This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 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 right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

30 May 2008

Christiane Völling (1960 - ) nurse.

Thomas Völling was born in West Germany with indeterminate external genitalia as a result of virilizing adrenal hyperplasia, and was raised as a boy.

However even as a child he identified as a girl. During an appendectomy at age 17, his uterus and womb were discovered, which led to his fully-intact female internal organs being removed the next year, without his being properly informed. He was also subject to attempts at penis construction and prescribed male hormones.

The surgeon wrote to the German military authorities that Thomas should be excused military service because he was “genotypically female” and “has not been fully informed about the extent of his condition”.

Thomas has worked as a nurse in Düsseldorf, and has been working towards a change to female, but has been treated as transsexual rather than as intersex. Völling did not understand that she was intersex until 2006 when a urologist gave him a questionnaire as part of a national study on intersexuality.

In 2007-8 Christiane sued the surgeon who removed her organs, and sought €100,000 in compensation. The Cologne Justice, Dietmar Reiprich, ruled that the surgeon had acted illegally. She is also applying to have her name and id changed.

27 May 2008

Jimmy Treetop (193? - ) quack.

A quack doctor in New York City in the late 1970s-early 1990s who worked the clubs where drag queens hung out and sold a syringe of female hormones and B-12 for $15, or 6 for $60.

He was also a photographer and a drug retailer and a pedophile with young children frequently visiting his small apartment in New York’s Hells Kitchen. He decorated his apartment with photographs of the best looking of his feminized customers. Those who could not pay, exchanged sexual services for the hormones.

Patients included Anji Xtravaganza, Rosalyne Blumenstein.
  • Michael Cunningham. “The Slap of Love”. Open City #6. 1993.
  • Rosalyne Blumenstein. Branded T. 1stBooks 350 pp 2003: 70-4.

23 May 2008

James Herndon (1889 – 1983) orderly.

As a child James was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky for an eye injury and left there.

He became friendly with the hospital superintendent, who provided a room. He began by delivering the hospital mail, and playing his ukulele for the patients. In his teens he learned the profession of orderly, and worked at the hospital as an orderly for the next 40 years. He was regarded as the best orderly at the hospital and trained new orderlies.

He eventually moved to a home in the black neighborhood close to the university, which he filled with antiques. Given that all of his working life was under segregation, he had a relatively good income for an African-American. He did various shades of drag, using the names ‘Sweet Evening Breeze’ and ‘Miss Sweets’, and was rumored to be a ‘hermaphrodite’. Sometimes his dress was a mix of male and female.

He frequented the local tearooms, and his home was a gay meeting place. He was one of the few older black gays to socialize in the white gay bar scene. His triumph was a drag show at the Woodland Auditorium where he was lowered from the ceiling in a basket and danced the ‘Passion Dance of the Bongo Bangoes’.

Around 1960 he and a teenaged drag, Leigh Angelique, were arrested for wearing makeup. They performed a mini-drag show for the guards, who tipped them, and spoke to the judge on their behalf. Sweets spoke up against the discrimination that women could wear make-up but men could not, and the case was dismissed.

He was active in the Pleasant Green Baptist Church and left it a bequest in his will. The Imperial Court of Kentucky named its highest award the James Herndon Award, and the
Lexington Men’s Chorus
named its singing ensemble Sweet Evening Breeze in his honor. He appears as a character in Cormac McCarthy's novel Suttree, 1979.

*Not the California teacher and writer, nor the media psychologist, nor the gospel singer.
  • Jeff Jones. “Sweet Evening Breeze”. Gay Kentucky. Nov 14, 1997.
  • Jeffery Alan Jones. “James Herndon of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life” in Blacklines, Chicago: Lambda Publications, Spring 1997.

19 May 2008

Georgia Ariana Ziadie (1949 - ) socialite, writer.

George William Ziadie was born to a Jamaican elite family of mixed European/Lebanese heritage. He was born with a genital defect which resulted in his being raised as a boy. At his all-male school he was taunted for being a ‘boy-gal’.

At age 21, she had corrective surgery and legally changed her name to Georgia. She moved to New York, and became a socialite and model.

In 1974 she met Lord Colin Campbell, younger brother of the Duke of Argyll. They were engaged on the first night and married within a week. And divorced the next year, with Lord Campbell citing his distaste that she was transsexual, and Lady Campbell complaining that he wanted money from her father. While she proclaims that she finds her ex-husband loathsome, she continues to use his name, that is ‘Lady Colin Campbell’, in her public life even 30+ years later.

She has published two books on Diane Spencer, Princess of Wales, and also an autobiography and a novel, Empress Bianca, that was pulped when billionaire widow Lily Safra threatened to sue because it too closely resembled her own life. In 2004, Georgia sued Taki Theodoracopoulos of The Spectator who had written that she had "persuaded her former husband to marry her by passing herself off as a woman". Taki paid damages and legal costs.

Lovers since her divorce have included Oliver Eden, the 8th Baron Henley who was a minister under Prime Ministers Thatcher and Major, and the actor Larry Lamb.

She has adopted two Russian baby boys, Dima and Misha.

She lived in France to escape the Blair years and became a champion of Robert Lund, a British expatriate who was convicted of murdering his wife.


18 May 2008

Letitia Winter (1948 - ) magician.

with the then Prime Minister.
Oliver Winter was born in Holloway, north London. He was in sales and then a motor-cycle messenger, worked as a lab assistant, and in fashion. 

She transitioned to Letitia in her 30s, finding a route through drag pubs, the Porchester Drag Balls and Friend TV/TS Group.  She decided to go into showbiz, but couldn’t sing, so she took up magic under the stage name of Fay Presto.

She has been a great success, and has performed for all senior royalty and many rock stars and actors.

She was the subject of a 1994 BBC profile, Illusions of Grandeur. In 1998 she was voted ‘Party Entertainer of the Year’ by Tatler Magazine. In 2001, she played herself in the ITV soap opera, Emmerdale. One of the few women members of The Inner Magic Circle.

She was on the board of the transsexual rights organization Press for Change.

17 May 2008

Yelizaveta Petrovna Romanova (1709 - 1762) Empress.

Empress of all the Russias from 1741, Yelizaveta took Russia into the War of Austrian Succession, (1740 –48), and the Seven Years War (1756-63). She encouraged the foundation of the University of Moscow and the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, and the building of fine buildings such as the Winter Palace and Smolny Cathedral. She remains popular because she excluded Germans from the government, and not a single person was executed during her reign.

Charles d'Eon de Beaumont was part of the French embassy to Russia during her reign, but the claims that he first practiced crossdressing at her court seem to be without foundation.

Ekaterina Romanova, Yelizaveta's successor, comments on life under Yelizaveta in the mid 1740s: 'In those days, there was a sort of masquerade at court every Tuesday. ... The Empress had decreed that, at these masquerades, to which only those persons had access who had been selected by her, all the men had to be dressed as women and all the women as men. I must say there could have been nothing more ugly and at the same time more laughable than most of the men so disguised, and nothing more miserable than the women in men's clothing. The Empress alone, who was best suited to men's clothing, looked really well; thus costumed, she was, in fact, very beautiful.'

While Yelizaveta's body was rather heavily built in the upper half, she had a well-shaped pair of legs, which at that period could be shown only in a male costume.

Yelizaveta was known for her intolerance of any member of the court who dressed as she did, or outdid her in any way. When the beautiful Mme Lopukhin appeared at a ball wearing a rose in her hair, exactly like the Empress, Yelizaveta not only cut off the rose, and the attached hair, but she boxed the woman's ears in front of the assembled court. It was not easy to avoid dressing like Yelizaveta for she would change her dress several times a day.

In this light it is not surprising that the courtiers did not transvest with the enthusiasm that is required for success. Success might be costly.

The Russian writer Barsukov, in his Annals de le Patrie, says that the masquerades took place twice a week. He also says that Yelizaveta decided to be the dresser at the court theatre, where all female roles were played by young men. He cites an instance in 1750 when the Empress personally dressed a young cadet who was to play a female role in a tragedy by Sumarakov.

When she died, Yelizaveta left 15,000 dresses, as well as a selection of male clothing.
  • Cynthia Cox. The Enigma of the Age: the Strange Story of the Chevalier d'Eon. Longmans. 1966: 24-5

15 May 2008

Mildred M. (1908 - ?).

A male-bodied person desiring a transsexual change was recorded, photographed and exhibited to medical students in Chicago in 1942.

She had desired to be female from early childhood, and strongly desired to be loved by a man. She had learned all the skills of a woman such as cooking, sewing, housekeeping. However she had been compelled to impersonate a man, and had married a woman and they had children.

The case was written up in in 1944. The doctors reporting emphasize that Mildred had been cruel to her wife and family, and that in her cross-dressing had boasted of her disregard for society or criticism. They interpreted her quandary as ‘emotional frigidity or callousness … seldom encountered even in a psychopath’.
  • D.M. Olkon and Irene Case Sherman. 'Eonism with Added Outstanding Psychopathic Features: a Unique Psychopathological Case' Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Vol 99 no 2: 159-67, 1944.
  • Jonathan Ned Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1983, Carrol & Graf Publishers, Inc. 1994: 587-90,718 n24.

13 May 2008

Michaela Lindner (1958 - ) politician, theatre agent.

Norbert Lindner studied process technology at the Technical University in Dresden, German Democratic Republic. He married and had 2 children.

To suppress his feelings of being a woman, he worked three jobs at once in addition to being politically active.

In 1996 he was elected Burgermeister in his native village of Quellendorf in Saxony-Anhalt, for the Party of Democratic Socialism. After he announced his intention to transition, the villagers voted 2-1 to dismiss him.

In 1999 Michaela had surgery, and also moved to Berlin where she founded a theatre agency. She married a man in 2005. She is an activist in the Linke Partei.

While "Quellendorf" can be translated as "native village", it is a real village in Saxony-Anhalt.

12 May 2008

Vicky de Lambray (1950 – 1986) a person of interest to Scotland Yard and MI6.

David Christian Lloyd-Gibbon grew up in Herefordshire and was educated at a minor public school. He ran away to London as a teenager, and instantly tricked at Victoria Station.

He won a talent contest as a female impersonator at the Elephant and Castle pub, and was hired to work there.

By the early Thatcher years she was a flamboyant prostitute in , using the name Vicky de Lambray. She was frequently mentioned in Fleet Street gossip columns and even headlines, because of court appearances, sex scandals and claims that she was a spy.

She would hire a Rolls Royce for soliciting and place a large sign in the back: VICKY de LAMBRAY-ENTERTAINER, and drive around central London or park outside the upscale Harrods Department Store. She would also work the upscale Shepherds Market area in Mayfair. She changed her name to Louis de Rothschild, hoping to be taken as a member of the family. The Rothschilds paid her £10,000 to change it back. She was convicted of art theft.

In 1983 she had a brief sexual encounter with Captain Anatoli Zotov, former Soviet Naval attaché, and a briefer one with Sir James Dunnett, a former head of MI6. Consequently she was investigated as a possible security risk.

The same year her 900-page autobiography which ‘named names’ went missing.

When she went to trial for stealing Dunnet’s wallet she invented a persona named Caroline Clark who sold the inside stories to journalists. In 1986 she became a person of interest in the investigation into a series of homosexual murders when her name was found in a suspect’s address book.

In August 1986, she telephoned the Press Association and said: 'I have just been killed. I have been injected with a huge amount of heroin. I am desperate’. A few hours later she was found dead of a heroin overdose in her flat in Stockwell. The coroner returned an open verdict.

10 May 2008

John Edgar Hoover (1895 - 1972) police management.

John Edgar was born and raised in Washington D.C. He studied law at George Washington University. He worked for the Justice Department during the Great War, and was promoted to head of the Enemy Aliens Registration section. He was then head of the new General Intelligence Division and then in 1921 he joined the Bureau of Investigation as deputy head.

Hoover was Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 until his death. A vocal patriot, he had avoided service in the First World War; a public Christian, he never went to church; a man with black ancestors, regarded by the black community as passing as white, he proved his whiteness by refusing to employ black agents, by ferociously opposing all movements for racial equality, by slandering and persecuting Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson and Martin Luther King.

Publicly homophobic, he started an affair with rookie agent Clyde Tolson in 1927, promoting him to Assistant Director within three years. The affair continued until Hoover's death 45 years later, although they never lived together.

On the take from, and being blackmailed by, organized crime, Hoover always insisted that there was no such a thing as the Mafia, and always understaffed or removed any team that was supposed to be fighting organized crime. He always made sure that he had information about the current U.S. president so that he would not be removed.

Anthony Summers' 1993 biography tells how photos of Hoover in drag were being circulated in a political gay crowd associated with the Maystat Tavern at 1628 L St NW in Washington in 1948. Susan Rosentiel, wife of Lewis, the owner of Schenley distillers, has told how she met such right-wing gays as Roy Cohn and Cardinal Spellman, and how twice in 1958 and 1959 she attended an orgy party at New York's Plaza Hotel, next to Central Park, where she met 'Mary' Hoover in short skirt, wig and stockings.

Hoover was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) 1950, and was warded the National Security Medal 1955, and the Distinguished Service Award 1966.

He introduced the 1945 film The House on 92nd Street which is about a female German agent in New York who passes as male.

In Woody Allen’s film Bananas, 1971. Dorothi Fox plays a middle-aged black woman who is J. Edgar Hoover in disguise. Had Woody Allen heard some rumors?

09 May 2008

Demet Demir (1961-) Turkish activist.

Demet was born in Yalova. She has been a trans activist since 1980 when she was jailed after the 1980 military coup. She was jailed again in 1982, and again with torture in 1991. She was also arrested many times while working as a prostitute.

She established the first sexual minorities’ commission within the (Turkish) Human Rights Organization. She took part in the successful campaigns against article 159, which prevented married women working without their husbands’ consent, and article 438, which decreases the punishment by one third in cases where the female victim is a prostitute.

She was the first trans woman and the first person considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International because of “sexual orientation”. She completed transition in 1996.

International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission awarded her the 1997 Felipa de Souza Award.

On returning to Turkey after receiving the award, she was re-arrested within hours when she tried to help a young girl who was being beaten by police officers for selling handerchiefs to help a transgender workshop.

She was a local government candidate in 1999 election.

08 May 2008

The first transvestite to climb Mount Everest

Maurice Wilson (1898 – 1934) was descended from wool-mill owners in Bradford, Yorkshire. In the Great War, he rose through the ranks and became a Captain. He fought at Passchendaele, and won the Military Cross in an engagement near the village of Meteren. Later his left arm was permanently injured by machine gun fire.

After the War he worked on a sheep farm and then ran a ladies’ clothing shop in New Zealand for a while. On the boat home he met a group of yogis, and at home when he contracted tuberculosis he cured himself by fasting and prayer.

He decided to climb the then unconquered Mt Everest/Chomolungma. He had never climbed any mountain before. He bought an aeroplane to fly to India. He had never flown an aeroplane before. He took some lessons, crashed the plane only once and then flew to India with a simple map using the coastlines. The British Government of India impounded his aeroplane when he arrived.

He escaped and made his way though Tibet dressed as a monk. After a few failed attempts, his Sherpas refused to go on, and he continued alone, without extra oxygen. His body was found a year later and given a mountain funeral: he was tossed into a glacier. When his body was found, he was wearing female underwear, and the Chinese expedition of 1960 found a woman’s dress shoe. Mountaineering forums debate whether he died on the way up or on the way down - if the latter, he was the first European to climb the mountain, 19 years before Edmund Hillary.

05 May 2008

Desiré Dubounet (1951 - ) inventer, fraudster, genius, Maitreya, singer, film-maker, LGBT activist.

William Nelson was born in Ohio. In the late 1980s, he was an out-of-work math instructor in Colorado when he built an electronic machine, which he called the EPFX (Electro-Physio-Feedback-Xrroid System), which he said would diagnose and eliminate all diseases from Aids to cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration indicted him on felony fraud charges in 1996, and he relocated to Budapest and continues to sell his machine world-wide including in the US for up to $55,000 each.

By Desiré’s own account, 18-year-old Bill Nelson was on the Apollo 13 engineering team and on his own rescued the return to Earth; was an alternate member of the 1986 US Olympics gymnastics team; and later was nominated for a Nobel Prize in medicine. She claims that William has eight doctorates. Desiré’s web site describes herself as “easily by far the most colorful, interesting, intelligent and courageous person in the world today”. She also says “Bill recognizes that he is the Maitreya predicted in Buddhist legend”.

William had two wives and two children. Both wives left him when he revealed that he was a transvestite. However he claims that his medical for his immigration to Hungary revealed that he also has ovaries. 

His current Hungarian wife of 10 years is accepting of his female side, and in 2002 William became Desiré Dubounet. She regularly performs with her band, Hunz, at conventions for fans of her machines and in her own club. He also makes films at a Budapest studio, and is a activist for LGBT rights in Hungary. 

*Not the country singer, Willie Nelson.


This is an interesting test case re the issue of how one should balance journalism against the person's own website.

Note the sympathetic article by Katrina Fox. This is the same Katrina Fox who is spouse to Tracie O'Keefe and co-editor of Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex & Gender Diversity, 2003.

Neat name for the English-language Hungarian magazine published in the city of Pest.

04 May 2008

Lynda Cash (1950 - ) sailor, operating theatre technician.

Brian Waling from Bolton, Lancashire worked as an operating theatre technician and joined the Royal Navy in 1971. He married and had one child.

During the Falklands War, 1982, he served on HMS Invincible treating seriously injured servicemen.

In 1986 he started to transition and was discharged from the Navy. As Lynda, she had surgery in 1988. She then worked for North Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust. She met her boyfriend on a trip to Chester, but waited five years before telling him about her past. He stayed with her.

She has war flashbacks and post traumatic stress disorder. In 1999, she appealed to a tribunal claiming unfair dismissal and medical negligence. This claim was dismissed. She then appealed on grounds of sex discrimination, but was dismissed on the grounds that the time limit had expired in 1995. She then applied for a sickness pension in that it was post-traumatic stress rather than her gender change that had made her unsuitable to stay in the Navy. A letter from the Naval Personnel Secretariat said: “Because her post-traumatic stress disorder remained undiagnosed or acknowledged, her gender dysphoria and its apparent effects became the primary reason for dealing with her case administratively”. She was awarded £68,000 in back pension payments.

Thierry Paulin (1963 – 1989) soldier, drag performer, murderer.

Thierry was born in Martinique. His father returned to France, abandoning his son and the boy's mother. When he was 10, his behaviour was erratic, and his father agreed to take him to avoid paying alimony.

At school in Toulouse and later in the French Army parachute troop, he was rejected because of his skin colour. His army career ended when he was convicted of robbing a female grocer.

He became a drag performer at the Paris nightclub, Paradis Latin, where he impersonated Eartha Kitt. He met his lover Jean-Thierry Mathurin, from French Guyana, at the nightclub.

Sometimes with his lover, from 1984-1987 Paulin murdered at least 20 elderly women for small amounts of money. Though he was captured, Paulin died of AIDS-related complications before going to trial.

His partner, Jean-Thierry (right), served a life sentence, and was released in 2009.
Paulin is referred to as the ‘Beast of Montmartre’, and his story was filmed as J'ai pas sommeil.

Gladys Bentley (1907 – 1960) Blues singer.

Bentley was born in Trinidad and raised in Philadelphia by a US father and a Trinidadian mother.

She became a Blues singer, mainly famous in the 1930s when she performed by playing piano and singing naughty parodies of blues standards in a deep voice at gay speakeasies in New York. She normally dressed in men’s attire, usually a tuxedo and top hat, and flirted with women in the audience. She appeared at The Clam House on 133rd St and at Harlem’s Ubangi Club, where she was backed by a chorus of men in drag.

After prohibition, she moved to southern California, and was frequently harassed for wearing men’s clothing. She claimed that she had married a white woman in Atlantic City. During the repressive 1950s, she felt obliged to wear dresses, pretended that she had married a man, and, in a fabricated article for Ebony magazine, claimed that female hormones had ‘cured’ her.

She was about to be ordained as a minister when she died of pneumonia at age 54.
Here is a clip of her with Groucho Marx on You Bet Your Life in the late 1950.