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 2009

Anthony Storr (1920 – 2001) psychiatrist.

Anthony Storr was the youngest child, 10 years younger than his closest sibling, son of the Sub-Dean of Westminster Abbey who was 51 when Anthony was born –his mother was 44. Anthony was lonely and miserable at boarding school, partly because of his inability at sports. He was bullied and had only average marks. He suffered all his life from asthma and depression.

He went up to Christ's College, Cambridge, where his moral tutor was C.P. Snow. After two years he was given a wartime courtesy degree without taking a tripos.

He studied at Westminster Hospital and qualified as a doctor in 1944, and subsequently specialised in psychiatry. His asthma precluded his having to do military service. He gained a Diploma in Psychological Medicine in 1951, and then trained in the Jungian school but was not a strict adherent. In 1942, he married Catherine Cole, who subsequently became a children’s novelist.

In 1964 Storr published a book called Sexual Deviation which sold quite well, and strongly influenced thinking in the English-speaking countries. Quite possibly, from the internal evidence, Storr thought that he was writing a liberal book, an intelligent mix of common sense and psychoanalysis, a plea for compassion rather than condemnation of the poor perverts. However looking from 45 years later, the book comes across more as a compendium of heterosexist prejudices and untested assumptions. A particularly dubious technique of Storr's is to give one, that is only one, anecdotal example as the basis of his generalisations. There are no footnotes or other references to evidence, or refutations of alternate positions. One is expected to accept his wisdom.

His standard in deciding what is sexually deviant is 'emotional maturity', a concept on which 'there is so much agreement' that it can simply be defined as 'the ability to form a stable relationship with the opposite sex which is both physically and emotionally satisfying, and in which sexual intercourse forms the main, though not the only, mode of expression of love'. He does acknowledge that there are homosexuals who are stable, balanced and mature, and that there are immature heterosexuals: 'Nevertheless, it is still true to say that heterosexuality is a more mature form of sexual behaviour'.

He admits that ‘minor degrees of fetishism can be detected in every man, and there is no point at which one can say that normality ends and pathology begins’. He also thinks that fetishes have their origin in very early childhood. Only men are fetishistic; women have no such need ‘because they do not have to achieve or sustain an erection’.

His chapter on transvestity follows immediately on his chapter on fetishism, and it is presented as a variation thereupon. He also repeats the common misconception that transvestites dress usually to masturbate. He gives no reason to assume that masturbation is more common among transvestites than among other men. This false premise also leads to his conclusion that there are no female transvestites and that female cross-dressing is of a completely different nature. He gives the standard psychoanalytic interpretation of transvestity as follows:
“The homosexual man replaces his love for his mother by an identification with her: the fetishist refuses to acknowledge that a woman has no penis. The male transvestite assumes both attitudes simultaneously. He fantasies that the woman possesses a penis, and thus overcomes his castration anxiety, and identifies himself with this phallic woman.”
He adds to this that the transvestite is imagining a “seductive courtesan” and identifying with her as a phallic woman. This phallic woman need not be his mother for such images are easily found, e.g. witches and mother goddesses, both of which come with many phallic symbols. To a small child women in general appear threatening and powerful. Therefore a transvestite gains masculinity rather than loses it by identifying with such a masculine and powerful woman. Such an identification argues a “fairly complete failure” in the normal separation of a boy from his mother in growing up, and also “a failure to relate emotionally to any person other than the mother”.

He does note that for ’normal’ men, the desire to dress as female is widely catered for vicariously in public entertainment.

He discusses that there are also men who seek an operation to “change their sex”. This is possible for anatomical hermaphrodites, but “this is very far from changing the sex of an individual with normal organs, and such an operation is of course impossible”. This was written in 1964, a decade after Christine Jorgensen’s operation had received extensive media coverage. The word “transsexual” is not used at all – although he is writing a full decade after Cauldwell, Benjamin and Ed Wood had put the word into circulation. Such men are submitting to “castration” because they have “given up all hope of competing with other males on anything approaching equal terms”. Those who express the “delusion” of becoming the opposite sex “are invariably psychotic”. In such a schizophrenic the patient's ego “is overwhelmed, so that he is no longer able to exercise conscious control, and is at the mercy of phantasy and unconscious contents”.

Female cross-dressing is merely a part of lesbianism which is merely the normal schoolgirl crush for another female extended into adulthood because of a shortage of men or because of emotional immaturity. Such lesbianism is of course always “faute de mieux”, although it may be better than nothing. Female cross-dressing is on the decline.
“Thirty years ago England seemed peculiarly apt at producing a stalwart breed of commanding women clad in collars and ties, tweeds and boots, striding manfully through life with hair cut short and faces innocent of cosmetics. Increasing psychological sophistication has diminished the numbers of those who display their adoption of the masculine role so blatantly.”
He also wrote books on depression, the psychology of music, gurus and charismatic leaders, and the value of solitude. He also served on the Parole Board and a Home Office committee on obscenity and film censorship.

He had three daughters with his first wife, Catherine Storr. They divorced in 1970, and he married again.

He died aged 80 of a heart attack.

For the female fetishism that he does not acknowledge see the references in my article on Autogynephilia. For the sexuality of female-to-male cross-dressing see Lou Sullivan.

There is very little that is original in Storr’s book, but, as a Penguin, it was widely available, for many in the 1960s it was the only book that they read on the subject. It was on the reading list for my first year psychology course at university. Almost all his ideas had been previously proposed by psychoanalysts.

These psychoanalytic ideas are fortunately not as common now as they were in the 1960s. However they were largely and uncritically accepted by Kurt Freund and Ray Blanchard and have been incorporated into their concept of Autogynephilia. They are also being recycled in a simplified and mean-spirited way by many of the HBS people.

Storr got indifferent marks at school, and got into Cambridge anyway. The British class system at work.

27 May 2009

Charlotte Bach’s theory of evolution

Sexual Deviation Is The Mainspring Of Evolution

Every member of any species 'divided' by sex, having to unite with a member of the other sex to reproduce, experiences to some degree the tensions inherent in its 'separateness' from the other sex, its inability ever to attain complete individual integrity as a member of the species. 

Her theory applied such observations, arguing that a group deviation from the norm of reproduction – thwarting, or self-thwarting – of the reproductory drive, will to some degree creates inner tensions in individuals, and those individuals may resolve them in different ways: for examples, an excessive drive to dominate the environment (including other individuals), to challenge or replace (for the 'good' of the group) established rituals and values, or to celebrate, or bemoan, the existential experience of being a member of the group, or even to withdraw from the life of the group as far as practicable. 

She argued that though expressing a deviation may for an individual be an evolutionary dead end, deviations create a repertoire from which a species may select behaviours advantageous to its survival, and reject others, in the way Darwin believed that ‘Natural Selection’ operated.

Thus, deviations from the reproductory norm are an essential part of the evolutionary process. In a complex dynamic involving the individual’s internal and external environment, the drive to express deviations is countered by the drive to resist them. Their expression will be channelled into the environment, in terms of established social rituals, or by the creation of new patterns or pieces of behaviour. The established patterns she termed ‘stable’, the novel expressions of behaviour she termed ‘emergent’, and creating them is what all of us are doing, all the time. Every man, she said, is a new Adam; every woman, a new Eve.

She believed this was the source of creativity. She also argued that deviations from the norm could be expressed negatively or positively - homosexuality, withdrawal into monasteries and nunneries or other forms of celibacy, but were often expressed within a context of reproductory behaviour - homosexuals having and rearing children, or people who do not want children of their own nevertheless acting in loco parentis (as teachers, carers, advisors) in the nurture and socialisation of the children of others.

Quoted from The Theory on

Central to Bach’s theory is an eight-box typology that is based on the old trapped soul concept. You may be a male soul in a male body, a female soul in male body, a female soul in female body or a male soul in a female body. Which gives four options. However the soul strives to become the other sex, and this striving can be denied or asseverated. Now we have eight options:

1. The stable options:

  1. Male positive denialist. The heterosexual male, physically and psychologically male, denying the pull to become female.

  2. Female positive denialist. The heterosexual female, physically and psychologically female, denying the pull to become male.

  3. Male negative denialist. A female soul in male body who denies the pull to the other psychological sex, i.e. male. This is a transvestite or drag queen.

  4. Female negative denialist. A male soul in female body who denies the pull to the other psychological sex, i.e. female. This is a butch lesbian
2. The changeable/creative options:

  1. Male positive asseverationist. The male, physically and psychologically male, accepting the pull to become female. (This is not properly explained. Would this be a metrosexual or a psychologically androgynous male who is accepting of his female side?)

  2. Female positive asseverationist. The heterosexual female, physically and psychologically female, accepting the pull to become male. (This is not properly explained. Would this be a psychologically androgynous female who is accepting of her male side? Would one type of this be a career woman?)
  3. Male negative asseverationist. A female soul in male body who accepts the pull to the other psychological sex, i.e. male. He will be masculine, and dress definitely so, and might be quite aggressive. (This is what others have called a homovestite. Would homophobia fit here?)
  4. Female negative asseverationist. A male soul in female body who accepts the pull to the other psychological sex, i.e. female. This is a femme lesbian who dresses extra femme. (Although surely a heterosexual femme or homovestite would fit here also.)
This, of course, is done in terms of 1960s stereotypes. There is no actual place here for a transsexual, nor actually for a non-op like Bach herself. 

In rereading Wilson’s Mysteries in an attempt to write this I found contradictions. Wilson first assigns a transvestite to 1.3, but two paragraphs later to 2.1 ! Wilson himself first accepted that he is a Male positive denialist. He is very much the cisgendered heterosexual. He later twigged that that would deny his creativity. Surely he would want to be a Male positive asseverationist? Perhaps being of his generation (born 1931) he does not do so. He leaves 2.1 and 2.2 unexplained.

I am not a fan of 4-box or 8-box typologies. They can be useful in laying out ideas, but they also restrict ideas to their simple forms. There are some good bits here:
  • the important idea that one can deny or asseverate the pull to be the other sex.
  • the incorporation of cisgendered heterosexuals into the schema.
  • the inclusion of the concept but not the word homovestity (Zavitzianos did not coin the word until 1972).
  • the ideas that a female soul in male body is in denial of her male sexual pull if she is transgender. This is of course contrary to what most transgender persons assume.
On the other hand:
  • where do transsexuals fit?
  • 2.1 and 2.2 would need to be much more clearly developed.
  • there is no comparison or correlation to other theorizing on sex and gender.

See also Charlotte Bach's biography.

21 May 2009

Charlotte Maria Beatrix Augusta Bach (1920 -1981) hotel employee, accommodation agent, hypnotherapist, would-be philosopher, fake baron.

See also Charlotte's Bach's Theory of Evolution

Karoly Hajdu, the son of a tailor, was raised in Budapest. Karoly did badly at school but read voraciously on his own.

After Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941 he managed to obtain a ‘student exemption’. In 1942 he forged a birth certificate that he was Karoly Mihaly Balazs Agoston Hajdu, son of the Baron of Szadelo and Balkany. Shortly afterwards he was conscripted into the Railway Builders Regiment, but managed to wrangle a transfer to the army propaganda unit – where he stole cameras and sold them on the black market. He later admitted that he had cold-bloodedly killed a teenage soldier because he could not show the right papers, and claimed to have been in the German SS.

After the war his sister emigrated to Venezuela, and later was joined by their mother.

Calling himself Karl Hajdu , Karoly managed to get to the British sector in Austria, and from there, as he spoke good English, to Britain in 1948 as a refugee. Presenting himself as Baron Carl Balkanyi who at been a university lecturer, he got a job at Harwich Labour Exchange, and then at the British Council.

He was experimenting with cross-dressing. A friend left a suitcase with his wife’s dresses and underwear and Carl tried them all on. He asked the friend to remove the case. He bought female clothing, and then purged them.

He worked in small hotels and nightclubs, and in Brighton met Phyllis Rogers. She and her son moved to London to be near him, and they were married in February 1953. Carl put his female clothing into storage.

He opened an accommodation agency in Paddington, illegally charging prospective tenants. He was taken to court several times on this charge and for not registering his business, being fined increasing amounts. Shortly after the 1954 conviction, he presented at the Hungarian Embassy declaring that he was a fugitive and prepared to go back. This was reported in the Daily Mail. The Sunday People sent a reporter to his agency, and ran a lengthy article on how he ran his business.

After the Hungarian Uprising, Hajdu collected ₤2,000 to send ‘freedom fighters’ into Hungary, and led a march to Downing Street. However he was not able to explain where the money went.

In 1957 he was pressed into bankruptcy listing 26 creditors. He retrieved his case of women’s clothing.

Shortly afterwards he took the name of Michael Karoly and took a course in hypnotherapy. He never graduated but set up in business as a hypnotherapist anyway. He also was taken on as a psychology lecturer at the Stanislavsky Studios in Knightsbridge, and wrote a column on psychology for Today magazine. He was also commissioned by Paul Elek, a Hungarian, to write a book on hypnosis. The book, the only one of his ever published, includes an early explanation of the joys of cross-dressing, and many of the patients in the book are aspects of himself.

Michael and Charlotte, both
In 1963 he was charged at Knebworth with a breach of the peace after being arrested dressed as female. He separated from his wife, founded Divorcees Anonymous and seduced several of the women who attended. After a denouncing article in the Sunday People, both his hypnosis patients and members of Divorcees Anonymous stayed away.

He attempted to return to his wife, but she had a new lover. She died of a severe uterine haemorrhage that erupted while she and her lover were on holiday in Germany. It then came out that she had embezzled thousands of pounds from her employer. Her son Peter died in a road accident a few weeks later.

In shock Michael retreated into Phyllis’ flat, avoided all contact and took lots of photographs of himself in his wife’s clothes. He wrote two novels in this period: One, Siobhan, was about one of his lovers. Although she was newly married, he sent it to her. She and her husband instantly contacted their solicitor, and warned Karoly off. The Second Coming was a science fiction novel with a sex-change theme.

In May 1966, he was charged with 13 offenses of obtaining credit under false pretences, and trading as a psychologist without disclosing that he was an undischarged bankrupt under another name. He was jailed for three months.

In 1967 he wrote to the prominent female impersonators Danny La Rue and Ricky Renée for advice on cross dressing.

He placed an advert in the New Statesman as a psychologist seeking transvestites, and got a dozen replies. One was from the person who would transition as Della Aleksander, but who at that time was a novice. Another, a silk fetishist, persuaded Michael that he could be a ‘spiritual transvestite’ for whom the clothes are merely an emblem. He acted as male escort for several of his new contacts, and started a book, Man and/or Woman: A Comprehensive Study of the ‘Tammuz Complex’ (Transvestism), using the anecdotes of his new contacts.

He also started to go out dressed as Charlotte. At the same time, as Michael, he took his last female lover. Through Della, Charlotte was able to obtain female hormones, although she persuaded herself that living as a woman in itself altered her hormones. Her method of coping with being read was to engage the person in conversation, and to repeat the story of how her husband and son had died. From 1968, Charlotte was more or less living fulltime as female. The major exceptions were signing on for unemployment pay, and Michael the psychologist’s one paying client.

Karoly’s mother in Venezuela had not heard from him since his bankruptcy in 1957. A friend from Caracas visited London and discovered Charlotte. The mother, at 82, accepted her new daughter. Two years later she came to visit.

Charlotte changed her name by deed poll in 1970 to Charlotte Maria Beatrix Augusta Hajdu, but normally used the surname Bach. She started writing the enormously long Homo Mutans, Homo Luminens which presents the transsexual urge as the key to human evolution, but could not interest any publishers. She also wrote an autobiographical novel Fiona which also has never been published.

Using the name Daphne Lyell-Manson she went into business as a spanking madam. She later wrote about the spanking trade: “On the Basic Axioms or Lemmata of a Universal Theory of Relativity”.

Charlotte started giving weekly talks in a friend’s flat. One of her acolytes, Don Smith, produced several pamphlets on Bach’s ideas, each of which sold between 500 and 1,000 copies. She was several times invited to speak to gay and lesbian groups. She wrote to television programs and the science editors of The Times offering her assistance, but was not taken up. She wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury to advise him that god is a human invention.

She sent a 521 page version of Homo Mutans, Homo Luminens, all in capitals and on orange paper, to the writer Colin Wilson, who eventually read it, and became an enthusiast. He interviewed her for the magazine Time Out, and featured her prominently in his book, Mysteries, 1978.

Brian Lewis, a professor at the Open University used his research budget to print 100 copies of her book, and she sold it at her weekly meetings. She was invited to give seminars at a few universities, and she upstaged the featured speakers at a debate at the Royal Institution. A wealthy doctor, Michael Kirkman, endowed the Kirkman-Bach College of Human Ethology, and Charlotte wrote to the eminent ethologist Desmond Morris to be a patron, but Morris was quite puzzled by the approach.

Charlotte died of untreated liver cancer, having refused to go to a doctor, at the age of 60. The revelation that she was a ‘man’ was a surprise to Wilson and Lewis.

She left her papers to Bob Mellors who had been a gay activist. He researched her life for several years until he was murdered by a burglar in 1996 in Warsaw where he was teaching English. A friend of Bob passed the papers onto Francis Wheen.

  • Comer Clarke. “The Baron” The Sunday Pictorial 13 Jan 1957
  • “Man Dressed as Woman Walks into Hotel”. Hertfordshire Mercury. 26 April 1963.
  • Michael B. Karoly. Hypnosis.  London: Elek, 190 pp 1961. Hajdu/Bach’s only published book.
  • Colin Wilson. Mysteries: An Investigation into the Occult, the Paranormal and the Supernatural.  Putnam, 1978 London: Grafton Books 1979: 514-523.
  • Bob Mellors (ed). Extracts from an unpublished Work: An Outline of Human Ethology by Charlotte M. Bach. 4 Pamphlets London: Another Orbit Press. n.d.
  • “Bent is best, said Charlotte Bach”. Gay News. Feb 18, 1982.
  • Colin Wilson. The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders. Grafton Books,1988.  Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1989: chps 1-2.
  • Colin Wilson. The Devil’s Party: A History of Charlatan Messiahs. Virgin, 2000: chp 12. Also published as Rogue Messiahs: Tales of Self-Proclaimed Saviors. Charlottesville, Va: Hampton Roads xxvii,274 pp 2000: chp 12.
  • Francis Wheen. “Move Over Darwin”. The Guardian 28 Sep 2002.,,4509155-103425,00.html
  • Francis Wheen. Who was Dr Charlotte Bach? Short Books, 2002.
  • Michael Roth. “Sex, Sin and Evolution: Dr Charlotte Bach and Emergent Evolution”. Apes, Angels and Outlaws: New Science, New Philosophy, New Directions.


Although the Beaumont Society, the UK Princian group, had been founded in 1965, Michael/ Charlotte never bothered with it. Nor did she attend the Porchester Balls which started in 1969, nor the Gay Lib dances in the early 1970s. Nor Yvonne Sinclair’s TV/TS Support Group after 1976. She probably would not go to any event where she was not in charge.

Michael was charged with trading as a psychologist without disclosing that he was an undischarged bankrupt under another name. Should he not also have been charged with trading as a psychologist under false pretences?

There is no mention of Charlotte Bach in Kris Kirk & Ed Heath’s Men in Frocks, 1984. I was active in London Gay Lib in the early 1970s, but I never heard of Charlotte Bach until I read Colin Wilson many years later.

Some of our enemies would suggest that a fraudster is a natural for doing a gender change and getting away with it, as would be an actor. However the reality is probably that a person who is a fraudster in their life before transition, will use the same approach when they do transition. There are others, almost certainly greater in number, who strive for authenticity, and a gender change comes naturally, as part of that authenticity.

Amazon has a product review of Wheen's book that is so negative that I am going to reproduce it as a curiosity: “Mercifully published by Short Books, this nasty little work is not short enough. It is just possible that Wheen, formerly a Guardian columnist, may be writing a spoof but, even so, the point of the book escapes even the most generous reader. It's not funny, it's not interesting and it is stuffed with extremely tasteless photographs which leave a scummy feeling in the mind. According to Wheen, Charlotte Bach wrote unpublished and unpublishable books about sexual deviancy, both fiction and non-fiction, frequently using her own life as material while attributing her own experiences to other 'patients'. The relevance of the title escapes the reader for Wheen gives ample documentation about his subject.”

See also Charlotte Bach's theory of evolution.

20 May 2009

Jean Marie Stine (1945 - ) writer, publisher.

Henry Eugene (Hank) Stine, who also has written as Allan Jorgenson, Robert Randall, Victor N. Davich, Janice Morgan Stevens and Sibly Whyte, is most famous for the novel Season of the Witch, 1968, in which a man, accused of rape, is punished by having his consciousness transferred to the woman’s body. Still having a male consciousness, s/he hopes to regain his original body, but has to kill the body to kill the personality now occupying it. Finally she realizes that she is pregnant from her original male body, and accepts her femaleness. The story was filmed in 1996 as Memory Run (also released as Synapse).

Stine was editor of Galaxy science-fiction magazine from 1979, and transitioned to Jean Marie in the 1980s.

Jean Marie is also a writer of self-help books, and is the publisher of Renaissance E Books.

She was a board member of the transgender groups IFGE and the Tiffany Club of New England; a contributing editor for both the online magazine International TG and the print zine Transformation.

She has also written biographical material about Ed Wood, the filmmaker.

    • Charles Platt. “Hank Stine”. Who Writes Science Fiction? London: Savoy Books 1980. New York: Berkley Books as Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction. 1980.
    • Allen A. Goldstein (dir & scr) Memory Run/Synapse. Scr: David N. Gottlieb & Dale Hilebrand, based on the novel Season of the Witch by Hank Stein, with Chris Makepeace as Andre Fuller and Karen Duffy as Celeste/Josette. US 90 mins 1996.
    • Jean Marie Stine. Ed Wood – The Early Years Renaissance E Books. 112 pp 2001.
    • Janice Morgan Stevens. Everything you wanted to know about sex changes ... and were afraid to ask: a primer for male to female transsexuals. Renaissance E Books. 2002.

17 May 2009

Did Virginia Prince have Harry Benjamin Syndrome?

I have elsewhere written on Virginia Prince.

Here I would like to pursue an unexplored position. In my essays on Prince and on autogynephilia, I proposed that Prince was the classic autogynephile. That is still my position. However let us see what happens when we line up the chief femmiphilic and the HBS side-by-side.

  1. Virginia Prince was an actual patient of Harry Benjamin, just as much as Sally Barry, Reed Erickson, Barbara Wilcox, Christine Jorgensen, Lynn Conway, Renée Richards or Diane Kearny. Benjamin prescribed female hormones to Prince.
  2. Of the three major criteria for a transsexual -- hormones, genital surgery and living full-time in the target gender -- Prince scores 2 out of 3. Benjamin did not recommend surgery for all his transsexual patients.
  3. Diane Kearny writes: “my brain gender of female was quite clear to me and others including family long before a hint of puberty. That in essence describes those born with HBS”. Prince passes this test easily.
  4. Prince urged privacy, stealth even closetry, for those in her groups. Surprise: the HBS people urge the same for their membership.
  5. Diane Kearny writes of “evidence that true transsexuals/HBS are born and not nurtured”. Much the same evidence supports the idea that femmiphilics are born and not nurtured.
  6. Prince was intolerant of most transgender persons, especially drag queens, homosexual transvestites, all gender queers, all transsexuals, and all non-ops who did not conform to her own transgenderist (a different word from transgender) or femmiphilic template. Surprise: HBS people are intolerant of most transgender persons, especially drag queens, homosexual and heterosexual transvestites, all gender queers, all non-ops, and the vast majority of transsexuals who did not conform to the HBS template.
  7. Trans men are totally ignored by Prince; while there do seem to be a few HBS trans men, you can easily read the HBS web sites without being aware of them.
  8. Prince was often domineering to the point of bullying and rudeness, often telling potential transsexuals that they were ‘delusional’. HBS persons are constantly telling people that they are ‘fetishists’ and ‘autogynephiles’.
  9. Prince advocated a false respectability of a dated concept of being a 'lady'; many of the HBS persons object to being described as gender variant, and are even proud to self-describe as gender conformist, which is also a false respectability.
  10. Both Prince and many HBS persons are indifferent or hostile to feminism.
HBS persons make the point that Prince did not desire a sex change. Of course that is what she said. But surely she protested too much. You don't need a PhD in psychology to understand that if you are fanatically against something, it is likely that you are actually attracted to that thing, but are unable to be honest about your attraction. It is now generally accepted that homophobes are actually aroused by their own sex. A self-confident heterosexual has no need to be homophobic.

In any case, Benjamin posits three kinds of transvestite, one of which is the transsexual. If there is such a thing as a "Harry Benjamin Syndrome", it surely covers all three kinds. To limit it to the third only, is tendentious.

15 May 2009


This Sunday 17 May 2009 is IDAHO.
It is a shame that some gender variant persons are intolerant of others.
I would like to quote from Harry Benjamin. He writes with regret of intolerance: “Too many individuals are that way; what they do not like must be forbidden and punished. Then they are satisfied. I have even met transvestites who dislike (or pretend to dislike) transsexualism so much that they are against estrogen treatment and operation (for reasons of self protection?). There are also transsexuals who dislike transvestites as well as homosexuals. Intolerance can be found in strange quarters.” The Transsexual Phenomenon, p114-5 of the Warner Books 1977 edition.
In particular, those who organize in his name, should respect his sentiment.

14 May 2009

Magnus Hirschfeld, Edward Wood and the coining of ‘transsexual’.

In Hirschfeld’s Die Transvestiten, 1910, the word he uses for what we might call transsexualism is ‘Geschlechtsuebergaenge’, which would literally be a sexual over-going. This word is translated as ‘transsexual’ in Michael Lombardi-Nash’s 1991 English translation of Die Transvestiten. Obviously 'sexual over-going' was not going to catch on in English.

In 1923, Hirschfeld did use the expression 'seelischer transsexualismus' (psychic transsexualism) in a journal paper, ‘Die intersexuelle konstitution’. Although, of course, one wonders whether it was his own expression, or one suggested by one of his minions.

Die Transvestiten was not translated into English until 1991, and ‘Die intersexuelle konstitution’ has never been translated. Kurt Freund, as a German-speaking Czech sexologist, probably read read both of them. Harry Benjamin, being German, could have read them, but he shows no evidence of taking the word ‘transsexual’ from Hirschfeld. There is no evidence of British or US doctors having read Hirschfeld.

The word ‘transsexual’ next appeared in Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin, 1948: 612, as a kind of homosexual considered as an intermediate sex.

The next year, 1949, David Cauldwell wrote a paper for Sexology about a girl who wanted to be a boy. He entitled the paper ‘Psychopathia transexualis’ (note the one S). This paper was not much noticed. Harry Benjamin later commented: "Whether I had ever read that article and the expression remained in my subconscious, frankly, I do not know". It was Louise Lawrence who introduced Benjamin to Cauldwell’s writings.

The word next turns up in Edward D. Wood, Jr’s 1953 film, Glen or Glenda. This is intriguing. Was the word in use among trans people before Benjamin started using it? Did Louise, having read Cauldwell, pass the word on to other transvestites? We do know that the word ‘homophobe’ was used in Screw magazine two years before it was officially coined in 1972. Probably by the early 1950s, the word ‘transvestite’ was sufficiently common that different people coined ‘transsexual’ independently.

Harry Benjamin first used the word in December 1953, and went on to popularize it, particularly in his 1966 book. He spelt the word with two-SS.

By the early 1970s doctors were dissatisfied with the word 'transsexualism' because it had lost its medical connotations, and so Norman Fisk in 1973 proposed 'gender dysphoria syndrome' to remedicalize the concept.

John Money pays homage to Cauldwell by using his one-S spelling, as does The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show, 1973 on stage, 1975 film (“I'm just a Sweet Transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania“. However the two-S spelling has proved more popular.
  • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon, New York: The Julian Press. 1966.
  • Harry Benjamin. “Introduction”. In Richard Green and John Money (eds.), Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. 1969.
  • David O. Cauldwell. ‘Psychopathia transexualis’. Sexology, 1949. 16: 274-280.
  • Richard Ekins, Dave King. (2001) "Pioneers of Transgendering: The Popular Sexology of David O. Cauldwell". IJT 5,2,
  • Norman Fisk. "Gender Dysphoria Syndrome". In D. Laub & P. Gandy (Eds.) Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Gender Dysphoria Syndrome. 1974: 7–14.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld,. Die Transvestiten; ein Untersuchung uber den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb: mit umfangreichem casuistischen und historischen Material. Berlin: Pulvermacher, vi, 562 pp1910. English translation by Michael A Lombardi-Nash. Tranvestites: The Erotic urge to Crossdress. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. 424 pp 1991.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld. ‘Die intersexuelle konstitution’. Jahrbuch fuer sexuelle Zwischenstufen, 1923. 23: 3-27.
  • Andrea James. “Magnus Hirschfeld”. Transsexual Road Map.
  • Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., and Martin, C.E. (1948) Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

Bullough and Bullough in Crossdressing, Sex and Gender, 1993: 257, state that "Hirschfeld in 1910 called one of his patients a psychic transsexual". They give no reference. Presumably they are confusing his book and his 1923 paper.

11 May 2009

Pieter-Dirk Uys (1945 - ) performer, satirist.

Uys was born in Cape Town, the son of a Calvinist Afrikaner father and a Berlin-born Jewish mother. He was active in theatre in Cape Town and Johannesburg in the 1970s and 1980s. He has written and performed 20 plays and over 30 revues and one-man shows.

In 1976 his soon-to-be major persona, Evita Bezuidenhout, ‘the most famous white woman in South Africa’ appeared. Inspired by Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna Everage, she was used by Uys to satirize and expose the absurdity of the then Apartheid regime. Most of their work was not censored, indicating closet approval by members of the ruling class. They also lampooned the sometimes hypocritical white liberals.

Evita published her autobiography in 1990. After the first non-racial elections in 1994, Evita starred in a television series interviewing Nelson Mandela and other politicians.

Pieter and Evita are also active in HIV/Aids campaigning, especially in teaching Aids awareness to children. In 2001 they gained a Truth and Reconciliation Award.

They live in the town of Darling outside Cape Town where Pieter has converted the old railway station into a cabaret.

In 2009 they wrote a play MacBeki: A Farce to be Reckoned With, which satirized contemporary politics reading Duncan as Nelson Mandela, Jacob Zuma as Macduff and Thabo Mbeki as Macbeth.
  • Lionel Friedberg (dir). Across the Rubicon. With Pieter-Dirk Uys. South Africa 54 mins 1987.
  • Pieter-Dirk Uys. A Part Hate, a Part Love: The Biography of Evita Bezuidenhout. Sandton, South Africa: Radix, 1990.
  • Julian Shaw (dir & scr). Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story. With Pieter-Dirk Uys, Evita Bezuidenhout, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu. Australia 54 mins 2007.
  • David Smith. “Jacob Zuma's ANC a target for South African satirists”. The Guardian. 19 April 2009.
  • “Pieter-Dirk Uys”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

09 May 2009

More on Wayne Dynes

I have previously written on Wayne Dynes here.

To recap:

In his Homosexuality: A Research Guide, 1987, he strangely chose to open his ‘Transsexualism’ section with an assertion in opposition to the facts:
Follow-up studies have shown that many postoperative transsexuals exist in a state of almost continual depression, and for this reason the operation is now performed less often.
He also gave an amazingly positive mini-review of Janice Raymond and ignored 90%+ of transgender biographies.

He was the major editor of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, 1990, and chose to write the article on ‘Transvestism (Cross-dressing)’. He repeats the common fallacy that Hirschfeld coined ‘transvestism’; repeats disinformation from Peter Ackroyd’s unreliable book, and concludes that “At its best, transvestism is a form of ludic behavior that causes society to take a fresh look at gender conventions”.

Let us look at the bibliography at the end of the article: Ackroyd, Bullough, Decker & van de Pol, Ellis, Feinbloom, Hirschfeld, Wheelwright, Woodhouse. Not a single trans person of any flavour.

Likewise, the preceding article by Warren Johansson on ‘Transsexualism’ has only Benjamin, Bolin and Pauly & Edgerton in its bibliography. Given all that had been published by trans persons, even as far back as 1990, not one is deemed suitable to consult. I doubt that either Dynes or Johansson would write on homosexuality and ignore everything written by gay writers.

Dynes has recently published an essay on his blog called “Shifting stigmas’ where he considers the status changes in the 40 years since Stonewall of the various groups that are adjacent to homosexuality. He particular, he observes that:
With some reservations, then, pedophilia, pederasty, and ephebophilia were UP a generation ago; transpeople were DOWN. These days that situation is hard to imagine, so much have the two groups changed in the eyes of the public. The relationship has been turned upside down.
I think that his observation is coloured by his New York residence, but let that pass. He wonders why the change happened. He considers the antisexual mood of the current zeitgeist in the US and that this fits with a common perception (true or otherwise) that transpeople have less sex. He also sees us as benefiting “from the postmodern emphasis on fluidity and transitional states--on avoiding fixed ‘essences’.” However he does continue:
Liminality may capture some of the interest, even enthusiasm that some outsiders feel for transpeople. However, it does not accord with the experience of many who are committed to the “trans” status. In particular, those who complete the full schedule of surgical intervention believe that they have attained the sex that “they were meant to be.” For them, there is no ambiguity. Likewise, many transexuals in the full sense reject the gay label; as they perceive the matter, they love those of the opposite sex. Some others pursue their own sex--that is, the sex of arrival--or regard themselves as bi.
And then:
At all events, trannies--of whatever variety--are seen as taking steps that affect themselves only. In this way their modus operandi accords with the dominant ideology of expressive individualism. One could even say that they are contributing to consumerism by their increased purchase of clothing, beauty products, and elective surgery.
This of course is much better than what he was writing in the 1980s. This is still however a comment from one who participates in gay discourse but does not consult the discourse among trans persons. Note how he uses ‘trannies’ and ‘transpeople’ (without the now required space) – in blissful ignorance of how some trans people react. He also uses ‘M2F’ and ‘F2M’ as nouns. What was it that Gore Vidal said about being homosexual, but not ‘a homosexual’?

The essay is then about the gay perception of trans people, not actually about real trans people. It was actually a pleasure to read the essay, locked as it is behind a firewall where the politics that divide the trans scene do not penetrate.

PS. Note the second comment by someone called John Lauritsen who says:
Of course it is impossible to change a man into a woman, or vice versa. A "male-to-female transsexual" is a man who has been castrated, and thereby transformed -- not into a woman, but into a eunuch. Such an individual has been *neutered* or *de-sexed*, not changed into the opposite sex. Likewise, a "female-to-male transsexual" has been neutered, not changed into a real man.
As one of the other comments says, Lauritsen is not only totally ignorant of what he writes, but he is in lockstep with the Church of Rome. This is the same Lauritsen who echoes now ex-President Thabo Mbeki and his Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, known as Dr Beetroot, in that all three deny any link between being HIV+ and developing AIDS.

08 May 2009

Louise Lawrence (1912 – 1976) activist, building manager, artist.

++revised June 2016

Despite childhood desires to be a girl, Lew Lawrence married a wife, Virginia, at 18 in 1930, and they had a daughter. He was briefly a bank clerk. Virginia died five years later. Lew started corresponding with other transvestites.

He met Montez who at first accepted his cross-dressing, and they married in 1941. The strain of keeping the secret led to her having a nervous breakdown and she divorced him in 1944.  Lawrence now transitioned to living full-time as Louise.  

Louise moved to San Francisco from Berkeley. She managed an apartment building for working women, and also sold some artwork. She also found a female partner, Gay.  She knew some of the performers at Finocchio's, attended gay drag parties, and worked with the homophile Mattachine Society.

She worked to educate the doctors who were interested in transvestites.  From the mid-1940s she worked with Karl Bowman at the Langley Porter Clinic.  She gave a presentation at the University of California Medical School at San Francisco, where a 33-year-old Arnold Lowman was in the audience and fascinated.  He obtained Louise's address and pestered for a meeting.  He gave his name as Virginia Prince as he lived on Prince Street.  She introduced him to other transvestites and to Bowman, who took on Prince as a patient. 

From 1948 Louise worked with Alfred Kinsey.  Previously he was aware of only a handful of transvestites.  Louise introduced him to cross-dressers, professional female impersonators and eventually transsexuals.  She encouraged them to give their life histories to Kinsey. He paid her for typing up the life histories, and also for copying transvestite fiction, including petticoat punishment stories.  He asked her to “begin keeping a list of specific persons whom you know to be transvestites . . . [and] also of the cases you run across in the newspapers”; the lists, he hoped, could “give some clues to the number of transvestites”.  She listed 19 in the San Francisco area and 151 across the US.  Over several years she sent correspondence, her diary of her transition year (1944) scrapbooks of clippings and autobiographical writings.

Kinsey introduced her to Harry Benjamin.  Lawrence informed Benjamin of David Cauldwell’s earlier writings on transsexualism.  Benjamin began to introduce her to his trans patients, and she invited them to her home, and offered counseling.   The only prominent San Francisco trans person whom she avoided was Bunny Breckinridge.  His attention seeking was considered risky at a time when cross-dressing was still illegal. 

In 1952 Virginia Prince, Louise, Edith Ferguson, Joan Thornton met and put out the first incarnation of Transvestia.  They used Lawrence’s address book for its initial subscription list.  The group discussed who was a transvestite.   Louise had written that the group includes "heterosexuals, there are definite fetishists, sadists, masochists, voyeurs, homosexuals, etc.".   

A few years later Louise wrote: "I consider Louise to be my true identity even though the birth records say differently, and on this I will stand, for to me, as to most people who know me, I AM Louise. I maintain that people are personalities first and that the statistical facts are merely additional information." (Schaefer & Wheeler: 5)

When Virginia Prince revived Transvestia in 1959 with a more narrow definition of who was a transvestite, Louise was no longer involved.  

Louise even put Arthur Corbett in touch with April Ashley.

In 1964, Louise, José Sarria and four homophile leaders met with religious leaders in San Francisco to organize for gay minorities.

Louise continued to send material to the Kinsey archives, even after the death of Alfred Kinsey in 1956. 

She died aged 63. 

There is now a Louise Lawrence Collection of letters, photographs and other documents in the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana.

*Not the fantasy novelist, nor the New Testament scholar.
  • Janet Thompson [Louise Lawrence].  "Transvestism: An Empirical Study".  The International Journal of Sexology, 1951. 
  • Duncan Fallowell & April Ashley.  April Ashley's Odyssey.  Jonathan Cape, 1982: 114-5. 
  • Leah Cahan Schaefer & Connie Christine Wheeler. “Harry Benjamin's first ten cases (1938-1953): a clinical historical note”. Archives of Sexual Behavior 24:1 Feb 1995: 4. Online at  Louise is referred to as Doris.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz, . "Sex research at the borders of gender: Transvestites, transsexuals, and Alfred C. Kinsey." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75.1 (2001): 72-90.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 70, 73, 92, 144, 154-5, 156, 171, 185-6, 187, 211, 227, 318n73-5.
  • Peter Farrer. “The Louise Lawrence Collection”. Gendys Conference, 2004.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. “Lawrence, Louise”. Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America.Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005. 
  • April Ashley with Douglas Thompson.  The First Lady.  John Blake, 2006: 159.
  • Lillian Faderman. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. Simon & Shuster, 2015: 103. 

Louise and Virginia Prince were both born in 1912.

Louise is the real mother of organized transvestity in the US, and much more attention should be paid to her, rather than to Prince who does get the attention.

07 May 2009

Diane Kearny (1940 - ) HBS activist.

Revised 4 Dec 2009, September 2013.

See also A short History of (Harry) Benjamin Syndrome.

Kearny was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and as a teenager corresponded with Virginia Prince – who told her that anyone wanting a sex change was delusional.

Diane was a friend of the pioneering transsexual and prostitute, Patricia Morgan, and knew some of the drag performers at the 82 Club. She was down the street when the Stonewall riot erupted in 1969.

Later, as Diane, she was a patient of Harry Benjamin and Charles Ihlenfeld. She had only one psychiatric interview, and then had surgery with Roberto Granato Sr in 1972 in Brooklyn.

Being Catholic, she then successfully applied to have the name and gender on her baptismal certificate amended.

In 1984 she married.  They were married for 22 years before she was widowed. Diane ran her own business.

In 2004 Diane set up WATS, a transsexual forum.  In 2006 she encountered  Charlotte Goiar on the Australian WOMAN forums, and adopted Goiar's concept of Harry Benjamin Syndrome. Goiar participated in her forum, and she  and others set up, (which became derelict around 2008), and then (which also became derelict in 2010). Goiar and Kerny separated and each maintained a web site and a forum. Kearny's site contained material from Goiar’s, with small changes, and included a very similar Standards of Care.  Her Yahoo forum differed from Goiars in admitting only post-operative women, and, unlike, was in English only. The site defined HBS:
"Harry Benjamin's Syndrome (HBS) is a congenital intersex condition that develops before birth, involving the differentiation between male and female. It is believed that every 1/30,000 is born with this condition. Therefore a girl with Harry Benjamin's Syndrome would have a females brain sex but her genitals would appear male. The boys born under this condition have female genitalia even though their brains are male. So far it’s impossible to diagnose this condition at the moment of birth causing the babies to be raised in the wrong gender role. There are figures that confuse the rarity of HBS by including in the numbers those under the transgender umbrella who are not HBS or even true transsexuals but are better aligned with fetishists who 'went all the way' such as the autogynephilic thereby making it seem that the number of 1/2500 might be better applied."

Despite Diane’s Catholicism, the site had a religion tab that was heavily Protestant in that it cites the Bible but no Popes or theologians.  " In this way God is pleased for He sees a lessoning of suffering in His name by all who feel that in His eyes they did right and not a wrong".

Diane wrote to the American Psychological Association (included on the web page), and the press in general. In 2007, she and the others made a presentation at a WPATH Symposium in Chicago.

*Not the Diane Kearney who argued that Thomas Pynchon was Wanda Tinasky; nor the Hollywood costume and wardrobe person.

Diane, sometimes using the surname Logan, commented on various websites:
  • Diane Logan.  "transgender Confusion".  San Francisco Bay Times.  Aug 31, 2006.  "Most transsexuals I know are not a result of being a crossdresser or a fetishist. They are people who knew from a very early age that something was wrong and bore the pain of that truth until relief was attained in the form of surgery. They did not link up with transgender behavior, which is obviously a satisfying sexual release, but had to bring their body and brain into harmony in order to simply survive. That is what transsexual actually is and so far removed from all of those transgenders I came across during my years before and since my surgery in 1972. Transgenderism has become farcical and in no way should be seen as being in any way, shape or form somewhat like the medical condition of transsexualism, or as we prefer to call it, Harry Benjamin Syndrome"
  • Diane Kearny. Comment on “Transgender Folly”. The Jewish Press. Nov 15 2006."Direct your angst toward those who use the confusion of transgenderism to further their forced imposition upon society. This proposal, if one looks closely, is a gay/lesbian/bi/transgender law. It allows people to simply identify as the opposite sex when not that sex at all. It will confuse the issue and even permit deceptive same sex marriages."
  • Diane Kearny. Letters to the Editor. July-Sept 2007.   "I had my corrective surgery in a Brooklyn, N.Y. hospital over 30 years ago. Of course I was considered to be in medical need whereas now with the influx of so many under the transgender umbrella we too are falsely listed as having some sort of dysphoria. Does this sound like someone suffering a mental disorder: graduated from college, legally married to the man I met 30 years ago, opened and ran my own business for 20 yrs, built up a comfortable circle of friends and had been certified physically and mentally a female in a County Hospital which was the requirement of the Health Dept. Board before they would change my birth certificate. All that is done so how then am I thrown under the transgender umbrella with fetishists and sex deviants as if I might be cousined to them? No, I refuse to accept that and will fight it to my dying days. I am not a trans anything...I am a woman."
  • Diane Kearny. Comments on “Roman Catholicism And Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS)”. TS-Si. 18 Dec 2007. "This is simply one of the area's where the TG's and our forced attachment to their banner has hurt many who have had surgery. Remember please that McHugh comes from a long line of radical functionaries at Johns Hopkins where the issue of gender has been placed in the pot of confusion not the least of which is exampled by the likes of Money who believed much like McHugh that brain sex is pliable. ".
  • Diane Kearny. Comment on “With Apologies to Radical Feminists”. The Transadvocate. Feb 9, 2008."I have been attacked before and by the ignorant who take out of context things I have said and things doctors have advised me as facts on the one hand and possibilities on the other. I ignore their ignorance for I truly understand their need to demean all of us who might suggest they have no affinity with us in their attempt to use our medical legitimacy as cover for their own fetishism. That bothers them for they know deep down their masking deception has no connection with our reality."
  • Diane Kearny. Comments on “Uh oh". The Billerico Project. May 5-13, 2008.   "Let the fetishists and the week-end thrill seekers keep transgender. I will not accept that term unless every other woman on the planet does as well."
  • Diana.  Profile.  Creative Loafing Tampa.  "Those of us who had corrective surgery did not change our gender, it was inborn"
  • Diane L. Logan.  "Few facts ignored about health care bill".  Lewistown Sentinel.  Sept 25, 2009.  "I am continually amazed that so many of the radical liberals attack everyone who is opposed to the Obama health care boondoggle. Recently argued by a reader were the so-called lies being perpetrated by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Beck, Newt Gingrich, Hannity and the very long list of those who are vocal in addressing opposition to a plan that is falsely labeled as a “HEALTH plan” when, in fact, it is, but a political means to place power in the hands of the socialists in our government. Some like one of the czars, Van Jones, are even admitted communists."
See also the two comments below that are emails received from Diane after the first tentative draft of this article.

I believe that the Catholic Church never reissues baptismal certificates for transsexuals any more. After all, their official position, as advised by Paul McHugh, is that there is no such thing as changing sex.

Back in 1960, Jacqueline Dufresnoy was required to be re-baptised.

Diane insists that she never changed her gender although she lived as male for three decades.  She is of course failing to distinguish between 'gender' and 'gender identity'.  

Prince's reply to a teenaged trans girl was, obviously, rude and insensitive.  However Diane is still referring to Prince as "Charles (Virginia) Prince" apparently assuming that "Charles Prince" was Virginia's male-name (it was merely a temporary pen name) and falsely crediting her with coining 'transgender' .  I gather that Diane has not read either Richard Docter's nor my accounts of Prince, nor either my or Cristan Williams' accounts of the history of the term 'transgender'.   There are several serious criticisms of Virginia Prince, but Diane neither contributes to the criticism of Prince nor helps her own case by repeating  misinformation.  As I wrote here: "One can see why Yvonne Cook-Riley and Kimberleigh Richards wanted to credit Prince with something that she never did, and never could have. It is an irony of note that Diane Kearny, Suzan Cooke, Jenifer Usher and Cathryn Platine all want to support Cook-Riley and Richards in this endeavor.

06 May 2009

Sally Barry (1926 - ?) Benjamin’s first transsexual patient.

Val (A pseudonym) had co-operative parents and lived much of her childhood as a girl. During grade school where special toilet arrangements were made, psychiatrists assured the parents that Val would outgrow the phase. High school authorities were not so co-operative and Val stayed at home.

Being frustrated in her desire to be female, she was given to tantrums and even violence: once even causing her father to be hospitalized.

At age 22, when, as Sally she was already living as a woman, she had gone to a hospital in her home state of Wisconsin for a psychiatric examination. She had read the few books available at the time on feminizing operations including Man into Woman on Lili Elvenes (Elbe). She requested surgery and refused any alternative that might remove her feminine desires. 30 members of the hospital staff met to discuss her case and recommended castration and plastic surgery. However the state attorney general’s office vetoed the decision as constituting mayhem.

The next year, 1949, she met and was interviewed by Alfred Kinsey in San Francisco as part of his research on sexual variance. Kinsey referred her to Harry Benjamin, who was staying in the same hotel, for help – this was Benjamin’s first transsexual patient - and he prescribed female hormones, x-ray castration and x-ray treatment to remove facial hair.

Kinsey arranged for her to have an evaluation with Karl Bowman at the University of California's Langley Porter Clinic. Kinsey arranged for her to have an apartment in the building run by Louise Lawrence. He also encouraged her to have a homosexual relationship with a man so that she would learn to value her penis. Bowman and Kinsey declined to endorse surgery.

With Benjamin’s encouragement, Sally finally had surgery in Sweden from 1953-8.

She and her mother later moved to Canada.

*Not the English sculptor.
  • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press, 1966.  Warner Books Edition 1977: 107, 299-307. PDF:49, 141-4.
  • Leah Cahan Schaefer & Connie Christine Wheeler. “Harry Benjamin's first ten cases (1938-1953): a clinical historical note”. Archives of Sexual Behavior 24:1 Feb 1995: 4. Online at  Revised as the Afterword to Randi Ettner. Confessions of a Gender Defender: A Psychologist's Reflections on Life Among the Transgendered. Chicago Spectrum Press, 1996.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 47-8,171.

In The Transsexual Phenomenon Sally is discussed anonymously in the main text and in detail  in the 'Lives' appendix where she is referred to as “H.”. Wheeler & Schaefer refer to her as Barry (as a forename) and then as Sally. In How Sex Changed by Joanne Meyerowitz refers to her as Val Barry (Barry as a surname). Susan Stryker in Transgender History denies her the dignity of any name and refers to her as the “mayhem case". In Wheeler & Schaefer’s revision of their paper for Randi Ettner’s Confessions of a Gender Defender she is called Van for the male phase and Susan afterwards.

02 May 2009

Marsha P. Johnson (1944 - 1992) activist, drag mother.

Malcolm Michaels, Jr. grew up in Hoboken and Elizabeth, both in New Jersey. Malcolm would transform to Marsha on the commuter train into New York.

In 1966, Marsha moved to Manhattan for good. She was well-known in New York drag and arts scenes from the 1960s to the 90s. Sometimes she worked as a waitress, but usually she worked the streets. She was known for helping other transvestites and street people, was regarded as a drag mother, and in particular was a mentor to the young Sylvia Rivera. She panhandled and was often on roller skates. She was deeply religious and had visions.

In the early days she was known as Black Marsha, but then dropped the ‘Black’, and became Marsha P. Johnson. The P. as she loved to explain, including on one occasion to a judge, stood for “Pay it no mind”. The judge laughed and let her go.

She participated in the Stonewall riots in 1969, where she was observed dropping a heavy weight onto a police car. She was co-founder with Sylvia of STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) and was active in STAR House which attempted to feed the homeless and the street transies.

She was also a performer and a member of Hot Peaches, and did a London tour with them. She never got a female passport, and had to do male drag to go through immigration. She was photographed by Andy Warhol.

By 1979 she acknowledged several attempts on her life by johns, eight nervous breakdowns and innumerable arrests – after one hundred she stopped counting.

Marsha was rightly regarded as generous through the decades, but when Malcolm took over he could be quite nasty, and might even pick a fight with someone who said hello to him.

Marsha was probably murdered: her body was found floating in the Hudson River shortly after the 1992 Pride March, but the police declined to investigate.

Antony Hegarty’s band, Antony and the Johnsons, is named in tribute to Marsha.
    • Bob Kohler. “Rapping with a Street Transvestite Revolutionary: An Interview with Marcia [sic] Johnson” in Karla Jay and Allen Young. Out of the closets: voices of gay liberation. New York, Douglas Book Corp. 1972. New York : Pyramid Books, c1974. New York: Jove Publications, 1977.
    • Martin B Duberman. Stonewall. New York : Dutton, c1993. New York: Plume, xix,330 pp. 1994: 67-8,188,190,191,192, 204,235,237,251-5,259. 
    • Julian Fleisher. The Drag Queens of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide. New York: Riverhead Book. 1996: 35-6, 39,59-62. 
    • Leslie Feinberg. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul. Beacon Press, 1996: 130-1.
    • David Carter. Stonewall : the riots that sparked the gay revolution. New York : St. Martin's Press 2004. New York: Griffin 2005: 61, 65-6,162,188, 261.
    • Susan Stryker. Transgender History. Seal Press. 190 pp 2008: 86.
    • Amy Coleman. “The legendary Marsha P.Johnson…The Queen Mother”.
    • “Marsha”
    • Michael Kasino (dir).   Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson, with Marsha P. Johnson, David Carter.  US 54 mins 2012.