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!

29 March 2011

Kristi Independence Kelly (194? - 1980) pilot, entrepreneur.

Kris Kelly was raised a Mormon, and was sent as a missionary for his Church to Argentina. He was featured in Readers’ Digest while still in college as “Outstanding Young Businessmen of the Year.” He was a Melchizedech priest (the highest order of priesthood in the Mormon Church).

He married, and fathered three daughters. He was a noted public speaker and campaigned for successful Senatorial and Congressional candidates. He owned and ran a California company, The Sunshine Group, with almost 500 employees, many of whom were Mormons.

As Kristi she transitioned in 1979. She was divorced by her wife, and fell in love with another trans woman, Liz Thomas, who was hired to be director of advertising for The Sunshine Group. Her ex-wife refused to let Kristi see the daughters, and the courts upheld this, and also assessed that Kristi should pay $25,000 a year in child support.

The Mormon Church formally excommunicated Kelly although she fought against this all the way. As part of the excommunication, the Church debated the issue of pre-born souls finding themselves in the wrong body. They held that, though the pre-born souls did have a gender before birth, their God did not make mistakes: “There is no such thing as a man in a woman’s body or a woman in a man’s body”.

Kelly was popular with the Mormon women who worked for her, and talked of founding a feminist branch of the Church.

A month after her excommunication, the corporate plane, that she was piloting, fatally crashed in northern California. As Mormon plane mechanics had worked on her plane, there are suspicions of assassination.
  • "Kristy Kelly & Linda Lee: A Conversation".  Female Mimics International, 11,5,1981: 12-17, 46,48.   Online.   Thank you Phillip for this link.  
  • Liz Thomas. “Kristi Independence Kelly”. In Kay Brown's Transsexual, Transgender, and Intersex History.  Archive.
  • Joy Shaffer. “The Unquiet Life and Death of Kristi Independence Kelly”. In Kay Brown's Transsexual, Transgender, and Intersex History.  Archive.
  • Connell O’Donovan. “’The Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature’: A Revised History of Homosexuality & Mormonism, 1840-1980”. In Brent Corcoran (ed) Multiply and Replenish: Mormon Essays on Sex and Family. Salt Lake City: Signature Books 1994. Expanded and revised version online at:

I have no more to add, and neither does O'Donovan, than Thomas and Shaffer wrote on Kay Brown's Transhistory site which was taken down  a few years ago.  However Kristi Kelly has otherwise disappeared from history, but should be remembered.

    27 March 2011

    Tilu Wgi (186?–?) shaman.

    Tilu Wgi was a shaman among the reindeer-herding Chukchi of eastern Siberia.

    Vladimir Bogoraz, the Russian anthropologist who observed Tilu Wgi in the 1890s, described her as physically 'wholly masculine and well developed besides'.

    Nevertheless, with her hair done in the manner of Chukchi women, her face 'looked very different from masculine faces. ... All the ways of this strange creature were decidedly feminine. ... I heard her gossip with the female neighbours in a most feminine way, and even saw her hug small children with evident envy for the joys of motherhood’.

    Tilu Wgi and her husband were hoping that she would "be able to equal the real soft men of old and to change the organs of her sex altogether". In the manner of Yirka'-la'ul, Tilu Wgi had the dominant say over her husband in that she was communicating with spirits. Once when her husband tried to chastize Tilu Wgi, she 'gave him so powerful a kick that it sent him foremost from their common sleeping room’.
    • Waldemar Bogoras. The Chukchee. American Museum of Natural History, 1909: 449.
    • Walter L. Williams. The Spirit And The Flesh: Sexual Diversity In American Indian Culture, Beacon Press 1986: 253-4.
    • Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer. "Sacred Genders in Siberia: Shamans, Bear festivals, and androgyny". In Sabrina P. Ramet (ed). Gender Reversals and Gender Cultures: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. London: Routledge, 1996: 166-7.
    • Michael Berman. The Nature of Shamanism and the Shamanic Story. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007: 10.
      Gender variant shamans have probably been around for thousands of years, but most are not documented.   We know of Tilu Wgi because she attracted the attention of Vladimir Bogoraz who was exiled and living in north-east Siberia.  There were similar shamans among the Koryak, the Kamchadul and the Inuit.

      The Russians first encountered the Chukchis in 1643 as they expanded east.  In the 18th century the Tsar ordered that they be totally extirpated, but they fought back effectively, and after 1764, the Russians and the Chukchis traded peacefully.  In the 20th century the Chukchis evaded collectivization, and as late as the 1950s, large reindeer herds were still owned as per ancient practice.

      In the quotes from Bogoraz I have changed the pronouns referring to Tilu Wgi.  Bogoraz, writing first in Russian and then in English, used male pronouns.  However I don’t know from what I read what the Chukchi practice is.

      25 March 2011

      Roger Ormrod – part 3: the aftermath

      Continued from Part 1: Roger Ormrod (1911- 1992) barrister, doctor, judge.
                               Part 2: Corbett v. Corbett

      The draft version of the Nullity Of Marriage Act, 1971, did not mention the sex of the parties, but such a clause was added during the report stage. This was the first time in British law that marriage was defined as being between a man and a woman. This was carried over into the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and into The Marriage (Scotland) Act, 1977, and The Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order, 2003, all of which are still in force.

      In her 1973 book, Rules and Meanings, anthropologist Mary Douglas uses Ormrod's ruling as an example of the social construction of reality.

      In 1974 Ormrod became a Lord Justice of Appeal, and was appointed to the Privy Council. He was also a governor of Barts and Maudsley and Bethlem Hospitals, Chairman of the Institute of Psychiatry, a honorary professor of legal ethics at Birmingham University and chairman of the Notting Hill Housing Trust

      ++In 1981 he was the Appeal Court judge in the case of G v G where a trans woman had had conditions imposed re access to her daughter, that she not be accompanied by her 'male friend', and that she was to wear 'male-oriented attire without jewellery or cosmetics".   The Court of Appeal refused to disturb the first condition but deleted the second on the ground that it would be too difficult to enforce. Ormrod maintained that the father's duty was to help the child understand the events which had occurred and which had left her confused. He said:  "if [the father] does go down to visit the child dressed in a way which is bizarre or aggressively feminine, or anything of that kind, it will show that his appreciation of the child's welfare is defective". If this were to happen, Ormrod LJ thought it would prove that the father was unable to show "some real under standing of the problem which he has created" and the whole question of access would have to be re-opened. 

      In 1982 Ormrod retired from the bench, but continued to sit part-time in the Court of Appeal. He died at age 80.

      Not until the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 was there created a legal structure whereby transsexuals are recognized legally in their new gender, and thus able to have their birth certificates corrected and to marry heterosexually under the Matrimonial Causes Act.

      22 March 2011

      Roger Ormrod - part 2: Corbett v Corbett.

       Continued from Part 1: Roger Ormrod (1911- 1992) barrister, doctor, judge.

      Arthur Corbett, the heir apparent to the Rowallan Baroncy, had been married since 1963 to his second wife, the one-time model April Ashley but they had been living apart for some years. In 1970, Lady Corbett wishing to obtain the deeds for the house where she was living but which were in Arthur's possession, and getting no response, initiated a claim for maintenance instead. She was granted £6 a week in that her husband was working as a barman in Marbella at an estimated £18 a week. This of course did not take into account his assets.
      Birmingham Post 1969.11.12 p9

      Arthur Corbett replied by applying for an annulment of his marriage.  He did not care to wait for the new divorce law for he did not wish to pay alimony. Although he had been fully cognizant of Ashley's past when he married her, and in fact had pursued her precisely because of that past, Corbett the petitioner filed a petition for a declaration that the marriage was null and void because the respondent was a person of the male sex, or alternatively for a decree of nullity on the ground of non-consummation. Ashley, granted legal aid for her defence, asserted that she was female at the time of the marriage, and filed for a decree of nullity on the ground of either the petitioner’s incapacity or his willful refusal to consummate the marriage.

      The case was tried by Justice Ormrod, which was considered appropriate as he was the only UK judge to be also qualified as a doctor.

      Although Lady Corbett's transsexual status was not contested by the defence, she was examined
      several times. First by the medical inspectors to the court, one of whom described the respondent as having a 'cavity which opened on to the perineum’. April's blood was examined by Professor FTG Hayhoe, a chromosome expert at Cambridge.

      Next, for the defence, her person was examined by Dr Charles Armstrong of the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, Ivor Mills Professor of Medicine at Cambridge and Martin Roth, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The doctor professors even wrote to Dr Burou in Casablanca for details. Dr Burou did not deign to reply.

      For the plaintiff she was examined by John Dewhurst, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen Charlotte's Hospital and co-author of The Intersexual Disorders, 1969, Dr Charles Dent, Professor of Human Metabolism at the University College Hospital (who also had been one of the allied doctors sent to Belson Concentration Camp) and Dr John Randell of the Charing Cross Hospital Gender Identity Clinic. Dr Dewhurst performed the three-finger test, the then standard method of determining that a vagina can accommodate a penis.

      At the trial, Dr Randell testified that he ‘considered that the respondent is properly classified as a male homosexual transsexualist'. Dr Dewhurst said: ’the pastiche of femininity was convincing’. Dr Armstrong testified that Lady Ashley was a pre-birth intersex and should be assigned to the female sex. Dr Roth was prepared to regard the case as one of inter-sex. The 1965 case of Ewan Forbes, as which Dr Armstrong had also testified, but which has never been entered into the public record, was not taken as a precedent, or even mentioned.

      Judge Ormrod agreed with Dewhurst and Randell that when chromosomal, gonadal and genital sex are concordant, little regard should be given to psychological factors, and cut short attempts to widen that discussion.

      April felt that Ormrod did not like her. "He never once looked me straight in the eye but glanced furtively in my direction and mumbled his references to me as if they were distasteful to him"(1983:214).

      Arthur Corbett admitted his promiscuity with both men and women, and his visits to male brothels to be dressed as a woman. He portrayed himself as a pervert to cast his marriage to April as little more that a prank. A few days into the case, Judge Ormrod asked if it were necessary to continue wasting the tax-payers' money, but the barristers for both parties protested that it was important to hear the evidence in full.

      The trial ended on 9 December, but the judgement was not read until 2 February 1971. Arthur was found that morning in a coma at his villa in Spain and thus did not attend the hearing.

      Justice Ormrod included an unneeded and indeed impertinent description of the respondent: "Her outward appearance, at first sight, was convincingly feminine, but on closer and longer examination in the witness box it was much less so. The voice, manner, gestures and attitude became increasingly reminiscent of the accomplished female impersonator." He compared the current case to that of S v S 1962 where a woman [possibly intersex] with a defect of the vagina was held to be a woman in that her chromosomes, gonads and genitals were concordant. He also noted that the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (which decriminalized male homosexuality) "seems to have removed any legal objections which there might have been to such [sex change] procedures".

      He then summarized the expert knowledge at that time of transsexualism and intersex conditions, and agreed with Randell and Dewhurst that in an intersex person "the chromosomal sex and the gonadal sex do not correspond with the genital condition of the patient", and that psychological factors were important only when the biological criteria were not congruent, while noting that Armstrong and Mills regard transsexuals as a type of intersex. He wondered if the respondent had Klinefelter's syndrome, but found that such a conclusion had not been established.

      He granted Arthur Corbett’s prayer: "My conclusion therefore is that the respondent is not a woman for the purposes of marriage, but is a biological male and has been so since birth. It follows that the so-called marriage of 10 September 1963 is void." As April had been born with male chromosomes, gonads and genitals she was legally male in perpetuity.

      Corbett v Corbett became case law in the UK and in Australia. The correcting of birth certificates for many intersex and all transgender persons ceased, and such persons lost the legal right to be treated as their new gender – in particular to marry a person of the now opposite gender.   Mrs Corbett had not been successful in attempting to have her birth certificate corrected, and now was prohibited from doing so.

      Justice Ormrod also cancelled the £6 a week alimony payment.

      In March 1971, a month later,  a court in Grasse, France, in the case of Hélène Hauterive, who had had an identical operation from Dr Burou, was ruled to be female for legal purposes and able to marry because "she possesses external genitals of a feminine type and because her psychological behaviour is without doubt that of a woman".

      Continued in Part 3: Aftermath


      Is legal aid still this good?  Two QCs and three doctor professors from top universities.

      I agree with Dr Burou in not responding.   It was impertinent to go into the details of the operation.

      While Lady Corbett as respondent replied that Arthur was unable to function sexually, there is no mention that he, unlike her, was examined by any of the doctor professors.

      As Dr Hayhoe, a chromosome expert, examined April’s blood, I do not understand why the court was not given a definitive statement as to whether April has Klinefelter’s Syndrome.

      What had the Sexual Offences Act 1967 to do with a sex change?  In the late 1960s transsexuality was still regarded as a type of homosexuality, but it had never been illegal as such.  However decriminalization did mean that Arthur and April could not be charged with homosexuality.

      Corbett v Corbett established a legal definition of intersex.  However it was not the same as the medical definition.  In some forms of intersex, chromosomal, gonadal and genital sex at birth are not concordant.

      It is odd to say the least, ironic maybe, to read Cazalet and Ormrod's obituary writers, who claim Ormrod as having 'moved with the times', 'more tolerant' etc.   Corbett v Corbett is perhaps the major exception to this, but some of his other rulings imply an old-fashioned sexism.  There is an obvious question about to what extent his attitudes reflect an old-fashioned establishment point of view vs simple homophobia.  None of the source documents that I consulted even raised this question.

      The Fishbayn article is odd in a quite different way.  She attempts to rewrite Corbett v. Corbett in terms of Judith's Butler's concept of 'gender trouble', that concordant intersex persons are accepted as women, but transsexuals are trouble makers and are denied their desired gender.  She cites only recent US writers: Butler, Kessler & McKenna, Fausto-Sterling, Dreger, Bornstein, Garber but no UK writers, not even either of Ashley's autobiographies.  There are two other explanations, class and homophobia, but Fishbayn does not even consider them.  She refers to Arthur Corbett as Lord Rowallan although he did not gain that title until his father died in 1977.

      20 March 2011

      Roger Ormrod (1911–1992) part 1: barrister, doctor, judge.

      Roger Fray Greenwood Ormrod was educated at Shrewsbury School and at Queen's College, Oxford where he studied law. His father, a solicitor in Cumbria, also insisted that he study medicine like his grandfather. His medical studies were incomplete when he accepted a position in the law courts. In 1938 he married a woman magistrate and marriage guidance counsellor.

      With the outbreak of war in 1939, he completed his medical qualifications, and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1942-5 in Normandy and north-west Europe. He was one of the first allied doctors into Belsen Concentration Camp. He finished the war in India, and was demobilized with the rank of major.

      He then returned to legal practice and specialized in divorce and medical negligence. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1958. In 1961 he was appointed a judge in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty division, and would contribute significantly to the development of no-fault divorce following the new Divorce Reform Act of 1969 which came into effect in 1971.

      He was regarded as "the one judge who moved with the time more than any other … he was responsible, practically single handedly at times, for effecting the fundamental reforms which were set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 … was better suited to meeting the changing attitudes of Society in which a much more tolerant approach was being taken towards adultery, unmarried cohabiting couples, abortion and the divorced person" (Cazalet)".

      In 1962 he granted an Englishwoman a divorce from her Belgium husband and warned "When a woman marries a man of 31 who has never done a day's work in his life, she must accept that she is marrying a considerable problem". In 1967 he dismissed a husband's claim for maintenance as "ludicrous", although the wife had money and the husband had run the household. The same year he was the first British judge to order a blood test to establish paternity. Justice Ormrod was in the public eye as one of three judges who ruled in favour of a wife who said that sex once a week for her husband was enough. He had negative opinions about flamboyantly dressed women, and a dislike of fathers who gave up work to look after their children. He usually took the attitude that the wife must have the house and sufficient money after a divorce in that she would be raising the children.

      ++Also in 1967 he ruled in the divorce case of Talbot (otherwise Poyntz) v. Talbot that the husband was a woman, and granted an immediate  decree nisi of nullity. John Talbot did not contest the petition and was ordered to pay the costs.

      Continued in Part 2: Corbett v. Corbett
                           Part 3: Aftermath

      18 March 2011

      Dietrich Graf von Hulsen-Haseler (1852 - 1908) German chief of the military cabinet.

      Hulse-Haesler was the son of a Prussian General. At 18 he became a lieutenant in the Grenadiers. He attended the German War College, and was then attached to the General Staff. In 1889 he became chief of the military cabinet for Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

      He was also an avid ballet dancer and for the pleasure of the court would dance attired as a ballerina.

      He organized the cover-up in the Harden-Eulenburg Affair of military and civilian trials where prominent members of the Kaiser's entourage were accused of homosexuality.

      This was hardly over when, one night in 1908, he overstrained his heart while doing his ballet act, and he died. The details of his death were kept from the public.
      • Magnus Hirschfeld. Sexual Anomalies: the Origins, Nature, and Treatment of Sexual Disorders Emerson Books. 1948: 166.
      • Modris Eksteins. Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. Boston Houghton Miffin 1989: 88.

      15 March 2011

      Marie-France Garcia (1946–) singer, actress, activist.

      Born a pied-noir in Oran, Algeria, Marie-France feminized without taking external hormones.

      She was in Paris for the revolution of May 1968. She appeared at the Alcazar in Paris in 1969, first as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, and performed there until 1987. She completed her transition in London in 1985.

      She was active for gay rights in FHAR (front homosexuel d'action révolutionnaire) and Les Gazolines, as a member of which she was interviewed by the magazine Recherches for their “Trois Milliards de pervers” issue in 1973.

      Alain Kan named a song for her in 1976. Her 1977 debut single was almost punk. She has acted or sung songs in 16 films, both arthouse and mainstream: she was with Johnny Halliday in La Gamine, 1991, and with Catherine Deneuve in Belle Maman, 1999. She also acted on stage. She worked with Marc Almond (with whom she sang Édith Piaf), Hélène Hazera and David Bowie.

      She published her autobiography in 2003. In an interview with Paris-Match she challenged the words 'travesti' and 'travelo', and also 'transsexuel'.
      "je hais le mot de « transsexuel » : pour parler de quelqu’un, on n’a pas à préciser sa sexualité. On ne dit pas « l’hétérosexuel Untel », la « lesbienne Unetelle ». On n’a pas à dire « le transsexuel Marie France », sans même avoir la courtoisie de mettre le terme au féminin ». "(I hate the word 'transsexuel'. To talk about someone, you need not specify their sexuality. One does not say 'the heterosexual So-and-so; the lesbian So-and-so. One doesn't say 'the transsexual Marie-France' without even the courtesy of using the feminine 'transsexuelle".)
      In 2008 she put out a garage-rock album, and in 2009 she did a show and an album in tribute to Brigitte Bardot.

      Film-maker and writer, Marguerite Duras, said of Marie-France: “It is impossible to not be troubled by her. Everyone. Women as well as men”.
      • Marie-France Garcia. Elle était une fois. Paris: Denoël, 356 pp 2003.
      • Jérôme Reybaud. "Le « travesti égérie des années Palace », ou comment, en évoquant la chanteuse Marie France, le quotidien Libération révèle les contours réels de sa propre pensée.". Lalala, Avril 2004.
      IMDB     lachanteusemariefrance     EN.Wikipedia      rfimusique.

      13 March 2011

      Cindy Thái Tài (1981 - ) make-up artist, singer.

      The family of Nguyen Thái Tài wanted him to become a tailor. Instead he became a well-known make-up artist.

      Finally Thái Tài announced a desire to be a woman. She travelled to the Yanhee Hospital in Bangkok, between 1999 and 2005 for surgical transition. As Cindy she is one of the very few Vietnamese transsexuals to speak on the topic.

      She is still a well-known make-up artist, and released her first singing album, Noi long co don, in 2006, and then Tinh yeu da mat a year later. Both were commercial successes. She has also appeared in the films Saigon tinh ca and Trai nhay where she was cast as a transsexual singer.

      In 2008 there was a scandal when a pornographic item appeared on her web site, but apparently was placed by her former manager.

      Her boy friend is a German businessman. She is working on an autobiography.

      11 March 2011

      Eugene C. Perkins (1869 – 1936) doctor.

      Perkins, raised in Buffalo, married Margaret Curren in Florida in 1908.

      They moved to California where he practiced medicine in La Jolla.

      After 28 years of marriage, Margaret pre-deceased Eugene by six months. While his corpse was being prepared for burial, it was discovered that he was female-bodied.

      What a terrible title!  “Girl Who 'Wed' Another Girl”.  It turns trans men not only into women, but into girls.   Even if the persons featured on the site are lesbians, it insults them by reducing them to ‘girls’, and by putting quotes around ‘wed’ it says that gay weddings are less valid than heterosexual ones.

      Furthermore, in regard to Dr Perkins the site says: “It is unclear whether Dr. Eugene Perkins truly gendered himself as male or merely assumed a male identity in order to work as a better-paid male physician and marry her girlfriend.”  He ‘merely assumed’ an identity and kept it up without a break for at least 28 years.  It is this kind of unthinking nincompoopery that causes rifts between lesbians and trans men.

      09 March 2011

      Machiel Van Antwerpen. (1719 - 1781) maid, seamstress, soldier.

      Maria Van Antwerpen was raised Catholic in Breda, the seventh child and second daughter of a brandy distiller, who in later years worked on the docks. Maria was orphaned at age 13. Two years later a great fire destroyed 90 per cent of the city. Maria worked as a maidservant until 1746 when she was dismissed for visiting her family for Christmas.

      Afraid of becoming a prostitute, she became Jan van Ant, and enlisted as a soldier, and shortly afterwards he married the daughter of his sergeant. However he was billeted in Breda in 1751 and recognized, initially by a child, and arrested.

      The trial was much reported, a song was written about her, and Franciscus Lievens Kersteman wrote up an autobiography of Van Antwerpen. Maria was banished from Brabant and Limburg and all garrison towns. She moved to Rotterdam and then to Gouda, making a living as a seamstress.

      In 1762 Maria having met Cornelia Swartsenberg who was unmarried and pregnant, and became Machiel van Antwerpen. Machiel again enlisted, this time in Zwolle and married her. The first child was stillborn. They moved to Amsterdam, where Machiel became a soldier working for the city. A second child, a son was baptised with Machiel as the father, but died after seven weeks.

      On a trip to Gouda in 1769 he was recognized and charged with 'mocking holy and human laws concerning marriage'. Cornelia managed to escape. The resulting interrogation, spread across five hearings resulted in 43 folio pages of text, and makes Machiel one of the best documented working-class persons of the eighteenth century. He said of himself: "‘ik ben in de natuur een manspersoon, maar uiterlijk een vrouwspersoon (I am a male by nature, but a woman externally)".

      As Maria he was banished to exile in Holland and West Friesland, and disappeared from history other than we know that she died, back in Breda, in 1781, the year that the city was captured by Spanish and Flemish troops.
      • Maria Van Antwerpen & Franciscus Lievens Kersteman. De Bredasche Heldinne ('The Heroine of Breda'). 1751
      • Rudolf M Dekker and Lotte C. van de Pol. Dekker. Vrouwen in mannenkleren: de geschiedenis van de vrouwelijke travestie. Rainbow pocketboeken, 134. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Maarten Muntinga, 1989. Amsterdam: Muntinga, 1992. Translated by Judy Marcure and Lotte Van de Pol, with a Foreword by Peter Burke. The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe. Basingstoke, Hampshire : Macmillan Press, New York : St. Martin's Press, 1989. p1,3-4,11,18,23-6,44,63-9,78-9,82-4,86,89,92-3,96-7,110.
      • "Antwerpen, Maria Van". Huygens Ing, 07/04/2009.

      07 March 2011

      Rumiko Matsubara 松原留美子 (195?–) performer.

      Rumiko Matsubara 松原留美子 won a beauty contest for businesses in the Roppongi night-club area in Tokyo in 1981 as a woman, and was used as a model: the ‘Roppongi Beauty’.

      Once her transgender status was revealed, she posed semi-nude for a men's magazine, released an album of songs, and acted in a film Kura no naka, 1981. She was promoted using the newly coined term nyūhā fu, which was coming to be used for mixed-gender persons.

      She described herself:
      'I have been a woman since the day I was born. Only my body was mistakenly born as male.'
      • Interview with Rumiko Matsubara.  Allen, 12, Oct 1982: 42-4.
      • Mark McLelland. Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age. Lanham Md & Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield 2005: 198.
      • Mark McLelland. “Living more ‘Like Oneself’: Transgender Identities and Sexualities in Japan”. In Jonathan Alexander and Karen Yescavage. Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2003: 214.


        hā fu (=half) was an established Japanese word for a mixed race person, especially a Euro-Japanese person.  nyūhā fu (= new half) was coined in 1981, and was first used by a 'gai' singer called Betty. The term was picked up by the press in time for it to be applied to Rumiko.  While the term would seem to approximate to what Westerners might call a non-op trans woman, McLelland emphasizes that it is best understood as an occupational category.

      05 March 2011

      Fawziya Janahi (1962–) lawyer

      Janahi was raised in Bahrain. She went to university in Egypt where she had a roommate, also a Bahraini, who had obvious difficulties in being a woman, and in 2001 asked her, by then a qualified lawyer, to help. In 2005 the case was won and the ex-roommate was officially a man, and later married as a man.

      Her second case was the Bahraini shot-put disabled athlete Hussain Rabie which concluded with success with 2008, and supported by fatwas from both Sunni and Shia Shariaa Courts.

      This attracted media attention, and brought Janahi cases from all over the Gulf. The law is fairly straightforward in Bahrain, but more complicated in the other countries.

      Janahi insists on a minimum two-year psychiatric evaluation, and is the only lawyer in the region taking such cases.

      Previously Kuwaiti male lawyer Adel Yehya attempted some 13 similar cases but quit after they were rejected by the courts. Janahi was initially rejected by her family for taking such cases, but after some years they have come around to supporting her.

      While the Bahraini government is supportive, other Gulf are more difficult. She has a journalist present when meeting her clients in some countries in case of police raids.

      03 March 2011

      Raven Navajo (1965–) sailor, escort, barmaid.

      Michael Scott Harmon was born in New Jersey and raised in Kentucky. His father was a full-blooded Navajo, but also an alcoholic who fell asleep with a lighted cigarette and died in the resulting apartment fire when Michael was 6 months old.

      His mother remarried, to a Vietnam veteran who was straight with Michael about how boys are expected to behave, but also let him be himself. The stepfather died in a car accident when Michael was 13. Michael got drunk for the first time after the funeral.

      He moved in with an alcoholic uncle, dropped out of school, got drunk and tried to be a man. At 17 he was arrested and the judge offered Juvenile Hall or military enlistment. In the US Navy he specialized in aviation electronics, and learned how to get away with being drunk.

      At age 25 he married a Filipina, they had two sons, and he was reassigned to San Diego. After an arrest for drunkenness in 1992, he was sober for 11 years. He left the military in 1995 after 16 years service. He got divorced and returned to his Navajo roots.

      He changed his name to Raven Navajo. A few years after that he started dressing as female, and after a while going to drag clubs. His eldest son, at age 13, told Raven that she was happier as a woman, and should go full-time. To get work she started as an escort, first in Kentucky, and then in Las Vegas. She started female hormones. Then she took a job bar-tending in a trans-friendly nightclub. And started drinking again.

      One night in 2007 she took up with fellow drinker Brenda Schmalfeldt and they continued at Raven’s apartment. They got into a quarrel and Raven hit her. She woke up to find Brenda dead. After two days of drinking to get the courage to kill herself, Raven put Brenda’s body in her car, and drove until she found a dumpster. A few days later Raven called the police to confess, but they never called back. When they finally came to see her, she confessed, but the body was no longer in the dumpster.

      Raven attempted to plead guilty to first-degree murder, but drunkenness is a defense to premeditation, deliberation and malice. The jury found her guilty of second-degree, and she got 10 years to life - in a men’s prison as she has not had surgery.

      01 March 2011

      Yeda Brown (194?–) performer.

      Brown was raised in Bagé, in Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil.  His father was a military officer, and as a familial duty he did apply for military service, but was rejected.

      The name ‘Yeda’ was picked in homage to Ieda Vargas, who was Miss Universe 1963, and also from Rio Grande Do Sul.

      In 1967 Yeda moved to Rio de Janeiro and became a performer with Rogéria at the Teatro Rival. She was part of the show, Les Girls, and toured in Uruguay and Argentina.

      In 1974 she moved to Paris, and performed at Madame Arthur's and Le Carrousel. In 1975 she completed her transition with Dr Michel Seghers in Brussels, and her father paid for the surgery.

      Afterwards she moved to Spain, where she was the first known surgically completed transsexual, and became famous on stage, screen and record. She had a small part in the ground-breaking El Transexual, 1977, that was partially inspired by the story of Lorena Capelli who died of peritonitis after an illegal sex change (the only kind in Spain at that time).

      Yeda became known as El Cuerpo de Oro and Musa da Transição , and was taken up by Salvador Dali, who declared her to be his new muse. She partied with Boy George and David Bowie. Yeda returned to Brazil several times in the late 1990s to get her documentation changed. She lived in Barcelona, and then in Madrid.