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.

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06 December 2023

Jeanne Hoff (1938 – 2023) psychiatrist

++original September 2013, revised February 2019 to include extra detail from Gill-Peterson's book, and December 2023 to acknowledge Jeanne's passing.

Eugene Hoff  was born in in St Louis.  Hoff did an MD at Columbia University, College of Physicians And Surgeons 1963 followed by a doctorate in solid state chemistry at University College, London (where he also converted to Catholicism), followed by training and a residency as a psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hoffinitially thought of himself as homosexual, but in exploring homosexuality found out that he was not. He was introduced to the Harry Benjamin practice, possibly by Wardell Pomeroy of the Kinsey Institute.

Hoff was a guest on the NBC television program Not for Women Only where he (as she was still) explained transsexualism from a medical viewpoint referring to trans women as 'men' as was the then practice.
"You can say that you know that you are a woman, therefore you want to be one. But no woman I have ever asked has been able to tell me what that means, and I doubt that transsexuals will be the first to define it."
Harry Benjamin's successor Charles Ihlenfeld resigned the practice in 1976 to begin a psychiatric residency in the Bronx, and Hoff took over.  This was Hoff's first clinical practice other than the residency in St Louis.  The practice was being managed under the aegis of the Orentreich Medical Group, a dermatology and hair restoration practice, which was located at in the same building as the Benjamin practice at 1 East 72nd St. It was then still administered by Benjamin's office manager and assistant Virginia Allen.

Hoff fired Virginia, the nurse, Mary Ryan, and the physician, Agnes Nagy, and pleased Dr Orentreich by moving the practice downtown to a townhouse behind the Chelsea Hotel, at 223 West 22nd Street.

In this period Dr Hoff confronted the homophobic psychiatrist Charles Socarides in a television debate and challenged his reactionary views that homosexuality can be cured by psychoanalysis. 

Hoff was starting her own transition.
Her best known patient was the punk musician Jayne County, who wrote in her autobiography: 

"When I walked into the consulting room for my appointment, I nearly fainted: Dr Jean Hoff was a man who was going through the sex change himself. She looked like a woman in man's clothes, she wore men's clothes and no make-up, and she had short hair that was just beginning to grow out. Later on she went through the full change, changed her name to Janine Hoffand got her own practice.   
The best thing about Dr Hoff was that she kept asking me questions about myself over and over again, to make sure that I really knew what I wanted. She'd say things like, 'Do you think you'd ever go back to wearing men's clothes?' and I'd say, Yeah, sometimes I see a jacket I like and think it might be fun to wear.'  At the time I was talking to her about the full sex change, but I was really quite afraid, and I thought it would cut me offfrom all my folks. She said to me, 'Look, there are different degrees of transsexualism. You are a transsexual, but not all transsexuals have a full sex change. Some people are better offjust taking hormones and dressing as a woman. There are some transsexuals who go back to dressing as men. There are so many different degrees, and you shouldn't just assume that because you are transsexual you have to have a sex change. You should only get a sex change if you are one hundred and twenty five per cent sure about it. If you have the least hesitation about it, don't do it.'  That was one of the best pieces of advice anyone ever gave me. Dr Hoff also said that, given the kind of circles I was moving in, there really wasn't much need for me to have a sex change." 

Becoming Jeanne, 1979

Hoff completed her transition to Jeanne with surgery with Dr Granato in 1977. She was interviewed at home by Lynn Redgrave and Frank Fields immediately before surgery and two months afterwards. The resulting television program "Becoming Jeanne" won the prestigious Ohio State Broadcasting award in 1979.

It was now the case that for the first time a trans psychiatrist was in charge of a practice for trans persons. Gill-Peterson comments:
"Though the medical model was still based in gatekeeping and an unacknowledged racialization of gender, Hoff cared deeply about the well-being of her clients to a degree that is viscerally embedded in the archive she gifted to the Kinsey Institute. Her work demonstrates a level of empathy entirely absent from transsexual medicine since its advent—not to mention its predecessors in the early twentieth century— an ethic of care that, although greatly constrained by the material circumstances and history of psychiatry and endocrinology, was also entangled with her situated perspective as a trans woman. It is important to underline that Hoff represents yet another trans person who took an active and complicated role in medicine, rather than being its object."
Gill-Peterson has read Hoff's interview notes in her archive papers at the Kinsey Institute, and comments:
"Because she took the time to interview them without only reducing what they said to standard diagnostic biographies, her notes offer comparatively richer glimpses into trans boyhood than those of her predecessors." 


In 1978 Hoff became aware of a young black trans woman, then 30, who had been committed to a psychiatric Institution in New Jersey for 15 years.  Initially labeled  ‘schizophrenic’, her gender identity issues were taken as evidence of ‘delusion’, ‘mental retardation’ and ‘sexual perversion’. Hoff interviewed her, and petitioned for her release.
“Through all the florid language of the [psychiatric] reports there is an unmistakable moralistic disapproval of her effeminacy and homosexuality but not the slightest hint that the diagnosis of transsexualism was suspected, even though it was quite evident from the details provided. . . . She should be placed in the community, preferably living by herself” and “she should be permitted to explore the various problems that arise from cross-gender living, hormonal therapy, and surgical gender reassignment.” (quoted in Gill-Peterson)

However by 1980 there were few patients left in the practice, and Hoff had already taken a job in a psych ward in Brooklyn. The next year she sold the building on West 22nd St and moved away, first to Massachusetts and then California.

She became a psychiatrist at San Quentin prison. She was in the news in April-May 1998 when she was the only one of three psychiatrists to testify that murderer Horace Kelly might be competent to be executed, and the defense attorney attempted to impeach Hoff.

She retired after being assaulted during a counseling session by a death-row inmate.

In 2013 she donated her archives to the Kinsey Institute.

Jeanne Hoff died at age 85. 
  • "Masculine, Feminine or Androgynous?" Not for Women Only. WNBC 1976  hosted by Polly Bergen and Frank Fields, produced by Madeline Amgott.  Archive 
  • Becoming Jeanne…A Search for Sexual Identity. NBC 30 June 1978. Jeanne Hoff interviewed by Lynn Redgrave and Frank Fields.
  • Kathleen Casey.  "Gay Catholics Hear Transsexual's Story".  Asbury Park Press, October 10, 1978: 23. 
  • Jeanne Hoff. "Multiple personality disorder?" The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 48(4), Apr 1987. 
  • Jayne County with Rupert Smith. Man Enough to be a Woman. London: Serpent's Tail, 1995: 99-100.
  • Michael Dougan. "Killer's mental records turn up". SFGate, April 17, 1998. Online,
  • Maria L LaGanga. "Killer Understands He Faces Execution, Prosecutor Says". Los Angeles Times, May 01, 1998. Online.
  • Michael Dougan. "Sanity trial outcome rests with minutiae". SFGate, May 5, 1998. Online.
  • Sara Catania. "The Alienists: Where experts divide, jury must decide". LAWeekly, May 13 1998.  Archive.
  • Andy Humm. "Socarides, Leading Anti-Gay Shrink, Dies". Gay City, 4,52 Dec 29-Jan 4, 2005. 
  • "Jeanne Hoff Archive". The Kinsey Institute. Online
  • SJ Parker. Emails to Zagria, 15,17 September 2013.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Trangender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018: 159-160, 171, 174, 192-3, 248n105, 251n32, 252n45, 253n79-82, 254n84-5.
  • Andy Humm.  "Jeanne Hoff, first trans psychiatrist to serve trans people, dies at 85".  Gay City News, December 5, 2023.  Online

Although Horace Kelly's lawyer subpoenaed Hoff's prison personnel file in an attempt to impeach her, he presumably hadn't heard rumours that she was transsexual, didn't find it in the file and didn't read her.   Otherwise he probably would have used it to defame her.   She had been in the 1978 television special under the same name, but that was 20 years earlier.   Before the Internet it was much more difficult to make connections.

Jeanne was also, in effect, outed in Jayne County's 1995 autobiography, but presumably the lawyer didn't read punk biographies.  

+++ Other sources led me to write that Hoff left New York in 1981, having sold her building at 223 West 22nd Street.  Gill-Peterson writes that she stayed in practice through the 1980s.  ??

04 December 2023

Broden Giambrone (1982 - ) activist.

++Original April 2014; revised December 2023.

Giambrone grew up in the West End of Toronto.  The family are of Italian descent and moved to Canada from the US to avoid the Vietnam War.

Broden transitioned before doing a BA in Sociology, 2006, at McGill University, Montréal.  In 2007 he was part of G/B/Q Trans men HIV Prevention Working Group (now which wrote the health guide Getting Primed: The Back Pocket Guide for Transmen and the Men Who Dig Them. From 2006-8 he was a volunteer with the social justice organization OPIRG at York University, Toronto. He then worked with Trans Pulse on HIV health issues, and in 2010 completed a Master of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Limerick 2016
Broden did an advanced course in International Health at Brighton, UK, and settled in Dublin, where he became the Chief Executive at Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI) 2010-2017.

He expressed concern about the then lack of provisions for trans persons in Ireland.  He and TENI lobbied to change the proposed Gender Recognition Act/ An tAcht um Inscne a Aithint, following concerns that the initial draft had been put together without any consultation with trans or LGBT groups, or medical specialists.   The Act was passed in 2015 incorporating changes proposed by TENI.  In its final version it permitted self-determination and did not require medical intervention. .  However the situations of intersex persons was not addressed, nor those of persons under the age of 18 - although thr latter was adjusted in 2017.

In 2016 Broden was Grand Marshall at Limerick Pride.

In 2017 Broden returned to Toronto and became director at at the International Trans Fund, which is run by trans activists and gives grants to trans organizations world-wide.

  • Francine Kopun.  “Youth no barrier to gender change: New guidebook offers support as decision to `transition' being made earlier in life”.  Toronto Star, May 21, 2007.  Online
  • A.Adams, M. Lundie, Z. Marshall, R. Pires, K. Scanlon, A.I.M. Scheim, B. Giambrone, N. Redman, S.M. Ware, T. Smith. Getting primed: informing HIV prevention with gay/bi/queer trans men in Ontario. AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference. Abstract. PDF.
  • Louise Hannon, Orlaith O'Sullivan, Lydia Foy, Broden Giambrone. Trans Voices in Ireland. TENI, 2012.
  • "Almost four-fifths of transgender people have considered suicide – survey". The Journal, Oct 4 2012. Online.
  • Orlaith O'Sullivan (ed). Equality & Identity: Trans and Intersex Experience in Ireland. Essays by Louise Hannon, Broden Giambrone, Orlaith O'Sullivan. TENI, 2013.
  • Scott De Buitléir. "A Very Irish Solution to Transgender Rights". Huffington Post, 07/22/2013. No longer available.
  • Lindsay Kopit. "Ireland in Transition". Metro Éireann, August 1, 2013. No Longer available.
  • Broden Giambrone. "Gender Recognition Bill is concrete progress, but there are 3 key roadblocks". Public Interest Law Alliance, November 2013. No longer available.  
  • Michael K Lavers. "Irish transgender rights law takes effect: Statute does not include intersex people, minors". Washington Blade, September 9, 2015. Online
  • Aidan Quigley.  "Broden Giambrone Steps Down As Chief Executive Of TENI".  GCN, 14 March 2017.  Online
  • Heather Cassell.  "Ireland's emerging trans movement". Bay Area Reporter, April 5, 2017. Online
TENI (2015)     LINKEDIN     WorldCat      International Trans Fund    Research Gate

Yes, Toronto politician and transit consulatnt Adam Giambrone (Wikipedia) is Broden’s elder brother.  He dropped out of the 2010 Toronto Mayoral election because of revelations about his private life.   But it was old-fashioned philandering, and Broden was not even mentioned.   He was running second in the polls at the time.   So it is a shame that he did not stay in and defeat the much more scandal-plagued Rob Ford.

30 November 2023

Tara O’Hara (195? – 198?) performer.

Original June 2011, revised November 2023.

Tara's male persona was raised by a Jehovah's Witness family in New Orleans. In the early 80s, he was working in Berlin as an English teacher.

Tara and Jayne, from Jayne's book.
When he discovered Romy Haag's drag club he came back again and again, and started wearing drag to the club. This lead to a part in the show and Tara gave up both teaching and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

She was in Rosa von Praunheim's 1983 film, Stadt Der Verlorenen Seelen (City of Lost Souls) along with Jayne County and Angie Stardust where they all play versions of themselves.

Some sites including IMDB say that Tara was murdered in 1983, but some say that she was encountered later than that. 

Jayne County writing in 1995 said:
 "Ten years later [after 1983] I heard the tragic story of Tara's passing on. Tara was found in the ladies' room in the Berlin Tiergarten area with her head bashed in. They took her to the hospital and she lay there for weeks and weeks in a coma. Finally the doctors decided that enough was enough and pulled the plug on her. I guess they thought that Tara would never recover, but they should have consulted someone. It caused a stink in the Berlin press. She was dying slowly anyway, but leave it to Tara to go out with a bang!" (p155-6)

However there was in the 2010s another Tara O'Hara  resident in Berlin.  She lived with Edeltraut P., and they were gay and community activists.


28 November 2023

Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay (1990) author, actress

Boulianne-Tremblay was born and raised in Saint-Siméon, down river from Quebec City, on the north shore of the St Lawrence River.

Gabrielle came out as trans in 2012. Her first volume of poetry, Le Ventre des volcans, was published in 2015. After appearing in a couple of short films, she was cast in : Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n'ont fait que se creuser un tombeau, 2016, and was nominated for best actress in a supporting role at the Canadian Screens Prize

Her second volume of poetry, Les secrets de l'origami, was published in 2018. Her autobiographical novel, La fille d’elle-même came out in 2021 and was awarded a Prix des libraires du Québec, The next year she published a young adult novel, La voix de la nature.

FR.Wikipedia           EN.Wikipedia         IMDB

24 November 2023

Zhao Yede 赵烨德 (1965 - ) sex-change surgeon

It is said but not confirmed that the first transgender operation in China was performed in secret in 1983.

In 1992 Zhao Yede, from Zhejiang province, was working as a resident in a hospital in Beijing, where one of his duties was replying to letters from patients.  When newspapers reported transgender surgery there, the hospital received many requests for similar surgery.  Zhao researched the topic, and decided to move to Shanghai to learn from Dr He Qinglian, known for performing China's first female-to-male transgender surgery that year. 

By 1999 Dr He had performed 11 male-to-female and 39 female-to-male operations – the most by a single doctor at that time.  He had by then received over 4,000 letters requesting such surgery.  He’s major innovation was to use skin from the patient's inner thigh to create the penis, which leaves minimal scarring (other surgeons doing phalloplasty used skin from the patient’s stomach or forearm).

Zhao practicing in Shanghai continued using He’s methods.  He has operated on trans persons from all over China (although not from Xinjiang), and from all occupations. 90% of his patients are trans men desiring phalloplasty.  By his method, it takes at least three surgeries for a trans man, and the price is correspondingly higher: ¥ 80,000-100,000 as opposed to ¥30,000-50,000.

Chinese regulations stipulate that candidates for transgender surgery must not have a criminal record, and must have a certificate from a psychiatrist and a letter of consent from family members.  Since one of his patients returned after a few months demanding a reversal, Dr Zhao asks several probing questions.  He accepts only 10% of those who apply to him.

He argues that whether we think of ourselves as a man or a woman is dependent on directives from the brain: Everything is dependent on these directives.   And likewise for trans persons: “There’s a directive anomaly. It’s not something you can change.”

Graduation diplomas are the only official document in China that cannot be revised after being issued, and thus students, wanting to transition, want to have the operation before graduation.

Zhao has 40-50 consultations on a busy day, and he and his team do up to five operations a day.

Many patients are now coming from abroad, from Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

In 2012, there was media attention to Zhao’s work when twins becoming men were his patients.

*not Zhao Yide, Party Secretary of Shaanxi.

*Not Dr Lee Zhao who is part of the transgender surgical team at NYU Langone in New York.

  • "China's Sex Change Master”. Shanghai Daily. 2 September 1999. 
  • “China: Treatment of transsexuals who have undergone a sex change operation, particularly in Hong Kong (1997-2000)”. Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 4 April 2000. Online.
  • Xu Junqian. “Helping women find their inner man”. China Daily, 2017-03-24.  Online.
  • Cao Xi. “Being true to yourself: LGBT in China”.  CGTN. 01-Feb-2018.  Online.
  • Piper Weiss. “Twins Undergo Sex Change in China. Go from Sisters to Brothers Together”. Yahoo, March 28, 2012. Online.
  • “Identical twins first to undergo gender surgery in China”. Out News, 28th March 2012.  Online.

20 November 2023

Arnold Wyss (1878 - ?) office worker - first Transvestitenschein in Switzerland.

 We know of Wyss only from the police file in Zurich. We do not know Wyss’ female name.


Arnold Wyss was born and raised in Bern, Switzerland. At the age of eight he found a suitcase belonging to a deceased women, and was able to dress as female secretly. As a teenager he visited a coffee house with a female impersonater show, and then encounted the performer on the street in female dress. Wyss married a woman, Maria in 1902, hoping that marriage would cure his inclinations. They adopted a daughter. However after a while, when alone at home he cross-dressed. In 1910 Wyss read an account in a newspaper of a ‘man’ dressed as female who appeared in court, but had a permit, a Transvestitenschein. After a second such newspaper article, Wyss wrote to Dr Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin. The reply introduced him to the term ‘Transvestiten”, and as a law-abiding citizen, he decided to apply to the Zurich authorities for a permit. A later letter to Hirschfeld asked how to apply, but no answer was received. However he was able to obtain and read Hirschfeld’s 1910 book, Die Transvestiten.

After first moving to Zuring in December 1911 where Wyss worked as a porter in a factory, the family had moved to Geneva and then to Brig in southern Switzerland. In January 1914 they returned to Zurich and Wyss was employed as an office clerk. Maria worked from home as a dress-maker. Wyss mentioned to his work supervisor that he was an hermaphrodite and legally entitled to dress as female. Wyss was forbidden to do so at work, however some of the employees had seen him so dressed. Maria had not previously known of her husband’s dress preferences, until this time when he became more and more depressed and she sought to talk to him. After a while she accepted the situation in that dressed as female, Wyss was good-humoured, efficient and capable, but otherwise was suicidal. 

Wyss sought help from a Dr Frank, and applied for a permit from the Zurich Police and Justice Department in 1914 to live as a woman. In addition an anonymous letter signed ‘Bertrand’ denounced Wyss’ cross-dressing as it could only be mischief. The police explained that there was no Swiss law specifying how men and women must dress, and referred Wyss to the psychiatrist Dr Müller. Müller was acquainted with Hirschfeld’s book, but apparently did not understand Hitschfeld’s distinction between transvestism and fetishism in that he described Wyss as an ‘extreme fetishist who not only has an item of clothing as the object of his worship, but the entire female wardrobe”. Müller also interviewed Maria and the daughter, and conducted a physical examination. He concluded: Wyss was a clothes fetishist belonging to the subgroup of transvestites; heterosexual; did not move in an unethical milieu; he was ethically superior, since he had never received financial compensation for his adopted child. Müller considered a permit to be necessary, since Wyss was very depressed and unpredictable consequences might ensue if the permit was refused.

On 30 June 1914, Wyss was granted the requested permit, signed by Heinrich Mousson, Director of Justice, Police and Military.

  • Herbert Benedikt Stieber. Einleitung Transvestismus Cross-Dressing Was bedeutet. Silo.Tips, August 11, 2016. Online.

14 November 2023

Trans Singapore: Comments & Mediagraphy

Part 1: to the first sex-change operation in 1971

Part 2: 1972-now

Comments and Mediagraphy

The new Bugis Junction


Is there a Chinese original of Cries From Within? Leana Lo calls it “Cries in the Dark” and the Swan Project interviewers call it “Voices from Within”.

As the Chinese practice is to place the family name first and the English language practice to place it last, e.g. Tsoi Wing Foo is sometimes Wing Foo Tsoi, I was not sure for some persons which is their surname.

Most mentions of money I take to be in Singapore dollars.

The rise of Singapore from being an exploited colony to being the 3rd richest country in the world by GDP (PPP) per capita is an amazing story. In the 1950s and 1960s the Singapore trans women were almost all non-op in that they could not afford the travel and medical costs to go elsewhere. Nowadays they have choices that they can afford.

National Service to be fair should be for both genders. Better still it should not exist, and the armed forces should be all-volunteer.


  • F D Ommaney. Eastern Windows. Longmans, 1960.

  • James Clavell. King Rat. Martin Joseph, 1962.

  • Noel Coward. Pretty Polly Barlow and other stories. Heinemann, 1964.

  • Bryan Forbes (dir & scr). King Rat, with George Segal, Tom Courtney, James Fox, Denholm Elliot, John Mills. US 134 mins BW 1965. IMDB

  • Guy Green (dir). A Matter of Innocence/Pretty Polly. Scr: Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall from a story by Noel Coward, with Hayley Mills and Trevor Howard. UK 102 mins 1967. IMDB

  • Yeo Toon Joo, Betty L Khoo & Lee Chiu San. “They are Different”. New Nation (Singapore), July 24-31, 1972.

  • Paul Theroux. Saint Jack. Houghton Mifflin, 1973.

  • Rolf Olsen (dir) Shocking Asia, with Ingeborg Steinbach and S S Ratnam. Hong Kong/West Germany 94 mins 1974. Includes footage of a Singapore sex change operation. IMDB

  • Peter Bogdanovich (dir). Saint Jack. Scr: Howard Sackler, Peter Bogdanovich based on the novel by Paul Theroux, with Ben Gazzara & Denholm Elliot. US 112 mins 1979. IMDB

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  • Michael Blakemore (dir). Privates on Parade. Scr: Peter Nichols, with John Cleese, Dennis Quilley. UK 107 mins 1983. IMDB.

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  • Tsoi Wing Foo, "The prevalence of transsexualism in Singapore”. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 78, 1988.

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  • Yonfan (dir) Bugis Street /Yao jie huang hou 妖街皇后 with Hiep Thi Le as Lien, Ernest Seah as Lola and Greg-O as Drago. Hong Kong 101 mins 1995. IMDB.

  • Yonfan. Bugis Street : a movie book. Hong Kong: Far-sun Film co., 1995

  • Koh Buck Song Koh. Bugis Street: The novel. 1995

  • Roy Tan. “Bugis Street (film)”. The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki. Online.

  • Bob from Australia. “The sailor’s birthday present”. Yawning Bread, August 2002. Archive.

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  • Eric Lim, Suresh Menon & Ajay Singh (dir). Hidden Genders. Scr: Adrian Ong, with Nong Tum and others. Singapore National Geographic TV 47 mins 2003.

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  • Icemoon. “The Real Shophouses of Bugis Junction”. Second Shot: Same place just different time, Jan 27, 2011. Online.

  • Hun Ping. “ ‘Round About Midnight, Bugis Street”. The Hunter: location scouting in singapore’s filmic history, 14 Nov 2013. Online.

  • Ben Slater. “Coming of Age: ‘Hollywood' in Singapore: Pt. 1 Pretty Polly AKA A Matter of Innocence, Guy Green, 1967/1968”. Clearly you've never been..., May 18, 2013. Online.

  • “Our Interview with Dr Tsoi”. The Swan Project, October 14, 2014. Online.

  • Alain Soldeville. Bugis Street. André Frère Éditions, 2015. 

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  • Quen Wong (dir & scr). Some Women, with Quen Wong, Lune Loh and Sanisa. Singapore 71 mins 2021. IMDB.

EN.Wikipedia SporeLGBTpedia

The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki(Transgender people in Singapore)

The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki(Bugis Street: Transgender aspects)

The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki(Singapore gay terminology)