Edward Richards attended Pomona College, Los Angeles in the 1930s where he shared a dorm with Arnold Lowman, the future Virginia Prince. Edward worked as a salesman in Los Angeles.
In July 1941, as Barbara Ann Richards, she was featured in the press as she petitioned the Superior Court of California to change her name and to become legally a woman. Her story was that two years earlier changes to feminine had occurred spontaneously, that she was a hermaphrodite. An endocrinologist, Marcus Graham, presented her case at a medical conference, attributing the change to an hormonal imbalance resulting from a childhood illness. However at a hearing in October at which the judge granted the legal change, a medical report revealed that she had been taking female hormone injections.
Lorraine Richards played the role of a devoted wife, but in 1944, away from media attention, she also had a sex change and became Barbara’s husband.
They were friends of Louise Lawrence, the prolific networker who brought so many early transgender persons together. The newspaper accounts of Richards were inspirations to Virginia Prince. Barbara had her final surgery in the 1950s from Elmer Belt.
- “’Man’ Asks Legal Right to Assume Woman Status”. Los Angeles Examiner. July 3, 1941.
- Barbara Ann Richards, as told to Bart Lytton. “Nature Betrayed My Body”. Sensation. Nov 1941, 88.
- “Young Bride Won’t Leave Mate Who’s Victim of Sex Change”. Oakland Tribune. July 4, 1941
- Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 39-41, 48.
In addition, let us look at:
- Leah Cahan Schaefer & Connie Christine Wheeler. “Harry Benjamin's first ten cases (1938-1953): a clinical historical note”. Archives of Sexual Behavior 24:1 Feb 1995: 4-5. Online at www.helen-hill.com/pdf/hbfirst10cases.pdf.
Carol (1913 – 1963) and Christian (1906 - ?). They were both only-children , and married twice: first in their gender roles as assigned at birth, and again after both had transitioned. They had met Karl Bowman and Alfred Kinsey, and the latter referred them to Harry Benjamin who became their hormone prescriber. He introduced them to Dr Elmer Belt in Los Angeles for surgery in 1956. Carol died of a coronary at age 50.
Are not Carol and Christian the same as Barbara and Lauren? It was common practice for doctors to use pseudonyms when writing up accounts of patients.