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28 February 2013

Who wrote Hirschfeld’s "Sexual Anomalies and Perversions"?

Magnus Hirschfeld’s two major works, Die Transvestiten and Die Homosexualität were not translated into English until 1991 and 2000 respectively.  Until then the major Hirschfeld work in English was Sexual Anomalies and Perversions: Physical and Psychological Development and Treatment: a Summary of the Works of the Late Magnus Hirschfeld, 1936, which was reprinted in 1937, 1952 and 1962.   Online

The full title on the title page is:

Sexual anomalies and perversions:

physical and psychological development and treatment.
A summary of the works of the late professor Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld,
President of the Institute of the Worlds League for Sexual Reform
Director of the Institute for Sexual Research, Berlin, etc.
Compiled as a humble memorial by his pupils.
A textbook for students, psychologists, criminologists, probation officers, judges, and educationists
The book is obviously not a simple translation as Hirschfeld is often referred to in the third person.  It seems to be a mixture of translation and précis.  However no translator is given.  No editor is given.  Nor is there any clear statement as which of Hirschfeld’s German book or books it is supposed to be a rendering of.

A Google search of  ‘ "Sexual Anomalies and Perversions" Haire’ produces thousands of returns, mainly libraries and book retailers associating the book with Norman Haire, as either editor or translator.  This is no surprise as Haire was a professional colleague of Hirschfeld, and was fluent in German.  Moreover on p387 of Charlotte Wolff’s seminal biography of Hirschfeld we find re November 1928: 
“Haire wrote to Hirschfeld that he had already translated the first three chapters [of Sexology (Geschlechtskunde)]. But he expressed his surprise and anger that European Books had been told, wrongly, that the whole volume was ready for publication.  He had engaged Dr Jordan to share the translation work with him.  The lengthy and difficult task was achieved only in 1930.  Shortly after its completion, Dr Jordan, a personal friend of Haire’s, committed suicide.  The tragedy of his death, together with a different schedule of work, led to further delays.”
However Hirschfeld had promised the English version to two publishers, Julius Puttmann and Jonathan Cape.   Cape attempted to come to an understanding with Puttmann, but no deal was achieved, and the book never came out.

Which leaves us wondering what happened to the Haire-Jordan translation.  It would be sensible of Haire to reuse it as the text of Sexual Anomalies and Perversions.

To complicate the issue there is a counter narrative. Between 1934 and 1939 three books on sexuality were attributed to Dr Costler, a pen-name for Arthur Koestler, known until then as a Communist writer, who did some hack work for his publisher cousins, Willy and Ferenc Aldor.  The first book was The Encyclopœdia of Sexual Knowledge, 1934.  It contained two chapters by Ludwig Levy-Lenz, and the English edition was edited by Haire.  The second book was Sexual Anomalies and Perversions, 1936, and the third was L’Encyclopédie de la famille, 1939, which has been published in English under various titles.

This is what Koestler says about the second book in his autobiography:
“The ‘pupils’ who appear as author was I, but the English edition was considerable enlarged and revised by the editor, Norman Haire”.

“considerable enlarged and revised” – that could mean a lot or a little, but is quite compatible with the idea that large chunks of the Haire-Jordan translation were used.

Wyndham, Haire’s biographer adds (394-5):
“In the 1940s he [Koestler] became famous, then rich, after writing Darkness at noon so Haire, in his introduction to the 1952 edition, was rude to say ‘it was evident that the text was compiled by a foreigner’ who ‘was not completely familiar’ with English. Haire said for this reason he carefully revised the text, amended the language and punctuation where necessary, deleted some passages, inserted some, corrected some statements, and brought the text up-to-date. Koestler (1969, 271) got even by claiming: ‘I have never met Mr Haire, but I have looked him up in Who’s Who for 1946, where he occupies more space than either Winston Churchill or George Bernard Shaw. I am told that he died in 1952’. “
Neither of Hirschfeld’s two biographers, Wolff and Mancini, even mention Sexual Anomalies and Perversions. 
    • Magnus Hirschfeld. Die Transvestiten: eine Untersuchung über den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb mit umfangreichem casuistischem und historischem Material. [1]. Berlin: Pulvermacher, 1910.
    • Magnus Hirschfeld. Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes. Berlin: Marcus, 1914. 
    • Magnus Hirschfeld. Sexual Anomalies and Perversions: Physical and Psychological Development and Treatment : a Summary of the Works of the Late Magnus Hirschfeld. London: Francis Aldor, 1936.
    • Arthur Koestler. The Invisible Writing The Second Volume of an Autobiography-1932-40. London: Hutchinson, 1969: Chp XIX: “Introducing Dr Costler”.
    • Charlotte Wolff. Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology. London: Quartet Books, 1986. 
    • Magnus Hirschfeld translated into English by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1991.
    • Magnus Hirschfeld translated into English by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. The Homosexuality of Men and Women. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000. 
    • Elena Mancini. Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom: A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement. New York: NY, 2010. 
    • Diana Wyndham. Norman Haire and the Study of Sex. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2012.

25 February 2013

Frédé Baulé (1914 - 1976) club owner

In 1936 Marlene Dietrich was in Paris for the opening of a new Maurice Chevalier musical at the Casino de Paris. Erich Maria Remarque, an ex-beau of Dietrich, also came to the show and the reception afterwards. His date for the evening was a 20-year-old woman, Frédérique Baule (born Suzanne Baulé). But it was Dietrich that Baule left with.

Frédé, as she preferred to be known, spent much of the next few years with Marlene who kept returning to Paris as often as her Hollywood career would allow.

In 1938 Marlene set Frédé up in business with a nightclub that was officially called La Silhouette (after Marlene's favourite bar in Berlin), but was generally known as Chez Frédé. It catered to lesbians and cross-dressing women, but also to celebrities.

Frédé's dress and haircut became quite masculine. Errol Flynn describes her in his autobiography:

"She dressed better than any man I had ever seen. … her over-all effect that of a sophisticated English schoolboy. Her man's haircut looked better on her than on any man."

Apparently La Silhouette was able to stay open during the German occupation. The club did so well that in the late 1940s Frédé moved to a larger place, Carroll's. Marlene, of course, was present for the opening, and also Erich Maria Remarque and Maurice Chevalier.
  • Kenneth G. Mclain. "The Untold Story Of Marlene Dietrich". Confidential, July 1955. Online at:
  • Errol Flynn & Jeffrey Meyers. My Wicked, Wicked Ways. NY: Berkley Publ. Corp, 1979. NY: Cooper Square Press, 2003: 221-3.
  • Axel Madsen. The Sewing Circle: Hollywood's Greatest Secret : Female Stars Who Loved Other Women. New York: A Birch Lane Press Book published by Carol Publishing Group, 1995: 150. 
  • Diana McLellan. The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood. New York: LA Weekly Books, 2000: 227, 244-5, 327-8, 355, 358.
  • Denis Cosnard. Frede. Des Équateurs, 2017.

23 February 2013

Mauricio Archibald (194? - ) arrested

We have previously discussed Felicity Chandelle who was arrested in March 1964 while walking close to her home and charged and convicted under her male name of John Miller of a violation of Section 887, Subdivision 7 of the New York Code of Criminal Procedure which designates as a vagrant any person who 'having his face painted, discolored, covered, or concealed, or being otherwise disguised in a manner calculated to prevent his being identified, appears on a road, lot, wood, or enclosure'. The law dates back to the 1840s when farmers were disguising as 'Indians' to harass Dutch landowners in the Anti-Rent Movement.

Virginia Prince and Siobhan Fredericks championed her case and raised over $1,200 to finance an appeal. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief as amicus curiae, and the New York Times carried a sympathetic story. The appeal hearing was denied, by the New York appeal court and by the US Supreme Court.

In April 1967, Mauricio Archibald, en femme, having been to a masquerade party, was on a New York subway platform waiting for a train. He winked at a passing police officer who then approached and asked if he were a boy or a girl, Archibald replied: "I am a girl". The officer charged him as being a vagrant in violation of subdivision 7 of section 887.  He was tried and convicted.

Archibald appealed to the New York Supreme Court in October 1968. He contended that a) he could not be a vagrant in that he had visible means of support b) while cross-dressed, he had no intention of committing any illegal act.

Judge Markowitz observed that the 1845 law had been updated and readopted, with a more modern aim to discourage “overt homosexuality in public places which is offensive to public morality” as well as disguises used to cover criminal activities.” But Archibald was not engaged in criminal activities, nor was he gay. Mere “masquerading” without harming third parties is not a crime in New York, suggested Judge Markowitz. “If appellant’s conviction was correct then circus clowns, strangely attired ‘hippies,’ flowing-haired ‘yippies’ and every person who would indulge in the Halloween tradition of ‘Trick or Treat’ ipso facto may be targets for criminal sanctions as vagrants.”

However Judges Streit and Hofstadter ruled that the wording of subdivision 7 does not require that the State must establish either a lack of means of support or an intention to commit an illegal act. Thus Per Curiam the conviction was affirmed.

Ironically Section 105 of chapter 681 of the Laws of 1967, which repealed section 887, came into effect as of September 1, 1967, "provided that the newly enacted sections were not to apply or govern the prosecution for any offense committed prior to the effective date of the act".

Neither Virginia Prince nor Siobhan Fredericks saw fit to champion this case

I have not found any discussion of the John Miller conviction that mentions Mauricio Archibald, nor the reverse.  However it is definitely the same law code that both were convicted under.

The new laws of 1967, while stopping the use of one inappropriate law code, did not decriminalize cross dressing in New York.  In particular, a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be crossdressed, was present.  See Lee Brewster.

17 February 2013

John Herbert Brundage (1926 – 2001) playwright.

John Brundage was raised in Toronto. He was writing fiction from the age of 14.

By 18 he was a accomplished drag queen. He was able to pass as a female model at a fashion show. However his male persona was obviously gay, and was subjected to taunts and jeers.

In 1947 John was mugged, and his attackers accused him to the police as trying to hustle them. It was Brundage was was charged, convicted and sent to Guelph Reformatory for six months. There he was beaten and raped, but he was also able to wear drag and curl his hair. On release he continued in drag. However a few years later he was recognized by one of the cops who had arrested him before. This time he was sent to the Mimico Reformatory.

In 1953 John toured Canada as a female impersonator with Allan Maloney in Paris After Midnight.

He then attended both ballet and theatre school. He decided on the theatre. He used his middle name as one of his sisters was also in theatre. In the 1960s John Herbert was artistic director of three Toronto companies in succession.

For Halloween 1962, John joined Katherine Cummings and others to run the spectator gauntlet into Letros Tavern for its annual drag event.

In 1964, Canada's centennial year, Herbert wrote Fortune and Men's Eyes, based on his two terms in prison. It was rejected by the Toronto Workshop Productions. It was announced for the 1965 Stratford Festival, but then forbidden by the Board of Directors for public performance, although it was performed privately for the Stratford actors. Herbert produced and directed Jean Genet’s The Maids. This was the first Genet play in Toronto. Critic Nathan Cohen of the Toronto Star attended, and later sent Fortune and Men's Eyes to David Rothenberg in New York.

Rothenberg opened the play Off-Broadway and it ran for a year. This was two years before homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada, and two years before Stonewall. The play was performed to great acclaim, but also controversy, in Los Angeles, London and Paris. It was filmed by MGM in 1970 in a former Quebec City prison with US actors.

Also that year, John was at the televised opening of Toronto's new St Lawrence Centre, in drag of course. He was pissed off that a government-subsidized theatre had opened with a shallow US comedy (Jean Kerr’s Mary, Mary). He was asked on television what he thought of the play, and dismissed it as "dreadful!".

The film version of Fortune and Men's Eyes came out in to great success in 1971.

In 1998, Herbert wrote Marlene Richdiet, a comic monologue in one act about a drag artiste coming to terms with middle-age and food. He wrote 24 plays in total, of which half reached some degree of production.

John Brundage died at 74 after prostate cancer problems.

15 February 2013

Sir Lady Java (1943–) performer, activist

Originally from New Orleans,  Sir Lady Java had been working in Los Angeles for two years in 1967, and was then performing and waiting at the Redd Foxx Club. She was billed as "The Prettiest Man on Earth". It was said that she had dated Redd Foxx and Sammy Davis Jr.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) decided to enforce their Rule 9, whereby it was illegal for performers to impersonate by means of costume or dress a member of the opposite sex unless they had a special permit issued by the LA Board of Police Commissioners. They told the club owner that he would lose his license if Lady Java continued to perform, and her act was dropped. She teamed with the American Civil Liberties Union which challenged the rule as unconstitutional. Meanwhile Lady Java protested outside the club that the rule deprived her of her livelihood, and was favorably reported in the LA Advocate (later The Advocate) and Jet Magazine.

The legal challenge was thwarted in that only a club owner could file the appeal: the Redd Foxx Club owner would not, nor would any other club owner. However in 1969 another club owner did appeal the LAPD rules that prevented him from showing movies on the grounds that the interpretations of the rules were arbitrary and shifting. The California Supreme Court agreed and struck down the movie license rules. The LAPD Commission realized that all such rules could be challenged, and quietly informed the club owners that drag shows were now permitted.

In August 1971, Lady Java was guest of honor at the Alpha Chapter (Los Angeles) of the Full Personality Expression (FPE) showing that the chapter was more open-minded than FPE's national spokesperson, Virginia Prince.

Lady Java had a part, on effect playing herself, in the 1976 film, The Human Tornado. She is kidnapped and then rescued.

In 1978 Jet magazine featured Lady Java's performance at s birthday bash hosted by Lena Horne.

Was Redd Foxx the owner of the Redd Foxx Club?   None of the source items seems to know.

In 1964 Felicity Chandelle was arrested and lost her job as a pilot at Eastern Airlines.  Virginia Prince championed the case and raised legal fees.  Three years later, Virginia Prince had no interest in Lady Java’s case – presumably because Lady Java was not femmiphilic. 

Sir Lady Java.  It is still a custom in the southern US States for female impersonators to call themselves Lady Whatever – see the Lady Bunny, the Lady Chablis.  In the 1960s and earlier it was a custom for female impersonators to use a male honorific, usually Mr or Sir -  see Mr Lee Brewster.

13 February 2013

Fran Conners (192? - ?) femmiphilic organizer.

In the mid 1960s, Virginia Prince, through the use of the magazine Transvestia, attempted to build Full Personality Expression (FPE) as a network of local chapters across the US.

One of only a handful to thrive was the Theta Chapter in Madison, Wisconsin, This Chapter was one of the most active and best organized, largely due to the efforts of Fran Connors who became its president. Conners and his wife began a newsletter, Theta Report, later Theta Thoughts, in 1963, and it lasted 21 issues until June 1965. In March that year, Conners reported that 10 regular and 32 associate members (from other states), and the members voted to include wives at business meetings as well as socials. They raised money and sent clothing to an associate member in Florida who had fallen into ill-health and lost most of his savings in a divorce settlement. Theta had a project of contacting Madison doctors to educate them about heterosexual cross-dressing. One such doctor was a guest at the June 1965 meeting. In May 1965 Theta in coordination with Beta (Chicago) and Delta (Cleveland) put on a Midwest Conference in South Bend, Indiana. However only 14 members and 3 wives showed up.

Fran became the executive secretary of the national FPE and editor of Femme Forum in June 1965, and following that activity in Theta  largely ceased. This may have been compounded by a disgruntled wife of a member: there was a fear that she might inform on the group to the police. However Theta Tau in Minneapolis-St Paul became active in 1966. Theta and Theta-Tau had a combined party in January 1967 on the occasion of a visit by Virginia Prince.

Until this point, Prince ran the national organization out of her home and her work office. She alone collected dues and handled membership applications. There were complaints about autocratic style, and profiting from the dues. Thus Prince appointed Fran Conners, as executive secretary, and Sheila Niles of New Jersey to be field co-ordinator. Niles had a job that involved frequent travel around the US and was able to visit the various chapters. They divided the US, in fact the entire world, into regions, and appointed a regional counselor and deputy for each. The counselors were to encourage the renewal of dues, and also to meet with each new applicant to ensure that they were suitable – however vast distances made face-to-face meetings almost impossible, and some became members without being screened. The membership voted in 1966 to increase the annual dues to $11. Like the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, FPE was a white, middle-class organization with concerns about being respectable. An applicant must purchase fives issues of Transvestia before applying. This was not just to sell more copies, but also to ensure that he was serious, and that, having read the issues, he was acquainted with the philosophy of femmepersonation. The application asked about sexual orientation, marital status, employment status and cross-dressing history. The applicant had to sign his legal name and write his home address, however these were not passed on the the regional counselor. He also had to pledge to keep secret all information about other members. Prince and Conners were the only people who knew the legal names and home addresses of the members.

Fran was executive secretary of FPE from 1965-72. Virginia Prince took credit as the founder of FPE but recognized that Conners as the one who had done most to grow the organization in this period. A count was made that year by Fran Conners of all FPE members, past and present. The total came to 1,800. This would be comparable to the size of the pre-Stonewall homophile groups (although of course after the Stonewall riot in June 1969 the gay and lesbian groups had significantly increased).

Conners cited increasing work and family commitments and retired on January 1972 as executive secretary of FPE and as the editor of Femme Forum. His replacement was Donna , a former president of the Alpha Chapter (Los Angeles). However, Donna suffered from ill health and Femme Forum did not survive beyond the end of the year. The next year Prince announced that FPE was non longer a non-profit organization, but was now to be an adjunct of Chevalier Publications. All membership dues were now to go to her and were now raised to $12. Hill (296) speculated that there was a mass exodus of members to the other more open groups at this time. For the next few years the national organization was minimal.
  • Robert S. Hill. ‘As a man I exist; as a woman I live’: Heterosexual Transvestism and the Contours of Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America. PhD Dissertation. University of Michigan. 2007: 266-7, 273-8, 280-4, 287-9, 291, 296, 301, 306, 312, 315-7, 341.

Several of the accounts of Virginia Prince uncritically credit her with building a transvestite movement in the US.  1965-72 was the one period when a) the group was growing, b) Prince gave full credit to the person doing the work, and c) did not fall out with that person.

I wrote an account of Virginia Prince almost 5 years ago.  With all due modesty I think that it still stands as the best best short account of her.  I wrote it based mainly on the books by Richard Docter, Richard Ekins and Vern Bullough.  Particularly after I wrote my TG, Words and Concepts series, I realized that my account of Prince can be much improved.  This realization was further developed by reading Robert Hill’s dissertation.  I have been writing a longer and better account.  Look for it soon.

09 February 2013

Poppy Cooper (192?–1988) bus conductor, performer

Cooper was working as a bus conductor in Preston, Lancashire in the late 1940s, where he was generally known as a pansy.

On a trip to Morecambe, he was able to catch Forces Showboat – The All-Male Revue at the Alhambra Theatre. "I thought that it was fabulous. The girls were so glamorous and the dresses looked gorgeous. In fact the costumes were a load of tat close to, but the lights were so wonderful in those days." He went backstage to see if there was a chance of a job.
"In those days I had quite a lot of blonde hair with a big quiff, and I reminded them of a queen who had just left because Loren shouted, 'Darling, we've got another Lucretia here – come and varder this one' ". 
Poppy was told to come back tomorrow with a wig and drag, and went down the market to make the needed purchases.

Men in Frocks p17
The going wage was £6 or £7 a week and half of that went on draughty digs where they sometimes had to share four-to-a-bed. However such shows were the only place at that time that a male-bodied person could dress female.

By the mid-1950s, the all-male revues had run their course and no longer attracted audiences.  Poppy popped over to Paris and was employed at Le Carrousel.
"There was more freedom there and you could go out onto the streets in drag if you wanted to, or go out with men to a restaurant after the show. …. French, Belgiums, Germans – they loved the travesti. The English seem different."
Poppy completed her transition to being a woman in the 1970s, and later did a striptease act using the name Tuxedo.

++When she retired from the stage, she set up home in south-west London with a lover who stayed with her till the end.   She passed away in her sleep.
  • Kris Kirk & Ed Heath. Men in Frocks. London: GMP, 1984: 13, 15-7, 19-20, 24, 27,29-31.
  • "Obituary - Poppy Cooper".  Glad Rag, 40, 1988.
  • Paul Baker & Jo Stanley. Hello Sailor!: The Hidden History of Gay Life at Sea. London: Longman, 2003: 37,85.

07 February 2013

Joe Monahan (?1850 – 1904) miner, cowboy.

Joe Monahan arrived in Owyhee County, Idaho Territory in the early 1867. He tried mining, than worked in a mill, and then tried farming, selling produce in Silver City. Around 1800, he moved across the line into Oregon and worked with horses. Later he moved back to Idaho, and built a small ranch where he herded horses and cattle. He always made a point to vote, and served on juries, but avoided most social interaction.

In January 1904, he succumbed to pneumonia while driving his herd to winter pasture. While being laid out for burial he was discovered to be female-bodied. The neighbors were unsure what to do, and Monahan was buried perfunctorily, with neither a prayer, nor a reading.

As Monahan had been known to receive mail from Buffalo, New York, a neighbor wrote to the police chief there, who passed the letter on the local paper which printed it in the front page. In response one Katherine Walter stepped forward claiming that she had been foster mother to Joanna Monahan for six years, because of the child's stepfather being a habitual drunkard. Joanna had headed west just after turning 14 hoping to to do well. Katherine and her daughter Anna had kept up correspondence with Monahan, last receiving a letter a few days prior to Christmas 1903. In another letter to the merchant who had taken charge of Monahan's estate, Walter explained that Johanna's mother had dressed her in boys' clothes and let her earn a living running errands and selling newspapers.

However this was not enough and the newspaper accounts of Monahan grew. In March 1904 the American Journal Examiner dropped the 'e' and told how Jo had been deceived by a man who abandoned her and her baby. When their parents died, Jo's sister took in the baby and Jo headed west. Other papers suggested that Jo had an affair with a Chinese cook that she hired. In 1981 Barbara Lebow dramatised the story, with the baby and a disguised trip back East to see her son. The story was filmed by Maggie Greenwald in 1993, with the baby, the cook-lover and the female spelling of 'Jo'.

*not the New Mexico politician, nor the herpetologist.
  • "Cowboy Jo –Was a Woman". American Journal Examiner, March 6, 1904.
  • Mildretta Hamilton Adams. Historic Silver City: The story of the Owyhees. Owyhee chronicle, 1960. Schwartz Print , 1969. Summarized in Jacquie Rogers. Women Won the West.
  • Barbara Lebow. Little Joe Monaghan. First performed in 1981.
  • Maggie Greenwald (dir & scr). The Ballad of Little Jo, with Suzy Amis as Josephine Monaghan, David Chung as Tinman Wong, Ian McKellen as Percy Corcoran. US 121 mins 1993.
  • Jason Cromwell. Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities. University of Illinois Press, 1999: 75-6.
  • Lynn Bragg. More than Petticoats: Remarkable Idaho Women. TwoDot, 2001.
  • Marjorie K Lorenz. "Josephine Monahan: 'Little Jo' and Other Cowgirls". Notorious Women of the West: The Good, The Bad and the Eccentric. Cherokee Books, 2005: 88-9.
  • Jacquie Rogers. "Scandal: Joe Monaghan". Unusual Historicals, 08 September 2009.
  • Erin H Turner. "Jo Monaghan". Cowgirls: Stories of Trick Riders, Sharp Shooters, and Untamed Women. Twodot, 2009: 1-8.
  • Peter Boag. Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011: 95-104, 109, 129.

The film sold well with GLBT audiences and had Ian McKellen in the cast.  However it was a heterosexualization of the story, and denied that Joe was a trans man.

Peter Boag examined the 1860 Buffalo census returns but did not find a Joanna Monahan, but did find a Peter Reily, a saloon keeper living with his wife and her two children Ann and Mary Manumon (aged 8).  They also had a 13-year-old servant Johanna Burke.  It is not clear whether Joe was originally Mary or Johanna. 

03 February 2013

British Medical Journal, 9 April 1966

This two-page summary of the then professional view of transsexuality was published in the British Medical Journal in 1966, just a few months before Harry Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon was published, ++and three years after Georgina Turtle's Over the Sex Border (which is not mentioned).  This was period of liberal reform in Britain.  In the next few years the ruling Labour Party led by Harold Wilson introduced no-fault divorce, legal abortion, partially decriminalized homosexuality among consenting adults and reduced the voting age to 18.   However nothing was done by legislation for transsexuals, and in Corbett vs Corbett 1971 the legal rights of transsexuals were set back for decades.

Looking back after almost fifty years, there is much that is reasonable, although there are reactionary components especially the referring to trans women as ‘male transsexuals’ – a practice also found in Benjamin’s book.

At the beginning the author regards transvestism as a symptom and not a syndrome like transsexuality.  He then enumerates 3 kinds of transvestism: 1) as a masturbatory ritual associated with erotic excitement 2) a symptom associated with other anomalies such as homosexuality 3) a means of gratification without genital excitation or interest in homosexual behaviour.   He follows Kinsey in that a transvestite may or may not be homosexual.  He quite likely had not then heard of Virginia Prince who was attempting to redefine transvestism as something that was by definition not homosexual.  He would have been aware of the psychoanalysts who regarded transvestism as a fetishistic or masturbatory activity, but rejects their assumption that such is the main form of transvestism.

The statement re transsexuals that “Many experience an intense desire to have their bodies altered so as to take on the appearance of the opposite sex anatomically, and this may be the most prominent feature of the disorder” is of course axiomatic.    However the claim that transsexuality is “more frequently reported in men than in women, the excess varying from 50 to 1 to 3 to 1 according to different estimates” seems to us to be a quaint historical report as subsequent decades brought out more and more trans men.  The next two reported claims that “true transsexualism occurs only in men” and that “that women seeking a surgical change of sex are invariably active and dominant partners in a homosexual relationship” have become totally unviable.

It is sometimes said that it was in reaction to the university gender clinics (and of course the Charring Cross clinic long pre-dated the US clinics) that transsexuals learned what doctors wanted to hear and thus told them that.  This was always an inevitable consequence of psychiatrists setting themselves up as gatekeepers, but it is interesting to see it stated so early.  The wording: “desire for surgery may result in a conscious or unconscious distortion of the account that transsexualists give of their early life and personality development” is quite polite compared to Maxine Petersen and  Michael Bailey’s later assertion that “Most gender patients lie”.

Pre-WWII (see Peter Farrer’s Cross Dressing Between the Wars: Selections from London Life 1923-1933 ) “parental disappointment over the sex of the child” was often taken as a cause of transvestism, and it is disconcerting to see that this folk etiology recycled at a professional meeting in New York as late as 1960.  In rejection of this, it is said that early cross-dressing results from the choice of the child – a coherent word choice that was quite acceptable in 1966.

The influence of psychoanalysis was still strong, and the author uncritically informs us that “The history almost invariably shows an unusually exclusive relationship with the mother and a negative relationship with an absent or abnormal father”, a view almost totally rejected today.  And we can say the same about “Though often described as a good husband, the transsexualist becomes intensely jealous of pregnancy and motherhood in his spouse”.

“The sincerity and conviction with which these people describe their predicament has inclined many physicians who have studied the disorder to regard transsexualism as an inborn tendency, but the men patients show no chromosomal abnormality and in every possible measure are anatomically and physiologically male.”  This was almost 50 years ago.  Despite considerations of hormonal washes and epigenetics, the advances in regard to this question have been rather small in the period since.

”J. Wålinder has also found a high prevalence of electro-encephalographic abnormalities among unselected transvestists.“  Joanne Proctor, in her admiration for Wålinder, said very little about this.  Nor has there been follow-up by neurologists.

“Psychotherapy is at best supportive for these patients, behaviour therapy of unproved value, and the indications for surgical operation often based on opinion rather than facts.   Many transsexual men achieve a real sense of contentment for the first time if, despite the social and administrative problems, they can live and work as a woman. … Some maintain that operation is the most effective means of treatment available, yet the evidence is by no means clear.”   Close, but the author will not simply endorse transgender surgery.  He continues: “A distinct danger is the polymorphously perverse psychopath who succeeds in obtaining a surgical operation during a chameleon-like change. Such individuals may indulge in exhibitionistic publicity, become prostitutes, or engage in litigation against the surgeon”.  The intervening 50 years with its vast increase in the number of persons having transgender surgery have shown  that it is indeed the most effective means of treatment, and the numbers of polymorphously perverse psychopaths have remained a very small percentage.

It is of course unfair to suggest those trans women who turn to prostitution do so because they are ‘polymorphously perverse psychopaths’ rather than that they live in societies that deny them other forms of work.



Any clarification of our incomplete understanding of the anomalies of psychosexual development is to be welcomed. An example is the distinction which can now be made between transvestism as a symptom and the syndrome of transsexuality.1-3

Transvestism may be defined simply as the propensity to dress in the clothing of the opposite sex. It may be practised as a masturbatory ritual associated with erotic excitement, as a symptom associated with other anomalies such as homosexuality, or often as a means of gratification without genital excitation or interest in homosexual behaviour. Many of these people live as ordinary males and cross-dress in secret or wear feminine undergarments under their regular male clothing. As A. C. Kinsey and colleagues4 indicated, transvestism and homosexuality are entirely independent phenomena, and only a small proportion of transvestists are homosexual in their physical relationships.

The transsexualists are a comparatively uncommon group related to the transvestists only in wearing the clothing of the opposite sex. These people wish to become members of the opposite sex and to be recognized and respected as such by others. Many experience an intense desire to have their bodies altered so as to take on the appearance of the opposite sex anatomically, and this may be the most prominent feature of the disorder. Often these unfortunate people hold a strong conviction that their sexual identity is misrepresented by their anatomy as a result of some cruel error of nature.5 They may conduct a relentless campaign to have this  "mistake" corrected surgically and are in consequence compelled to seek medical help. Transsexualism is more frequently reported in men than in women, the excess varying from 50 to 1 to 3 to 1 according to different estimates.2 6 7 J. H. Schultz8 goes further and asserts that true transsexualism occurs only in men, while M. Roth and J. R. B. Ball1 believe that women seeking a surgical change of sex are invariably active and dominant partners in a homosexual relationship.

This desire for surgery may result in a conscious or unconscious distortion of the account that transsexualists give of their early life and personality development, but some distinct patterns can be identified. Males nearly always had an early preference for the company and activities of girls. Cross-dressing started young, but recent evidence 1 9 suggests that this is from choice rather than a reflection of parental disappointment over the sex of the child, as suggested by D. G. Brown.10 The history almost invariably shows an unusually exclusive relationship with the mother and a negative relationship with an absent or abnormal father.  Some behavioural abnormality is usually evident before the age of 10 years, and up to 15 or so there is a growing conviction of difference. Sex interest tends to be feeble, and masturbation begins late or not at all. Feminine inclinations and interest become more marked, and the transsexual boy, in contrast to the homosexual, is apt to be ill at ease among his fellows and do badly at school despite a relatively good intellect.

By adolescence cross-dressing is usually well established but is devoid of fetishistic meaning, since feminine dress evokes not excitement but a feeling of well-being, serenity, and happiness. When cross-dressing is prevented for any length of time tension, anxiety, and irritability develop.  Despite all this the individual remains capable of heterosexual behaviour and usually expresses distaste for homosexual practices. In one series9 30% were married and in J. B. Randell's7 rather heterogeneous group 57% were married. The marriages are frequently unstable and more than half end in divorce or separation. Though often described as a good husband, the transsexualist becomes intensely jealous of pregnancy and motherhood in his spouse, and persistent cross-dressing eventually makes the marital role untenable.

Extreme revulsion for their genitalia and all signs of masculinity often results in persistent importuning for surgical "correction," and in some cases self-castration may be attempted.2-3 In schizophrenia bizarre self-castration may occur with or without delusional ideas about change of sex, but in the transsexualist there is no other evidence of the schizophrenic process.11

By the time he reaches a hospital clinic the transsexualist has usually adopted feminine garb in public; facial hair is reduced and the testes are small and atrophic owing to self-medication with stilboestrol, which the patient often denies.Many authors comment on the exceptional intelligence, versatility, and artistic gifts of these patients.12 13 Though usually anxious to assert their feminine normality, many of the patients present frank neurotic features. 1-9 On most psychological tests they show high scores for feminine interest, but their conviction that they have an attractive feminine physique is sometimes in ludicrous contrast to their hirsute muscularity.

The sincerity and conviction with which these people describe their predicament has inclined many physicians who have studied the disorder to regard transsexualism as an inborn tendency, but the men patients show no chromosomal abnormality and in every possible measure are anatomically and physiologically male.14 However, there is an excess of abnormal sexual behaviour among patients with Klinefelter's syndrome and in association with certain disturbances of brain function.

Cross-dressing and a conviction of sex change may occur in toxic states due to amphetamine,15 psychosis,11 and temporal-lobe epilepsy. 16-18 Of particular interest are those cases associated with clearly defined lesions of the temporal lobe, in which normal sexuality was restored after temporal lobectomy.18-20 J. Wålinder21 has also found a high prevalence of electroencephalographic abnormalities among unselected transvestists.

Psychotherapy is at best supportive for these patients,2 behaviour therapy of unproved value,22 and the indications for surgical operation often based on opinion rather than facts.  Many transsexual men achieve a real sense of contentment for the first time if, despite the social and administrative problems, they can live and work as a woman. But once this step is taken the patient rarely goes back to his former way of life, and his demands for surgery may become more insistent.  Some authors have reported cases in which castration, with or without other surgical procedures, has been followed by greater emotional stability and improved social effectiveness.1-3  Some maintain that operation is the most effective  means of treatment available, yet the evidence is by no means clear. Patients have sometimes deteriorated after operation, or have continued to importune for further surgical changes, while others have demanded reversal of the operation and threatened legal action when this was shown to be impossible.2 23 24 A distinct danger is the polymorphously perverse psychopath who succeeds in obtaining a surgical operation during a chameleon-like change. Such individuals may indulge in exhibitionistic publicity, become prostitutes, or engage in litigation against the surgeon. The legal status of the converted transsexualist so far as marriage and inheritance is concerned has yet to be tested in the courts. This uncommon but tragic anomaly presents many problems which are unlikely to be resolved until we have more detailed and objective accounts of the complete life history of affected persons.
  1. Roth, M., and Ball, J. R. B., in Intersexuality in Vertebrates Including Man, ed. C. N. Armstrong and A. J. Marshail. 1964. London.
  2. 'Pauly, I. B., Arch. gen. Psychiat., 1965, 13, 172.
  3. 'Benjamin, H., West. J. Surg., 1964, 72, 105.
  4. 'Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., and Martin, C. E., Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, 1948. Philadelphia and London.
  5. 'Hamburger, C., Sturup, G. K., and Dahl-Iversen, E., J. Amer. med. Ass., 1953, 152, 391.
  6. Kinsey, A. 9., Pomeroy, W. B., Martin, C. E., and Gebhard, P. H.,
    Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, 1953. Philadelphia and London.
  7. Randell, J. B., Brit. med. J., 1959, 2, 1448.
  8. Schultz, J. H., in Intersexuality, ed. Claus Overzier, 1963. London and New York.
  9. Ball, J. R. B., Transsexualism. M.D. Thesis, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. 1965.
  10. Brown, D. G., Childhood Development and Sexual Deviations: Part II, Homosexuality. Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, New York, August, 1960.
  11. Blacker, K. H., and Wong, N., Arch. gen. Psychiat., 1963, 8, 169.
  12. Lukianowicz, N., J7. nerv. ment. Dis., 1959, 128, 36.
  13. Delay, J., Deniker, P., Lemperiere, T., and Benoit, J. C., Enciphale, 1954, 43, 385.
  14. Barr, M. L., and Hobbs, G. E., Lancet, 1954, 1, 1109.
  15. Connell, P. H., Amphetamine Psychosis (Maudsley Monograph No. 5), Institute of Psychiatry, 1958. London.
  16. Thompson, G. N., J. nerv. ment. Dis., 1955, 121, 374.
  17. 17 Davies, B. M., and Morgenstern, F. S., J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiat., 1960, 23, 247.
  18. Hunter, R., Logue, V., and McMenemey, W. H., Epilepsia (Amst.) 1963, 4, 60.
  19. Mitchell, W., Falconer, M. A., and Hill, D., Lancet, 1954, 2, 626.
  20. Hill, D., Pond, D. A., Mitchell, W., and Falconer, M. A., J. ment. Sci., 1957, 103, 18.
  21. Wålinder, J., Int. J. Neuropsychiat., 1965, 1, 567.
  22. Eysenck, H. J., and Rachman, S., The Causes and Cures of Neurosis, 1965 London.
  23. Muhsam, R., 1926, quoted in Asexualisation, by J. Bremer, 1959. Oslo University Press.
  24. Hertz, J., Tillinger, K. G., and Westman, A., Acta psychiat. scand., 1961, 37, 283.