Prince Edward Island. Xtra   CBC    Amazon
     
  16. Guilda (1924 – 2012) from Paris, drag star, artist, settled in Montreal. GVWW   Xtra
  17. Angela Morley (1924 – 2009) musician from Leeds, settled in Scotsdale, Arizona. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  18. George Maciunas (1931 – 1978) from Lithuania, founder of Fluxus art movement in New York. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  19. Brenda Lana Smith (1933 - ) from UK, became Honorary Danish Consul in Bermuda, and later Christine Jorgensen's flatmate. GVWW

  20. Stephanie Castle (? - ) from UK, ship owner, real estate developer, Vancouver activist. UVic TG Archives

  21. Paul Whitehead/Trisha Van Cleef (1945 - ) from Dartford, Kent, artist, especially of album covers, settled in Los Angeles. GVWW    EN.WIKIPEDIA

  22. Diane Torr (1948 - ) performance artist, raised in Aberdeen, became integral part of New York drag king/FTM scene. EN.WIKIPEDIA    Amazon

  23. Gernesis P. Orridge (1950 - ) musician, poet, occultist, born in Manchester, raised in Solihull, fled UK to escape religious persecution in 1992, settled in New York. GVWW EN,WIKIPEDIA

  24. Jack Halberstam (1961 - ) raised in Nottingham, followed father to US, became academic in San Diego, promoted Female Masculinity. GVWW   EN.WIKIPEDIA

  25. Kristen Paget (197? - ) from UK, software security consultant in Silicon Valley GVWW

27 March 2015

Madeleine Pelletier (1874–1939) Part II: doctor and activist

Continued from Part I.


From 1905 Dr Pelletier eked out a living as a local doctor, a doctor for the post office and was the first woman to become the doctor for the welfare department.

She always wore her hair short and wore male clothing, but refused to apply for a permission de travestissement. She considered that female clothing represented slavery. Being short and fat she did not pass well. Sometimes she had to walk fast to escape public taunts. She was known to carry a revolver in her pocket. She would shout, use slang and go to places where women were not supposed to go.

She was an active feminist and socialist. From 1905 she was on the national council of the French Socialist Party, and represented it at most international congresses before the war. However the socialists made fun of her at meetings and pretended not to recognize her in the streets.

In 1906 she became secretary of La Solidarité des femmes, and published La suffragiste. In 1910, forty women attempted to run in the election, Pelletier in the 8th Arrondisment in Paris as the Socialist candidate, but all their candidatures were rejected.

Pelletier was strongly in favour of birth control and abortion and wrote for Le Néo-Malthusian. She posited the right of a woman over her own body as an absolute right. She argued against the Natalists for whom a high birthrate was a patriotic duty, and against the Communists for the freedom of the individual. She argued that women had just as much right as men to sexual pleasure, and for that contraception, including abortion, was necessary.

A police report (she remained an object of police surveillance throughout her life) described her as 'tribad', but it seems that she was celibate. She regarded sex with men as part of the oppression of women, and expressed contempt for feminists who wanted to remain feminine. On occasion she even rejected sex as a degrading animal activity, an attitude shared with bourgeois women on the National Council of Women.

She proposed two categories of women: the superior kind who are totally independent including sexually; and the others. Feminists said that all that was against nature and an injury to feminism. Anti-feminists mocked her as showing where feminism leads – she confirmed their fears. She would say that her dress said to men that she was their equal, and that she liked to externalize her ideas. That whoever is truly worthy of liberty doesn't wait for someone to give it, but takes it.

She advocated for the virilization (her coining – she liked provocative and polemical words) of women: not just access to education, work, art or writing, but also to duelling, military service and militant chastity.

In 1913 she wrote: "Ah que ne suis-je un homme ! Mon sexe est le grand malheur de ma vie (Ah, why am I not a man! My sex is the great misfortune of my life)".

In 1914 she put out a pamphlet proclaiming the right to abortion, and afterwards did abortions in her office.

During the Great War Pelletier worked for the Red Cross treating the injured from both sides, and attended pacifist meetings. On one occasion in Nancy, a crowd took her as a German spy because of her strange appearance. In 1916 she wrote: "Du soleil, il y en a peu dans ma vie. Le monde n'aime pas les femmes qui se distinguent du troupeau; les hommes les rabaissent, les femmes les détestent. Enfin, il faut se résigner à ce que l'on ne peut empêcher et je ne donnerais tout de même pas ma place contre celle d'une brebis bêlante (There is little sunshine in my life. The world does not like women who stand out from the herd, men belittle them, women hate them. In the end, we must resign ourselves to what we can not help and I would not change places with a bleating sheep.)"

She joined the French Communist Party when it was founded in 1920, and the next year visited the Soviet Union, despite that being illegal at the time. To do that she had to wear female clothing and a wig: it was like being a transvestite. On return she wrote Mon voyage aventureux en Russie communiste. However she left the Party in 1926. Afterwards she was an anarchist.

In 1937 she had a stroke which left her partially paralyzed.

In 1939 Dr Pelletier was arrested for practising abortion, denounced by the brother of a patient who was also the father of the foetus. She was incarcerated in the Perray-Vaucluse asylum where she had trained, and as the new war started she was forgotten. Her health deteriorated and after eight months, still incarcerated, she died at age 65.
_________________________________________________________

A note on fashion.   Women born in the 1870s experienced a somewhat one-off chagrin.   All through their youth, their courting, and their motherhood, they were expected to wear ankle-length skirts, and then in the 1920s, when they were well into middle-age, skirts were shortened.   A serious case was made against women's clothing before the great war.  The long skirts combined with corsets  could be quite dangerous impeding the wearer from escaping from fires, tram accidents etc.  But Pelletier's dislike for female clothing continued through the 1920s and until her death.  She would certainly not take advantage of the new freedoms whereby women showed their legs.  She considered the practice of a low decolletage, that is plunging necklines, in pre-1914 dress as 'servile'; showing one's legs as well was even worse.

Obviously Pelletier is some kind of gender variant, but she eludes our 21st century categories.   Social constructions like non-binary, gender queer or female masculinity were not available during her lifetime, and so she could not use them. 

Christine Bard comments “On peut penser qu'en étant assimilée à l'homosexualité, l'étrangeté de Madeleine Pelletier devient soudain plus familière (One might think that being equated with homosexuality, the strangeness of Madeleine Pelletier suddenly becomes more familiar)”p246, and then “Sur le plan personnel, elle est très proche des transgenres d'aujourd'hui (On a personal level, she is very close to today’s transgender) p247“ but does not pursue this idea.  A proper discussion of Pelletier’s place in trans history is yet to be written.

Jack Halberstam in his seminal Female Masculinity, discusses the rich British and US expatriates in Paris in the 1920s, but pays no attention to to native Parisians.  Radcliffe Hall was rich and did not have to work, and could be dismissed as merely playing at masculinity.   Pelletier was born in the slums, and by her intellect and hard work became one of the first female-born doctors.   Halberstams’s notion of female masculinity is severely deficient in that persons like Pelletier are not included.


There has become an industry of many books about the rich lesbian expatriots in Paris in the 1920s.  I checked several of them, and again and again there is no mention of native  working-class Parisians such as Pelletier.

There is no mention, in any of the sources that I consulted, of Pelletier’s reaction to the news that a fellow Parisian resident, one Einar Wegener, went to Dresden and became Lili Elevenes, or that in 1912 a Berlin surgeon had done gender surgery on a trans man.  As a doctor Pelletier must have been aware of these developments.   Nor is there any mention of her reaction when the exiled Magnus Hirschfeld came to live in Paris in 1933. 

Why did I stick with female pronouns?   There is no indication that Pelletier wanted otherwise, but there is also the fact that Pelletier never took a male name – at least none is reported.   See also Mathilde de Morny
_________________________________________________________

Publications by Madeleine Pelletier
  • Prétendue dégénérescence des hommes de génie. Paris: l'Acacia, 1900.
  • L'Amour et la maternité. Paris: la Brochure mensuelle, 1900.
  • "Recherches sur les indices pondéraux du crâne et des principaux os longs d’une série de squelettes japonaises". Bulletins de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, 15 nov.1900, 514–29.
  • M.Pelletier & P. Marie. "Sur un nouveau procédé pour obtenir l’indice cubique du crâne". Bulletins de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, 1901, 2, 188–93.
  • "Contribution à l’étude de la phylogénèse du maxilaire inférieure". Bulletins de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, 1903, 3, 537-45.
  • L'association des idées dans la manie aigüe et dans la débilité mentale. Faculté de médecine de Paris, 1903. Reprinted Paris: Rousset, 1903. Reprinted as Les lois morbides de l'association des idées. Paris: Jules Rousset, 1904.
  • "L’écho de la pensée et la parole intérieure". Bulletin de l’Institut Général Psychologique, (Séance du 6 mai), 440–73, 1904.
  • "La prétendue infériorité psycho-physiologique des femmes". La Vie Normale, , 1 (10), 1–6, 1904.
  • Admission des femmes dans la Franc-maçonnerie. Paris: [s.n.], 1905.
  • L'idéal maçonique. Paris: [s.n.], 1906.
  • La femme en lutte pour ses droits. Paris: V. Giard et E. Brière, 1908.
  • Idéologie d'hier: Dieu, la morale, la patrie. Paris: V. Giard & E. Brière, 1910.
  • Les Tendances actuelles de la maçonnerie. Paris: aux bureaux de l'"Acacia, 1910.
  • Dieu, la morale, la patrie: idéologie d'hier. Paris: V. Giard et E. Brière, 1910.
  • L'émancipation sexuelle de la femme. Paris: M. Giard & E. Brièr, 1911.
  • Philosophie sociale. Les opinions--les partis--les classes. Paris: M. Giard et Brière, 1912.
  • Justice sociale? Paris: M. Giard et E. Brière, 1913.
  • L'éducation féministe des filles. Paris: M. Giard & E. Brière, 1914.
  • L'Individualisme. Paris: Giard-Brière, 1919.
  • "In anima vili", ou Un crime scientifique: pièce en 3 actes. L'Idée Libre (Paris. 1911). Conflans-Sainte-Honorine: "l'Idée libre, 1920.
  • Mon Voyage aventureux en Russie communiste. Paris: Marcel Giard, 1922.
  • Supérieur! Drame des classes sociales en cinq actes. [Paris]: a. Lorulot, Conflans-Honorine, 1923.
  • L'âme existe-t-elle ? Paris: Groupe de propagande par la brochure, 1924.
  • Capitalisme et communisme. Nice: impr. de Rosenstiel, 1926.
  • Le travail: ce qu'il est, ce qu'il doit être. Paris: Groupe de propagande par la brochure, 1930.
  • Une vie nouvelle: roman. Paris: E. Figuière, 1932.
  • La Femme vierge, roman. Paris: V. Bresle, 1933.
By Others:
  • Charles Sowerwine. ‘Madeleine Pelletier (1874–1939), femme, medecin, militante’, L’Information Psychiatrique, 9, 1988: 1189–1219.
  • Claudine Mitchell. “Madeleine Pelletier (1874 - 1939): The Politics of Sexual Oppression”. Feminist Review, 33, Autumn 1989: 72-92.
  • Felicia Gordon. The Integral Feminist--Madeleine Pelletier, 1874-1939: Feminism, Socialism, and Medicine. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.
  • Marie-Victoire Louis. “Les analyses de Madeleine Pelletier sur la sexualité et la prostitution”. Site de Marie-Victoire Louis, 01/12/1992. www.marievictoirelouis.net/document.php?id=496.
  • Joan W. Scott. “The Radical Individualism of Madeleine Pelletier” in Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man. Harvard University Press, 1997: 125-160.
  • “Madeleine Pelletier: Médecin psychiatre, journaliste, romancière et militante suffragiste (1874-1939)”. Tetue, 8 mars 2003. www.tetue.net/spip.php?article37&lang=fr.
  • Felicia Gordon. “Convergence and conflict: anthropology, psychiatry and feminism in the early writings of Madeleine Pelletier (1874—1939)”. History of Psychiatry, 19,2,June 2008 19: 141-162
  • Felicia Gordon. “Publicity and Professionalism: Madeleine Pelletier (1874 - 1939) and Constance Pascal (1877 - 1937)”. Modern & Contemporary France, 17,3, August 2009: 319-334.
  • Christine Bard. Une histoire politique du pantalon. Éd. du Seuil, 2010: Chapitre viii.
  • “Madeleine Pelletier 1874-1939: Féministe d’avant-garde”. Divergences, 23 mars 2012. http://divergences.be/spip.php?article3031&lang=fr.
  • “Madeleine Pelletier: Médecin psychiatre, journaliste et éditrice, militante suffragiste, romancière (1874-1939)”. 8mars.omline.fr. http://8mars-online.fr/madeleine-pelletier?lang=fr.
FR.WIIPEDIA   EN.WIKIPEDIA    Worldcat

25 March 2015

Madeleine Pelletier (1874 - 1939) Part I: psychiatrist

Anne Madeleine Pelletier was born into a poor Parisian family. Her parents had a small fruit and vegetable shop. Her father, who also was a cab driver, had radical anti-clerical views. However, her mother was religious and a royalist. They lived in a squalid one-up-one-down house. Madeleine was shunned at convent school in that she was lice-infested.

As a teenager she attended feminist and anarchist groups. Despite this, the City of Paris granted her a scholarship and in 1897 at 23 she passed the baccalaureate in philosophy and literature. From 1898 to 1903 she studied at the Faculté de Médecine.

She joined the gender inclusive Le Droit Humain Freemason lodge, where she met feminists, socialists and anarchists. It offered a forum that enabled women to gain experience in debate and public speaking.

She also met prominent members of the Société d’Anthropologie de Paris (SAP) and attended SAP meetings. Here she studied the relationship between skull size and intelligence as pioneered by Paul Broca. She published four articles in the Bulletins de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris on craniometrical measurements. The most significant of these was a study of Japanese skeletons, demonstrating that the alleged superiority of male over female skeletal development was illusory. Later she attacked the idea that women are less intelligent because of their skull size.

While still a medical student, 1901–02, Pelletier worked as interne suppléante in an asylum controlled by the medical faculty and thus avoided the required competitive examination that excluded women by law. At the end of this period, Pelletier became notable for her successful campaign to allow women to sit the public examination for the post of psychiatric intern. This done she took the examination in 1903 and passed coming sixth out of eleven candidates. She was then the first woman to work as an intern in state asylums, in her case in the Perray Vaucluse asylum.

Pelletier's doctoral dissertation, L'association des idées dans la manie aigüe et dans la débilité mentale, (The association of ideas in acute mania and mental illness) was awarded the almost unheard-of commendation of ‘extrêmement satisfaits', and as a publication went into two editions, and was reviewed in the prestigious Revue Philosophique, albeit negatively by Joseph Rogues de Fursac who was concerned that by eliding normal and abnormal states, Pelletier down-played what he considered the definitive role of heredity.

One of the papers that she wrote while an intern was ‘La prétendue infériorité psycho-physiologique des femmes’ (The supposed psycho-physiological inferiority in women) wherein she unpicks the anti-woman prejudices found in writings by prominent psychologists and anthropologists. As Gordon summarises: "To some extent, Pelletier accepts that women’s present subordination constitutes an adaptive failure, or rather is a sign of enforced adaptation. When women are accused of lacking a sense of honour, of being manipulative, vain or self-seeking (qualities not unknown in men), it is because these very qualities are weapons in the struggle for survival".

Dr Pelletier 1906
Altogether Pelletier published twelve journal articles in this period; three discuss auditory or tactile hallucinations, three others are clinical, anatomical or therapeutic studies. Working in the asylum, Pelletier wore her hair short and adopted mannish jackets. This caused no problems with the patients, but elicited negative reactions from the male interns.

To become a qualified psychiatrist it was necessary to pass the concours d’adjuvat. As with the examination for public intern, women were barred from sitting. Pelletier applied in January 1906 and was turned down. She thereupon applied for a dérogation (dispensation) assuming that as usual the bureaucracy would move slowly but she would be allowed in the next cycle in 1908. However permission was granted immediately, leaving her only one month to prepare for the exam. She gained only 26 points, but 30 were needed. She was awarded only 6 out of 10 for publications despite her impressive dissertation and her twelve journal articles. She was not allowed to re-sit the exam as the decreed age limit was 32.

This was an enormous blow to her ambitions, but she was still a doctor. She had already said: "Si j'avais des rentes, même petites, je prendrais un état civil masculin et ferais mon chemin soit dans une science, soit dans la politique ; c'est faisable" (If I had an income, however small, I would take a man's civil status and make my way in a science or in politics; it is feasible). However she needed a source of income.

Continued in Part II.

23 March 2015

Jennifer Fox (193?–?) performer

Jennifer Fox, a Las Vegas stripper and showgirl, was preparing for genital surgery in 1968. She was advertised as “The Myra Breckinridge of Burlesque” and “Isn’t He or Isn’t She?"

Surgery over, Fox opened at the Gay 90s Club in North Las Vegas on October 5, 1970. The advertisements were sensational and exploited Jennifer’s surgery—which was a marketing ploy Fox herself approved: "I didn't let the public know about it at first. I continued to build my name as a stripper. ... We decided to advertise [my surgery] as a special attraction. And it worked. It's been good for business."


Two years later, Jennifer opened at the Hippodrome Theatre in Circus Circus in Ann Corio’s Best of Burlesque.
Burlesk    Burlesk     DivaHollywood



21 March 2015

Edward Sagarin (1913 – 1986) sociologist

Edward Sagarin was the youngest of eight children born in Schenectadty, New York to Russian-immigrant Jewish parents. His mother died in the 'Spanish' Influenza epidemic in 1918, and his father remarried and moved the family to New York City. After high school, Sagarin spent a year in France where he met André Gide, the author of Corydon.

Despite his interest in men, he married and they had one son. After a variety of jobs Sagarin established himself in the cosmetics industry and became an expert on the chemistry of perfumes. In 1951, just three years after Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Sagarin published the ground-breaking book, The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach, using the pen-name of Donald Webster Cory (constructed from Gide's Corydon – Gide died in 1951). This was the first non-fiction book to describe what it was like to be homosexual in the US at that time, and argued boldly for homosexual rights. The book was reprinted seven times in hardback, translated into French and Spanish, and issued as a mass-market paperback in 1963.


Sargarin's employer somehow found out that he was the author, and fired him. Nevertheless, several more books on the topic were issued under Cory's name.

From 1955 Cory was active in the New York branch of the Mattachine Society.  In 1958, Sagarin returned to college. He completed a BA at Brooklyn College in the same class as his son. He followed this with an MA thesis on 'dirty words', which was published as a book, and the author photograph outed him to members of the Mattachine Society as the same person as Cory. He went on to do a PhD at New York University in sociology.

He became associated with the psychologist Albert Ellis, and co-wrote books on incest under his own name. Donald Cory and John LeRoy (a sex partner whom he helped out financially) issued The Homosexual and His Society which claimed that there is no such thing as a 'well-adjusted homosexual', and also discussed hustlers, and challenged the then common assumption that homosexuals were security risks.

Sagarin was increasingly at odds with the new activists in the Mattachine Society including LeRoy who were advocating for civil rights and liberation for homosexuals. In 1965, after a bitter fight for control. Sagarin quit the Mattachine Society. The conflict, expressed with some bitterness, appears in his PhD thesis, Structure and ideology in an association of deviants, that he submitted in 1966.

He secured an academic position at the Baruch College campus of the City University of New York, where he became known as an excellent teacher, and a specialist in deviancy.

In 1968, he wrote a paper "Ideology as a Factor in the Consideration of Deviance" for The Journal of Sex Research, in which he made the commonplace observation that scientists are not always as objective as they should be. In the section he named "Normal Necrophiles and Transsexuals", he quotes Harry Benjamin finding "no evidence of serious mental illness", and replies:
"Benjamin describes a condition in which 'the male speaks of his female counterpart as of another person,' but to label this schizophrenia would constitute social condemnation, rather than diagnostic realism" and "One need only read the case histories, written by Benjamin or his collaborators, to note how disturbed are the patients".
The Journal allowed Benjamin to reply:
"My criticism of Sagarin's contribution is that his own ideology leads him to draw unwarranted conclusions in some (not all) instances, and his tendency to generalize too much".
Sagarin worked with George L. Kirkham, another sociologist who had worked as a policeman in the cause of research. They produced a paper that was reprinted in Saragin's 1969 book, Odd Man in; Societies of Deviants in America, mainly about Change: Our Goal (COG), the San Francisco transvestite/transsexual group and its then unique experiment of co-operation with the police force via the efforts of Officer Elliot Blackstone (whom they do not mention or name). Sagarin & Kirkham fail to see this as a step forward, and in what is closer to journalism than to sociology deride the COG members as fantasists.
"Transsexuals may be divided into two groups: those who have had sex reassignment surgery performed, and those who desire it. The former generally prefer not to mingle with the latter. Convinced (or hoping to convince themselves) that there is no difference between a man-made and a 'God-given' vagina, they view themselves as real girls who can share nothing with men who only wish to become women. ... the second transsexual category – those who desire sex reassignment surgery – is harder to define. It consists of people (for the moment, call them homosexuals) who live in the fantasy world of attempting to accept, and of forcing the acceptance of, the view that they are members of the other sex." (p119) "In the case of the transsexual, this self-image is doubly unacceptable: on the one hand, he suffers from being labeled homosexual, and on the other from being ultrafeminate." (p 122) "In fact, the transsexuals are constantly faced with the problem of explaining the presence in their midst of individuals who are clearly either neurotic or psychotic." (122)
In 1975 Sagarin reviewed Being Different: The Autobiography of Jane Fry, edited by Robert Bogdan. He starts by attacking Bogdan's normal politeness in using female pronouns for Fry:
"There had been (and at the time of writing this had remained the case) no sex-reassignment surgery, so that we are dealing with an anatomic male who claims to be a woman trapped in a man's body. For scientific purposes, no question can arise as to the gender: this is a male, and the words 'she' and 'her' constitute a travesty, a playing of the game of someone deeply disturbed."
Sagarin justifiably points out a silence in Bogdan's commentary:
"Nonetheless, unbeknown to Bogdan and probably to Jane Fry as well, there will be found here some of the most penetrating descriptions of transsexuals in the literature. No one has portrayed these people with as much contempt as has Fry: his hatred and anger know no bounds. The scene is a doctor's office in Brooklyn (the name has been changed, but most readers of this journal will recognize the people – [Dr Wollman's almost certainly]), and those present are described by Jane as a bunch of screaming, catty drag queens not the sort of a person that he would ever associate with or want to be linked with. I wonder what Bogdan would have said had this reviewer written the description of that scene?".
Through the early 1970s Sagarin became a noted critic of the gay liberation movement, while at the same time pursuing an active sex life with hustlers whom he met in Times Square and similar places. He argued for decriminalization, but at the same time characterized gays and trans persons as pathological and disturbed.

In 1974 he attended the convention of the American Sociological Society in Montreal. In a panel on "Theoretical Perspectives on Homosexuality," he proceeded to attack the liberationist scholarship as special pleading. Also present was Laud Humphreys, likewise a married homosexual who had come to academia late in life. Humphreys slyly referred to Sagarin a few times as Dr Cory, which resulted in Sagarin withdrawing. He then avoided controversies about gay topics.

Edward Sagarin died of a heart attack at age 73.
  • Edward Sagarin. The Science and Art of Perfumery. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc, 1945.
  • Donald Webster Cory. The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach. New York: Greenberg, 1951.
  • Sagarin, Edward. The Anatomy of Dirty Words. MA thesis, Brooklyn College, 1962. L. Stuart, 1962.
  • Donald Webster,Cory & John P. LeRoy. The Homosexual and His Society; A View from Within. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.
  • Edward Sagarin. Structure and ideology in an association of deviants. PhD thesis New York University, 1966. Arno Press, 1975.
  • Edward Sagarin. "Ideology as a Factor in the Consideration of Deviance". The Journal of Sex Research, 4,2, May 1968: 84-94.
  • Harry Benjamin. "Comments to E. Sagarin's Article". The Journal of Sex Research, 4,2, May 1968: 95.
  • George L. Kirkham & Edward Sagarin. "Transsexuals in a Formal Organizational Setting". The Journal of Sex Research, 5,2, May 1969: 90-107.
  • Edward Sagarin. Odd Man in; Societies of Deviants in America. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969.
  • Edward Sagarin. "Typologies of Sexual Behavior". The Journal of Sex Research, 7,4, November 1971: 282-8.
  • Edward Sagarin. "Review of BOGDAN, ROBERT. Being Different: The Autobiography of Jane Fry. The Journal of Sex Research, 11,2, May 1975: 163-4.
  • Martin Duberman. "The 'father' of the homophile movement'. Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, 4,4, 1997: 7-14.
  • Stephen O. Murray. "Donald Webster Cory (1913 – 1986)". In Vern Bullough (ed) Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context. Routledge, 2002. Online at: www.williamapercy.com/wiki/images/Donald_webster.pdf.
  • James T. Sears. Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation. Harrington Park Press, 2006: 356-7, 374n15n20, 378n55, 397, 407n59, 529
  • Rick Valelly. "The Conflicted Gay Pioneer". The American Prospect, October 8, 2013. http://prospect.org/article/conflicted-gay-pioneer.
  • Barry Reay. "The Transsexual Phenomenon: A Counter-History". Journal of Social History, 47,4, Summer 2014: 1047.
EN.WIKIPEDIA   GLBTQ   WorldCat(Sagarin)   WorldCat(Cory)

19 March 2015

Sago (190? - ? ) performer.

In the late 1920s, in the city of Jacobabad, in present-day Pakistan, the famous local personality Pir Abul Hasan, developed a serious interest in Sago, a hijra who acted in local theatre. In May 1929 Pir Hasan died mysteriously while watching Sago perform. This triggered Hindu-Muslim riots, and 10 Hindus were killed. The British government appointed a Parsi, Sukhia to do an imperial inquiry and he unearthed a conspiracy by local feudal lords and religious leaders.
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Several newspapers repeated this anecdote in April 2010.   The problem is that Balouch’s book has either completely disappeared or never existed.   There is no entry for it in WorldCat or in Amazon.

17 March 2015

Walter Sholto Douglas (?1790 - 1830) short story writer.

George Douglas (1761-1827), the sixteenth Earl of Morton, Representative Peer of Scotland, Baron Douglas of Lochleven, chamberlain of the household to the queen consort, Knight of the Order of the Thistle, lord lieutenant of Fifeshire and of Midlothian, vice-president of the Royal Society, Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland, had a youthful dalliance with a woman whose name is lost. This resulted in two 'reputed', this is illegitimate, daughters: Mary Diana Dods and Georgiana Dods.

They were raised in London and given an excellent classical education.

By 1810 Georgiana had married a Captain John Carter of the Bombay Native Infantry and went to live with him in Bombay. They had two children, but they both died in 1815. They then had two more children, but Captain Carter died in late 1818.

Mary had a physical deformity and was considered to be plain.

In 1814, their father married a woman almost the same age as his daughters, and established allowances of £100pa each for Mary and Georgiana. To supplement this, Mary gave lessons, ran a school for girls and took in lodgers. She also wrote anonymously and under the nom de plume of David Lyndsay a variety of short stories, essays and poems which were published in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine and elsewhere between 1821 and 1828. Collections of fiction were also published as books: Dramas of the Ancient World, 1822 and Tales of the Wild and the Wonderful, 1825.

Another writer, Eliza Rennie, described a meeting with Miss Dods:
"certainly Nature, in any of its wildest vagaries, never fashioned anything more grotesque-looking than this Miss Dods. She was a woman apparently between thirty and forty years of age, with a cropped curly head of short, thick hair, more resembling that of a man than of a woman. She wore no cap, and you almost fancied, on first looking at her, that some one of the masculine gender had indulged in the freak of feminine habiliments, and that "Miss Dods" was an alias for Mr. —. She had . . . a complexion extremely pale and unhealthy, with that worn and suffering look in her face which so often and so truly—as it did, poor thing, in hers—tells of habitual pain and confirmed ill-health; her figure was short, and, instead of being in proportion, was entirely out of all proportion—the existence of some organic disease aiding this materially." (quoted in Friedman:11).
Mary started to dress as male and took the name Walter Sholto Douglas around the time that her father, George Douglas, died. Walter agreed to a marriage of convenience with Isabelle Robinson.

Isabelle (born 1810), was a friend of Mary Shelley, the authoress of Frankenstein; Or The Modern Prometheus.  Her father was one of the builders putting up what came to be known Regency architecture.  His family mixed in artistic and literary circles.  One son became a banker; a second found his fortune in Australia; one daughter married an officer in the East India Company; another married a rich widower.   At 17 Isabelle was pregnant and unwed, the father, William Graham, having returned hastily to the US to avoid arrest.  There, he died in a duel. Walter and Isabelle named the child Adeline Douglas, and presented Isabelle as Mrs Douglas.

In 1827 Mary Shelley helped to arrange an impersonation that resulted in passports for Mr and Mrs Douglas, not so much so that they could travel to France, which did not then require passports for British travellers, but to establish an identity for Walter who hoped to join the diplomatic service of some other other country (which was then a common practice).

They entered Anglo-French society in Paris where they were invited to the salon of Mary Clarke and came to know many prominent writers and politicians: Claude Fauriel, Stendhal, Prosper Mérimée, Victor Hugo. However Walter was disappointed in his desire to find a diplomatic post. Isabelle became known as a flirt, and had affairs with other men.

In 1829 Mr Douglas was in debtors' prison. He declined both physically and mentally, and he died a year later.

The widow Douglas married the Rev. William Falconer in 1839. She died in Italy in 1869.

Adeline Douglas, described, with a little exaggeration, as the "daughter of Walter Sholto Douglas, an officer in HM's Service”, married Henry Drummond Wolff in 1853, and lived until 1916.

Perhaps influenced by her encounter with the Douglases Shelley included disguise plots in her later fiction: Perkin Warbeck, "Ferdinado Eboli", "The False Rhyme", "Transformation".

This story of Walter Douglas remained unknown until Betty Bennett, a Shelley scholar at the American University in Washington DC who was working on an annotated edition of the letters of Mary Shelley became frustrated in not being able to identify Lyndsay and Douglas and then spent 18 years tracking them down in archives, cemeteries etc. and finally realising that Lyndsay, Douglas and Dods were all one person.
  • David Lindsay and William Blackwood. Dramas of the Ancient World. Edinburgh: Printed for William Blackwood, 1822.
  • David Lindsay. Tales of the Wild and the Wonderful. London: Hurst, Robinson & Co. Edinburgh: A. Constable & Co. 1825.
  • Betty T. Bennett. Mary Diana Dods: A Gentleman and a Scholar.  Morrow 1991. Johns Hopkins University Press 305 pp 1994.
  • Jonathan Kirsch. "BOOK REVIEW : Literary Sleuth Solves 19th-Century Mystery: MARY DIANA DODS, A Gentleman and a Scholar". Los Angeles Times, August 07, 1991. http://articles.latimes.com/1991-08-07/news/vw-23_1_mary-diana-dods.
  • Vern L. Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993: 165-6.
  • Miranda Seymour. Mary Shelly. Grove Press, 2001: 370-395.
  • Geraldine Friedman. “Pseudonymity, Passing, and Queer Biography: The Case of Mary Diana Dods”. érudite: Promouvoir et diffuser la recherché. 23, August 2001. www.erudit.org/revue/ron/2001/v/n23/005985ar.html.
  • Martha Vicinus. Intimate Friends: Women Who Loved Women, 1778-1928. University of Chicago Press, 2004: 24-5.
  • "Dods, Mary Diana (David Lyndsay, Walter Sholto Douglas)". In Elizabeth Ewan,, Sue Innes, and Sian Reynolds. The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women From the Earliest Times to 2004. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006.
EN.WIKIPEDIA   
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The discovery of this story by Betty Bennett is a monumental work of scholarship. The one small gripe is her lack of acquaintance with transgender biography. She is a thorough scholar and read  several of the available works on transvestity and transsexuality that were available in the early 1990s, although she does not mention any autobiography by a trans man, and apparently did not attempt to speak to one - although admittedly the few years up to 1991 (when her book was published) were not the best: Louis Sullivan was sick with AIDS, Mario Martino had disappeared, Bet Power had not yet got organized. The timing is unfortunate: a decade later and a lot of good books by trans men would be available.  As it was, Bennet came to the conclusion not that Douglas was a man or a proto-transsexual, but that becoming a man was a way for an unmarriageable woman to acquire a sort of legitimacy. Despite this, many of us would propose that the name in the book's title should be Walter Sholto Douglas not Mary Diana Dods. In fact "Dods" is a more false name in that it denies that the person is descended from the Douglas dynasty. In the later part of the book, once it is revealed that Douglas and Dods are the same person, Bennett puts quotation marks around "he" and "his" whenever referring to Douglas. Inevitably, The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women follows suit in its name for the person, but so does Wikipedia, and Vern Bullough.

Sholto was a traditional name in the Douglas Clan dating back to 767.

Another branch of the Douglas clan were the Marquesses of Queensberry. The 9th Marquess (1844 – 1900) was John Sholto Douglas, famed for the Queensberry rules followed in boxing, and for his litigation against Oscar Wilde. His eldest son Francis was said to have been a lover of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, Prime Minister 1894-5. Francis died in a shooting accident, that was maybe suicide. His third son, Alfred, known as Bosie, was a lover of Oscar Wilde.

Bennett renders George Douglas (1761-1827) Lord Morton as the 15th earl. Wikipedia makes him the 16th. An experiment by the earl in breeding horses was cited by Charles Darwin. Incidentally Wikipedia attributes only one daughter to him, and ignores both Mary and Georgiana.

£100pa, which was not enough for Douglas to live on, was over 4 times the average wage in the 1820s.

One wonders how it is that the administrators of the debtors' prison did not examine the body of one who had died there.

15 March 2015

Ja'Von Crockett (1965 - ) cosmetologist, barber, drag queen, pastor, changeback.

Javon was raised in South Carolina. He had 6 elder brothers. His twin sister died a crib death. His father left one day and never came back. At age 8 he was seduced by a gay preacher.

Ja'von earned a Master of Cosmetology from The Chris Logan Pivot Point Beauty College and Shabazz Barber College in Rock Hill, S.C. He placed and won in several barbering competitions.

After moving to Atlanta he became the drag performer Mother Cavali.


At age 45 he entered a dialogue with Pastor Willis Graham, accepted Christ and was ordained. In January 2011 he was featured on the religious talk show, Atlanta Live.
changed-transformed     StyleSeat



13 March 2015

Shabnam Mausi Bano शबनम मौसी (1955–) social worker, politician.

Chandra Prakash was born to the Brahmin family of a superintendent of police. However the child was discarded and handed over to hijras to be raised. She had only two years of schooling, but speaks 12 languages.

Taking the name Shabnam Bano, she acted in small parts in Hindi films, and later became a social worker.

Shabnam was elected to the Madhya Pradesh assembly in the Sohagpur constituency, and served from 1998 to 2003. In retrospect, Bano was known for her lack of corruption, although initially no other assemblyman would sit next to her.


A film has been made based on her life.

She is often addressed as Mausi (Hindi for Aunty), and has become an inspiration to other Hijra to take up mainstream activities
EN.WIKIPEDIA

11 March 2015

Jack Halberstam (1961–) academic. Part II

Continued from Part 1.

The next year, 1999, in an interview in Genders, Halberstam wrote:
"The term 'female masculinity' stages several different kinds of interventions into contemporary gender theory and practice. First, it challenges the notion that genders are symmetrical - in other words saying that gender is "performative" may be particularly helpful when thinking about femininity but less useful in relation to masculinity. Masculinity, in fact, often presents as non-performative or anti-performative (think of Clint Eastwood's laconic roles for example). Second, female masculinity disrupts contemporary cultural studies' accounts of masculinity within which masculinity always boils down to something like 'the social, cultural and political effects of male embodiment and male privilege'. I hope my book will force masculinity studies to make a radical break from white men's studies."
and
"I embrace categorization as a way of creating places for acts, identities and modes of being which otherwise remain unnamable. I also think that the proliferation of categories offers an alternative to the mundane humanist claim that categories inhibit the unique self and creates boxes for an otherwise indomitable spirit. People who don't think they inhabit categories usually benefit from not naming their location. I try to offer some new names for formerly uninhabitable locations."
The same year, Halberstam (using the name 'Jack' for the first time in a book credit) published The Drag King Book with photographs by Del LaGrace Volcano, which encountered resistance from drag kings who insisted that they were just having fun, and that their behavior would not bear the theoretical weight that she was putting on it.

Halberstam also appeared in the documentary films Venuz Boyz and Boy I Am.

In the 2005 book, In a queer time and place: transgender bodies, subcultural lives. Halberstam analyses the murder of Brandon Teens and its representation in mainstream media, considers the transgender gaze, and the influence of drag king culture on hetero-male films.

In 2007, Halberstam was co-author of Rrose Irrose, a 700+ page catalogue of an exhibition at New York's Guggenheim Museum devoted to gender variant photography.

Maracena & Jack in Oprah magazine
In 2008, Halberstam, having broken up with a lover of 12 years, took up with Chilean immigrant sociologist Macarena Gomez-Barris, mother of two, who had broken up with her husband. The next year their relationship was featured in an edition of Oprah magazine.


In the 2011 book, The Queer Art of Failure, Halberstam explores loss, forgetting and failure as alternatives to the capitalist heteronormative model. He offers queer analyses of Finding Nemo and Dude, Where's My Car, and explores 'shadow feminisms' grounded in negation, refusal, passivity, absence and silence, and looks at a thread in the history of male homosexuality that has been significantly downplayed: that of homosexuality and fascism.

The 2012 book, Gaga Feninism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal, which lists the author as J. Jack Halberstam, advocates creative mayhem using the image of Lady Gaga, an exemplar of a new kind of feminism that privileges gender and sexual fluidity.

Later that year, on his blog, Jack sort of explained his gender:
"first, I have not transitioned in any formal sense and there certainly many differences between my gender and those of transgender men on hormones. Second, the back and forth between he and she sort of captures the form that my gender takes nowadays. Not that I am often an unambiguous 'she' but nor am I often an unambiguous he. Third, I think my floating gender pronouns capture well the refusal to resolve my gender ambiguity that has become a kind of identity for me. I watch friends, one after the other, transition, mostly from butch to TG male and I wonder whether I am just sitting on a fence and not wanting to jump. … I still use women’s restrooms and I avoid any and all contact on going in or coming out. If someone looks frightened when they see me, I say 'excuse me' and allow my 'fluty' voice to gender me. If someone looks angry, I turn away but mostly I just ignore what is going on around me in the restroom and do what I am there to do. … I also wish more people would adapt to a pronoun system based on gender and not on sex, based on comfort rather than biology, based on the presumption that there are many gendered bodies in the world and 'male' and 'female' does not even begin the hard work of classifying them. … And ps: grouping me with someone else who seems to have a female embodiment and then calling us LADIES, is never, ever ok!" (September 3, 2012).
  • Judith M. Halberstam. Parasites and perverts: anti-Semitism and sexuality in nineteenth-century gothic fiction. PhD thesis, University of Minnesota, 1991.
  • Judith Halberstam. "F2M: The Making of Female Masculinity". In Laura L. Doan, The Lesbian Postmodern. Columbia University Press, 1994.
  • Judith Halberstam and Ira Livingston (eds). Posthuman bodies. Indiana University Press, 1995.
  • Judith Halberstam. Skin shows: gothic horror and the technology of monsters. Duke University Press, x,215 pp1995.
  • Jenni Olson & Judith Halberstam (dir). Looking Butch: A Rough Guide to Butches on Film. US 100 mins. 1995.
  • Judith Halberstam. Female Masculinity. Duke University Press, xiv,329 pp 1998.
  • Annamarie Jagose. “Masculinity Without Men: interview with Judith Halberstam”. Genders Online Journal. 29 1999. Online at: http://web.archive.org/web/20131206153420/http://www.genders.org/g29/g29_halberstam.html.
  • Del LaGrace Volcano & Judith 'Jack' Halberstam. The Drag King Book. Serpent's Tail, 1999.
  • Rachel Adams. "Masculinity without man" A review of Female Masculinity. GLQ, 6,3, 2000: 467-478.
  • Gabrielle Baur (dir & scr). Venus Boyz, with Judith Halberstam, Del Lagrace Volcano, Dianne Torr and many other drag kings and masculine females. US/Switzerland 102 mins 2002.
  • Judith Halberstam. “What's That Smell?: Queer Temporalities and Subcultural Lives”. S&F Online - Public Sentiments. Summer 2003. www.barnard.columbia.edu/sfonline/ps/halberst.htm.
  • Judith Halberstam. “Foreword”. In Claudine Griggs. Journal Of A Sex Change: Passage through Trinidad. Berg, 2005.
  • Judith Halberstam. In a queer time and place: transgender bodies, subcultural lives. New York University Press. 256 pp 2005.
  • Sam Feder & Julie Hollar (dirs). Boy I Am, with Nicco, Norie, Keegan and Judith Halberstam, US 2006.
  • Jennifer Blessing, Judith Halberstam, Lyle Ashton Harris, Nancy Spector, Carole-Anne Tylor, Sarah Wilson. Rrose Irrose. Harry N. Abrams, 2007.
  • Mary A Fischer. "Why Women Are Leaving Men for Other Women". O, The Oprah Magazine, April 2009. www.oprah.com/relationships/Normal-Women-and-Gender-Identities-Gender-Stereotypes.
  • Judith Halberstam. The Queer Art of Failure. Duke University Press, 2011.
  • Philip Gambone. "Judith (Jack) Halberstem". Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans. University of Wisconsin Press, 2010: 138-144.
  • J. Jack Halberstam. Gaga Feninism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal. Beacon Press, 2012.
  • Judith Halberstam. "Heini Halberstam obituary". The Guardian, 30 January 2014. www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/30/heini-halberstam-obituary.
EN.WIKIPEDIA    jackhalberstam.com   EuropeanGraduateSchool WorldCat(Judith)   WorldCat(Jack)    Amazon(Judith)    Amazon(Jack)     BullyBloggers


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Around the same time as Halberstam published Female Masculinity, Riki Wilchins published Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender. What they have in common is that they both pay attention to persons who fall between the standard gender categories. I have not found any account that compares the two.


In the Female Masculinity chapter on John Radcliffe Hall, Halberstam has interesting things to say about the rich English masculine women who spent time in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. I would have liked Halberstam's comments on the Parisian masculine women such as Violet Morris and Madeleine Pelletier who so much resemble trans men and yet retained their female name.

09 March 2015

Judith Jack Halberstam (1961 - ) academic. Part 1

Halberstam's grandfather was the Rabbi in the town of Most in the Sudetenland. He died of a heart attack in 1936.   After the Nazi occupation, it was permitted that some Jewish children be allowed to leave without their parents.  The Rabbi's widow put their child Heini on a Kindertransport train to London in 1939.  She herself was later deported to a Nazi work camp, where she died.

Encouraged by his English foster parents, Heini pursued his education and did a PhD in mathematics at the University of London. He specialised in the distribution of prime numbers, and taught at Trinity College Dublin 1962-4, and the University of Nottingham 1964-80. He and his wife, Heather had four children, of whom Judith was the second. Heather died in a car accident in 1971.

Judith was frequently taken to be a boy:
"Nearly every day. I didn't go around correcting people. … [I] just though I was a boy. I thought that eventually somebody would figure that out." (Gambone: 139)
This created problems with school classmates. She kept her hair as short as possible and fell into the punk rock scene.

Heini Halberstam took a position as head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1980 and emigrated with his second wife. Judith followed, and ended up in the San Francisco area:
"the New Agey, leftover stuff from the hippie era and the intense focus on gay men, was so not my scene" (Gambone:141).
But she did find and appreciate the dyke-bar scene. On a whim she applied to the University of California at Berkeley and was accepted. She earned a BA in English at in 1985. She followed this with an MA, 1989, and PhD, 1991, at the University of Minnesota. In Minneapolis she found a vibrant butch-femme scene.
"I suddenly got what I thought my role was. I could be queer, interested in women and masculine. The word 'butch' was a lifesaver. Even though 'butch' was already being vilified by the feminists, I took it up anyway because there was no other term"(Gambone:141).
She began to see more female-to-male persons.
"The difference between me and a trans man is not much. I just never pursued the surgery and the hormones." (Gambone:141)
Halberstam's thesis was Parasites and perverts: anti-Semitism and sexuality in nineteenth-century gothic fiction, and she found a position as Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, San Diego, and became the film reviewer for Girlfriends magazine.

In 1994 she contributed an essay "F2M: The Making of Female Masculinity" to Laura L. Doan's anthology, The Lesbian Postmodern, which contains the paragraph:
"We are all transsexuals except that the referent of the trans becomes less and less clear (and more and more queer). We are all cross-dressers but where are we crossing from and to what? There is no 'other side' , no 'opposite' sex, no natural divide to be spanned by surgery, by disguise, by passing. We all pass or we don't, we all wear our drag, and we all derive a different degree of pleasure – sexual or otherwise – from our costumes. It is just that for some of us our costumes are made of fabric or material, while for others they are made of skin; for some an outfit can be changed; for others skin must be resewn. There are no transsexuals."(Doan:212)
The article was criticized by trans men who insisted on the difference between themselves and butches who were women, and many butches wanted to deny that difference in order to suggest that there exists an element of choice in relation to the question of whether or not to transition. Jamison 'James' Green, the editor of FTM Newsletter, took Halberstam to task for speaking for trans men, and a writer suggested that Halberstam was a lesbian feminist who wanted transsexuals to disappear within a postmodern proliferation of queer identities.
"I took this criticism very seriously, if only because I had been trying to do the very opposite of what she accused me of doing." (p147)
Jordy Jones, the performance artist, supported Halberstam in the newsletter pointing out that transsexual experience cannot be represented in any one totalizing or universal way.

In 1995 Halberstam temporarily left UCSD to do a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University, and a visiting professorship of gay and lesbian studies at Yale.

Her first book was Skin shows: gothic horror and the technology of monsters, which does a queer reading of gothic fiction and horror movies, and posits post-human bodies. The latter idea was further explored in the anthology Posthuman bodies, which she co-edited.

The same year she and Jenni Olson created a documentary, Looking Butch: A Rough Guide to Butches on Film, a compilation of images of butch women from the earliest days of Hollywood, including tomboys from the '60s and recent transgender FTMs. And asked why are they less common now that we have a lesbian cinema?

By 1998 she was able to publish the seminal Female Masculinity, which gained two Lambda Book Award nominations. Halberstam is open about her own masculinity, and introduces her other persona, Jack. She asks about female-born persons who are not really lesbian or trans:
"female-born people who think of themselves as masculine but not necessarily male and certainly not female". (Gambone:142)
Halberstam provides the hitherto hidden history of masculine women: Anne Lister, Radclyffe Hall, stone butches, drag kings and transgender dykes. Furthermore:
"I claim in this book that far from being an imitation of maleness, female masculinity actually affords us a glimpse of how masculinity is constructed as masculinity."(p1) “This study professes a degree of indifference to the whiteness of the male and the masculinity of the white male and the project of naming his power. Male masculinity figures in my project as a hermeneutic, and as a counterexample to the kinds of masculinity that seem most informative about gender relations and most generative of social change”. (p3) “Female masculinity is not some bad imitation of virility but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders". (Back cover).
It also considers the border wars between butch and FTM, and butches in films. As Adams says in her review of the book:
"One valuable lesson of Halberstam’s work is that granting white men ownership of masculinity has elided more progressive versions of the masculine and has enabled the condemnation of female masculinity by both straight and lesbian feminists". (p468) "Drawing examples from the early nineteenth century through the first decades of the twentieth, Halberstam demonstrates the unacknowledged contribution of female masculinity to modern understandings of masculinity. Moreover, she shows how previous scholarship, eager to secure the historical foundations of lesbianism, has oversimplified, misunderstood, or elided a wide range of gender-deviant behaviors." (p469)
Continued in Part II.

28 February 2015

Georgina Turtle's typology of transvestists and transsexualists

Part I: dentist and surgeon-lieutenant
Part II: wife and author
Part III:  Turtle’s typology


In Chapter 5 "Basic Types of Cases" in Over the Sex Border, the following typology is proposed. Remember that the author was writing in 1962. In each of the eight cases a sketch of a corresponding person is offered. With one exception, they are referred to by a letter incrementing from A to G, with the honorific that seems appropriate to Turtle:, Mr, Miss etc. Turtle says that each sketch is of one person with identification details removed.


Note: 'homosexual' = a trans woman interested in men, or a trans man interested in women. This was the almost universal usage in 1962, and has been retained by a few reactionaries and contrarians such as Ray Blanchard and Kay Brown.

A. The Immature type
Mr A, 25 and in catering, subject all his life to over-doting parents, no associates of his own age and sheltered from the outside world. No sexual experience and no opportunities to cross dress.

B. The Aesthetic type
A sensitivity of feeling, a desire of everything that is fine and clean, a love of music and the arts. A disassociation of all fine things from masculinity. A feeling that one cannot express finer emotions and remain masculine. A man's life is shallow and superficial while femininity represents purity, cleanliness, finesse, charm and gracefulness, gentleness and beauty. These transsexualists are intelligent and well-educated, and are successful in passing as male. They can be talked out of transition if the illogicality of associating aesthetic characteristics with womanhood is forcefully brought home. Mr B, 34, engineer, an only child raised by his father to avoid aesthetic and beautiful things. He spent good money so that his female clothes were just right. After a period on female hormones, he reverted to male after realizing that his female state would be less than perfect.

C. The Oedipus type
Identify with their mother, and are antagonistic to their father. Mr C, 44, chemical processing executive. His desire to cross-dress is repressed by his fear of ridicule, and when he does, he quickly burns the items afterwards.

D. The Homosexual type
Unlike the above, this type has friends, and does not feel guilty about cross-dressing, and often will reach a stage of being a man only for work. Many work as female impersonators, and transition earlier. Mr D, 42, engineer, served in the forces, taken for a girl as a child and overcompensated by being good at rugby and cricket. Attracted to men but rejects homosexuality. Has been to many doctors, and has started living as female, though unable to obtain surgery.

E. The Anti-Social type
Turtle sees this as a variation on the Homosexual type. They are selfish and cowardly, and desire to be female in that things must be easier for females. They want to be pampered and looked after without having to work hard. They enjoy the pleasure of fooling people by their appearance, and are exhibitionists. Often they will abandon wife and children to live full-time as female, and have fantasies about becoming prostitutes. Mr E, 56, married with several children, has lived on and off as a woman for much of his life, and has obtained a female National Insurance card. Has made no effort to seek treatment. Has been arrested for theft.

no letter The Glandular type
Glandular, that is endocrinal imbalances, result in a man in his twenties who does not shave, or a woman with a muscular physique and hirsutism. Of those so affected, only few become transsexualists. However for those few, the adoption of a cross-sex role comes easily. Those born boys often take up work as a female impersonator, but move on to a sex change, and afterwards desire marriage. Those who manage to obtain female hormones early avoid the male secondary sexual characteristics, and have less past to leave behind them. Turtle, however, cautions: "Nevertheless, it must be remembered that however much justification these individuals might appear to have they are no less biologically of the sex they were born, and can still only be called transsexualists. We are not therefore speaking here of someone who is intersexual."

F. The Basic Female transsexualist
Turtle admits that there should be a corresponding typology for female-born transsexualists, "Nevertheless, all cases known to the writer had intimate female partners, suggesting that most were probably homosexually oriented." There was no significant loneliness or need for secrecy. Miss F, 25, an only child, wanted to be a boy from childhood. Since the age of 18 has sought help from doctors, but with no success. Has had a female companion for many years.

G. The Intersexual group
In true intersexuality "sexual ambiguity is caused by a conflict of the biological factors affecting development, and, in contrast to transsexualists who often prove the normality of their sexual function, intersexes are often both physically and sexually immature and may indeed be sterile". However "intersexes may continue through life quite happy in their sex of rearing, regardless of their 'true' sex". Miss G, 37, realised from early years that her interests and feelings were those of a girl. "In spite of her inner feelings there was never any question of wanting to dress up or resort to transvestism, and it was only when she was eventually obliged to see a sexologist that her physical intersexual state was revealed."



Observations:
  • A is not a type, but rather a stage or phase. One wants to know where the person is 10 or 20 years later. Obviously he needs to build his own life away from his parents.
  • B's reasons of aesthetics and purity are a type of fantasy, but remember that the time is 1962, and for most people it was still impossible to talk about transsexuality. I suspect a displacement of narrative, but until he can talk about what he really wants and feels, perhaps he should not transition. Probably some conversations with women about what being a woman is really like may be useful.
  • It is not said that C is married, or even that he is heterosexual, but he certainly does not seem to be gay. Is this the entry for heterosexual transvestites? It seems to be less that it should be. Surely the 'heterosexual' type should be more definite?
  • Homosexual transvestists are described as early transitioners, guilt-free and often female impersonators. But the description of D is of a man who has rejected homosexuality. Surely he is in the wrong section.
  • E, the anti-social 'homosexual' is the only example here to have a wife and children, and the only suggestion of 'homosexuality' is 'his desire to meet up with a man friend'. This is too vague. The exhibitionism and lack of consideration may match Turtle's stereotype of a gay man, but in actuality are as likely to be found among heterosexuals.
  • So we do not have a fleshed-out example of a gynephilic transvestite/transsexual, and the two examples nominated as 'homosexual' are neither in contact with the gay scene nor have a male lover/husband. Perhaps Turtle had not really thought through what 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual' really mean.
  • The 'glandular type' is based on an assumption. Turtle says that when they are still men, they are termed 'pretty boy' or 'baby face'. These persons are sometimes known as 'natural beauties'. Turtle gives no example for this type, but of course one was in the news a lot in the early 1960s, and had a church wedding two years before Turtle/Somerset did. That person is Coccinelle.
  • Elsewhere Turtle/Somerset has said: "Less than a few percent of transsexuals are true or primary transsexuals. These are generally the lonely, sensitive, asexual types of transsexual". Are we to assume that this group is the same as the 'glandular type'? If not, where are they in this typology?
  • Turtle's insistence that glandular imbalance is not a type of intersex is not shared by OII and ISNA. She is painting herself into a corner by not having 'true transsexualists' other than the glandular type.
  • The one group that is definitely 'homosexual' in the inverted way that Turtle used the term is the one she calls the 'basic female transsexualist' – what we would refer to as trans men. They have experience of the lesbian scene, and most have female lovers. As to her assumption that almost all "female transsexualists" are such, she should have paid more attention to the first surgical trans man who was outed in the press in 1958: Michael Dillon.
  • Turtle regarded herself as intersex and as not a transsexualist, even though she knew that most intersex persons stay with the sex of rearing. The positioning of 'basic female transsexualist' in between the 'glandular type' and the 'intersexual group' is odd until you realise that Turtle is putting the maximum distance between herself and any type of male-born transsexualist. She also claims that she has actually "changed sex", but that this would be impossible for a transsexualist.
  • Miss G is the only one example in the chapter who is referred to by the pronoun and the honorific of their gender identity. She is the only post-op person considered.
  • Is Miss G a sketch of Georgina Turtle? The not having a letter associated with the 'glandular type', and then putting the 'basic female transsexualist' in between the 'glandular type' and the 'intersexual group' result in the letter for the 'intersexual group' being G. Also Miss G has Georgina's age, and the description certainly seems to fit.
Primary and Secondary Transsexuals
Turtle/Somerset uses the term 'true or primary transsexuals'. In 1963 she was ahead of the game, but the boundaries between primary and secondary slid back and forth over the next few decades.

Harry Benjamin had two kinds of 'true transsexual', moderate and high intensity, the former being 4-6 on the Kinsey scale, and the latter 6 only. Thus they are both androphilic.

Robert Stoller also regarded the ‘homosexual early transitioner’ as Primary.

On the other hand, Ethel Person & Lionel Ovesey, writing in 1974, agreed with Turtle. They designated a Primary Transsexual as one who is functionally asexual and who progresses resolutely toward a surgical resolution without significant deviation toward either homosexuality or heterosexuality. They defined two types of Secondary Transsexual: 1) one who is a homosexual and effeminate from early childhood into adulthood. 2) transvestitic transsexualism.

In 1978 the Archives of Sexual Behavior published a paper by Virginia Prince in which she proposed that the only true transsexuals are asexual, socially-inadequate men who would function better as women, as "less is expected of women". She presumed that bisexuals (2,3,4 on the Kinsey scale) of their nature do not become transsexuals. She also proposed two kinds of 'pseudotranssexual' based on sexual orientation: 1) The preoperative homosexual group (Kinsey 5,6) gave much higher scores on all questions dealing with sex and lower scores on those questions dealing with gender, 2) those in the heterosexual group (Kinsey 1,2) gave high scores to gender type questions and much lower scores on the sex type questions.

A decade later Ray Blanchard redistributed the types; he conflated the 'homosexual' transsexual and the early transitioner as Primary, while putting the asexuals with the 'heterosexuals' and bisexuals as autogynephilic. In fact he came up with a neologism: analloerotic which means sex but not with other people because he wanted to regard these people as autogynephilic.

Conclusion:

It was of course prejudice that Turtle's book was cold-shouldered because she was a dentist and because she had changed sex herself. However Benjamin's book of three years later is a better book and has a more coherent typology. Not that there are not problems with Benjamin's typology, but it is a better starting point for later discussions.

It is annoying in Georgina's autobiography that she thinks that she is a real sex change and that the rest of us are not. In a typology chapter in a book with pretensions of science it is more than annoying. It is quite objectional.

Apart from her personal ego trip, her typology is incoherent in that heterosexual transvestites, the largest group by numbers, are merely suggested under the heading 'Oedipal', and the only example cited is such a beginner.

It is weird that the only male-born examples with a wife and children is designated 'homosexual', and that the other 'homosexual' is so homophobic. There were androphilic trans women in the 1950s. It was a difficult time to be so, but several in the UK are recorded in Kris Kirk's Men in Frocks.


References
  • Georgina Turtle. "Basic Types of Cases" in Over the Sex Border. Victor London: Gollancz, 1963: Chp 5.
  • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. New York: Julian Press, 1966. New York: Warner Books Edition 1977: 36-7.
  • Robert Stoller. Sex and Gender. London: Hogarth, 1968. ‘Homosexual early transitioner’ came to be the more accepted usage for Primary.
  • Ethel Person & Lionel Ovesey. "The transsexual syndrome in males. I. Primary transsexualism". American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974; 174-193.
  • Ethel Person & Lionel Ovesey. "The transsexual syndrome in males. II. Secondary transsexualism". American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974; 4-20.
  • Virginia Prince. "Transsexuals and Pseudotranssexuals", Archives of Sexual Behavior, 7, 4, 1978: 263-272.
  • Robert Stoller. "Gender identity disorders". In H I Kaplan, A M Freedman & B J Sadock (eds). Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 3rd ed., Vol. 2. Williams & Wilkins, 1980.
  • Ray Blanchard. "The classification and labeling of nonhomosexual gender dysphorias" . Archives of Sexual Behavior, 18, 1989: 315-334.
  • Anne Vitale. “Primary and Secondary Transsexualism--Myths and Facts”. Avitale.com, 2000. www.avitale.com/PrimarySecondary.htm.