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

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

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

29 June 2012

Storme Aerison (1964 - ) fraudster, model, inmate.

Charles Daugherty grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1984, posing as a female Air Force Academy student, Daugherty stole a $15,000 car from a dealership in Colorado Springs, and was given four years probation and mandatory counseling.

In 1989, as Shannon Ireland Trump, claiming to be a niece of billionaire Donald Trump, she joined the cheer-leading squad of the then Colorado Springs Spirit football team. However she was read, and kicked off the squad.
Cheyen center standing

In 1990 Cheyen Weatherby enrolled at a school in Colorado Springs, explaining that she had been studying with a private tutor in Greece. She quickly became a popular student and joined the school choir and cheerleading squad. After eight days, other students noticed stubble on her face, and administrators who had been checking her background found her transcript was phony and called the police. She was found to be the twenty-six years old Charles Daugherty.

Charged with second degree forgery and criminal impersonation, she
turned up for the trial as a woman, again now calling herself Shannon Ireland. Shannon appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael television show and claimed childhood molestation, and that she had developed multiple personalities in order to cope. She got two years probation and more mandatory counseling.

In 1994, as Storme Aerison, she posed as a supermodel and claimed to be the sister of supermodel Kathy Ireland. Photographers and others gave her their services in exchange for a percentage of a calendar that she said that she was producing.

On her website StormeIreland,com she described herself as 19 with green eyes, dark blond hair and a 38” (97 cm) bust. She obtained the credit card number and associated data of a Colorado Springs hotel and ran up a bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. She also wrote $185,000 worth of checks on a closed account. After being arrested in 2000 she posted $100,000 bail and flew to Tahiti for a photo shoot.

Her lawyer proposed that she had mental health problems, and a judge in 2003 ruled that she was incompetent to stand trial. That same year, her story was dramatized as an episode of the Canadian television series, Masterminds.

Storme was then held at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo until 2007 when a different judge ruled that she was competent, and had her moved to a men’s jail.

In 2008 she pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to five years in prison followed by parole and probation and 600 hours of community service. She is also to pay restitution to her victims. She was given credit for over five years in custody and released.

Later that year the Wikipedia page on her was removed.


For whatever reason Storme is not mentioned on the Wikipedia page List of people from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The now deleted Wikipedia article uses  male pronouns for Aerison, as it still does for Tito Anibal da Paixao Gomes (compare my version).  The Wiki folk seem to have the attitude that a fraudster cannot be a genuine trans person.  

Califia devotes a single paragraph to Aerison, whom he calls only Charles Daugherty, and uses only male pronouns.   This is at least ironic in that on the very same page he rightly admonishes the New York journalist writing of young trans man Sean O'Neill:  "Still, it is puzzling to find [Donna] Minkowitz balking again and again at using the same male pronouns to describe O'Neill that he uses to describe himself".  Minkowitz had previously been criticized by trans activists for refusing to use male pronouns in her influential article on Brandon Tina.  For whatever reason this last detail is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Minkowitz.

27 June 2012

Vanessa Ledesma (197? - 2000) activist.

Vanessa Ledesma of Córdoba, who was active in the Asociación Travestis Unidas de Córdoba (ATUC) was arrested during a scuffle at the Mikons bar on 11 February 2000.

Five days later she was dead. The police report said ‘cardiac arrest’. However the autopsy showed severe bruising and other signs of torture. She had been segregated at the police station so that others would not have to share with an HIV+ person.

Vanessa Piedrabuena, president of the ATUC, and Vanessa’s lover, signed an official complaint. Gay and trans activists demonstrated in Buenos Aires, which led to the provincial authorities saying that they would investigate. Vanessa Ledesma was recognized by Amnesty International as one of six cases to mark its 40th anniversary.

Vanessa Piedrabuena was then threatened at her home by police who broke down the front door, and put a gun to her head. They told her: "Keep your head down ... Mind your own business. No one is going to look out for you when something happens to you."

Subsequently a few police officers were charged, but they were never arrested or suspended. A few years later proceedings were quietly dropped.

Argentina has come an enormous distance in the last 12 years:

2004 – the Gondolin Hotel, Buenos Aires was raided by 60 police officers and Monica León was shot eight times.  She fled to Paris.

2006 - the Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that had stated that transgender people did not have a legal right to organize and campaign for their rights.

2007 - the Supreme Court ruled that a 17 year old in Córdoba province had the legal right to go through the sex change process and have her legal documents changed.

2008 - Alejandra Portatadino was recognized by the Buenos Aires Legislature as one of 20 Argentinean women who ‘broke traditional moulds’.

2009 - Marcela Romero won the legal right to have her identity changed, and was given an honorary title by the government.

2010 – Argentina became the first country in Latin America to have equal marriage.

2012 - Argentina became the first country in Latin America to have a Gender Identity Law.  Surgery to be available through the public health system.  Approvals of neither doctor nor judge are required for a gender change.


However the police officers who killed Vanessa Ledesma are probably still in the police force.

23 June 2012

Hagnodike (3rd century BCE) physician.

Gaius Julius Hyginus (64 BCE - 17CE) was an author and superintendent of the Palatine library in Rome. While he wrote many books on topography, biography, the poems of Virgil, agriculture and bee-keeping, almost all are lost. All that survived are two works: one a poetical astronomy, and the other providing summaries largely of myths taken from other writers. The latter was also almost lost. A single copy from the 10th century survived at the abbey of Freising. In 1535, Jacob Micyllus uncritically transcribed the one copy and made a printed version. He probably gave it the name Fabulae, by which we now know it. By the standard practice of that time, the manuscript was pulled apart during the transcription, and only two small fragments have turned up, used as stiffening in book bindings. Section 274 is titled “Inventors and their inventions”. Some of the inventors are plausibly historical, while others would seem to be legendary. In the middle of this section we find the following (translation by Mary Beard):
“The ancients didn’t have obstetricians, and as a result, women because of modesty perished. For the Athenians forbade slaves and women to learn the art of medicine. A certain girl, Hagnodice, a virgin desired to learn medicine, and since she desired it, she cut her hair, and in male attire came to a certain Herophilus for training. When she had learned the art, and had heard that a woman was in labour, she came to her. And when the woman refused to trust herself to her, thinking that she was a man, she removed her garment to show that she was a woman, and in this way she treated women. When the doctors saw that they were not admitted to women, they began to accuse Hagnodice, saying that he was a seducer and corruptor of women, and that the women were pretending to be ill. The Areopagites, in session, started to condemn Hagnodice, but Hagnodice removed her garment for them and showed that she was a woman. Then the doctors began to accuse her more vigorously, and as a result the leading women came to the Court and said: “You are not husbands, but enemies, because you condemn her who discovered safety for us.” Then the Athenians amended the law, so that free-born women could learn the art of medicine.”
  • Helen King. “Agnodice”. In Simon Hornblower & Antony Spawforth (eds). The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Gaius Julius Hyginus translated by Mary Grant. “Fabulae”. Theoi E-Texts.
  • “Gaius Julius Hyginus”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Herophilus (Greek: Ἡρόφιλος) (335-280 BCE) was born in Chalcedon (now Kadiköy, Turkey) and taught and practiced medicine in Alexandria.  However Hagnodike is said to be in Athens, and Herophilus  is not recorded as ever teaching in Athens.

Agnodice is the Latin form of the name; ‘Aγνοδίκη=Hagnodike the Greek.

The accusation that, while taken as male, Hagnodike  was seducing and corrupting his female clients, resembles the Christian transvestite saint stories of some centuries later.  The Christian saints are discussed in several books, but there is no one web page that summarizes them.  I have featured very few of them on this site in that it is usually impossible to pin their story down to a specific time and place.

The tale of Hagnodike  was used from the Renaissance onwards as a precedent justifying female medical workers.

20 June 2012

Margaret Pepper (1944 - ) quantity surveyor, painter

Maurice grew up in London’s West End, in a flat off Tottenham Court Road. His father was an alterations tailor. From the age of 5 he became fascinated by women’s clothing.

He married at 23 and he and his wife had five children. In his 30s he briefly tried painting as a way to escape depression. In the 1980s he watched one of the television programmes about Julia Grant's transition, which clarified what he really wanted. In 1991 he met a few trans people in clubs and went a drop-in centre for transgender people (the TV/TS Support Group at 2 French Place, Shoreditch?). This released his tensions, but led to a row with his wife. An attempt to take her to the drop-in centre made things worse. At his wife’s request, he went to four psychiatrists, but to no avail.

By the early 2000s his wife was descending into Alzheimer’s disease. In 2002 she was taken into a care home.

Now 58 and working as a quantity surveyor, Pepper started dressing as female outside work. After a trip away ‘cross-dressed’, she couldn’t go back to male clothing. The next day she went into work as a woman. She endured a few days of everyone at work coming around to look at her, her boss then accepted that it was a permanent change, and a disabled toilet was designated for her use. She changed her legal name to Margaret.

At age 60 she contacted a gender clinic, but was told that the first appointment was a year away. So she contacted Russell Reid as a private patient and was put on female hormones right away. She had surgery in Brighton, again as a private patient. She spent £12,000 in total.

Her wife sleeps all the time, and has no idea what Margaret has done. Four of the children had accepted what she has done, but still call her Dad. Margaret now feels much more outgoing.

She now paints regularly, and was one of 53 artists rejected by the BP Portrait Award who put on an alternate exhibit. 

You can see her paintings at
  • Margaret Pepper talking to Jill Clark. “My true self has finally been released”. The Guardian, 3 April 2009. Onlinee.
  • Laura Barnett. “Dazed and Refused: the art of rejection”. The Guardian, 15 June 2011. Online.
  • "Transgender artist, 72, to talk about ‘new found freedom’ in Barkingside".  Ilford Recorder, 03 February 2016.  Online.
  • Jennifer Newton.  "'My wife's dementia freed me to become a woman': Husband underwent full gender reassignment surgery after wife went into a care home - and visited her as a female".  Daily Mail, 14 May 2016.  Online.
  • Emily Retter. "My tragic wife's dementia freed me to become the woman I'd always wanted to be". Daily Mirror, 14 May 2016.  Online.

17 June 2012

Jack Bee Garland (1869 - 1936) journalist.

Elvira Virginia Mugarrieta was born in San Francisco, the second of five children of Jose Marcos Mugarrieta and Eliza Garland. Mugarrieta, an officer in the Mexican Army and then the first Mexican consul in San Francisco, was fired for political reasons, and never getting his back pay, remained in the city as a Spanish teacher and translator.

The child Elvira was a tomboy. Her father died when she was sixteen, and she was sent to a convent school. She escaped that by marrying a friend of her brother. They traveled together for some months and then separated. Elvira then traveled alone, frequently dressing as a young man, and frequently passing, except that he claimed to have lost his voice in an accident, and communicated by writing.

Although he was then twenty-eight, as a man he was taken to be eighteen. In 1897 he spent time in Stockton, California. Rumor went around that there was a woman in town posing as a man, and the police allocated resources to find the person. When they found her, she explained that she passed as a man to travel and to work, and that the law allowed this as no crime was intended.

As 'Babe' Bean, she became a local celebrity: she was invited to join the local Bachelor Club, and made a small living writing for The Stockton Evening Mail which supplemented his private income. Some women protested that Bean was receiving special treatment in that the rest of them would surely be arrested if they wore trousers in public. Babe wrote to the local paper encouraging them to dress as they pleased, and pointed out a few current bargains on men's clothes.

In May 1898 Babe was injured when his horse and buggy encountered a span of runaway horses. After this he did talk.

Following the Philippine Revolution, 1872-8, and the Spanish-American War of 1898, the US claimed the Spanish Empire as their own and switched from supporting to opposing Philippine Independence. In October 1899 Babe as Jack Bean, managed to get on a troop ship to the Philippines. At first he was a young man working his way across. But when he ran into problems she revealed her sex and was put off in Hawai'i. Admired by the troops for being spunky Bean was smuggled back on the ship and finally smuggled off in Manila. By this time Bean was a minor celebrity and although still dressed as a man, and often passing, Bean was generally known to be a woman. She wrote for the newspapers, and usually traveled with the 29th Infantry Regiment. She also worked as a nurse and a translator for the soldiers. When she fell ill of exhaustion after a year in the Philippines, the troops made a collection and sent her home. Jack’s story appeared in the 21 October 1900 edition of San Francisco’s Sunday Examiner Magazine as by Miss Babe Bean.

On return to San Francisco Bean conformed to female dress for a short while, and was listed in the 1900 census as Elvira living with her mother Eliza. However feeling a need to prowl the city after dark and to write about it, he reverted to male dress.

In 1903 San Francisco passed a new law banning all wearing of opposite sex clothing, and so Elvira disappeared and became Jack Garland (his mother's maiden name) on a permanent basis - neither Elvira nor Jack appeared on any later census. Jack took a particular interest in the poor and outcast, and would often give them money for food.

After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, he worked as a male nurse for the Red Cross. He continued to make a small living as a journalist, and still had his private income.

In 1936, at age sixty-six he collapsed on the sidewalk and died of peritonitis. At the autopsy he was once again revealed to be a 'woman'. His family did not respect his choice of gender and he was buried in a white satin dress.

Pioneer trans activist Louis Sullivan wrote the major biography of Jack Garland.

*Not the Ontario politician, nor the New South Wales politician, nor the boxer. The Jack Garland Airport, North Bay, Ontario is named after the Ontario politician.
  • Babe Beam. "My life as a soldier". San Francisco Examiner, Oct 21, 1900.
  • “Death of Woman Shows She Lived as Man 40 Years”. The Woodville Republican, Dec 26, 1936.,940608.
  • San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. “ ‘She Even Chewed Tobacco’: A Pictorial Narrative of Passing Women in America”, in Martin B. Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. New York: New American Library, 1989: 189-192.
  • Louis Sullivan. Male to Female: the Life of Jack Bee Garland. Alyson Publications, Inc. 1990. 
  • Leslie Feinberg. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul. Beacon Press, 1996: 84.
  • Emile LaRocque. The manipulation of Victorian gender ideals : the lives of Elvira Virginia Mugarrieta, Babe Bean, Beebe Beam, and Jack Bee Garland. Proquest/UMI 86 pp 2006.
  • William A. Henkin. “Across The Great Divide: A Review of From Female to Male: The Life of Jack Bee Garland”. Sexuality.Org. Online.
  • Liz Highleyman. “Jack Bee Garland (aka Babe Bean). Lavender, 341. Online
  • Peter Boag. Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011: 52-3
  • “MUGARRIETA Elvira Virginia 1869-1936”. byrnefamily.


Several of the accounts, including Boag, incorrectly claim that Garland sailed to Manila as part of the Spanish-American War.  This is quite wrong as that war had finished.  It was part of the next, the US crushing of Filipino Independence.

In his article for the San Francisco Examiner, Garland wrote: “A newspaper woman and the daughter of an army officer, all my ambition and interest and inclination naturally gave me the fever to go to Manila when things were at their liveliest there”.  He was of course the daughter of a Mexican army officer, an officer who had served in the US-Mexican War of 1846-8, or as Mexico calls it, la (primera) intervención estadounidense en México.  Jose Marcos Mugarrieta saw action at several battles against the US including at Mexico City, 1846. So it is certainly ironic that his daughter wrote jingoistic prose identifying with the US invasion of another country.   Sullivan does not discuss this angle.

In 1897, in Stockton, Babe Bean declared that there was no law against transvesting. There was no US or California law, and I know of no Stockton law.  However San Francisco has passed such a law in 1863 and San Jose did so in 1882.  We mentioned the San Francisco law when discussing Ferdinand Haisch and the San Jose law re Milton Matson.  Apparently the San Francisco police did not apply the 1863 law against Garland, perhaps because they knew his parents.  It would seem however that he regarded the new law of 1903 as a signal that Elvira should now disappear completely.

In the 1890s there were, of course, no trans support groups, no male hormones and the major social construction, of what Garland was, was ‘inversion’ that regarded trans and homosexual as the same thing.  During the best documented period of his life, from 1897 to 1903, he was known as female-bodied, and was regarded as a spunky girl rather than as a man.  This raises a question of which pronouns to use.   He was generally perceived as a woman, even when in male clothing, until after 1903, and Sullivan who before that date switches back and forth between ‘he’ and ‘she’, switches definitely to ‘he’ only after that date.

15 June 2012

April Ashley (more) has been awarded an MBE in today's Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Kim August (1935–94) performer.

Kim, from Flint, Michigan, began working as a gender impersonator at age 15. At 18 she had a nightclub act in San Francisco, and was recruited to perform at the 82 Club in New York, where she was the featured singer. She toured with revues across the US.

She sang well with her own voice. Kim was noted for her impersonation of Judy Garland that she always did when Judy was in the audience. She also did Lena Horne, Bette Davis and the then new star Barbra Streisand.

In 1960 Kim acted in CBS’ Playhouse 90 with James Mason. She was on the cover of the very first issue of Female Mimics, 1963. 

Kim appeared in 2 films: The Tiger Makes Out, 1967 where she plays a female impersonator, and No Way to Treat a Lady, 1968, where she plays a woman killed by the Rod Steiger character in drag. There is no indication that her character is trans and certainly was not so in the source novel, but knowledge of the actor has led to such an interpretation.

In later years, Kim returned to Flint. She continued to dress female even when not working.


13 June 2012

Ex-Mayor’s house raided

Arthur C Harper, from Columbus, Mississippi, was mayor of Los Angeles 1906-9. He was forced to not run again after suggestions, that were never proved, that he had accepted payoffs from bordellos.

After a trip to Bakersfield, Mr and Mrs Harper returned home unexpectedly, on the last day of March 1920, to find a raid by the Los Angeles police ‘purity squad’ against a party given by their son Joseph, 24.

Joseph and seven others were in female garb. The police claimed that a ‘degenerate orgy’ was in progress, and charged all twenty found with Social Vagrancy. The female garb was confiscated as ‘evidence’, and those wearing it had to send for masculine clothing before they could leave. Eight were denied bail after failing to pass medical quarantine examinations.

Four of those arrested were naval personnel. They had been invited by an acquaintance, and said that they didn’t realize that the women were ‘men’ until a late stage, and then they though it a good-natured masquerade stunt.

Two months later all charges were dropped.

*Not Joseph Harper the US soldier, the Scottish footballer, nor the Labour MP.
  • “Police End Stag Party; Say Men in Girls’ Garb: Twenty Arrests Follow Raid on Home of Former Mayor Harper”. Feb 1, 1920. “Medic’s Test Holds Eight: Was a Harmless Masquerade, is Parents’ Statement; However, Arresting Officers Promise a Sensation; Some Await Masculine Garb to Replace ‘Finery’ ”. Feb 2, 1920. The Daily Mirror, Online at:
  • “U.S. Sensation: Police Raid Ex-mayor of Los Angeles House: Men Gowned as Women”. Reynold’s Illustrated Newspaper, 4 April 1920, reprinted in George Ives (ed Paul Sieveking). Man Bites Man: The Scrapbook of an Edwardian Eccentric. Penguin Books, 1981: 125.
  • Tom De Simone, Teresa Wang, Melissa Lopez, Diem Tran, Andy Sacher, Kersu Dalal, Justin Emerick. Lavender Los Angeles. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub, 2011: 24.

Social vagrancy – in a private house ??

12 June 2012

Los 41

As in most countries, so in nineteenth-century Mexico, on the stage, in carnival, at balls, there were those who transvested. A notable example, in the first week of September 1894, was a formal ball presided over by the Governor of the Federal District, Pedro Rincón Gallardo y Terreros, and attended by José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori, the President (1876-1911). El Universal, 7 September, reported the presence of several young men costumed as women, in particular, one F. Algara who was dressed as a a royal Lady in Waiting.

On 17-18 November 1901, two weeks after the transformista Leopoldo Fregoli had performed in Mexico City with his quick changes into and out of female costume, there was a private ball next to 4a calle de la Paz (now calle Ezequiel Montes). The local policeman noticed many carriages depositing passengers, and investigated. He discovered 41 male-bodied persons dancing, 19 dressed as female.  He called reinforcements and they were all arrested.

It was quickly rumoured that there was a 42nd person, but that he was Ignacio de la Torre y Mier, Porfirio’s son-in-law, and that, perhaps after a payment, he was permitted to leave. There was an alternate rumour that the 42nd was a woman. It was also said that at midnight there was to be an auction of an attractive young man. Some said that the next day, those arrested en femme were obliged to sweep the streets in their finery, but like most details of this event, this too is unconfirmed.

No list of the 41 was ever issued, not even a century later. Most of the newspapers suggest that the 41 are young men from “well-known families of good standing (Monsiváis, 2003: 148)”; that they included lawyers, dentists and even priests, and that some of them were from a well-known group of dandies who were known for their stylish men’s clothes they they paraded in on the fashionable streets. There was no trial, but the arrested were inducted into the army and sent to do forced labour in the Yucatan where a Mayan insurgency (the Caste War) was being suppressed with the assistance of the UK government.

However only 19, not 41 were sent. Monsiváis, 2003 says: “At no risk of slandering the proverbial probity of the judicial apparatus in 1901 Mexico, it can be said for certain that 22 or 23 of the victims of the Redada buy their liberty”. El Popular excused the discrepancy in that some had attended the party without knowing its nature. The opinion was also expressed that only those who transvested were really ‘maricón’. This of course fits in with the Latino attitude that a man can can have sex without being a maricón if he plays only the male role. Other newspapers assumed that the 19 transported were those who had transvested, but this is not confirmed. There is no record of the return of the 19.

Three weeks later, 4 December, there was a police raid on a lesbian party in Santa Maria, but far less attention was paid to it.

Mexico, later than other Latin American countries, had adopted the Napoleonic Code in 1871 following the French Occupation, so in theory sodomy, homosexuality and transvestity were all legal. However as a concession to traditionalist opinions the same penal code of 1871 contained Article 787.

Se impondrá la pena de arresto mayor y multa de 25 a 500 pesos, al que ultraje la moral publica o las buenas costumbres, ejecutando una acción impúdica en un lugar público, haya o no testigos, o en un lugar privado en que pueda verla el público. Se tendra como impúdica: toda accion que en el concepto público
esté calificada de contraria al pudor
The punishment of greater arrest and a fine of 25 to 500 pesos will be imposed on he who affronts public morality or good habits, by performing an immodest act in a public place, whether or not there are witnesses, or in a private place visible to the public. Immodest will be considered as: any action that in the public eye is classified as contrary to modesty

Shortly afterwards a series of handbills were distributed which included José Guadalupe Posada's engravings about the raid along with satirical verses. In 1906 Eduardo A. Castrejón published a novel titled Los cuarenta y uno. Novela crítico-social, which told of two women who find out that their fiancés were in the raid.

In total Los 41 became such a media scandal that for several decades homosexuality, effeminacy and transvestity came to be regarded as the same thing. 41 became a taboo number in Mexico. No division, regiment, or battalion of the army was given the number 41. No-one was number 41 on a payroll. Street numbers skipped 41. No hotel or hospital had a room 41. Nobody celebrated a 41st birthday. In recent decades gay organizations have embraced the number, using it as a name for bars or associations.

The centenary was commemorated in 2001 in New Orleans by Tito Vaconcelos, the gender performer, who put on a one-person play, Doña Caralampia Mondongo lo sabra y te lo cuenta todo, wherein an imagined drag alter of journalist Ireneo Paz, grandfather of Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, whispers to us the secrets of life under the Porfirio regime. This was followed by a symposium at Tulane University, which resulted in the 2003 book, with a closing dinner exactly on 17 November.
  • Robert McKee Irwin. “The Famous 41: The Scandalous Birth of Modern Mexican Homosexuality”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 6,3,2000: 353-376.
  • Carlos Monsiváis. “La Gran Redada”. Enkidu,noviembre 2001.
  • Ben Sifuentes Jáuregui. “Nation and the Scandal of Effeminacy: Rereading Los ’41’Transvestism, Masculinity, and Latin American Literature: Genders Share Flesh. New York: Palgrave, 2002.
  • Robert McKee Irwin,, Edwin J. McCaughan, & Michelle Rocío Nasser. The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, C. 1901. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Includes newspaper accounts, a selection from Castrejón’s novel, revised essays by Irwin and Monsiváis.

The concept of ‘affronting public morality or good habits’ is found in several Latin American law codes.  Both public morality or good habits are undefined, and charges are at the whim of the police.  Presumably the illegal lack of a trial is so that the existence of maricónes need not be conceded and the curiosity of the young need not be aroused (Monsiváis, 2003: 156-7).  However as the raid became a media scandal, that intention was thwarted.

The 2003 book reprints several of the newspaper accounts in the original Spanish and in English translation.   It would seem that lacking any real facts, most of the stories were made up, and tell us more about prejudices at the time rather than what really happened.  The conflation of transvestity, homosexuality and pedophilia is obviously such a prejudice, but also the idea that a dandy (a homeovestite) is likely to cross-dress.

In England effeminacy was more associated with a type of heterosexuality before the Oscar Wilde trials in 1895.  So a similar change happened in Mexico in 1901.  Los 41 is an example of how the social construction of sex and gender can quickly change because of one incident.

So the commemorative symposium at Tulane University ended with a dinner.  Surely the logical conclusion should have been a drag ball.

Ignacio de la Torre y Mier employed a groom on his estate by the name of Emiliano Zapata, who of course played a major role in the Revolution that broke out 9 years later.  The Mexican Revolution, unlike the Cuban, never evolved past its initial sexism to embrace GLBT rights.

The es.wikipedia article claims that one of the 41 was Marcus J. Moix.  It describes him using the rude term ‘garchados’ and accuses him of spreading venereal diseases.  The immediate footnote references do not even mention anybody called Moix.  I am surprised that the term and the lack of confirmation meet Wikipedia’s standards.

Ironically in Christianity, 41 represents 39 lashes received by Jesus plus one for the spear in his side and one for the crown of thorns.

05 June 2012

Wendy Iriepa (1971 –) office worker.

Iriepa was the only child of a working class family. At 10 she had a crush on a teacher at school, which led to her having to leave school. Her cousin lent clothes and swimming costume so that Wendy could pass as a girl. At 12 she left home, but continued to take her sister’s pills and grew breasts.

She was 17 in 1988 when she heard that Mavi Susel had become Cuba’s first surgical transsexual. She went to the doctor in the case and was referred to CENESEX (Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual). Two years later Wendy was confirmed as transsexual and was officially on hormones. Mayra Rodríguez, a psychologist at CENESEX counselled Wendy’s father that she had a mismatch of body and mind, and that she was not doing this against him or against the dignity of the men in his family.

In 1997 she was issued a female identity card. However she still found it very difficult to get a job. She was given a position as CENESEX. She maintained client records, and finished high school.

In 2007 CENESEX, led by Mariela Castro, daughter of the then acting President, and with the guidance of Belgian specialists, started a programme of transgender surgery as part of Cuba’s health system. Wendy was one of the first to have the surgery, and was featured in world’s press as a symbol of the program. She appeared with Mariela Castro at IDAHO and other events.

In 2011, Wendy became a lover of Ignacio Estrada, an opposition gay and HIV+ activists. On 28 June they marched together for the unapproved Gay Pride Day. The next day Mariela gave Wendy a dressing down, and Wendy quit her job at CENESEX.

On 13 August, Fidel Castro’s 85th birthday, Wendy and Ignacio married. Mariela was not invited, but did send her congratulations.

Wendy has worked since with Ignacio in building a gay movement independent of CENESEX.

There are discrepancies about Wendy's age.  In the Cenesex 2004 article it says that she was 17 in 1988, which means that she was born 1970-1.   The Associated Press/Guardian article says that she was 37 in 2011, which means born in 1973-4.

01 June 2012

Vicki Marlane (1934 - 2011) performer

After being raised by alcoholic farmers in Minnesota, Vicki started as a dancer in a Minnesota gay bar in 1950. Vicki was then employed by Hedy Jo Star and toured the carnival circuit as a female impersonator. She also worked for a while as an alligator women.

She worked and was arrested as a call-girl in Florida. She toured nightclubs across the US sometimes using the name Mister Peel. Vicki settled in San Francisco and played a variety of clubs.

After surgical completion in the early 1980s she retired temporarily and went to live in San Diego with a friend. When the friend died she returned to San Francisco, where in 1998 she organized a show called Girls Just Wanna Have Fun who performed in the Tenderloin. This later became the The Hot Boxx Girls . She was known as the Lady with the Liquid Spine for her body flexibility while lip syncing.

In 2003 she was a Grand Marshall at San Francisco Pride. She performed at Imperial Court events and in Trannyshack. In 2009 she was named Best Drag Queen by SF Weekly, and a documentary, Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight, was made about her life and performance.

She died at age 76.

++In 2014 San Francisco renamed the 100 block of Turk Street after her.