This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

30 November 2011

Michael Higgins (1915 - ?) fraudster

In 1938, after six years of steady employment and four years of marriage, Los Angeles resident, Michael Higgins was arrested on charges of grand theft and fraud. In jail it was discovered that was female-bodied. The police were embarrassed in that they had arrested and booked Higgins before without his sex being revealed.

* Not the baseball player, nor the basketball player, nor the footballer, nor the Irish President, nor the actor, nor the artist.

28 November 2011

Florencio Pla Meseguer (1917 - 2004) shepherd, maquis, political prisoner.

Teresa Pla Meseguer was born on a small farm in Castellón, Spain. Her parents, upon seeing her genital malformation, raised her as a girl, so that she would not have to do military service. As she grew older, her parents put her to work as a shepherdess - she went to school for only two weeks, and as she grew older still and somewhat masculine, they called her Teresot.

At the age of 32 in 1949, the Francoist Guardia Civil picked up on the local village gibe and took Teresa in for interrogation. On release, Meseguer never dressed as female again. He took the name Florencio. He joined the Spanish Maquis which was still fighting the Fascist government although it had been abandoned by the Allies who had cut off their supply lines after 1948.

The journalist Enrique Rubio (1920-2005), described Meseguer as a “La Pastora (Shepherdess)” and as a lesbian woman with criminal tendencies. Florencio took the name Durruti after the famed Barcelona anarchist (1896 – 1936), and became La Pastora Durruti. He survived alone in the mountains for many years, doing some smuggling.

In 1960 he was arrested in Andorra, tried for atrocities that he nothing to do with, and was sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted, and he was included in the general amnesty of 1977. He had nowhere to go, so one of his jailers hired Florencio to work on his land.

Florencio finally moved back to his home province. He died aged 87.

His story was converted into a novel Donde nadie te encuentre by Alicia Giménez Bartlett, which won the Nadal Prize in 2011.

There are a couple of odd bits in the en.wikipedia article on The Spanish Maquis.  a) All of a sudden in section “The end of the maquis” the word “fascist” referring to the Francoist government is in quotes as if the writer does not consider it to be fascist.  b) of Florencio Pla Meseguer it says: “who used to disguise as a female” – which seems to be missing the point.

The es.wikipedia article on Enrique Rubio avoids completely how he got on with the Francoist state.  His comments about Pla Meseguer seem to be homophobic.  Did he make similar comments about other people?

26 November 2011

Sara Davis Buechner (1959–) pianist.

David Buechner was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and being a prodigious early talent at the keyboard, was educated in music at Juilliard School and gained a doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.

Buechner was Professor of Piano at Manhattan School of Music and New York University, played with the world’s greatest orchestras and was winner of several of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions: the 1983 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition; the Gold Medal at the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition; a Bronze Medal in the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition.

She transitioned to Sara in 1998, the same year that she recorded the complete piano music of Miklós Rózsa. Some concert promoters actually paid her not to play after belatedly learning of her past.

She has been Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia since 2003.

She continues to record prolifically, and she like to chat to audiences before playing, and will sometimes tell anecdotes about when she was a little boy. She feels very at home in Vancouver where she can appear openly with her wife.

She was the Keynote Speaker at the 2011 Outgames Human Rights Conference.

24 November 2011

Cam Lyman (1932 – 1987) aristocrat, dog breeder.

Camilla Lyman was born to an old and rich Boston family. Her father, Arthur T. Lyman was well-connected and served as Massachusetts commissioner of corrections and commissioner of conservation at different times. Camilla’s mother, Susan Cabot Lyman, let her know that she was an unwanted child.  Camilla was a breeder of champion Clumber spaniels, and had a professional handler’s license, but usually showed only her own dogs and those of a few friends.

Lyman's father died in 1968, and as Cam he started dressing male. He grew a thin mustache and his hair started thinning. It is assumed that he was taking steroids prescribed for the dogs. He legally changed his name to ‘Cam’ in 1985. He also became more erratic, and became infamous for outbursts at dog shows, especially when his dogs lost. The care of the kennels slipped.

Clumber spaniels
He disappeared in 1987, presumably murdered, the dogs simply abandoned. George O’Neil who had power-of-attorney and handled his every-day business later reported that a phone call with him ended abruptly, and that he later found the phone ripped from the wall and the doors open.

However Lyman’s disappearance was unreported to the police for over a year. For nine years after that, the only police involvement was a missing-person report. The estate was never searched, no-one was questioned. The family hired a Boston private eye who concluded that Lyman had been dead since his disappearance. This was used in probate court to enable the estate to be sold.

Cam’s body was found in 1997 in the septic tank on his estate on Rhode Island by the new owners. He left behind 58 dogs and a $1.9 million trust fund. O’Neil was later charged with illegally draining the trust.

22 November 2011

Camille Cabral (1944–) dermatologist, activist, councillor.

Cabral was born and raised in Cabaceiras, Paraiba, Brazil. He passed the entrance exam for medicine and studied in Recife. While working as the Hospital das Clinicas in São Paulo, Cabral first started dressing as female.

In 1980 Cabral went to France, did an internship in dermatology, and then worked at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris. Here she came out and transitioned. She chose the name Camille when she took French nationality:  "I wanted a very French name, but elegant".

In 1993, Camille lost her job and in consequence founded the Groupe de prévention et d'action pour la santé et le travail des transsexuel(le)s (PASTT).

She also became involved in prostitutes rights, and fought against pimps and trafficking. She was a co-organizer of the Pute Pride march, and of the Red Light co-operative.

Camille was elected a list councillor for the Green Party in the 17th arrondissement of Paris and served from 2001-8. She also ran as a candidate in the parliamentary elections.
“Gender identity is not linked to sex change. Ours is not an issue of genitals, but of sensitivity, of attitude. There is no reason that we have to have genital operations in order to have our rights recognized. So I prefer to use the neologism transgender and not the word transsexual. I am a transgender woman!”

19 November 2011

Buck Angel (1972 - ) adult film maker.

Susan was a tomboy as a child in San Francisco’s San Fernando Valley.

As a young woman she used the name Laura, and worked as model, but she was uncomfortable as a woman, and did a lot of drugs and alcohol. She hung out with butch lesbians because there was nowhere to go.

Transitioning in his twenties, he had top surgery and hormones, which he supplemented with bodybuilding. He was husband to Ilsa Strix (Karin Winslow), a top dominatrix in Los Angeles, until she left him in 2003 for Lana Wachowshi, one of the two directors of the Matrix films.

Buck moved to New Orleans to be with his second wife, body piercer, tattooer and body modification enthusiast Elayne Angel - he took her name, and became Buck Angel. He then sought work as a trans-porn actor.

In 2005, Buck was the first trans man in an all-male porn film, and he was in another film where he had sex with trans woman Allanah Starr. For the latter he was nominated for Transsexual Performer of the Year and Most Outrageous Sex Scene. In January 2007, Buck won Transsexual Performer of the Year at the Adult Video News Awards.

In 2008 he and Allanah  were sculpted life-size by London artist Marc Quinn.

Buck is the best-known and best-paid FTM porn star. He is billed as ‘a real man, with a real pussy’.

He frequently appears on talk shows and at sex conventions.
“I do believe that people need to recognize this as a real medical condition. I do also believe that a lot of people don't take it as seriously as it needs to be taken. It's kind of become a trendy thing. They're playing with their gender, and maybe they don't really want to be male. Which is fine, but as a real transsexual person, I don't consider myself a transsexual, I consider myself a man.”
 EN.WIKIPEDIA    Website.

17 November 2011

John de Verdion (1744 - 1802) book dealer, language teacher.

Theodora Grahn was born in Leipzig and raised in Berlin where her father was an architect, noted particularly for the rebuilding of the Sankt Petrikirche.

After his death in 1750 at Bayreuth, she was raised by an aunt, and became proficient in Mathematics, French, Italian and English, as well as her native German.

The aunt died in 1758, leaving 1,000 Reichsthalers. Theodora took to trading as an Exchange Broker and prospered in the then ongoing Seven Years’ War. At its end in 1763 she went to Beyreuth.

On return in 1768 Grahn had declared himself to be Baron de Verdion. The next year Verdion became the secretary and amanuensis of Johann Basedow, the educational reformer. However, it being remembered that Verdion had been a woman, gossip ensued and they were compelled to part.

Later some young men from a merchant’s counting house, invited Verdion to an inn, got him drunk and verified his sex. This prompted Verdion to emigrate to England where as Dr John de Verdion, he became a language teacher and book dealer.

He was helped for a while by his co-patriate Frau Schwellenberg, an attendant to the Queen, Charlotte Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He taught German to the William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland and later Prime Minister, and to Edward Gibbon, the historian. He taught English to the Prussian ambassador.

Verdion was well known at book auctions, and on occasions would buy a entire coach load of books.

Verdion became a regular at Furnival’s inn and coffee house in Holborn where he became known for his prodigious consumption of food and drink. There were suspicions that he was a woman, and he was subjected a few pranks that expressed that opinion.

After 30 years in London, a fall downstairs developed into dropsy, and, despite the ministrations of a German physician who lived in the same house, he died. By his will he bequeathed all to the master of Furnival’s inn and coffee house, but upon his taking possession it proved inadequate to discharge the bill. Verdion’s considerable collection of foreign gold and silver coins were nowhere to be found, neither was his sword.

The coffin plate was at first engraved ‘John de Verdion’, but was then altered to ‘Miss de Verdion’. Verdion was deposited in the burying ground of St Andrew, Holborn.

I am rather surprised that a 14-year-old girl in Berlin in 1758 was not only allowed to become an Exchange Broker, but was a success and made money at it.

I am less surprised that in 1769 it was a scandal for a man and a man-woman to work together.  There are still some Muslim societies that have that attitude even today.

John de Verdion was in London at the same time as D'Éon de Beaumont.  I have not been able to find any mention of de Verdion in books on de Beaumont.  In much the same way that books on Virginia Prince do not mention Edward Wood, although they were both in Los Angeles at the same time.

14 November 2011

Dudley Clarke (1899 - 1974 ) secret agent.

Dudley Wrangel Clarke was born, with the caul, in Ladysmith, Natal, during the four-month siege that was an early engagement in the Second Boer War. As an adult he spent several years lobbying the War Office that he was entitled to the Boar War campaign medal.

He was educated at Charterhouse School for three years, and then joined the Royal Horse Artillery in 1916, and a month after his 17th birthday was at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He was too young to go to France, so he applied to join the Royal Flying Corps and was posted to Egypt, where he got his wings.

He had the knack of being in the right place and knowing the right people. He had many friends in the 11th Hussars, one of the snootiest regiments, despite being a mere artilleryman himself. He liked to enter and leave rooms silently and without being noticed.

Between the wars he was involved in various Middle East crises and rose through the ranks. He also put on the Royal Artillery display for the 1925 Royal Tournament, and wrote and directed Christmas pantomimes at the Staff College at Camberley in 1933-4, and the Silver Jubilee Display in Aden in 1935. From 1936 he was a Brigade Major in Palestine.

During the Second World War Lieutenant Colonel Clarke ran a deception section in Cairo under MI6 whose job was to deceive the Axis about Allied troop movements. For a flight to Egypt, which took six days during the war as they had to go via the Canary Islands, Lagos and Khartoum, he impersonated a US war correspondent and wore a loud pair of black-and-white plus-fours. He recruited a double of General Montgomery who spent time in the Mediterranean while the real Montgomery was in England; he created a fictitious First United States Army Group in Kent to fool the Germans that Calais would be invaded. He created a fake Special Air Service paratrooper regiment, and when such a troop was really created he arranged for it to have the same name.

Photographs taken by the Madrid police
In October 1941 Clarke travelled to Lisbon and Madrid under the guise of being The Times war correspondent, Wrangel Craker. He was arrested in the latter city in women’s clothes. He tried claiming that he was a novelist studying men’s reactions, and then that he “was taking the feminine garments to a lady in Gibraltar and thought that he would try them on for a prank”. The police considered him to be a ‘homosexualist’, but a German agent who believed that he would assist the Germans arranged Clarke’s release.

This allowed Alan Hillgarth, the British naval attaché, to get him away, and then to Gilbraltar, where he joined a convoy for London. German agents in Ceuta and Algeciras signalled its departure, and U-boats were able to sink several of the ships, including the Aristo where the crew and passengers had five minutes to get to the lifeboats and rafts. Six died and 45 including Clarke escaped.

Hillgarth sent the police photographs to London, where they were shown to Prime Minister Churchill. The cross-dressing caused short-term embarrassment to Clarke, but did not affect his career.

After the war Clarke was made a Companion of the Bath. He retired from the Army and worked for the Conservative Party, and was on the board of Securicor, Ltd. He wrote and published an account of his early military career, and a second volume that was never published. He wrote a history of the 11th Hussars. He then approached the authorities to do a book on the wartime deceptions, but got nowhere. Books on the topic did not appear until the 21st century.

In 1955 he wrote a thriller, Golden Arrow in which he pays a lot of attention to the women’s clothes.
“With all her natural beauty she seemed sadly incapable of acquiring a proper flair for dress ... superbly endowed with grey-green eyes and Titian Hair, with the long slim legs and the gently-curved figure of a model, she could usually be relied upon to ruin the effect of the most exquisite outfit with some shocking misalliance ... As she swung proudly into the hall of the hotel, his first glance went straight to the revolting little hat in exactly the wrong shade of mustard”.
Clarke never married and died at age 75 with an obituary in The Times.
  • Dudley Clarke. Seven Assignments. London: J. Cape, 1948.
  • Dudley Clarke The Eleventh at War, Being the Story of the XIth Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) Through the Years 1934-1945. London: M. Joseph, 1952.
  • Dudley Clarke. Golden Arrow. Hodder & Stoughton, 1955.
  • Thaddeus Holt. The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004:12-4, 791.
  • Guy Maynard Liddell, edited by Nigel West. The Guy Liddell Diaries Volume 1, 1939-1942. London: Routledge, 2005: 180-1, 185, 192, 200.
  • Nicholas Rankin. Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945. London: Faber and Faber, 2008: 255-67, 479-80, 493-503, 549-50, 593. Reprinted as A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Piers Brendon. “Dark arts and self-delusions”. The Guardian, 4 Oct 2009.
  • Ben Macintyre. Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. New York: Harmony Books, 2010: 38, 153-4.
  • Duncan Gardham. “MI6’s cross-dressing spy”. The Telegraph, 22 Sep 2010.
  • Jeffery Keith. MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service, 1909-1949. London: Bloomsbury Publ, 2011: 406-7.
  • “Dudley Clarke”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Holt’s The Deceivers, 2004, says a lot about Clarke, but nothing about the incident in Madrid. The first public discussion is in Guy Liddell’s Diaries, published 2005: “At the time he was dressed as a woman complete with brassière etc. Why he wore this disguise nobody quite knows. ... It may be that he is just the type who imagines himself as the super secret service agent”. Bits and variations on this are quoted in most of the subsequent books. The other secret agents could understand disguise, but not why he would also wear the underwear.

The caul was believed to protect from drowning.  That is why good money for paid for the caul of another.   It worked in that Clarke did not go down with the Aristo.

Noël Coward coined a term for leaving without being noticed: exsinuate.

Trivia: there are several movie connections:
  1. While the full tale of the deception departments was not allowed to be told until the 21st century, two of their successes became best-selling books and then films: The Man Who Never Was, 1956, and I Was Monty’s Double, 1958.   The 1981 film, Eye of the Needle stars Donald Sutherland as a German spy who discovers and photographs the fake US Army Group.
  2. Dudley’s brother, T.E.B. Clarke was a film script writer.  He was awarded an Oscar for The Lavender Hill Mob, 1951, and Sons and Lovers, 1960.  He also wrote Passport to Pimlico, and The Blue Lamp.

12 November 2011

Manuela Trasobares Haro (1962 - ) artist, singer, politician.

Trasobares was born in Figueres, also the birth place of Salvador Dalí. She transitioned surgically in London at the age of 17.

Manuela was trained as an artist by Dali, and then at the Sant Jordi Faculty of Fine Arts, at the Universidad de Barcelona. She also trained in music at the conservatory in Sofia, Bulgaria, and sang with the National Theatre of Sofia, and the Opera Theatre in Plovdiv. She was eliminated from several international singing competition, despite her obvious training, because of her gender status.

Her style as an artist has gone from surrealism to hyperrealism.

She was also an activist for transsexual rights. She married a man in 2006, and almost all the 900 residents of Geldo in Castellón, the village where she lives, attended the ceremony.

In 2007, she ran successfully as a Democratic Republican Action candidate for a council seat in Geldo making her the first trans person in Spain to hold elected office.

Also that year, two of her sculptures on religious themes were excluded from the Espai D´Art Contemporani de Castelló, because of pressure from a traditionalist Carlist group.

In 2008, she ran unsuccessfully for the national Parliament as a Republican Left candidate.     ES.WIKIPEDIA

10 November 2011

A letter from Linda Lee

Linda Lee wrote for Drag magazine and then Female Mimics for 15 years or so.  She is now a children’s magician.

Thank you for your Gender Variance Who's Who. (Lovely term "gender variance"; so much less "loaded" than a lot of the other terms used.).

The index brought back good memories of people I knew, some well, some only very slightly, and lots that I didn't know but was highly aware of.

I wrote for Lee Brewster for about five years or so until DRAG folded, then moved to FEMALE MIMICS for another 8-10 or so...

The one time I visited NYC, Lee threw a dinner for me at Luchow's (the first place in America that Harry Benjamin ate, he told me in a letter...) and I met Chrysis briefly. Stunning!

I met Kristi Kelly through a friend and interviewed her at some length. We went out to dinner and had intended to get together again the next time I was in L.A. and then, within a couple of months came news of the plane crash. I spoke at her funeral which was one of the harder things I've done and I didn't get through it without tears.

Steve Dain I met through the SAR programs I participated in for the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco and we stayed in friendly touch even after I stopped speaking at them. I hadn't heard from him in a while and found out about his passing a bit later though I had suspected that something had happened.
talking to the Human Sexuality class at a local college

I especially appreciated your piece on Marie-Pierre Pruvot. I knew she'd become a teacher but was delighted that she seems to have been such a respected and honored one. It's pleasant, too, to know that she is still enjoying her life. I wish that there were English translations of her books.

As I initially looked at the names in your list, I had the line from the old poem running through my mind, "Gone. Gone. All are gone..." but looking at the pieces about them, I realize that those people are alive in me, as I would not be the person I am, if I had not known them.

So I am very grateful that you've brought them into my immediate thoughts again, and, again, my thanks for the exceptional work you've done and the recollections it has given me.

Linda is still at P.O. Box 23001, Oakland, CA 94623. 

Lou Reed mentions a Linda Lee in his song “Cool it Down”, but if it was intended to refer to this Linda Lee, she doesn’t know about, and the lyrics do not match her any more that Reed’s “Sister Reed” match Sylvia Rivera.

08 November 2011

Althea Garrison (1940 - ) elected official, state employee.

Garrison was born in Hihira, Georgia, and moved to Boston, Massachusetts as a teenager. He went to Beauty Culture School when he arrived in Boston, then to Newbury Junior College, Suffolk University for a degree in administration, Lesley University for a graduate degree in management and then Harvard in 1984 for a certificate of special studies in administration.

Garrison transitioned and became Althea in 1976. She worked for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and then the Office of the Comptroller. Later she was the vice president of the Uphams Corner Health Center in Dorchester, Boston.

In 1982 and 1986 she ran for the Massachusetts State House as a Democrat. In 1991 she ran for the Boston City Council. In 1992 she was elected as a Republican State Representative, and was outed by the Murdoch-owned Boston Herald a few days after the campaign by columnist Eric Fehrnstrom. As a representative she consistently voted pro-union, and was endorsed for re-election by the AFL-CIO and eight unions. On other issues she more frequently voted with the Democrats than with her own party. However she was defeated by the Democratic candidate in 1994.

She would seem to be the first trans person to be elected at the state level or above in the US.
However she denies that she was ever a transsexual, and refuses all questions about her personal background. She has appealed for the GLBT vote on the grounds that she is a black woman, but never on the grounds that she is trans. She has also run for mayor and other offices more than 15 times, but with no other success. She has been opposed to gay marriages, and has called for the judges who ruled in its favor to be removed from the bench. She was allied with the anti-gay-rights and anti-transsexual group MassResistance.
 EN.Wikipedia        OurCampaigns 

05 November 2011

Gloria Hemingway (1931 - 2001) writer, doctor.

Gregory Hemingway (Gigi) was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the youngest son of Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961), the novelist. Gigi was raised by a nursemaid until he was twelve, as his mother, Pauline Pfeiffer (1895 – 1951), Ernest’s second wife, showed little interest.

He was trying on his mother’s clothes from age four, but it wasn’t until age ten, on a trip to Cuba, that Ernest walked in and discovered him. He stood there frozen and then turned and left. That was the same year that Ernest started encouraging him to get drunk daily on hard liquor. A few months later when the boys had returned to their mother, Ernest wrote to his ex-wife about Gigi that
father and son in Cuba
“He has the biggest dark side in the family except me and you and I’m not in the family. He keeps it so concealed that you never know about it and maybe that way it will back up on him”.
The next summer Ernest taught Gigi to shoot and entered him in competition against Cuba’s finest marksmen. When he was 14, Gigi stole some lingerie from his newest stepmother, Ernest’s fourth and final wife Mary Welsh (1908 – 1986), and said nothing when her maid was accused and dismissed.

In 1950 Gregory dropped out of college, and briefly took up Dianetics. In 1951, aged 19 he married Jane, and was working in an aircraft factory in Los Angeles.  He sometimes borrowed Jane’s things, and in the evening of September 29, due to become a father in two months, he was arrested en femme in the women’s restroom of a movie theater (in his 1976 book he described it as a drug arrest).

His mother, Pauline, flew down from San Francisco and stayed with her sister, Jinny Pfeiffer and her lover Laura Archera, the violinist and film producer (they would later enter into a polyamory arrangement with Aldous Huxley). Pauline already had a stomach pain. She failed to get Gigi out of jail, and had a very emotional phone call with Ernest. She was rushed to hospital a few hours later and died on the operating table, on October 1.

Gigi was then released. Ernest told Gigi re his arrest: “Well it killed mother”. This caused a rupture between father and son.  However Gregory started to write again after Ernest had two back-to-back airplane crashes in east Africa in 1954, and sent a congratulatory wire when he won the Nobel Prize later the same year.

Gregory drank a lot throughout most of the fifties, he could not hold a job, and he lost his wife after a disastrous trip to Africa. He joined the army on the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death, October 1, 1956, but was soon sent home for psychological instability. He was diagnosed and hospitalized with schizophrenia, and had electroshock treatments. In between treatments, Gigi and Ernest drove down to Key West, their last time together.

Yet he also completed pre-med at ULCA, and in 1960, at the age of 29, was accepted at the University of Miami Medical School. He requested a copy of the autopsy on his mother, and found that she had a pheochromocytoma tumor on an adrenal gland. The phone call with Ernest caused the tumor to secrete large amounts of adrenaline, and then to stop. Her blood pressure went up to 300, and then dropped to zero, and she died of shock.

Gigi wrote to his father to explain, and to transfer the blame. Ernest committed suicide nine months later. Gigi attended his father’s funeral and met Valerie Danby Smith (1940 – ), who had been Ernest’s last secretary.  They married in 1966, even though he was still married to Alice, his second wife who had just given birth to his fourth child, and though Valerie had had a child by Irish playwright Brendan Behan in the meanwhile.  Gigi and Valerie married again the next year when a divorce had been sorted out, and remained married for 20 years.

For a decade they lived mainly in New York. Gregory was a physician, but without enthusiasm, at Standard Oil, General Motors and McGraw-Hill publishers. Sometime he was hospitalized and had more shock treatments. He would buy female clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue, wear them once and dump them. He also borrowed his wife’s things, but she said, in the Colapinto Rolling Stone article, that she never saw him cross-dressed. However in 1974 he read Jan MorrisConundrum and talked to Valerie about having the same surgery.  Valerie wrote:
"I never had it in my heart to be angry with Greg, except momentarily, for he suffered far more than anyone I have known. (Running: 294)”
Gregory published an autobiography in 1976 with a preface by Norman Mailer. It was a critical success but did not discuss his gender problems.

He was then 44. He became a general practitioner in Fort Benton, Montana (population 1500), and stayed for a year. From 1978-83 he was a country doctor in Jordan, Montana (population 600), the sole MD for an area the size of Connecticut. The population appreciated his hard work and dedication.

Valerie and their two children came west in 1980 and settled in Bozeman, 320 miles away. Gregory was expected every other weekend. He would often stop in a motel to dress. He even appeared in the cowboy bar in Jordan in drag. The locals pretended not to notice. In the Spring of 1983 Gigi was arrested after trying on clothes in a boutique and smearing them with makeup. He’d ruined over $1,000 of merchandise.

Later that year he took leave to run in the Boston Marathon, but didn’t show up, didn’t return when expected. He then got a job in Missoula, Montana, and started divorce proceedings. He was going out en femme more and more, and was so when his son John (his second child with Jane) came to visit in 1985. Gigi demanded entrance to a women’s exercise class and then kicked in the door at a restaurant when they wouldn’t serve him. He was sentenced to six months, and served two weeks. Nine months later, again in drag, he kicked in another door and threw a rock though a window. He was referred for psychiatric treatment and later lost his license to practice medicine in Montana.

He managed to escape to Florida. He studied for the Florida medical license, but then dropped out. In 1987 Gigi first met Paul Hendrickson.
“I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying not to be a transvestite. It’s a combination of things. The problems are twofold - no, they’re threefold. First, You’ve got this father who’s supermasculine, but who’s somehow protesting it all the time, he’s worried to death about it, never mind that he actually is very masculine, more masculine than anyone else around, in fact. But worried about it all the same--and therefore worried about his sons and their masculinity. Secondly, you start playing around with your mother’s stockings one day when you’re about four year’s old . Maybe it all starts with something as innocent as this. And why do you do this? Who knows? But it must have something to do with the fact that your mother doesn’t seem to love you enough. Or that’s your perception of it . Her maternal instincts just aren’t very strong .... You think that she loves your older brother Patrick more. So maybe you’re putting on her clothes in the first place because you somehow think that you’ll be able to win her that way, get close to her. But then, you see, it starts to feel sexy for its own sake, just to have those things on. It’s erotic, it arouses you. The third thing is your own heightened awareness to everything around you. You’re a writer’s son, after all. You take in a lot more. (Hendrickson, 2011: 383-4)”.
In 1987 Paul Hendrickson’s articles on the Hemingways in The Washington Post revealed Gigi’s semi-secret for the first time in a national publication. As this was shortly after the drastically cut-down posthumous first publication of Ernest’s The Garden of Eden, in which a male-female couple exchange clothes and identities, questions were raised in the press re how much of the father was in the son. Gloria played to this when in an interview with the short-lived magazine, Fame, she asked the rhetorical question:
“What’s wrong with the family? My God! Is he doing this too?”.

Gloria and Ida two years after Gloria's surgery
In 1988, Gigi had a single breast implant on the left side. In 1991 he met Ida Mae Galliher (1941 – ) in the ladies room of a bar in Coconut Grove, Miami, and 21 months later they were married in his boyhood home which had been a National Historic Landmark since 1968.

In 1995, Gregory and Ida divorced; Gregory, now Gloria, had surgery with Stanley Biber; as Gregory attended the First International Hemingway Colloguium in Havana; and back in Coconut Grove, Gloria made a scene on a bus and resisted arrest.

Gregory, and Ida remarried in 1997 in Washington State. It was more frequently Gregory rather than Gloria who appeared in public.

mugshot after last arrest
In 2001 Gloria was arrested outside a state park for indecent exposure and resisting arrest. She was nude but carrying a dress and high-heel shoes. She died of hypertension and cardiovascular disease on the fifth day of incarceration in the Miami-Dade Women's Detention Center. Her death at age 69 was 50 years to the day from her mother’s death.

Gloria left $7 million to Ida, but the children challenged the will on the grounds that same-sex marriage is not legal in Florida. The parties eventually reached an undisclosed settlement.
  • Gregory H. Hemingway. Papa: A Personal memoir. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1976.
  • Ernest Hemingway. The Garden of Eden. New York: C. Scribner's, 1986.
  • Paul Hendrickson. “The Hemingway Heritage: Papa's three sons are still living in conflict with the powerful image of that famous and macho writer” The Washington Post August 23, 1987.
  • Kenneth Lynn. Hemingway Harvard University Press 1987: 403,418-9,499-502,561-4.
  • Gerald Clarke, "The Sons Almost Rise". Fame, September 1989: 108.
  • Lorian Hemingway (G’s first child). Walk on Water: A Memoir. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1998.
  • John Colapinto. “The Good Son.” Rolling Stone 5 September 2002: 60–65.
  • Valerie Hemingway (G’s third wife). Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways. New York: Ballantine Books, 2004.
  • John Hemingway (G’s second child). Strange Tribe: a Family Memoir. The Lyons Press, 2007.
  • Lynn Conway (ed). "The Strange Saga of Gregory Hemingway".
  • Paul Hendrickson. Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011: 15, 297-9, 382-5, 386, 390-2, 397, 400, 403-53, 493, 496, 498.

I previously, in June 2008, published a much shorter version.  My first draft had been based mainly on Paul Hendrickson’s Washington Post article.  I recently noticed reviews of Hendrickson’s new book, and realized that it went into a lot more detail about Gloria.  I was one of the first to borrow the book from my local library, and it is the major basis of this revised version.  I did not realize that Hendrickson was the same writer as the Washington Post article until part way through the book.

None of the Wikipedia articles on the three towns in Montana where Gregory worked mention him among the notable residents.  The Wikipedia article on Pauline Pfeiffer says nothing about her unusual death.  The Wikipedia article on Laura Archera completely fails to mention her long-time lover Jinny Pfeiffer – which is outrageous.  The Aldous Huxley article does not mention her either.  If I were doing a blog on polyamory, I would certainly do an article on the three of them.

I failed to find any mention in Hendrickson’s book of electrolysis or female hormones.  From this I assume that Gloria did not do either, even though as a doctor she could have self prescribed hormones.  It is quite possible that if Gloria were on estrogen she would not have been arrested so often.

The discussion in Hendrickson of Gloria's visit to Dr Biber is very brief, and the others don't even name the surgeon.   Hendrickson doesn't ask the questions that those who know of sex-change surgery would ask. There is no mention of psychiatrists' letters, nor of Biber's reaction to her not being on estrogens. What does he mean by 'a series of operations'?

Of Ernest’s three sons, Gregory was the only one to have a career, and he had the most children: eight if you included Brendan, who was named after his father.  His two brothers had one and three children respectively.

Pauline Pfeiffer was Catholic.  Ernest Hemingway converted to Catholicism (but not to the Catholic notion of marriage for life) in order to marry her in 1927.  While Ernest supported the elected government in the Spanish Civil War, Pauline’s Catholicism led her to support the fascist insurgents.   Her reward for this was, because she was divorced, to be denied both a Catholic Mass and burial in a Catholic cemetery.

03 November 2011

Kristiene Clarke (196? - ) film director.

Kristiene Clarke is a producer and director who has made 21 documentary films so far, many of them of gay and transgender interest.

Her first film was Sex Change - Shock! Horror! Probe, 1989, a documentary with a tongue-in-cheek title, about transsexuals and their lives.

She has worked for all the major UK channels, and she has won awards at many film festivals, and has been screened at the Berlinale, the United Nations, National Film Theatre, the ICA, the Directors Guild of America and the Smithsonian Museum.

01 November 2011

Richard O’Brien (1942–) playwright, actor, musician.

Richard Timothy Smith was born in Cheltenham. He knew he wanted to be a girl at age 6. At age 10, his father, previously an accountant, moved the family to Tauranga, New Zealand, to take up sheep farming. Richard was picked on at school for his small size, but became proficient on a horse.

At age 22 he returned to England. His horse skills got him employment as a stuntman in Carry On Cowboy, 1966, and Casino Royal, 1967. He changed his name to O’Brien, his grandmother’s name, to avoid confusion with another Richard Smith.

He was in the touring cast of Hair, 1969, where he met Tim Curry, and Kimi Wong who became his first wife. He had a small part in the stage version of Jesus Christ Superstar, 1972, which introduced him to director Jim Sharman, who later agreed to put on The Rocky Horror Show, Richard's first play. It played two years at the King’s Road Theatre, and was then made into a The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film was initially a failure but then became defined as a cult classic and took off.

The follow-up Shock Treatment failed to take off in either way. Richard acted in a variety of film and television including as the villain Gulnar in Robin of Sherwood, 1986, and as the eponymous Ink Thief, 1994, and as the host of the game show, Crystal Maze, 1990-3. He performed as a musician as Mephistopheles Smith.

From 2009 he has been on oestrogen and has spoken several times to the press about being transgender. He feels sorrow and exasperation at the way society imposes a sense of
“being abnormal or perverted on those of us who are, as I like to think of myself, a ‘third sex’. Once I’d settled on that concept, I found it freed me from a lot of inner conflicts. But what a shame, that you have to hide yourself away. Become a shadow, so as you don’t make any waves. I don’t see any point in making yourself invisible – I’m too vain! And yes, from time to time, I put a frock on and make myself look gorgeous – exceptionally gorgeous – and my daughter, she’s 20, will be with me and when anyone sniggers or points, she says, ‘That’s my dad. It’s the way he is –right?’ As long as my children love me – and they do – I’m fine. And I’m happy.”
In 2010 he was denied citizenship when he applied to retire in New Zealand. After this was taken up in the press, he was granted residency as an ‘exceptional’ case.

++In 2013 O'Brien was in the press being controversial: “I think I agree with that. I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries. You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off.  That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”

* Not the economist, nor the collector, nor the other actor nor the jazz musician.


I saw The Rocky Horror Show in its run on the King’s Road in 1973.

There are different ways of describing what Brad and Janet stumble into in The Rocky Horror Show.  One description would be a fetish party. Those who describe Virginia Prince and heterosexual transvestites as ‘fetishists’ never explain how they could possibly fit into the party.  Surely Prince and co are far too square to be fetishists.

There are large numbers of apparently non-trans Rocky Horror enthusiasts.  I have never seen a discussion of whether this is a variety of cross-dreaming, or some other cis gender variant.

++ I really don't know what to make of the remake of Rocky Horror with Lavern Cox.   Given O'Brien's more recent comments, why is a noted trans actor performing his work?   Not that I have any objections to a trans actor playing a cis gender variant role.   Cox in the part contributes to trans, drag, cis gender variance and fetish all being all mashed together - which is good.   An important part of the original is British actors playing US parts; I have seen no comment that this aspect will be respected in the remake.   I usually ignore remakes and stick with the original.   I will probably do so here.