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!

31 August 2013

George Miller (1850 – 1928) tightrope performer, railroad worker

George Miller was best known a tight rope performer from the age of 18. From 1871 he was with the newly formed P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome.

In later years he also worked as a railroad night-watchman, farmhand and section hand on the Chicago Great Western Railway.
It did come out that he was female-bodied, and he was once quoted: "Men have an easier time than women, and get all the breaks".

He continued as a man for sixty years until his death at age 78.
  • F. Michael Moore. Drag!: Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen, and Television : an Illustrated World History. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1994: 123.

29 August 2013

20 trans persons in Germany/Austria/Switzerland who changed things by example and/or achievement.

See also US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Australia/NZ, Americans in Europe, Europeans in the Americas, Africa.
  1. Emil Vacano (1840 – 1892) circus equestrian as Signora Sangumeta, and later a novelist. GVWW DE.WIKIPEDIA
  2. Daniel Paul Schreber (1842 – 1911) Senatspräsident of the Superior Court in Dresden, became convinced that he was being transformed into a woman, and that he was to be the wife of God. Analysed by Sigmund Freud. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA
  3. Herman von Teschenberg (1866 – 1911) barrister, translator. Photos in Die Transvestiten. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  4. Karl Baer (1885 – 1956) social worker, feminist, first ftm surgical change, accountant. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  5. Dörchen Richter (1891 - 1933) maid at Hirschfeld's Institute, world's first surgical mtf change. GVWW
  6. Dora Ratjen (1918 – 2008) high-jumper in the 1936 Olympics. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA      
  7. Jeanette Schmid (1924 – 2005) performed as Baroness Lips von Lipstrill, whistler. GVWW

  8. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (1928 – 2002) curator of the Gründerzeit Museum, biography filmed by Rosa von Praunheim. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA.

  9. Jean Lessenich ( 1942 - ) artist. GVWW DE.WIKIPEDIA

  10. Romy Haag (1951 - ) Dutch performer, nightclub owner in Berlin. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA.

  11. Anna-Varney Cantodea ( 1952 - ) Darkwave musician. GVWW   EN.WIKIPEDIA  

  12. Christian Schenk (1952 - ) physicist, politician. GVWW   DE.WIKIPEDIA 

  13. Lilo Wanders (1955 - ) television personality. GVWW     DE.WIKIPEDIA  

  14. Michaela Lindner (1958 - ) politician, theatrical agent. GVWW   DE.WIKIPEDIA  

  15. Andreas Krieger (1966 - ) shotput champion, anti-doping activist. GVWW DE.WIKIPEDIA  

  16. Nadia Brönimann (1969 - ) steward, performer, 2 autobiographies. GVWW  

  17. Gloria Gray (1970 - ) performer. GVWW DE.WIKIPEDIA  

  18. Monika Strub (1975 - ) nurse, photographer, political candidate. GVWW

  19. Balian Buschbaum (1980 - ) pole vaulter. DE.WIKIPEDIA  

  20. Kim Petras (1992 - ) musician. EN.WIKIPEDIA

27 August 2013

The other Harry Benjamin

In today's Gender Trender Gallus Mag claims that the endocrinologist Harry Benjamin published a book in 1929 called Better Sight Without Glasses.  

The book is online at and here is the title page: 

Note ;
a)  This is Harry Benjamin N.D.  (not M.D.),  i.e. he is a naturist
b) It is a British book
c) Other works by the same author are:  Everybody's Guide to Nature Cure, Your Diet in Health and Disease, Commonsense Vegetarianism, How to become 100% Healthy.

Later in life this Harry Benjamin wrote Basic self-knowledge : an introduction to esoteric psychology. Based on the Gurdjieff system of esoteric development, with some references to the writings of Krishnamurti and Everyone's guide to theosophy : a simple explanation of the theosophical teachings for the new student.

Definitely a different Harry Benjamin.

There are two web sites that put out the disinformation that Harry Benjamin, the endrocrinologist wrote Better Sight Without Glasses.  One is No.Wikipedia(Harry Benjamin) - the other 10 Wikipedia Harry Benjamin sites do not make this mistake.  The other is Andrea James' Harry Benjamin page (which is probably where Gallus Mag got it from)

23 August 2013

Angelo Tornebeno/Mario Martino (1937 - 2011) nun, nurse, activist.

Angela was born to Italian immigrants in the US Midwest. The father was a macho cop who sometimes beat his wife and child. Angela was criticized for being too much like the father, especially after the mother died when the child was 12, and the father remarried.

At 15 Angela was sent to a boarding school run by nuns, and the next year transferred to an aspirancy, a training school for girls who aspired to be nuns, but was sent home after trysts with a classmate were discovered. Angela trained as a nurse, and with the encouragement of a favorite nun did enter a convent as Sister Mary Dominick, but after further love involvements, had to leave.

Angela then left a first lover who was a lesbian, Angela feeling rather that he was a man who wanted a male-female relationship. While working as an operating-room technician, Angelo found a pregnant woman who accepted him as a man, but she died in childbirth.

Angelo's next girlfriend, Rebecca, had religious objections which were not quieted by the copy of Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness that he gave her to read, but did finally accept that Angelo was becoming a man.

When Christine Jorgensen's autobiography came out in 1967, Angelo (and many other transsexuals) attempted to contact Harry Benjamin.
"And scared was the word. No other word adequately described my feeling as I picked up the phone and put in a long-distance call to the man I wanted most in the world to see, Dr Harry Benjamin. His amiable secretary explained that the doctor was away. She would, however, refer me to a most reputable physician in the city where I was working. 'He can advise you,' she said, 'and make recommendations.' I thanked her and placed the call. That secretary said the doctor had just left on vacation and she had no recommendations to offer. I phoned the county Medical Society and was given three names, among them that of Dr Patterson. My fourth call was to his office.(p143"
Dr Patterson answered his own phone and told Angelo to come right over. After a physical and one session with the psychiatrist in the next office, Angelo was approved as transsexual and started taking testosterone. The physical transition caused a rift with Rebecca who again raised her religious objections. Dr Patterson was apparently stringing Angelo along with assurances that referrals were forthcoming, but eventually Angelo realized that Patterson has no such contacts.

However he became friends with Nick, another patient of Dr Patterson. an East European immigrant who had already had a mastectomy and hysterectomy. Nick found Dr Lake in an out-of-town hospital who was willing to did a mastectomy for high fees. Angelo and Rebecca made up, Angelo had his first phalloplasty as the first-ever such patient of a Dr Fogle, which however became infected and had to be removed.  He did not attempt phalloplasty again for another four years, this time with Dr Robertson in the Midwest.  Again complications set in and he lost the tip.

He tried without success to reconcile with his father. Even when the father was dying after a stroke and heart attack, they were not able to make peace.

Angelo legally changed his name, and he and Rebecca were married. He was employed as a nursing supervisor in Lake's hospital.

Using the name Mario Martino they, assisted by Dr Lake, founded The Labyrinth Foundation Counseling Service in Yonkers, New York for male-to-female transsexuals, and provided a post-operative half-way house.

As Mario he published his autobiography, the first such in the modern sense by a trans man, in 1977. The book is dedicated to Harry Benjamin and to Rebecca, and includes a short Foreword by Benjamin.

Angelo studied for a PhD in counseling psychology which he completed in 1979. Sometime in the early 1980s he dropped out of sight, and wasn't heard of again.

It is rumored that he married a second time, moved to Florida and passed on in 2011.

*Not Mario Martino the Italian photographer, nor the Puerto Rican journalist, nor the character in The Godfather.
  • Mario Martino with harriett - Emergence: a Transsexual Autobiography. New York: A Signet Book 1979.
  • "Personal Profiles: Mario Martini". Gender Review, 4, March 1979: 5-6.
  • Pat Califia. Sex changes : the politics of transgenderism. San Francisco: Cleis Press 1997. Second edition by Patrick Califia 2003: 38-47.
  • Judith Halberstam. Female masculinity. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998: 154-5.
  • Joanne J. Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Mass. ; London: Harvard University press, 2004: 94-5, 152, 158, 162, 163, 165, 184, 227, 228, 236-7, 275.
  • Emily Nelson. FTM Trans Theory VS. Trans Narratives: Working to an Updated Trans Theory. Masteruppsats at Upsale Universitet, 2011.

Tornebeno/Martino was insistent that he was not and had not been a lesbian, and conceived of FTMs as heterosexual men.   As Califia notes: “It would be interesting to see his reaction to the FTMs with gay male identities who are becoming more vocal today(p46)”.

Another group that Martino did not identify with was trans women:  “But the male-to-female patients were another story.  Too few of them acted like any other female, either in speech or in manner.  The extroverts among them referred to each other as closet queens, shrilled out their demands, showed their newly constructed vaginas to anyone who’d look, and used language that I’d never heard from a woman (p209-210)”.

Was Emergence the first autobiography by a trans man?   Several of the 18th and 19th century trans men wrote auto biographies of a kind, but the assumptions and social constructions are quite different from those of the 1970s.   However Robert Allen’s But for the Grace: The True Story of a Dual Existence London: W.H. Allen 1954 surely counts as a modern trans man autobiography.

18 August 2013

Emmon Bodfish (1943 – 1999) druid, plumber, investment advisor

Originally from Ohio, Emmon Bodfish was active in the Reformed Druids of North America. He produced the Druid Missal-Any Magazine 1983-1991, some of which was reprinted in A Reformed Druid Anthology, 2nd Edition, Volume 3: The Magazine Volume. At this time he corresponded with trans woman Tadhg MacCrossan, in the period before she wrote The Sacred Cauldron. His wisdom is still quoted on Druid sites.

As his prior identity, Margaret, Bodfish ran a pool maintenance and plumbing business, The Blue Lagoon. Later he worked as an investment advisor. He owned a simple home in the affluent Orinda area outside San Francisco. He also owned a town-house in Marin County. In the late nineties he was apparently isolated and depressed, and occasionally reverted to being a woman.

In June 1999 Emmon was found bludgeoned to death. The next day his son Max Wills was found, an apparent suicide in a Santa Monica hotel room. Max was known to have suffered from long term depression but was reluctant to kill himself while his mother was alive.

Later the police discovered a floor safe containing $60,000 in gold and coins. A drill had been found at the same spot but there was no sign that it was used to pry out the safe. In addition a police investigator apparently contracted Q fever in the Bodfish home.

The murder remains unsolved.  Different possibilities have been suggested including transphobia, family involvement, a fustrated robbery and even, based on an entry in his diary, that Emmon contracted his own death.   

 The Druid sites do not mention the murder.  

16 August 2013

Titica (1987–) singer

Titica, born and raised in Luanda, was trained in ballet. However she was rejected by her family, mocked on the street and beaten by strangers. She had breast implants in Brazil in 2008.

She was first involved in kudora music as a backing dancer. In October 2011 she released her first single, O Chão. , which has become one of the most played kudora tracks in Angola and its diaspora. She has since done a tour of Europe and the Americas. She is frequently on radio and television, and played at the annual Divas concert before President dos Santos.


13 August 2013

Michael Wallent (1969 - ) IT executive

Michael Wallent was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and studied engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He married a woman, and moved to Seattle to join Microsoft in 1996 and advanced quickly.

By 1999 he was overseeing the team of 300 working on Internet Explorer, and was known for his blunt even aggressive comments re his team's work.

By 2005 he had had two children and had divorced and remarried. He was now head of a team that helped design the look and feel of Windows Vista.

In 2007 he and his second wife had a child, and he took paternity leave. At this time Wallent told his wife that he was transgender. On return to work Megan Wallent explained the situation to her boss, and then to the others on the team. She took six weeks leave, started her blog, had breast implants and facial surgery. When she returned to Microsoft it was to a different division.

It was noted that Megan's management style was different in that she asked probing questions to help the engineer find a solution. She discussed her situation re the Microsoft transgender healthcare program with the Microsoft JobsBlog:
"The other thing that gets complicated is that what they will pay for is mostly bottom surgery. Turns out that for FTM [female-to-male] transgendered folks, bottom surgery is kinda not the thing. And even increasingly for MTF [male-to-female] transpeople, bottom surgery isn’t necessarily for everybody. I didn’t have it. I have no plans to have it. I’ve been very public about that. I had facial surgery, and that’s not something that benefits would cover.
It raises interesting issues of what’s elective. Is it elective to pass? It brings up this fundamental question: if you believe that Gender Identity Disorder is a medical issue, and you want cure people of that, what is that? Is it all about bottom surgery? I’m going to say no. Gender identity isn’t about your parts, it’s about how you present yourself to the world. I’ve had this conversation with senior folks in HR, and they get it."
In 2010 Megan joined the board of Out & Equal, which advocates for LGBT equality in the workplace.

In March 2013 Wallent announced on her blog that he was returning to being Michael, purportedly because of the health risks for "someone with my genes" associated with estrogen.

10 August 2013

Eric Gilbert Oakley (1916 - ?) female impersonator, hack writer.

According to the author page in Man into woman, Eric Gilbert Oakley was the son of T. Gilbert Oakley (? - 1953) of the National Association for Mental Health, Chief Consultant to the Pelman Institute (which promoted courses in willpower and mental exercises) and author of books on psychology and feelings of inferiority.

Eric lists his higher education as Skerry’s College (which prepares for civil service exams) and the Glasgow School of Art. However he puts a D.Psy after his name, which presumably was not acquired at either Skerry's or the GSA.

After military service in the Second World War, and six years on the stage, Oakley became editor of the monthly Health Magazine, and wrote more than 60 books. Like his father he wrote about self confidence and psychology. He also wrote about sex. He married and became the father of a daughter.

In 1964 he published Man into woman: the amazing account of a male's change into female, with full psychological and medical case history and personal analysis questionnaire, which purported to be a biography of Juliet Griffiths who had gender surgery in Casablanca in 1950. I have analysed this, and came to the conclusion that it is a clever fraud.  It does however portray Griffiths as a pioneer and a star despite her early death, and its implication that you needed lots of class privileges to transition. 

During the 1960s Oakley studied female impersonation and decided that he could offer something different. He started doing one-night drag acts under the name of Linda – one-nighters being compatible with his work as a writer.

In 1970 Oakley published Sex change and dress deviation. He followed the usual convention of two
sections: one on Transvestism and the other on Trans-sexuality. He explains that
"Transvestism is a mild form of sex change … and involves not merely a change of clothing but a distinct attitude of mind that expresses a desire to adopt the feminine role in society".
He identifies different types:
  • Partial Transvestites who dress only on set occasions, which can be planned, designed or spontaneous depending on the strength of the urge.
  • Permanent Transvestites at work as well as home – a complete and utter compulsion.
  • Extreme Transvestite who "wishes to have sexual relations with a real girl while living with her as a girl himself".
  • Those who worship the the opposite sex and wish to be above the carnal desires and activities of men.
  • The passive homosexual who dresses with the intention of attracting aggressive homosexuals. (Oakley insists that "His identification is not a true one.")
  • The masochistic cross-dresser who desires a dominant woman to bring out his passive femininity.
In the introduction to the Trans-sexuality section Oakley writes
"The author considers that any man who is prepared to face such hazards is worthy of the greatest possible respect and consideration from everyone involved".
Note that he writes 'man' for trans woman, and he repeatedly refers to the operation as a phallectomy rather than a vaginoplasty - which means that he regards it as a removal rather than a gain. He seems to regard trans-sexuals as a special cases of effeminate men:
"The feminine mind in the male body can produce the image of effeminacy.  The degree of femininity will determine his sexual role which will be chosen from three possible alternatives, i.e. the passive (femme) homosexual, the transvestite, or the trans-sexual.  Trans-sexual identification with the female embarces not only the feminine mind, but the body as well.  Unlike transvestism, this identification with the female is rarely, if ever, acquired.  Transvestite and effeminate men are born with a predeliction for feminine habits and characteristics, but the trans-sexual is born with definite physical characteristics which interrect with his mental attitude."

He claims in chapter 12 that at the time of writing
"it is said that at Hammersmith Hospital alone no less than twelve sex-change operations are performed every month".
On the next page he writes
"Trans-sexual males are seldom sought after by homosexuals since they approximate far too closely to the woman who is of course, the sexual 'enemy' of the homosexual male".
Unfortunately he does not stick to this generally true observation elsewhere.

Oakley's typology of trans-sexual personalities is:
  • Those who are really transvestite but insist that they are trans-sexual. They resist hormone treatment, electrolysis and of course phallectomy.
  • Those who take hormones but stop short of phallectomy through fear or because of secret sexual pleasure.
  • The homosexual trans-sexual who is really a glorified transvestite. He is accepted by his followers, i.e. aggressive male homosexuals, as a femme , and is used anally by them.
  • The dedicated trans-sexual who simply cannot face life as a man and is convinced that his male role is erroneous and unjust.
On the last page of the book Oakley writes:
“From his observations, the author is convinced that the transvestite is far happier than the trans-sexual. Life is by no means so complex, so painful, or so embarrassing for them. The future is not obscured by a mist of hopefulness and doubt. The best of two worlds lies within the transvestite's grasp, for he can change from male to 'female' at will.
The author concludes, therefore , that the sex-change phenomenon is wholly and completely disastrous, and that medical bodies the world over are seriously at fault in encouraging it in any way when other means of therapy are surely at their disposal to help these unfortunate people."
  • Gilbert Oakley. Man into woman: the amazing account of a male's change into female, with full psychological and medical case history and personal analysis questionnaire. London: Walton Press, 1964.
  • Gilbert Oakley. Sex change and dress deviation. London: Morntide, 1970.
  • Desmond Montmorency. The Drag Scene: The Secrets of Female Impersonators. London: Luxor Press, 1970: 130.

The 1970 Oakley and the Montmorency book were both published in 1970.  Both books are the same size and shape, both are dominantly yellow and both have a partial title but no author on the spine.  One is published by Morntide and the other by Luxor.  However both Morntide and Luxor give their address as 50 Alexandria Road, London SW19.

There is no mention at all of Virginia Prince, although the Beaumont Society, the British version of Prince's group, had been founded in 1967.  Initially it had very little impact.   Also note that while the book came out a year after the Stonewall riots, they too are not even mentioned.

It is not obvious how to read the 1964 Man into woman.   Having established that it is not true, we could read it as Oakley’s wish life.  Which of course would be in marked contrast to his 1970 rejection of gender surgery.  Which of course parallels Prince who wanted surgery in the mid-1950s but later dogmatically told everyone that they should not have it.

The anti-gay, anti surgery platform which is now associated with Prince is found here in Oakley and demonstrates that it was not derived from Prince.  Unlike Prince Oakley does not differentiate transvestism from female impersonation, and like Susanna Valenti he was a performer.   He seems to think that female impersonators are mainly heterosexual – a very different point of view from that found in Kris Kirk’s Men in Frocks, and a point of view that became very hard to maintain as time went on.

1970 was probably the latest that such ignorant comments about both homosexuals and transsexuals could be published.

08 August 2013

18 trans persons in Italy who changed things by example and/or achievement

See also US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia/NZ, Americans in Europe, Europeans in the Americas.

  1. Sporus (? - 69) after Nero killed his wife Poppaea, he had his slave Sporus castrated and dressed like her. Sporus was at Nero's death and became the consort of his successor. GWVV EN.WIKIPEDIA
  2. Elagabalus (203 – 222) Roman Emperor from age 14 to 18. Reputed to do what would now be regarded as gay and trans. EN.WIKIPEDIA  

  3. Roland Ronchaia (? - 1354) sex worker during the Black Death. GVWW
  4. Bellino (1732 – 1790) castrato impersonator. GVWW
  5. Giorgia O'Brien (1928 – 2004) travesti, singer, actor. GVWW IT.WIKIPEDIA 

  6. Dominot (1930 - ) performer at Le Carrousel and in Rome. Star in Fellini's La Dolce Vita. GVWW    IT.WIKIPEDIA   

  7. Maria Starace (1932 - ) writer, actor, painter. In 1959 the most famous homosexual in Italy; in 1983 the most famous transsexual. GVWW IT.WIKIPEDIA    
  8. Marcella do Folco (1943 – 2010) film actor at Cinecitta, Movimento Italiano Transsessuali activist, Bologna city councillor. GVWW    IT.WIKIPEDIA   
  9. Roberta Franciolini (1945 – 2011) activist. GVWW   
  10. Mario Mieli (1952 - 1983) Marxist pioneer transvestite/gay activist and theorist who argued that the repressive system stifles natural transsexuality. EN.WIKIPEDIA IT.WIKIPEDIA   
  11. Eva Robin's (1958 - ) model, singer, actor. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA IT.WIKIPEDIA  
  12. Robertina Manganaro (1958 - ) aristocrat, doctor, model, designer. GVWW     
  13. Mirella Izzo (1959 - ) activist, founder of Chrysalis AzioneTrans. IT.WIKIPEDIA
  14. Luana Ricci (1963 - ) musicista in Lecce. GVWW  
  15. Vladimir Luxuria (1965 - ) activist, actor, Member of Parliament. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA IT.WIKIPEDIA  
  16. Martina Castellana (196? - ) dermatologist, Salerno city councillor. GVWW 
  17. Davide Tolu (1969 - ) writer, translator, activist. GVWW  
  18. Ketty Gabriele (1981 - ) Camorristi. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA  

05 August 2013

The Cabin Inn, Chicago

The (Cozy) Cabin Inn opened in 1933 at 3119 Cottage Grove Avenue in Bronzeville, in Chicago's South Side, at the southern side of the Century of Progress fairgrounds. Impersonator Gilda Gray was the hostess, and did an imitation of the fan dance made famous by Sally Rand at the just finished World's Fair. It was owned by Jack Hardy and Nathan "Big" Ivy, who hailed from Arkansas and was a successful entrepreneur friendly with Chicago Negro politicians.

In Summer 1934 the show featured impersonator/blues singer Luzetta Hall and the dance team of Blue and Jean, The Lady and Gentleman of the Carioca. The star was the Brown Mae West (Dick Barrow) – not to be confused with the Sepia Mae West. Nat Ivy placed advertisements in the local newspapers: "When you have seen our Floor Show ... you have seen Chicago at its Best".

In late 1934 and early 1935 Mayor Joseph Kelly had the police clamp down on pansy and lesbian bars in the Near North Side but left Bronzeville alone. White patrons who enjoyed this type of entertainment started going to Bronzeville.
In October 1935 the Cabin Inn hosted a double wedding: that of midget dancer "Bullfrog Shorty” to Muriel Borsack, and that of impersonator Jean Acker and Vernon Long. Luzetta Hall was Jean's bridesmaid and guests came from as far away as Philadelphia and Indianapolis. It is said that Alfred Finnie took inspiration from this event in founding the Finnie's Balls which started that year. However the police came and closed the club. The impersonators were given a choice: "put on your pants or go to jail with the management".

The Inn was open again within a week, allegedly having paid bribes. The police returned in December and cited the Cabin Inn for violating its entertainment license. Barrow had a gig in Los Angeles and quickly went to it.

The Chicago Defender reported December 21 that twelve had been arrested: the two owners, two bartenders, the floodlight operator and seven female impersonators, three working at the Cabin Inn and four guests. In South State Street Court Judge Eugene McGarry dismissed all the charges: "The testimony does not show any specific violations of ordinance ... It appears that these men were dressed in female clothes. The testimony shows that it was a masquerade party. Female impersonators appear on stage every day. In the absence of any such testimony I have no choice but to find the defendants not guilty and that will be the order."

The Cabin Inn re-opened with Varieties of 1935, featuring a team of impersonators led by Valda Gray. In 1938 The Cabin Inn relocated to 3520 South State Street, still with Valda Gray.

By 1940 Nat Ivy had run out of influential friends and lost his entertainment licence.
  • Chad C Heap. Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940. Chicago: University of Chicago press, 2007: 94-6.
  • St. Sukie De la Croix. Chicago Whispers A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012: 146-8, 152.
  • Tristan Cabello. "Queer Bronzeville: African American LGBTs on Chicago's South Side, 1900-1985: The emergence of African-American queer cultures on Chicago's South Side, 1920-1940". Windy City Times, 2012-02-29.

Heap says that the Inn was originally called the Cozy Cabin Inn and changed its name in 1935 when it relocated to South State Street.  De la Croix says nothing about ‘Cozy’ and has the move to South State Street in 1938.   De la Croix says that the December trial was re the October wedding;  Heap implies that it was re the December raid.

De la Croix makes some odd stylistic choices for a gay man.  He describes Bullfrog Shorty’s wedding as genuine without any quotes, but does put quotes around Luzetta being Jean’s “bridesmaid”.

We are not told if the marriage of "Bullfrog Shorty” to Muriel Borsack was registered with the State of Illinois. 

03 August 2013

Marcella Di Folco (1943 - 2010) film actor, activist, councillor

Marcello was raised in Rome. After school he worked as a porter at the Hotel Rivoli, and then from 1965 at the Piper Club.

In 1969 Di Folco had to deliver a letter to the Cinecitta film studios, where he was spotted by director Frederico Fellini and given a part in Fellini Satyricon. From then till 1980 Di Folca appeared in several more Fellini films, and even more films by other directors. He was credited as Marcello Di Falco (actually the originally spelling of the family name).
Cross-acting as the Prince in Amarcord, 1973

In 1980 Di Folco did what she had wanted for many years and had transgender surgery with Dr Burou in Casablanca. On return Marcella worked as an intercontinental operator for Italcable.

Marcella 1999
She became an active participant in the newly founded Movimento Italiano Transessuali which achieved legal recognition of changed gender two years later. In 1986 Marcella moved to Bologna where MIT had its headquarters, and two years later became its president. In 1990 Marcella was elected to the Bologna City Council, and again from 1995-9.

In 1994 MIT opened in Bologna the world's first gender identity clinic managed by transsexuals. In 2000 she persuaded the Equal Opportunities Minister to set up a Gender Identity Commission.

In 2001 she was a Girasole (Sunflower, ie Green) list candidate. In 2004 she was Communist candidate for the European Parliament and for the Provincial Council of Bologna. In 2006 she was a Green Candidate for the Senate.

Marcella died aged 67 of a tumour.

A Bologna street has been named in her honour.

The Italian sites claim that Marcella was the first open trans person elected to a city council.  Not to diminish her achievement, but Rachel Webb was elected to Lambeth Council in 1986, and Mark Rees to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in 1994.

01 August 2013

Vasil Popovici (1815 – 1905) monk.

Vasil Popovici spent most of his life as a monk in the Orthodox Monastery at Țibucani in north east Romania. Revered as a mystic, it was only at his death that he was discovered to be female-bodied.
  • "Popovici, Vasil" in Randy P. Conner, David Hatfield Sparks & Mariya Sparks. Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Lore. London: Cassell, 1997: 270.

There are a couple of score of Christian saints who were revealed to be female-bodies, many but not all were revealed only at death.   The classic account is in the Appendix to Marie Delcourt’s Hermaphrodite: Myths and Rites of the Bisexual Figure in Classical Antiquity , 1956.  I have generally not featured these because it was not possible to pin down the stories to a specific time and place, and so it seems more likely that the tales are legends rather than history.

In this case we have a specific monastery and precise birth and death dates.   However, as we are given no other details of Popovici’s life; the tale matches the legends exactly; Conner, Sparks & Sparks give no source reference, it is quite likely that Popovici is also a legend.