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!

27 February 2011

Joanne Wingate (1960–) Sergeant Major.

Joe Rushton from Somerset joined the UK Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1981. He became a Warrant Officer and then Company Sergeant Major, and was on the army boxing team. He served in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia and Kosova.

He was married four times to women, and had one son.

In 1997 he privately informed his commanding officer of his intention to become a woman. Shortly afterwards, when Rushton was handing over the company to another Sergeant Major, 22 soldiers arrived in drag. The commanding officer dismissed this as simply horseplay.

Rushton became a woman as Joanne in 1998, and was transferred to a desk job in training and recruitment, but the gender in her medical and administrative files was not changed. She was passed over for promotion, and some colleagues continued to refer to her as a man.

She was dismissed in March 2003 with long service and good conduct medals, but was disciplined on two occasions involving 'inappropriate language'. All this was in disregard of the guidelines/instructions AGAI 76 re transitions within the Army. Rushton unsuccessfully sued the Ministry of Defence for discrimination later that year.

25 February 2011

Ludwig Trovato (196? - ) film maker.

Bettina was raised in Reims by a Sicilian father and a French mother. He transitioned as Ludwig in the early 1980s.

He has made film documentaries, mainly about painters and writers, including: Pasolini, la langue du désir, 1985 about the Italian filmmaker; Images d'images, 1987 about 15th century painting; 3004 P about the painter Vincent Corpet; Au Coeur d'un autre temps, about Dante.

In 1999 a young man, a casual sex partner of Ludwig, egged on by his mother, accused Ludwig of rape, which led to three years of proceedings before he was acquitted. The fact that Ludwig is a trans man did not result in the charges being dropped, as giving fellatio has come to constitute rape in French law. Ludwig recounted these experiences in his book, Mon corps en procès. 

He lives in Reims, and recently has spent time in Senegal where he has been working on educational television. A retrospective of some of his films was held in Reims in 2007. In 2008 he released an autobiographical film, Ludwig.

23 February 2011

Jackie McAuliffe (1970–) sex worker, pianist.

Jason McAuliffe was born in Hackney, the third of four sons. Five years later, the parents abandoned their children.

Jason and one brother were raised by a two head teachers in Hertfordshire. Jason learned to play piano and violin, but felt different at school where he was often beaten up.
'It's like a jigsaw. You're trying to build up the picture except when I made my jigsaw, there was no picture. It's very difficult for other people to understand why you might feel like a woman, because it's bigger than anything and it takes over your life and the loneliness and isolation were horrid.'
He left home at 17 and at 20 had his first appointment at Charing Cross Hospital gender identity clinic, but still had to wait three more years. She was living as Jackie from 1993, and had surgery through the National Health Service in 1995.

Also wanting breast augmentation and facial surgery, Jackie then worked for three years as a prostitute. She was arrested and fined several times. She was working in Sussex Gardens, Paddington Green, but thinking of getting out, when a film crew arrived looking for 'interesting people' to be in a new docu-drama, and Jackie was chosen. The first episode of the program, Paddington Green was aired in December 1998.

Jackie returned to playing piano and ignored the increased traffic at her old corner in Paddington Green. In January 1999 she was interviewed on The Heaven and Earth Show on BBC1 and some weeks later was invited by Decca to record an album of piano music, Forgotten Dreams, which was released that November, and went to number 14 in the UK charts, which netted royalties for her of £8,000.

In June BBC1 showed a 30-minute special called Jackie's story:
"Everyone thinks I've got it made after being on tv, but I'm on the dole and broke ... Sometimes I'm tempted to be a hooker again".
In August she was featured in a panel discussion Genetically Modified Fame at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. She received hundreds of letters, many from other transsexuals.
"But I didn't reply to them. I'm not counsellor or a transsexual martyr or a propagandist. There's much more to me than being a transsexual. It's about me being a human being. Being Jackie."
Shortly after Jackie stopped working Sussex Gardens, a cis prostitute, Amanda Walker, was picked up at the same spot and brutally murdered by David Smith.

21 February 2011

Nelly Fonseca (1920 – 1963) poet.

Nelly Fonseca Recavarren was born in La Libertad, Peru, in 1922 (although some say 1920 or even 1914). At the age of nine she fell down stairs, broke her spine and was confined to a wheelchair.

Fonseca then took the name Carlos Alberto Fonseca, wore men's clothes and cut his hair short. Carlos Fonesco became a major Peruvian poet in the 1930s and 1940s. He also wrote journalism and was was awarded literary prizes.

In 1955 he published poems as Nelly Fonseca.

Around 1960, after being operated upon for a tumour, Fonesco returned to dressing as a woman.

* Not Carlos Alberto Fonseca Amador, the Sandinista.

19 February 2011

Kenneth Tynan (1927 – 1980) theatre critic, scriptwriter and producer.

Kenneth Tynan was raised in Birmingham and educated at King Edwards School, and Magdalen College, Oxford. He started smoking at grammar school; he stammered but gave an impression of high intelligence. In university debates he spoke out in favour of homosexuality, abortion and masturbation, a full generation before the first two were decriminalized in Britain. He had many admirers and his parties were sometimes attended by London celebrities. He also produced and acted in plays, and wrote for and edited college magazines. When his father, until then known as Peter Tynan, died in 1948, it came out that he was also Peter Peacock, a former mayor of Warrington, Cheshire, with another wife and another family.

Kenneth married the US actor and future novelist Elaine Dundy in 1951. They had a daughter the next year, named her Tracy after Spencer Tracy and got Katherine Hepburn to be godmother. Also that year Kenneth was hired by the London Evening Standard as a theatre critic. The slogan on his desk was 'Rouse tempers, goad and lacerate, raise whirlwinds'. Two years later he moved to The Observer. He lambasted the middle-class country-house drama which dominated London theatre in the early 1950s, and championed the Angry Young Man movement. He is given credit for turning John Osborne's Look Back in Anger into a hit. He was the script editor at Ealing Studios, 1956-8. He also became known in the US with a series of reviews in The New Yorker, 1958-60.

Both Tynan and Dundy had extramarital affairs. Tynan favoured sadomasochism, especially caning buttocks. He had an affair with April Ashley's flatmate, and afterwards, April would mock the sound of his being spanked. In 1963 he became literary manager at the newly founded National Theatre, in those days located at the Old Vic, working with Lawrence Oliver whom he had previously disparaged. He ceased as The Observer theatre critic, but stayed on as its film critic. Dundy and Tynan finally divorced in 1964.

On 13 November 1965, on a BBC late-night satirical show, Tynan was asked about sexual intercourse on the stage and replied: “Well, I think so, certainly. I doubt if there are any rational people to whom the word 'fuck' would be particularly diabolical, revolting or totally forbidden. I think that anything which can be printed or said can also be seen." This was the first speaking of 'fuck' on British television. The BBC issued an apology, there were four separate censure motions in the House of Commons and Christian morality campaigner, Mary Whitehouse, wrote to the Queen that Tynan should have "his bottom spanked" (which of course he would have enjoyed). Billy Connolly later wrote a song about the event.

In 1967 Tynan pioneered the term 'homosexual mafia' (later 'gay mafia') as a proposed article for Playboy. Also that year he married the Canadian writer Kathleen Halton in 1967, when she was already pregnant with his child. They got Marlene Dietrich to come along as a witness. In 1969 Tynan created the stage show Oh! Calcutta! With sex and nudity (and Tony Blair's future father-in-law, Anthony Booth, in the cast), it became one of the longest running shows both in the West End and on Broadway. In 1971 he co-wrote Roman Polanski's Macbeth. Although he wrote elsewhere "No woman has ever distinguished herself [as lady MacBeth] for the simple reason that there is nothing feminine about her", this observation was not incorporated into the film. The same year he resumed keeping a diary which would eventually be published. He was forced out from the National Theatre in 1973.

He came down with emphysema. He refused to stop smoking as he thought that it was necessary for his writing. After failed projects on Wilhelm Reich, masturbation and a film about a sexual triangle, Kenneth, Kathleen and their children moved to California in 1976, where Kathleen found success as a writer, including her script for Agatha, 1979, much to Kenneth's chagrin in a time of his own failure.

As with his first wife, Tynan insisted on total sexual freedom for himself and fidelity from his wife. However Kathleen did go out with him when he was in drag. He caught, on television, the 1929 film, Pandora's Box by Georg Pabst and starring Louise Brooks, based on the play by Frank Wedekind. He dressed as Brooks for a party, and later set out to find the aging star, and did so in Rochester, New York, where they drank, smoked and talked. Kathleen wrote a script about this infatuation of her husband, which was optioned by Martin Scorsese but never filmed.

He also found a woman who would play out his sadomasochist fantasies, and they frequently cross-dressed together. Here is an excerpt from his diaries:
Kenneth and Kathleen, 1978
"Went with K. (in the Garbo dress from 'As You Desire Me' which I had copied for her) to a '20's Ball, at which I wore a feathered blue lurex peignoir, sequinned knickers, suspender belt and black stockings and a wig modelled after the hairstyle of Louise Brooks. And a six inch ivory cigarette-holder. Introduced myself, to people who asked who I was meant to be, as Lord Baden-Powell. I also shaved my legs for the occasion. Although I wouldn't want to be a woman, I love the idea of making love to a woman while dressed as one; and I much prefer the feel of my own legs when they are hairless. This doesn't make me a transvestite; but it does mean that I enjoy exploring more sexual possibilities than those available to macho males in jeans and t-shirts. (I regard it as a gap in me that I've never been turned on by the sight, touch or thought of a man.) Sadly, the other guests were mostly rich bores. (20 May 1976)".
He died of pulmonary emphysema at age 53.

A BBC film of his life was made in 2005.
  • Kenneth Tynan. "The tragic history of travesty". In J. Hadfield (ed). Saturday Book 13, London:Hutchison, 1953: 39.
  • Kenneth Tynan. "The Girl In The Black Helmet". The New Yorker, 1979. Reprinted in Show People: Profiles in Entertainment. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980. Online at:
  • "A doomed romance: Kenneth Tynan's screen goddess". The Guardian: Saturday Review, 21 Nov 1998: 4. Online at:
  • Alan Travis. "How two dames saved Oh! Calcutta!: The police wanted to close it down, but the experts, including headmistresses and a vicar, thought otherwise".  The Guardian, 23 Dec 2000.
  • Kenneth Tynan (ed John Lahr). The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. Partially online at:
  • Michael Billington. "Tynan's gift was to make criticism glamorous and sexy". The Guardian, 24 Sept 2001.,,567652,00.html.
  • André Alexis. "He may have been a pervert, but Tynan sure could s'imposer". The Globe and Mail, Nov 24, 2001: D2.
  • April Ashley with Douglas Thompson. The First Lady. London: Blake. 383pp. 2006: 309-11.
  • "Kenneth Tynan". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • Chris Durlacher (dir & scr). Kenneth Tynan: In Praise of Hardcore. With Rob Brydon as Kenneth Tynan, Julian Sands as Laurence Olivier. UK BBC 73 mins 2005.

 Of course, the name Oh! Calcutta! is derived from "O quel cul t'as!" French for "What an arse you have!".

    17 February 2011

    Fatime Ejupi (1926–?) peasant, soldier, councillor.

    Fatime was the fourth daughter of a Muslim peasant family in Kosova. Lacking a son, the parents deemed the child to be a boy, Fetah.

    Widowed at an early age, the mother was left the difficult task of guiding her son through the rites of boyhood. This was essential in that a widow with only daughters had no right to retain her husband's house and land. She managed to avoid the synét (circumcision) and postponed the search for a bride indefinitely.

    In 1944 the 18-year-old Fetah was recruited by Tito's People's Liberation Army to fight the Axis occupation. Only after two years in the army was he examined by a doctor, who declared that he was a woman, and he was discharged.

    Back in his village he was appointed to the revolutionary community council where he campaigned for rights for Muslim women, in particular the ending of veils and seclusion.

    The village became aware that Fetah was a 'woman'.  In 1951 Asllan Asllani decided to marry Fetah. He was still in male clothing and resisted. Asllan 'seized' Fetah and made her his bride. At the wedding she returned to the name Fatime and changed to wearing the wide harem trousers.

    They had a son and two daughters. Fatime later claimed to a journalist that she was content. The mother died without granting forgiveness for the loss of her only son.
    • René Grémaux. "Mannish Women of the Balkan Mountains". In Jan Bremmer (ed). From Sappho to De Sade: Moments in the History of Sexuality. London & New York: Routledge,1989:162-3. Reprinted as "Woman Becomes Man in the Balkans" in Gilbert Herdt (ed). Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History. NY: Zone Books, 1994: 270-1.

    Fetah was not a typical sworn virgin in that he was raised as a boy from birth.  Grémaux suggests that Fetah switching back to Fatime indicates that the Sworn Virgin tradition was already in decline by the 1950s, however Fatime’s untypicality means that her case does not support the suggestion.

    Note that the gender changes are both initiated by men, the father and then Asllan.  Fetah’s only time of choice was that he chose to stay a man after being discharged from the Army.

    15 February 2011

    Olave Baden-Powell (1889 - 1977) Chief Guide.

    Olave St Clair Soames was born in Chesterfield. She was called Olave in that her father, a brewery owner, strongly anticipating a son, had decided on the name 'Olaf'. She was the third child, home-schooled, rejected by her mother, but close to her father with whom she would hike and shoot and whom she partnered in tennis matches. She also played the violin. They lived in 17 different homes in the first 23 years of her life.

    Until her mid-teens she wore her hair cut short like a boy's, and by her late teens had articulated a dislike for conventional female clothing. She was much influenced by a family friend, the masculine Sybil Mounsey-Heysham who gave her a model of indifference to etiquette and fashion and a preference for uniforms. She adopted the twenties' fashion of flattening her breasts, and would use a handkerchief to conceal all hint of cleavage.

    Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, then 55, on meeting the 23-year-old Olave on an Atlantic crossing, recognized her purposeful walk as one that he had noted in Hyde Park two years previously. He was attracted by her sporting prowess, and by the fact that the had the same birthday, 22 February. He was able to marry her whereas he had been uncomfortable with the femininity of other women, although he still had severe headaches from shortly after their marriage until he stopped sleeping with her after the birth of their third child.

    As Lady Baden-Powell Olave enthusiastically took to dressing in the scout uniform, but not that of the girl-guides. However she was acclaimed Chief Guide in 1918, and World Chief Guide in 1930. She built up the world membership of the Guides to over 6 million.

    She was made Dame Grand Cross of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE) 1932. In addition Finland awarded her the Order of the White Rose, and Peru the Order of the Sun.
    • Tim Jeal. The Boy-Man: The Life of Lord Baden-Powell. William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1989: 85, chp 11.

    13 February 2011

    Phaedra Kelly (1955 – 2019) activist

    Bruce Lake was raised on the Isle of Wight. After tolerating his intermittent cross-dressing, his mother, when he was 12, grabbed the book on sexual perversities that he was reading and threw it on the fire. " 'Do you want to be a woman, or something?' And I thought for a good twenty minutes and then I said, 'No, no, I Don't think so'. (Ekins, 1997:156)". Later that year, Bruce was seduced by a woman in her thirties, and the next year he was raped by a middle-aged man.

    An early marriage left him "mind-numbingly bored". After a divorce, he developed the female within. He did a "full transformation" at age 20 for a fancy dress disco at the local youth club, which went down well and a special prize was created. As Phaedra, she attended drag balls (and later wrote an article on Porchester Hall that was reprinted in Blending Genders) and corresponded with transvestites and transsexuals via contact advertisements. She wrote to the Beaumont Society in 1983 asking to meet 80s-minded transvestites or transsexuals, and the answer came back that there were no such persons. She rejected the Beaumont Society for its lack of interest in the varieties of trans cultures.

    Phaedra & Vanda, p160 Ekins 1997.
    Phaedra found some like-minded others and they constituted themselves as the Transconscient Arts Movement. They exhibited at local exhibitions and published in local outlets. Phaedra met Vanda, a cis woman, and they married at the registry office with Vanda as the groom and Phaedra in traditional bridal attire. They then did a second shamanistic wedding of the male and female in Phaedra and the male and female of Vanda.

    Phaedra built up the International Gender Transient Affinity corresponding with others in many countries and issuing reports on transgender human rights. This was done by mail in the days before the Internet. In Ekins' 1997 book, Bruce is a house-husband and Vanda a successful business woman.

    Several books quote her as saying:
    "It's about a discipline of duality with an open mind, without changing sex with hormones, with pills, with injections or surgery, living one's dualism as much as possible. If I am Phaedra, I allow elements of Bruce through, and there is no self-hating or loathing going on. If I am Bruce I allow elements of Phaedra – it's horses for courses, but like the transvestite, and to some degree the trans person living full time, I live with a separate identity. I have accepted my separate identity as well."
     Phaedra later performed with the poetry band Ecurbrekal.

    ++ Phaedra died in 2019 at age 63 after a period of illness.
    • Phaedra Kelly. (ed.), (1987–90) Chrysalis International, Gender Transient Affinity Magazine, Freshwater, Isle of Wight.
    • Phaedra Kelly. "London Grandeur: The Porchester Ball". In Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds). Blending Genders: Social Aspects of Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing. London & New York: Routledge 1996.
    • Richard Ekins. Male femaling : a grounded theory approach to cross-dressing and sex-changing. London & New York: Routledge. 1997: 154-62.
    • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Towards a sociology of transgendered bodies". The Sociological Review, 47:580–602, 1999: 598.
    • Surya Monro. Gender Politics: Citizenship, Activism and Sexual Diversity. Pluto Press, 2005: 13.
    • Richard Ekins & Dave King. The Transgender Phenomenon. London: Thousand Oaks; California: Sage. 2006: 11.
    • Colin Clarke. "Poetry Band Shows Nothing is Bland". The Isle of Wight Gazette, Aug 31, 2010.

    11 February 2011

    Pip Wherrett (1936 - 2009) motorsports journalist, racing driver, broadcaster.

    Peter Wherrett's father was a pharmacist in West Ryde, Sydney, NSW, a secretive cross-dresser, a wife abuser, an epileptic.
     Peter learned to drive at age 12. In 1958 he complained to various newspapers about the lack of motorsport coverage, and was hired by The Sydney Morning Herald to do just that. In 1967 he set up Australia's first post-licence driver training school. He drove in the 1969 Bathurst 1000 race for Mazda, in 1970 for Ford, and in 1974,75 and 76 for Alfa Romeo.

    From 1973 to 1980 he hosted and co-wrote Torque, a popular television show about motoring. He was also a member of the cross-dressing Seahorse Society at this time. In 1981, Peter having complained about Mitsubishi's GH Sigma, Mitsubishi produced 1016 cars based on his improved design. In the 1980s he explored alternate energies for the television series The Balance of Power. In 1985 he was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. In the 1990s he was the motoring guru for Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

    In 1997 he wrote a family history with his gay brother Richard, the theatre director, in which he discussed his and his father's cross-dressing. In 2006 Peter and his third wife divorced amicably. After a decade of not cross-dressing, he joined the Tranny Radio Chat Room and started socializing in the cross-dressing community again.

    As a woman at age 70, as Pip, she went to live at Lake Macquarie, NSW to be close to friends that she had made in the Tranny Radio Chat Room. Pip completed a book on cross dressing that he had been researching for some years, and continued as a woman until she died two years later. She described this as "my last great achievement". She suffered from prostate cancer, and collapsed at the 2008 Seahorse Ball, dying later in hospital.

    Richard Wherrett staged Gordon Chater’s play, The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin, about a transvestite elocution teacher.

    09 February 2011

    Donna Lee Parsons (1945 - 2003) recording supervisor, Chaplin impersonator.

    Dave Parsons was raised in Boca Raton, Florida. He and his wife, Fish, had three children, and between them authored the South Florida punk rock fanzine, Mouth of the Rat (named after his home town).

    After divorce, Dave moved to New York in 1982 and opened Ratcage Records store and also released punk records. The store was initially under 171A Studios and later at 307 East 9th Street. Notable releases were the legendary Real Men Don’t Floss by The Young and the Useless, and Polly Wog Stew 1982 by the Beastie Boys who had been hanging out at Ratcage Records. He also put together an album of his own material on electric ukulele.

    In 1986, under personal and financial pressures, Dave moved to New Orleans. He started performing mime and doing Charlie Chaplin impersonations. An Italian film crew found him and asked him to do Charlie at their film premier in Rome. He then ended up in Switzerland making a living as a Chaplin impersonator, and was the official Charlie Chaplin impersonator to the Chaplin family, working with them for 15 years.

    By 2001 Dave had become Donna Lee, and back in the US teamed up with Ted Gottfried and Jason Tagg as the ukulele band, Sonic Uke. They played CBGB that December, and put out an album.

    Donna Lee was suffering from colon cancer, and was advised by her doctors that the best and only time for gender surgery was as soon as possible after radiation treatments. In 2003 the Beastie Boys paid Donna Lee outstanding royalties for the early albums, and she went to Thailand for surgery with Dr Preecha Tiewtranon.

    Her cancer came back, and she died in a Swiss hospital later that same year.
      *Not the Dave Parsons of Sham 69. 

    Thank you to Marti Abernathey for suggesting Donna.

      07 February 2011

      The Radical Feminists and Bethnal Rouge

      One of the threads in London Gay Liberation in the early 1970s was Radical Feminism (not to be confused with the Radical Feminism of the 1980s), and in fact it was not a self-chosen name:
      "We didn't take the label radfems. It got thrown at us one night in an argument … 'You radical femme acid queens!' … it was something from outside. We never used words like that. We would say 'get a frock on dear' whenever they were ranting away.(Bette Bourne quoted in Power: 273)".
      "It started with jellabas and kaftans and long hair and flowers ... then we discovered glitter … and then nail varnish. Later, some of of us – a quarter of the men, I'd say, at some time or other – would get a nice new frock for the next Gay Lib dance. Then a few people began wearing it to meetings. It just evolved (Michael James quoted in Kirk: 96)".
      It then became street theatre, notably the Miss Trial demo outside the Old Bailey in support of the women who were on trial for disrupting the Miss World contest, and then the disruption of the 1971 Christian Festival of Light. Some GLF queens wore drag because it felt right, some for fun and some for political reasons.

      Generally the queens were living in communal squats and in poverty in Brixton and in Notting Hill, and wore drag all day every day. They aligned themselves with lesbians against the masculine gay men who were dominating the GLF meetings. When the women finally split from GLF in February 1972, the Rad Fems began to dominate at the All-London meetings at All Saints Hall in Powis Square, which was a bit intimidating for newcomers.

      However the RadFems also demonstrated against the launch of the feminist magazine Spare Rib, which allowed The Sunday Times to run an article on the irony of feminist men telling women how they should behave. The fledging Gay News used this to disassociate from what they referred to as 'fascists in frocks'. The initial issues of Gay News were hostile to GLF in general and even more so to the queens.

      The official first gay pride march in London was the Carnival Parade on 1 July 1972. However a few days earlier, GLF had been allocated a timeslot with the Boilermakers Union to picket the US Embassy about what they were doing to Vietnam. Only the Radfems turned up, a band was playing, and Bette Bourne and Michael James started a waltz. The US school band packed up in a fit of pique. The queens sauntered off and ended up at Piccadilly Circus. The police asked where they, the queens and the rent boys, intended to go, and said they would escort the march which went via Oxford Street to Hyde Park.

      By late 1973 the movement was almost over. Some of the surviving RadFems took over the anarchist Agitprop bookshop/commune at 248 Bethnal Green Road, which at one time had been owned by a banker to the Kray Brothers gang, and had a wall safe. Agitprop had been raided twice by the police in the two years that it had been open, and two of its members were on conspiracy-to-procure-firearms charges.

      Agitprop had already sponsored the East London GLF and now the queens took over and renamed the building Bethnal Rouge. They actually continued the bookshop for several months. The local pub was freaked out when they first arrived, but as some of them could play piano, and others were good at singing, there was some degree of acceptance.

      Bette Bourne did not join, being from the East End and not wishing to return. Michael James went to Amsterdam for a year. Andrew Lumsden left his job as a financial journalist at The Times and joined the commune; Julian Hows, expelled from school for his GLF activities, ended up managing the local Kentucky Fried Chicken but buying their chickens from the Tesco's supermarket across the street; Stephen Bradbury had walked away from a job at Midland Bank to join the queens when they lived in Notting Hill; Stuart Feather, one of the early queens, was involved.

      By this time the GLF Office Collective, at 5 Caledonian Road, in the basement of Housemans Bookshop, had been taken over by a clique that was allied with the early Gay News but out of touch with the rest of Gay Lib. In October 1973 the Bethnal Rouge queens raided the office and took the files. Gay News responded with an article that went so far as equate drag queens and violence. However at the last GLF Think In at Sussex University that November opinions were more on the side of Bethnal Rouge, and that the Office Collective had ceased to be useful.

      In February 1974 Bethnal Rouge was invited by Goldsmith College Gay Soc to give a Pre-Disco talk. Group 4 Total Security working for the College attacked them before they even spoke, and when Lewisham police arrived they were told that Bethnal Rouge had come to the disco to cause trouble. One queen needed hospital treatment; another who was head butted and lost two front teeth. One was arrested and later that night thrown through a glass door in the police station. The rest escaped. Shortly afterwards the commune were evicted from 248 Bethnal Green Road.
      Julian Hows. P185 in It's Not Unusual' by Alkarim Jivani

      I don't know of any of the Radical Feminists who later became women. Stuart Feather, Bette Bourne and Michael James became performers maintaining the spirit of Gay Liberation. Stuart later became a painter. Alaric Sumner became known as a poet. Cloud Downey works in theatre. Andrew Lumsden later became a tour guide and a painter. Julian Hows was in the press when he insisted on wearing the female uniform when working for London Underground, and is now an Aids survivor. Stephen Bradbury and Richard Chappel died of Aids in the early 1990s.  Some of these are featured in Kirk & Heath's Men in Frocks.

      I arrived in London in April 1972 and started going to West London GLF in July, and later switched to South London GLF.  Power's book is basically the history of the all-London GLF  which I never actually went to, and thus never met, as far as I remember, any of the people mentioned above, although I certainly do remember meeting other people mentioned in Power's book, and bedded at least one of them.  They and I were probably at, at least some, of the same Gay Lib Dances, when I was just building up confidence to go out as female.  I certainly did not have the confidence to join a drag commune.

        05 February 2011

        Lisa Lee Dark (1981–) singer, voice actor.

        Lee was raised in Swansea. His great great great great aunt was the 19th century opera diva Adelina Patti. Another great great aunt and God-mother was the Hollywood film actress Bette Davis. Lee was an intersex person raised as a boy.
        "I was born in a car, and was taken first to the Carmarthen Hospital, but because I wasn't resident in the area, they sent me to the Swansea Hospital. Each one probably assumed that the other hospital had done a full examination."
        From age 9, following a chance encounter, Lee was engaged to sing on recordings of classical music for compilation albums in that he was excellent at mimicking and copying well-known singers, and then from 1992 of dance music. He also sang with the Christian new age group, New Era.

        Lee went to a tough all-boys comprehensive school where he was bullied for being different. His parents had drink and money problems. He was abused by a paedophile ring and thus realized that he was not a normal boy. He visited different doctors, and was told different things. He was put on hormones and gained seven stone (44 kg) in weight, started to lose hair, and suffered from a weakened heart and immune system.

        By 17 she was using the name Lisa Lee, and released the album The unknown story of Lisa Lee Dark. This was followed by three more moderately successful dance albums.

        At 19 she finally discovered that she was a Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) female. She stopped taking hormones, and her hair grew back. Despite her chosen name, Lisa Lee doesn't think of herself as female:

        "I've never classed myself as very masculine or very feminine. I just feel like me. People can find that strange, but I say now, 'If you can't accept me it's your problem, not mine.' People who grew up with me see me as a little boy. I think it would be too much for them to see me be extremely feminine. It wouldn't suit who I am. I'm just going to carry on as I am."
        She managed to get work in advertising, and then doing voice-over work in Euro-trash horror movies, and then Hollywood movies, all under an alias. In 2004 she released Breath of Life, a classical cross-over album. It did not sell many copies, but Lisa decided that she would be an opera singer. She has never trained as such, but she studied opera singers until she found one, Renata Scotto (1934 - ), whom she could mimic closely, and many critics cannot tell them apart.

        In 2008 she released her debut opera album, Sola, perduta, abbandonata, which contains her stage performance in Puccini's Turandot. Two further albums, The screen behind the mirror and Lorsque le temps d'amour a fui have been released. She has also performed on stage the title roles Suor Angelica and Madama Butterfly (both also by Puccini).

        In 2010 was away from the stage for 16 months because of a throat tumour and the loss of her singing voice. She retrained her voice with less emphasis on copying Renata Scotto. She then signed a 10-album deal.

        03 February 2011

        Michael Berke (1964 - 2018) roadie.

        Michael grew up in Cincinnati. He went to Wright State University in Ohio. In 1985 his parents divorced, and he dropped out.

        In San Francisco he became a roadie for a metal band, and became a heroin addict. He did other drugs and alcohol and was in therapy. He worked again as a roadie for Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Barry Manilow, the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

        He wanted to complete college, and followed a friend to Florida. He started going to fetish parties, sometimes dressed as female. He identified with the camaraderie of women. In 1997 he went to a clinical psychologist with a self-diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. By 2003 he was going to her as Michelle. The psychologist, who had no other transsexual patients, wrote Michelle a letter for surgery in 2004.

        Michelle never did have genital surgery, but she spent $80,000 on clothes, a nose job, a brow lift and fat injections in her cheeks. After a year on hormones, she had breast implants. She developed bulimia and shrank from a size 12 to a 7. She was gynephilic but mainly bambisexual. As Michelle she made friends easily, and re-established contact with her mother and sister.

        Two years after transition, in 2005, she was having problems with her flatmate, whose new boyfriend was an evangelical Christian. Michelle went with them to the Calvary Chapel mega church in Fort Lauderdale. Church leaders spent weeks counseling Michelle and told her that she should be a man. They bought her a set of men’s clothes in their thrift store and arranged for a church member, a plastic surgeon, to remove her breast implants. “Michelle was gone”.

        Michael became a shaven-headed biker. He returned to the church complaining about what he had become, but they dropped him quickly when he said that he could not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. He regrets that he is not still Michelle, but cannot afford to go back. His mother and sister have stopped talking to him.

        He was featured with Josef Kirchner in an MSNBC documentary in 2008.

        ++Micheal died by suicide in February 2018.
        • Ashley Harrell. "Tranny Regret". Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Oct 11, 2007.
        • “From man to woman, back to man”. The Daily Telegraph. Nov 26, 2007.,22049,22822185-5001021,00.html.
        • Born in the Wrong Body: A Change of Heart. With Joseph Kirchner, Michael Berke. MSNBC US 60 mins 2008.


          As with Perry Desmond,  a trans woman goes to an intolerant church.  Whatever happened to church shopping?  There are churches that accept transsexuals as themselves.  Why do people like Michael and Perry never go to the accepting churches?

        01 February 2011

        Richard Ekins (194?–) jazz musician, sociologist, psychoanalyst.

        ++ updated August 2012, March 2014

        ++Teenage Richard Ekins was a fan of New Orleans jazz.  Inspired by the legendary trumpeter DeDe La Croix Pierce (1904 - 73), he played the same instrument in New Orleans-style jazz bands mainly in and around Birmingham, firstly with the Burgundy Street Stompers in 1964, before teaming up with pianist Bob Barton to co-lead the Crescent City Stompers from 1966 to 1968.  On his first visit to New Orleans in 1966 he encountered Joseph 'Kid Twat' Butler, bass player with the Kid Thomas Band, who had never seen such a tall, long-haired and heavily-bearded man, and bowed down proclaiming: Here come de Lord!".  The moniker stuck.  Lord Richard set up his own record label,  La Croix Records, and released seven LPs by both British and New Orleans musicians. The famous Kid Thomas Band recorded live in 1968 at Kohlman’s Tavern in New Orleans was one of his projects.

        Richard also did a Ll.B Hons in Law at the University of Birmingham in 1966, and then a PhD on the work of philosopher and social psychologist George Mead at the University of London where he was influenced by Margaret Coulson & Carol Riddell's pioneering introductory textbook on sociology. ++He fathered two sons named after his record label and a jazz hero:  Matthew La Croix Ekins (1974-) and Luke Baptiste Ekins (1977-) - named for Willie Baptiste, the banjo player++.  Richard completed his PhD in 1978 after an extended period with Mead disciple David L. Miller at the University of Texas at Austin, and at the Mead Archive at the University of Chicago.

        Ekins chose transvestites and transsexuals as the empirical domain to which he would apply his theoretical training.
        "As a student of the sociology of knowledge, I approached the area in terms of the interrelations between the various ‘knowledges’ in the area, conceptualized in terms of three principal ‘knowledges’: those of ‘science’, those of ‘members’ (of transgendered people), and those of ‘everyday life’."
        Ekins and Dave King first met at the British Sociological Conference on Gender in Manchester in 1982.
        "My work was based upon observations of what later became several thousands of transgendered people, extended interviews with several hundred informants, and detailed life-long life history work with several dozen informants from a number of different continents. From the outset I took care to follow selected informants in the full range of their social settings. This often entailed detailed observational and interview work with medical and related professionals, with the families of my transgendered informants, and with the various service providers to trans people, such as beauticians and hair care specialists. At the same time, I immersed myself into the full range of transgender ‘community’ events such as private meetings, drag balls, erotic networks, and so on. (2006:8)"
        He started at the University of Ulster at Coleraine as a senior lecturer in sociology in 1984, by which time he had developed his signature jargon of 'femaling'. In 1986 he established the Trans-Gender Archive with himself as director. This is probably the earliest textual use of 'transgender' in the collective sense, although the term had been used orally with that meaning in Britain as early as The First National TV.TS Conference in 1974 at Leeds, and was so used on BBC Radio in 1979. Ekins contributed towards the definition of Transgender in the Oxford English Dictionary.

        In 1989 Ekins obtained a M.Med.Sc in psychotherapy from Queen's University, Belfast. In 1995 he switched to being a senior lecturer in psychology. In 1996 he completed his training as a psychoanalyst with the British Psychoanalytical Society and International Psychoanalytical Society.  In 1996 Ekins and King edited a collection of papers, Blending genders: social aspects of cross-dressing and sex-changing, with contributions from both trans persons (Mark Rees, Phaedra Kelly, Rachel Terri Webb, Stephen Whittle) and from academics (Neil Buhrich, Janice Raymond).  The next year Ekins published Male Femaling: a grounded theory approach to cross-dressing and sex-changing. (Review) Ekins also published books on psychoanalysis. 

        In 1999 Ekins and King published "Towards a sociology of transgendered bodies" in The Sociological Review, where they summarized their position:
        "Transgendering refers both to the idea of moving across (transferring) from one pre-existing gender category to another (either temporarily or permanently), and to the idea of transcending or living ‘beyond gender’ altogether. Following Plummer’s (1995) work on sexual stories, we distinguish a number of contemporary transgendering body stories which we consider in terms of four major modes or styles of body transgendering: those we identify as ‘migrating’, ‘oscillating’, ‘erasing’ and ‘transcending’. We give illustrative examples of each mode with reference to the binary male/female divide, the interrelations between sex, sexuality and gender, and the interrelations between the four main sub-processes of transgendering, which we identify as ‘substituting’, ‘concealing’, ‘implying’ and ‘redefining’."

        Also in 1999, Ekins and King met Anne Lawrence at the 6th Biennial Harry Benjamin Conference in London. They sort of incorporated her ideas into Ekins' concept of erotic femaling, and in 2001 published “Transgendering, Migrating and Love of Oneself as a Woman: A Contribution to a Sociology of Autogynephilia”. Unlike the Blanchardians they see autogynephilia in MTFs as very similar to that in cis women.
        “In our judgement, our framework provides the conceptual wherewithal to unpack such issues in a way denied to the taxonomic, typological and diagnostic approach followed by Blanchard.”
        Ekins was Reader in Cultural and Media Studies from 2002, and Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies from 2006.

        In 2009 Ekins and King published The Transgender Phenomenon, which expanded the program that they had proposed in "Towards a sociology of transgendered bodies", 2006.   The book heavily features Virginia Prince, to the point of including an extensive biography, and is one of the very few books to discuss Charlotte Bach.  And the same year they published a book devoted exclusively to Prince and her writings.

        Since retirement, Ekins  has completed an MA in Popular Music Studies at the University of Liverpool and is currently working for a PhD in Musicology at Goldsmiths, University of London. and has returned to recording jazz-revival CDs.

        ++The Trans-Gender Archive had never been inventoried.  After retirement Ekins offered the collection to the London School of Economics’ LGBT Hall-Carpenter Archive, but was told it would not be accepted because of a lack of an inventory listing what it contained.  They also insisted that they would need him to get rid of any items subject to copyright or containing personal information like addresses.  He then accepted an offer from Aaron Devor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, who arranged for it to be shipped to Victoria.  Other possible UK sites were not consulted.  

        *not the Oxford law tutorial fellow
        • Richard Ekins. ‘G. H. Mead: Contributions to a Philosophy of Sociological Knowledge’, PhD thesis, University of London, 1978.
        • Richard Ekins.‘Male Transsexualism, Sociological Analysis and Some Problems of the Double Hermeneutic’, Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, Manchester. 1982.
        • Richard Ekins. (1983) "The Assignment of Motives as a Problem in the Double Hermeneutic: the Case of Transvestism and Transsexuality, Annual Conference of the Sociological Association of Ireland, Wexford, 1983.
        • Richard Ekins. "Facets of Femaling in Some Relations Between Sex, Sexuality and Gender", Annual Conference of the Sociological Association of Ireland, Drogheda. 1984.
        • Richard Ekins. "News from Around the World - In Their Own Words: Interview with Dr. Richard Ekins of the Trans-Gender Archive, University of Ulster". Renaissance News, The Chrysalis Interview, 1 (5), 1987: 4-5.
        • Richard Ekins. "Building a Trans-Gender Archive: On the classification and framing of trans-gender knowledge". Beaumont Trust International Gender Dysphoria Conference, Manchester, 1990.
        • Richard Ekins. ‘On Male Femaling: A Grounded Theory Approach to Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing’, The Sociological Review, 41 (1): 1–29, 1993.
        • Richard Ekins & Ruth Freeman (ed). Centres and Peripheries of Psychoanalysis: An Introduction to Psychoanalytic Studies. Karnac Books, 1994.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds). Blending genders: social aspects of cross-dressing and sex-changing. London and New York: Routledge. 1996.
        • Richard Ekins. Male femaling: a grounded theory approach to cross-dressing and sex-changing. London & New York: Routledge. 1997.
        • Richard Ekins (ed). Selected Writings of Anna Freud. Penguin, 1998.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Towards a sociology of transgendered bodies". The Sociological Review, 47:580–602, 1999.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Telling Body Transgendering Stories". In Kathryn Backett-Milburn & Linda McKie (eds). Constructing Gendered Bodies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. “Transgendering, Migrating and Love of Oneself as a Woman: A Contribution to a Sociology of Autogynephilia”. International Journal of Transgenderism, 5,3,
        • Richard Ekins. Unconscious Mental Life and Reality. Karnac Books, 2002.
        • Dave Senior. "Dan Pawson's Artesian Hall Stompers in the 60's - The Forgotten Recordings". Jazzgazette, 2004. Online at:
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Rethinking 'Who put the 'Trans' in Transgender?" GENDYS 2004, The 8th International Gender Dysphoria Conference, Manchester.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Transgendering, Men, and Masculinities". In J. Hearn, M. Kimmel and R. Connell (eds). Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. London & New Delhi: Sage, 2005: 379-394.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. The Transgender Phenomenon. London: Thousand Oaks; California: Sage. 2006.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds), with a forward by Susan Stryker. Virginia Prince: Pioneer of Transgendering. Haworth Press Inc., Paperback: 65 pages 2006. Essays about and by Virginia Prince.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Pioneers of Transgendering: The Life and Work of Virginia Prince". GENDYS 2k, The Sixth International Gender Dysphoria Conference, Manchester Eng. 2006.
        • David Valentine. Imagining Transgender: an ethnography of a category. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2007: 262n2.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "Transgender, Transvestism, and Transsexualism". In G. Ritzer (ed). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2007: 5037-5043.
        • Richard Ekins & Dave King. "The Emergence of New Transgendering Identities in the Age of the Internet". In S. Hines and T. Sanger (eds). Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity. London: Routledge, 2010.
        • Amy Smart.  "University of Victoria transgender archive gets a European boost".  Times Colonist, July 12, 2013.
        • Alice Hutton.  "Unique transgender archive sent to Canadian university after offer to LSE is rebuffed".  Camden New Journal, 18 July 2013. 
        •  Catherine Baker.  "The ethics of archive acquisitions: why couldn’t an important collection of British trans history stay in the UK?".  22 July 2013.


        The OED definition of transgender which Ekins contributed to is
        “Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender, but combines or moves between these; transgendered.  Although often used (esp. among participants in transgender lifestyles) as a generic and inclusive term which deliberately avoids categorizations such as transsexual or transvestite, in wider use transgender is sometimes used synonymously with these more specific terms.”
        The books by Ekins and King are not just sociology, they are also history.  There are incidents recorded in their books that  I have not found elsewhere.  The use of 'transgender' on BBC radio mentioned above;  Stephen Whittle being active in the UK branch of Angela Douglas' TAO.  Anybody like myself researching history and biography will find the books essential for this alone.

        While Ekins and King have taken Blanchardian ideas into their theorizing, I cannot find any examples of reciprocation. 

        In fact I cannot find any critical discussions of Ekins' work outside the circle around Kenneth Plummer.

        Ekins seems to be quite insensitive to the fact that many, perhaps most, trans persons find the term ‘male femaling’ to be offensive.  He also uses ‘transgendered' which is now rejected by many, probably most, transgender persons, but that point was not not commonly made back in 2006.

        On the last page of Male Femaling, 1997, he mentions the lack of studies of male maling and female femaling.   We are still waiting. 

        The Transgender Phenomenon give an  amazingly uncritical account of the Blanchardian ideas, and dismisses the  opposition in merely a few words:  "a concerted campaign has been fought in an attempt to discredit this book alongside the work of Blanchard and Lawrence (see Conway, 2004; James, 2004)".   What happened to the interrelations of the the three knowledges?  Surely, against what Ekins had promised us, this is a privileging of professional knowledge.

        Likewise the book is weak on criticism of Prince, and does not consider the damage that her homophobia and transgenderphobia did.  The book was published in 2006 and therefore does not mention HBS which started only in that year.  Prince was as much against transgender diversity as the HBS people are, and Ekins does not make this clear.  See the comparisons here.

        Fortunately the term ‘male femaling’ has not taken off.  It is not the case that he uses the American single l rather than the British double ll (compare modeling and modelling).  The dropped ‘e’ requires a single l or else the pronunciation changes.

        Why 'Trans-Gender'?  ""The use of the hyphen was in homage to ‘psycho-analysis’. ‘Psycho-analysis’ as opposed to ‘psychoanalysis’ represented, until very recently, commitments to purity, integrity and authenticity in some quarters. Indeed, the British Psycho-Analytical Society still retains the hyphen. (2006:14-15)".

        Richard Ekins has been hanging around trans events etc since 1979.  He says not a word about whether he ever did participate, whether as sociological participant observation, for the simple fun of it, as an exercise in performativity, or to understand better what he was watching.

        In Surya Monro's GenderPolitics, which was published in 2005, a year before The Trangender Phenomenon, on the second page of the introduction, we find: "I keeping with the usual norm, I shall identify myself at this stage as a female-bodied bisexual, who does not identify as trans in any substantial way at present, but who has explored some trans identities in the past."  Despite his higher rank, Ekins does not feel that he can be as open about himself.   Maybe it is a difference of generations.          

        Note to US readers:  what is called a professor in the US is a lecturer in the UK.  A UK professorship is top rank in the department.                                                                                                                                                                                                

        Usually when I profile a musician I include a video of them performing, or, failing that, a link to a site where the person's music can be sampled.  I found neither.