This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

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!

09 August 2020

The Bellinger v Bellinger Recognition of Marriage Case 2000

Elizabeth Bellinger, born 1946, was raised as male, and at age 21, under some pressure, was married to a woman. The marriage lasted for four years. After that she undertook eight years of counselling which led to transition.  She had completion surgery in 1981. Later the same year, she went through a ceremony of marriage at a Registry Office with Michael Bellinger, a widower of the same age who was fully aware of the situation. She was described on the marriage certificate as a spinster. In the late 1990s, following the claims of BSTc differentiation in trans women, and the Human Rights Act, 1988 which made rulings of the European Convention on Human Rights authoritive in UK courts, she sought to clarify the legal status of her marriage,

For 30 years since Corbett v Corbett, the criteria for determining sex for purposes of marriage had stood. Trans women were not women for such purpose, but an exception was made for intersex women using the definition of a natural non-congruence of the chromosomes, gonads and genitals.
In 2000 two cases came to court. In the first W. v W., a divorced husband attempted to have the marriage annulled also, but his request was denied when it was established that his wife did meet the Corbett exception.

In November that year, Mrs Bellinger sought a declaration under the Family Law Act, 1986, c. 55, § 43, Part III, Declaration of Status (Eng.), that her marriage had been valid at its inception. This would require that she be recognised as female for the purposes of section 11(c) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (which incorporated the Nullity of Marriage Act, 1971), which in turn would necessitate giving the expressions 'male' and 'female' in that Act a novel, extended meaning: that a person may be born with one sex but later become, or become regarded as, a person of the opposite sex.

The respondent Mr. Bellinger filed no objecting reply. It was the Attorney General who elected to intervene to argue the case against granting the declaration. Evidence was taken from Professors Louis Gooren and Richard Green and consultant urologist Timothy Terry, and Russell Reid was cited. However the High Court applied the Corbett test and found that Mrs Bellinger was male in that at birth the chromosomes, gonads and genitals had been congruent: ‘the present state of medical knowledge lead inexorably to my dismissing her petition’.

In 2001 at the Appeal Court, Mrs Bellinger’s counsel argued that the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ had been deliberately left undefined in the Nullity of Marriage Act, 1971. They sought to expand the range of factors in that scientific understanding had advanced since 1971, and referred to the non-congruance of brain structure, particularly the size of the BSTc (stria terminalis) citing Zhou et al, 1995, and argued that therefore she should be understood as covered by the intersex exception as set out in Corbett. Two of the three judges responded that they were intrigued by the evidence but as the evidence would require a dissection at autopsy, evidence with regard to Mrs Bellinger’s brain could not be obtained. Thus the stated advances could not be brought to her aid. They ruled that Mrs Bellinger was not female as the law then stood. The third judge did dissent, and urged the abandonment of purely biological tests. On psychological grounds he would have recognised Mrs Bellinger as a woman under English law. All three judges accepted that "the profoundly unsatisfactory nature of the present position and the plight of transsexuals require careful consideration". However, the two judges said any change in the law must be a matter for Parliament. The court was dismayed to hear that no steps had been taken by the Home Office following the report in April of the previous year of an inter-departmental working group on transsexual people.

An appeal went to The House of Lords. In the meantime the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had ruled in Goodwin v United Kingdom and I. v United Kingdom. In both cases involving completed trans women the claim was that UK policies violated their rights to privacy under Article 8 and to marry under article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECHR repudiated the Corbett test, arguing that gender dysphoria is a medical disorder and that this obviates any need to determine its aetiology and that the emphasis on chromosomal sex was disproportionate in that in some intersex conditions the gender identity is not congruent with the chromosomes. The minority opinion in the Bellinger appeal was cited with approval.

While it was still left to the UK to establish a workable definition of gender transition and marriage, the ECHR did conclude that the UK’s policies were in violation of articles 8 and 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In December 2002 the UK Government announced that it would bring forth legislation on the matter, and government counsel conceded that UK law was incompatible with the articles 8 and 12.

In April 2003 the House of Lords considered Bellinger v Bellinger and upheld the majority decision of the Court of Appeal, but indicated its incompatibility with the judgements of the ECHR. This was the first such declaration of incompatibility. However they declined to apply section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1988 which states that domestic law must, if possible, be interpreted in a way that makes it compatible with the ECHR. The judges did not accept that the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 could be extended to include the marriages of transsexuals. To read the 1973 Act in such a new way would be a major change to the law and such change is not the duty of the courts. The issue was handed back to Parliament.

In 2004 the UK government enacted the Gender Recognition Act, and then Bellinger would be entitled to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Certainly a step forward, but hardly the confirmation of the legal status of her marriage in 1981.
  • J-N Zhou, M A Hofman, L J Gooren & D F Swaab. “A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and its Relation to Transsexuality”. Nature, 1995, 378: 68-70. Reprinted in The International Journal of Transgenderism, 1997, 1,1. Online.
  • “W. v W. Case Law”. October 2000. Online.
  • “Rights of Transsexual are upheld”. Dublin Evening Herald, 23 May 2001.
  • “Transsexual loses appeal over 20-year ‘marriage’ “. The Telegraph, 18 Jul 2001. Online.
  •  "Judgments - Bellinger (FC) (Appellant) v. Bellinger" House of Lords, 10 April 2003.
  • Clair McNab. "Government FAQ: Bellinger v. Bellinger". Press For Change, January 2004.
  • S Cowan.  ‘That Woman is a Woman! The Case of Bellinger v Bellinger and the Mysterious (Dis)appearance of Sex’ Feminist Legal Studies, 12, 2004: 79-92.
  • Lisa Fishbayn. " 'Note Quite One Gender or the Other': Marriage Law and the Containment of Gender Trouble in the United Kingdom". Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 15,3, 2007: 429-432.
  • Christopher Hutton.  The Tyranny of Ordinary Meaning:  Corbett v Corbett and the Invention of Legal Sex.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2019: 145-152. 

There are issues not discussed in the source accounts. Was Mrs Bellinger risking being charged with ‘perjury’ for presenting herself as female, or her status as 'spinster' at her marriage in 1981?

Did the Gender Recognition Board require the Bellingers to divorce before she was awarded her Gender Recognition certificate?

It is just as well that the legal changes were not built on the assumptions about BSTc as proposed by Zhou et al. Twenty-five years later that line of research has not proved productive. 

The European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights are not part of the European Union. They are part of the Council of Europe, a wider organisation. Russia is a member. Only Belarus is not. The current Johnson government equivocates and does not commit to remaining in the Council of Europe. If it were to withdraw, and also repeal the Gender Recognition Act, the legal status of trans persons would be back to what it was in 1971. 

05 August 2020

The W. v W. Anullment Trial, 2000

​W is an anonymising initial issued by the judge, William Charles, in the case, and does not reflect their real names.  We have no other name or pseudonym to refer to the persons.

W was born 1947, in the North of England.  Because she had indeterminate genitals, the parents were asked did they want to raise a boy or a girl.  The father chose ‘boy’.   A year later the child was adopted by a cousin of the mother and her husband. The child was raised male but opted for girl toys and female clothing whenever she could.

At secondary school she refused to shower with the boys and to wear the boys’ uniform.  The school compromised and allowed her to wear a female top.  By age 15 she had noticeable breasts and a female body shape. The adoptive father convinced the family doctor to administer testosterone injections.  W resisted and had to be held down by the adoptive father.  There was no effect and when the adoptive father proposed increased dosage and frequency, and surgery to remove the breasts, W ran away and lived as a girl. However she was found and returned home.

At age 17 W ran away for good.  She lived with a man in Manchester, apparently alternating genders, but he complained that she was too feminine, and the relationship ended.

W was scheduled for correction surgery at age 23, but this was postponed indefinitely because of a cerebrovascular accident. It was not until 1980 that she started on oral oestrogen.  She finally had correction surgery in 1987 with a ‘Dr D’.

She married in 1990, and shortly afterwards had a Trachea Shave to reduce her Adams Apple. However the marriage did not last, and ended after two years. It was annulled on the basis that she was not female -- this was on the persuasion of her then solicitor that that was the cheapest way to end the marriage.

A second marriage in 1993, which gave the husband the right to remain in the UK, lasted three years and they were divorced in 1997.  She had had a breast augmentation in 1996.

The husband further applied in 1998 for an annulment so that he could re-marry in church – although he remarried before his case came to court in October 2000. This time Mrs W defended against such an annulment, which would declare her legally male, and thus would interfere with her application for a revised birth certificate, and her future freedom to marry. Both parties jointly instructed Dr Conway, a consultant endocrinologist. Information was sought and obtained from ‘Dr D’ as to W’s anatomical details prior to surgery.  Justice Charles found that she easily fell into the intersex exception as per the Corbett test: emphasis was placed on the natural lack of congruence of the chromosomes, gonads and genitals. Conway also gave in evidence the opinion that if Mrs W had been born in a later decade, she would have been raised as a female.   Justice Charles copied much of Justice Roger Ormrod had written in 1971 in the Corbett v Corbett case.

Thus the Respondent was declared to be legally female, and her ex-husband’s application to have the marriage declared void was thus refused.

‘Dr D’ ?= James Dalrymple?.

Dr Conway stated that “It is extremely difficult to be conclusive about an original diagnosis of an intersex state after  surgery has been completed", but suggested that W had partial androgen insensitivity which is why the enforced testosterone injections failed to have any effect.

Whether you regard W as intersex or a transkid, she was badly failed by the medical system in the  1970s.  There was a Manchester gender clinic at Witherington Hospital from 1972 and a TV/TS group in the city from 1973.   W should have been offered an early transition, and not have had to wait until almost middle-age.

As W had not had her birth certificate revised before either of her two marriages, she was at risk of being charged that in violation of the Perjury Act, 1911, she had “knowingly and wilfully caused a false statement to be entered in a register of marriage”, as Victor Barker had been so convicted in 1929.  The authorities sensibly did not so charge her.

There was a W. v W.  divorce case in South Africa 1976 that involved a trans woman.

03 August 2020

Trans men listed in the press in 1902

​In April 1902 various newspapers published an article that was merely a list of trans men who had come to public notice. The headlines varied.

The St Louis Republic newspaper published “Forty Three Women who have Posed as Men”, April 27 1902. Online.

For the Sunday Times of Perth, WA, it was “Strange Mysteries of Wedded Life: Women Who have posed as Husbands”. Online.

The opening paragraph: “Within a year six women have been discovered, in America alone, who have successfully masqueraded as men; have gone through a legal form of marriage and even posed as the fathers of families. Upwards of a score of similar cases have come to public attention recently in different parts of the world. There have been forty-three instances of women posing as husbands within the last ten years. One medical authority claims that one woman in every 3,000 is a victim of this peculiar mania.”

1 in 3,000 is of course much higher than the 1 in 100,000 that would be so uncritically repeated in the late 20th century.

It then goes on to give a list.   When the writer knows the long unused female name he gives it.  In the list below I give the male if I know it.

πŸ‘‰ William Howard of Canandaigua, New York, who died 33 March 1902 after forty years of legal marriage. He left three children.

πŸ‘‰George Green of Petersburg, Virginia, originally from England, died age 74. He lived as male for sixty years, and had been married for thirty-five, blessed by the Roman Catholic Church. He worked as a manual laborer, including in the mines in Pennsylvania.

πŸ‘‰ Murray Hall of New York who had died the previous year and whom we have discussed in detail.  GVWW.

πŸ‘‰ Charles W Hall, originally of Massachusetts, was returning with his wife from Europe for New York, when he died on board ship from complications due to alcoholism. The writer does not give his male name.  GVWW.

πŸ‘‰ The writer claims the Chevalier d’Eon as a woman passing as a man!

πŸ‘‰ Frank Wayne of the US Army killed in battle in 1862.

πŸ‘‰ Franklin Thompson a soldier in the Second Michigan regiment.

πŸ‘‰ Charles D Fuller of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania during the US Civil War.

πŸ‘‰ A “Mrs L N Blaylock of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina”, also during the Civil War. The writer does not give Blaylock’s male name.

πŸ‘‰ Christian Canenagh with the British Army in the Netherlands. Canenagh fought a duel with a superior officer, and after being outed, remained with the regiment as a cook.

πŸ‘‰ James Barry, military surgeon. GVWW.

πŸ‘‰ John Taylor, said here to be a steward on a trans-Atlantic liner. Actually he was a cabin boy in the French and English navies in turn during the revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. GVWW.

πŸ‘‰ Christian Walsh, in English Army.

πŸ‘‰ Felix Francoine of the Hungarian Army, who despite being outed at death, was buried with full military honours.

πŸ‘‰ Countess Carlotta May of Austria (male name not given) was ‘notorious’ in the 1890s for male clothes and activities, and was engaged to marry a woman. But then dramatically reverted to womanhood, female clothing and married a Count.

πŸ‘‰ Tony Teesa who worked in a hat factory in Yonkers.

πŸ‘‰ A person who had recently died age 103, who had kept a tavern near London for 17 years until one day a pauper was brought in who recognized his long lost wife.


However this does not add up to 43 – only 17 by my count.

02 August 2020

Navigating the GVWW Encyclopedia

The Gender Variant Who’s Who Encyclopedia has been going since 2007.   There are in excess of 1500 entries, and thus some navigation aids are required.

Ways of navigating:

a)     Start with the most current and read each entry in reverse chronological fashion.  No-one is known to have reached the earliest entry this way.

b)      In any search engine:   “whatever” site:    

c)     There is a site search box at the top-left-hand corner, and another in the sidebar.   This works quite well.

d)    The Indices.  There are three.  By default you are in the “main mode".   See the Horizontal menu close to the top of the page if in a browser, or the drop-down menu if on a phone.  There are 11 other modes.   The first three are Index, Media Index and Place Index.   These three are updated at the end of each quarter.  
The first contains a list of all persons for whom there are entries.  They are sorted by occupation and/or avocation.   There is a section on the different kinds of Changing Back; on traditional third gender roles, and on other groupings (Pansy Craze, Imperial Court, Eurovision, Sexology Magazine, HBIGDA/WPATH, IFGE, Autogynephilia, HBS etc).   A Section on Legal Cases;  A section on Cis persons who are found in our history:  doctors, lawyers, spouses, nemeses, etc.
  1.    The second index is media:  Books, Film and Television, Music, Untruths, Pictures, Lists.
  The third Index is Place:  London, Paris, Casablanca, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Moscow, Dublin, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Trinidad in Colorado, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Toronto, Sydney, Buenos Aires, etc

e)     Internal Links.   Many of the articles have links to other articles.   This is probably the most fun way to navigate.  Just click on the link and go.

f)      Labels.   Most of the articles have labels at the bottom.   Click on any of the labels to go to other articles with the same label.  In addition, if you scroll to the very bottom, there is an alphabetical list of all labels with a count of the number of associated articles.   Again just click and go.

g)        In the sidebar there is an item, Popular Posts, which shows the most popular posts of the last seven days.

h)        Below that is a Blog Archive.   This allows you to select a month and then the articles published that month.   If you have navigated in by another method, you will notice that this archive is open for the month of the current article.

External Links.

All external links to other sites did work when an article was posted.  However as some articles are as much as 13 years old, some links have become dead and no longer work.   I suggest that readers have the Wayback Machine/Internet Archive extension/add on installed so that the archived version can be accessed. 

16 July 2020

Another calumny against Violet Morris

There is a new book just out on the major Nazi-sponsored criminal gang in Occupied Paris.
  • Christopher Othen. The King of Nazi Paris: Henri Lafont and the Gangsters of the French Gestapo. 2020.
According to Amazon, the back page reads:

Henri Lafont was a petty criminal who became the most powerful crook in Paris thanks to the Nazi occupation of France. A chance encounter in a prison camp led to a life of luxury running a ruthless mob of gangsters who looted the city on behalf of the Nazis, who recognised Lafont's talent for treachery and deceit. Lafont recruited 'the French Gestapo', a motley band of sadistic grotesques that included faded celebrities, ex-footballers, pimps, murderers, burglars and bank robbers. 
They wore the best clothes, ate at the best restaurants and did whatever they pleased. They lived on the exclusive rue Lauriston, where they mixed with celebrities and Nazi officers, while down in the cellar of their building, the rest of the gang tortured resistance prisoners. 
The unbalanced 'Crazy Pete' did it for information. Bisexual athlete Violette Morris, with her short hair and men's clothes and love of frail blondes, just liked to watch people in pain. 
By 1944, the gang ran a paramilitary outfit of Algerians and Moroccan nationalists in the south of France, raping, robbing and murdering the locals under the cover of fighting the resistance. Then the Allies came, and a terrible price had to be paid.

Nowhere in the book does it say that Morris was a trans man.

I wrote about Morris in May 2015. Part 1; Part 2.

Raymond Ruffin is the source of the calumnies against Morris. His attitude to Violette Morris is evident at first glance in his book titles: La diablesse and La hyΓ¨ne de la Gestapo. He got the idea from a novel by famous crime writer Auguste Le Breton (1913 – 1999), Les pègriots, 1973, which has 2 pages on Morris.

However Othen did not even read Ruffin. He merely cites a web page by Yasmine Youssi that summarizes his position. The best book on Morris is
  • Marie-Josèphe Bonnet. Violette Morris: histoire d'une scandaleuse. Perrin, 2011.
Bonnet  went through the archives of the Free France Secret Service, and the BCRA (Central Bureau of Research and Action), which are available at the Office of the Resistance. She also examined trial transcripts of the treason trials which followed the Liberation, the National Archives and local archives in Normandy. She found minor references to Morris, but nothing to support the picture found in Ruffin's books. Likewise Morris was not mentioned in the criminal trials of the Bonny-Lafont gang, nor in the Gestapo's own files on repressing the Resistance. Bonnet points out that Ruffin does not seem to know what Morris was doing for the first three years of the Occupation.

Othen cites my article on Morris, but only Part 1, which goes up to 1930. Not part 2 which – drawing heavily on Bonnet – discusses what Morris did in the war.

Why are prurient myths so often repeated while solid scholarship which refuted them is generally  ignored?

02 July 2020


I am taking the month off.   I will be back in August.

23 June 2020

Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

The post-Stonewall activist organizations:

While QLF and STAR were run by trans women, trans women also played significant roles in GLF and GAA. 

Queens Liberation Front (QLF)
StreetTransvestite Action Revolutionaries. (also Part III of Sylvia Rivera)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - New York
Gay Activists Alliance (GAA)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

See also The Five Years Following Stonewall - A New York Timeline

GLF London was founded in the basement of the London School of Economics in October 1970 inspired by what Bob Mellors had seen happen in New York. All-London meetings were held at All Saints Hall in Powis Square, Notting Hill. The newspaper put out was Come Together, named for a song on the Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

At first there was no drag, but slowly a significant minority started wearing frocks for the dances. This extended to street theatre, notably the Miss Trial demo outside the Old Bailey in support of the women who were on trial for disrupting the Miss World contest.  Then GLF disrupted the 1971 Christian Festival of Light. Some GLF queens wore drag because it felt right, some for fun and some for political reasons. Some were living in communal squats and in poverty in Brixton and in Notting Hill, and wore drag all day every day – and became known as Radical Feminists.

They aligned themselves with lesbians against the masculine gay men who were dominating the GLF meetings. When the women finally split from GLF in February 1972, the Rad Fems began to dominate at the All-London meetings, which was a bit intimidating for newcomers. However the RadFems also demonstrated against the launch of the feminist magazine Spare Rib, which allowed The Sunday Times to run an article on the irony of feminist men telling women how they should behave. The fledgling Gay News used this to disassociate from what they referred to as 'fascists in frocks'. The initial issues of Gay News were hostile to GLF in general and even more so to the queens.

Separate from the RadFems and political drag was the GLF Transvestite, Transsexual and Drag Queen Group which started meeting in late 1971 run by Rachel Pollack and Roz Kaveney which formed a trans presence at the GLF meetings. They collectively wrote a manifesto which was published in Come Together, 11, the Lesbian Issue.

Separately from that, Bob Mellors befriended the eccentric trans woman Charlotte Bach, who wasn’t a member, and Bobbie MacKenzie, who was.

The official first gay pride march in London was the Carnival Parade on 1 July 1972. However a few days earlier, GLF had been allocated a time-slot with the Boilermakers Union to picket the US Embassy about what they were doing to Vietnam. Only the Radfems turned up, a band was playing, and a few started a waltz. The US school band packed up in a fit of pique. The queens sauntered off and ended up at Piccadilly Circus. The police asked where they, the queens and the rent boys, intended to go, and said they would escort the march which went via Oxford Street to Hyde Park.

As the all-London meetings declined, they were replaced by separate GLFs in different parts of London. Some of these put on dances which became welcoming places for those who wished to explore their gender expression.

By late 1973 the all-London meetings were almost over. Some of the surviving RadFems took over the anarchist Agitprop bookshop/commune at 248 Bethnal Green Road which they renamed Bethnal Rouge. In 1974 two buildings in Railton Road, Brixton were squatted and became the South London Gay Community Centre.

  • Jeffrey Weeks. “The Gay Liberation front, 1970-72” in Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present. Quartet Books, 1977.
  • Aubrey Walter (ed). Come Together: The Years of Gay Liberation, 1970-73. London: Gay Men's Press, 1980.
  • Bob Mellors. We Are All Androgynous Yellow. Another-Orbit Press, 1980.
  • Kris Kirk with photographs by Ed Heath. Men In Frocks. London: Gay Men's Press 1984: 95-107. Review.
  • Lisa Power. No Bath but Plenty of Bubbles: An Oral History of the Gay Liberation Front 1970-73. Cassell, 1995.
  • Stuart Feather. Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens. Zero Books, 2015.

None of this is found at all in Christine Burns' Trans Britain.  Review