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!

28 May 2016

Michel Seghers (1932 – 2014) sex-change surgeon

Michel Seghers qualified as a doctor at the Catholic University of Luvain in 1957. As an alternative to Belgian military service he did a three-year medical internship in the then Belgian Congo, first on a sugar cane plantation, and then at the University of Lovanian in Léopoldville (renamed Kinshasha in 1966), which was affiliated with the his alma mater. His wife was with him, and as it happened each of their three children would be born on different continents.

From 1962 he worked for a year in Cincinnati, USA, where he gained experience in plastic surgery at the Christ and Children’s Hospital. He accepted a position at the University of Léopoldville in 1963 where he did plastic and reconstructive surgery, but returned to Brussels in 1966 during the instability with the change of government that resulted in Mobutu Sese Seko coming to power.

In October 1967 Peggy Wijnen died of a blood clot shortly after transgender surgery. Her surgeon, Andre Fardeau, was charged with inflicting fatal blows and wounds with premeditation and willingly but without intent to kill, but died during the trial. This attracted Segher’s attention, and shortly afterwards a French psychiatrist introduced him to a patient who lived and passed as female and had attempted suicide several times in despair. Seghers studied the literature, and realized that he was the only hope for the patient. The operation at St Joseph’s Hospital was successful, and afterwards Seghers communicated the facts to the Belgian Society for Plastic Surgery.

There was another Belgian surgeon who was known for attempting to build extra-large vaginas and ended up with vagina-rectal fistulae. Against this background, two of Seghers’ early patients requested penectomy and orchiectomy only, that is without a vagina.

At his clinic first at St Joseph’s Hospital and then from March 1991 at Avenue de Broqueville 60, Brussels (map) he performed over 1,600 mtf genital operations, and some ftm top surgery. He generally insisted that a patient be 21 or older, but did the operation on a younger US girl who was accompanied by her mother.

In 1988 a registered nurse from the US, Michelle Hunt, herself trans, stayed on in Brussels after her operation. She met Dr Seghers’ US patients at the airport, and took them to his office. She also toured trans groups in the US, and made appointments for surgery where appropriate. However she held back the name of the surgeon to protect him from enquiry letters which generated criticism. In Fall 1993 there was conflict between Michelle Hunt and the Ingersoll Gender Center in that their respective booklets on Dr Seghers' services were similar.

Dr Seghers retired in 2001. He died at age 82.


Patients include:
patient of French psychiatrist, early 1970s
Maud Marin, 1974
Yeda Brown, 1975
Veronica Jean Brown, 1985 – doesn’t give Seghers’ name.
Michelle Duff, 1987
Michelle Hunt, 1988
April, 1991, arrived with a bout of the flu. Had to come back at a later date.
Lechane Bezuidenhout, 1992
Christine White, 1993
Rusty Mae Moore, Chelsea Goodwin, 1995
Karine Espineira, 1998
Catrina Day, 1999
Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet

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Veronica Jean Brown assured her readers that Dr Seghers is "American trained'.   Well he did one year in Cincinatti.   He did six years in Zaire.   So 'Zaire trained' would be more descriptive.   This is actually very relevant.   He got a lot of experience reconstructing bodies that had been serously damaged by war and violence.   That kind of training makes a good surgeon.   Other sex-change surgeons who learned their skill in war zones include: David Wesser (Vietnam War),  Stanley Biber (Korean War), Howard Jones (WWII), Georges Burou (WWII), Harold Gillies (WWI & WWII).

26 May 2016

Jesus used unisex toilets

Certain parts of the US seem to have gone nuts about toilets.   The opponents against trans persons being allowed to use toilets seem to base their claim on something in their religion.

I am not aware of any injunctions or even any mention of toilets in the Christian testament, and I don’t see any being cited in newspaper articles on the controversy.

I have a friend who was a professor of Classics (the study of Greco-Roman antiquity).   He informed me about Roman public toilets.   They had running water to carry away the human waste, and patrons sat on commodes much like the ones that we use.  The important difference was that the room was was open-space.   No division into cubicles; you could see the person next to you   And the toilets were not gender segregated.  So the next person might be a man, might be a woman, might be a gallus (trans).  You can see such such toilets in the Rome television series of a few years ago. 

Nazareth is/was a village just outside the Greco-Roman city of Sepphoris.   A carpenter from Nazareth would inevitably have gone to Sepphoris for work, and Sepphoris would have had Roman toilets.

Think that through:

Jesus used unisex toilets.

Pass it on.

24 May 2016

Frederik Vilhelm Schmidt (1845 – 1936) orphanage head, inmate

Frederikke Vilhelmine Møller, the daughter of a metal worker was raised in Copenhagen. Her father died in 1856, and she was raised by her grandparents. At age 20, working as a maid, Vilhelmine was jailed for stealing food for her impoverished mother and four small siblings.

From there she joined the congregation of Pastor Rudolph Frimodts, and was later employed at the new Godthaab orphanage in Frederiksberg.

In 1881 Vilhelmine Møller was appointed head of the Kana boys’ home. She was respected for her modern opinions on child rearing, and she was published in many magazines. In 1889 at the first public meeting of Kvindevalgretsforeningen – KVF (the Female Suffrage Association) 1500 women voted Møller onto the board.

On 28 February 1893 16-year-old Volmer Sjøgren (born 1878), one of Møller’s wards, died in bed after a birthday party. He was about to leave the home and take up an apprenticeship as a metal worker in Copenhagen. The doctor listed the cause of death as a blood clot and Volmer was buried.

However his roommate, Louis, told his mother that Matron Møller often called Volmer to share her bed. The mother contacted the chairman of the Kana board. The chairman dismissed the insinuation as ludicrous, but when he told Møller of the claim, she lost composure, collapsed and was admitted to hospital. After discharge she was interviewed by the police, who found her explanations inconsistent. She confessed to a five-year affair with Volmer, but denied killing him. The police exhumed his body but found no evidence of foul play.

At Easter Vilhelm attended religious services in prison, and then confessed that she had killed Volmer by adding a sedative to his fruit juice and then suffocated him in his bed, fearing that after leaving the home, he would disclose their relationship. The district judge wondered about Møller’s large and stocky figure and her deep voice, and finally asked her directly if she were a man. This she adamantly denied.

She was then examined by professor Stadfeldt who decided that Møller was not a woman, not a hermaphrodite, but a man. Møller was put into men’s clothing and transferred to the men’s prison at Christianshavn. Here he wrote an autobiography, in which he describes himself as Dobbeltmennesket (a double person). Further examination established genital ‘abnomalities’. It came out that Møller had also had sexual relations with an assistant, a young widow called Mackwitz. Such was Møller’s reputation as devout and respectable that Mackwitz was suspected of corrupting her boss. She was arrested, but released after two months.

Møller’s defense was based on the personal suffering and social circumstances of living in a false gender role. Møller’s mother testified that as her baby’s penis was so small, she thought that she had a daughter. However on 4 March 1894, under the male name of Vilhelmi Møller, he was condemned to death. The Supreme Court upheld this verdict 22 June. On 21 July Møller’s sentence was commuted by King Christian IX to hard labour for life. The next year, a Dr Stilhoff analysed the documents and published an account in a medical journal.

After eleven years, Vilhelmi Møller was released from Vridsløselille prison. In December 1905, Møller married Agnes Larsen (1858 - 1925) who had been a warder in the women’s prison where Møller had first been held, and had kept in touch by correspondence. He found work in the office of the lawyer who had defended him.

In 1907 Vilhelmi Møller changed his legal name to Frederik Vilhelm Schmidt.

He died aged 91 in Vangede, a suburb of Copenhagen.

In 2005 Karen Søndergaard Jensens published a novel Dobbeltmennesket about the life of Frederik Schmid.
  • H. Stilhoff. “Et Tilfaelda afmandlig Hermafroditisme (Kanasagen)”. Bibliotekfor Laeger, 6, 1896:210-234.
  • Karin Lützen. “La Mise en discours and Silences on the History of Sexuality” in Richard G. Parker & John H Gagnon. Conceiving Sexuality: Approaches to Sex Research in a Postmodern World. Routledge, 1994:38-9.
  • Karen Søndergaard Jensen. Dobbeltmennesket: Frederikke Vilhelmine Møller. Allerød: Kallisto, 2005. Webpage.
  • Else Cederborg. A World of Weird Truths and Truthful Weirdnesses. Authorhouse, 2011:96-7.
  • Sabine Meyer. 'Wie Lili zu einem richtigen Mädchen wurde': Lili Elbe: Zur Konstruktion von Geschlecht und Identität zwischen Medialisierung, Regulierung und Subjektivierung. "Wie Lili Zu Einem Richtigen Mädchen Wurde". [s.l.]: transcript, 2015: 16-7.
DA.Wikipedia   Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet     Dengang

17 May 2016

Adolf Butenandt (1903 – 1995) hormone chemist

Adolf Butenandt was raised in Lehe, near Bremerhaven, the son of a businessman. The first from his family to go to university, he studied chemistry at Marburg and Göttingen, and graduated PhD from the latter in 1927. He was politically active from 1925 in the Jungdeutscher Orden, a party then opposed to the rising Nazi Party. His thesis was supervised by Adolf Windaus who was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize for work on sterols.

From 1927 until 1930 he was Scientific Assistant at the Institute of Chemistry, Göttingen. He and his assistant Erika von Ziegner worked with the pharmaceutical company Schering AG, which collected human pregnancy urine, and then mare’s urine. They isolated the estrogen hormone oestrone in pure, crystalline form, almost at the same time that E.A. Doisy did this in the US. Erika and Adolf married in 1931, Erika giving up her career, but raising five daughters and two sons.

From 1931 until 1933 Adolf was Privatdozent in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Göttingen and acting Head of the laboratories for organic and inorganic chemistry. Schering AG had an arrangement with the Berlin police to make daily deliveries of men’s urine totalling over 17,000 litres. Butenandt and Kurt Tscherning distilled this and obtained 50 mg of androsterone, in pure, crystalline form.which they found to have a chemical formula very similar to oestrone.

From 1933 Butenandt was Professor of Chemistry at Danzig Institute of Technology, where he succeeded in isolating Progesterone in the female ovary in 1934. This was partly financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, as was his two-month trip in 1935 to Canada and the US, where he met all of the major North American scientists in his field. Shortly after his return to Germany he was offered a chair at Harvard University, which he declined.

In 1936 it was requested that Butenandt join the Nazi party, and the same day that he did so, he also became director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biochemistry in Berlin. His predecessor, Carl Neuberg, who was Jewish, was dismissed for that reason alone. From androsterone Butenandt obtained testosterone in 1939, a compound which had been first obtained from the testes in 1935 by Ernst Laqueur. By 1938, based on Butenandt’s pioneering work, scientists at Schering AG, Hans Herloff Inhoffen and Walter Hohlweg, synthesized ethinyl estradiol – this was approved by the FDA in the US in June 1943, and became the basis of the vast majority of birth control pills and hormone therapy into the 21st century.

In January 1938 word reached England that Schering had applied for a patent on ethinyl estradiol. A team under Charles Dodds at the Courtald Institute of Biochemistry at the Middlesex Hospital (where Hans Inhoffen had worked a few years earlier) combined with a team under Robert Robinson at Oxford. A crash program led to the synthesis of Diethylstilbestrol (DES). A chemist on Dodd’s staff, Wilfred Lawson, developed a formulation, and Leon Golberg, an Oxford student performed the actual synthesis. Dodds published the formula in Nature. It was not patented but given away, and quickly produced by over 300 pharmaceutical companies, thus depriving Schering AG of royalties.

Butenandt was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with the Croatian-Swiss Leopold Ružička for work on sex hormones. Richard Kuhn from Heidelberg had been awarded the 1938 prize for his work on vitamins. Otto Hahn was awarded the 1944 prize for his work on nuclear disintegration. All three Germans were obliged to decline the prize by the Nazi government which objected that Carl von Ossietsky, a German Jew, convicted of treason and held in a concentration camp, had been awarded the 1935 Peace Prize.

Butenandt was a staff physician of the Luftwaffe from 1942, and helped develop a hormonal solution to counter sudden drops in pressure at high altitudes. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer was director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology. He believed that blood could be analysed to determine race. He was the supervisor of Josef Mengele who supplied non-consensual blood samples from over 200 inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The blood was analysed by a member of the Biochemistry Institute. Historians have discussed to what extent Butenandt knew that the blood was taken from concentration camp inmates. In addition, selected inmates at Auschwitz were fed liquid estrogen. It was simply poured into the daily soup. The women stopped menstruating, and the men lost their sex drive.

Butenandt was awarded the Kriegsverdienstkreuz (War Merit Cross) Second Class in 1942, and First Class in 1943. To escape the allied air raids, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biochemistry was transferred to Tübingen in 1944. Butenandt became Professor of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Tübingen, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was lodged with the Institute of Physiological Chemistry there.

From the end of the war until June 1947, Butenandt was listed as wanted in the US occupation zone, but he was treated as a Nobel Laureate in the French zone which included Tübingen. As early as La Roche pharmaceutical company. In 1946 he visited Paris and met with the Académie de Médecine. In September 1948 he was offered a chair at the University of Basel, but turned it down. Butenandt was able to claim his Nobel Prize in 1949.
November 1945 he was in Basel for financial discussions with the

He was able to pull strings so that von Verschur was not prosecuted as a war criminal, and while von Verschur was never again an Institure director, in 1951 he was appointed a professor of genetics at the University of Münster.

In 1960 Butenandt became President of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, now renamed the Max Planck Institute. He retired in 1972, but continued as Honorary President.

In 1984 Benno Müller-Hill published Tödliche Wissenschaft: die Aussonderung von Juden, Zigeunern und Geisteskranken, 1933-1945 which accused Butenandt of knowingly collaborating with von Verschuer and Mengele. Butenandt refused any serious discussion of the issue, and that was that.


Adolf and Erika both died in 1995, aged 91 and 88.
  • Adolf Butenandt. Das Werk eines Lebens, 4 vols. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht, 1981
  • Benno Müller-Hill. Tödliche Wissenschaft: die Aussonderung von Juden, Zigeunern und Geisteskranken, 1933-1945. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1984. Tranlated by George R Fraser as Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others in Germany, 1933-1945. Oxford Univ. Press, 1988: 5, 33, 36, 39, 60, 72-3, 83, 119, 188, 190.
  • Peter Karlson. "Obituary: Professor Adolf Butenandt". The Independent, 31 January 1995. www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-professor-adolf-butenandt-1570960.html.
  • "Butenandt, Adolf Friedrich Johann". Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2000. Online at: www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2830905541.html.
  • Barbara Seaman,. The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2009: 13, 22-7, 30-6, 42, 44, 61.
  • Wolgang Schieder. “Adolf Butenandt between Science and Politics: From the Weomer Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany”. In Susanne Heim, Carola Sachse & Mark Walker (eds). The Kaiser Wilhelm Society Under National Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 74-98.
  • Achim Trunk. “Two Hundred Blood Samples from Auschwitz: A Nobel Laureate and the Link to Aischwitz”. In Susanne Heim, Carola Sachse & Mark Walker (eds). The Kaiser Wilhelm Society Under National Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 5,6,14,15,16,19,20, 46, 74-98, 120-144, 374-387, 400-418.
  • Michael Schuring. “The Predecessor: The Uneasy Rapprochement between Carl Neuberg and Adolf Butenandt after 1945”. In Susanne Heim, Carola Sachse & Mark Walker (eds). The Kaiser Wilhelm Society Under National Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 400-418.
  • "Adolf Butenandt - Biography". Nobelprize.org. 15 Oct 2012 www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1939/butenandt-bio.html.
EN.Wikipedia

12 May 2016

Anne Vitale (1938 - ) gender therapist

Vitale first qualified as an artist, doing a 1972 BA at the University of California at San Diego followed by a Master of Fine Arts.

After some years of therapy for gender identity issues, she did a psychology PhD at the Professional San Rafael, California and completed her PhD in 1982. She then studied Existential Psychotherapy with James F. Bugental, 1983-91. A licensed psychologist in California, Anne Vitale has been at the same clinic in San Rafeal since 1984. Initially she thought that trans persons were too few for her to specialize in gender identity issues, and that she might be unsuitable in that “Countertransferance issues can be very destructive to a vulnerable population”. However there were few other gender therapists, and a San Francisco clinic started making referrals. She made contact with other gender therapists in the San Francisco area and they formed the Bay Area Gender Associates.
School for Humanistic Studies, also in San Diego, and transitioned at the same time. Her dissertation was on gender identity issues, and she joined HBIGDA (now WPATH) in 1979. She had surgery in January 1980, moved to


Glassgold and Drescher regard Vitale as a follower of Victor Frankl who entwined meaning and authenticity. They write, with regard to Vitale's 1997 paper:
“General authenticity is the clinical focus of Anne Vitale, a trans-identified, American psychologist specializing in existential-humanist psychotherapy. Vitale provides therapeutic support for cross-dressing and gender-divergent clients in such a way as to skillfully combine therapist advocacy and self-empowerment of the client. Specifically, she employs a client-centred, open-minded approach to helping her trans and questioning clients to take responsibility for discovering and actuallizing their own particular form of life meaning and personal power. This supported quest for identity and validation typically involves a dovetailing of genderal integrity, community connection, and existential authenticity.”
Rather than use the DSM diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder, Vitale proposes instead that, where there is a pathology, it is better labelled Gender Deprivation Anxiety Disorder (GEDAD): that it is this deprivation, not a person’s gender identity, that she seeks to treat. She divides gender variant individuals into three categories:
“for discussion purposes only and with no regard to importance or severity of diagnosis”. (p19)
G1. “natal males who have a high degree of cross-sexed gender identity … we can hypothesize that the prenatal androgenization/ defeminization process – if there was any at all – was minimal, leaving the default identity largely intact. Furthermore the female expression of identity of these individuals appears very difficult or impossible for them to conceal.” (p19)

G2. “natal females who almost universally report a lifelong history of rejecting female dress conventions along with conventional girl’s toys and activities. … these individuals typically take full advantage of the social permissiveness allowed women in many Western societies to wear their hair short and dress in loose, gender-neutral clothing.” (p20)

G3. “individuals who look and act unambiguously as society expects them to but privately identity as the opposite gender. We can hypothesize that the pre-natal androgenization/ defeminization process was sufficient enough to establish a workable gender identity that approximated their biological sex but insufficient enough to provide comfort in that gender role. For these female-identified males and male-identified female [see note below] the result is a more complicated and insidious sex/gender discontinuity. From earliest childhood these individuals typically suffer increasingly painful and chronic gender dysphoria. They tend to live secretive lives, often making incrementally stronger attempts to convince themselves and others that they are the gender they were assigned at birth.”(p20)

G1 and G2 are clinically similar. They both “report relatively low levels of anxiety”. If they decide to transition physically, they “accomplish it with relatively little difficulty”.

However
“The cloistered, [G3] natal males, on the other hand, typically only start to realize the seriousness of their dilemma at this age. It is common to hear reports of these individuals increasing the intensity with which they try to rid themselves of the ever-increasing gender-related anxiety. Many individuals paradoxically adopt homophobic, transphobic, and overtly sexist attitudes in the hope that they will override their desires to be female.” (p28)
She regards being trans as a congenital condition and cites Zhou et al, 1995, and Kruijver et al, 2000. As in the quotes above, she assumes that these studies justify an assumption that the prenatal androgenization/ defeminization process is different in G1 and G3 persons.

She regards sex as purely chromosomal and actually says
“The idea that one can ‘change’ from one sex to the other [is] absurd”. (p52)
However with a few cautions she does use hormones as a diagnostic tool.
“It is well documented that cross-sex hormones have a mitigating effect on patients suffering from severe gender dysphoria. The effect is so marked, in fact, that the treatment is used to confirm or reject the GID diagnosis. Fortunately, psychological outcomes precede permanent physiological secondary sex characteristic changes, making it an ideal tool for diagnostic confirmation or contraindication.”(p72)

 All page references are to Vitale’s 2010 book..
  • Anne Vitale. “History and resolution of sex/gender integration needs in four male-to-female transsexuals”. PhD thesis, Professional School for Humanistic Studies, 1982.
  • Anne Vitale. “The Therapist Versus the Client: How the Conflict Started and Some Thoughts on How to Resolve It” in Gianna E. Israel & Donald E. Tarver. Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information, and Personal Accounts. Temple University Press, 1997.
  • Anne Vitale. “Sexism in the Male-to-Female Transsexual”. 1997. www.avitale.com/MTFSexism.htm.
  • Anne Vitale. “The Gender Variant Phenomenon--A Developmental Review”. January 27, 2003. http://www.avitale.com/developmentalreview.htm.
  • Rachel Ann Heath. The Praeger Handbook of Transsexuality: Changing Gender to Match Mindset. Westport, Conn: Praeger Publishers, 2006: 90.
  • Judith M. Glassgold & Jack Drescher. Activism and LGBT Psychology. Binghamton, Haworth Medical Press, 2007: 78, 79, 83.
  • Lin Fraser. “An Interview with Anne Vitale”. The Update: The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, 20,3, Fall 2010. PDF.
  • Anne M. Vitale. Gendered Self Further Commentary on the Transsexual Phenomenon. Flyfisher Press/Lulu, 2010.
  • Kay Brown. “A Clinical View”. On the Science of Changing Sex, February 2014. https://sillyolme.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/a-clinical-view.
  • Jack Molay.  “Anne Vitale on Crossdreaming in Middle Age”. CrossDreamers, May 19, 2014. www.crossdreamers.com/2014/05/anne-vitale-on-crossdreaming-in-middle.html.
  • Jack Molay. “On Anne Vitale's theory on testosterone-poisoning in MTF crossdreamers”. Crossdreamer Sidebars, April 2, 2015. http://crossdreamers.blogspot.ca/2015/04/on-anne-vitales-theory-on-testosterone.html.
  • Kay Brown. “A Passing Privilege ...”. On the Science of Changing Sex, January 1, 2016. https://sillyolme.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/a-passing-privilege.
www.avitale.com      The Gendered Self      CV
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A note on the Professional School for Humanistic Studies. It has neither a webpage nor a Wikipedia page. Googling it brings up other PhD theses by other students, but apparently all in the early 1980s, which gives an indication of when it discontinued. Apparently the founder was Harold Greenwald, (1910-1999) obituary, the author of a best-selling 1958 book on female prostitution, a student of Theodor Reik and Albert Ellis, and the developer of Direct Decision Therapy. Vitale says nothing about any of this or whether Direct Decision Therapy has influenced her therapy.

I like the expression Gender Deprivation Anxiety Disorder (GEDAD).  Pity that it is not more widely used.

In Vitale’s 2003 paper, G3 persons are all ‘natal males”, but in her 2010 book, ftm persons are also included.

Obviously there is an approximation of Vitale’s G1/G2 to Blanchard’s HSTS, and of G3 to autogynephilia. The citation notes to her book include both Blanchard and Zucker, and the reading list on her website includes the Clarke Institute’s 1990 book, Clinical Management of Gender Identity Disorder in Children and Adults. However there is no mention of Blanchard in the text, and thus neither acceptance nor rejection of the inevitable notion that her 3 categories are a rewrite of Blanchard’s. An obvious improvement over Blanchard is that Vitale does not align her 3 categories with sexual orientation, nor does she write her G3 as a sexual obsession.

Vitale starts by saying that her three types are “for discussion purposes only and with no regard to importance or severity of diagnosis”, but then claims a differential hormonal underpinning for each type. Some would say that this is equivocation or even reification.

Zhou at al. “A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality” 1995, is a much-criticized small sample(N=6) that claims to find a female-sized BSTc in the brains of dead trans women. Anne Lawrence argues that it is a marker of autogynephilia; Rose White that it is marker of HBS. However the paper argues only for a difference between trans and cis, and does not attempt to differentiate between different types of transsexuals, G1 vs G3, HSTS vs AGP etc. Thus Vitale’s use of it to claim hormonal differences between G1 and G3 is unsupported.

While Heath discusses Vitale’s typology in her 2006 book, there is no entry in the index for it.

I would like to refer to my previous article A rejoinder to Kay Brown’s “What is a Transsexual?”   There I commented:

a) "It is always easier to believe in a theory that matches your own life experience."   Kay Brown feels that she is classic Blanchard HSTS and endorses his typology.   I feel that neither of Blanchard's types match me and I reject it.   Maxine Petersen, as a loyal disciple of Blanchard, must regard herself as an autogynephile, but has never confirmed this.    Anne Vitale, who transitioned at age 42 after years of receiving gender therapy, is presumably a G3, but likewise does not confirm this.

b) I criticized Blanchard and Brown for using the label 'homosexual transsexual' not only for its denial of their current womanhood, but even more so for using it re early transitioners who never spent time as gay men.   "On the other hand there are gay transsexuals, many of whom are not early transitioners.   This is a common pattern among trans men, many of whom spend some years as lesbians, often gaining a female lover who stays with them when they become men.  Similarly many trans women spend some time as gay men on their way to womanhood:  Jennifer NorthPoppy Cooper, myself, Roz KaveneyDawn Langley Simmons."  I should also have mentioned Susan Cannon, science historian, who went to Dr Biber at age 55 after decades of sex with men.

Vitale initially regarded G3 as 'natal males' only but after further thought made it gender neutral.   If I am to fit into Vitale's typology I would best fit into G2 which is described as ftm only.  The quote above from p20 does not make this clear, but elsewhere Vitale mentions that many of her G2 persons spent time in the lesbian community.   I would see the concept of G2 being improved by making it gender neutral, and for all alumni of gay and lesbian experience.   Likewise G1 would be for all early transitioners who never join gay or lesbian communities.


 

08 May 2016

Herbert Bower (1914 – 2004) psychiatrist, sex change doctor

Herbert Bower, the only child of Jewish parents, was training as a doctor in Vienna in 1938. After the Nazi takeover, he fled to Switzerland, and completed his studies at the University of Basel, after which he and his fiancée made their way to London where they were married. They were on the last ship from London to Australia, as war broke out in September 1939.

However the Australian authorities would not recognise his medical qualifications. He worked as an orderly at Launceston General Hospital, and then did two years in the Northern Territory as a medical officer ministering to Chinese tungsten miners. The Government appreciated this and accepted him as a Swiss neutral rather than as an enemy alien. His parents died in the Theresenstadt concentration camp.

After the war, he repeated his medical training at Melbourne University. He became a psychiatrist, and encountered his first trans patient.

In 1955 Bower became the superintendent of Kew Asylum, which had many elderly patients and was appalled at the conditions, which he immediately set about improving.

By then he had fallen in love with another woman. They both divorced their spouses, and married in 1956.

Bower introduced the concept of ‘successful aging’, and in 1963 gave two influential lectures at the University of Melbourne on the topic.

In 1965 he suffered a heart attack, and resigned the superintendency, but continued as a consultant with the Mental Health Authority of Victoria. He also began teaching, and in 1970 became director of post-graduate studies at Melbourne University. In 1972 he called, but without much support, for psychiatrists to have a role in assessing the fitness of politicians. He was influenced by Herbert Marcuse, and engaged with feminism and the anti-psychiatry movement.

In 1974 at age 60 Bower, with Trudy Kennedy, approached the Queen Victoria Hospital with the idea of a gender dysphoria clinic. A team was created that eventually included a second psychiatrist, an endocrinologist, a speech therapist, a gynaecologist and a plastic surgeon. The first transgender surgery was performed there the next year. The clinic was later moved to Monash Medical Centre.

From 1975 Bower was technically retired, but continued to teach, consulted as a psychogeriatrician and saw an increasing number of trans patients. His second wife died from cancer in 1980, and later that year he suffered anginal attacks and had triple bypass surgery. He recovered and took a third life partner.

His work led to a Unit for Old Age Psychiatry at the Melbourne Clinic. At the gender dysphoria clinic he began co-ordinating a research project to establish possible genetic origins.

In 2004 a Melbourne patient who started on a change to male, but then reverted and later had three children attempted to sue the Gender Dysphoria Clinic for malpractice. This resulted in an independent review ordered by the State Government. Bower observed “If our team erred twice in 29 years, and during that period we operated, not saw, because many more - but we operated on 600 patients, two errors in 600 is, I think, in any area of human endeavour, is acceptable”.

He died later that year at age 90.

Two other ex-patients including Alan Finch also took legal action. Dr Trudy Kennedy was obliged to resign, and the Clinic was closed until 2009.  Various fundamental Christian groups and Alan Finch’s Gender Identity Awareness Association lobbied against the Clinic’s reopening.
  • Herbert M. Bower. ‘Old age in western society’, Lectures 1 and 2, Medical Journal of Australia, 2, 8, 1964: 285-291; 2,8,1964: 325-332.
  • Herbert M. Bower. ‘Psychiatry and Political Thought’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 6,3, 1972: 191–6.
  • H. M. Bower. “Liberation and Psychiatry—Towards a reconciliation”. In N. McConaghy (ed.), Liberation Movements and Psychiatry, Ciba-Geigy Australia, 1974: 125–8.
  • Herbert M. Bower. ‘Diagnosis and Differential Diagnosis’, in Walters, W. and Ross, M. (eds), Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment, Oxford University Press: 1986.
  • Herbert Bower. "The Concentration Camp Syndrome". The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry : Official Organ of the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. 28, 3, 1994: 391-397.
  • Herbert Bower. "Psychogenic Trauma and Transient Psychosis". European Psychiatry: Supplement 4. 11, 1996: 294s-294s.
  • Herbert Bower. "The Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV Classification: a Critical Evaluation". Australasian Psychiatry. 35, 1, 2001: 1-8.
  • “Concerns raised over sex change clinic”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 06/05/2004. Transcript
  • Stephen Pincock. “Herbert Bower”. The Lancet, 364, October 16, 2004. PDF
  • “Dr Herbert Bower – Psychiatrist – 19/12/1914-29/8/2004”. Australasian Psychiatry, 12, 4, December 2004: 430-2. First Page
  • Cecily Hunter. “The concept of successful ageing: A contribution to a history of old age in modern Australia”. History Australia, 5, 2,2008: 42.1 – 42.15. PDF.
  • Jill Stark. “Sex-change clinic 'got it wrong'“. The Age, May 31, 2009. www.smh.com.au/national/sexchange-clinic-got-it-wrong-20090530-br3u.html.
____________________________________________________________________________

Both the Lancet and the Australasian Psychiatry obituaries say nothing at all about the controversy that flared up just before Dr Bower died.

Like Harry Benjamin, Boer became interested in trans patients in his 60s and was also interested in gerontology.

Bower's comment that 2 errors out of 600+ as 'acceptable'  may sound callous, but it is very good statistics compared to other branches of medicine.

05 May 2016

Queens Liberation Front, 1972

In the 6th edition of Drag Magazine, Online, the QLF presented a report of what it had achieved to that date.  Some of the wording is dated, particularly in using ‘men’ and ‘he’.  The struggle for basic rights shows how far we have come in 44 years, although remember that there are still many countries where it is illegal to dress as seems appropriate.

See also The GLF Transvestite, Transsexual and Drag Queen group, 1972  - of the same year.

Queens Liberation Front … What is it?

 

The broad objective of Queens Liberation Front is to gain the legal right for everyone who so desires to cross-dress regardless of their sexual orientation or desires. Queens Lib is not a membership organization but more of a foundation that is financed by drag balls, the publication of a magazine, DRAG and by speaking engagements on the phenomena of cross-dressing.  The only contributions accepted by  Queens is in the form of time and talent on the part of professional people. To keep in
contact with people interested in cross-dressing QLF maintains an international mailing list of over 2,000 individuals and  organizations. Also, the voice of QLF or commonly Queens, DRAG magazine reaches 3,500 people across the country.

In its original prospectus Queens Liberation Front, then just known as
Queens put forth two goals;

1. RIGHT TO CONGREGATE;
In New York the license for a drag ball or rather dance permit stated that men dressed in the female attire were not to be permitted on the premises of said dance.

2. RIGHT TO DRESS AS WE SEE FIT …………………………………
We feel that the wearing of a particular article of clothing doesn't
make one a criminal.  We hope to get a ruling adopting the law presently used in the state of Hawaii. It has been interpreted to
mean that one may wear the clothing of the opposite sex as long as he does not deceive others.  If one wears a button stating that one is a male it takes away all criminal aspects of cross-dressing.
On October 31st, 1970 the first anniversary of the organization Executive Director, Lee Brewster presented to the transvestite community QLF's first birthday present. . .the removal of the discriminatory clause on the dance permit.  Afterwards, during 1970-71, before going to court to set a legal precedent Queens Lib attorneys searched the law books for something else that might be used against the transvestite.  The only anti-drag statement the lawyers came up with was one on the Catering and Cabaret licenses which stated: "No homosexuals, Lesbians OR PERSONS PRETENDING TO BE were to be allowed on the premises of a licensed establishment”.  Afraid someone would use that clause against the cross-dresser as cause not to allow the tv access to public accommodations, Queens Liberation director, Lee Brewster and her attorneys made another call upon the Bureau of Consumer affairs.  Mrs. Susan First, legal representative for the department wanted to know which of the aforementioned groups Mr. Brewster and the lawyers represented.  Lee spoke up and said, "the persons pretending to be".  After about one hour of debating Queens Lib won again.  The clause was removed from the books. A second birthday gift was given to the TV community.

Queens Liberation has been represented on the campuses of the colleges in the North East area of the
QLF speaking panel
U.S.  Some of the more recent engagements were at Rutgers University, New York University, Patterson State College, Mills College (an all girls school) and Newark State college at Union, N.J.  At all the speaking engagements QLF representatives appear in full female attire.  To date all the appearances have been very well received.  At Patterson State College, Mr. Brewster received such a reception she had to ask them to stop applauding.

In less than two years QLF has met exactly one half of its goals, which is more than most organizations can claim fame for.  Soon QLF will attack the antiquated loitering statutes used to harass the cross –dresser.  We hope to get the law interpreted to be similar to the Hawaiian
precedent.  THEN attack again on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and similar to Nazi Germany's tactics when they forced the German Jews to wear the STAR OF DAVID.

Queens Liberation is not a radical group of people. The only radical element is the fact that all want to be able to wear the clothing they choose without being classed as criminals.  They feel that it is their constitutional right and if demanding that right is radical, then they're radical!  The only time QLF gets involved in politics is when it concerns the cross-dresser or homosexual.

30 April 2016

Berlin's Eldorado. Part II: 1928-33

Continued from Part I.


Motzstrasse 15. 

Success at the Lutherstrasse 30 encouraged Konjetschni to find larger premises, and he opened in the former Grand Cafe Luitpold early in 1928. Both Lutherstrasse 30 and Motzstrasse 15 were open, and many customers visited both. Marlene Deitrich and other celebrities were sometimes seen here. The “HIER ISTS RICHTIG!” banner was now outside.



Ossy Gades transferred to the new premises.

Mugette
1929. Sinclair Lewis’ novel Dodsworth, takes the eponymous character on a Berlin pub crawl. In an unnamed transvestite bar, probably Eldorado: “And there was a girl in lavender chiffon – only from the set of her shoulders Sam was sure that she was a man”.

Mugette was a star performer. Her photograph by Elli Marcus was featured in Der Querschnitt 2/1931.


1930. “Our Excursion to ‘El Dorado’” by French writer Bernard Zimmer, Le Crapouillot, 23. He visited both locations. “The life of these “transvestites” is interesting to observe: Most live in couples with a thousand jealousies and intrigues. Some are small-time prostitutes, others husbands, and a few are fathers with families. And the prostitutes are treated like members of any other respected profession.” “The other Eldorado [on Motzstrasse] is more elegant. Sophisticated types spend the evening there for the performances and to savour a bottle of German champagne. On a small stage, some danseuses in tutus twirl on point: Again transvestites. (Many are from Paris.)”

Another observation from a Berliner: “You’d see always famous people there, like Max Pallenberg. Not much of a show, but the most fascinating thing was ... you had lesbians looking like lesbians with short hair, lesbians looking like beautiful women, lesbians dressed exactly like men and looking like men. You had men dressed like women so you couldn’t possibly recognize they were men, it was so realistic. Then you would see couples dancing and you wouldn’t know any more what it was “.

1931. Lutherstrasse 30 was closed.

September 1931, the Berlin journalist, Rumpelstilzchen, took his visiting provincial uncle Artur to the Eldorado. Artur did not understand the gender of the persons, but found them to be stunning.

The English journalist Denis Safton Delmer, was friendly from previous visits with Ernst Röhm, commander of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Röhm took Delmer to a restaurant and then on to Eldorado. One of the hostesses came over uninvited and chatted with Röhm about a party a few days previously. Delmer made a comment about about how no female hooker would talk like that to a previous customer in front of a stranger. Röhm  snapped: “"I'm not his client. I'm his commanding officer. He's one of my SA men. "

Michael Fry, son of White Russian Paquita Louise de Shishmareff, who blamed Jews for both Capitalism and Communism, visited with revulsion. In his 1934 Hitler’s Wonderland he blames gay decadence on the existence of Hirschfeld’s Institute, and beyond that as a Jewish plot to undermine German culture: “ The corrupt administration of the cities did not censure the Institute, so why should it forbid Pervert-Clubs, Homosexuality Leagues or ‘Daisy’ Bars?” (p19) “Now that your eye is trained, you can pick out fifty of these ‘Daisies’ at a glance-most of them are rather unattractive. That is because we are in the ‘Eldorado’, the popular resort. For those who can afford them, there are smaller, more exclusive night-clubs, where you find no creatures with rough chins dressed in imitation Paris models. There you would see the cream of the "Daisies" -the beau-monde of homosexuality­ - the better class of male prostitutes of which Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich, Cologne, etc. are full.”

May 1932. American Vogue attempted a send-up of the Eldorado. A reporter goes in search of Berlin’s most perfect female. Measuring everything from shoes to nose length, the reporter fails to find a suitable woman in the grand hotels, in the chi-chi cafés. Finally he checks the Eldorado, where a trans woman meets his criteria. However the Berlin that the article described was already over.

July 1932, new Chief of Police Kurt Melcher began implementing the strict Catholic policies of the new Von Papen government and announced “an extensive campaign against Berlin’s depraved nightlife”.  All “amusements with dancing of a homosexual nature” were now subject to an earlier closing time of 10pm and many bars and dance halls turned themselves into private clubs in an attempt to sidestep the new laws.

October 1932 Chief of Police ordered a ban on same-sex couples dancing in public.

Fearing for his family and livelihood, Ludwig Konjetschni closed the Eldorado and handed the premises over to the local Sturmabteilung (SA) – many of whom had worked for him and he placed his future in their hands. The SA turned the Eldorado into their new local headquarters.


January 1933 Hermann Goering ordered the closure of gay bars, and gay men and transvestites were routinely arrested and imprisoned.

1933. Ossy Gades was working as a man at the DéDé Bar on Bülowstraße. It was part-owned by a Sturmabteilung (SA) Lieutenant and, by 1934 renamed the Bülow-Krug. Despite this Gades was arrested several times and beaten for having dressed in women’s clothes. He explained that he was not homosexual, and went out en-femme only when accompanied by his wife. He was still regarded as homosexual.

July 1933. Despite his gift, Ludwig Konjetschni was not safe. He and his family fled Germany.
30 June/1 July ex-Eldorado customer, Ernst Röhm deposed, arrested and executed by his own Nazi Party. The Night of the Long Knives.

May 1935. Ossy Gades sent to Lichtenburg concentration camp. This camp was one of the first and housed mostly political prisoners and gay men. He died there a year later.

1935. Christopher Isherwood. Mr Norris Changes Trains. A novel based on his experiences set in pre-Nazi Berlin, and with scenes in Eldorado.

1939 Christopher Isherwood. Goodbye to Berlin. More based on his Berlin experiences.
  • Gustave Binet-Valmer. Sur Le Sable Couchées-. Roman Inédit. 1928.
  • Lewis, Sinclair. Dodsworth. Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1929.
  • Bernard Zimmer “Our Excursion to ‘El Dorado’” Le Crapouillot, 23, 1930. Translation in Gordon, 2006.
  • Curt Moreck: Führer durch das „lasterhafte“ Berlin. Moderne Stadtführer, Leipzig 1931; Reprint 1996.
  • Wyndham Lewis. “The Berlin Eldorado”. Hitler. Gordon Press, 1931.
  • Michael Fry. Hitler’s Wonderland. John Murray, 1934: 19-20, 24-5,27.
  • Christopher Isherwood. Mr. Norris Changes Trains. Hogarth Press, 1935.
  • Christopher Isherwood. Goodbye to Berlin. London: Hogarth Press, 1939.
  • Denis Sefton Delmer: “Ein Photo von Stalins Ohrläppchen”. Der Spiegel,  44, 31.10.1962, S. 46. www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-45124291.html.
  • Wolff, Charlotte. Magnus Hirschfeld: Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology. Quartet, 1986: 443-4.
  • Norman Page. Auden and Isherwood: The Berlin Years. St. Martin Press, 2000: 13, 18, 62,89.
  • Gregory Woods. “The Sodomite Reputation of Weimar Berlin”. Niteroi, 14, 1, 2003: 9-27. PDF
  • Mel Gordon. Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin. Feral House, 2006: 118-129, 289-291.
  • Florence Tamage. A History of Homosexuality in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris 1919 – 1939. Algora, 2006: 245, 250.
  • Colin Storer. Britain and the Weimar Republic: The History of a Cultural Relationship. Tauris Academic Studies, 2010: 88, 136.
  • Robert Beachy. Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity. Knopf, 2014: 198-9, 205.
  • Tobias Churton. Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin: Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic. Inner Traditions, 2014: 322-5.
  • Laurie Marhoefer. Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis. University of Toronto Press, 2015: 151, 156, 175, 198.
  • Karin Wieland translated by Shelley Frisch. Dietrich & Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives. Liveright, 2015:
DE.Wikipedia    Cabaret Berlin    Deviates, Inc 

__________________________________________________________________________________


Storer says that Wyndham Lewis’ visit to Eldorado was during his 1921 visit to Berlin; Woods opts for Lewis’ much shorter 1930 visit. I have gone with the former.

Cabaret Berlin and Mel Gordon disagree on opening dates. I have gone with the earlier in each case.

 Unlike Paris' Le Carrousel, only 15 years later, we do not know many of the names of those who worked in the various Eldorados.

Also unlike at Le Carrousel, the performers were not able to take female hormones.   Hormones were being developed during the 1930s, by German, Bristish and US scientists, but did not become available until after the Second World War.

28 April 2016

Berlin’s Eldorado. Part I: to 1928

There were several Eldorados in Berlin in the interwar period. Our major interest is in the three opened and run by Ludwig Konjetschni. Other bars catering to transvestites were Hannemann, opened in 1892, and later the Mikado Bar, the Monocle Bar, Silhouette and the Bülow-Kasino. Many of the sources do not clarify which Eldorado is meant. I have sorted them out as well as possible.

Alte Jakobstrasse 60

 in the Kreuzberg district of the city (not owned by Konjetschni). Opened in 1919.

1921 Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) Vorticist painter/author visited Berlin. His impressions of Eldorado appear in his 1931 pro-Nazi book, Hitler. The first 3 chapters are devoted to a diatribe against ‘the Haupstadt of Vice’. He derided the “Nigger dance luxury-spot[s]’, the ‘night-circuses, Negertanz palaces, naktballeten, flagellation-bars, and sad wells of super-masculine loneliness”. Of the transvestite bar, the Eldorado, he wrote: “[p]re-Hitler Berlin was a sink of iniquity – the fingers of any moderately fussy patriot must have itched to spring-clean it. Its male prostitutes alone, with their India-rubber breasts and padded hips – the fairy hostesses of the Eldorado – were a standing invitation to the Prussian to organise a “March on Berlin”. He further presents Adolf Hitler as a man of peace. Lewis did change his mind about Hitler during a visit to Berlin in 1937.

Kant-Strasse 24

in Charlottenburg. Opened 22 March 1922 by Konjetschni. It was advertised in gay and lesbian publications as ‘Treffpunkt der Internationalen Mondänen Welt (“Meeting Place For The International World)”, and was for three years a huge success.

1923. US novelist, Robert McAlmon (notional husband of Bryher) wrote: “Several Germans declared themselves authentic hermaphrodites [sic—transvestites], and one elderly variant loved to arrive at the smart cabarets each time as a different type of woman: elegant, or as washerwoman, or a street vendor, or as a modest mother of a family. He was very comical and his presence always made for hilarity.” “At nights along the Unter den Linden it was never possible to know whether it was a woman or a man in women’s clothing who accosted one. That didn’t matter, but it was sad to know that innumerable young and normal Germans were doing anything, from dope selling to every form of prostitution, to have money for themselves and their families, their widowed mothers and younger brothers and sisters.” McAlmon also wrote a short story, “Miss Knight” about a US trans woman in Berlin who does lots of alcohol and cocaine before moving back to New York.

1924, Nazi Party Reichstag Deputy Ernst Röhm moved to Berlin and spent personal time at homosexual bars including the Eldorado. A year later, one of his tricks attempted to blackmail him. He instantly reported him to the police.

The film Geheimnisse einer Seele (Secrets of a Soul), 1926, was partly filmed there. G W Pabst (dir) Hans Casparius (camera). Casparius intended to make a second film at Eldorado, Sex Shades, and met what he took to be a suitable transvestite. However when he asked why she was a transvestite, she replied “Because I earn much more that way”. Casparius was repelled by her lack of integrity, and called off the project.

Lutherstrasse 30

 in the main entertainment district in Schöneberg. Opened in 1926 by Konjetschni in the former August-Victoria-Sälle dance hall directly opposite the famous Scala Variety Theatre. This venue was featured in most guidebooks, and attracted celebrities. It also featured transvestite taxi dancers – you could buy a chip to exchange for a dance.

A huge banner inside the entrance proclaims: “HIER ISTS RICHTIG! (here it is right!)” Nearby are two oversized frescoes that show Ulysses being beckoned by gorgeous Circes (of course, in drag) and the trial of Paris, who hesitates between a trio of male Graces. The orchestra wear unisex silk blouses and play French and Argentinian music. The customers amuse themselves attempting to guess the birth gender of the dancers. The floor-show is at midnight, and plays on the ambiguity of the gender of the performers.

Curt Moreck’s 1931 guidebook to Berlin: “It’s all staged, and only completely naive people think it’s real. Even the real transvestites who place their abnormality in the service of the business become actors here. Between the dances, in which even a normal man can enjoy the spicy pleasure of dancing with an effeminate man dressed as a woman, there are floor shows. A male “chanteuse” with a high-pitched voice sings ambiguous Parisian songs. A male star who looks like a young girl does graceful feminine pirouettes under the spotlight. He is naked except for a bras and a g-string, but even this nakedness is deceptive: it puzzles the audience and still leaves doubt as to whether it’s a man or a woman.”

 Ossy Gades was a regular transvestite door-host and taxi-dancer.

1926. Hansi Sturm was chosen as Miss Eldorado.






















1927. Painter Otto Dix visited Eldorado, and made paintings of some of the trans women.





















Magnus Hirschfeld was sometimes seen here, partly out of professional interest.

Francis Bacon’s father attempted to straighten him out by sending him to Berlin in the care of a distant uncle. However the young Francis soon bedded his uncle. In Berlin he was delighted to discover the transvestite bars such as Eldorado and the rent-boy culture.

1928 Gustave Binet-Valmer, a male Swiss novelist, wrote a lesbian novel, Sur Le Sable Couchées includes scenes in Eldorado, Paris’ Club de Faubourg and the psychoanlyical circles in Vienna.

Continued in Part II.  

25 April 2016

David R Wesser (1933 – 2008) sex-change surgeon

David Wesser gained an MD degree from New York University-Bellevue College of Medicine and was trained in Reconstructive Surgery. During the Vietnam War he served as a Major in the US Army Medical Corps and afterward as a consultant for the US State Department in Vietnam caring for war-wounded children.

He taught and practiced surgery in the New York area, usually at the Yonkers Professional Hospital. He also had an office at east 86th St and Park Avenue. His first transsexual patients were those who had surgery elsewhere, and corrections were needed.

In 1972 Rupert Raj had his mastectomy from Dr Wesser and later said “a finer set of (man-made) male pecs I have yet to see”. In 1977 Rosalyne Blumenstein had an orchidectomy and a nose reduction. By 1980 Wesser had done 200 sex-change operations.

One of his patients that year was Sharon Davis, 24, who was well pleased with the results.

Another was Romain, 30, previously a social worker with a city child-welfare department, and also an organizer of S&M parties. His friends knowing that he thought himself to really be a woman, had suggested Dr Benito Rish, who sent him to a panel of experts including a psychiatrist, all of whom approved her for surgery. Rish sent her for surgery with Dr Wesser. However as she later remembered it, she developed doubts while under sedation and on the gurney. As she was medicated, she was not considered rational. Seven months later, after failing to find a surgeon who would reverse the operation, Romain killed herself. Dr Wesser then started requiring a full-year of living as the target gender before surgery.

This was a few months before the Yonkers Professional Hospital was closed down after a surprise inspection by the state.

Also in 1980, David Wesser married. They had several children.

In 1981 he was charged before a panel of the New York Department of Health with
“negligence or gross incompetence, or both, in connection with the care of five gender-change patients. The basis for the charges was that he had diagnosed transsexualism and performed the gender-change operations without obtaining an adequate medical history, adequate physical or psychiatric consultations and without having obtained an adequate informed consent. Petitioner denied the charges and alleged that he had relied upon the psychiatric evaluations of a board-certified psychiatrist”.
His lawyer describes the panel:
“The Chairperson of the panel was a psychiatrist who believed homosexuality to be a deviant criminal activity. Another doctor on the panel was a close friend and professional colleague of the expert witness testifying for the prosecution. The lay person, non-medical professional member of the panel was a Roman Catholic Monsignor.”
Wesser’s license was suspended for one year in 1983, but the case had been pursued for seven years and Wesser was left psychologically broken, and in diminished health.

Dr Wesser started doing silicone injections, although by the end of the decade the procedure was being done by non-doctors such as Jimmy Treetop.

Wesser suffered a heart illness in 1993.

In December 1994 Dr Wesser admitted to the truth of allegations of malpractice endangering the life of a patient receiving liposuction and breast reconstruction. His license to practice medicine in New York State was revoked and he was fined $10,000.

He then lived in Palm Coast, Florida, and was a Counselor at the Stewart Marchman Center in Bunnell where he was an advocate for substance abuse treatments, especially for youths. He died at the age of 75.
  • Edward Falces, David Wesser & Mark Gorney. “Cosmetic Surgery of the Non-Caucasian Nose”. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 45,4,April 1970: 317-3324.
  • A Robert Beck & David R.Wesser. "Constrictive Digital Injuries in Infants, Caused by Human Hair". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 49, 4, 1972: 420-422.
  • David R.Wesser. "A Single Stage Operative Technique for Castration, Vaginal Construction and Perineoplasty in Transsexuals". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 7, 4, 1978: 309-323.
  • Sharon Churcher. "The Anguish of the Transsexuals". New York Magazine, 13, 25, June 16, 1980.
  • “Matter David R. Wesser V. State New York”. Supreme Court of New York, May 24, 1983. http://ny.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.19830524_0042984.NY.htm/qx.
  • Sharon Davis. A Finer Specimen of Womanhood: A Transsexual Speaks Out. Vantage Press, 1986:
  • Rupert Raj. “Metamorphosis: Man in the Making (A Personal and Political Perspective)”. In Bonnie Bullough, Vern L. Bullough, James Elias (eds) Gender Blending. Prometheus Books 1997: 480-4.
  • Rosalyne Blumenstein. Branded T. 1stBooks, 2003: 83 -5.
  • David R.Wesser. "Repair of a Cryptotic Ear with a Trefoil Flap". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 50, 2, 2006: 192-193.
  • Laura Rena Murray. “The High Price of Looking Like a Woman”. New York Times, Aug 19, 2011. www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/nyregion/some-transgender-women-pay-a-high-price-to-look-more-feminine.html.
  • Deyan Ranko Brashich. “Transgender’s Dark Ugly Past and Present”. Litchfield County Times, June 10, 2015. www.countytimes.com/articles/2015/06/10/opinion/doc5578bf0d835ef867043039.txt.
Obituary    License termination

12 April 2016

Ossy Gades (1902 – 1936) performer, barman

From 1929-31 Ossy Gades worked as the transvestite door-host and taxi-dancer first at the Eldorado nightclub at Lutherstrasse 30, and then at the new and larger premises at Motzstrasse.
Ossy was probably one of these


By 1933, Ossy was working as a man at the DéDé Bar on Bülowstrasse. It was part-owned by a Sturmabteilung (SA) Lieutenant and, by 1934 renamed the Bülow-Krug. Despite this Gades was arrested several times and beaten for having dressed in women’s clothes. He explained that he was not homosexual, and went out en-femme only when accompanied by his wife. He was still regarded as homosexual.

On 25 May 1935 he was arrested again, and sent to Lichtenburg concentration camp. This camp was one of the first and housed mostly political prisoners and gay men. He died there a year later.
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Gesch-lechts. Transvestitismus und Trans-sexualität in der frühen Sexual-wissenschaft. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag 2005: 159.
  • C-J Charpentier. Isherwood och Berlin. 2015: 6. PDF

Cabaret-Berlin

09 April 2016

Benito B. Rish (192? - 2007) plastic surgeon

Benito Rish became licensed to practice in the State of New York in 1949. He was mainly a plastic surgeon, and became known as a urologist and for his rhinoplasty and other facial surgery. He worked at Yonkers Professional Hospital, 27 Ludlow St, Yonkers, NY, and in time became a part-owner of the hospital. Among other responsibilities he became president of its board of directors, chief of plastic surgery and head of the Gender Identity Center.

Both Harry Benjamin and Leo Wollman referred patients to Dr Rish for genital surgery. These included Erica Kay in 1968; Liz Eden and Puerto Rican Soraya Santiago in 1973; Mario Martino in 1977.

Dr Rish was also known as willing to sell female hormones without a prescription, if you looked trans. It is said that Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and International Chrysis used this service.

In 1971, Debbie Hartin spoke about her problems with ‘her family, her neighbors and her daughter’ at a meeting that was supposed to be the inaugural meeting of Transsexuals Anonymous held at Dr Rish’s office.

That same year Dr Rish was named to the advisory board of Reed Erickson’s EEF, and was subsequently on the list of surgeons sympathetic to transsexuals issued by EEF.

Dr Rish was sued for malpractice in silicone injections in 1972; for surgery in 1973 and again in 1974. In 1985 he was sued re a 1977 rhinoplasty and subsequent injection of silicone into the nose.

In 1980 Yonkers Professional Hospital was closed after a surprise state inspection, stood empty for almost a decade, and was then converted into apartments.

Dr Benito Rish went into partnership with Canadian Sonia LaFontaine as the Lafontaine-Rish Medical Associates. LaFontaine and her husband, Arthur Kissel, also ran a clinic in Toronto. In 2000 LaFontaine and Rish were taken to court charged with hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent insurance claims. As the New York Daily News put it:
“Lafontaine herself, who has no formal training as a doctor, is charged with performing hundreds of procedures at the now-defunct clinic, from silicone lip enlargements to vein treatments”.
The most serious charge concerned an overweight Jersey City man who went for liposuction in January 1998 in the hope of becoming a New York cop. He died from complications due to anesthesia. The anesthesiologist, who already had a suspended license because of a morphine addiction, quickly surrendered her license. Dr Rish pleaded guilty to insurance fraud, admitted to allowing two unlicensed individuals to perform under his name, and surrendered his license.

Kissel was arrested in Toronto for working illegally in Canada. He appealed his extradition to the US in every way that he could, and was not tried in New York until 2009, by which time his wife had completed her sentence. Dr Rish had died in 2007.

Yonkers Professional Hospital

________________________________________________________________

The trans persons whom we know had surgery with Dr Rish are not reported as complaining.

Are we discussing a one-time good doctor whose standards slipped over the years?

All-right, I will say it.  There is a question hovering about Dr Rish.   We know that two of his non-surgical patients died young:  Candy Darling in 1974 at age 29, possibly of side effects of taking the wrong hormones;  International Chrysis in 1990 at age 39.   Was Chrysis still a patient of Dr Rish in the 1980s after the Yonkers hospital closed?  There is no indication of that in Ellen Fisher Turk's docuemntary.

04 April 2016

Selena Robbins (193? - ) actress

Selena Robbins, now almost forgotten, had already completed transition when she became involved in the New York cinema-theater underground of the late 1960s.

Sexploitation auteur Andy Milligan cast her in his 1968 film, The Filthy Five. The plot features a boxer caught between two women, and Robbins’ stripper who has a three-some with two men. Robbins was featured prominently on the film’s poster.
McDonough p162

  • Jimmy McDonough. The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan. A Cappella, 2001: 162-3, 166, 342.
  • Andy Milligan (dir). The Filthy Five. With Fredric Forrest as Johnny Longo, Jackie Colton as Rose White and Selena Robbins as stripper. US 96 mins 1968. IMDB
IMDB

29 March 2016

40 trans persons in Australia who changed things by example and/or achievement


Physicians
  • Norman Haire (1892 – 1952) Australian sexologist, colleague of Hirschfeld. GVWW   book
  • Herbert Bower (1914 - 2006) co-founder of Monash Gender Dysphoria Clinic. GVWW

  • Trudy Kennedy (1936 - 2011) co-founder of Monash Gender Dysphoria Clinic.
  • Peter Haertsch (1945 - ) best-known Australian sex-change surgeon. Discussion   Newsarticle
Persons

  1. Edward de Lacy Evans (1830 – 1901) Irish immigrant in Melbourne, labourer outed when entered lunatic asylum in 1879. GVWW
  2. Steve Hart (1859 – 1880) Irish immigrant in Victoria State, part of Ned Kelly Gang. GVWW
  3. William Edwards (1874 – 1956) from Melbourne, sheep shearer, performer. GVWW
  4. Harry Leo Crawford (1875 – 1938) manual worker in Sydney convicted of murdering his wife. GVWW   EN.Wikipedia
  5. Bill Smith (1886 – 1975) Queensland jockey, brewery worker. GVWW
  6. William Smith (190? - ?) farm worker sued to get wages at male rate. GVWW
  7. Harry Foy (1901 – 1942) Sydney female impersonator 1940s GVWW
  8. Lea Sonia (191? - 1941) female impersonator in 1930s. GVWW
  9. Rose Jackson (1934 – 2011) Sydney performer, costumier. GVWW
  10. Kate Cummings (1935 - ) immigrant from Scotland, librarian who spent much time in North America meeting pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s. First Australian to get her Naturalization Certificate reissued with the revised gender. TSSuccesses
  11. Kathy Anne Noble (1935 - 2015) UK immigrant, Brisbane activist, founder of Agender Australia and Changeling Aspects. Book
  12. Peter Stirling (1936 - ) shoe retailer, store detective, female-born XXY  GVWW
  13. Pip Wherrett (1936 – 2009) Sydney motorsports journalist, broadcaster. GVWW   EN.Wikipedia
  14. Janine Roberts (1942 - ) UK immigrant, investigative journalist. GVWW
  15. Carlotta (1943 - ) Sydney entertainer, 1st trans to play trans on television in 1973. GVWW   EN.Wikipedia 
  16. Raewyn Connell (1944 - ) sociologist at the University of Sydney, specializes in the social construction of masculinity EN.Wikipedia
  17. Sarah Parry (1945 - ) ship's captain in Hobart. GVWW
  18. Westerley Windina (1950 - ) Queensland champion surfer. GVWW
  19. Doris Fish (1952 – 1991) Sydney drag performer who found fame in San Francisco. GVWW
  20. Rachael Padman (1954 - ) from Melbourne, physicist at Cambridge. GVWW
  21. Adele Bailey (1955 – 1978) NZ-born sex worker in Melbourne whose murder became an ongoing mystery. GVWW
  22. Catherine McGregor (1956 - ) Australian soldier, cricketer, sports writer, political aide GVWW   EN.Wikipedia
  23. Roberta Perkins (195? - ) author of Drag Queen Scene: Transsexuals in Kings Cross, and books on prostition, co-founder of Tiresias House, which grew into The Gender Centre. Books    Gender Centre
  24. Tracie O'Keefe (1957 - ) British-born hypnotherapist in Sydney, author of books on TSity Books   Gender Centre
  25. Penny Whetton (1958 - ) climate scientist in Victoria State. GVWW   EN.Wikipedia
  26. Olivia Watts (1961 - ) police officer, naturopath, Wicca  GVWW
  27. Norrie May-Welby (1961 - ) Immigrant from Scotland, pursued legal status of being neither male nor female. EN.Wikipedia
  28. Madison Hall (1964 - ) NSW murderer, first Australian to have TG surgery in prison. GVWW
  29. Estelle Asmodelle (1964 - ) NSW dancer. Model, activist. GVWW  EN.Wikipedia
  30. Mianne Bagger (1966 - ) pioneered permissions for trans women to compete in ladies' golf. EN.Wikipedia
  31. Alan Finch (1967 - ) UK immigrant. Much cited changeback. GVWW
  32. Sally Goldner (1968 - ) co-founder of Transgender Victoria, activist, GLBTI Person of the year 2015. VictoriaHRC
  33. Christine Chappel (1972 – 2000) from Perth, Western Australia, murdered in Suffolk, UK. GVWW
  34. Tony Briffa (1971 - ) PAIS raised as a girl, lived as a man, now neither/both. Intersex activist, Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Victoria. EN.Wikipedia   GVWW
  35. Savannah Jackson (1972 - ) financier. Newsarticle
  36. Veronica Baxter (1975 – 2009) Queensland aboriginal died in Sydney police custody. GVWW
  37. Bridget Clinch (1979 - ) Army Captain whose struggle to stay forced Army to change its policy of terminating trans persons. Newsarticle
  38. Delilah Slack-Smith (196? - ) martial artist. Gender Centre   Star Observer
  39. Jordan Raskopoulos (1982 - ) comedian, actor. EN.Wikipedia
  40. Kate Doak (198? - ) Sydney journalist DeadlyNewt