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11 January 2014

Kim Christy (1950 - ) performer, editor, adult film producer

Kim was raised in the Bronx, New York. By age 14 he was going out in semi-drag. He took up with the young Billy Schumacher (later to become International Chrysis). They were photographed fooling around outside the Astor in Manhattan when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were staying there, and the picture appeared in a Life Magazine article on teenage delinquents.
The photograph in Life Magazine: Kim with back to camera, Chrysis at front.


Kim and Chrysis each left home and shared a tiny apartment in the area that later became New York's SoHo. They met sex magazine pioneer and editor of Exotique magazine, Lenny Burtman who arranged photo-shoots and other favors. Kim had a boyfriend who worked with her to soften her Bronx accent. She got to know New York female impersonators such as Tammy Novak, and performed at Club 82 as a stripper and as a showgirl. Her song was the theme music from A Man and a Woman. She toured North America as a female impersonator. Kim and Chrysis had uncredited roles in the chorus line in the 1967 contest that became the film, The Queen. In 1968 a photograph of Kim and Chrysis appeared in Female Mimics. By 1969 Kim was being kept by an oil tycoon.
Kim with her mother


She also starting doing photography for Eros Publishing Company, which published Eros, Mode Avantgarde, Hooker and Exposé. When Female Mimics was relaunched in 1973, the first issue featured Kim winning a Los Angeles beauty contest. In 1979 Kim became editor of Female Mimics,which was owned by Jennifer Jordan, one of Lenny Burtman's ex-wives, and the name was changed to International Female Mimics. The transsexual content was increased and eventually explicit photographs were introduced. Kim also became editor of Exotique, a revival of Burtman's pioneering fetish magazine from the 1950s.

Also in 1979 Kim was in Los Angeles doing a photo-shoot when he discovered Sulka in the audience. The next year he put her in the film Dream Lovers, and then after her surgery, in The Transformation of Sulka, 1981, and Sulka's Wedding, 1983. He became a major producer of she-male and fetish porn – spanning 8mm, VHS and DVD. He also made straight porn.

Kim met and married a woman. Their marriage has lasted: they now have grandchildren.

In 1998 Kim was won an award as Best Fetish Producer. The same year he edited the original run of Exotique in book form. In 2001 he edited The Christy Report, a historical survey of sex and fetish images. He was inducted into Adult Video News (AVN) Hall Of Fame in 2004, the first transgender person to be so.
“I am married to my wife. I am with her. Something I learned from all my years working with clients all over the world: Men and women can both be very fluid in their sexuality. Plus things like certain sexual scenarios can engage a person deeply for a time. Sometimes it’s same-sex activity. Some people stay attracted to one gender or another all their lives. I was with men — when I lived as a woman — who never would have called themselves gay, but they were not unhappy about my extra parts at all. Like I said, back then we did not name things so much. I never thought of any of the things I did as who I was. They were things I liked. Things I did.”
*Not the horse exhibitor.
IMDB   IAFD
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The Internet Adult Film Database (IAFD) entry on Kim is a bit dubious.   See Jim Beaux’ comments.  The image supposedly of Kim is actually of Carnal Candy in a 1984 film.  It lists Kim’s years active as performer: 1984-2001 – except that Kim never performed in any adult films.

Ms Bob wrote a 3-part history of Female Mimics for TG Forum.  Bob lists Kim as appearing in the magazine, but says nothing at all about Kim becoming the editor.

I couldn’t find any photographs of Kim after the early 1970s. 

In the Advocate  article, Kim says that her aunt and then her mother recognized her in the Life Magazine photograph.  As she has her back turned, how could they be sure?

5 comments:

  1. It was my understanding 'Kim Christy' detransitioned and lived as a man named Ken Olsen in the LA area for 35+ years and that all those photos of him 'en femme' were from the 60s and early 70s (as you mention, there are no new photos of 'Kim'). There were photographs of him (when presenting as a female) from the early 70s in the photo book called The Queens by George Alpert in 1975 (but I think the photos were taken quite a bit earlier). There seems to be a lot of waffling on dates and events from Christy's life, perhaps to cover up that reality?

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  2. The LIFE magazine photo by I.C. Rapoport is actually from December 1965, in a feature called 'The Detective' (later freely adapted into a film vehicle with Frank Sinatra). The pull-quote is "Dressed as women, men con johns and romp in the street." The figure on the left is unlikely to be Billy Schumacher (Chrysis), as he would have been only 13 or 14 in 1964/65. You can see the issue online via Googlebooks: http://bit.ly/1cJ6A0B

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    1. IMDB says that The Detective, 1968 was based on the novel of the same name by Roderick Thorp. However the theme is certainly the same. Thanks for the link to the Life article.

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  3. Good catch on The Detective. (I always wondered why the movie didn't resemble the LIFE article!) But I'm wondering if perhaps we've misunderstood Kim Christy's self-identification in the photo. Perhaps she/he is referring to the fifth person from the left, with back only half-turned. That does look like the person in the restaurant picture below.

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    Replies
    1. There are films based on journalism that differ more from the source than The Detective does from the Life Article. It is quite possible that Thorp read and took from the Life article.

      I think that it is apparent that Kim Christy was taking some poetic licence when interviewed by the Advocate.

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