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03 April 2009

Were Henry Lee Lucas (1936 – 2001) and Ottis Toole (1947 – 1996) transvestites?.

Henry Lee Lucas was born in a one-room cabin near Blacksburg, Virginia, the youngest of nine children. His father, a former railroad employee has lost his legs after being hit by a freight train, and was frequently drunk. His mother, a prostitute, often violently beat the children. Lucas was once three days in a coma after she hit him with a piece of wood.

She forced him to watch what she did with her tricks, and often dressed him as a girl. One of his sisters confirms that he was dressed as a girl for the first day of school.

When he was 10, one of his brothers stabbed him in the left eye. His mother ignored the injury for four days and he lost the eye. When he was 13, his father died of pneumonia after collapsing drunk during a snow storm.

Soon afterwards, Lucas dropped out of school and lived as a drifter doing petty crimes and burglaries. He was convicted of burglary in 1954 and released in 1959.

In 1960 while visiting his sister in Michigan he stabbed his mother during a drunken brawl, and she died. He was convicted of second-degree murder, but released after 10 years, perhaps due to prison overcrowding, even after he had told the parole board that he would kill again.

In 1976 he met Ottis Toole and traveled with him for many years. Lucas was arrested in Texas in 1983 for unlawful firearm possession as he was an ex-con, and then charged with two murders. He pleaded guilty and confessed to a hundred other murders as well. The confessions eventually went up to several hundred murders. It is likely that many of these confessions were to obtain prison privileges and for police officers to clear up unsolved crimes.

He was convicted of 11 murders. There were 153 death penalty convictions in Texas while George Bush was governor. Lucas’ conviction was the only one that Bush commuted to life in prison.

Lucas died in prison at age 64.

Ottis Toole was born in Jacksonville, Florida. His father abandoned the family. His mother, who was deeply into evangelical protestantism, abused him and frequently dressed him as a girl.

Several of his family including his elder sister and a friend of his father had sex with him while he was child. He was gang-raped by hobos when six years old. He scored low on IQ tests, had dyslexia and attention deficiency and was epileptic.

He had his first gay affair when 12. As a teenager he did some prostitution and sometimes went out crossdressed.

At 21 he married a 15-year-old girl, but she discovered his gay activities and left after nine weeks. He became a drifter, living by begging and prostitution. He was a prime suspect in murders of women in Nebraska and Colorado.

He returned to Jacksonville and married a woman 25 years older. After 13 months of domestic violence they divorced and Toole went back to prostitution.

In 1976 he met Henry Lee Lucas and they became lovers.

In 1983 Toole was arrested for arson and confessed to several murders. He was sentenced to death, but the sentences were commuted to life in prison.

He died in prison of liver failure at age 49.

  • John McNaughton (dir). Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Scr: Richard Fire & John McNaughton, with Michael Rooker as Henry and Tom Towles as Otis. US 83 mins 1986.
  • Peter Vieira (dir) Death Diploma. Scr: Richard Mason, Peter Priamos & Peter Vieira, with Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole. US/Canada 50 mins 1987.
  • Brad Shellady. “Henry: Fabrication of a Serial Killer”. In Russ Kick. Everything You Know is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies. The Disinformation Company Ltd. 2002: 64-71.
  • David McGowan. Programmed to Kill: The Politics of Serial Murder. iUniverse, Inc. 2004: 71-6..
EN.Wikipedia(Henry_Lee_Lucas).     EN.Wikipedia(Ottis_Toole).

These are interesting case studies. Not only do both men have the dominant mother and absent or passive father so beloved of psychoanalysts, they were both subjected to the forced femininity that is a popular theme in transvestite pornography both hard and soft. It seems that Lucas just grinned and bared it, but Toole continued as a teenage transvestite. I have found no statement that he continued to dress as an adult, nor that he was a transy hooker.

The forced femininity is featured in the movie version of their lives, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Obviously the forced femininity did not contribute to making them fine upstanding citizens.

Obviously there are many factors in their lives that do not apply to 99%+ of transvestites.

As I said, these are interesting case studies. They are technically part of the spectrum of gender variance, but they are also extremely untypical.

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