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).





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.

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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.
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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



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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.

23 August 2015

A Ma'dan mustergil (1917–?) landowner, poet.

Her father was a rich Sheik of the Ma'dan معدان‎, the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet. She was then the only child her parents had together, but her father had had five sons with his first wife, and her mother had had a son and daughter with her first husband.

Her father's mother raised her. She was moderately deformed. Already as a child, she wanted to live as a boy, and as Ma'dan had a tradition of mustergil (comparable to the Sworn Virgins in Albania/Kosova) it was permitted.
"A family is proud of a girl who wants to live like a boy".
 The mustergil carried weapons and went on hunts.

When he was 20 or so in 1937-8 (AH 1355), his mother was murdered by the second husband's family. His young brother had become the father's favourite, and the elder brothers feared for their inheritance. They did not kill the boy because he was their blood, but the mother was an outsider. The killing was supposed to bring the father to his senses, that he should devote himself to his elder sons. This did not happen, but neither was the murder avenged, on the pretence that the killer was unknown. The mother's first husband's clan did want to get involved as a vendetta would bring government intervention. The mustergil never forgave this lapse, and wrote ridiculing and insulting poems to goad the family. In time the murderer was himself murdered, but not by the family of the first husband.

The father moved both the mustergil and her grandmother to another village where he could keep a better eye on them. The mustergil owned some land in usufruct on which 50-60 rice-growing families lived. The mustergil was afraid that he would lose it, so she applied to the authorities in Basra, who ruled that he would have to pay tenure-fees until 1945, but would then gain the legal title. He erected a meeting house as a male sheik would do, and had coffee distributed to the men of the village.

The mustergil wore male outer and undergarments, but had hair long like a woman and a female kerchief. This retention of token female appearance was because he prayed every day to Allah, and if he did not do so as a woman, prayers would have no consequence.

At harvest-time the mustergil inspected the crop and took a share, and paid the tax to the government.

The mustergil was the only female-born person of the Ma'dan that the sociologists met who could read and write. Poetry was a family tradition: both he father and the mother's first husband were famous local poets, and the half-brother on her mother's side gained national fame for his poetry.
  • Sigrid Westphal-Hellbusch. „Transvestiten bei Arabischen Stämmen“. Sociologus, n.f.6,1, 1956. Berlin. Reprinted as „Transvestiten: Institutionalisierte Möglichkeiten des Ablehnens üblicher Frauen- und Männerrollen im Süd-Irak“ in Brigitta Häuser-Schäublin, Hrsg. Ethnologische Frauen-Forschung: Ansätze, Methoden, Resultate. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1991. S. 176-189. Translated into English by Bradley Rose as "Institutionalized Gender-Crossing in Southern Iraq" in Stephen O. Murray & Will Roscoe. Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature. New York University Press, 1997: 233-243.
  • "Transgender im Süd-Irak (1956)". rhizom, 2.August 2011. http://rhizom.blogsport.eu/2011/08/02/transgender-im-sud-irak-1956.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    The paper by Westphal-Hellbusch seems to be all that we have about the mustergil.

    The person described here takes up most of the paper.   It is unfortunate that he is not given a name.   There may well be good reasons for hiding his name, although given the social prominence of the family it is unlikely that local persons do not recognize who he is.    Either way, if it were deemed cautious not to give the real  name, a pseudonym would have been useful for reference.

    As we are not given the person's name, we don't actually whether the person took a male name at any stage. 

    The person would seem to be untypical of mustergils in general, both by the family wealth and by the fact of being literate.  Thus, despite Westphal-Hellbusch's paper, we actually know almost nothing about most mustergils.  By extension we do not know how or if they survived following Saddam's murderous attacks on them after the first Gulf War.

    "he prayed every day to Allah, and if he did not do so as a woman, prayers would have no consequence".   And yet, what must have been his greatest prayer, that the mother's murder be avenged, had no consequence.

    The person was Shi'a, and would look to Iran for religious guidance.   However this is 30 years prior to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomein's 1983 fatwa that recognized gender changes, after which a similar person would no longer have been required to pray as a woman.

    The Albanian/Kosovan Sworn Virgins that I have discussed fought and suffered as men in the Second World War.  In April 1941 the Iraqis arose and overthrew the Hashemite monarchy that the British had imposed on them without consultation.   The subsequent Anglo-Iraqi War was won by the British and the Hashemites re-imposed.   There is no mention that this person even participated.

    She was proficient in the use of arms.  It could be said that if the mustergil were a cis man of the same class in that culture, he would have killed the mother's murderer himself.   To get upset because no man steps forward to give you vengeance is a stereotypical woman's role.  However traditional third-gender roles often combine limited tolerance with behaviour limits.   We know so little about mustergils that it is unknown whether such were permitted to partake in feuds or vendettas. 

20 August 2015

Jennifer McCreath (1973 - ) government employee, marathon runner, political candidate.

McCreath was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and raised in Toronto, did business degrees at Toronto's Humber College, 2000, and Alberta's Athabasca University, 2005, and obtained a position as Senior Policy Analyst with the Government of Newfoundland.

Some months later she started transition as Jennifer, after appearing female at a Halloween party. In 2007 she did a series of interviews on provincial television station NTV about transitioning. She started getting positive reactions from people on the street who had seen her on television, but a year later lost her job.

She is also a marathon runner. She ran 30 marathons 2007-11, including the Boston Marathon in 2009 and 2010. She won a gold medal for achievement in the 2009 World OutGames in Copenhagen . She ran the 1500 metre freestyle swim and marathon run in the third gender category.

She took work as a filing clerk. She became involving in organizing St John's Pride Week, and founded the East Coast Trans Alliance.

Following trans surgery in January 2011, Jennifer applied to Nova Scotia for a revised birth certificate, but it took longer than usual. Jennifer had committed to run in a marathon, and had to fly with her male passport. Changing planes she was detained at US Immigration in Toronto, made to wait 90 minutes before being interviewed, photographed and fingerprinted, and subjected to many intrusive and irrelevant personal questions.  As a result she missed her flight and had to pay $80 for changing flights.

In 2013 she ran for deputy mayor in St John's.
“Everyone said I didn’t have any chance at all. Initially, I couldn’t get anyone to work with me. Nobody would sign my nomination papers. But six weeks later, I walked away with close to 6,000 votes — 17 per cent of the popular vote.”
In 2015 Jennifer ran in the federal constituency of Avalon. Although she was previously a member of the New Democratic Party, she is running as a candidate of the newly formed Strength in Democracy Party.
jennifermccreath.blogspot.ca     LinkedIn


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US immigration was never particularly friendly, and has become a lot worse since 2001.  Here is a recent story of an 8-year-old being turned away in that he might be a 'terrorist'.   Many Canadians now avoid flying into or changing planes in the US.   We might note that not a single trans person has yet turned out to be a terrorist, and that harassment based on gender incongruity has nothing to do with preventing terrorism.  

18 August 2015

WalesOnline 1st Pinc List

WalesOnline has issued a list of 40 LGBT notable person in Wales in association with Cardiff's Pride Cymru.

The trans persons in the list are:

1. Captain Hannah Winterbourne. Highest ranking trans officer in UK Army.  Newsarticle

2.  Alex Drummond, psychotherapist and photographer in Cardiff, who transitioned six years ago, but has kept her beard. WalesOnline

13. Jenny Bishop, had advised Welsh and UK governments on trans equality, runs support group TransForum, OBE 2015. WalesOnline

20. Sarah Jane Bradley, hairdresser.  Newsarticle

24. Jan Morris, journalist, author. GVWW

26. Rona Rees, Beaumont Society. Beaumont

34. Lauren Harries, television personality. GVWW WalesOnline

40. Sadie Class, co-organizer of Swansea Sparkle.  WalesOnline

---------------------------------------------------------------

Pinc is Welsh for Pink

Compare my 24 trans person from Wales/Ireland/Scotland

16 August 2015

Rachael Wallbank (1956 - ) family lawyer

Wallbank was raised in an Irish Catholic family in Sydney, with a father in the army. Wallbank met his wife, Louise, at a school dance, and told her of feminine side before marriage.

Wallbank did a Law degree at the University of New South Wales, and was called to the bar in 1980 in Sydney, and has owned a firm, Wallbanks, since 1985. Wallbank is an accredited specialist in Family Law.

Wallbank and Louise, had two daughters and a son.

Wallbank transitioned as Rachael in 1994, after her mother had died. She was apprehensive in that she did not know of any other lawyer who had transitioned. However enough clients stayed that the business could continue.

Louise left and has since remarried. The children
 "showed to their friends that I didn't have horns to the extent that my children could openly refer to me as 'Dad' and no-one would raise an eyebrow". 
Rachael's father was initially unsupportive, but finally came round and gave Rachael her mother's engagement ring. He died in 1999.

A highlight of Rachael's career was acting for Kevin (FTM) and her wife, Jennifer (pseudonyms), who had been denied the right to legally marry. Professors Louis Gooren and Milton Diamond gave evidence. They proposed and the Family Court of Australia recognised that transsexualism is a biological variation in human sexual formation, rather than a psychological disorder.

In 2001, the Family Court of Australia ruled in favour of Kevin and Jennifer, and later the Full Court of the Family Court dismissed the government’s appeal. This was the first ruling in Australia that decided that Corbett v. Corbett (UK, 1971) is not persuasive and does not follow Australian law. A major legal precedent.

Rachael says that her own sex affirmation as a woman never stopped her being a father, and she is on good terms with all three children.

More recently Rachael has been attempting to restore the right of trans children to have medical treatment in their teens without first obtaining approval from the Family Court as required in a 2004 ruling.
TS Successes     LinkedIn

13 August 2015

Joe Carstairs (1900 – 1993): Part III: Lord of the island

Part I: youth and war
Bibliography
Part II: powerboat racer
Part III: Lord of the island

In 1934, 60,000 persons, 50,000 of them descendants of slaves, lived in the Bahamas. Most of the whites lived in Nassau, the capital, and rarely went to the other 700 islands of the archipelago. In the previous few years a series of hurricanes had wraught damage; the rum industry had collapsed since the ending of US alcohol prohibition; the sponge trade was in decline because of overfishing.

One of the first things that Joe did on Whale Cay was to hire seven men to lay a road across the island. Dressed in khaki he laboured alongside them. One day, at lunch, he managed to throw a knife and kill a snake, and then after that he was 'The Boss'.

Buildings went up and a store was opened. Joe paid men 16 shillings a week and women 12 shillings. Joe could curse but no-one else was allowed to. Three hundred men laboured on the great house which was finished in 1936.

They cleared the coconut groves and planted 3,000 palm trees. Fruit and vegetables were planted where suitable. Women are assigned to weeding: weedresses. Joe did not approve of women labourers:
"If there weren't so many lazy men, women wouldn't have to go to work".
The lighthouse was rebuilt, and for the first time an electric beacon installed; a power plant was built, a radio station, a schoolhouse and a museum. Fish were canned or kippered, fertiliser extracted, pigs and chickens reared. Joe bought more islands: Bird Cay, Cat Cay, Devil's Cay, half of Hoffman's Cay, and established plantations of cantaloupes, potatoes, celery, strawberries, asparagus, bananas, carrots, rice and peanuts. A harbour was dredged and more boats were built.

Ruth Baldwin refused to live on Whale Cay as it was too primitive, and Joe bought her a second home near Miami. Joe had a new lover, Addison, also a masculine woman, who 'doped awfully'.

A guest on the island was Hugh Brooke, novelist, who wrote Saturday Island (filmed 1951) while living there. Together Joe and Hugh devised elaborate games for the guests. Joe would, as a prank, do drag as female icons such Salome or Cleopatra.

Friends and acquaintances from England came. They had a beach for every wind. The black employees were expected to keep to their own beach. Joe attempted to ban obeah on the island, but as he was seen with Wadley at his side, wherever he went, he was taken to be a practitioner.

In 1936 Joe's racing trophies were stolen from the house in Chelsea, where Ruth Baldwin still mainly lived. Ruth died a year later, of a suspected drug overdose.

That was the year that Joe parked his yacht on the French Riviera and first met and loved Marlene Dietrich.

In December 1937 a US yacht ran aground. The New York Times reported a 'girl garbed in men's clothing' who guided the US Coast Guard.

In 1938 Joe and Marlene rekindled their affair when Joe helped Marlene to buy a yacht. One night on the Riviera, invited to a formal dinner with Dietrich and soprano Grace Moore, Joe arrived inevitably in a tuxedo. The two women insisted that he change into a dress. Joe complied, but when they saw him so, they agreed that a tuxedo was the right way to dress.

The Bishop of Nassau came to dedicate the church on Whale Cay. Joe arranged for pistol shots to be fired outside his window at 1am, and was impressed that he never said anything about it.

Joe loved to dress up as a woman for parties in frumpy dresses and excessive makeup. He also liked to dress up as a doctor and play the part. But he also did set up a hospital on the island, and captained a ship round the Windward Islands so that the Red Cross could reach those who needed treatment.

Joe administered rough justice to the islanders. In particular, despite his own promiscuity, Joe disapproved of adultery, and those who were found out were usually banished from the island. In one case, in 1939 a man was horse-whipped and complained to the British government, who ruled that whoever owned an island in a dominion was effectively judge and jury. Joe insisted that all the islanders attend church each Sunday, and that they contribute into a health-care fund. He paid for and arranged the funeral of anyone who died on the island. New-born children were taken to Joe to be named. For several of the girls he gave the names Marion and Barbara that he had spurned for himself.

All the servants in Joe's house were men: "I like men. Most of my friends are ordinary men. I've never been frightfully fond of pansies, but manly men." The one pansy she did like being Reverend Julian Henshaw (1904-1951), the vicar of the island church, who was almost as outrageous as Joe, and had a fondness for young men.

Joe gave Marlene ownership of one of the beaches on Whale Cay. However their friendship went sour, partly because of Joe's French secretary who was hired as a companion for Dietrich's daughter and later dismissed, and a dispute over a gem-encrusted bracelet.

In December 1939 Joe gave a banquet for 1200 people in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, his first public appearance.

In 1940 the US author, Damon Runyon, wrote in his newspaper column about how a friend of his had landed his amphibious plane at Whale Cay:
"a short, stock-built dame came popping out of a house on the cay with a double-barrelled shotgun in her dukes and dull menace in her lovely orbs".
Edward Windsor, who had been King of the British Empire in 1936, before abdicating to marry a US divorcee, was open in his admiration of Nazi Germany. To get him out of the way, he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas in 1940 for the duration of the war. In January 1941, the Windsors made a formal visit to Whale Cay, which was featured in Life magazine, but again referring to Joe using the disliked name 'Betty'.
Gubernatorial visit, January 1941: Edward, Joe, Wallis, Julian (Wadley insert)

Dolly Wilde died 1941. After Ruth's death in 1937, Joe had started writing poetry. In 1940 and 1941, these and other poems were privately printed under the name of Hans Jacob Bernstein, a supposed Czechoslovakian refugee.
Joe in 1941

In August 1942 the US ship Potlatch was torpedoed, and Carstairs took one of his boats and rescued 47 sailors.

Gwen Farrar died in 1944, as did Mabs Jenkins who had done the world tour with Joe.
That year Joe took up flying. To obtain the licence he needed to supply his birth certificate, and finally discovered his mother's real name.

Erich Remarque, who had been with Marlene Dietrich when she met Joe, put him in his 1945 novel, Arch of Triumph, as a yachting captain, and of course as a man. (It was filmed 1948, and again 1985 but without the yachting captain character)

By 1945 Joe had finally finished paying off his British back taxes. He then applied for US Citizenship, and spent three years attempting to get permission to build a small-craft airport outside Miami.

Serge Voronoff died aged 85 in 1951, as did the Reverend Julian Henshaw who after a trip to Rome, returned with an advanced case of syphilis.

Joe started having aches and pains in his legs from the late 1950s. By the 1960s Joe found the islanders to be less subservient. Increasingly he was living in a houseboat in Miami. There is no record of any interaction of Joe with TAO which was active in Miami Beach at that time.

In 1975 he sold Whale Cay for just under $1 million. He bought a house in Miami and moved all the furniture from the house on Whale Cay. He also set up a display of photographs of all his girlfriends, 120 by this time. He spent the summers in Long Island.

By 1978 he had met a younger man, Hugh Harrison, aged about 60, and invited him to share his home, in Miami, and then in Naples, Florida. They had a cook and a maid, and as Joe's health failed, a series of nurses. Joe refused to take any medicines at all.

His favourite jacket was an English blazer, with a crest, that had been bought in the 1920s. Dietrich played a Miami concert, and Joe sought an audience, and they sort of had a reconciliation.

Bardie Coleclough had left her husband after the War, and, while living on an income from Joe, became a communist, a CND activist, a vegetarian and a Rolls-Royce enthusiast. She died, aged 89 in 1986.

Joe insisted that he was more manly than Hugh because Hugh was gay. When he needed waterproof underwear, he insisted on the male variety. However by this stage he had started regularly wearing foundation and lipstick. He died a few weeks short of his 94th birthday. Joe and Lord Wadley were cremated together.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Obviously Joe was not a feminist who advocated equal job opportunities and wages.

While sexually interested in women, and proud of his 120 conquests, he quickly tired of most of his lovers, and expressed a preference for male company.      Homosocial heterosexuality was very common among men of his generation.   Added to this was his assumption that he was more of a man in that he was not gay!

Joe did some good things for the inhabitants of his islands, but alwys things that he decided, and he imposed rules upon them that he did not conform to himself.

He was sufficiently comfortable in his masculinity that he was able to do reverse drag.

Apart from a few pioneers who happened to have the right connections or be in the right place at the right time, transgender surgery was not feasible, and less so for ftm until the 1960s at the earliest.   By then Joe was an old man suffering from arthritis.   In addition it was very much of his nature to refuse all and every medicine.   So he would not take male hormones.    Unlike Violette Morris he was naturally small-breasted and so did not need any top surgery.

Obviously Julian Henshaw did not catch syphilis in Rome as it takes some years to get to the tertiary stage.

Joe was frequently read.  After all he had been a famous speedboat competitor, and rumours sped about the lord of Whale Cay.

The February 1941 issue of Life, which featured Joe and the Windsors, also contained Henry Luce's essay, "The American Century".

11 August 2015

Joe Carstairs (1900 – 1993): Part II: powerboat racer

Part I: youth and war
Bibliography
Part II: powerboat racer
Part III: Lord of the island

The next year Joe commissioned the best motorboat that money could buy, a hydroplane from Samuel Saunders of East Cowes, Isle of Wight. Joe named the boat Gwen after his lover, Gwen Farrar. After the boat capsized and came up again, Joe reversed the name to Newg.

At the end of 1925, Joe and his girlfriend/secretary, Ruth Baldwin, took a skiing holiday in the Swiss Alps. Ruth bought for Joe a German leather doll, just over a foot high. Joe called it Lord Tod Wadley, and it stayed with him all his life, except for the boat races, in case they capsized. Joe and Ruth lived on different floors in a house in Chelsea, with a cook and a maid.

Saunders offered Joe the services of his chauffeur/mechanic, Joe Harris. The two Joes became devoted to each other and Harris rode as mechanic in almost all Carstairs' races over the next five years.

They took part in the Duke of York’s International Trophy, and in 1926 after most competitors had fallen out, the Newg's propeller was caught by a submerged rope, but Joe managed to cut the rope, and completed the course to win the trophy (a year earlier than Violet Morris' win in the motor racing Bol D'Or).

The press took to referring to Joe as "Betty", even though that was not his female name, and it was a name that he strongly disliked.

The two Joes also won the Royal Motor Yacht Club International Race, the Daily Telegraph Cup, the Bestise Cup and the Lucina Cup. On Lake Windermere Joe set a world record of 54.97 mph for a 1½ litre class boat.

In 1927 Joe commissioned Samuel Saunders to build three hydroplanes designed to be the fastest craft ever at a cost of £50,000. In a significant lapse of memory, Joe named the boats Estelle I, II and III after his mother Evelyn.

Estelle I sank on its first outing. Joe took Estelle II to Detroit to compete in the 1928 Harmsworth Cup. He posed for the local press. One newspaper wrote:
"A puzzler: Mannish: This picture you might accept as that of a male movie star, might you not? It isn't."
Another paper ignored what they saw and described Joe as
"the pretty English motor-boat racer".
The press copied their colleagues in England and insisted on referring to Joe as 'Betty'. The New York Times usualyy stuck with "Miss Marion Carstairs".

In the race both Joes were thrown into the water and had cracked ribs. Joe Carstairs went dancing that evening nevertheless.

Carstairs then set up his own boatyard in East Cowes with Joe Harris as chief engineer. Estelle IV was entered in the 1929 Harmsworth Cup but hit a log.

The trial for obscenity against Radcliffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness had been in November 1928, and 1929 saw both Victor Barker's trial for making a false statement on a marriage certificate and Violette Morris' failed legal case against the Fédération française de sports féminins. The tide was turning against masculine women.

At the 1930 Harmsworth Cup, the Estelle V set an American speed record, but broke down in the actual race. Carstairs had spent $500,000 attempting to win the Harmsworth Cup, but now conceded defeat.

Back in England, Joe contributed £10,000 towards a racing car for Malcolm Campbell which set a new land-speed record, and Campbell was knighted. Campbell described Joe Carstairs as
"the greatest sportsman I know".
Joe participated in a few more races, but without success. Carstairs provided Joe Harris an income in perpetuity, and attended his bedside when he lost his legs in old age.

Joe, Wadley and Mabs Jenkins, a manicurist, set out on a 15-month world tour. In India they both shot a panther. In Ceylon a man acted as batman to Joe and Mabs. He asked Joe's permission to marry, and Joe gave him a lifetime income.

On return Joe still built boats, but no longer for racing.

In 1933 he saw an advert in a US newspaper for the sale of an island in the Bahamas. In 1934 he bought Whale Cay for $40,000.

Additional reasons for a move were that Joe was having to face a large bill in England in that he had never paid any income tax, and that his relationship with Ruth Baldwin had broken down, and there was a growing hostility in the press.

"I want to be left alone" he was quoted, two years after Greta Garbo had used the phrase in Grand Hotel, 1932.


09 August 2015

Joe Carstairs: bibliography

Part I: youth and war
Bibliography
Part II: powerboat racer
Part III: Lord of the island

The key text is the book by Kate Summerscale, which I have high-lighted below.  Carstairs was a media personality from 1925 till at least 1945.   A quick search produced the rather long list of newspaper articles, but that is far from complete.  In particular the UK newspaper articles are missing.

There are a few oddities in Summerscale’s generally good book:
  1. she describes Beatrice Lillie as a celebrated male impersonator.  Lillie was a performer, and did some drag, but it was only a minor part of her repertoire.
  2. she identifies the Bahamas as British West Indies, but it is only part;
  3. she gives prices in the Bahamas in the 1930s in dollars but it used the pound until 1966.
  4. refers to the author of the novel Saturday Island, Hugh Brooke, as Tim Brooke.  Google this title and author name and you find only Summerscale’s book.  




However google Hugh Brooke and you find that he wrote the novel.

  • Serge Voronoff & Evelyn Bostwick. Accélération intensive du bourgeonnement des plaies par la pulpe testiculaire: Étude expérimentale faite a la station physiologique du Collège de France. Paris: A. Maloine et fils, 1919.
  • Serge Voronoff,, Evelyn Bostwick Voronoff, Édouard Retterer & Adolph Elwyn. Life; A Study of the Means of Restoring Vital Energy and Proloning Life. New York: E. P. Dutton & company, 1920.
  • "BRITISH RECORD CONFIRMED; Miss Carstairs Granted Mark of 39.7 Knots for 1 1/2 Litre Boats". New York Times, December 29, 1926.
  • "DETROIT REGATTA DRAWS EUROPEANS; France, England, Germany and Canada Will Send Speed Boats to Sept. 3-6 Races. MISS CARSTAIRS TO DRIVE Noted British Woman Pilot Will Handle Newg in 1 1/2-Litre Class -- News of Other Water Races". New York Times, July 10, 1927.
  • "SEA SPEED BOAT TEST SOON; Craft of Miss Carstairs for 90-Hour Atlantic Crossing Almost Ready". New York Times, February 28, 1928.
  • "OCEAN MOTOR BOAT BUILT.; Miss Carstairs Will Soon Test Craft for 60-Hour Crossing". New York Times, April 18, 1928.
  • "New British Boats Fastest in World: Miss Betty Carstairs Determined to Recapture Harmsworth Cup". The Globe, Jun 1 1928.
  • "MISS CARSTAIRS OUT, CUP RACE IN DOUBT; British Entry Withdraws From Harmsworth Trophy Speed Boat Test at Detroit. CHALLENGE CRAFT UNFIT "Will Not Uphold Prestige of Great Britain," Says Miss Carstairs --May Cancel Event". New York Times, July 22, 1928.
  • "MISS CARSTAIRS SAILS FOR AMERICA AUG 18; Announces Final Decision to Race Speedboat in International Races of Detroit". New York Times, August 11, 1928.
  • "BRITISH GIRL DRIVER ARRIVES FOR RACES; Miss Carstairs and Speedboat Ready for International Series at Detroit". New York Times, August 25, 1928.
  • "SAY ESTELLE IV CAN DO 105 MILES AN HOUR; British Hope Triple Screwed Speedboat Will Give Record to Miss Carstairs". New York Times, July 19, 1929.
  • "AGAIN BOOK ENTRY OF MISS CARSTAIRS; Detroit Officials Reinstate Challenger From England forHarmsworth Boat Trophy". New York Times, July 29, 1928.
  • "Miss Carstairs Out of Boat Race". New York Times, August 01, 1928.
  • "U.S.-BRITISH BOATS TO RACE AT DETROIT; Miss Carstairs, Challenger for Harmsworth Trophy, Decides Not to Withdraw. EAST CHESTER CLUB FORMED First Series of Outboard Races to Be Run Today--Greenwood Lake Regatta Also Takes Place Today". New York Times, August 05, 1928.
  • "Miss Carstairs on Way Here; Bringing Speed Boat for Race". New York Times, August 19, 1928.
  • "U.S.- BRITISH CRAFT TO RACE SATURDAY; Miss Carstairs and Her Speed Boat Ready for Harmsworth Trophy Series. U.S. BEATEN ONLY TWICE Successful Seven Times In International Event--America FirstChallenged In 1907. Challenger 21 Feet Long. Second Heat Sept". New York Times, August 26, 1928.
  • "Miss Carstairs in Detroit For Speedboat Title Race". New York Times, August 28, 1928.
  • "U.S. SPEEDBOAT TESTS GET UNDER WAY TODAY; Team to Be Picked to Race Miss Carstairs, British Challenger-- Gar Wood May Not Compete. Gar Wood May Not Race". New York Times, Aug 29, 1928.
  • "CARSTAIRS CRAFT SINKS DURING RACE; English Girl Saved in First Test for Harmsworth Trophy, Won by Miss America VII. HER MCHANIC BADLY HURT 150,000 See Mishap, Which Occurs When British Speedboat Is Leading at Detroit. Bosts Off to Flying Start. Wood's". New York Times, September 02, 1928.
  • "GREENING CAPTURES MOTOR BOAT TITLE; Canadian Takes North American Championship, Winning2d Straight Heat.MISS CARSTAIRS INJURED: Found to Have Suffered Two Fractured Ribs--Her Sunken Craft Is Located in Detroit River". New York Times, September 03, 1928.
  • "GAR WOOD RETAINS SPEEDBOAT TROPHY; Takes 2d Heat of Harmsworth Classic--Miss Los Angeles Is Capsized. MISS CARSTAIRS TO RETURN British Girl, Eliminated When Boat Sank in First Heat, Challenges Again. Yachting Body Gets Challenge. Miss Los Angeles Upsets". New York Times, September 04, 1928.
  • "$100,000 SPEED BOAT FOR MISS CARSTAIRS; Englishwoman Plans to Challenge Again for Harmsworth International Trophy.SECRETLY BUILDING RACERCraft to Have 3,000 Horsepower andDevelop 140-Mile-an-HourMaximum Speed". New York Times, April 05, 1929.
  • "'FASTEST' BOAT OFF FOR AMERICA TODAY; Miss Carstair's Estelle IV, Built Secretly at Cowes, to Be Shipped on Arabic. HAS THREE NAPIER ENGINES 105 Miles an Hour Expected of Craft Which Will Race at Detroit Next Month. Five Feet of Driving Room. Weight of Boat Five Tons". New York Times, July 20, 1929.
  • "'FASTEST' MOTORBOAT LAUNCHED AT COWES; Will Be Driven by Miss Carstairs in Harmsworth Trophy and Other U.S. Races". New York Times, July 17, 1929.
  • "Miss Carstairs's Speedboat Reaches Canada From England". New York Times, July 30, 1929.
  • "Boat Which Miss Carstairs Will Race in U.S. Has 3,400-Pound Hull, 3 Engines of 1,000 H.P.". New York Times, August 01, 1929.
  • "MISS CARSTAIRS HERE TO RACE SPEED BOAT; British Motor Pilot Will Oppose Gar Wood Craft at Detroit on Labor Day". New York Times, August 02, 1929.
  • "on Shrewsbury River, Aug. 24 and 25, Attract Some Noted Speed Boats. SECRECY VEILS ESTELLE IV Reputed to Have Cost Miss Carstairs $100,000 to Build--NewRules for President's Cup". New York Times, August 11, 1929.
  • "Fourth Speed Boat Is Entered For Harmsworth Trophy Event". New York Times, August 26, 1929.
  • "ESTELLE IV AT RACE SCENE.; British Speedboat Is Lowered Into the Detroit River". New York Times, August 27, 1929.
  • "One of Motors of Estelle IV Removed; Boat Overpowered". New York Times, August 28, 1929.
  • "MISS CARSTAIRS TESTS SPEEDBOAT; Makes Fast Run in Estelle IV and Expresses Delight at Its Speed". New York Times, August 29, 1929.
  • "ENGLISH SPEEDBOAT DAMAGED IN TRIAL; Miss Carstairs's Estelle IV Has Shaft Torn Loose Speeding 60 Miles an Hour. TO REPAIR BOAT AT ONCE Snoddy, Stricken With Typhoid Fever, Forced to Withdraw From the Race". New York Times, August 30, 1929.
  • "HARMSWORTH RACE AT DETROIT TODAY; Four Speed Boats to Engage in First Test of Classic Before Crowd of 150,000. DECIDING RACE ON MONDAY Estelle IV, British Boat, Is Ready After Accident--New World's Record Is Expected. Has Shown Its Speed. How Craft are Painted All Boats Go Well". New York Times, August 31, 1929.
  • "CRAFT DISABLED Miss Carstairs Leaves Course and Is Disqualified From the Harmsworth Trophy Series. MISS LOS ANGELES IS OUT Motors Fall and She Is Ordered Off --Victor Sets Mark and Wins by 12 Inches. Out of the Series. Miss Carstairs Out First. Race Starts". New York Times, September 01, 1929.
  • "Six Foreign Boats Will Seek Harmsworth Trophy Next Year". New York Times, September 03, 1929.
  • "MISS AMERICA VIII WINS AND SETS MARK; Gar Wood's Speedboat Takes Final Harmsworth Trophy Heat on Detroit River. AVERAGE SPEED IS 75.287 Miss America VII Second, Estelle IV Third, Los AngelesLast Over 30 Miles. 500,000 AT THE REGATTA See Wood's Two Boats Leave Britishand Coast Entry Far Behind in Classic Event. Has Twin Packard Motors. Conditions Were Ideal.". New York Times, September 03, 1929.
  • "Entry in Harmsworth Trophy Event. 5 BOATS EXPECTED IN RACE Prince Ruspoli of Italy and Miss Carstairs Will Also Challenge Gar Wood Craft Here. Miss Carstairs to Build Boat. Marquis to Accompany Prince". New York Times, November 27, 1929.
  • "Speed-Boat Record Is Aim of Miss Carstairs, Who is Working on Design of New Craft". New York Times, December 10, 1929.
  • "DEATH TO BRANCH OF TREE; Experts Reveal Waterlogged Limb Was Picked Up on Speedboat's Path. SPEED 119.6 MILES AN HOUR Betty Carstairs, Undaunted by the Disaster, Sails to Race for England at Detroit Girl Racer Is Undaunted". New York Times, June 15, 1930.
  • "Miss Carstairs, Here for Speed Boat Races, Says It Will Be Her Last Harmsworth Effort". New York Times, June 22, 1930.
  • "Players of the Game; Miss Marion B. Carstairs--Speed Boat Racer Is Building Three-Master. Drove Ambulance in War. Lived in New York City. Harmsworth Trophy Her Aim. Will Drive Estelle IV. Enjoys Being a Sailor". New York Times, June 23, 1930.
  • "Contest to Get Under Way at 1 P.M. From Colonial Club. LOYNES GOLD CUP ENTRANT Has Entered Speed Boat Californian --Miss Carstairs to Begin Tests Next Week. Keen Battle for Gold Cup. To Have Two Napier Motors". New York Times, June 29,1930.
  • "Miss Carstairs Drives Boat 70 Miles an Hour in Cup Test". New York Times, July 05, 1930.
  • "Miss Carstairs's Craft Goes 80 Miles an Hour in Test". New York Times, July 12, 1930.
  • "Miss Carstairs Drives Boat At 90 Miles an Hour in Canada". New York Times, July 15, 1930.
  • "90 AN HOUR SPEED BY MISS CARSTAIRS; British Hope for Harmsworth Trophy Races Sends Estelle IV Through Trial. MANY BOATS LINE COURSE Pleasure Craft on Lake at Gravenhurst Handicap Test--Performance Considered Satisfactory". New York Times, July 17, 1930.
  • "Miss Carstairs to Seek Record; Hopes to Go 100 Miles an Hour". New York Times, August 03, 1930.
  • "Miss Carstairs Speeds 94.5 An Hour With the Estelle V". New York Times, August 14, 1930.
  • "HARMS WORTH RACE STARTS SATURDAY; Wood to Defend Famous Trophy Against Miss Carstairs, English Challenger. GREAT CROWD IS EXPECTED Each Entrant Will Have Two Speed Boats--Regatta Off Detroit to Continue Through Sept. 2. Wood Taking No Chances. Drivers". New York Times, August 24, 1930.
  • "HARMSWORTH RACE AT DETROIT TODAY; Gar Wood's 3 Miss Americas to Start Defense of Trophy Against Miss Carstairs. EXPECT 90 AN HOUR SPEED British Challenger to Drive the Estelle IV--Also Represented by the Estelle V". New York Times, August 30, 1930.
  • "WOOD WINS 1ST HEAT IN SPEED BOAT RACE; Finishes 2 Miles in Front of Miss Carstairs in Harmsworth Trophy Event. GEORGE WOOD IS SECOND English Girl, Driving Estelle IV, Trails, but Keeps On--200,000 Witness Contest.ESTELLE V IS FORCED OUT Victor at Wheel". New York Times, August 31, 1930.
  • "HARMS WORTH RACE CONTINUES TODAY; Miss Carstairs, With One Boat Left, Has Almost Impossible Task Against Wood. TWO RACERS IN MISHAPS Phantom Overturns and Miss Britain 1 Has Engine Trouble in Event for 5 -Liter Craft. Hawker Passed Gar Wood. Patrol Boat". New York Times, September 01, 1930.
  • "BOAT FORCED OUT Hawker at the Wheel in Place of Miss Carstairs, Who Sees Race From Stands. GEORGE WOOD IS SECOND Phil, Third Brother of Famous Family, Finishes Third, Two Miles Behind. Miss Carstairs a Spectator. Wood Soon Draws Away. Scott-Payne's Craft". New York Times, September 02, 1930.
  • "DON WILL COMPETE IN ITALIAN REGATTA; Miss Carstairs Also to Drive in Cup Test in May--Wood Decides Not to Enter". New York Times, April 12, 1931.
  • "Miss Carstairs Just Escapes Serious Injury as Boat Sinks". New York Times, July 24, 1931.
  • "Miss Carstairs Arrives". New York Times, August 22, 1931.
  • "Betty Carstairs Buys Isle, To Flee From British Taxes". New York Times, Sept 28, 1934.
  • "Miss Carstairs, Here, Silent on Buying Isle; But British Racer Admits She is Retiring and Going to Whale Cay in the Bahanas". New York Times, October 06, 1934.
  • "Betty Carstairs Gets Aid to Yacht; Radio Station on the Former Speedboat Racer's Bahamian Isle Intercepts S O S". New York Times, December 09, 1937.
  • Molly Coleclough. Women's Legion, 1916-1920, etc. With plates, including portraits. Spearman, 1940.
  • "Betty Carstairs' Island: Racing Queen Rules her Private Bahama". Life, 17 Feb 1941: 66-71. Online.
  • "Raps Whale Cay legend: Bahamian Says Betty Carstairs' Rule Exaggerated". The Montreal Gazette, Sep 5, 1941: 9. Online.
  • "Chicago Sailor's Saga Of 32 Days On A Life Raft". Chicago Tribune, August 15, 1942. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1942/08/15/page/9/article/chicago-sailors-saga-of-32-days-on-a-life-raft.
  • "Speedboat Star Operates War-Essential Cargo Fleet". The Globe and Mail, May 22, 1944.
  • Erich Maria Remarque. Arch of Triumph. Appleton-Century, 1945.
  • "Miss Carstairs Files First Papers". New York Times, October 21, 1945.
  • "The Love Lives of Marlene Dietrich". Confidential Magazine, 3,3, July 1955: 21-5. www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Marlene_Dietrich_Lesbian_pdf.
  • Peter Heaton. Yachting: A Pictorial History. Viking Press, 1973: 92.
  • Barbara Grier & Coletta Reid. Lesbian Lives: Biographies of Women from the Ladder. Diana Press, 1976: 104-5.
  • Maria Riva,. Marlene Dietrich. Ballantine Books, 1994: 485.
  • Kate Summerscale. The Queen of Whale Cay. London: Fourth Estate 248 pp 1997.
  • Diana McLellan. The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood. LA Weekly Books, 2000: 233, 245-6, 253, 256, 290, 355.
  • Joan Schenkar. Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde, Oscar's Unusual Niece. Basic Books, 2000: 86-8, 129, 237, 296, 410.
  • Terry Castle. "If Everybody had a Wadley" in Boss Ladies, Watch Out!: Essays on Women, Sex and Writing. Routledge, 2002: 215-224.
  • James P Barry. American Powerboats: The Great Lakes' Golden Years 1882-1984. Motorbooks, 2003: 31, 33, 34, 36.
  • Kevin Desmond. Race Against the Odds: The Tragic Success Story of "Miss England II". Sigma Leisure, 2004: 17, 41, 89, 96.
  • John Harding. "Shingled Girl Beats German" in Sailing's Strangest Moments: Extraordinary But True Stories From Over Nine Hundred Years of Sailing. Anova Books, 2004:
  • Bruce Cumings. Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power. Yale University Press, 2010: 498.
  • Kathryn Livingston. Lilly: Palm Beach, Tropical Glamour, and the Birth of a Fashion Legend. Wiley, 2012: 43-4,47.  About Joe's cousin, Lilly Pulitzer. 
  • Roy Calley. The World Water Speed Record: The Fast and the Forgotten. Amberley, 2014:
  • "Duke of York Trophy". Fast On Water. www.fastonwater.co.uk/duke-of-york-trophy.html.
EN.Wikipedia     glbtq    LGBThistoryUK

07 August 2015

Joe Carstairs/Tuffy de Pret (1900 – 1993): Part I: youth and war

Part I: youth and war
Bibliography
Part II: powerboat racer
Part III: Lord of the island

Jabez Bostwick (1830-1892) of New York was the Secretary of Standard Oil (ruled to be an illegal monopoly in 1911) and, along with his partners the Rockefellers, became very rich. He and his wife, Nellie, had two daughters and a son (genealogical tree).

The younger daughter, Frances Evelyn (1872-1921) mainly lived in England and eventually had 4 husbands: the first was Captain Albert Joseph Carstairs of the Royal Irish Rifles, the legal father of Marion Barbara Carstairs, born 1900. The Captain disappeared shortly after the daughter's birth.

In 1903 Evelyn married her second husband, Captain Francis Francis, with whom she had Evelyn and Francis Francis Jrs. Five-year-old Marion was thrown from a bolting camel at London Zoo, and afterwards renamed herself 'Tuffy'. She would later say
"I was never a little girl. I came out of the womb queer."
At age eight, Tuffy was caught stealing her step-father's cigars, and seeking to punish her by making her sick, Francis Francis, Sr, ordered her to sit down and smoke one, which, already being an accomplished smoker, she did with no problem.

Evelyn, dependent on alcohol and heroin, was variable as a mother. She fired a nanny for being too close to Marion. Even as a child Tuffy loved boats and had her own dinghy. At age eleven, she was put on an ocean liner bound for New York, and had been enrolled in Low-Haywood, then a girls' boarding school in Stamford, Connecticut. Tuffy loved the school uniform and used her pocket money to buy boys' clothes, a hobby shared by her room-mate.

In 1915 Evelyn married Count Roger de Perigny, a sub-lieutenant in the 19th French Dragoons. To his stepdaughter's delight he treated her as a boy, adapted his racing car so that she could drive it, offered her cigars, introduced her to his mistresses, and even took her to a Parisian brothel.

At age 16, using Nellie Bostwick's influence, Tuffy went to Paris as a ambulance driver for the American Red Cross, arriving shortly before the US joined the war. Tuffy had an affair with Dolly Wilde, niece of Oscar. Dolly was a popular member of the expatriate lesbian scene on the Left Bank dominated by Natalie Barney, but Tuffy was left at the periphery.

In 1917 Evelyn met Serge Voronoff (1866-1951) who rejuvenated old men by transplanting monkey glands and who briefly inspired Harry Benjamin. Evelyn became his laboratory assistant and financial investor, and by dint of this, the first woman admitted to the Collège de France. With Evelyn's money, Voronoff was able to continue his research despite the skepticism of the medical establishment.

In 1918 Evelyn summoned her daughter to her rooms at the Paris Majestic Hotel, told her that she knew that she was a lesbian: "If you don't do what I want you to, just walk out that door". "Thank you, mother", said Marion, and walked out. However, later that year, she married a childhood friend, Comte Jacques de Pret, and they split the $10,000 dowry. They then parted amicably, non consummatum.

The War over, the Comtesse de Pret, as she now was, went to Dublin and joined the Women's Legion Mechanical Transport Section which served as drivers to British officers. The Comtesse was referred to as Tuffy de Pret, and took up with the Coleclough sisters, Bardie and Molly. She cut her hair short (and kept it so for the rest of her life). She also took to wearing men's boots and puttees.

In 1919 as the Irish Independence War (Cogadh na Saoirse) was beginning, a dozen of the drivers, including de Pret, volunteered for work in northern France clearing battlefields, burying the dead, driving troops, labourers and prisoners-of-war. They did their own repairs. They became friends with Joan MacKern who had been driving under fire since 1917. They worked alongside the remnant of the Chinese Labour Corps who had been recruited after China entered the war in 1917.

Tuffy completed his transition to Joe, wearing only male clothes, including a beret, which he continued to wear throughout the twenties. "Joe” was his father's middle name, but he claimed not to know that.

The four were demobilised on 23 April 1920. On arrival in London Joe took them to the theatre, and put them up in a hotel. Four days later Joe's grandmother Nellie Bostwick died aged 77, leaving an estate of $30 million (over $350 million in today’s money). Until the will was executed, Joe had no money, and for the only time in his life, had to work for income. However his inheritance income was $145,000 in 1921 and $200,000 in 1922 (this at a time when the average male wage was less than £2 a week or £100 a year). Joe, Molly, Bardie and Joan set up a chauffeuring business in London, The X Garage, based in Kensington, and they lived in the flat above. They bought 'a handful' of Daimler landaulettes.

Later in 1920 Evelyn and Serge married. That year her English translation of his Life: a means of restoring vital energy and prolonging life was published in New York by Dutton. Evelyn died aged 48 in March 1921. Carstairs would always maintain that Voronoff had murdered her and arranged for a doctor friend to sign a death certificate saying 'natural causes'.

Following Evelyn's death, the marriage with Jacques de Pret was annulled, and Joe changed his legal surname back to Carstairs by deed poll.

The X Garage prospered, driving clients all over Europe and North Africa. The fashion in the 1920s was for women to be boyish in their dress and hairstyle. This of course suited Joe who took it further than most: navy-blue jackets, ties, cufflinks, dinner jackets, the extra wide Oxford Bags. A barber came regularly to Joe's home to crop his hair. His suits and jackets were from the best men's tailors.

He was frequently seen at the best parties. He would pose, three fingers inside his jacket pocket, thumb and little finger outside. He imitated photographs of Rudolph Valentino. He usually posed with a cigarette, and sometimes a pipe or cigar, but said that it was merely for effect: that he never inhaled.

Joe liked impersonations and disguises. He turned up at the house of his lover, variety star and horsewomen, Gwen Farrar, as a workman and plastered the front with posters; he arrived at the flat of Norah Blaney, Gwen's stage partner, and examined all the light fittings before being rumbled. He had a brief affair with Tallulah Bankhead when when she was the darling of the London stage in 1923.

Joe bought and developed a secluded estate near the Coleclough farm in Hampshire, which he named Bostwick. He bought a yacht, Sonia, and became so proficient that by 1924 he was winning yachting prizes.

Both Nellie's and Evelyn's wills were settled. Francis Francis Sr, Voronoff and Joe had contested Evelyn's. Voronoff received all the income from the residue of the estate, $325,000 a year, to be redistributed between Joe, Sally and Francis Jr on his death.
___________________________________________________________

Probably just as well that Frances Evelyn Bostwick preferred to be known as Evelyn, given that she married Francis Francis.   However Evelyn Waugh’s first wife was Evelyn Gardner – a marriage that lasted only one year.

Joe avoided his birth name of Marion although it was/is a unisex name: note especially Marion Morrison who acted under the stage name of John Wayne.

Evelyn died at age 48, an early age even in the 1920s.   However we should remember her heroin habit.   Also her sister Nellie died age 38, and her brother Albert aged 35.   See genealogical tree. So she was actually the survivor.   On the other hand Joe lived to be 93, and Albert’s two children lived to be 101 and 79.

The key text for the life of Joe Carstairs is Kate Summerscale's The Queen of Whale Cay, 1997.    As you may deduce from her title, she regards Carstairs as an eccentric woman.  Although she mainly refers to him as Joe rather than Marion, she persists in using female pronouns and nowhere in the book raises the question whether Joe should be regarded as a trans man.    In this period, and until after the Second World War, there was no clear distinction between lesbian and trans.   They were both types of 'inverts' - a term that Summerscale does not use.    Some inverts designated others, ones that they did identify with - for example for being working class - as perverts.   To some extent inverts were regarded as having been born that way, and perverts as having been corrupted, as having made a sort of choice.    Actually things have not changed that much.

To simplify a little, we can identify three groups of female trans persons.   There were the working class ones, often referred to as 'female husbands' (although not all took wives).    Some feminist writers deny that these persons were trans, and maintain that they transvested only to earn a man's wage.   However many of  these lived as men outside work and stayed in the role for many decades.   Generally they passed, even without any access to male hormones (which did not become avialable until the 1940s).  They had to - otherwise they would lose their jobs.  A good book on these is Alison Oram's Her Husband was a Woman!, 2007.  Some examples that we have already discussed are Ernest Wood, Harold Lloyd, Michael Johnson

Secondly there were upper-class lesbians, some of them fabulously rich, who played with gender.   Some of these are famous:  Natalie Barney, Dolly Wilde, John Radcliffe Hall, Colette.   Transvestism was a game.   And in the early 1920s women wearing men's clothes became the height of fashion, for those who were rich enough to follow fashions - that is, not for serving maids, mill girls or shop girls.   See Laura Doan's Fashioning Sapphism, 2001, for a good account of this fashion.   This group did not need to pass, and usually were seen as women in men's clothes.   They did not need to worry about laws against transvestity for they were rich and had special privileges.

The interaction between the female husbands and the rich lesbians was almost nil.  Unlike amongst gay men it was not the done thing to take a lover from the lower classes.

Thirdly we can also pick out, not a group because they did not network, but individuals who were not simply transvestites, but took their masculinity much more seriously.   We have already discussed Mathilde de Morney, Madelaine Pelletier, Violette Morris.  These persons, like the female husbands, stayed in a masculine role for decades, but were either professionals or had inherited wealth.   One wants to label them as trans men avant le lettre, but annoyingly (to us) they did not take a masculine name - thus when I wrote about them I decided, with reservations, to stick with female pronouns.    Joe Carstairs has much more in common with de Morney, Pelletier and Morris than he does with Barney, Wilde, Hall and Colette.   And he took a male name.  Each of the four made their own way through life without any trans role model to follow.   They were real pioneers.   Of these only Carstairs lived beyond the Second World War into an era when surgical ftm operations became available.  But he was quite old then, and set in his ways.

In watching de Morney, Pelletier, Morris and Carstairs we are watching the social construction of 'trans man' emerge from its birth pangs.

In Jack Judith Halberstam's Female Maculinity, 1998, he pretty much ignores the working class female husbands and under that term mainly discusses the aristocratic Gentleman Jack (Anne) Lister.   He also discusses the rich lesbian transvestites of the 1920s such as Radcliffe Hall, but has almost nothing to say about de Morney, Pelletier, Morris and Carstairs.   


04 August 2015

Kokkorn Benjathikoon โกโก้ กกกร เบญจาธิกูล (1969 - ) model, actress.

Kokkorn is well known in Thailand as a model for soaps.

She acted in the two สตรีเหล็ก (Satree lek - Iron Ladies) films, 2001 and 2003 about a winning gay/trans volleyball team (based on a real team that did win in 1996).

Kokkorn also performs in cabaret.

She became married in December 2006 to a photographer whom she first met when he came to take pictures of the first Iron Ladies film. and in 2009 she issued a pocket book about her wedding.
  • “Gokgorn Benjathikul”. Lorna’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. http://tgmedia.enacre.net/lorna_lynne/benja.html.No Longer Available 
  • โกโก้ กกกร เบญจาธิกูล. ฉันได้แต่งงานแล้วค่ะ(Finally I got married). 2551(2009)
ladeez-b    IMDB    EN.Wikipedia(The Iron Ladies)   GoldenScene    

01 August 2015

Bahram Mir-djalali (1939 – ) surgeon.

Dr Bahram Mir-djalali  is a surgeon in Tehran.  He trained in Paris and in Belgium.

He had done over 320 sex-change operations in the 12 years to 2005, far more than he would have done in Europe, partly because of Iran’s total ban on homosexuality. He does the more complex vaginoplasty building from an intestinal graft.

He has now done over 1,000 operations, over 90% mtf. Up to half the cost is covered by charities with approval of the state. However, despite the official acceptance of gender change by the Iranian government and clergy, social acceptance is low. Dr Mir-djalali estimates that fully one third of his patients opt for suicide sooner or later.
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