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!

29 November 2008

Perry Desmond (1936 - 1984) performer, prostitute, sailor, beautician, occult retailer, pastor.

Perry was born and raised in Louisiana. His father was a pilot on a Mississippi River boat who was frequently drunk. His mother beat him once when she came home early and found him dressed in her clothes, but his great-aunt Edna let him dress up in her room. He was subjected to homophobic bullying at school, even in front of teachers who took no notice.

When he reached puberty several of the other boys, who had been rude to him, volunteered him as the one who would be sexually passive.

At Louisiana State University he found his first gay friends, but was ejected for being gay. He found a lover in Baton Rouge until his mother interfered. He then went to Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana at Lafeyette) and found another lover before being kicked out for doing so. In New Orleans he became a waiter and a prostitute, and as a kept boy started wearing female clothing full time, until his mother interfered.

He then joined the US Navy where he was a nurse, and married a woman from high school. However he found himself unable to have sex with her. He then told the Navy doctors that he was a woman, and was discharged within a week.

He returned to waiting, and did his first drag show at the My-O-My Club on Lake Ponchatrain. He was recruited for the Jewel Box Review because his size allowed him to take over the costumes of one who had left. He quit the Revue when his father was in hospital.

After that he opened a beauty salon, but then performed in various drag clubs. An agent in New York named him ‘The South’s Most Beautiful Boy’. In 1958 he and 142 others were arrested at a big costume ball at the Manhattan Center in New York. At the same time he came down with jaundice.

One day on the street he met an old friend who was close to completing transition, and demanded the name of her doctor. Perry then started on hormones injections from Dr Ritter in New York (probably Dr Benito Rish) , and started electrolysis. She also bleached her hair. She had a nose job and silicone injections.

Once she had breasts she passed easily as a woman, and went back to a mix of hooking and running a beauty salon. She gave that up to be a kept woman, but after a year of two-timing her husband, left him for the other man, Wayne.

In 1968 her father died, and she bought male clothing to attend his funeral.

She opened a new beauty salon in a haunted ante-bellum house in New Orleans, and then became a self-taught astrologer, and did lots of drugs. Her business evolved into an occult shop called The Age of Aquarius. She had her fortune read two or three times every day and constantly recalculated her horoscope.

After seven years together, Wayne beat her up and took off. Perry consulted a witch who sold her a spell to get Wayne to return.

After ten years on hormones, she contacted Dr Murphy Seeling in New York to be castrated. Wayne returned to go with her, and while she was there she had facial silicone implants as well. Seeling’s operation resulted in a painful abscess.

The next time that Wayne took off, Perry attempted suicide. Afterwards she bailed him out of jail and took him to a rehabilitation ward. In that ward Wayne embraced Jesus. After he got out, Wayne would not live with Perry because that would be a sin. He kept sending Christian leaflets to Perry and tried to get Perry to go to his church.

Perry found herself a new younger lover, but after a year of conflict with Wayne the new lover left for a ‘real woman’. This was 1974. Then her mother died, and wished to remember Perry ‘as you were’.

After an abortive visit to Wayne’s church she read the literature he had been sending to her, and approached the Baptist Church next to the laundromat. The minister visited her at home, and she converted, and was persuaded that to God she was still a man.

Perry reverted to male clothing, and he became a minister, and a celebrity on the Christian circuit. He became a pioneer in the Exodus movement. He supported the Anita Bryant crusade. He died of a heart attack at age 48.

*Not the singer, Perry Desmond-Davies

  • Lester Lee & Good News Gang. And such were some of you (1st Cor. 6:11) : introducing Perry Desmond and the Good News Gang. New Orleans: Good News 1976.
  • Perry Desmond & Dr. R. L. Hymers. Perry: A Transformed Transsexual. Ironton, MO: Metamorphis Books, 137 pp1978. Impact Christian Books 133 pp 2004.
  • Perry Desmond. “The Final Transformation”.  No longer available.

Both Drs Ritter and Seeling are obscure. I cannot find any other information about them, nor any other transsexuals who used their service.

At the end of the book Perry issues a blanket forgiveness to the homophobic bullies and other who made his life difficult. Surely even within Christianity, forgiveness should only follow repentance -- which does not seem to apply here. This is more serious than it sounds in my summary of Perry's life. He mentions two female impersonators who were his friends, and who were murdered in really horrible ways by homophobes. Are we to take it that he forgives these murderers too?

From the way that Perry chooses Dr Ritter we see that she is impulsive on making such a choice. Therefore it is not strange that she chose a church equally impulsively. This is a shame for there are churches that accept transsexuals, but they are not usually the one next to the laundromat. It is an enormous pity that Perry did not find a trans-positive church before changing back.

23 November 2008

William Ernest Edwards (1874 – 1956) sheep shearer, barman, performer, bookie.

Marion Edwards was born to a Welsh-born blacksmith outside Melbourne. At 1896 she transitioned to William, giving the rational of earning more money. William acquired a horse and male clothing and headed for the bush, working on sheep stations. He learned to shoot, and to fight. Although only 5”4’ the work and exercise brought his weight up to 10st 4lb (65.3 kg).

On New Year’s Day 1900 Bill married a 30-year-old widow in a Catholic church, but they soon separated. In April 1905 he was arrested for burglary when found in a hotel at 3 am. He explained that he was trying to catch a prowler, but absconded to Queensland before his gender was outed. His wife who had put up £50 bail, was sentenced to one month’s gaol for his default.

In Queensland he worked in house painting, and as a barman. However an old associate outed him. In October 1906 Bill was arrested and returned to Melbourne as a celebrity. With the publicity, he performed as a sharpshooter at the Fitzroy cinema between film shows, and at the waxworks billed as 'The Far-famed Male Impersonator'. At his trial in November, he was found not guilty.

The police tried to make him live as a woman, but he would not. He also published his memoirs, with photographs of himself in both male and in female garb. He also claimed to have worked as a female impersonator entertaining troops in South Africa during the Boer War and to have delivered horses to India.

In 1927, he was working as pony trainer. In the 1930s, he worked in hotels, iron foundries and factories, and as a bookie. He was listed on the electoral roll as a dyer. Later in life neighbours described him as an ‘old gentleman’, although apparently most of them knew his original gender.

He finally entered the Mount Royal Geriatric Home in Melbourne, where they forced him to wear women’s clothes.

In 1984 he was the subject of a play, In Male Attire.

The accounts in the ADB and Radical Tradition are contradictory in several details, including Edwards' birth year. I have taken from both accounts.

22 November 2008

Ron Storme (1926 – 2000) performer, organizer.

Ron grew up in a working-class home in Richmond, west London. He started as a child dancer, and he then toured in the popular all-male drag reviews during the Second World War. He met his lover, George, in 1947.

To avoid the repression that accompanied the Coronation in 1953, he lived in Tunisia for some years where he made a living as a stripper and singer.

On return to London he worked in risqué shows including the Gaiety Box Revue fronted by Larry Grayson. He was skilled at costume making, and made outfits for many London drag-acts. He was often en femme at private parties, and out on the town – at a time when such off-stage behaviour was unheard of among female impersonators.

Ron and George became known for their parties at their home in Putney in the early 1960s which attracted name guests such as the spy Kim Philby, lesbian singing star Dusty Springfield and the gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Legend has it that the Krays suggested what turned into the drag balls at Porchester Hall which Ron organized with Jean Fredericks. After Jean’s death he organized events at the Tudor Lodge in Bow.

In 1980 Ron opened a nightclub, Club Travestie Extraordinaire, in Stepney. This became an east-end institution, attracting both gay and straight transies, and as it lasted into the 21st century is arguably the UK’s longest lasting gay night spot. George died in 1981. Ron was an organizer and judge at the ‘Night of a Thousand Frocks’ in 1986 that evolved into the Alternate Miss London contest.

Ron continued at the club, always fabulously dressed, until he was taken ill in summer 2000. He died of liver cancer, age 74. The Alternate Miss London contest is now dedicated to him.

21 November 2008

What happened to ... Agnes (1939 -).

Agnes (a pseudonym) grew up the youngest of four children in a Catholic working-class family. Her machinist father died when she was eight. The mother did semi-skilled work in an aircraft plant to raise the children.

From the age of twelve Agnes took her mother's post-hysterectomy estrogen pills and feminized her body. At 17 she was living as a woman. She was tested in Portland Oregon, and found to have XY chromosomes, and neither a uterus nor the hypothesized tumor that might produce estrogen.

In 1958 she was working as a typist for an insurance company, and had a boyfriend. His insistence on intercourse and marriage led to a series of quarrels, and she disclosed her details to him. The affair continued.

She was referred to Dr Robert Stoller at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, and interviewed by him, Dr Alexander Rosen, a psychologist, and Harold Garfinkel, a sociologist interested in the way sex (gender as it would later be called) works in society.

Agnes was taken to be an example of testicular feminization syndrome. She refused to meet or be classified with any other trans person or any homosexuals. She was vigorously conventional (heteronormative) in her opinions on sexual matters. Agnes refused to discuss certain topics, and as she refused to let the doctors interview her family, this led to some suspicions being raised. Stoller and his colleagues did discuss whether she had taken external estrogens, but they decided that she was conventionally feminine, as opposed to the “caricature” and “hostility” found in transvestites and transsexuals, and therefore must be genuine.

She was recommended for surgery as an intersex patient, at a time when such surgery was regularly denied to transsexuals. Surgery was done in 1959 by a team of doctors including Elmer Belt. Stoller presented his findings at the 1963 International Psychoanalytic Congress in Stockholm; Garfinkel included an extensive chapter on Agnes in his pioneering 1967 book on Ethnomethodology.

Post-operative infection of and partial closure of her vagina, weight loss that led to a reduction in breast size, and unpredictable mood changes led to problems with her boyfriend.++However she subsequently married, and was accepted as a popular and attractive young woman.

In 1966 Agnes confessed to Stoller that she had indeed taken external estrogens. This did cause Stoller to doubt his own theories. He retracted his earlier findings at the 1968 International Psychoanalytic Congress in Copenhagen.  ++As stated by Stoller: "she began stealing Stilbestrol from her mother, who was taking it on prescription following a panhysterectomy. The child then began filling the prescription on her own, telling the pharmacist that she was picking up the hormone for her mother and paying for it with money taken from her mother's purse. She did not know what the effects would be, only that this was a female substance; she had no idea how much to take, but more or less tried to follow the amounts her mother took." (Stoller 1968: 135-6)

++Then for the first time Stoller was permitted to speak with Agnes' mother.   He found that mother and child had slept encurled until the child was eight.  The father worked nights, and was rarely seen.  The mother had, as a child, worn boys' clothes and played sports with boys as an equal.   However at age 15 when her breasts developed, she put aside her male clothes and activities, and acted feminine.  She married her first serious date.   Stoller notes that this was similar to the mother of Lance, the 'boy transvestite' who had come to the Clinic a few years earlier.

  • A.D Schwabe, David H. Solomon, Robert J. Stoller & John P. Burnham. “Pubertal Feminization in a Genetic Male with Testicular Atrophy and Normal Urinary Gonadotropin”. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 22, 8 Aug 1962: 839-845.
  • Harold Garfinkel and Robert Stoller. “Passing and the managed achievement of sex status in an ‘intersexed’ person”. Studies in Ethnomethodology. Prentice Hall, Inc 1967: 117-185. Online at:
  • Leia Kaitlyn Armitage. “Truth, Falsity, and Schemas of Presentation: A Textual Analysis of Harold Garfinkel's Story of Agnes”. The Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. 4, April 29, 2001.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 159-161.
  • Robert Stoller. "Etiological Factors in Adult Male Tarnssexualism". Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity, Science House, 1968: 133-9.
  • Richard Green. “Robert Stoller’s Sex and Gender: 40 Years on”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 2010: 1461-2.

This is a really great story. The self-appointed experts and gatekeepers are outwitted by a 19-year old girl.

"Agnes" managed to keep her real name - the female one as well as her birth name - out of the press. Once she had finished at the UCLA Medical Center she disappeared from history. She will now be 69 80.

It is sad that she did not want to meet any other transsexuals. Her journey must have been very lonely.
I was put off by the conventionality of Agnes' opinions as reported by Garfinkel, but I had to remind myself that a) it was 1959 b) she is a pioneer in telling the doctors what they want to hear, and does not know just what will work.

Stoller - unlike Money especially - had the honesty to return to his professional peers and admit that he had been wrong.

There is nothing on Agnes in Lillian Faderman & Stuart Timmons, Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians, which there should have been, but then the book also has nothing on Edward Wood either.

19 November 2008

Cindy Filo (1969 - ) performer.

Cindy grew up in Samoa in a Seventh Day Adventist family, and became a fa’afafine, the traditional transgender role in Samoa. Like many modern fa’afafines, Cindy has adopted western morés and is much like a drag queen, although she lives as female, and is disapproved of by the elders for this reason.

By the age of 15 she was the first night-club female vocalist in Samoa. She had an affair with a member of the Australian High Commission, who was transferred back home, but he quit his job and returned to Samoa to be with her.

In 1989 Cindy toured New Zealand, was a great success and stayed until 1996 when she returned to Samoa and started her own cabaret show that became a must for every tourist. She was also crowned Miss My Girl and Miss South Pacific Beauty Queen.

In 1999 she went to the USA for a one-off show in Carson City, but the trip was expanded as a tour. In 2002 she won Sydney’s Poly Talent Quest. She specializes in impersonations of Tina Turner.


I hope that no-one is still reading Margaret Mead on Samoa. She never learned the language, couldn't tell when when people where having her on, and never noticed the fa'afafines.

18 November 2008

Richard Sharpe (1954 - 2009) dermatologist.

Richard and Karen were teenage sweethearts who married just three months after highschool.

Richard Sharpe became a Boston-area dermatologist, with a cosmetic dermatology business, and a chain of hair removal clinics, LaseHair. He also taught at Harvard Medical School.

A secretive cross-dresser, who had abused his wife for many years, he came out in 2000 after he murdered her after she had left him. He had been self-prescribing female hormones to himself. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In 2007 he was acquitted of attempting to hire a professional killer to eliminate the prosecutor who had sent him to jail.

In January 2009 he managed to kill himself in his cell by hanging a sheet from the upper bunk.

*Not the soldier in the Bernard Cornwell novels and the subsequent Carlton Films television series, nor the rugby player, nor the 18th-century politician.

Diamond Lil and Maisie, performers.

Lil, who lived en femme, and Maisie, who dressed for the stage, were a gay couple who lived in Hackney, London, and performed as a drag duo at various East End venues, particularly the Royal Oak in Columbia Rd, Hackney, from the Second World War and into the 1960s.

Their story was turned into a radio play, Diamond, 2006, by Linda Wilkinson, chair of Amnesty International UK, which was in turn adapted as a stage play, with Dave Lynn as Lil.
  • Linda Wilkinson. Watercress but no Sandwiches: 300 Years of the Columbia Road Area. London: Jesus Hospital Estate Residents Association, 2001.
  • Christopher Sandford (dir). Diamond. Scr: Linda Wilkinson, with Dave Lynn as Diamond Lil, and John Barr as Maisie. The Kings Head Theatre 2006.

14 November 2008

Nancy Ledins (1932 - ) priest, electrologist.

William Griglak was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He became a Catholic priest and earned a PhD in Psychology at The Catholic University in Washington D.C..

William resigned the priesthood in 1969, and transitioned surgically to Nancy in 1979 with surgery from Dr Biber.

She never returned officially to lay status, and thus is claimed as the first female Roman Catholic priest.

Afterwards Nancy became a noted electrologist, and served as the educational director for the American Electrology Association.

Of course there are other candidates for 'the first female Roman Catholic priest'. I seem to remember an Italian priest who transitioned around the same time, but I cannot find any details any more.

13 November 2008

Brigham Morris Young

Given the current interest in Mormons I reproduce this picture of the famous Utah female impersonator Madam Pattirini, who was also Brigham Morris Young (1855 - 1931), the 35th son of the Brigham Young.

This picture is a circa 1883 placard advertising an appearance in Logan, Utah. Young performed as Pattirini at Mormon venues from the 1880s to the 1900s. He did a convincing falsetto, and many in the audience did not realize that Pattirini was Young.

He had one wife and 10 children.

  • Connell O’Donovan. “’The Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature’: A Revised History of Homosexuality & Mormonism, 1840-1980”. In Brent Corcoran (ed) Multiply and Replenish: Mormon Essays on Sex and Family. Salt Lake City: Signature Books 1994. Expanded and revised version online at:

12 November 2008

Anohni (1971 - ) musician.

++Updated February 2016

Born in Chichester, Sussex, Anthony Hegarty moved with his parents to Amsterdam in 1977, and California in 1981. In 1990, he moved to New York to do a degree in Experimental Theatre at New York University.

He co-founded a performance collective, Blacklips Performance Cult, which became Anthony and the Johnsons which is named in homage to Marsha P. Johnson. As a teenager Antony had followed gender ambiguous performers such as Marc Almond and Boy George. A recurring theme in his work is being transgender. He has expressed a desire to be a 'a transvestite chanteuse at 3am nightclubs bathed in blue light, like Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet'. His voice is androgynous and has been taken as that of a black woman.

He has worked with Baby Dee and Julia Yasuda. He credits much of his success to Lou Reed’s patronage, which resulted in a signing to the Rough Trade label. He was in the Sebastian Lifshitz movie about a transexual, Wild Side, performing the song "I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy".

The group’s second album, I Am a Bird Now, 2005, has a cover photograph of Candy Darling on her death bed, and features excerpts from two children’s letters taken from a medical journal on intersex and sex change. It also contains “Free at Last” with the lyrics: 'One day I'll grow up and be a beautiful woman!'.   ++It also includes guest artists Boy George, Lou Reed and Rufus Wainwright.  The track "For Today I am a Boy" contains the lines: "One day I'll grow up, I'll be a beautiful girl. But for today I am a child, for today I am a boy".  

In performance Antony sang Lou Reed’s song “Candy Says”.

In 2005 Antony and the Johnsons worked with film maker Charles Atlas and presented Turning in Europe featuring video portraits of enigmatic women in New York. Le Monde hailed it as "Concert- manifeste transsexuel".

In 2005, on the technicality of his British birth, I Am A Bird Now won the UK’s Mercury prize. The New Musical Express named him the fourth coolest person.

++In 2015 she announced that her name would be Anohni.   In 2016 Anohni was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Manta Ray”, a collaboration with the composer  J Ralph, featured in the documentary Racing Extinction.  This makes her the first trans person to be nominated since Angela Morley won in 1974 and 1976, also for her music.    However unlike her co-nominees, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and the Weeknd, Anohni was not invited to perform at the ceremony, although some non-nominees were so invited.   The South Korean soprano Sumi Jo was likewise snubbed under the pretense of not being "commercially viable".

++Anahni has commented on her situation as trans:   "I am speaking out about my experiences but I can't speak for anyone else. Especially because my situation is ambiguous because I haven't transitioned from male to female.   My experience as a transgender person has been to become comfortable expressing my sense of difference within the identity of being trans. For a lot of people, that's not their experience at all. They don't want to be trans, they want to be the opposite sex. I have so much love for those people because their condition is very real. It's almost like a sacred condition. Kids experiencing that are in a sacred crisis. They have all these gifts that boys and girls don't have."     EN.WIKIPEDIA   IMDB  YOUTUBE   

11 November 2008

Monica León (1975 - ) sex worker, transactivist.

Benito Martin León grew up in Salta, in the northwest of Argentina. He was sexually abused by his father’s friend at age 4, and was sexually abused again at age 10-12. At 15 he was working as a prostitute. He was repeatedly imprisoned for his sex and gender orientation, and for not providing sexual services to police officers.

At 18 León had moved to Buenos Aires and was living as Monica. She was arrested, detained and physically and verbally abused for 24 hours for dressing as female. She was one of the first travestis to file a complaint at this standard police abuse.

At 19 tests showed that she was HIV+ and, against the policy of confidentiality, the hospital staff shouted out her results across the waiting room. She was a co-founder of Asociación Travestis Argentinas (ATA) in 1993, of Organización de Travestis de la Republica Argentina (OTRA) in 1994. In 1999 she left OTRA and joined Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA), where she worked to solicit the Ombudsman’s Office for the right to change one’s name.

For six years her lover was Alberto, a policeman, but he frustrated her attempts to better herself by education, by getting into theatre or by becoming an activist for other travestis, so she ended the affair.

Monica also completed secondary school and began university studies in law.

In 2003 she moved into the Gondolin Hotel which had been taken over by travestis from Salta after the owner died with no kin to inherit. Monica organized the Asociación Civil Gondolin, in large part to help the travestis there who were heavily into drugs and alcohol, and never used condoms. She coordinated with two hospitals to bring in 40-45 travestis monthly for check-ups to control tuberculosis. She sorted out the legal status of the hotel by getting the travestis to pay its taxes and bills.

On 18 December 2004, 60 police surrounded the hotel and robbed the inmates. Monica was shot eight times in the legs.

She fled to Paris and is seeking political asylum, but is harassed in that she does not have proper papers. In 2005 there was a media circus when Monica and Camille Barré, a post-operative trans woman, proposed to marry. This was Monica’s first affair with a woman. They were denounced by the French state for “trying to make society evolve by catching it in the traps of its own logic”.

*Not the jazz singer

10 November 2008

Charles Nathaniel Armstrong (1897 – 1998) endocrinologist.

++ Updated May 2014.

Armstrong was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was a surgical sublieutenant in the Great War. Forestalled in his desire to become a neurologist, he became a general physician and then an endocrinologist. From 1931 he was a consultant physician to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

He was a founder member of the endocrinology section at the Royal Society of Medicine. He specialized in intersex patients, and gave lectures on the subject in Britain and abroad.

His criteria re disputed sex were used by several judges. His advice that there are four criteria, vis chomosomal, gonadal, phenotypical and psychological, was accepted in the Ewan Forbes case. In Corbett v. Corbett he argued that April Ashley was a pre-birth intersex and should be assigned to the female sex, but his advice did not prevail. In 1979 Mark Rees was invited for an evaluation possibly leading to phalloplasty, but the surgeon retired and was not replaced.  
  • Charles Nathaniel Armstrong, and Alan John Marshall. Intersexuality in vertebrates including man. London: Academic Press. 479 pp 1964.
  • Mark Rees. Dear Sir or Madam: the autobiography of a female-to-male transsexual. London & New York: Cassell, 1996: 147-151. 
  • “Charles Nathaniel (‘Natty’) Armstrong”. British Medical Journal. 27 Feb 1999.

09 November 2008

Marie-Marcelle Godbout (1944 - ) magician, transactivist.

Marcel Godbout was the youngest of seven children and a great-grand nephew of Adélard Godbout, who was Premier of Québec 1939-44 and gave Quebec women the right to vote. He grew up in Abitibi, Québec. He felt that she was a girl from a very early age, and was taunted at school, especially when he attempted to act masculine.

After school he worked in a hospital with the elderly. He confessed his desire to be a woman to a patient who had become a friend, but a nun overheard and the next day he was fired as a ‘sex maniac’.

At 18 Marcel moved to Montréal and became Marie-Marcelle. She became friends with the entertainer Lana St-Cyr (1927 - 1986) who helped her to become an comedian and magician under the name Mimi de Paris. This led to the playwright Michel Tremblay and a small part as a barmaid in his film Il était une fois dans l'est, 1974.

One day while working as a waitress, she was arrested and grouped with the prostitutes. On seeing her (male) id, the police accused her of being in disguise. While she had been on hormones since 1974, she found it tolerable to retain her penis, but the police accusation and the memory of an abused elderly gay man when she had worked with seniors persuaded her to look for an operation.

She met with sexologists in an experimental program at the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM), where students watched her through a one-way mirror. She had the operation in 1978 in Toronto with Dr Lindsay, for $3,000.

She had both male and female lovers, some not knowing of her past.

She founded L’Association des Transexuel(le)s du Québec in 1980, and later she was active in FiertéTrans.

In 1992 she worked with the Raëlian church to distribute condoms in Montreal Catholic high schools.

She has co-raised a son, Patrick, at the invitation of the boy’s father.
  • Annie Girard interviews Marie-Marcelle Godbout. “Je suis née dans un corps d’homme…”. Dernière Heure 1996 04. Online at:
  • Suzette Paradis interviews Marie-Marcelle Godbout. “Les épreuves de ma transsexualité”. Dernière Heure 1997 03. Online at:

Trans Mayors

These are the mayors and mayoral candidate that I can think of. Who else should be added?


Rudy Giuliana, KBE (1944 - ). Mayor New York, NY, USA 1994-2001. Drag queen who appeared on stage and television in drag while still in office.

Georgina Beyer (1957 - ). Transitioned 1984. Mayor of Carterton, Wellington, NZ, 1995. Labour MP from 1999-2007.

Michaela Lindner (1958 - ). Burgermeister of Quellendorf, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany 1996. Announced an intention to transition, and villagers voted 2-1 to dismiss him.

Susan Kimberly (1943 - ). City Councilor St Paul, Minnesota, USA, 1970s, and then President of the Council. Transitioned 1984. 1998 Deputy Mayor of St Paul.

Jenny Bailey (1962 - )and Jennifer Liddle (1958 - ). Transitioned together 1990s. Mayor & Mayoress of Cambridge, UK. 2007.

Choochat Dulayapraphatsorn (1962 - ). Katoey elected village chief in Tai Ban Mai, Thailand 2008.

Stu Rasmussen (1948 - ). Two terms as Mayor of Silverton, Oregon, USA. Came out as crossdresser late 1990s, breast implants 2000. 2008 re-elected as Mayor.

Ran but not elected

Sister Boom Boom (Jack Fertig) ran for Mayor of San Francisco, California, USA 1983.

Joan Jett-Blakk (Terence Smith) ran for Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, USA 1990 on Queer Nation ticket. Later ran for US President.

Althea Garrison (1941 - ). Transitioned 1976. Ran for many offices including Mayor in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in the 1990s. In 1992 she was elected as a Republican State Representative.

Fulvia Célica Siguas Sandoval (194? - 2004). Transitioned 1979. Ran for Mayor of Jesus María, Lima, Peru 1998.

Enza Anderson (1964 - ) ran for mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2000.

Jennifer Gale (1960 - 2008) ran for various offices in Austin, Texas, USA whilst living homeless in 2000s.

06 November 2008

Libby Reynolds (1932 - ) drag performer.

Raymond Gumieney was born in Brooklyn, New York, the last of eleven children, and was raised by his mother alone. He sang and played French horn as a child.

In 1957 he talked himself in his first performing job. At first he was Ray Reynolds, but changed to Libby when hired as a a female impersonator at The Ace of Clubs where there was already another Ray. In 1959 he was hired by the Jewel Box Revue, but as a chorus boy.

In 1960 Ray was working in mufti as a bar tender at Main Street Lounge in Greenwich Village when actor Raymond Burr (1917 - 1993), who played Perry Mason on television, came in and ended up spending the night with him. Ray sold the story to Confidential magazine, and the story now was that Burr had innocently picked up Libby and never realized that she was a ‘man’. The story included a composite photo of Burr and Libby.

In 1962 Libby was a singer at Finocchio’s in San Francisco, and then worked at the Jewel Box Lounge in Kansas City. He retired in 1997.
  • David de Alba. “De Alba on Reynolds”. Celebrity Interviews by David de Alba.
  • Michael Seth Starr. Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. 2008: 120-8.

03 November 2008

Claudia (1958 - ) opera singer, drag performer.

As a boy in Glasgow, he was bullied because of his androgynous looks. At 18 she started dressing as female, and was accepted and complimented on her appearance.

Whilst at hairdressing college she found her boyfriend. He was from a family of musicians and got her started as an opera singer. She had some success, for example playing support to Marc Almond. She was also a drag performer.

After being beaten by a Dutch border guard who took exception to the discrepancy between her appearance and the ‘male’ in her passport, they decided it was time to complete the change. She was prescribed female hormones by a psychiatrist in Glasgow in 1985. She had surgery in 1986, rushing it so that she could have a specific surgeon before he retired. She was referred by Russell Reid.

Her boyfriend left her in 1987 when she developed a hair-ball in her vagina. Other prospective boyfriends left when she told them of her past. She lost her confidence to face an audience. She suffered a breakdown, that was made worse by transphobic response from the Glasgow police after she was raped.

She now regrets that she had the change. While reading The Silence of the Lambs, she decided that she should have been rejected when she applied for a sex change. She is pursuing a civil claim against Russell Reid.

Julie Bind is of course the cause of an outcry from transsexuals etc because she has been short-listed by Stonewall UK for an Award as Journalist of the Year. She has issued a statement in reaction to this outcry in which she cites the case of Claudia again. I, and I think most transsexuals, feel that Bindel is incapable of understanding us, and wish that she would stop writing about us. Her current statement contains reactions from transsexual and intersex persons, some of whom are well known activists. The statement is worth reading, but do continue on through the comments, and notice that initially Bindel responds, but then doesn't. Many of the most salient points elicit only silence from her.

My second declaration of interest is that I went through Russell Reid only two years later, and he passed me onto James Dalrymple, FRCS. In those days UK surgeons were Mr, not Dr. I understood quite well that Reid was acting as a gatekeeper. That he was deciding whether I was suitable, and that there was no question of the session being therapy. At the price that he was charging, I did not want to stay for therapy.

I am intrigued by Claudia's rush to get a specific surgeon before retirement. Neither Batty nor Bindel name this surgeon. My guess is that it was Peter Philip, who mentored James Dalrymple. Why Claudia thought that Dalrymple would not do is not explored.

Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs, whilst a fairly good thriller, is however badly researched on the issue of applying for a sex change. Some readers, with reason, regard the book as transphobic. Notice the sentence in the Wiki summary: Lector "explains that Bill isn't actually a transsexual, but only thinks he is".

Both Batty and Bindel hold back Claudia's surname. This is odd in Batty's case as the print edition in the Observer Magazine included a full page photograph of Claudia. Is her privacy being respected or not? Ironically I learned Claudia's surname in an article about Bindel. However I see no reason to print it. Indeed I suspect that 'Claudia' is also a pseudonym. If you have had an international career as a drag performer and have sung opera as an opening act to Marc Almond, we should be able to google something.

There is an apparent discrepancy in Bindel's account. She says that Claudia started living full-time only after starting hormones in 1985. But she was crossing a border as female when she was assaulted, and Batty implies that she had started at age 18. The discrepancy may be only an artifact of journalistic style.

Bindel opens her new statement by being 'angry' at Vancouverite Kimberly Nixon for suing a rape crisis centre after it rejected her for being trans. The treatment that Claudia got after being raped in Glasgow shows just how essential it is that all rape crisis centres should have transgender counsellors for those who need them.

It is of course ironic that Bindel, who condemns transsexual surgery as something imposed upon us by heterosexual men, then condemns Reid for not adhering precisely to the Standards of Care Guidelines.

Claudia's case is of course a sad one. However Batty interviewed her 17 years after her boyfriend left and Bindel three more years after that. She does not seem to be attempting to de-transition, nor rebuilding her life after the common female experience of being abandoned by a boyfriend. She also waited 20 years before suing Reid.