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!

31 January 2009

Jerry Leach (1941 - ) pastor, counselor.

Jerry was cross-dressing with neighborhood girls from the age of three. At that age his father said how much cuter Jerry was as a girl. Jerry kept dressing in his mother’s clothes, and at 17 was badly beaten when his father found out. Jerry told his mother while being cross-dressed, but she never mentioned it again.

He joined the US Navy after highschool, and after 18 months told the base psychiatrist of his yearnings, and was quickly discharged.

He went to college and found a woman to marry. He told her of his cross-dressing before the wedding, and she stayed with him. After college he trained as a pastor, although his attitude to his god was ambivalent. He mixed crossdressing, including going out to malls as femme with his pastoral duties. His femme name was Jennifer Leach, the name his parents had picked when they were hoping for a girl.

All this strained his relationship with his wife and two children. In the late 1980s, they tried a separation. Jennifer found a sympathetic therapist and started taking female hormones, and was accepted to go forward to surgery after lying that she was divorced, that she was living and working fulltime as female and had found a boyfriend.

However Jerry was still reverting to male and living with his family. He felt guilty about what he was doing to his family, and, after paying the surgery fees, was on the verge of shooting himself, when he had a religious experience.

He then sought out Christian counselors and put his transvestity behind him. He joined Crossover in 1988.

Leach runs Reality Resources, founded 1999, the only US Christian organization to advertise therapy that will "heal" transgender people. This is where Focus on the Family and Exodus direct their trans clients. Judy/Josef Kirchner wrote for Reality Resources for a while. Leach denies that there is any genetic aspect to transsexuality or transvestity and attributes them to psychological trauma experienced in early childhood, partly following the books by Elizabeth Moberly.

He claims to have worked with over 1600 transgender persons in the last 25 years. He claims a 100% success rate in ‘curing’ any trans person who continues to work with him for over four years. This requires weekly visits at $85 a time.

*Not the president of the World Affairs Council of America.

Most of the above is taken from Leach's interview with David Foster on the Mastering Life site. However I do recommend the TransChristian pages on Leach. They subject his various writings and interviews to a close reading, and find lots of inconsistencies. Note that Leach is very coy about where he was educated. Thus his professional qualifications are not confirmed. He is not qualified as a psychologist. There has been mention in the past of PhD but that claim has disappeared.

30 January 2009

Zelda R. Suplee (1908 - 1989) Director of Erickson Educational Foundation.

Updated 15 March 2012, 2 Feb 2013, 15 October 2013, 21March 2016.

Zelda was raised in New York City, and did a BA at New Jersey College for Women (now part of Rutgers University).

She was a keen nudist. With her then husband, Reed Suplee (1916-86), she owned and managed three nudist camps in the period 1930s – 1950s, and was in Doris Wishman’s Diary of a Nudist, 1961, and also in The Moving Finger, 1963 and The Parisienne and the Prudes, 1964 – all nudist films. She was the first full-frontal nude in Playboy magazine (in black-and-white).

For 17 years she was editor and researcher of True Story, True Detective and Master Detective Magazine.  She was a consulting sexologist, an hypnotist and one of the first to do past-life regressing, and was interested in all kinds of health and psychic phenomena. 

In 1965, after Reed Erickson had founded the Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF), he hired Zelda to run it. From her office in New York she and lesbian feminist activist Phyllis Saperstein (they had met in a nudist camp) managed the daily operations, and the contacts with transsexuals who asked for help. Erickson made the final decisions about who and what he funded, but spent much of his time in Baton Rouge and then Mexico with his family.

In 1969 EEF and the Albany Trust co-sponsored a symposium, “The First International Congress on Gender Identity" in London.  Zelda was the co-ordinator. In 1971 she was part of the First National Conference on Religion and the Homosexual, which took part in New York, and several time attended police conventions where EEF pamphlets were distributed.  She compiled the EEF newsletter 1969-76 which reported the ongoing dialogue between EEF, trans people and associated professionals.  In 1971 EEF sponsored production of a 28-minute docuentary, I am Not This Body, which featured a discussion in the EEF office between Zelda, Leo Wollman, two trans women and actress Pamela Lincoln (who was purportedly seeking information about transsexuals).

Also around that time Zelda introduced Doris Wishman, whom she had known since Diary of a Nudist, to Leo Wollman, which resulted in the film Adam or Eve, 1971, which was later recut with additional footage and finally released as Let Me Die a Woman, 1978.

Zelda was also Erickson's contact with psychic research and healing. In 1971 her apartment was the location for pioneering infrared photography of psychic energy.  In 1976 she was given a pre-publication copy of the book, A Course in Miracles, which she passed on to Reed who financed its printing.

Zelda was the public face of EEF until it closed in 1977.

In 1981, at the 7th International Gender Dysphoria Symposium, HBIGDA presented lifetime achievement awards to Reed Erickson, Zelda  and Harry Benjamin.

In 1983 she moved to Los Angeles to handle Erickson's dealings with ONE Inc..

Zelda introduced Suzanne Kessler and Wendy McKenna to some of the transsexuals whom they interviewed for their book, Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach, 1985.

After EEF, she moved to Galveston to start the Janus Information Facility (JIF) with Paul Walker who was a co-founder of HBIGDA.

She died aged 81 in Los Angeles.
  • Doris Wishman (dir).  Diary of a Nudist, with Zelda R Suplee as the camp director.  US 72 mins 1961.  
  • Nicholas Ghosh.  "Tribute to Zelda R. Suplee".  Gender Review, December 1978.  
  • Walter J. Meyer,  Paul A. Walker & Zelda R. Suplee. 1981. "A Survey of Transsexual Hormonal Treatment in Twenty Gender‐treatment Centers". Journal of Sex Research, 17, 4: 344-349.  Abstract
  • Suzanne J. Kessler &Wendy MacKenna. Gender: A Ethnomethodological Approach. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987: xiii. 
  • Ingo Swann. Remote Viewing: The Real Story: An Autobiographical Memoir. 1996: Chp 5.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 211-2 ,216, 227, 231, 236, 239-240, 257, 280.
  • Andy Humm & Joan Nixon. “Phyllis Saperstein Recalled”. Gay City. 12/29/2005.
  • Michael J. Bowen.  " 'StrangerHer': The Peculiar Saga of Let Me Die a Woman".  Booklet included in Synapse DVD release of Let Me Die a Woman, 2005. 
  • Aaron Devor. "Building a Better World for Transpeople: Reed Erickson and the Erickson Educational Foundation".  International Journal of Transgenderism, 10, 1, 2006: 47-68.  
  •  "'What's My Line?' segment from the 50s (60s)?".   Clothes Free Forum, April 2008.  
  • C. Todd White. Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009: 204. 

This clip is of Zelda, using the pseudonym Yolande Reed, when she appeared on What's My Line in 1953.

28 January 2009

Herbert Dyce Murphy (1879 – 1971) spy, explorer, whaler, sheep rancher.

Murphy was born to a privileged family in Melbourne and finished his education at Oxford University, England. Before university and during the vacations he acquired considerable experience on ships particularly on expeditions in the Arctic.

He played a female role in a Greek play while at Oxford, and on that basis was recruited by military intelligence. He already was an officer in the territorial army. His task was to live as a woman in Belgium and France. He was trained to be a woman by a family friend, Lady Broughton – he found entering and leaving hansom cabs to be the most difficult. As Edith Murphy, he closely studied the French and Belgian railways. He enjoyed the assignment which continued for five years. A French lieutenant proposed to Edith in Paris. It is also said that Edith ran into Herbert's mother in London. Mother, after recognizing Edith, smoothed things over by saying that she had always wanted a daughter.

He always maintained that the woman with a white parasol in the painting, ‘The Arbour’ by Phillip Fox, originally sketched at Bath in 1902, was himself, Fox accepting Edith as a young woman.

After a few years the assignment was becoming more difficult as he lost his youth. Returning to being a man, he worked in whaling and voyages to the polar regions. He was rejected for Ernest Shackleton’s 1908 Antarctic expedition for supposed effeminacy, but was accepted on Douglas Mawson’s 1911-4 expedition.
He joined the Australian Imperial force in 1916, but was dismissed for inferior vision.

He bought a country property where he ran sheep and turned it into a holiday centre for poor Melbourne children. A High-Anglican, he was for 35 years a member of synod, and was also a shire councillor for 10 years. He was in demand as a speaker and as a singer of shanties. For three months annually, he sailed to Antarctica with the Norwegian whaling fleet. He claimed that he continued doing this until the age of 85 by lying about his age.

Like Robert Baden-Powell, Murphy married late in in life, in 1934 at the age of 54. He and his wife had no children.

The character of the transgender Eudoxia/Eddie/Eadith Twyborn in Patrick White’s The Twyborn Affair, 1979, is at least partly based on Herbert Murphy as Edith, and especially on his encounter with his mother.
  • S. Murray-Smith, 'Murphy, Herbert Dyce (1879 - 1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, Melbourne University Press, 1986, pp 637-638.
  • Heather Rossiter. Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer: The Life of Herbert Dyce Murphy. Jane Curry Publishing. 2005.

This is an odd story. In some ways there is either too little or too much cross-dressing. If he was so at home as a woman, how could he do it for five years, and then never again. Maybe the years as a 'Lady Spy' never happened. There are no official records of the medals he was supposedly awarded.

Murray-Smith says:
"Something of a Munchhausen perhaps—some of his claims appear to be fantasies. However, much of even his most outrageous stories 'check out', and in his embellishments he was striving for the symmetry of art."
Murray-Smith also quotes the naturalist, C.F. Laseron:
"He [Murphy] holds himself up to ridicule as well as his other characters. Yet he never loses his air of diffidence; his whole method is apologetic. His stories have a curious suggestion of truth; they are convincing and at the same time too impossible to be true."
So Murphy, a good story teller, span a yarn of his years in skirts, and White, Murray-Smith and Rossiter were all too happy to just accept it. Five years was a long time to live as female without hormones and shaving daily. Of male-born non-intersex persons of Murphy's generation, very few succeded in living full-time as female. Would the androgyny of youth make Murphy feminine enough?

A review of Rossiter's biography by Crusader Hills makes a point:
As a distant relative, Rossiter has done Murphy’s life a disservice by reducing it to one without any discernible psychosexual colour. Rossiter works on the basis that because Murphy married late in life he was undoubtedly and exclusively heterosexual. Maybe he was, but she wouldn’t know that. In describing his reasons for cross-dressing in public (two times of which were documented extensively, including in a photograph) she posits that he was testing whether or not he would get away with it. Any biographer with her salt would have at least entertained the notion that Murphy’s cross-dressing was probably not confined to once or twice in public, plus the several spying missions he did for the British government on the continent. Nor does she consider the significance of his pursuance of homosocial settings, such as the sailing and whaling ships, and exploring expeditions he joined. Ultimately though, the fault of this biography is not in its blindness to alternative readings of Murphy’s life or the bland lack of curiosity that Rossiter displays, it is simply a piece of vanity writing from the perspective of unexplored privilege.

21 January 2009

Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt (1871 - 1942) female impersonator, art collector.

Jerome Pollitt was a stage female impersonator under the name of Diane De Rougy. He took his femme name from a celebrated courtesan and actress Liane de Pougy.

In 1898, whilst appearing at the Cambridge Footlights club, he met and had an affair with the then unknown Aleister Crowley. Crowley describes his lover:
'Pollitt was rather plain than otherwise. His face was made tragic by the terrible hunger of the eyes and the bitter sadness of the mouth. He possessed one physical beauty - his hair. This was very plentiful and he wore it rather long. It was what is called a shock. But its colour was pale gold, like spring sunshine, and its texture was of the finest gossamer.'
Crowley would later write that 'I lived with Pollitt as his wife for some six months and he made a poet out of me'.

Pollitt was also a friend of Aubrey Beardsley, and was painted by James Whistler. He was an art collector. He was the original of the 'Babe' in E.F. Benson's 'The Babe, B.A.'.

Crowley immortalized Pollitt in The Scented Garden of Abdullah the Satirist - a collection of poems which are a blend of Persian mysticism and the glorification of homosexual love, written in the style of ghazals by an imaginary seventeenth-century poet, Abdullah El Haji, supposedly translated into English by an Anglo-Indian, Major Lutiy, and discussed by an equally imaginary Anglican clergyman. In the closing sections of the book, the name of Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt is spelled out in the first letter of each line, to be followed (but in reverse order) by that of Aleister Crowley.

Pollitt did not share Crowley's spiritual quest, and Crowley ended the affair shortly after going down from Cambridge in 1898. He later recognized this as an 'imbecile' mistake, and he continued to regret it.
  • Aleister Crowley, (ed John Symonds and Kenneth Grant). The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography. Bantam Books. 1971: 130-2,137-8.
  • Susan Roberts. The Magician Of The Golden Dawn: The Story Of Aleister Crowley. Contemporary Books, Inc. 1978: 34-5.
  • John Symonds. The Great Beast: the Life and Magick of Aleister Crowley. Mayflower. 1973: 177-8.
  • “Pollitt, Herbert Charles Jerome, 1871-1942, collector. Photograph albums: Guide”. Harvard University Library.
  • Alex Owen. "Aleister Crowley in the Desert".

Crowley (1875 - 1947) says that Pollitt was ten years older, and this has been repeated in many places, but the age difference was actually only four years.

19 January 2009

Katey Red (1981 - ) rapper.

Kenyon Carter was punished by his mom when he painted his fingernails at age 5, but kept playing with dolls while his cousins played football.

In late teenage, as Katey she started performing at parties, and met a disc jockey from Take Fo’ Records. She was signed to capture the gay and female market. She released her first full album in 2000, and soon after started taking female hormones.

She is regarded as the first 'homosexual' rapper and bounce star. She is regarded as the pioneer of ‘sissy rap’. She is 6”2’ (1.88 m) and wears a size 14 (Eur:46) shoe.

One would wish that the use of the word 'sissy' has a defiance as in our take back of the word 'queer'. However I am not finding this in the news articles.

Note the attitude in the Strauss article that if Katey is transgender, she is therefore homosexual!

Bounce was a music form specific to New Orleans, but apparently has moved out across the US south with the post-Katrina diaspora.

Note the penultimate paragraph in McDonnell's article: "Not everyone can come to terms with this new form of bounce rappers though. The rise of sissy rappers has led to people like seminal rap group Partners-N-Crime almost turning their back on the genre."

17 January 2009

George Alan O’Dowd (1961 - ) singer, DJ, onetime androgyne.

George was raised in Eltham, London by Irish parents.

As a participant in the New Romantic movement in the early 1980s he and his friend Marilyn (Peter Robinson) were noted for their androgynous dressing. Malcolm McLaren, who had run the Sex Pistols, arranged for Boy George, as he became known, to perform with Bow Wow Wow.
Shortly after George and three others formed Culture Club. The group took off and had singles and albums at the top of the charts.

George’s dress style resulted in him being regarded as the most famous transvestite of the period, but he frequently insisted in interviews that he did not wear female underwear, and that he was proud to be a man, with no need to be a woman. He claimed that his dressing was more like that of a priest. In his 1995 biography, he said: "I wanted people to know I was gay. In many people's eyes, I was the premier poof, the benchmark by which others would be measured”, although in the 1980s he had avoided admitting to being gay and had famously said that he prefered a ‘nice cup of tea’ to sex.

He developed a serious heroin addiction. Bandmate Michael Rudetski died of a heroin overdose. George’s brother David attempted to save his life by talking about the addiction on national television. In 1986 George was arrested for heroin possession.

His solo career after Culture Club was less successful. For a while he wrote songs under the name Angela Dust. He had a new hit with “The Crying Game”, released with the film in 1992. He started DJing and was asked to mix compilation discs by Fantazia and Ministry of Sound. In 2002/3 he starred in the musical Taboo, based on his own life, but playing a different character. The show lasted for two years.

In 2005, in New York, he called the police over a robbery and was arrested for cocaine possession. He was sentenced to garbage duty for ‘wasting police time’.

In 2008 he was convicted of assaulting and imprisoning a Norwegian prostitute in his home in east London. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison, but was released after 4, and was required to wear an ankle monitor for 90 days.

I wasn't in London for New Romanticism, and never related to that phase of the rock-pop rainbow.

'Gender variance' is a wide term. That is why I chose it. Obviously George O'Dowd comes under the wide umbrella, even though his dressing up is only a phase that he passed through. However there is no rule that says that to be gender variant, you have to be so for life. I don't see O'Dowd as either a transvestite or a drag queen. He seems to be more of a theovestite (dressing (up) as a priest). Even in the '80s I was put off by his insistence that he wore male underwear under his frocks.

Some persons have complained that I included Rudy Guliani on this blog. Guliani is a lot closer to being transgender than O'Dowd is. And he does not go around insisting that he has male underwear under his skirts.

15 January 2009

Was Arthur James Balfour (1848 - 1930) intersex?

Arthur Balfour was born in East Lothian. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge where he read Moral sciences, and took a second-class degree.

He expected to marry his cousin, May Littleton, but she died of typhus when he was 27. He then remained a bachelor. He is credited with the expression: "Nothing matters very much and most things don't matter at all”. In middle-age he had a long friendship with Mary Wemyss, who was later Countess of Elcho, but biographers have not established that this was a sexual relationship. On the other hand he was in good terms with Harold Nicolson, the homosexual diplomat husband of Vita Sackville-West.

Balfour was a product of nepotism, in the most literal sense, in that his uncle, Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, the last Prime Minister to rule from the House of Lords, paved most of his way. This is often taken to be the origin of the expression: “Bob’s your uncle”. In the words of Ben Pimlott, Balfour is best described as an 'imperturbably arrogant, effortless mediocrity'. He was born into a family with several members active in Parliament; at 21 he inherited an enormous fortune; at 26 his uncle arranged for him to have a safe Conservative seat. His uncle arranged his promotion within the commons, and in 1902 handed over the premiership to him. He was Prime Minister 1902-5.

His imagination was limited in that he had a complete lack of experience of anything outside the aristocratic establishment, and he was totally against any kind of positive action. He was against Poor Law Reform, and he approved the anti-union Taff Vale judgement (which did a lot to help the Liberals win the 1906 election). He supervised the Entente Cordiale with France in 1904, which would commit the UK to war ten years later. He is most famous today in that he gave his name to Britain's declaration in 1917 for a national home for Jews in Palestine. In 1919 he, as Foreign Secretary, backed the British invasion of Russia of that year. In all he was 27 years in the cabinet.

Despite his enormous fortune, he never married. At Cambridge and in Parliament he was the object of homophobic putdowns. His biographer, Mackay, says that he did not find any indications of homosexual involvement, but he does not show that he was heterosexual either. He goes on to quote from A.J.P. Taylor's life of Beaverbrook, the newspaper magnate, where Beaverbrook, having been put in his place by Balfour, retaliated later by asserting 'Balfour was a hermaphrodite. No one ever saw him naked'. Taylor asks whether it was usual to see cabinet ministers naked?

Mackay does come up with an incident whereby Balfour was indeed seen naked as part of his official duties. Sydney Parry, who was Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Treasury from 1897 to 1902, recalls in his memoirs that he was sent to 10 Downing Street with an urgent dispatch during the Boer War. Balfour was still upstairs. 'I ran up with it, heard him splashing in his bathroom, and knocked at the door: "Lord Lansdowne wants an immediate reply. Shall I come back in twenty minutes?" "Is it very urgent?" "Yes." "Bring it in, then. If you don't mind, I don't." So I slipped in and read it aloud, while A.J., in native majesty like Milton's Adam, towelled himself and dictated his reply simultaneously.'

Mackay thinks that this proves that Balfour could not be hermaphroditic (intersex), but of course there are more forms of intersex than he allows for.
  • A.J.P Taylor. Beaverbrook. Penguin.1972: 154.
  • Ruddock F Mackay. Balfour: Intellectual Statesman. Oxford University Press. 1985: 8-9.
  • “Arthur Balfour”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So, case not proved. However it is an intriguing suggestion.

It was suggested in the 1970s that the later bachelor Prime Minister, Edward Heath (1916-2005, PM 1970-4), was gay, and as Mackay did of Balfour, Heath's biographer John Campbell, writing in 1993, examined the supposed evidence and found no substance. However Heath's friend Jeremy Norman, who founded the London gay club, Heaven, said in 2006 that "Unquestionably, he was a gay man". Also Graham Chapman once claimed to have had sex with Heath, and Conservative Brian Coleman has said that Heath was warned to stop cruising in 1955 when he became a Privy Councillor and Chief Whip.

So I think that we can say that Mackay, despite his competence as a political biographer, is rather naive re homosexuality and intersex.

Beaverbrook claiming that Balfour was a 'hermaphrodite' is simply being homophobic, but the word choice does indicate that rumours had been going around.

13 January 2009

Adele Bailey (1955 - 1978) murdered.

Adele had surgery in Egypt in 1976.  Probably that was at the clinic of Hirschfeld's colleague Ludwig Levy-Lenz who fled from the Nazis and started a practice there in 1939, although Levy-Lenz had died earlier. 

Adele worked as a prostitute in St Kilda, Melbourne, where she was arrested by police detective Denis Tanner.

In 1978 she moved to Bonnie Doon (map), 115 km away. She wrote to her sister that she was having an affair with Denis Tanner, and that she was afraid about a court case where she was to give evidence against an undercover policeman. She then disappeared.

In 1984, Jennifer Tanner of Bonnie Doon, Denis Tanner’s sister-in-law, was shot twice in the head, and in both hands, using a rifle that needed reloading. The police initially declared it to be suicide.

The coroner delivered an open finding, and criticized the police investigation. In 1988 Tanner was promoted to sergeant. In 1990 he was taken off the drug squad after allegations that he leaked information.

In 1995, seventeen years after her disappearance, Adele’s skeleton was found in a deserted mineshaft near Tanner’s property. Later the same year, Tanner’s farmhouse was burnt down. The police and others assumed a link between the two killings, and Denis Tanner was the only person who knew both women.

In 1998 a new coroner found that Tanner had killed Jennifer. The Office of Public Prosecutions did not proceed against Tanner on the grounds of insufficient evidence. In 1999 allegations were made that Tanner had had an improper relationship with Adele Bailey, but the coroner was unable to make a finding, and later Tanner resigned from the force.

That year the State of Victoria offered $50,000 for further information, and in 2005 upped the offer to $1 million.

In 2010, 32 years after the murder of Adele, there was a breakthrough in the investigation. Evidence was given to the Office of Police Integrity that Adele was at a party with several police officers and performed sex on one of them (not Denis Tanner).  He later that evening found out that she was transsexual, went berserk and beat her to death.  The other officers present covered it up.

*Denis Tanner is not the character in Coronation Street.

  • Robin Bowles. Blind Justice: The True Story of the Death of Jennifer Tanner. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 1998.
  • "Book stays open on transexual's mysterious death". ABC News. 03/06/1999.
  • Robin Bowles. No Justice: An Investigation into the Death of Adele Bailey. Sydney: Pan Macmillan. 2000.
  • “Copper in Trouble”. The Age. Feb 25 2003.
  • Keith Moor. "New evidence implicates several former police officers in Adele Bailey murder". Herald Sun. July 27, 2010. 

The press articles simply describe Adele as a 'transsexual prostitute' and give no further details. Given the prurient interest in trans women in other murder stories, this is no small mercy, but one does wonder how she went from being arrested to being a witness in a bigger case.

Furthermore, why would a small-town copper be arresting a 'prostitute' in the big city? St Kilda was not his manor.

The press interest is mainly in the other victim, Jennifer Tanner, and this is reasonable given that she was a local in a village of 755, and of course how do you commit suicide by shooting both hands and then twice in the head, or was it the other way around?

Video from the Herald Sun.

11 January 2009

Josef Kirchner (1964 - ) performer, changeback.

Charles Kirchner started psychological counseling at age 17 after a brief experiment with homosexuality, and after two years started estrogen therapy and a real-life test as Judy. At 24 she had genital surgery in Europe. She was very pleased with her surgical results and still boasts of her 8-inch (20 cm) depth and orgasmic ability.

She married a man without telling of her past, and then after divorce married another who knew of her past. This marriage also ended in divorce. She worked as a model and entertainer. In 1999 she paid Dr Ousterhout $30,000 for facial feminization.

In April 2000 while living in Aberdeen, South Dakota, after 17 years of living as Judy, she heard a radio interview with Richard Cohen, the unlicensed reparative therapist, that left her with the idea that she was not ‘born this way’ and could choose. She participated in Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), a ex-gay organization, and with them prayed to get past her homosexuality and her transsexuality. She also wrote for Jerry Leach’s Reality Resources and put up a web site which appealed for funds to detransition, and said some strong things which alienated other transsexuals.

Film maker Tom Murray saw the website and filmed Judy, and then Josef as he became after breast implant removal, chest re-construction, testosterone therapy and much pumping iron.

After Murray’s documentary, Josef was diagnosed as having chromosomal mosaicism, a mix of 46,XY (normal male) and 45,X (Turner’s Syndrome).

He moved to Los Angeles and started advertising himself on contact sites as Mangina Man (Mangina = Man + Vagina). He emphasized that he is a man with a vagina, and is seeking male sexual partners. In 2008 he was featured, along with Michael Berke, in an MSNBC documentary on the topic of changing back to male.

He no longer considers himself to be religious, and is no longer anti-transsexual. He has become a contact point for men who wish to remain socially masculine, but have a vagina, and he campaigns that this become an allowed option.

He is also doing a PhD in psychology.

There is no term for men who wish to become men with vaginas. Nor for FTMs who wish to stay at that stage as opposed to those who stay as men with vaginas because of financial or health constraints. Buck Angel, of course, is making good money as 'a real man with a real pussy'.

For FTMs or for genetic males, this is a gender variation, and should be acknowledged.

Kirchner will have great difficulties with WPATH etc. for genetic males, especially as there cannot be a real-life test before surgery.

10 January 2009

Bobby Noble (195? - ) academic.

Jean Noble came out as a working-class lesbian in 1978. She worked with rape crisis centres, founded a sex-worker advocacy group, organized Take back The Night marches, and Edmonton’s first Gay Pride Parade.

She did a BA and MA at the University of Alberta, and a PhD at York University, Toronto. He transitioned to male in 2002. After teaching at the University of Victoria, he returned to York, where he is now Associate Professor at in sexuality and gender studies, in the School of Women’s Studies.

He is an out trans man. He is also vice-President of the the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Studies Association.

In a spirit of incoherence he identifies as a boy, retains female signifiers on identification, used ‘Bobby’ rather than a grown-up version, dates lesbians and works against white supremacy and capitalism.

He is working on FTM porn, and is suing the government for insisting on only M or F on passports.

*Not the footballer.
  • Donna Troka, Kathleen Lebesco & Jean Noble. The Drag King Anthology. Harrington Park. 2003.
  • Jean Bobby Noble. Sons of the Movement: FtM’s Risking Incoherence in a Post-Queer Cultural Landscape. Toronto: Women’s Press, 2006.
  • Jean Bobby Noble. Masculinities without Men? Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. 2004.
  • Jacob Anderson-Minshall. “Boy Trouble”. San Francisco Bay Times. Feb 15, 2007.

09 January 2009

Estelle Asmodelle (1964 - ) dancer, activist, model.

Croot was raised in small towns in New South Wales. At 16 he was seriously ill with spinal meningitis, and spent a year in hospital.

Croot transitioned to Estelle Maria Croot while at Wollongong University studying science and mathematics. Because of discrimination Estelle left university, and studied dance at Sydney Dance Company and also with an Egyptian Dance instructor.

As Estelle Asmodelle she worked as a belly dancer in variety shows in Australia and in East Asia. She was detained in Singapore and elsewhere because her passport had an ‘M’ for gender. She, and others, lobbied the Australian and the New South Wales governments that she be allowed to amend her birth certificate. She was the first Australian transsexual to get her birth certificate, and then her passport changed. She also lobbied for changes to the anti-discrimination laws and for ectopic pregnancies for transwomen. This resulted in a media storm which she was able to ride appearing in hundreds of magazine articles and frequently on Australian and Japanese television.

She lived in Japan for two years. She had a walk-on part in the Japanese film Ai to heisei no iro – Otoko, 1989, a transy sexual fantasy that mainly played in art galleries, Secret Fantasies, 1992, and the belly-dance instructional film, The Enchanted Dance, 1994 that was controversial purely because Estelle is transgender.

She took up modelling to promote her dancing, but it became her more important career. She was the first Australian transsexual to appear nude in a men’s magazine. She has also published an autobiographical novel, estellem, 2007.


08 January 2009

Mitsuhashi Junko (? - ) academic.

Junko, who is legally male and married to a woman, teaches Gender studies at Chuo University, Tokyo, presenting as a woman.

He also teaches history at another Tokyo university as a man.

He is a regular contributor to Nyuhafu Kurabu magazine, and is frequently interviewed in the mainstream press and on television as a nyuhafu (new-half= transgender).
  • Mark McLelland. Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age. Lanham Md & Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield 2005: 216.
  • Mitsuhashi Junko (translated by Katsuhiko Suganuma). “How I Became an FtM Transgender Gay” in Mark McLelland, Katsu Suganuma, and James Welker. Queer voices from Japan: first person narratives from Japan’s sexual minorities. Lanham: Lexington Books 2007.

07 January 2009

Seyfi Dursumoglu (1932 - ) impersonator.

Since the 1960s, Seyfi has been popular with millions of Turks, doing his drag act with sharp-witted and topical comments. He performs as Huysuz Virjin (=Petulant Virgin), but would always end his show appearing as his male persona in a suit.
In 2007 he was banned by the Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) on the grounds that “it is not pleasant to watch a man in women's clothes and that he will set a bad example for children”.
Since then he has appeared only in his male persona and only on a private television channel.

06 January 2009

James Johnson (1984 - ) footballer.

++ updated August 2013

Iyabo Abade was raised as a girl in a village in the then Bendel state, in southeast Nigeria.

From age 11, she became the top scorer for the Super Falcons womens’ football team, the Nigerian national team, netting over 30 goals a season.

However suspicions about her gender led to a confrontation with team-mates and a ‘tearful’ admission that she has an adam’s apple and small male genitals. A sex-test then determined that she was more male than female.

She was barred from football in 1998, but continued as a coach for a female team.

As James Johnson, he became male in 2004 with an operation at Midway Hospital (now the Olympia Medical Center), Los Angeles by a team led by Dr Gary Alter. The operation cost 5.9 millions nairas ($29,000) and was funded by the Municipal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory.

Aftewards James tried out for different football clubs, usually in competition against other men and often won a place, but after they find out who he is, they wonder: "Can she cope in the midst of guys?” despite having picked him for doing just that.  And they don't let him play anymore.

In 2012 he did a US tour as coach of the female Marasata Soccer Academy.

In 2013 he mentored two sisters with a similar intersex condition, who are also football players.

He is currently trying to raise money for final surgery.

"I chose to become a man because it is what God wants me to be. I didn’t use money as my priority in opting to be a man. If it was for money reasons, I would have remained as a woman because I was getting to the top of female football in Nigeria. I am happy with the decision I took. If I became a female, I probably wouldn’t have been happy with my life. So I just decided to move on. I am not regretting the step I made. I can tell you, women are running after me like Usain Bolt and I think it is better for me. I like it that way. I never expected it that way. Today, I am pleased that people want to know me."

03 January 2009

Was Hermann Göring a transvestite?

This article is about the Generalfeldmarschall of the Luftwaffe, who ranked second only to Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Those interested in his general biography can read the Wikipedia entry here.

There is a rumour that Göring was a transvestite, and the question is raised in many sites on the web.

However there is very little substance to the rumour.

About the only biography that approaches the topic of transvestity is Goring: A Biography by David Irving, whose objectivity has been questioned given his association with right-wing causes and his suing for libel of historian Deborah Lipstadt. The judge in the case ruled that Irving "for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence".

Irving has one and only one paragraph on the topic in his 846 page biography:
Nobody was celebrated with greater enthusiasm than
Göring. “Göring,” Herbert Backe, the level-headed deputy to
the minister of agriculture, told his wife after touring eastern
Germany with the general in mid-May, “arrived at Breslau
wearing a white air-force uniform. The citizenry went wild.”
The cheers gave Göring the feeling of immortality: He was Germany -- he was the law. The increasingly odd, sometimes even effeminate garments (many of them designed for him by Carin) were a part of his public image. He was at heart almost a transvestite, certainly an exhibitionist. “Herbert,” Frau Backe wrote in her diary, “says that out in the Schorf Heath [around Carinhall] he always has a spear with him.” p193.
This is totally inadequate.

Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller. Mann für Mann : biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte von Freundesliebe und mannmännlicher Sexualität im deutschen Sprachraum. Hamburg: MännerschwarmSkript, 1998 is a biographical encyclopedia of German gays. It has no entry on Hermann Göring but mentions him several times. The only contribution that it offers is that Göring had a violet nightshirt!

Actor Jeff Chandler is taken to be a transvestite on the word of Esther Williams; and J. Edgar Hoover on the word of Susan Rosentiel. There is no such witness in the case of Göring.

The movies of course contribute to the rumour. The actor Volker Spengler who played Erwin/Elvira Weiskopf, the transsexual in Fassbinder's In Einem Jahr mit 13 Monden (In a Year of 13 Moons) 1978, then, eighteen years later, played Göring in Volker Schlöndorff's The Ogre, 1996. The 1988 television film, The Man Who Lived at the Ritz, based on A.E. Hotchner's novel featured Joss Ackland as a transvestite Göring.

So, certainly case not proven.

A more plausible assumption, noting that Göring did like to dress up but mainly in military uniforms and other male but ostentatious costumes, is that he was a homovestite. Homovestity, dressing up as one's own gender, was a concept not yet developed in the 1930s, and even today is generally not discussed. It is part of gender variance, but I am not spending much time on it in this blog because a) the research has not been done for me to use b) if the research were done, it would likely swamp the transgender activities which are after all our central focus.

01 January 2009

Fulvia Célica Siguas Sandoval (194? – 2004) performer

Fulvia, a television clairvoyant, a model, an actress and a nanny, is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most (64) cosmetic operations, starting in 1979. The surgeries include work on her face, her neck, arm liposuction and vaginoplasty.

In 1998 she ran for being mayor of Jesus María, Lima.

She was one of the first transsexuals in Peru.

She died of bronchopneumonia.

Bo Laurent (1956 - ) intersex activist, programmer, translator.

Brian Sullivan was born in New Jersey (although some accounts say that he was named Charlie Chase at birth). He was surgically re-assigned to female at 18 months, when doctors found a uterus and ovotestes. While Brian was what was then called a ‘true hermaphrodite’ (although some accounts specify different intersex conditions), the doctors told the parents that he was actually a girl. They excised her penis/clitoris, and her parents moved to another town and called the child Bonnie Sullivan. The child stopped speaking for six months.

They were advised to shield the child from her medical history. Bonnie frequently felt different, but was never told why, although she found out about the clitoridectomy when she was 10. From the age of 19 she tried to access her medical records, and it took three years before she succeeded.

She did a degree in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and studied Japanese at Harvard. She then helped to found a technology company in Japan doing computer and translation work.

At age 35 she had a nervous breakdown and she flew to Florida and asked her mother a lot of questions. She then moved to San Francisco and started contacting anybody who might help. One such was Anne Fausto-Sterling who was about to publish her paper “The Five Sexes” in The Sciences. Sullivan wrote a letter which was published in the next issue (July/August 1993) asking persons with intersex conditions to contact ‘Cheryl Chase’ at the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), which jump-started the organization.

She became quite critical of the standard of care for intersexed infants developed by Dr John Money, which proposed early corrective surgery and silence to the child so that he/she will not grow up questioning his/her sexual identity. As Cheryl Chase, Sullivan has been a major voice for the position that surgery on intersex children should not be done until the person is able to make an informed choice, that parents and doctors should be open with the child about the condition, and that parents should be ready if the child later opts for the other gender from that in which it was raised.

Chase has appeared in several documentaries on intersex. She changed her legal name to Bo Laurent in 1995. In 1998 she wrote an amicus brief for the Columbian constitutional court re proposed surgery on a six-year-old boy. In 2004 she persuaded the San Francisco Rights Commission to hold hearings on medical procedures for intersex children. She has published in medical journals, and has criticized feminist writers for ignoring surgery on intersex children while condemning female genital cutting. ISNA was honored with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's 2000 Felipa de Souza Human Rights Award.

However in later years she has worked more closely with doctors than with other intersex activists. In particular, she has worked closely with the non-intersex Alice Dreger, who became a major voice in ISNA. She co-authored a paper with Dreger advocating that ‘Intersex’ be replaced by ‘Disorders of Sex Development’ (DSD) – a position strongly criticized by other intersex activists as repathologization.

In 2004 Laurent married her wife of five years in San Francisco, when same-sex marriage was briefly permitted in California for the first time. They live on a hobby farm in Sonomo, California.

In 2008 ISNA was closed down with an anonymous statement, and Chase, who was now openly calling herself Bo Laurent, joined The Accord Alliance (founded by Katrina Karkazis, the author of Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience) which has anonymous funding through the Tides Center and a $305,000 grant from The California Endowment, a spin-off from Blue Cross insurance.

Also in 2008, Bo completed an MA in Organization Development that she had started at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco and completed at Sonomo State University.

*Not Cheryl Chase the voice actress.

Confusion has arisen from Bo's practice of using both 'Cheryl Chase' and 'Bo Laurent', sometimes in the same publication. Remember the brouhaha when Wayne Dynes also used the name Evelyn Gittone in The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. In Phyllis Burke's Gender Shock, 1996 (an otherwise well-researched book) Burke somehow managed to interview both Chase and Laurent without noticing that they were the same person.

Susan Stryker's Transgender History, which was published only a few months ago, mentions Chase only as an activist, without a single word about her Bo Laurent persona, and without a single word about the controversy over the DSD terminology.

The 'Cheryl Chase' Wikipedia page has a link at the bottom to a category called "American Intersex Activists'. When you click on it it turns out to be a set of one. There is no mention of Sherri Morris of the AIS Support Group, Hale Hawbecker who is developing a legal challenge to infant intersex surgeries or Curtis Hinkle, the founder of OII. These three are also missing from Stryker's book.