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11 November 2010

A railwayman's wife.

In John Berger's portrait, with photographs by by Jean Mohr, of John Sassall, an English country doctor in the Forest of Dean, western Gloucestershire, in the 1960s, we are told how one day he visits a retired couple who have lived in the area for thirty years.

A quiet couple who went down the pub once a week but kept themselves to themselves. He had previously worked on the railway, and she had been a maid.

The doctor had been called because she was bleeding from below. The doctor is surprised to find male organs when he examines her, but as they are irrelevant to the condition, nothing is said of them. The trouble is severe piles.
  • John Berger and Jean Mohr. A Fortunate Man; the Story of a Country Doctor. Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative 1967:56.


We  don't know the name of this trans woman who has such a brief appearance in a book about somebody else.  However apparently she had lived successfully as female from at latest the early 1930s. and almost certainly without female hormones.  A successful pioneer, more so than many whose names we know.

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