This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1200 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!

New movies

There are two films about to be released that look as if they are going to severely distort trans history. Read the real-life versions: Stonewall and the story of Lili Elvenes (Elbe).

07 October 2015

Toupie Lowther (1874 – 1944) Part II: The Well of Loneliness.

Part I: sporting champion and war service
Part II: The Well of Loneliness.

Also in 1926, Radclyffe Hall wrote a short story, "Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself", although it was not published until 1934. It drew on Toupie's accounts of her life during the war, her masculinity and her lack of fit in society. Ogilvy, "My God! If only I were a man", who, even as a child had insisted that "her real name was William and not Wilhelmina", finds a role in the war leading an ambulance unit, but afterwards finds that again her masculinity has become absurd. She commits suicide.

A few years later Radclyffe Hall incorporated much more of Toupie into the life of her FTM invert anti-hero Stephen Gordon, who is an accomplished fencer, tennis player and motorist, in the ambulance unit in the battles at Compiègne, and is awarded a Croix de Guerre. The book was published in 1928 as The Well of Loneliness.

It was prosecuted for obscenity that same year. This had a side effect of outing the Hackett-Lowther Unit as being largely a lesbian organization. In his summing up, the barrister Charles Biron said:
“ ….according to the writer of this book, a number of women of position and admirable character, who were engaged in driving ambulances in the course of the war, were addicted to this vice".
For a while after the trial, Toupie took to dressing as an heterosexual woman: skirts, silks etc, and disassociated herself from Hall and Troubridge.

Toupie's brother, Claude, unmarried, but the father of one son, after a career as a right-wing Conservative, died the next year after a period of illness – the outing of his sister cannot have helped.

Toupie spoke of being the inspiration for Stephen Gordon and some books say that John and Una dropped her for saying so. Una wrote in her life of Radclyffe Hall:
“She passed out of our lives when John wrote The Well of Loneliness, and we afterwards heard that she had resented the book as challenging her claim to be the only invert in existence. Later still, when she was growing very old, I was told that she had moreover acquired the illusion that she had served as a model for Stephen Gordon.”
In 1935, Toupie's elder sister Aimée, an unmarried amateur thespian, died of tuberculosis.

Toupie retired to the village of Pulborough, Sussex. During the war years, a little girl needed a field in which to keep her shetland pony, and a vacant field was known to be available:
"The little girl made her way up the hill to Lowther Lodge, and knocked on the door. Which was opened by an elderly gentleman with short grey hair wearing a suit. Rather surprised Joanne asked if Miss Lowther was in. 'I am Miss Lowther' said the elderly gentleman 'come in'.
Toupie died in 1944, like her sister, of tuberculosis.

Michael Baker's 1985 biography of Radclyffe Hall credits Toupie with a husband and a child. As DR Boodle clearly demonstrates, he had confused May Lowther (1874-1944) with her second cousin Barbara Lowther (1890-1979). This confusion was repeated in several later books. Eg. Sally Cline in her Radclyffe Hall – a Woman called John, 2010 writes:
Barbara “Toupie” Lowther, another friend of Ladye’s – eldest daughter of the 6th Earl of Lonsdale, provoked a similar response in John on the matter of war work. Toupie, who had married Lieutenant-Colonel James Innes in 1914 and become the mother of two small babies, did not allow marriage or motherhood to restrict her activities. Even before she divorced James in 1921 she and  Norah Desmond-Hackett had formed a spectacular, women only ambulance unit, which despite opposition from the authorities, eventually drove alongside the French army on the Compiegne battlefront.”
Emily Hamer writes:
"In 1917 Barbara 'Toupie' Lowther began to set up an all-women ambulance unit".

Two authors, Kerry Greenwood and John Longenbaugh, have written murder mysteries with a fictional Toupie Lowther as a central character.

No-one else seems to have mentioned that Claude Lowther died within a few months of the Well of Loneliness trial.   Being such a right-wing Conservative, he cannot have taken it easily when his sister was outed.

In Halberstam's Female Masculinity, it is immediately after the discussion of Toupie Lowther that Halberstam writes:
"Toupie and Miss Ogilvy, the women in Havelock Ellis's surveys, and even Stephen Gordon seem much more closely related to what we now call a transsexual identity than they do to lesbianism.   Indeed the history of homosexuality and transsexuality was a shared history at the beginning of the century and only diverged in the 1940s, when surgery and hormonal treatments became available to, and demanded by, some cross-identifying subjects."
The game of more-trans-than-thou is a sterile road.  We could point out that Toupie Lowther was less down the road to manhood than Violette Morris and Joe Carstairs but all three had to make decisions without the options of hormones or surgery or role models.   To confuse such a comparison, remember that Morris did have top surgery but never took a male name.  We can wonder how each of them would have decided if hormones and surgery had been available twenty years earlier.
  • The Evening Telegraph, 6th May 1898.
  • Arthue Wallis Myers. Lawn Tennis at Home and Abroad. Scribner's Sons, 1903: 181-2.
  • Regis and Louis Senac. Spalding's Athletic library, The Art of Fencing. American Sports Publishing Company, 1904: 29.
  • Toupie Lowther. "Chapter VII: Ladies' Play". In Reginald F. & H. Lawrence. Doherty. On Lawn Tennis. Baker and Taylor Co.,1903.
  • A. Wallis Myers. "Miss Toupie (Toupee) Lowther". The Bystander, 19 December 1906.
  • Mary Dexter & Emily Loud Sanford. In the Soldier's Service: War Experiences of Mary Dexter: England, Belgium, France, 1914-1918. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918.
  • "Englishwomen with the French Army: Miss Toupie Lowther’s Unit". The Times, 15 August 1919.
  • Una Toubridge. The Life of Radclyffe Hall. Arno Press, 1975: 113.
  • Lovat Dickson. Radclyffe Hall at The Well of Loneliness A Sapphic Chronicle. Collins, 1975: 117-8, 174.
  • Michael Baker. Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall. Hamilton, 1985.
  • Emily Hamer. Britannia's Glory: A History of Twentieth-Century Lesbians. Cassell, 1996: 50-3, 99, 114-5, 207.
  • Sally Cline. Radclyffe Hall A Woman Called John.   Faber and Faber, 1997:63, 74-5, 153-4, 163, 173, 177, 178, 181, 187, 193, 196, 201, 209, 221, 230, 251,263, 334.
  • Diana Souhami. The Trials of Radclyffe Hall. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998: 33, 40, 52, 66, 75, 111, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 127, 130, 132, 137, 144, 147, 159-160, 162, 198, 211, 242, 367.
  • Judith Halberstam. Female Masculinity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004: 83-5.
  • Kerry Greenwood. Murder in Montparnasse - A Phryne Fisher Mystery. Crows Nest,2012.
  • D. R. Boodle. Toupie Lowther 1874–1944: Her life - A new assessment. 12/6/2014.
  • John Longenbaugh. The Pale Blue Ribbon. Kindle, 2015.

04 October 2015

Toupie Lowther (1874 – 1944) Part I: sporting champion and war service

Part I: sporting champion and war service
Part II: The Well of Loneliness

May Lowther, her elder sister Aimée (1869-1935) and elder brother Claude (1870-1929) were scions of the Lowther dynasty, which features the Earls of Lonsdale (see also, more) and many Conservative Members of Parliament.

May's father, William Francis Lowther (1841-1908), was a naval office who rose to the rank of Commander. When his father, William Lowther, the 2nd Earl of Lonsdale, died in 1872, he retired and lived on an inherited trust fund. He did not inherit the title as his parents, his mother being the opera singer Emilia Cresotti, had never married. The 2nd Earl also had two illegitimate daughters with different mothers. May's mother was Louise Beatrice de Fonblangue from Toronto (? -1922).

May was educated at Le Pensionnat Les Ruches, a private boarding school at Avon, near Fontainbleau in France. Natalie Barney and her sister also attended the same school. Lowther became fluent in French and gained a baccalaureate in sciences.

Using the name Toupie, she took up fencing at age 15. She preferred the Italian rather than the French style, and declined to fence in a skirt on grounds of practicality. She fenced with both men and women.

In 1898 at a widely publicised fencing competition and display held at The Military Gymnasium of the Army Camp in Aldershot, Toupie vanquished not only her lady opponents but also the army’s Sergeant instructor. At a display in Paris 1902, billed as “The Lady Champions of England and France,” she opposed (and worsted) the famous Mme Gabriele before a crowded salon. In 1903 she engaged and held her own against the Maître, or Prof. Yvon at the Civil Engineers Hall in Paris.

She was an accomplished singer and composer. She set poems by Oscar Wilde and Alfred Tennyson to music, and her music was performed at the Wigmore Hall in London. The Waifs and Strays Society held a fancy Grand Benefit on 3 June 1899 with royalty in attendance. The program included "Incidental music by Miss Toupie Lowther".

At this time, brother Claude was with the British Army in the Boer War. He became a Conservative MP in 1900.

Toupie was also a keen tennis player and participated in championship games, especially those held at Homburg 1896-1901, and at Wimbledon where she reached the singles semi-final in 1903. She did win the British Covered Championships in 1900  and then again in 1902 and 1903. She also won the German Championships, 1901, the Monte Carlo Championships, 1903, the Homburg Cup, 1904, the Cannes Championships, 1906 and the Championships of the South of France, 1906. She was large, renowned for her lobs and said to have a man's stroke and a man's strength.

She was one of the first women to own a motorbike and lift weights.

Toupie was a friend of Mabel Batten (Ladye) (1856-1916) and John Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943) and is frequently mentioned in Mabel's diaries, 1910-5.

In 1917, at age 43, with Norah Desmond Hackett, Toupie sent a petition to General Petain at the Grand Quartier General to organise
“an ambulance section on exactly the same lines, subject to the same conditions as the allied men’s section … we should be allowed to do front line work under the same conditions as the men’s Units”.
This being approved the Hackett-Lowther Unit with 20 donated vehicles was incorporated into the French Army with permission to do front-line work. The drivers and the canteen women were ranked as private soldiers and paid 5 sous a day; Toupie Lowther and Norah Hackett as sous Lieutenants at 10 sous a day with one stripe on the sleeve. The drivers were all women, and some had already done similar work in Serbia, Romania, Greece and Russia.

They were heavily involved in the battles at Compiègne, in June 1918. They were then incorporated into the 1st Army for the final advance into Germany. The Unit was twice mentioned in dispatches.

Several members of the unit, including Lowther, were awarded the Croix de Guerre. The Unit was disbanded 19 March 1919.

After Mabel's death, John Radclyffe Hall and Mabel's cousin Una Toubridge (1887-1963) became a couple. Again Toupie and her brother Claude were friends of John and Una, who were taken with Toupie's war record. In 1920, Una said that she thought that Toupie was a hermaphrodite. In 1922 in Brighton with Una Toubridge and Radclyffe Hall she bought an “Overland Tourer” and taught them to drive.  They referred to her as 'Brother'.

In the 1920s Toupie ran a lesbian salon, and writers such as Radclyffe Hall, Ida Wylie, May Sinclair and Vere Hutchinson (popular at the time) attended. Toupie loved to tell how, while motoring, she was stopped at the Franco-Italian border for masquerading as a man. On the return journey she wore a skirt and was arrested for masquerading as a woman.

In 1926, Toupie Lowther was elected a member of the French Academie d’Armes, the only woman to that date to be so.


There is no mention that Toupie ever met either Joe Carstairs or Violette Morris.  With their shared interests in sports and motor vehicles and experience with ambulance uits in the war, they would have had a lot in common.

There are Wikipedia pages for both Toupie and Claude.   Claude's does not mention Toupie at all.   Toupie's - mainly about her as a tennis star, with a brief afterword about the ambulance unit, and no mention of The Well of Loneliness - returns the favour.

01 October 2015

Penny Whetton (1958 - ) climate scientist

Peter Whetton was born in Melbourne, and did a BA in physics and a PhD, 1986, in climate variability at Melbourne University, where he met Janet Rice and they married. They had two sons.

After a few years in the Geography Department at Monash University, Whetton became a climate scientist at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and was the main contributor to, and editor of, CSIRO's Australian climate change projections released in 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2007.

In 1998, Whetton came out to Janet first as a cross-dresser and then as transgender, and four years after that in 2003 changed her name to Penny and had transgender surgery.

This was the same time as Rice, a Greens politician was elected to Maribyrnong council; she was elected Mayor in 2006.

Whetton was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report, and of the Fourth Assessment Report which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with Al Gore). She is contributing to the Fifth.

Rice was elected to the Federal Senate as a Greens member in 2013.

In an interview in 2014, Janet said:
“Look, I think we’re pretty normal. We’ve been married 28 years. Penny transitioned from Peter to Penny – we stayed married, we still love each other.”
In her maiden speech in the Senate, Rice said:
“The time for marriage equality in Australia has come. I'm here for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and their families. We deserve recognition and respect in all aspects of our lives.”
EN.Wikipedia(Penny)   EN.Wikipedia(Janet)   GoogleScholar   TheConversation

28 September 2015

Jayne County (1947 - ) Part III: London and Berlin

Part I: Atlanta
Part II: New York City
Part III:  London and Berlin

Wayne debuted at London's Roxy in March 1977, and renamed the band to The Electric Chairs. New Musical Express journalist Julie Burchill (who in later years would express anti-trans opinions) was very supportive of the band. They were the only punk act at the Reading Festival that year and played to an antagonistic audience.

After a gig with Adam and the Ants, Wayne was introduced to Derek Jarman who cast her as a transvestite rock star in his film Jubilee.

Safari Records signed the group who put out their first album, although the more controversial tracks were kept apart for a special EP, Blatantly Offenzive. Wayne's transition can be seen on the album covers of the first three albums. On The Electric Chairs, 1978, Wayne has a masculine appearance; on Man Enough to be a Woman, 1978, the two personae are juxtaposed; on Things Your Mother Never Told You, 1979, there is only a feminine version.

The second album, which was also issued under the name Storm the Gates of Heaven, contains "Man enough to be a Woman" but also songs against organized religion as well as a statement about County's belief in a god.
"When we recorded the second album, I was beginning to feel very strongly that I wanted to take the transsexual thing a lot further; I'd stopped doing hormones for a while and really toned down my appearance, but I wasn't happy with that. I'd got a lot of attention with the Electric Chairs, and I decided it was time to come out and be the first up-front transsexual in a rock band. The music press was really interested and supportive for a while; they'd never had this before, and they could see me changing right before their very eyes."(p126)
After a European tour for the second album, County stopped in West Berlin for a fortnight before returning to London for a nose job. However she ran into the wrong immigration official, was detained overnight and returned to West Berlin.

There, she was introduced to Romy Haag and her club. She had her nose done by a doctor on the Kurfürstendamm, who had worked on several trans women. When County returned to England at the end of Summer 1978, press reports suggested that she had had the full sex change, but she tired of explaining and let people assume as they liked.
"It bothered people. There was a distinct cooling of attitude, even among the fans; underneath that liberal attitude exterior, a lot of punk fans were really straight-down-the-line conservatives, and they hated the fact that I was actually living out the implications of my songs. Some of them even said 'You've betrayed your sex'." (p131)
Late in the year the band went to a farm in Wales to write the third album. Things Your Mother Never Told You came out to good reviews and was followed by a gruelling tour of Europe.

In Late summer 1979, Wayne fled to New York and decided that it was time to change her name to Jayne. She founded a new band, played CBGBs and toured. She also toned down her appearance.

Early 1980 Jayne returned to West Berlin to be in a play with Romy Haag. The play was a success, but Jayne and Romy fell out and remained so for many years. Jayne lived with PJ from San Francisco who had been in the Angels of Light before moving to West Berlin. However PJ decided not to continue as a woman and after being sacked by Romy returned to living as a male, and then her Turkish boyfriend did not want her any more.
"It was during my time in Berlin that I came closest to the idea of having a full sex change; it certainly would have been easy enough to arrange, and it's what everyone expected me to do. … The only reason that I can see for having the full change is so that you can move to a different town and marry a man and live completely as a woman, without anyone ever knowing what you are. But I don't think I could do that. Let's face it, if people know you're a sex change you'll never be accepted as a woman. … I'm happy in between the sexes; I'm comfortable and I actually like the idea. … I certainly wouldn't be happy with idea of being a man, and I don't consider myself a man, but I'm not going to try and convince myself that I'm really a woman." (p138-9)
Jayne was friends with Zazie de Paris (Solange Dymenzstein). She starred in Rock & Roll Peepshow. She also did a St Patricks Day concert at a US Army Base.

Jayne was introduced to the Latvian-born director Rosa von Praunheim and was cast in the film Stadt der Verlorenen Seele (City of Lost Souls) 1982 with Angie Stardust and Tara O'Hara.

In 1983, Leee arranged a gig in New York, and Jayne put on Rock & Roll Peepshow at the Pyramid, which led to the show Les Girls with Holly Woodlawn and Alexis del Lago, and International Chrysis.

Then Jayne returned to Germany for the City of Lost Souls tour, which was followed bt time in London where she was booked at the Fridge in Brixton, and she encountered Alan/Lanah Pelley during his transsexual phase.

She stayed in England until 1987. She recorded a couple of albums but they were not promoted.

On return to New York, Jayne took up with drag performer Constance Cooper, who introduced her to Sally's Hideaway off Times Square.

Jayne had not been home for 20 years. She phoned her mother and proposed a visit. She got a gig at Atlanta's Club Rio and attempted to find those she knew from the 1960s, but could find only Diamond Lil. She was introduced to the rising stars RuPaul and Deandra Peak.

To visit her parents she really dressed down. She ended up staying the summer.
"However much I may be Jayne County, my old personality, Wayne, is still there; it never goes away. … Jayne County is the one who's out there hustling and trying to do something with her career. But when I get home alone I can't wait to get the wig and make-up off, to put on an old t-shirt and my reading glasses and read my religious books or my history books or a horror novel, to eat cookies and drink tea." (p164-5)
Afterwards Jayne did a gig in Tel Aviv, and then returned to London for another four years. She became a regular at the Apollo Club in Wardour Street, where she met met old-time transvestites such as Francis Bacon, the painter.

She returned to New York at the end of 1992, and was in the Wigstock film, 1995. Her autobiography Man Enough to be a Woman came out the same year.

In 2014 Jayne was banned from Facebook for using the word 'tranny' a word that she has been using for 40 years. She spoke back in an article in Queerty:
"Tranny is not a slur word and I resent anyone trying to make it one. It’s the intent behind the word, rather than the word itself, that can be sometimes offensive. It may be a silly word, but it’s certainly not worthy enough to be banned. That is censorship, pure and simple and no better than right-wing Christian extremists or any other tyrants, who want to force their narrow-minded, conservative opinions on others."

Jayne has also been posting controversial opinions on FaceBook and on her blog,   rockandrollantirepublikkkanleague.    An article in Haaretz interprets them as simple support for Israel, but thay are also anti-Republican.    EN.Wikipedia    QMH   ArtofExmouth    IMDB      rockandrollantirepublikkkanleague      FaceBook     

German television, Rockpalast 19/12/1978

25 September 2015

Jayne County (1947 - ) Part II: New York City

Part I: Atlanta
Part II: New York City
Part III:  London and Berlin

After a spell living at the YMCA, Wayne met the aspiring photographer Leee Childers (1945 - 2014) who invited him to share a coldwater walkup on 13th St. Wayne hung out at the Sewer club on West 18th St where he encountered members of Charles Ludlum's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and also Holly Woodlawn, a friend of Tammy Novak. Leee had already photographed Holly and Tammy.

On the night of June 27 1969 Wayne was on his way to the Stonewall when he met Miss Peaches and Marsha P Johnson and realized that a riot was in progress.  He joined an impromptu march up and down Christopher Street shouting "Gay Power!".

Through Leee, Wayne came to know Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling, and the Andy Warhol crowd. After falling out with Warhol's screenwriter, John Vaccaro, Jackie moved into Leee's flat. Shortly afterwards, Holly also moved in. After Leee and Wayne had been to Woodstock, Wayne started going to Max's Kansas City at 213 Park Avenue.

Wayne's first on-stage performance was in Jackie Curtis' Femme Fatal, a women-in-prison play.  He wanted a stage name and took Wayne County, from where Detroit is located, in homage to Iggy and the Stooges. He was cast as a psychotic southern lesbian. Patti Smith played a mafia dyke, and Bunny Eisenhower was also in it.

Wayne wrote a play World – Birth of a Nation that had lots of sex and fetishes in it. It was produced, and one of the stars was Cherry Vanilla. Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey came to the opening night, and The Village Voice gave it a rave review.

Andy Warhol had been taping private telephone conversations, and he arranged for them to be transcribed and arranged into a play, that became called Pork. Wayne was to play a character based on Warhol Superstar Viva. The play got a big write-up in The New York Times, and it was taken to England, where it opened, August 1971, at the Roundhouse in Camden Town. This was the same time as the Oz Magazine trial for obscenity. The reviews in the British Press were completely negative, but crowds came anyway. Rod Stewart and Ron Wood came more than once. As did David and Angie Bowie.

Back in New York Wayne got a gig as the house DJ at Max's Kansas City, and did some more theatre. While playing a transvestite revolutionary in a play, Wayne thought about forming a band, which became Queen Elizabeth, which took a lot of ideas from the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and Jackie Curtis, and put them to music. They played with the New York Dolls and at Max's. David Bowie's manager Tony Defries put Wayne on a retainer, but never recorded the band.

In October 1973 Wayne was on the cover of Melody Maker, and was in David Bowie's 1980 Floor Show with Amanda Lear and Marianne Faithful. In 1974 Wayne started doing shows at the 82 Club.

At this time Wayne read Canary Conn's autobiography, and felt that she wanted to be more transsexual than drag queen. She was referred to Eugene/Jeanne Hoff (who herself was starting transition) at what had been the Harry Benjamin practice. Hoff advised
"You should only get a sex change if you are one hundred and twenty five per cent sure about it. If you have the least hesitation about it, don't do it".(p100)
After starting on female hormones, early in 1976, Wayne resumed being the DJ at Max's, and working with the new band, The Back Street Boys, and wrote the song 'Man Enough to be a Woman'. A proposed album with ESP records fell through, but they were included on the compilation album Max's Kansas City: New York New Wave.

While mainly a Max's performer, Wayne did a gig at the competing nightclub, CBGBs where she was heckled by ex-wrestler Dick Manitoba, singer in the band, The Dictators, shouting homophobic taunts.  Manitoba then climbed on the stage holding a beer-mug, and County hit him with the microphone stand.   County cut his hair short and wore a false beard, but was arrested for assault some days later and spent one night in jail.   Other musicians and performers including the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, The New York Dolls, Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, Divine put on a benefit to meet County’s legal costs.  Three times Manitoba failed to show in court and therefore the charges were dropped.

Leee Childers was working in London, and phoned that Wayne should be also.

  • Viviane K.Namaste. " 'A Gang of Trannies': Gender Discourse and Punk Culture". Chp 4 in Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. 
  • Zagria. "'A Gang of Trannies': Gender Discourse and Punk Culture – a review of the chapter by Viviane Namaste". Gender Variance in the Arts, 05 March 2011.

Viviane Namaste doesn't seem to have a feel for how trans and punk interact.    She takes the Dick Manitoba episode and attempts to deform it to fit her theoretical position.  This attempt is not helped by her getting most of the facts wrong, nor by her disinterest: "Yet I remain uninterested in a type of historical inquiry that would establish the presence of MTF transsexuals in punk culture”.

Jayne County's account of Stonewall has been added as a comment to that posting. 

Song by Wayne County

Jayne County, The Lower East Side Biography Project, excerpt from 28 minute biography from Steve Zehentner on Vimeo.

22 September 2015

Jayne County (1947 - ) Part I: Atlanta

Part I: Atlanta
Part II: New York City
Part III:  London and Berlin

Wayne Rogers grew up in the small town of Dallas, Georgia. The family was originally Baptist, but became Methodist after moving to a better part of town. When Mrs Rogers was unable to have more children after the birth of the third by caesarean section, she turned to the Worldwide Church of God after hearing Herbert W Armstrong preach on the radio. One of Wayne's aunts killed her husband with a shotgun and walked free after claiming that he was attempting to molest their daughter. Mr Rogers lost the family home gambling.

They then moved to Marietta, which is closer to Atlanta and has bus connections. Wayne started going out dressed female. He also found a copy of John Rechy's City of Night and immediately identified with Miss Destiny, and Kenneth (later Katherine) Marlowe's Mister Madam.

After high school, he got a job in Atlanta, and after work would look for queer people. He then found the beatnik coffee houses and drag bars – although in Georgia you had to be 21 to get into a bar.
He became a Screaming Queen: they wore make-up, screamed at boys and ran away. The local word for that was 'wrecking'. The other queens were referred to as Miss Cocks, Miss Hair, Miss Car, Davinia Daisy who passed well and Queen Elizabeth who managed to get a job as a female model in an Atlanta department store. An older queen, Diamond Lil, ran an antique shop and did drag shows (she is the only one here to be mentioned in Gay and Lesbian Atlanta).
"Everyone was just gay as far as we were concerned; that was the word that we used. … it was just one big grab-bag of being different".(p29-30)
In 1966 Wayne got a Yankee boyfriend, and they got a flat together – the first time that he left home. By now Wayne was a gay hippy rather than a screaming queen. He did his first drag performances miming to Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin at the hippy bar, The Catacombs, on the corner of 14th Street. Diamond Lil also performed there.

In 1967 Wayne took the Greyhound bus to New York City for $25 ($175 in modern money). He survived by meeting people in the Stonewall, but could not afford a winter coat, so in September phoned his father for money and returned to Atlanta.

He trained as a male nurse and worked in an old-folks' ward. One night Wayne "in hippy chick drag" took his mother's car but was stopped by the police. He was let out on bail, but the hospital was informed and he lost his job the next day. He took the Greyhound to New York City again.


The Wikipedia page for Dallas includes Wayne Rogers/Jayne County in its list of notables, but the one for Mariette does not.

Jayne County explains 'Wrecking' (excerpt) from nicholas abrahams on Vimeo.

19 September 2015

Peter Walker (1942 - ) plastic & reconstructive surgeon

Pater Walker's father was a Dutch diplomat, and his mother an art teacher from Christchurch, New Zealand. Until the age of 10 he was educated at English private schools in Egypt, and after that at boarding schools in New Zealand. He did his medical education at Otago University Medical School, 1961-79, and has been a plastic & reconstructive surgeon since 1981. Most of his work has been breast reductions and augmentations, nose jobs and tummy tucks, and reconstructive surgery in the wake of skin cancer.

He did his first transgender operation in 1992.
"My patients have been aircraft pilots, electronics technicians, computer operators, accountants. They've been merchant mariner captains. Unfortunately, there is still a residuum who have been ostracised at school and left as early as they could and ended up at the bottom of the heap, and had to, for example, become prostitutes. You have from aircraft pilots to prostitutes - the whole range. … They've tried to deny they are transgendered, and done everything they could to demonstrate to the world that they're not. But finally they have to face themselves, and become the female they know they should be."
Walker was part of a three-surgeon team based in Christchurch that has performed 61 male-to-female surgeries. During a four-hour operation, colorectal surgeon Richard Perry created the vagina, urologist Stephen Mark reorganised the urinary plumbing and Walker dealt with the external bits. This was the only provision in New Zealand. In the early days when the NZ $ was weak, private patients came from around the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the US. He's operated on a Texan police officer. He's in email contact with an American pastor who has
"a great following in her church - I think they probably do know she's transgender."
Some of his patients said that they had no interest in penetrative sex, so the operation was simply external, with no vagina. Dr Walker has also become renowned for 'salvage surgery' where failed inverted penile surgery had to be corrected.

The New Zealand health system pays for four mtf operations every two years, and sends one ftm person abroad for surgery.

The patient who got the most attention in the press was Joanne Proctor, who was due for surgery in 1997 when her local health authority decided to stop funding such procedures. It was not until 2002 that she was rescheduled with Dr Walker, and due to some misunderstanding it was decided to do a colovaginoplasty rather than a penile inversion, while Joanne was expecting the latter. Joanne was left with post-surgical complications, which ended up costing the national health service as much again as the vaginoplasty had done.

In 2007, Walker had temporarily stopped doing surgery while he underwent surgery himself - an elbow reconstruction, a double hip replacement and an acute gall bladder operation. He was out for another few months with a broken leg suffered in a jet-boat accident this year.

A report by the Human Rights Commission the next year criticised the Ministry of Health for contracting transgender operations to only one surgeon, in that the patient's right to quality health services was thereby limited.

Walker's last transgender patient before he retired in 2014 was Theresa, a truck driver, who had been living as female and on the waiting list for surgery for over two decades.

There are currently over 60 New Zealanders on the waiting list, a queue that will take 30 years to process at the current rate even if Dr Walker is replaced. He wrote to all the plastic surgeons in New Zealand, but failed to find any takers.
LinkedIn   Femaletomale    TSRoadMap

16 September 2015

20 trans/intersex persons in or from West Asia who changed things by example and/or achievement

  • Bahram Mir-djalali (1939 - ) Tehran surgeon, trained in Paris, has done over 1000 sex change surgeries. GVWW 
  • Fawziya Janahi (1962 - ) Bahraini lawyer who has represented trans men. GVWW
  • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902 – 1989) issued a fatwa in 1983 to permit transsexual changes. GVWW
  • Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg (1915 – 2006) Jerusalem Rabbi ruled in late 1960s that a post-operative transsexual has changed her halachic gender. GVWW
  • Muhammad Mehdi Kariminia wrote an Islamic PhD on transsexuality, published as Sex Change, From Legal and Islamic Jurisprudence Perspective, 2011. Newsarticle
A special mention for Yasmene Jabar, a US American, who set up the web sites Cafe Trans Arabi and the International Transsexual Sisterhood, the first to help trans women in west Asia. In 2005 she was involved in the Trans Eastern Conference (TEC) in Istanbul. GVWW

  1. Assurbanipal/Sardanapalos (685-627 BCE) Assyrian King fond of spending time with his wives dressed in female clothing and makeup.   
  2. Elagabalus (203 – 222) Roman Emperor from age 14 to 18, born of a Syrian dynasty. Reputed to do what would now be regarded as gay and trans. EN.Wikipedia    
  3. Lucy Hester Stanhope (1776 - 1939), niece of UK Prime Minister William Pitt, settled in Palestine and wore male Arabic dress.  Book     Book 
  4. Kobra (1909 - ?) Iranian who had transgender surgery in in 1927. Newsarticle
  5. A Ma'dan mustergil (1917–?) landowner and poet.  GVWW
  6. Rina Natan (1923 - ?) earliest known Israeli trans woman. Newsarticle
  7. Maryam Molkara (1950 - ) Iranian activist who persuaded Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa permitting gender changes. GVWW    EN.Wikipedia
  8. Bülent Ersoy (1952 - ) Turkish singer, actor. GVWW      EN.Wikipedia
  9. Charles Kane (1960 - ) Iraqi born businessman in London, changeback. GVWW
  10. Demet Demir (1961 - ) Turkish activist. First trans woman and the first person considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International because of “sexual orientation”. Awarded 1997 Felip de Souza Award. GVWW
  11. ? (196? - ) a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards served five years in the war with Iraq. Her operation was paid for by a Muslim cleric whom she had worked for as a secretary, and later married. Newsarticle.
  12. Saman Arastu (1967 - ) Iranian actor. Newsarticle
  13. Sharon Cohen/Dana International (1972 - ) Israeli singer, Eurovision winner. GVWW     EN.Wikipedia
  14. Hussain Rabie (1974 - ) Bahraini para-athletic shot-putter and discus thrower GVWW
  15. Aderet (1976 - ) Israeli singer GVWW     EN.Wikipedia    
  16. Pooya Mohseni (1978 - ) Iranian actress in New York. GVWW
  17. Rüzgar Erkoçlar (1986 - ) Turkish actor GVWW
  18. Yuval Topper-Erez (1988 - ) Israeli trans man parent of two. Newsarticle
  19. Leyla Çalışkan (199? - ) Turkish basketball scout and trainer. Newsarticle
  20. Michelle Denishevich (199? - ) Turkish news reporter. Newsarticle

13 September 2015

Hussain Rabie (1974 - ) shot-putter and discus thrower.

Zainab Rabie, a Bahraini, knew by age 8 that she was different. Zainab married at age 25 but it didn’t work as she did not have standard female organs or chromosomes.

Rabie became a champion shot-putter and discus thrower.  As Rabie had a masculine build and deep voice, the sporting authorities raided her home looking for performance-enhancing drugs.

In 2005 Rabie, by now as Hussain Rabie, submitted medical reports and obtained a court order that explained that he is a trans man, so that he would not be stopped by immigration officials as in the past.

He had a mastectomy in Bahrain, and with the services of lawyer Fawziya Janahi persuaded the Bahraini Health Ministry to pay 5,000 dinars to cover his operation in Thailand and expenses. This was approved by both Sunni and Shi’ite clerics.

Being partially blind in one eye, Hussain does shot put and discus in the Bahrain Disabled Sports Federation, and he hoped to play for the male team after his return.

However his official legal recognition was delayed for one reason or another until 2008 when he was recognized as male by the High Civil Court.

10 September 2015

Solange Dymenzstein (194? - ) dancer, actress.

Dymenzstein was born in Montreuil outside Paris. At age 2 the family moved to Jerusalem where the child went to a French Catholic school with children of diplomats.

At age 11 they moved back to Paris and Dymenzstein received ballet training at the Paris Opera. This was followed by twelve years as a classical dancer, including with Maurice Béjart and at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg.

At age 23 Dymenzstein picked a country at random and went to Japan, was influenced by Kabuki and Noh theatre, and realised that he wanted to play female roles.

Dymenzstein was back in Paris for the 1968 riots and found work in the Alcazar cabaret (which included Marie France Garcia and Amanda Lear). This required playing many roles during each performance.

She moved to Berlin to start transition into Solange for she had heard that natural hormones were available, and being of Jewish descent was intrigued to see the city that been the Nazi capital. However she found Berliners to be quite friendly.

Like Romy Haag, she opened a nightclub. She took the show-biz name Zazie de Paris (a combination of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Zizi Jeanmaire). The club attracted the likes of David Bowie and became a centre for punks, but she found it too much work and left after a year. She was a friend of Jayne County.

In the 1980s Zazie started working in theatre with noted directors Jérôme Savary and Peter Zadek. She acted in minor films from 1982 onwards, but her breakthrough was with Werner Schroeter's film Deux (Two) in 1980 where she played a character called Zazie.

Solange completed her gender affirmation.  Later she was in the euthanasia-clinic comedy Kill Me Please, 2010 and Mario Fanfani's Les nuits d'été, 2015.

Usually she was denied cis female parts, but she has recently been working in the Tatort cop series on German television where she plays the best friend of a police Commissioner.

Solange now considers herself a Berliner, and has said that she will probably never leave.
DE.Wikipedia    IMDB

07 September 2015

Drag Queenery on the Road to Womanhood

Dolly Parton: “It’s a good thing I was born a girl … otherwise I’d be a drag queen.”

Mae West: “Camp is the kinda comedy where they imitate me.

Leslie Feinberg: "I've heard women criticize drag queens for 'mocking women's oppression' by imitating femininity to an extreme, just as I've been told that I am imitating men. Feminists are justifiably angry at women's oppression – so am I! I believe, however, that those who denounce drag queens aim their criticism at the wrong people. This misunderstanding doesn't take gender oppression into account. … There is a difference between the drag population and masculine men doing cruel female impersonations. The Bohemian Grove, for example, is an elite United States club for wealthy powerful men that features comedy cross-dressing performances. Many times the burlesque comedy of cross-dressed masculine men is as anti-drag as it is anti-woman. In fact it's really only drag performance when it's transgender people who are facing the footlights. Many times drag performance calls for skilled impersonations of a famous individual like Diana Ross or Judy Garland, but the essence of drag performance is not impersonation of the opposite sex. It is the cultural presentation of an oppressed gender expression."

There is a lot of nonsense being spread around about drag queenery. That all drag queens are gay; that it is only performance; that drag queens do not become women; that transsexuals and drag queens have little in common.  None of these claims are true when they are examined.

First of all – what does 'drag queen' mean. There have been three major usages:

a) theatrical performance as the other gender.

Such people were previously referred to as female impersonators or female mimics. Some female impersonators complete the journey to womanhood with surgery, others live full-time. Some of these transition while still performing the same act, others go on to acting, being restaurateurs, etc. Certainly as an occupational group, they have an extremely high transition rate.

F=Finocchio's, J=Jewel Box Review, C=Le Carrousel, G=Garden of Allah

FG   Liz Lyons (191? - ?)
G     Hotcha Hinton (1915 – 1983)
       Jeanette Schmid (1924 - 2005)
       Ginza Rose (192? - ?)
       Minette (1928 - 2001)
C    Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy/Coccinelle (1931 - 2006)
C    Marie-Pierre Pruvot/Bambi (1935 - )
C    April Ashley (1935 - )
J    Terry Noel (1936 - )
F   Aleshia Brevard (1937 - )
F   Katherine Marlowe (193? - )
J    Angie Stardust (1940 – 2007)
     Karūseru Maki (1942 - )
C   Yeda Brown (194? - )
      Carlotta (1943 -)
C   Rogeria (1943 - )
C   Amanda Lear (1946 - )
      Holly Woodlawn (1946 - )
      Marie-France Garcia (1946 - )
      Rachel Harlow (1948 - )
      Nanjo Masami (194? - )
      Ajita Wilson (1950 -1987)
      Candis Cayne (1971 - )

If these women are not trans, then we really do not have much history

b) cross-dressers or transvestites who like attention, who like to be read, who exaggerate their femininity, while other transvestites prefer to pass.

This of course is also a type of performance, except that it takes place on the street, in restaurants, on public transport etc. Of course cis women also like to get in on this act, Mae West and Dolly Parton (who once failed to win in a Dolly-Parton lookalike contest) quickly come to mind.

This was a common usage when I was transitioning in the 1980s, but I get the feeling that the expression is less used these days. I am seeing 'attention junkie' or 'attention whore' more frequently, which disassociates the attitude from the cross-dressing.

c) street queens.

When Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson are described as 'drag queens' it is not because they were stage performers (although Marsha was for a while in Hot Peaches) but because they were 'street queens', that is they lived on the margins without a job or any reliable source of income and either they were without a steady place to live or lived in a commune of similar persons. Several of the voguing ball people such as Angie Xtravaganza lived similar lives. This is the classic life style for trans women found in India (hijras), Thailand (kathoay) Philipines, Brazil etc. The classic study is Frederick Whitam's Male Homosexuality in Four Societies: Brazil, Guatemala, the Philippines, and the United States. 

Most of these women fail to complete the journey to womanhood because they lived too soon for hormones and surgery to be available and/or they don't have the money to acquire them.   That does not make them less trans and it does not make them less of a woman.

This was the dominant way of living for trans women in the pre-modern world. Those who claim that drag queens are not trans are cutting us off from our past.

"If there is any one lesson to be learned from studying this field it is that the individual is individual. People define themselves and the self-definition must always takes priority over the received wisdom. I have met self-defined drag queens whom others would describe as TV either because they enjoy 'passing'; or because they 'dress' so often that it could be seen as a compulsion; or because they wear lingerie, either to turn men on or to make themselves feel sensuous. I have met drag performers who have grown to dislike drag, and men who insist on being called 'cross-dressers' because they dislike what the word 'drag' stands for, and men who wear part-drag in order to create confusion and doubt amongst others, but who would never wear full drag because that would defeat their object. I know self-defined TVs who are gay or bisexual or oscillating, some of them having learned to cross this sexuality barrier through their cross-dressing. I have met TVs who dress like drag queens and drag queens who dress like TVs, and TVs whose cross-dressing has encouraged them to question their 'male role', which in turn has made them examine their idea of 'femininity'. And perhaps most important of all, I have learned how marshy a terrain is the middle ground between our earlier clear-cut distinction between transvestites and transexuals." - Kris Kirk. Men in Frocks, 1984: 74.

04 September 2015

Donna Gee (1949–) sports writer, journalist

Gerry Greenberg was raised by a Jewish family in Caerphilly, Wales. His mother died of polio when he was six, and he was then sent to boarding school until father remarried.

His first job at age 16 was with the Pontypridd Observer weekly newspaper, where he gave singer Tom Jones his first write-up. He married and they had two daughters.
"I was in denial in public, but privately became a woman at any opportunity. I kept a bag of [women's] clothes in the garden shed that I took with me on assignment, and would dress up in the privacy of hotel rooms. Even though I knew there were many others like me out there, I was paranoid about being caught."
One time in the 1970s, Gerry's wife dressed him up as a woman for fun, but realized that it turned him on. She went to the doctor, and said that he was gay. They did not talk about it again for many years.

Gerry worked for the Express newspapers until 1976 when he moved to Manchester to work for the Jewish Chronicle and the Manchester Jewish Gazette. He then became part of the team that launched the new tabloid paper, The Daily Star in 1978 (again an Express newspaper), which was designed to use spare capacity on the Manchester presses. Gerry became the Star's rugby correspondent.

In 1992 Gerry wrote England Rugby star Wade Dooley's autobiography.

In 1997 Gerry searched 'transgender' and 'Manchester' on the Internet and found a local group. Regular e-mail exchanges followed until Gerry's wife noticed, and when she realized what was going on, she gave him a spare lipstick. Together they attended meetings and socials for trans people.
"It was stressful being two people. In time, I realized that my ultimate dream was to become a woman".
Greenberg's boss found out from an anonymous e-mail in 1999. A rumour went around that a sub-editor was changing. A betting book was opened on the identity.
"If only I’d known I was listed as a 40-1 outsider, my winnings could have paid for my surgery!"
Gerry wrote to workmates while on holiday in Israel, and became Donna Gee. The daughters, now in their thirties were accepting as were the five grandchildren.

Donna worked as a sub-editor for Metro, and the northern sports desk of The Sunday People. She had full sex affirmation in 2003. She also had electrolysis, breast augmentation, a facelift, her adam’s apple reduced and an eye lift in her quest to be a proper female. In all she paid £25,000.

In 2006 Donna and wife retired to Spain, although still doing work for papers in Manchester and Israel. They initially told the neighbours in Spain that they were cousins, but the kids visited and the neighbours asked which one was the mother to which and it became easier to tell the truth which was accepted.

She is working on her own autobiography.
GrumpyOldGran   LinkedIn    ScribblingInTheSun

01 September 2015

Who was Bunny Eisenhower?

Several trans histories tell us that Bunny Eisenhower and Lee Brewster founded the Queens' Liberation Front in 1970, and that they worked with Sylvia Rivera. We know quite a lot about Lee Brewster, but who was Bunny?  Nobody seems to have dug into this question.     David Kaufman's Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam mentions her several times in that she was a minor actor in the plays considered in the book.   However Arthur David Kahn's The Many Faces of Gay contains a fairly detailed biography of Bunny.  This was published in 1997 and nobody seems to have noticed.  Kaufman has details that Kahn does not.   Putting them together we get the account below.


Eddie Dame (1940 - )  began cross-dressing at age 3, but usually only when the parents were away. The family regarded him as effeminate, and called him 'Butch' to toughen him up. Cousins slapped him around, to the same end. By age 13 he had started drinking, as did most of the family. Eddie's sisters helped him with makeup, and Nellie, the elder, introduced him to her fiancé with the comment: "my brother wears my clothes". However the rest of the family played a game of denial.

Anticipating being drafted Eddie volunteered for the US Air Force in 1959, where he entered into a relationship with Larry. From 1963, the year that they completed service, to 1967, they lived as a couple in New York. Larry refused to escort Eddie when he was cross-dressed. In 1967 Larry, announcing that he wanted children, married a woman. Eddie was the best man, and Eddie and Larry had sex the night before, as they continued to do occasionally until 1982 when Larry was seriously ill. Eddie never heard from him again.

After the wedding, Eddie went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and bought a full set of female clothing. Back in New York Eddie started going out dressed female.

In 1968 he joined Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and had a part in When Queens Collide. The name Inez Bunny Eisenhower was first proposed for cis actress Regina Hirsch, without her approval, and both names were listed for her in the flyer for Jack Smith's film Big Hotel. However she settled on the nom d'etage of Lola Pashalinski by the time that she was in Bill Vehr's Whores of Babylon. By the time of the production of Ludlam's Turds in Hell, 1969 the name had been assigned to Eddie.

He took up with Esther who was active in a Communist anti-war group. She had had lesbian affairs and was okay with his transvestity, however felt that the group would not be, so she left the group. Esther was not accepted by the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, so Eddie gave up acting. Eddie's father died in 1970, and later they were married in a Unitarian Church. His mother came, but was already drunk.

Bunny and activist Lee Brewster founded the Queens' Liberation Front in 1970. They also worked with Sylvia Rivera. They campaigned successfully to de-criminalize cross-dressing in New York. Previously a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be cross-dressed, was present.

Eddie and Esther stayed married for seven years. When Eddie let his hair grow and grew a beard, Esther though that his cross-dressing would stop, but he continued with a scarf to hide his beard.

In 1977, Eddie got a position as a proof-reader in a law firm. The next year he and Esther divorced.

Eddie now considered the possibility of transition. A therapist provided a referrence to an electrologist and an endocrinologist. She came out at work after speaking up when the supervisor made comments about transsexuals. Word spread though the firm, and as Eddie became increasingly androgynous, colleagues would stop by her office to see 'the company freak'. Outside Eddie was taken as a woman, but at work was still addressed as a man. She was unnerved by this, developed ulcers and thought of suicide. After a bad experience with a Catholic family values psychologist, Eddie was referred to a therapist who was positive and helpful. She gave up drinking at home and worked overtime to accumulate savings for the operation, which, as Barbara, she achieved in 1982.

Barbara was able to retain her job as a proof-reader. She became active in gay organizations. In 1990, the Gay Veterans Association was excluded from the Veterans Day Parade and Barbara joined the GVA. She became a member of the board and editor of the newsletter. In 1993 she was arrested while marching in the unofficial St Patrick's Day Parade with the Irish and Lesbian Gay Organization.
  • Jayne County & Rupert Smith. Man Enough to Be a Woman. London: Serpent's Tail, 1995: 64.
  • Arthur David Kahn. The Many Faces of Gay: Activists Who Are Changing the Nation. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1997: 3, 15-20, 266-9.
  • David Kaufman. Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2002: 95, 98, 107,119.
  • Susan Stryker. Transgender History. Seal Press, 2008: 87.

In Stryker’s book the only mention is that “drag queen Lee Brewster and heterosexual transvestite Bunny Eisenhower” founded the Queens Liberation Front.  As you see above, to simply describe Eddie/Bunny/Barbara as a ‘heterosexual transvestite’ raises a lot of difficulties.

The following is found on p98 of Kaufman's book:
 A flyer about the cast of a theatrical production by custom may take liberties with the truth.   Either way I could not see how to fit in the work in Chicago and Los Angeles between the marriages to Larry and to Esther.

29 August 2015

Pooya Mohseni (1978 - ) actress

Pooya was raised in Tehran. As a child she did not even realise that she was not officially female. As a teenager she withdrew, and by 16 was hardly talking or eating.
“I had never met a trans person — never even personally seen a trans person, except as some twisted depiction in a Hollywood movie. ... There was no outside voice: no articles, no television show."
Her mother took her to a friend's husband, a psychiatrist who happened to have studied sexuality and gender, and named her problem as gender identity disorder. Her mother's reaction was that Pooya should not do anything about it until both parents were dead.

Pooya slipped into her deepest depression. She started walking the streets at night and getting into men's cars. She had therapy sessions with three different psychologists who attempted a 'cure'. Her friends stayed away, even after the government psychological board officially declared her to be transsexual. At age 18 Pooya made several attempts to kill herself.

Her parents realised that they would lose their child unless she was allowed to transition, but were still afraid of the social reaction in Tehran. They looked into emigration, and in 1997, the family was able to move to New York City, and initially were living on savings.

Pooya quickly found a psychiatrist and started on hormone therapy. Pooya, though a name given more often to boys, is a unisex name in Iran meaning 'dynamic', and so there was no need for a change.

Pooya studied textile design and fashion at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where she was part of the FIT theatre ensemble. She also trained as a massage therapist.

In 2003, Pooya married a man 17 years older, but arguments developed after her final gender-affirming surgery around the notion that she should have gotten his opinion on the surgery. Finally he tried to choke her.

From 2009, Pooya started singing and acting, and graduated from the Maggie Flanigan Studio in 2012. She now has 32 credits on IMDB.

Working mainly in stealth, she noticed a distinct increase in casting calls for trans actresses, and in applying for them sometimes privately disclosed to the director that she was so. On June 26, 2015, the day that the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage should be recognised, Pooya announced on her Facebook page that she was trans. The next day, at her current gig, Death of the Persian Prince, she was congratulated by the director-writer and by her co-actors.
IMDB   Pooyaland    BroadwayWorld

26 August 2015

Racheal McGonigal (1955 - ) farmer, businessman, sex worker

McGonigal was raised in Gisborne, north-east New Zealand. He cross-dressed from age 7, but also played in the school's rugby first 15 and was head prefect.

At 21 he consulted a doctor about feeling female, and was advised to grow a beard.

He became a farmer and business man who was married for 14 years, and with his wife had two children. He experimented with female hormones even before divorce.

Afterwards McGonigal had relationships with women while also investigating transsexuality online.

His then girlfriend found out and there was a revelation at his daughter's 21st birthday, and within days all the family knew. His father died 10 days later. Rejected by the children, whom she has not seen since, McGonigal lost 20kg (3 stones) in weight.

Racheal, as she became, had genital surgery and breast augmentation with Dr Sanguan Kunaporn in Phuket, Thailand, February, 2006. The operation was filmed.

Unable to get other work, Racheal became a prostitute under the name of Storm. With Summer Bardot she escorted across Australia and New Zealand. She later returned to New Zealand and lived in Auckland where she opened a brothel.

She was featured in Rachel Francis &  Michael Larsen's 2012 book about prostitution in New Zealand.

Racheal has published 6 books: 2 volumes of autobiography, a novel, a book of photographs from Andrew to Racheal; a collection of articles on trans topics and a short guide to transition.
"The only things I'm missing are my kids and a partner. I love my kids and I think about them every day. I'm their father, always was and always will be."
Transgenderstorm    Rachealstorm    Amazon Biography    LinkedIn


Racheal describes herself as a ‘sex-change woman', not a phrase that has caught on. 

Top marks to Racheal for her transsexual pride and her willingness to show photographs of her male phase.