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28 January 2008

Wayne Dynes (1934 - ), bibliographer and encyclopedist

Wayne Dynes did a Ph.D. in art history at New York University. He taught for six years at Columbia University, and subsequently at the City University of New York. He was a co-founder of New York's Gay Academic Union in 1973.

His Homosexuality: A Research Guide is one of the better bibliographies on homosexuality. Out of 854 pages, only 10 are on Cross Dressing, Transsexualism and Hermaphroditism, grouped in a category ‘Boundary Crossing’ with ‘Intergenerational Sex’, and a further 8 pages on ‘Theatre and Dance’ which contains many articles on drag. He opens his Transsexualism section with the unneeded contention in opposition to the facts: “Follow-up studies have shown that many postoperative transsexuals exist in a state of almost continual depression, and for this reason the operation is now performed less often”, and then gives a biased selection of mainly anti-transsexuality books, including a positive review of Janice Raymond’s diatribe, The Transsexual Empire. The only biographies included are those of Lili Elvenes (Elbe) and Christine Jorgensen. All the others are ignored, even April Ashley’s.

He was the major editor of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, 1990, where he also wrote about lesbians under a pseudonym, Evelyn Gittone. This was taken to be a female pseudonym, although ‘Evelyn’ was a unisex name to earlier generations. Coupled with the lack of female and transgender contributors, this was considered scandalous, and contributed to the fact that a second edition or a paperback edition was never issued.

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