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 right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

04 May 2008

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments that constitute non-relevant advertisements will be declined, as will those attempting to be rude. Comments from 'unknown' and anonymous will also be declined. Repeat: Comments from "unknown" will be declined, as will anonymous comments. You may type in a name if you don't have a Google id.