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 January 2012

Tony Midnite (1926 - 2009) performer, costumier, activist.

Tony Murdoch was born in Texas. He was working in munitions in San Francisco during World War II when, being under aged, he used fake ID to see the impersonator show at Finocchio’s, and was sure that he could do better.

After the war he started performing as Tony Midnite in Galveston and then played clubs in many US cities. He joined The Jewel Box Revue in 1948, but later left to begin a career as a costume designer.  He was a friend and colleague of Hedy Jo Star.

He opened a studio in Chicago in 1952. He defied the Chicago Police Department which did not want impersonation acts in the city by booking The Jewel Box Revue for two weeks, and it was so successful that it stayed for eight months.

Tony returned to The Jewel Box Revue in 1958 and refit the entire show with costumes, which they wore for their Broadway appearance. He then relocated to New York, appearing at 82 Club. He did the costumes for the road shows of Gypsy and Carnival!, for the Metropolitan Opera and some television shows.

In 1964 he returned to Chicago and started his own show, which included Gayle Sherman. He was active in the gay movement there. He was part of the local demonstration against anti-gay advocate Anita Bryant in 1977, and again against the police harassment while Jane Byrne was Chicago’s mayor. He was a book reviewer for several publications.

Tony was inducted into Chicago’s Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996.

He moved to Las Vegas in 2000 and did the planning for the 2001 Jewel Box reunion.

He died age 82.

27 January 2012

K (189?–?) Soviet pioneer.

From Kazan, Tartarstan, USSR, K was diagnosed as a ‘transvestite’ in 1937.

She was given permission by the People’s Court to wear female clothing, her identity papers were changed to her female name, and her name was removed from the military recruitment rolls.

She was featured in a 1957 gynaecology textbook.
  • M.G. Serdiukov. Sudebnaia ginekologiia I sudebnoi akusherstvo. Moscow: Meditsina 1957: 47-8.
  • Dan Healey. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2001: fig 24.

24 January 2012

David Wilde (1917 - 2001) writer, publisher.

David Wilde was born to rich parents in New York. He was an avid cross dresser from childhood. After doing a degree in English Literature at Yale University he married Mary Scott. They had two daughters. He became a news writer and film critic. For several years from 1949 he published The Record, a weekly in the Westchester County village of Bedford. Later he worked in public relations.
Gail in 1961

David and Mary separated in 1960, and David moved to an apartment on the East Side of Manhattan and then later to another in Greenwich Village. As Gail he subscribed to Virginia Prince’s Transvestia, and became a New York contact for the Foundation for Full Personality Expression, (FPE). Those who knew both David and Gail found Gail to be less abrasive, but both personae were negative about gays and transsexuals.

Gail met Katherine Cummings at Susanna Valenti’s D’Eon Resort, and met Darrell Raynor when the latter used the contact listings in Transvestia. Gail’s antique-filled apartment was open as a meeting place for transvestites, and she would answer the phone with “Downtown Branch” in recognition of Susanna’s uptown location.  At this time David was the publisher of Girl Talk, distributed free in beauty parlours.

In 1968 David met Joan Bennett (1910-90), the film star and member of the New York acting dynasty, at a party.   Joan had been in Bulldog Drummond, 1929, Little Women, 1933, Trade Winds, 1938, Scarlet Street, 1945. Her third husband, Walter Wanger jealously shot and injured her agent in 1951 which almost ended her career. She finally divorced Wanger, who served four months for the shooting, in 1965.

When she met David she was appearing in the occult soap opera, Dark Shadows, 1966-71. They dated for ten years. When David told her about Gail, she was initially dismayed, but afterwards she was unperturbed. David asked Harry Benjamin to talk to her about cross-dressing.

They married in 1978, shortly after she was in Dario Argento’s Suspiria, 1977. Only a few weeks later they awoke to find their Scarsdale house on fire. The police decided that it was arson, and even suspected David, but no-one was ever arrested.

David and Joan remained married almost 13 years, during which David did no cross-dressing as such, although he maintained a longtime friendship with Katherine Cummings whom he wrote to as Gail.  In 1989 David berated her when she was about to have surgery, and tried to talk her out of it for the harm that she was doing to her family.

Joan died of a heart attack at age 80. Afterwards Gail was quickly resurrected.

David committed suicide at age 84 in despair at how the world was going.

*Not the pianist/composer, nor the cricketer, nor the writer for Rolling Stone
* Not Girl Talk the pre-teen magazine.
  • Darrell Raynor. A Year Among the Girls. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1966. New York: Lancer Books, 1968: 32, 42-3, 45-53.
  • Brian Kellow. The Bennetts: An Acting Family. Lexington, : University Press of Kentucky, 2004: 428-9, 440-1.
  • Katherine Cummings. Katherine's Diary- the Story of a Transsexual. William Heinemann Australia 1992. Revised and updated 2008: 133-8, 151-2, 195-6, 277, 317, 391.
  • The Peerage: Page 29808.

21 January 2012

Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte (1964–) professor, activist.

Raised in Rancagua, Chile, Rivera called himself Andrés even as a child. He was a girl who played football and identified as masculine, and one of her teachers had the other children call out that Rivera was ‘res cocos’ and ‘amachado’. At university Rivera used her intellect and was treated like a man.

Rivera became a professor at the Universidad de Rancagua, but always dressed in a male fashion, and was said to be a lesbian. In 2003 Rivera was interviewed anonymously on television, without the face being shown. Then there was two years of deep depression, drinking heavily and an attempted suicide. A psychiatrist taught Rivera to ignore the prejudice.

He emerged as Andrés. Other transsexual men who had seen the television program contacted Andrés via the program, they exchanged emails and Andrés invited them to his place. This grew into the Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad (OTD), Chile’s only group for transsexuals.

In 2006 he obtained a new teaching contract, but was fired when he turned up. He had no choice but to file for discrimination. In 2007, after being examined medically and a psychiatric and
psychological examination, Andrés was awarded a Judicial Decree of change of name and legal gender, despite not having had phalloplasty - the first Chilean trans man to do so.

Andrés worked with government and the health system for provision for trans people, and organized a debate at Rancagua on civil unions. He has done support work to sex workers distributing food and drink and information about HIV/Aids.

In 2008 he was awarded the Felipa de Souza Award sharing with the Iranian Queer Organization. He is a financial advisor with the Rancagua Municipality.

Andrés and the OTD helped other transsexuals, male and female, who were left homeless after the March 2010 earthquake.

*Not the Argentinian novelist.

18 January 2012

Elizabeth Coffey (194? - ) actress, housewife, manager

Elizabeth, from Philadelphia, had a small but memorable part in the John Waters’ film, Pink Flamingos, 1972, where she fully reciprocates when approached by a flasher.
Elizabeth & Maralyn, Philadelphia drag queen, in Nickels, p57

She was in the late stages of transition at the time, and in fact had her surgery a week later.

Waters says that he cast her because “I knew that she had a wonderful sense of humor”, and that “I was especially glad to know that she had the first sex change in Maryland that was paid for by welfare. At last, my tax money was being put to a good use”.

She was also in Water’s next film, Female Trouble, 1974. as a death row inmate.

She later moved to Chicago, married, adopted a child, and managed an all-male traveling construction crew.

In 1985 she appeared as the one female in Divine’s music video, Walk Like a Man.
  • John Waters. Shock Value. New York, N.Y.: Dell Pub. Co, 1981: xi, 129.
  • Thom Nickels. Gay and Lesbian Philadelphia. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2002: 57. 

15 January 2012

The GLF Transvestite, Transsexual and Drag Queen group, 1972

Come Together is a song on The Beatles 1969 Abbey Road album.  It was also the newspaper put out by the UK Gay Liberation Front from 1970-3.   The following article was collectively written by the Transvestite, Transsexual and Drag Queen group and published in issue 11, the Lesbian Issue, January 1972.   It is reprinted in Aubrey Walter (ed). Come Together: The Years of Gay Liberation, 1970-73. London: Gay Men's Press, 1980: 164-7.

It is now 40 years later.   Some things have changed enormously.  There is the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Acts.   The trans woman who thought that she was the only one in the world until she learnt a word by watching Psycho, is very much of her time.  There is so much today about trans persons on television and in the press, that one can no longer not know.

However basic issues like passing and the attitudes of other people have hardly changed at all.

Note the use of sex changes as a a noun – that is almost never said any more.   There is no attempt by the transsexuals to say that they are not transvestites, or vice versa.  This was GLF though.   You could also go to  The Beaumont Society, which was formed as a Princian group for heterosexual transvestites only, and was much more homophobic and transsexual-phobic in 1972 than it became in later years.   And shortly afterwards Charlotte Bach started giving weekly talks in a friend’s flat, but most interested people never heard about it, and after that the UK offshoot of Angela Douglas’ TAO (which Stephen Whittle identifies as when transsexuals started to talk about being a separate group).  Yvonne Sinclair started the TV-TS Support Group in 1976.  Judy Cousins established SHAFT in 1980, and Press For Change was formed in 1992.

Note the rejection of ‘a woman trapped in a man's body’ as a stereotype imposed by outsiders.

60,000 taking sex hormones by 1972.   I am surprised by that statistic.


The Transvestite, Transsexual and Drag Queen group has been meeting for several weeks. So far about forty people have called  or visited. Some have come regularly, some have drifted off.  Almost all have been women — people born males who live as  women, or more commonly, dress as women whenever they get the chance. Transvestite men — people born female who live or dress as men (if the language confuses you it confuses us too, it's not meant to include us) have so far not come forth. We're working to break down these barriers, but for now this article will be the experience of transvestite women. Not an article really, just some notes of things we've learned talking to each other.  How many of us are there? Nobody knows, or has any real statistics, but there are 60,000 people in the United Kingdom taking sex hormones. Add to this the people who want them but the doctors won't give them, the people who want them but are afraid to ask, and all the transvestites who at the moment aren't interested in hormones. The amazing thing is, most of us think we're a tiny minority. One TV thought she was the only person in the world who did this strange thing until she saw the movie Psycho in which the detective uses the word 'transvestite', and she thought, 'There's a word for it!

When we're alone we tend to accept the stereotypes. By getting together we've discovered how ridiculous they really are.   No one in the group has ever said, 'What horrible trick of nature has made me a woman trapped in a man's body?' We just don't think that way. The psychiatrists who electro-shock us think we're pathetic or tragic, but even those who are very much in the closet enjoy being transvestite as long as there's some outlet. We don't follow any single profession. Recently a GLF brother said he thought most transvestites were upper-class and in the art world. At one meeting we had, among others, a student, a house cleaner, an office worker, an engineer, a prostitute, a pub entertainer, and a taxi driver. Most of all, we are not heavily rouged, teased-hair parodies of anybody's traditional role. Some of us dress that way — why not? some 'regular' women dress that way — but we're just people and our taste covers the whole spectrum, from middle-aged matron to hot pants to maxi-skirt, even to butch.

The whole question of roles needs to be examined, and particularly what we as transvestites, transsexuals and drag queens can contribute to a new understanding of how they operate. Some of us are opposed to roles because they can limit self-discovery. We don't want to discard the male role just to take on the female role. Others think that transvestites can show people that roles can be fun, if you're free to take the ones you want and discard them when you don't want them any more. The important thing is, no one should tell you, as a man or a woman, this is the role you have to play, and you have to play it all the time. One TV, when told by a regular woman, 'You're just parodying my role', replied, 'Who said it's your role?'

There are many questions we are just beginning to examine.  Why is Danny La Rue a West End institution, when we get  kicked out of our flats for wearing a skirt? Apparently it's all right if you're doing it for money, but perverted if you do it for personal satisfaction.

A more central question is how to relate to other women.  When we talk about our hopes and fantasies, it becomes apparent that what we want above all is to be accepted as women, primarily by other women. But will we achieve this by looking for ways in which we share experience with regular women or by developing a unique transvestite consciousness?

Sometimes the second approach seems real militant and proud, at other times it seems a cop-out, accepting the prejudiced view that we're not women, that we're some freaky third sex (or fourth or fifth?). Possibly we can find some light by considering the situation of black women and gay women, who develop black pride and gay pride, but still explore their feelings as women.  Think how much more inspiring and beautiful the women's revolution will be when it joyously includes all women. Think of a Holloway demo with transvestite, transsexual and drag-queen women, gay women and heterosexual women, black, yellow, brown and white women, mothers, daughters, poor women, rich women, working women, housewives and career women.  Certainly, whatever course we take as transvestites, transsexuals and drag queens, we must first destroy the trap wherein regular women set up standards by which they accept or reject us.

A similar question, perhaps even more immediate, is the question of passing. Transvestites have always sought to pass as regular women by disguising their voice, walking right, etc.  Certainly it's a thrill to have a salesgirl say, 'Can I help you, madam?' But do we give up too much? How can we escape the feeling of being just an illusion, something that can't be touched or looked at too closely? And we become so paranoid when we're worried people will read us. Also, one transsexual said, you don't become the woman you are, but the woman you can pass as — which means you may feel like maxi-skirts and scarlet capes, but you wear brown midis so people notice you less. So many sex-changes live in constant fear people will discover their pasts.  One sex-change said she's torn between two desires, one to disappear and be accepted as a regular woman after struggling so many years, the other to shout up and down the street how beautiful it is to be transsexual. If you're young and haven't suffered as much, you're quick to say be militant, don't hide. Those who came out long ago are often the proudest because they've been themselves the longest. But they also know that if you pass you're treated as a human being, if you don't you're treated as a pervert or a roadshow.

Yet there are also thrills to not passing, or more precisely, not caring if you pass. You dress, comb your hair, use make-up to suit yourself, not to go unnoticed. And you discover yourself developing street instincts: how to handle crowds, how to judge people approaching you, what to do about police. One sister always carries an Italian women's magazine on the tube so if someone speaks to her she can wave the magazine and pretend she doesn't speak English. You learn to laugh at people before they laugh at you. You become your own street theatre. Two transvestites can conquer a whole department store of uptight straight people.

Certainly one thing becomes more and more clear as we come together; pass or not pass, we can't let anybody tell us what we are. One sister said that after six months of psychiatric treatment she discovered that no one knew her like herself. We can't let anybody tell us we're men, when we know we're women. As Holly Woodlawn once said in New York, 'Don't call me mister, you fucking beast!'

Some people whose ideas or experience are reflected in this article are: Roz, Paula, Rachel, Delia, Edith, Susan, Perry, Patty, Christine.

12 January 2012

Clarabelle (18?? - ? ) pioneer activist

Clarabelle, who lived full-time as female, was the "queen mother” of Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, an informal position co-ordinating homosexuals, queens, communists and bohemians. She had a dozen lieutenants, one of whom monitored the so-called Fruit Tank, the jail for queers.

During the 1933 ‘Milk Strike’ when mothers of the poor and unemployed protested that large amounts of milk were poured down the storm drains to keep the price up, and the police were beating heads bloody, Harry Hay the future homophile pioneer threw a brick and dislodged a policeman from his horse. Sympathizers rushed him away, and to Clarabelle’s for hiding.

Bunker Hill was in the way of downtown development and by the 1960s, against local resistance, it was all removed: 396 buildings were destroyed and 11,000 residents displaced, the hill was flattened and sold for a song to developers.
  • Harry Hay and Will Roscoe. Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996: 37,52.
  • Edward W. Soja. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell, 1996: 213.
  • Leslie Feinberg. “Young Harry Hay and the Wobblies”. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans pride series, part 31 Workers World, Apr 14, 2005.

 This snippet of history was almost lost, surviving merely as an anecdote by Harry Hay.  Here are some of the books that do not mention Clarabelle: Gay LA; Lavender Los Angeles; Bohemian Los Angeles; How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States.  The next generation of trans activists in Los Angeles, Virginia Prince and Ed Wood, if they knew about her, did not mention her.

09 January 2012

Jean Bonnet (1849 - 1876) frog catcher.

Jeanne Bonnet was born in Paris and raised in San Francisco, one of two daughters of French theater players. Their mother died, and soon after the sister, at age 16, was incarcerated in the State Insane Asylum where she also died. The father, who was disabled, left to find work in Oakland. Jeanne was in and out of the Industrial School (juvenile detention), and made a living catching frogs and selling them to French restaurants.

When in the Industrial School, Bonnet had gained entry into the boys’ section and then attacked the largest boy, just to show that she could. Bonnet was often arrested for fighting, and for wearing male attire. He visited brothels as a customer, and had several run-ins with pimps after encouraging their women to leave them. In 1874, Bonnet was hospitalized after ingesting laudanum.

In 1875 Blanche Beunon arrived from France with Arthur Deneve and their child. Deneve was a friend of Ernest Gerard who shot Jean Bonnet early 1876 and then visited him in hospital. Beunon and Deneve broke up, and Deneve took the child and returned to France.

Beunon turned to Bonnet, and Gerard accosted them in the street, accusing Bonnet of luring Blanche from Arthur, assaulted both of them and then called a police officer to have Bonnet arrested for wearing male clothes.

After hearing that Gerard was threatening to throw acid in Blanche’s face, Jean took her, first to stay with a Frenchman, Pierre Louis and his wife, and then to McNamara’s Hotel at San Miguel Railway Station. On the night of September 1876, there was a shotgun blast through the window and Bonnet was dead.

Gerard was suspected but had a strong alibi. Then the police heard either that Deneve had offered $2,000 to Pierre Louis to kill Blanche as a example to the other girls, or that L’Amant d’Blanche, another jealous lover of Beunon, had paid Louis. In either case it was not intended that Bonnet be killed. However Louis and his wife had fled to Montréal, and later Louis hanged himself before he could be arrested.

L’Amant d’Blanche took Blanche back, but she died of throat cancer six months later.
  • Allan Bérubé. “Lesbian Maquerade: Some lesbians in early San Francisco who passed as men”. A Slide lecture, San Francisco, June 1979. Reprinted in Gay Community News, Boston, Nov 17, 1979. Reprinted in My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History. The University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • The San Francisco lesbian and Gay History Project.  " 'She Even Chewed Tobacco': A Pictorial Narrative of Passing Women in America".  A slide show based on primary research by Allan Bérubé, edited and reprinted in Martin B. Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. New York: New American Library, 1989: 183-194.
  • Kevin J. Mullen. “The Little Frog Catcher”, The Toughest Gang in Town: Police Stories From Old San Francisco. Noir Publications, 2005: 150-5.

Both Bérubé and Mullen persist in referring to Bonnet as 'she' and 'Jeanne', presumably because the only primary sources are newspaper accounts which in 1876 would refer to Bonnet in that manner.  We do not actually know that Bonnet called himself Jean, but, as most English speakers do not pick up on the difference in pronunciation between Jean and Jeanne, it is likely.  Jean presented as male and went to brothels as a man.  He would not undermine his own presentation by insisting on a female name.

06 January 2012

Manabi Bannerjee (1966–) professor of literature

Revised May 2015

Somnath Banerjee was raised in Naihati, Paschim Banga (previously West Bengal), an only son with two sisters. He insisted on learning to dance to classical music as Indian girls do.

After school he went to a psychiatrist who told him to forget about being a woman or end up killing himself. He studied hard, obtained first class degrees and became a professor of Bengali literature at Jhargram college.

She was for a while a woman at home, but a man when on the street. Then she was obviously in transition. The other teachers forced her to move out from the professors’ quarters. She was called a hijra and accused of child abuse. She approached the West Bengal Human Rights Commission and they served a show-cause notice on the college. She started a group for Bengali transsexuals, and edits their magazine, Aba-manab (=sub human) so called for "That's what transsexuals are, in other people's eyes".

"I was always effeminate. So, when I was an effeminate man, it seemed that a majority of the people I knew wanted to dismiss me as a 'girl'. The moment they saw me in a woman's body, they suddenly woke up to the gender I was born with and insisted I was a man, of course a grossly aberrant one".

In 2003 she had genital surgery for 5 lakh rupees (=£8,000) after many sessions of counselling. She immediately started wearing a sari and changed her name to to Manabi (=woman) The college authorities wanted to fire her on the grounds that they had hired Samnath, but Manabi won the court case.

She met a Bengali business man and they had a Hindu ritual marriage. Their house was attacked and the landlord tried to lock them out. The police did nothing, and the husband was taken away by his family. In a subsequent court case the state prosecutor tried to argue that that Manabi was a minor in that she had been female for only three years.  Manabi was also accused of "sinister and anti-social activities" and of being a witch. She turned to the state women’s commission which complained to the district authorities which in turn warned Manabi’s landlord. Manabi was also beaten up by hijra at an NGO rally when she said things they did not want to hear.

She now has a boyfriend who works in government. She takes care of her aging parents. She has written a bestselling novel, Endless Bondage, about hijras. She is still teaching at Jhargram college, where she is better accepted by the students that by the other teachers.

In May 2015 it was announced that Professor Bannerjee had been appointed head of the Krishnanagar Women’s College in West Bengal.  

03 January 2012

Hedy Jo Star (1920 - 1999) showgirl, costumier, business woman.

Carl Rollins Hammonds was born in Prague, Oklahoma, the eldest of seven children. He grew small breasts as a teenager, and his mother took him to several doctors including a ‘brain specialist’, but would not consent to exploratory surgery. She was told that Carl would not live past 35, or that he would go insane.

From age 17 Hammonds worked as a half-man-half-woman in carnival, and then as an ‘exotic dancer’, and took the name Hedy Jo Star.

Hedy was drafted in 1942, and was in the press after making a fuss about not cutting her long hair. She served as a female impersonator in the US Army shows.

After the war, she returned to carnival life. She was a friend and colleague with Tony Midnite, and both of them made costumes for other people. Hedy was the owner-manager of the Hollywood State Revue, a troupe of female dancers, one of whom was Vicki Marlane. They played state fairs in summer, and in winter Hedy worked as a hypnotist in nightclubs.

Just after Christine Jorgensen was in the news in 1954 Hedi wrote her autobiography, I Changed My Sex!, which was only a slight exaggeration.

In 1956 she saw a female endocrinologist in New York.
“My face was covered during the examination with a sheet. Then my doctor and her colleagues examined me. Later my doctor explained to me that what she was planning to do was illegal under New York law, which is the reason the other specialists she consulted wished to remain anonymous.”
The doctor put Hedy on estrogen and arranged breast-enhancement. Despite testimony from twelve physicians that Hedy should have gender surgery, the New York State Medical Society refused permission because of the mayhem laws.

In 1958 Hedy, by then two years on estrogen, applied to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She received an answer by letter three months later:
“We do realize that you are psychologically more comfortable in your role as a female and perhaps it would be wise for you to continue as you have done in the past”
 but her request was refused on the grounds of her not being intersex, and that the surgery “might in actuality constitute mayhem”.

A few years later she saw Dr Harry Benjamin who referred her to Elmer Belt in Los Angeles. She was saving up for this when, early in 1962 and just before Belt discontinued doing genital surgery, a friend referred her to a doctor in Chicago who, after an examination, phoned the Methodist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and she had an appointment. The Memphis doctor and four colleagues examined her and then warned her that the operation was extremely dangerous, that she might not survive, and if so may not be able to walk. However the operation was done the next day. Hedy prayed to God “not to let her live to leave the operating table if she was doing wrong and going against His will”. One of the doctors punctured her urinary track and corrective surgery was needed. She was in hospital for 45 days.

Novel Books, associated with The National Insider republished her 1955 autobiography, and she wrote an advice column for the National Insider which also was later published as a book.

Hedy married a doctor from Boston, Dr Ralph Bucinskas (1943 - 2003). They moved to Las Vegas where she developed her career as a costumier. One of her first clients was the impersonator, Kenny Kerr, then just starting his career. She was known for her expensive costumes for dancers, strippers, female impersonators, clowns, burlesque and circus performers, and for Elvis Presley and Anne Margaret.

She died at age 79.

Some say that her birth name was Joseph Starke.  This is repeated by Ward Hall in his comment on the article in Tribe.   When his comment was reprinted in Side Show World, this datum was removed.   Roy Richmond is Hedy’s nephew and he is able to assure us that this rumor is untrue.

Does anybody have any idea who the female endocrinologist in New York in 1956 was?

Likewise who was the surgeon in Memphis in 1962?  Did he ever do another sex change operation?

Why does nobody mention that I Changed My Sex! precedes Hedy’s operation by 7 years?

Notes towards the social construction of intersex:  Teenage Carl grew small breasts and his mother, being freaked out by that took him to a series of doctors.   However in 1958 the doctors at Johns Hopkins found that Hedy did not meet their definition of intersex.

Roy Richmond has been writing a book about his aunt.  I look forward to reading it.

There are comments in some sources about Hedy having America's first complete sex change even though she did not have genital surgery until 1962.  The implication here is that Christine Jorgensen did not have vaginoplasty in Denmark, and not until a date in the 1960s that is not specified in most sources.  However to even bring up this claim is to totally ignore a) all the persons who had surgery with Elmer Belt b) those who had already gone to Dr Burou in Casablanca c) those who had had surgery in Europe e.g Tamara Rees in the Netherlands in 1954 and Sally Berry in Sweden in 1953-8.

Sandy Stone mentions Hedy Jo Star in her "The Empire Strikes Back", with the quote: "I wanted the sensual feel of lingerie against my skin, I wanted to brighten my face with cosmetics. I wanted a strong man to protect me."   This kind of stereotyped femininity  was expected of 1950s women, cis and trans alike, but nowadays is rather suspect and is even liable to be labeled 'autogynephilic', even in androphilic early transitioners as Hedy definitely was.