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!

28 April 2012

Marcela Romero (1964 - ) activist.

Raised in Buenos Aires Province, Marcela transitioned at age 17, which meant dropping out of school and leaving home. She had to sell sex to survive and became HIV+. At that time she was required to carry male identification papers.

In 2004 she became an activist for trans rights. A year later she was elected co-ordinator of the Asociacion Travestis Transexuales Transgeneros Argentinas. (ATTTA).

In 2005 she was invited to the Central American Congress on STD/HIV/AIDS (CONCASIDA) meeting in El Salvador. She was one of very few trans persons at the conference. She took exception to the classification of transgender as a type of gay man, especially as trans women have one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS. She rejected the term ‘homophobia’ as unrepresentative and advocated for the new term ‘transphobia’:
“We are defending thousands of trans people who want to live and should be included in the agendas of governments in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
She is the co-ordinator of REDLACTRANS, the network of Latin American and Caribbean Trans persons, and represented them at the UNAIDS meeting in Brazil in 2006.   She is also vice-president of the Federación Argentina de Lesbianas Gays Bisexuales y Trans (FALGBT)

In 2007 she and many other trans and intersex activists met in Panama at the parallel event to the 37th Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. Marcela and Belissa Andia of Peru, Natasha Jiménez of Costa Rica and Silvia Martínez of Nicaragua were accredited to the General assembly by their real names, not the male names in their passports.

After 10 years of applying to the courts to be recognized as a woman, she finally succeeded in 2009. She was on the cover of Queer magazine, REDLACTRANS was awarded the Clarence H. Moore Award for Excellence for Voluntary Service at the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Event held in Washington, DC. In December that year she was honoured as Women of the Year by the Chamber of Deputies’s committee on women and the family.

*Not the footballer nor the jazz musician.

    26 April 2012

    Bobbi Cameron (1953 –) performer.

    Toni grew up with three older sisters, and was frequently also taken to be a girl. The parents were embarrassed by this and kept Toni out of school, and locked Toni in the bedroom when relatives came to visit.

    At 16 she ran away to San Francisco and joined the psychedelic drag troupe, the Cockettes, where she was known as Bobbi Cameron, sometimes Bobbi Venus. Bambi Lake describes her as looking like a 1930s Vogue magazine evening-gown model; Judy Carne says that she looked like Rita Hayworth.

    Bobbi was in two of the Cockettes films: she played the lead role in Tricia’s Wedding, 1971, and was Cynthia in Elevator Girls in Bondage, 1972. Then she was recruited by the Chilean director, Alejandro Jodorowsky for a role in The Holy Mountain, 1973, as the factory girl seduced by Fon, the boss.

    Actress Judy Carne visited the set of The Holy Mountain, and befriended Toni, who was already taking female hormones.  Judy accepted to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret in Toronto, and hired Toni as her personal assistant to help with makeup and wardrobe. She discovered that Toni had never learned to read, and taught her how.

    Judy took a bad fall and completed the gig singing from a wheelchair. When the show moved to Chicago, she suggested Toni as a replacement for one of the chorus girls who had had to drop out. Toni’s number was ‘Two girls’, but she unfortunately sang it a few octaves too low, and one of the newspapers ran a headline: “In Cabaret, not all the Girls are Ladies”.

     Homophobic catcalls started coming from the audience. Local restaurants refused service to the cast, and their landlord tried to evict them. Judy lost several gigs in the next year or so.

    Fon's girl in The Holy Mountain
    Toni had genital surgery in Los Angeles. Later she married either a cop or a dentist in Las Vegas, and became the lead showgirl at the Tropicano. It is rumored that she had a brief affair with Sylvester Stallone, and had a small part in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    *Not the Canadian guitarist, nor the Scottish footballer.
    •  Alejandro Jodorowsky (dir & scr). The Holy Mountain, with Alejandro Jodorowsky as the alchemist, Bobby Cameron as Fon’s Working Girl. Mexico/US 114 mins 1973.
    • Judy Carne with Bob Merrill. Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside: The Bittersweet Saga of the Sock-It-to-Me Girl. New York: Rawson Associates, 1985: 203-6.
    • Bambi Lake with Alvin Orloff. The Unsinkable Bambi Lake: A Fairy Tale Containing the Dish on Cockettes, Punks, and Angels. San Francisco: Manic D Press, 1996: 30, 45, 48-9.
    • Fayette Hauser. The Cockettes—Acid Drag & Sexual Anarchy, 1969-1972. Process Media, 2020: 83, 114, 238, 274, 327,

    Bambi calls her Bobbi; Judy calls her Toni.   I used Bobbi Cameron as the  title of the article as it is the name used in IMDB.

    Judy says that she married a dentist; Bambi that she married a cop.

    24 April 2012

    A short history of (Harry) Benjamin Syndrome.


    a) the sentiments of HBS were expressed long before the term was proposed
    b) the first usage of the term was in Paris in 1994, where it was a radical and inclusive term
    c) the Argentinean usage seems to be closer to the Parisian, than to the Goiar-Kearny usage
    d) TS-Si and WBT identified with HBS in 2007, but later disassociated
    e) no HBS person has published a history of the HBS movement
    f) neither Reucher nor Goiar seem to have discussed the other.


    -- Georgina Somerset sued the doctors' weekly newspaper, Pulse International, for comparing her to Christine Jorgensen, "implying that I was homosexual, would have had breast implants, electrolysis and was probably not legally married, I had no choice but to instigate libel proceedings for, indeed, all these premises were totally false".   


    -- Betty Cowell interviewed in the Sunday Times: "I was a freak. I had an operation and I’m not a freak any more. I had female chromosome make-up, XX. The people who have followed me have often been those with male chromosomes, XY. So they’ve been normal people who’ve turned themselves into freaks by means of the operation.”


    -- Georgina Somerset wrote to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine,  "These true transsexuals are rare, often asexual and although popular, usually lonely sensitive souls, and its is these who primarily deserve our pity and time-consuming help. However, large numbers of homosexuals, antisocials, exhibitionists and perverts have for some time been jumping onto the transsexual bandwagon, bringing the subject and the medical profession into disrepute. These are more aptly trans-homo-sexuals, often having their partners at their side when having surgery, many afterwards becoming prostitutes."


    -- Margaret O’Hartigan wrote:
    "Every application of the term transgender to me is an attempt to mask what I've done and as such co-opts my life, denies my experience, violates my very soul.”('Changing sex is not changing gender', Sound Out, May 1993:20.). 
    While she is the obvious pre-curser to the Goiar-Kearny flavour of HBS, she was never acknowledged by them.
    -- O'Hartigan helped Dean Kotula, herself and others file complaints in Oregon on the basis that they were covered under disabilities anti-discrimination laws.  


     -- Tom Reucher, Diane Potiron, Hugues Cariou and others found Association du Syndrome de Benjamin in Paris.  This was an inclusive group working with gays and with the trans spectrum.
    -- Melanie Phillips, having completed transition with surgery from Dr Biber,  set up the first online transgender support site, and became one of the most cited advisors on developing a female voice.


    -- O'Hartigan received Pride NorthWest’s “Spirit of Pride Award” for her “tireless advocacy for the trans community and for trans consciousness raising with both the Les/bi/gay and general straight cultures”. She has opposed the removal of Gender Identity Disorder from the DSM in that the associated HBIGDA Standard of Care is non-abusive unlike what she was exposed to as a child, and attacked Phyllis Burke's Gender Shock which documents abusive attempts to 'cure' gender variant children as a 'transphobic' book.


    -- Association du Syndrome de Benjamin start an annual march in Paris, Existrans, the first Saturday in October.
    -- Cathryn Platine, who later identified as HBS, founded the Maetreum of Cybele Magna Mater in Catskill in upstate New York.  


    -- Rachel Horsham, who later identified as HBS, appealed to European Court of Human Rights about UK's continued refusal to re-issue birth certificates for trans persons.


    -- Georgina Somerset wrote to the Daily Telegraph to oppose the Gender Recognition Bill, then before Parliament, and re-iterated that "trans-sexuals do not change their sex but only become simulacra of the opposite sex".  This was quoted with approval by Norman Tebbit in the House of Lords.


    -- Tom Reucher left the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin.


    -- Charlotte Goiar of Spain set up  
    -- She posted on the Australian WOMAN forum and encountered Diane Kearny in the US who already had a forum.  Goiar participated for a while and then they separated.  
    -- September: Síndrome de Harry Benjamin Spanish Yahoo Forum founded.
    -- October Existrans attracted over 1,000 marchers.
    -- Yasmene Jabar had set up the web sites Cafe Trans Arabi and the International Transsexual Sisterhood, the first to help trans women in the middle east, and then expanded to help trans women wherever they are. In 2005 she was involved in the Trans Eastern Conference (TEC) in Istanbul.  
    -- Cathryn Platine organised relief efforts for LGBT victims of hurricane Katrina,


    -- May: The Original Benjamin Syndrome English Yahoo Forum founded.  Proposed HBS Standards of Care published.
    -- Goiar and Kearny both then had a website, a forum and a Standards of Care. Goiar’s  was multi-lingual.  Kearny’s was in English only. Kearny’s required members to be post-op, a condition that Goiar could not meet. 
    -- Laura Amato joined Goiar’s forum enthusiastically.
    -- Alejandra Portatadino of Argentina completed transition:  an HBS woman, she worked with GLBTTI and sex workers. 
    -- Yasmene Jabar's web sites were discontinued.   She became an advocate of HBS, put an explanation by Goiar on her web site, but did not stay with either of the two groups.
    -- Melanie Phillips wrote on her website:  "I've presented myself as just another transsexual and documented my story in the hope it might smooth the way for others.  But now I wonder if it doesn't really foster false hope. … out of all those who have sex reassignment surgery, only a very few have female minds.  All the rest, no matter how feminine they have become, have male minds - they don't just think like men, then think as men. ... After all, those who speak in a female voice are as rare as those with female minds, in my experience.  Sure, anyone can learn to be more feminine in their speaking, but to actually alter the timber of the voice so it is rich and full but female in resonance, that may be beyond the ability of the rank and file transsexual."


    -- Karen Gurney “Harry Benjamin Syndrome is a neurobiological condition”. 
    -- Laura Amato, turned off by disparagements  and anti TG and anti GLBT sentiments within the group, warns her readers. 
    -- Diane Kearny, Jennifer Usher and 3 others attend a WPATH Symposium in Chicago to give an HBS presentation. 
    -- A BBC news item on Argentinian trans woman Nati and her support from the gay community uses the expression “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” – while this one article is cited by HBS advocates for many years, the press doesn’t use the term again until 2012. 
    -- Suzan Cooke:  “Good-Bye to Transgender and All That”  says that: “The transgender community is like a cult that pounds extremely negative messages into the heads of people treated for TS/HBS”.   
    -- Lisa Jain Thompson: “Ruminations On HBS, Revolution, Society, And Real Life” – editor of TS-Si identifies with HBS.


    -- Association du Syndrome de Benjamin is dissolved and Objectif Respect Trans continues with many of the same members.
    -- Alejandra Portatadino recognized by Buenos Aires Legislature as one of 20 Argentinean women who ‘broke traditional moulds’.


    -- Zagria’s Encyclopedia Gender Variance Who’s Who discusses the major HBS players. 
    -- Goiar revises her estimate of the frequency of HBS and estimates that: “an extremely rare condition [1:100,000]”.  Zagria  points out that therefore HBS are only a fraction of 1% of transsexuals. 
    -- Goiar removed her Myspace page.
    -- Suzan Cooke’s blog Women Born Transsexual has HBS in its About, although her postings show that she is reconsidering her allegiance.
    -- HBS International (Joanne Proctor) created pages on English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Simple Wikipedias. However they did not comply with Wikipedia standards in that they were mainly an advertisement with no historical references and made unsupported medical claims. The English version was also very rude about the other 99% of transsexuals. The pages lasted only several weeks.
    -- Joanne Proctor writing as P.J. Schrödinger: Trans-Fried Fluff , in which she claims that: “Wikipedia should be treated as the publishing arm of CAMH”. 
    -- Joanne became the HBS liaison to OII. 
    -- Goiar created an HBS Knol


    -- Rose White writing as as Violet Grey: Harry Benjamin Syndrome Review.  CompletelyNovel,  (Review).  A very idiosyncratic book obsessed with the dangers of oral sex.   Goiar endorsed it and linked to it; other HBS persons ignored it.  None have disassociated from it.

    -- HBS International put a page on  in January. It lasted less than a day.
    -- Joanne Proctor HBS blog  was discontinued, as was the New Zealand HBS  site.
    -- Cassandra Speaks  (HBS) blog was discontinued.
    -- Diane Kearny’s HBS International  site was discontinued.
    -- Ophelia Bradley. ’They Need Labels’: Contemporary Institutional And Popular Frameworks For Gender Variance. MA Thesis. Georgia State University. Discusses AGP, HSTS and HBS persons using their blog names rather than their person names.
    -- the Maetreum of Cybele Magna Mater denied recognition as a religious institution and thus exemption from local property taxes.   The resulting win established legal precedence re minority religious property rights that range far beyond New York State.


    -- Goiar’s forum discontinued and closed.  Its active members moved to a Facebook group
    -- Joanne Proctor closed Trans-Fried Fluff , and replaced it with trans-friedfluff
    -- Joanne died from medical problems.
    -- Cathryn Platine. The Cybeline Revival.  Home Brew Press.
    -- TS-SI attempted to organise an annual Transsexual Independence Day whereon they urged their followers to write to politicians thus: “People of transsexual history, those born transsexual, have a correctable medical condition that should not be confused with the sociopolitical and lifestyle activism of transgender activists. This is important because the willful confusion imposed by transgenderism deflects effective medical treatment from those who desperately need it.”


    -- Goiar at age 39 wins a court ruling that the Galacian Health Service should pay for her to have genital surgery.  This results in many Spanish newspapers using the expression Síndrome de Harry Benjamin for the first time.
    -- TS-SI closed down.   It had some time before denied that it was an HBS site.


    -- the Galician government appealed to the Spanish Supreme Court, which in turn also found in Goiar's favour in May 2013.  By September, as no steps were taken to conform with the ruling, Goiar went to the press. SERGAS then wasted almost two years sending Charlotte to public clinics in Málaga and Barcelona that did not do the required type of operation.


    -- at age 42, Goiar finally had surgery in the private Instituto de Cirurxía Plástica, Barcelona, with Dr Iván Mañero - the only clinic in Spain to offer colovaginoplasty. 
    -- was taken down.


    -- Goiar allied herself with the ultra-Catholic Hazte Oír and its opposition to sex education and to ‘gender ideology’. She also claimed that the new ICD-11 term Gender Incongruence is the same thing as HBS.


    -- Charlotte Goiar.  The Original Harry Benjamin Syndrome Book.   Self published.

    22 April 2012

    Cape Town, 1950s.

    'Moffies' party at Madame Costello's in Cape Town.  Photograph by Jan Berry, printed in Mark Gevisser & Edwin Cameron. Defiant Desire: Gay and lesbian lives in South Africa. New York: Routledge, 1995.

    19 April 2012

    Mikas Milicev Karadzic (1862-1934) soldier, farmer.

    Milica was born in the village of Hanovi (later Žabljak) in Crna Gora (Montenegro). Her father, a celebrated hero, was killed in battle against the Ottoman Empire. The widow having no other male to be head of the family, renamed her child Mikas and dressed him as a boy.

    Mikas got used to it. He played with boys and tended sheep. When the other boys put on a belt with arms, Mikas did likewise. No-one was allowed to mention his origins, and Mikas would not have it otherwise. It was assumed that with adulthood Mikas would return to being a woman, but when this did not happen, his mother and other near kin approved, but the Karadzic clan leaders were embarrassed, and reprimanded him. However the more they did so, the more stubborn he became. He expostulated that he would rather lose his head than become a woman.

    Around 1880 the leaders of the three clans of Jezera put the problem of Mikas to the Bishop Visarion Ljubisa (1823-84) when he visited. After a talk with Mikas, Ljubisa instructed that Mikas was not ever to be insulted. However he told Mikas to never drink brandy in that it might bring shame.

    In 1885 the doctor Milan Jovanović-Batut (1847-1940) was to examine the soldiers of Zabljak, who included Mikas Karadzic. He was informed that Mikas was a ‘wonder of the world’ and had a private consultation with him. He was able to get Mikas to admit to being a woman, and asked how he hid the menses. Mikas insisted that he never had such since age 13.

    After military service, Mikas farmed the family land. He had a flock of fifty sheep of the highest quality. He also bred and traded cattle. This occupied him so much that he leased out the arable land.

    When in 1916 the occupying Austrian army interned and deported all the local soldiers, a neighbour applied to the Wachtmeister and informed him about Mikas’ sex. The Austrians refused to believe this without a medical examination. Mikas unlike his comrades was released.

    In the 1920s, when Crna Gora had become part of Yugoslavia, there was a drought of several years, and Mikas was reduced to three cows and a much smaller farm. He was still doing the hard masculine tasks: mowing, stacking, ploughing and harvesting. He did his own cooking, but other female tasks were done by female relatives and neighbours, usually for a small fee.

    Photo by Branimir Gušić 1929, printed in Herdt p249.
    In 1929 the Croatian ethnographer, Marijana Gušić (1901-87), attempted to visit Mikas. But he refused her as she was a woman. However her husband Branimir was allowed to sit with him and take photographs.

    Each November 8 Mikas officiated as the head male in the family at the Feast of the Archangel Michael. He also voted.

    In 1933 a sick and weakened Mikas was taken on ox-back to the home of his paternal aunt’s grandson, where he was referred to as svekar (father-in-law). He requested that his daughter-in-law not disgrace him. She bought him a new manly suit which he was buried in, with the approval of the local priest.
    • Milan Jovanović-Batut. “Cudna prilika (S moga puta po Crnoj Gori)” Branik, Dec 12-24, 1885.
    • Marijana Gušić. "Etnografski prikaz Pive i Drobnjake" Narodna starina 9 (1930): 198; "Ostajnica-tombelija-virdzin kao drustvcna pojava," in Treci kongres folklorista Jugoslavije (Celinje: Obod, 1958): 57-58, and "Pravni polozaj ostajnice-virdjincse u stocarskom drustvu regije Dinarida," in Vasa Cubrilovic (ed.), Odredbe pozitivnog zakonodavstva i obicajnog prava o sezonskim
      kretanjima stocara u jugoistocnoj Evropi kioz vekove
      (Belgrade: Srpska akademija,
      1976): 280.
    • René Grémaux. "Mannish Women of the Balkan Mountains". In Jan Bremmer (ed). From Sappho to De Sade: Moments in the History of Sexuality. London & New York: Routledge,1989:144-9. Reprinted as "Woman Becomes Man in the Balkans" in Gilbert Herdt (ed). Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History. NY: Zone Books, 1994: 246-253.

    16 April 2012

    Rachel Tortolini (194?–) physicist, doctor, writer.

    Totolini’s great great uncle was Barnaba Tortolini, the Italian mathematician.

    Tortolini did a BS degree in physics and electrical engineering, and then worked for the CIA for three years researching Soviet comsats, and then did degrees in mathematics and philosophy, and worked for Lockheed and Hewlett-Packard.

    After transition in 1980, Rachel did a degree in medicine at the University of Cincinnati from 1984-9, specializing in psychiatry and pathology, followed by a psychiatry residency at the Seventh-day Adventist Loma Linda University Medical Center. She did a study of intersex (broadly defined) patients, which led to the first version of her book under the pseudonym of Sarah Seton, and speaking engagements. This was not compatible with the ethos of the Christian medical center and she was asked to go elsewhere.

    She became a general practitioner, and then a hospital and prison doctor in Hawai’i. From 2007 she has run a gender clinic, and revised her book on transsexuality. She contributed to the Intersex Guidelines mainly written by Milton Diamond and H. Keith Sigmundson that is featured on the UKIA site. She has also written and published a science fiction novel under the name of Abyssinian J. Kelly. She is also active in SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and has worked for human rights for indigenous peoples of the Pacific.

    The title of the latest version of her book is Transsexuality in the late 20th Century, which is so in that she wrote most of it around 1990. Her position is biologistic and that transsexuality is a type of
    intersex: that “DNA mapping and advances in neuroanatomy have shown us that transsexuals are indeed inverted in sexual dimorphic areas of their brains (p xv)”, however like most biologistic accounts she does not explain or cite evidence to show how transsexuals differ in this biology from gays or transvestites, or why with each decade there are more trans people. She pays special attention to aromatase syndromes (p 40, 66-72).

    Her designations of transsexuality vary from “simply a natural variation in human personality (p xii)” to “Gender Identity disorder (GID) is a rigorously defined syndrome not a blend (p xv)”. On p12 she writes:
    “Unfortunately, this so-called ‘real life experience” (RLE) is not specific (although sensitive) to primary transsexuals; many effeminate homosexuals, transgenderists, and self-stigmatized transvestites have deceived themselves into believing they are ‘women’ for secondary gains and can negotiate the trial period successfully due to being gifted with a body habitus close enough to the sex-stereotypes”.
    Remember that she wrote this in 1990 before the Blanchard-Bailey fracas, and before the HBS-notTG movement. In February 2010 she commented on Women Born Transsexual:
    “Speaking as a clinician, I had no idea that the intersex diagnosis was being hijacked to self serving ends by some members of our community (?). I would also like to apologize here if I have in anyway contributed to encouraging this type of behaviour. “

      14 April 2012

      Cynthia Conroy (1916 - 2009) scientist, doctor.

      Robert Conroy emigrated from England to the US with his parents in 1920. His father beat his wife and children, and served three years for extortion.

      Robert did a degree in physics and chemistry. While at college he was arrested while out cross-dressed. He married Margaret, who was of Concow (a California tribe), French and Irish descent.

      After World War II he had a job with an electronics film in San Diego that was working with the US Navy in developing sonar. In 1957 the firm found out about his arrest while at college and he was instantly fired.

      They moved to Berkeley and Robert became a eye doctor. He had few opportunities for cross dressing, but did so now and then. He was encountered so separately by his daughters, but they separately agreed to keep it secret. Margaret found it hard to deal with and went through a period of drinking.

      After her death Robert started transition and as Cynthia was in her seventies when in 1992 she had surgery with Stanley Biber in Trinidad, Colorado.

      She died aged 93 after a few year’s of Alzheimer’s disease.
      • Janice Gould. “My Father, Cynthia Conroy”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 2010, 16:19-103.

      As mentioned in the article on New York in the 1960s, the authorities intended that  anyone arrested for 'sexual perversion' not be permitted to acquire professional qualifications.  Fortunately, in the pre-computer age, the system was not always thorough.

      12 April 2012

      Cynthia Watson (1928 - 2000) carpenter.

      Peter Acke was raised in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. He married in 1948, but his wife died a few years later.

      He worked as a gaucho in Argentina, and was a carpenter in the merchant marine.

      Acke lived for a while on Osier Island, a one-property island in the river Avon.

      Around 1980, as Cynthia Watson, she moved to the small village of Midgham in Berkshire, where she was accepted but kept to herself. It was thought to be unusual that she had carpentry skills. She made toys for the raffle at the Christmas fair, and on commission made meticulously accurate models of ships. When the village plaque saying that the village was mentioned in the Doomsday Book was vandalized, she offered to repair it at her own expense. Being an old-fashioned lady, she always wore dresses, even when doing carpentry. She also did beautiful cross-stitching.

      She apparently made money on the stock exchange. She left an estate of £3.3m, including a bequest to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution of £1m for a new lifeboat to be call The Witch of Osier.

      09 April 2012

      Celeste Tate (1944 - 1995) charity organizer.

      In 1982 Celeste Tate and her husband David Cory McKinley (1963 – ) of Las Vegas  noticed how much dated food is thrown away by supermarkets. She persuaded a store manager to donate his expired items and she and her husband set up a charity supermarket, which she called The Gleaners. Food was given away, sold for a nominal amount or exchanged for work. Shortly afterwards they were credited with running 194 stores in the US and other countries including China.  Apparently this resulted from confusing the Las Vegas Gleaners with other food banks with 'Gleaners' in their name.

      The US Department of Health and Human Services called The Gleaners the most outstanding food program in the United States. The Gleaners was touted at the 1984 Republican National Convention as a model of feeding the homeless while taking no government money. A letter from Ronald Regan praising them was read. Esquire and Newsweek magazines ran articles honoring the McKinleys.

      The Las Vegas Review-Journal investigated and ran a series of articles 12-14 August 1990. They found that The Gleaners had failed to submit charity tax forms, reliable records were not kept, and the McKinley’s mortgage expenses were intertwined with other charity expenses. They also ‘tithed’ from the organization’s income to a store-front church whose pastor was on their Board of Directors. In addition, the articles outed Celeste as a woman with transsexual history.

      David appeared on Sally Jessy Raphael’s television talk show complaining that he had been duped into a 13-year marriage in that Celeste had never told him that she had had a transsexual change. Shortly afterwards, Celeste agreed to an annulment but without admitting any change of sex.

      In July 1991 David was arrested at a traffic stop when a records check showed that he was also Daryl Ashford was was wanted in Wichita, Kansas for aggravated arson in that he set fire to his mother’s house while she was inside. He was also wanted for jumping bail.

      Ignoring The Las Vegas Review-Journal articles, the 1992 book, Megatrends for Women, lauded the work of the McKinleys.

      In 1993 The Gleaners contracted with the for-profit fundraiser, The Charity Center, which passed onto The Gleaners 10% of the monies raised.

      In 1994 lawsuits were filed against The Gleaners and against The Charity Center.

      Celeste died at age 51 after a series of strokes and liver problems.
      • A D Hopkins. “Gleaners president accused of arson”. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11 July 1991: 1b.
      • Carl Scarbrough, . “IRS: Gleaners hasn't filed tax returns”. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 28 Sep 1991: 1b.
      • Patricia Aburdene & John Naisbitt. Megatrends for Women. New York: Villard Books, 1992: 276.
      • “Charitable solicitation fraud : hearing before the Subcommittee on Consumer of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, March 24, 1994". Online at:
      • Randolph Smith.  “Here Comes Charity Scams Bogus Appeals Aim At Holiday Spirit”.  Daily News, Nov 30, 1994.
      • Marian Green. “Food bank operator, target of praise and notoriety, dies”. Las Vegas Review- Journal, 12 Oct 1995: 2.B.

      06 April 2012

      Tom Reucher (196?–) psychologist, activist.

      "Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will continue to glorify the hunter ' African proverb cited by Tom Reucher

      Reucher first worked as a computer programmer-analyst. In the late 1980s he joined Joseph Doucé’s Centre de Christ Libérateur which helped him overcome his shame and become an activist.

      In 1994 he was a co-founder of the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin, which grew to over 300 members. (This is apparently the first use of the term Syndrome de Benjamin). They asked for the syndrome to be removed from the bailiwick of psychiatry, that the term ‘transsexuality’ not be used as it is stigmatizing. They drafted a bill to harmonize changes of civil status. From 1997 they marched in Paris, the first Saturday in October under the label Existrans. They also marched with Gay Pride.

      Tom Reucher did a diploma and then a masters in psychology at the University of Paris 8, applying ethnopsychiatry and queer theory to allow transsexuals to speak for themselves.

      In September 2001 the magazine Res Publica published an article on transsexuality by Colette Chiland, and the magazine accepted a reply by Reucher, but the management then changed its mind and the reply did not appear, apparently to oblige Chiland.  Reucher’s article was presented at the HBIGDA symposium in September 2003.
      “Speaking out by transsexual or transgender individuals in order to counter the professionals who speak in their place is a novelty in France. This goes hand in hand with reclaiming their identity by the act of self-naming, as well as with the founding of organizations to protect their rights. (When ‘Shrinks' are Frightened by Transsexuals ..) “
      In 2002 he was a co-founder of VigiTrans, and of the Groupe Activiste Trans, and the next year set up the website Transidentité. From 2003-2006 he worked with the first trans radio program, Bistouri oui-oui , on Radio Libertaire FM 89.4 Mhz.  In 2004 he left the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin following internal dissent, and has been working with Sans contrefaçon. By 2005 the Existrans march was attracting over a thousand marchers.

      Since 2005 he has preferred the term transidentity rather than transsexuality or Benjamin Syndrome. In 2007 he completed training in Reichian analysis. In 2008 he moved to Brest where he works as a psychologist and analyst. He is an active member of OII-France.
      “My academic career and my background therapy led me to question the medical practices and to understand what was effective and ineffective for transsexes. I also met with transgender men and women and exchanged with them.There are many commonalities.”(Mon parcours thérapeutique et ma formation universitaire m'ont amené à remettre en cause les pratiques médicales et à comprendre ce qui était efficace et inefficace pour les transsexes (transsexuelLEs). J'ai aussi rencontrer des transgenres et échangé avec elles et eux. Il y a beaucoup de points communs. -- Qui Suis-Je? at Transidentité: le site de Tom Reucher)
      “The writings of these experts arise from their fright, poor knowledge of the various processes of  transidentity, and heterocentric theories now set up as "standards" in defiance of human rights. In evoking the idea of psychopathology, these words of experts generate social and political consequences for transgender people, such as rejection by family, friends and neighbours, and society in general. These writings also show an inability to learn from patients." ("Les écrits de ces experts découlent de leur frayeur, d’une méconnaissance des différents processus de transidentité et de théories hétérocentrées qui se sont érigées en « normes » au mépris des droits humains. En évoquant l’idée d’une psychopathologie, ces paroles d’experts génèrent des conséquences sociales et politiques pour les personnes transsexuelles, telles que leur rejet par la famille, l’entourage et par la société en général. Ces écrits montrent également une incapacité à apprendre des patients." - Quand les trans deviennent experts)

      The Association du Syndrome de Benjamin  was formed in 1994.  The Harry Benjamin Syndrome founded by Charlotte Goiar happened a decade later and was initially called Síndrome de Benjamin.   I have not been able to find any mention of Goiar acknowledging the prior existence of Association du Syndrome de Benjamin.    While the ASB was radical, queer and inclusive, HSB was mainly conservative, homophobic and separatist.  It is very difficult to imagine the HBS crowd in a thousand-strong march with gays, socialists and greens.

        04 April 2012

        Paul Walker (1946 – 198?) social psychologist.

        Paul Walker did research with John Money at Johns Hopkins Psychohormonal Research Institute, and graduated from the University of Rochester with a PhD in Social Psychology.

        He taught at the University of Texas at Galveston Medical Branch where he started a sex offender treatment program and ran the Rosenberg Gender Clinic.

        He was openly gay.

        In 1977 he was the defense psychologist at Fort Rucker. Alabama, where a young female soldier was accused of homosexuality for marrying a trans man, Kristian von Hoffburg.

        After Reed Erickson closed the Erickson Educational Foundation in 1977, Walker and Zelda Suplee formed Janus Information Facility which carried on the work of EEF. Walker also became the founding president of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA now renamed WPATH) and wrote the first Standards of Care for transgender clients with input from other members of his committee.

        Dr Walker was recommended by the syndicated newspaper agony aunt, Anne Landers, and that is how Sarah Weston, came to him for counseling early in her transition.

        Paul Walker later moved to San Francisco.   He died in the late ‘80s of AIDS complications.

        The work of the Janus Information Facility was picked up by J2CP Information Services run by Jude Patton and Mary Elizabeth Clark.

        *Not the actor.

        01 April 2012

        Kimberly Nixon (1957 - ) activist.

        Kimberly felt like a girl from an early age.
        “I’ve been who I am since I was born. I am a woman. I was just born wrong.”
        She worked briefly as an bush pilot, but started living full-time as female in her mid-twenties, and applied to the Gender Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital in 1986. She completed transition in 1990. Afterwards she continued to apply for jobs as a pilot, but would be rejected when references were taken.

        She suffered physical and emotional abuse from a boyfriend and was given support and advice in 1994 by the Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS). In August 1995, she thought to give back to the community by volunteering at Vancouver Rape Relief (VRR). She did a telephone interview, and then a face-to-face interview, and was invited to join the training session. However at the break she was taken aside by facilitator Danielle Cormier, and her gender was questioned. She was then told “men aren’t allowed here”. Kimberly replied that she was not a man, but admitted that she had been through a transsexual change. She was asked to leave.

        Kimberly filed a human rights complaint the next day. Rape Relief offered $500 for hurt feelings, and a personal apology. During the five-year wait while the British Columbia Human Rights Commission worked through its backlog, Kimberly secured the services of barbara findlay, a lawyer with a strong record as a feminist and as an advocate for GLBTT equality. Kimberly commenced volunteer training at BWSS, but later left after disagreeing about the role of trans women in the organization. She became a volunteer at Vancouver’s Woman Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW).

        VRR went to the BC Supreme Court asking to throw out the human rights case on the grounds that the province’s 1984 and 1996 human-rights legislation did not extend protection to gender identity, and also because of the five-year wait. In June 2000, the Judge dismissed the argument based on undue delay in that VRR continued to discriminate against women not born as women, and ruled that while the legislation wording only prohibits discrimination based on sex, it cannot be interpreted to exclude someone "merely because that person or group is not readily identifiable as being either male or female”. Ms Nixon is a woman under the BC Vital Statistics Act and is entitled to a human rights complaint.

        Also in 2000 barbara findlay was counsel for inmate Synthia Kavanagh, that she was entitled to surgery and transfer to a women’s prison.

        Prominent Canadian feminist Judy Rebick, who otherwise has a long record of fighting for progressive causes, agreed to testify for Rape Relief. In 1997 Sheila Jeffreys wrote a paper that transsexualism should be seen as a violation of human rights. In 1999 Margaret O’Hartigan in opposition to the Portland Lesbian Community Project extending its services to those trans women whom Margaret referred to as ‘men’, had written “Post-modernism marches on: Women's space under continued attack”, citing Janice Raymond as part of her argument. Both these articles were added to the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter web site.

        In 2002, The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal in the person of Adjudicator Heather MacNaughton found that Nixon had been discriminated against, in that volunteering is equivalent to employment. Rape Relief was ordered to pay Ms Nixon $7,500, the highest award yet made by the tribunal, and not to discriminate against any transsexual woman, but declined to order Rape Relief to hold a “unlearning transphobia” workshop.

        Vancouver VRR appealed to the Supreme Court of BC, arguing that Kimberly Nixon is immediately recognizable as a former man and as such would make some clients uncomfortable.  Also that she is not a real woman in that she does not have a history of living as a girl and then as a woman. VRR is entitled under BC law as a non-profit assisting a marginalized group to be a woman-only organization (a policy which Kimberly agrees with). The Supreme Court ruled in favour of VRR. Chief Justice Edwards noted in his judgement:
        “By reason of Rape Relief's self-definition, perhaps reflected in its small number of members, exclusion from its programs is quite evidently exclusion from a backwater, not from the mainstream of the economic, social and cultural life of the province. It may be an important backwater to its members and to Ms. Nixon, but that is a subjective assessment.”.
        Kimberly appealed to the BC Court of Appeal which issued a ruling in December 2005 which upheld Edwards’ ruling. Nevertheless it affirmed that Nixon is a woman, and that Rape Relief had discriminated against her.

        In February 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the case without giving any reasons, as it does in 89% of cases. It also awarded costs, estimated to be $100,000, to Rape Relief.

        *Not Kimberley Nixon, the British actress.
        • Margaret Deirdre O’Hartigan. “Post-modernism marches on: Women's space under continued attack”. Off Our Backs. Aug-Sept 1999. Online at:
        • Sheila Jeffreys. “Transgender Activism: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective”. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 1, 3/4, 1997. Featured at: Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter.
        • Wendy McLellan. "Sex change does not limit person's rights, court finds: Code covers the transgendered, B.C. judge rules". National Post, Jun 9, 2000.
        • Stephanie Nolen. “Fighting to do a woman’s work”. The Globe and Mail, Dec 9, 2000.
        • Viviane K. Namaste & Georgia Sitara. “Inclusive Pedagogy in the Women’s Studies Classroom: Teaching the Kimberly Nixon Case”. In Viviane Namaste. Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism. Toronto: Women's Press, 2005: chp 5.
        • Andy. "Kimberly Nixon"., Jan 15, 2006.
        • Rory Leishman. Against Judicial Activism: The Decline of Freedom and Democracy in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006: 19-21,33-4, 40-7.
        • Keith Frazer. "Top court won't hear gender appeal case: End of legal road for woman born a man". The Province, Feb 2, 2007.
        • Robin Perelle. “Rape Relief wins: Supreme Court refuses to hear trans woman's appeal”. Xtra, Feb 14, 2007.
        • Christopher A. Shelley. Transpeople: Repudiation, Trauma, Healing. University of Toronto Press, 2008: 73, 85-6, 145-9.
        • Patricia Elliot. Debates in Transgender, Queer, and Feminist Theory: Contested Sites. Farnham: Ashgate Pub, 2010: 12, 19-31.
        • “Chronology of events in Kimberly Nixon vs Vancouver Rape Relief Society”. Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter.

        The 2002 order from Adjudicator MacNaughton that the VRR not discriminate against any transsexual woman would oblige them to accept non-op and pre-op trans woman, so to that extent one can see why they appealed.  However VVR still declines to accept all women with known transsexual history.

        The O’Hartigan and Jeffreys papers are still found on the VRR web site.

        The VRR Chronology neglects to mention that the VRR went to court to argue that trans persons are not covered under the province’s human rights laws.  Nor does it mention that it added the confrontational O’Hartigan and Jeffreys papers.

        The Wikipedia article on Judy Rebik fails to mention that she testified for VRR.

        The Xtra article, 2007, argues that most Canadian women’s centres became trans inclusive because of Nixon v. Vancouver Rape Relief.  However the Globe article by Nolen, 2000, says that that was already the case at that time.

        It is ironic that Nixon won a ruling from a female Adjudicator, and the feminist VRR won its rulings from male judges.

        Nixon was read; she wasn’t tattled on.  VRR did raise the issue of her being read at one point, but the legal arguments did not pivot around it.  This is an issue that most of us don’t like to examine.  Kimberly went to VRR initially in stealth, and was read.   She later went to WAVAW known as a trans woman and was accepted.  What would be the protocol if a VRR rape victim being counselled did realize that the counsellor was trans and reacted badly to that?

        barbara findlay is a noble activist who continued the fight long after Nixon’s legal aid had run out.