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.

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29 August 2010

Georges Zavitzianos (1909 – 1995) psychoanalyst

Zavitzianos was born in Corfu. Greece. He studied medicine at Monpellier, France, where he was psycho-analyzed by Eduard Pichon. He returned to Greece in 1934 where he worked as a neuropsychiatrist with a psychoanalytic orientation. In the late 1940s he was a co-founder of the first Greek psychoanalytic group. In 1950 he was elected to the Societé psychanalytique de Paris.

In 1952 he emigrated to Canada, where he was active in the Psychoanalytic Club at McGill University in Montréal. He married the singer Sylvia Filyndras and they settled in Bethesda, Maryland.

His writings are concerned with female 'perversions' and he coined the expression 'homeovestism' for erotic arousal by wearing the clothes of the gender that one is, either obsessively or with exaggeration, such as men who always wear a suit and tie, or women who never go out except in a skirt and makeup. His writings on the subject mirror writings by psychoanalysts of his generation about transvestism, and as such he sees it as a 'perversion' and a 'fetish'.
  • George Zavitzianos. "Fetishism and Exhibitionism in the Female and Their Relationship to Psychopathy and Kleptomania". International Journal of Psychoanalysis 52 (3): 297–305, 1971. PMID .
  • George Zavitzianos. "Homeovestism: Perverse Form of Behaviour Involving the Wearing of Clothes of the Same Sex". International Journal of Psychoanalysis 53 (4): 471–477,1972. PMID.
  • George Zavitzianos. "The Object in Fetishism, Homeovestism, and Transvestism". International Journal of Psychoanalysis (PEP) 58 (4): 487–95, 1977. PMID.
  • George Zavitzianos. "The perversion of fetishism in women". Psychoanalytic Quarterly. 51, 405-425. 1982.
  • Athanase Tzavaras. Georges A. Zavitzianos: Corfu, 1909-Maryland/E.U, 1995. Cahiers de psychiatrie, 53,10-13, 1996.
  • “Georges Zavitzianos”.

Before the 1960s it was difficult to distinguish homovestity from the socially required norms. The term ‘homeovestism’ was re-introduced by Louise Kaplan in the early 1990s. As the obverse of ‘transvestism’ as pathologized by psychoanalysts, Zavitzianos and Kaplan saw homeovestism as a perversion and a fetish. However, as there has not been much public usage of the words, the pathologizing connotations have not passed over, and we are able to use them without the psychoanalytic baggage.

‘Homovestity’ means ‘as’ one’s own gender – dress styles already in existence. ‘Homeovestity’ means ‘like’ one’s own gender – e.g. the gay leather outfits that did not pre-exist their fetishization.

Obviously homeovestity is similar to autogynephilia in women and autoandrophilia in men.  However the sets of jargon exist as two solitudes and do not talk to each other.

26 August 2010

Peter Robinson (1962 - ) singer.

Peter was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where his father was a yacht salesman, and grew up in Hertfordshire. As a teenager he modelled himself on Marilyn Monroe.

Boy George and he, using the name, Marilyn, were Blitz Kids and part of the New Romantic movement. They lived in the same squat in Kentish Town, but were chased out by a lustful neighbour who assumed that Marilyn was a woman.

After Boy George went into Culture Club, Marilyn appeared in the Eurythmics’ video, Who’s That Girl. He was then signed and his first single, “Calling Your Name”, 1983, went to no 1 in Japan, and no 4 in the UK. He released two more singles in 1984, and his album, Despite Straight Lines in 1985.

In 1986 Marilyn and George’s brother, Kevin, were sentenced on a charge of possessing heroin. His career declined. A failed attempt to record a second album in Detroit drained his finances, and he cut his hair and quit the industry, until 2001 when he made some club appearances.

In 2002, his character was featured in the stage musical Taboo. In 2003 he was in a Channel 4 reality show based on hairdressing. In 2005 he was in the Channel 4 documentary Whatever Happened to the Gender Benders?, where, looking quite unwell and unglamorous, he discussed drugs and his agoraphobia.

*Not Peter Robinson, the crime novelist, nor the department store, nor the computer scientist, nor the poet.

24 August 2010

Amos Westrupp Gibbings (1849 - ?) aristocrat, actor.

Amos Gibbings was educated by private tutors. From the age of eighteen he frequently acted female parts in amateur performances in London, chiefly for the benefit of charities. He played Lady Teazle, and Mrs Mildmay in Still Waters Run Deep; Mrs Chillington in The Morning Call; Mrs Honeyton in The Happy Pair; and many other trifling parts.

Amos and Martin Luther Cumming, both in drag, attended the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and other events. Amos and Luther and Stella Boulton and Fanny Park rented a room at 13 Wakefield Street which they used as a changing room, and for storing clothes. The landlady, Mrs Stacey, her daughter and some of the other lodgers were quite aware of what was going on as the two impersonators were quite open about what they doing.

Gibbings arranged a ball at Haxell's Strand Hotel (now part of the adjoining Strand Palace Hotel). Stella Boulton and Fanny Park were arrested as they left the ball in the incident that became the most famous cross-dressing trial in nineteenth-century England. Amos gave evidence for his friends at the magistrates’ court, but had moved to France and did not appear at Stella and Fanny's full trial. The newspaper reports of the magistrates' court describe his voice and manner as 'decidedly effeminate'; he spoke with a slight lisp, but clearly and with self-possession.
  • Peter Farrer (ed). Men in Petticoats: a Selection of Letters from Victorian Newspapers. Karn Publications 1987: 6, 9.
  • Morris B. Kaplan. Sodom on the Thames: Sex, Love, and Scandal in Wilde Times. Cornell University Press 314 pp 2005: 34-5.

21 August 2010

Francis Renault (1893 – 1955) female mimic.

Antonio Auriemma was born in Naples, and was raised in Providence, Rhode Island. In the early days of his career, he worked in Vaudeville as Francis Renault. He got his break replacing Julian Eltinge in a touring version of his Broadway show.

++In 1913 he performed in Atlanta and contested local ordinance banning cross-dressing, to the consternation of the local police.

He made his reputation impersonating the famous actress Lillian Russell, and like her he wore expensive gowns. Renault’s show became famous for his costumes, and each Friday afternoon they would be displayed for ladies to come and see. He also had a great falsetto voice.

In 1924, after a European tour, he opened his own club in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Unlike Julian Eltinge he would wear his female costumes in the street in towns where he was touring. This created publicity for the show, but he was arrested several times, notably in Dallas where a policeman who had seen the show and recognized him, arrested him while he was on his way to Weil’s Department Store to exhibit his $5,000 wardrobe.

Out of costume he was a strong and masculine man, with many male admirers, one of whom was the young Archie Leach before he changed his name to Cary Grant. In his last years, Francis sang at Carnegie Hall billing himself as ‘The Last of the Red Hot Poppas”.

In 1945 he was crippled with polio, and was paralyzed for two years. He overcame this and returned to performing at Carnegie Hall.

19 August 2010

Mrs Cox (193? - ) housewife.

John Murphy Goodshot, an aboriginal American raised on a reservation in South Dakota, transitioned to female, and married a US Navy Seabee, and as Mrs Cox collected government payments as a dependent wife.

In 1958 she was outed, appeared in court and in the press. She was charged under her male name with defrauding the government. The court ignored her desire for genital surgery, insisted on treating her as a man, and as a condition of probation ordered that she ‘undergo psychiatric treatment to bring out his masculine qualities’.
  • Bill Jones. “Impersonator to take Psychiatric Treatment”. Denver Rocky Mountain News. Nov 22, 1958.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 87.

17 August 2010

Caroline Matilda Oldenburg (1751 - 1775) Queen.

Caroline was the youngest child of Frederick Hanover, the English Prince of Wales, who died three months before her birth. Her brother George became king of the United Kingdom and Hanover in 1760 as George III.

In 1766 when she was 15, she was sent to Copenhagen to marry her cousin Christian Oldenburg the king of Denmark and Norway. Like her brother George, Christian was subject to bouts of mental instability. He also spurned and neglected Caroline Mathilde. However in 1768 they had a son, Frederick.

Later that year, Christian made a tour of Europe and returned with the Prussian doctor and philospher Johann Friedrich Struensee, who had been appointed State Counsellor and the king’s personal physician. He had a positive influence on the king, and at first reconciled Christian and Caroline Mathilde.

However the King’s mental health deteriorated. Struensee became the effective ruler and issued 1069 reforming cabinet orders (more than three a day). Struensee and Caroline Mathilde became lovers. Her second child, Louise, is taken to be fathered by Struensee, but is officially a child of the king.

Queen Caroline Mathilde was frequently seen in frock-coat and vest, leather trousers, high boots and spurs and a man's hat on loose unpowdered hair, and was often seen on horse-back so dressed. She even dressed in this manner to state occasions.

In January 1772 Caroline Mathilde and Struensee were arrested in the middle of the night after a masked ball. In April she was divorced and deported to Celle in Hanover. Struensee was executed.

Caroline Mathilde never saw her children again. She died of scarlet fever at age 24.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld translated from the German by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress Prometheus Books. 1991: 374.

15 August 2010

The Jewel Box Revue

Founded in Miami in 1939 by lovers Doc Brenner and Danny Brown, the Jewel Box Revue toured for 30 years and was the best known drag show of its kind in the US.

They preferred the terms ‘feminine impressionists’ and ‘femme mimics’. Although the management and performers were gay, the show was aimed at straight audiences, winning acceptance through comedy. The performers would tell interviewers of wives and girlfriends, but they were largely mythical. Brenner performed in the earlier show, while Brown MC’d. Then they introduced male-impersonators, Mickey Mercer and Tommy Williams, to be MC, an innovation that was copied by drag clubs everywhere. The Revue then went a step further in 1955 hiring the Afro-American Stormé DeLarverie to MC. The Revue, almost uniquely at that time, employed white, black, Latino and native performers. It made an unprecedented tour of the black theater circuit.

Artists who performed with the troupe include: Lynne Carter, who was often billed as the star, International Chrysis, Ricky Rene, Terry Noel, T.C. Jones, Lavern Cummings, Tony Midnite, Angie Stardust, Perry Desmond, Holly WhiteKim August, Tobi Marsh, Gayle Sherman, Harvey Goodwin, Libby Reynolds, Chris Moore, Betty and many others.

The Revue closed in the early 1970s.

12 August 2010

International Chrysis (1951 – 1990) performer.

Revised January 2014.

Billy Schumacher was raised in Brooklyn. A performer noted for her beauty, Billy became Chrysis from the age of twelve, and was soon entering pageants and performing. She took up with Kim Christy. They shared an apartment in Manahattan below Houston Street. They met sex magazine pioneer and editor of Exotique magazine, Lenny Burtman, who arranged photo-shoots and other favors. Chrysis and Kim appeared together in Female Mimics.  They had uncredited mufti cameos in the chorus line of the film, The Queen, 1968.

By the mid-70s Chrysis was a drag celebrity, and had performed at the Jewel Box Review and other major venues, including in Europe, especially Berlin and she was a long-time friend of Salvador Dali.   In 1976 she was on the cover of Whitehouse, the UK magazine named antagonistically after the anti-porn crusader. Despite the claim on the cover that "This Woman is a Man", that was the first time that an out trans woman was on a magazine cover.

In 1982 she was the woman in the Van Halen video to their cover of "(Oh) Pretty Woman".  She reveals herself herself as a non-standard women by taking off her wig.  It played a few times on MTV but was pulled after complaints about the non-consensual fondling by little people.

Many accounts mention that she was a sexual top with the New Jersey college boys that she liked to pick up.

She headlined in Jesus Chrysis Superstar and The Last temptation of Chrysis. She was in the drag acting troupe, Hot Peaches, was to be found at the Pyramid Club and performed at Wigstock.

Her best-known movie role was as a witness to be eliminated in Q & A, which was released in 1990, a month after she died, at age 39, from cancer caused by the seepage of silicon from her breasts. Her friend, the singer Pete Burns, named one of his groups, International Chrysis, after her.

The documentary Split was actually proposed by Chrysis herself, but not completed until after her death.

*Not the powerboat racer.
  • "This is Chrysis". In George Alpert. The Queens. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975.  
  • Ellen Fisher Turk & Andrew Weeks (dir). Split: William to Chrysis: Portrait of a Drag Queen. Scr: Dan Chayefshy. US 60 mins 1992. Special Jury Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
  • Laurence Senelick. The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre. London & New York: Routledge xvi, 540 pp 2000: 433.
  • “International Chrysis”. Endless NightOnline
  • Jim Beaux.  "International Chrysis".   The Transsexual Erotica Archive of Magazines and Films, 05 August 2013.  


Jim Beaux' article contains: "Kim Christy's commentary points out that when she was in hospital dying, she hated the fact that the staff used her male name. She had a couple of roles where she portrayed a woman, who at the end would pull her hair off to reveal a man, and she disliked the endings both times."   This raises the question: what was her female name, as opposed to her performance name?  As with Sir Lady Java, we have a male name and a performance name.  But the female name, the one that was presumably on her driving licence and tax return, that is, her real name, remains unknown.

10 August 2010

Sharon Cohen : שרון כהן ( 1972 -) singer.

Yaron Cohen was born in Tel Aviv of Yemenite origins. At 13 he had told his family that he was transsexual. At 18 he was a drag performer, and had a hit with the single ‘Saida Sultana”.

Yaron transitioned to Sharon 1993 with surgery in London. She took the name Dana International from her first album, Danna International. She has been a recording artist since her transition. She has released 8 albums and 3 compilation albums.

In 1994 she won the Israeli award for Best Female Artist of the Year.

In 1995 she was second in the competition to be the Israeli contestant in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

In 1998 she was the Israeli contestant in The Eurovision Song Contest, which she then won with the song ‘Diva’. This was controversial in Israel where Orthodox Rabbis and the Shas Party tried to have her selection cancelled.

The next year she sang Stevie Wonder’s song ‘Free” during the Interval of The European Song Contest, presented the awards and fell over onstage in front of an estimated audience of over 1 billion.

In 2009 Sharon campaigned in the election for the Kadima party.

In 2011she represented Israel again, and reached the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Ding Dong”.


08 August 2010

Joseph Dean (188? – 1963) gigolo, bar owner.

Short and dark-skinned, possibly born in Egypt of mixed parentage, Don Kimfull met Reginald de Veulle in Paris. They shared an interest in social occasions where dressing as female was encouraged, and were present at such a party in Maidenhead when locals started throwing stones. However Don avoided Regie in later years.

Don became involved in London in drug retailing, as a gigolo and sometimes as a thief, but avoided the inquest into the death of Billie Carleton in 1919 by claiming that he had pleurisy.

After time spent in France and Germany, he arrived in Tangiers in the 1930s, using the name Joseph Dean and became head barman at the El Minzah Hotel. He opened his own Dean’s Bar in 1937. During the Second World War it was rumoured that he fed information to intelligence services. He was also said to be a drug addict, and that he had been jailed for trafficking.

Dean’s Bar thrived as part of the Interzone where Tennessee Williams, Ian Fleming, Francis Bacon, Jane Bowles etc drank at one time or another. Dean took against William Burroughs on sight however and did not want to serve him.

There is no mention of cross-dressing in later years.
  • Robin Maugham. Escape from the Shadows; Robin Maugham, His Autobiography. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1972: 206.
  • Michelle Green. The Dream at the End of the World: Paul Bowles and the Literary Renegades in Tangier. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991. New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1992: 46-7, 152, 229.
  • Marek Kohn. Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1992: 21, 22, 78-9, 93, 108, 117-9.
  • Francis Poole. Everybody Comes to Dean's: Dean's Bar, Tangier ; with Two Poems. Newark, Delaware: Poporo Press, 2009.
  • Nicholas Kirshman. “Tangier”. Morocco Blog VIII.

Some point out that Dean was the real-life version of Rick in the film Casablanca.  However I was unable to find a statement that the authors of Casablanca did in fact have Dean in mind.

    05 August 2010

    Dorian Corey (1937 – 1993) performer.

    Frederick Legg was raised in Buffalo, New York State. He was a mother from the age of eight when his own mother, divorced and remarried, gave him the new baby to look after.  His first paid job was window dressing in a Buffalo department store.

    Legg studied at the Parsons School of Design. In the 1960s she was part of the female-impersonation act, The Pearl Box Review, where she performed with a live boa constrictor.  She got breast implants and took female hormones, and broke off contact with her family.

    In the 1970s, as Dorian Corey, she was a major participant in New York drag balls, often in very extravagant costumes, sometimes multiple costumes worn over each other. In the late 1970s, her boyfriend ran off with all her ball earnings.  However her next husband, Leon, stayed with her all the rest of her life.  Dorian was the founder of the voguing house of Corey, and holder of over 50 grand prizes from the voguing balls. She was house mother to Angie Xtravaganza, who later became a mother of her own house. Dorian also performed at Wigstock and was featured in Paris is Burning, 1990.

    In later years, she was a regular performer at Sally's II, off Times Square, across from The New York Times.

    Corey has attained a posthumous notoriety in that after her death from AIDS, friends cleaning out her Harlem apartment found not only an expensive wardrobe, but also a trunk containing a mummified body that had been dead for about 25 years. The police eventually were able to extract fingerprints, and identified Robert Worley, who had an arrest for rape and assault. It is assumed that Corey killed the burglar in self-defense, but it is also said that it was her boyfriend who had turned abusive. In either case, she had no idea how to get rid of a body. She moved twice with the body in the trunk. This was turned into a play, Out of the Bag, by Reg Flowers.

    03 August 2010

    Camille Barré (1959 - ) activist.

    Gilles Barré was born in Paris. After a period of androgyny and 12 years with a wife, Gilles transitioned into Camille, surgically in 1998, and legally in 1999.

    Camille became famous after a media circus in 2005 about her desire to marry Monica Leon, an Argentinean non-op who was legally male. Their application was rejected by the courts, but Camille became well known on national television.

    She is co-leader of the GLBT collective in the French Communist Party and has helped the Party to evolve re trans issues. In 2007 she was the Communist candidate in the 7th district of Hauts-de-Seine.

    01 August 2010

    Chris Korda (1962 - ) priest, programmer, musician.

    Christopher Korda was a great-nephew of film magnate Alexander Korda and the only son of Michael Korda, the novelist and editor-in-chief at Simon & Shuster in New York. Chris was a loner as a teenager, incarcerated for a while, and left New York for good when 14.

    She settled in Boston, worked for a while as a female impersonator, and considered but did not complete a full transition to female.

    In 1992 an alien intelligence, The Being, visited her in a dream and warned of the coming eco-catastrophe. She immediately changed her life and founded the Church of Euthanasia and anointed herself as Reverend. The Church advocates four pillars: suicide, abortion (the Church is not pro-choice – giving birth leads to excommunication), cannibalism (for those who are not vegan like Chris) and sodomy (any form of non-procreative sex).

    Chris works as an engineering consultant, and has recorded several records, released on the Kevorkian label. She has a girl-friend.