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

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

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

28 November 2013

Yasmene Jabar (1956 - ) artist, activist, comedienne.

Diana was raised in Noxubee County, Mississippi and then on a farm near Salisbury, North Carolina. She found out about transsexuality by buying Harry Benjamin’s book and the Erickson Foundation pamphlets by mail order from Michael Salem who had an ad in Playboy.
"By the time I got my license to drive a car, I was going out dressed as a girl-- just going shopping, to the movies or out to eat. Sometimes I would talk a cousin into going with me so I would not be alone, at first it was scary but I got used to it quickly and to the fact that I passed as female better than I did as male."
She transitioned socially in 1974 taking hormones purchased at a black-market pharmacy. Diana worked at an impersonator club, Orleans, in Charlotte, N.C.
"The club was run by an older woman named Olean who always wore a long blonde wig, and false eyelashes and lots of makeup, who looked more like a drag queen than the real drag queen".
Diana also worked stealth in a massage parlor to save for her operation. She had surgery from Dr Stanley Biber, 1976, at the age of 20.

She married a Syrian man she met at college and became Diana Salameh. They were together seven years, and he gave her the name Yasmene which means ‘desert flower’. However she finally divorced him for philandering. By this time Yasmene had become a Muslimah.

She returned to Macon, Mississippi to take care of her handicapped mother. She was then an artist making dolls and Santas with a studio in Macon, where she was declared Business Person of the Year 1994.

Her second husband was a Jordanian living in Germany whom she met on the internet. They had a traditional Muslim wedding in Jordan and lived there for many years.

Yasmene set up the web sites Cafe Trans Arabi and the International Transsexual Sisterhood, the first to help trans women in the middle east, and then expanded to help trans women wherever they are. In 2005 she was involved in the Trans Eastern Conference (TEC) in Istanbul.

Personal problems resulted in Yasmene's web sites being discontinued at the end of 2006.

She has returned to living in the US, and has been working a a stand-up comedienne.

She was an early proponents of the concept of Harry Benjamin Syndrome (Yasmene's take) but did not stay with the HBS groups.

For some reason Yamene has become part of a miscellaneous group of trans women who are reprinted with their before and after images in several dumb sites professing a false shock that transsexuality exists. 

26 November 2013

Petra Henderson (1955 – 2016) soldier, communications engineer.

Peter Henderson was keen on radios and electronics even as a child. His female name was Caroline, and frequently insisted that this was who she really was. She tried to stay with the girls at school, and even attempted to join the brownies. She refused to have her hair cut and even before the Beatles was the only boy in her class with long hair.

In 1964 she adapted her radio to be able to receive the pirate Radio Caroline despite living in southern England beyond its normal reach, and gladly joined the ‘Caroline Club’.

She deliberately failed her 11-plus exams because the grammar schools in her area were gender segregated, while the secondary modern school was mixed gender.

In the late 1960s Caroline worked in pirate radio broadcasting on and off the Isle of Wight. She dressed as a hippy chick and on the air was Anne Kennedy, the only female on the station. During a police raid she and four others escaped in that the police found four men and a boy when they they looking for several men and a woman.

At age 16, under pressure from his father, Peter joined the Royal Signals. He told the army psychologist that he felt that he was really a woman but it was decided that he was not trying hard enough to be a man. Peter married a woman, and they had one son. He left the army after three years, but remained an active life member of the Royal Signals Associations (RSA).

Henderson stayed on in West Germany working at first for the British Forces Broadcasting Service, and then for GEC-Marconi, Bundespost, mainly in radio and television broadcasting. He also worked in defence and systems joining undersea and satellite communications, and then with Deutsche Telekom providing fibre-optic telephone and cable networks across the newly united Germany. He worked with several of the Marconi engineers who were later mysteriously killed.

Peter transitioned to Petra in 1998, with surgery in Frankfurt am Main. After some years of struggle and negotiation with the British Government, the then Lord Chancellor, Derry Irvine, intervened and Petra was legally recognized as female, even though she had refused to divorce her wife of 26 years. She had threatened to go to the European Court of Human Rights and the Government wished to keep her out of the newspapers. It was insisted that this was a one-off exemption and did not set a precedent.

There were some other similar one-offs, such as the UK citizen in Paris who was able to obtain a similar result with Petra's assistance, and Press for Change was able to use them in its negotiation for the Gender Recognition Act of 2004. Afterwards Petra did divorce her wife and has lost contact with her. She lives in the Frankfurt region, and is still active in the Royal Signals Association.

She spoke up in support of soldier Joanne Wingate during her trials in 2003, and was featured in Sixth Sense, the UK Army’s daily newspaper.

Her Wikipedia page was deleted in 2008. Petra was active in the now defunct TransHistory Yahoo Group, and currently in the EuroTransgender group, and various electronics communications groups.

Petra died age 61.

*Not the footballer nor the cricketer, not Baron Henderson.

22 November 2013

23 trans persons in Brazil/Angola/Portugal who changed things by example or achievement

  • Nzinga Mbandi (1583 – 1663) ruler of the Ndongo who allied with the Dutch against the Portuguese. Nzinga wore male clothing and kept a group of men in female clothing. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA 

  • Domingos Rodrigues (1595 – 1621) Lisbon, slave dancer, executed on orders from the Inquisition. GVWW
  • Madame Satã (1900 – 1976) Rio de Janeiro drag performer, who served 27 years in prison. GVWW      PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • Tito Anibal da Paixao Gomes (1933 – 2007) from Madeira but lived in Lisbon,  fraudster. GVWW 

  • Laura de Vison (1939 – 2007) Rio de Janeiro teacher, transformista. GVWW    PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • Rogéria (1943 - ) Rio de Janeiro performer. GVWW

  • Jacqueline Galiaci (194? - ) 1st Brazilian to have gender surgery. GVWW     EN.WIKIPEDIA
  • Yeda Brown (194? - ) performer from Rio Grande Do Sul, muse of Salvador Dali. GVWW

  • Brenda Lee (1948 – 1996) from Pernambuco, but mainly in São Paulo. Sex worker, business woman, Aids activist. Human rights award named for her. GVWW    PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • Andréia de Maio (1950 – 2000) club owner, activist in São Paulo. GVWW    PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • Waleria Torres/ Martha C. Freitas (1950 - ) São Paulo, chemical engineer, sexologist. GVWW    PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • João W Nery (1950 - ) São Paulo, diving champion, psychologist, writer. GVWW PT.WIKIPEDIA 

  • Claudia Wonder (1954 – 2010) São Paulo activist, performer, writer. GVWW    PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • Katielly Lanzini (1961 - ) from Rio Grande Do Sul, sculptress, journalist, polital candidate. GVWW
  • Eric Barreto (1962 – 1996) Carmen Miranda impersonator. GVWW
  • Anderson Bigode Herzer (1962 – 1982) poet from Parana. His life was filmed as Vera, 1987. GVWW      EN.WIKIPEDIA

  • Roberta Close (1964 - ) Rio de Janeiro model and actress. GVWW    PT.WIKIPEDIA

  • Nadia Almada (1977 - ) From Madeira. Winner of UK Big Brother in 2004.  GVWW    EN.WIKIPEDIA 

19 November 2013

Sulka (1962–) porn star

Sulka from Dallas met Kim Christy in 1979 when she was in the audience at an event in Los Angeles and he was doing the photography.

Sulka was then featured on the cover of New Female Mimics, where he was the new editor, and did
some work in the office. She had had various silicone injections and feminization surgeries, and looked rather artificial, but did make an impact. She was promoted by both Kim Kristy and by Jennifer Jordan, owner of New Female Mimics.

Her first film appearance was  as secondary role in Dream Lovers in 1980, directed by Kristy. This was supplemented by the magazine Sensuous Sulka and others which also emphasized her pre-op status.

Unlike other such porn actors Sulka had transgender surgery – which was actually featured in her next film The Transformation of Sulka, 1981. Her post-op extravaganza, Sulka's Wedding, 1983, features other trans porn stars and Paul Barresi (who later turned up in the Eddie Murphy transsexual scandal) and incidentally shows the success of her operation.

The cliché is that post-op porn stars are no longer in demand, but Sulka was a legend from being the first and went on to make Sulka and Candy (1982), Divine Atrocities (1983), Sulka's Daughter (1984) – where it is implied that the operation was so successful that Sulka has a daughter of her body.

She continued living in the Hollywood area, but became reclusive. At one time she was advertising in underground Hollywood papers that she did transvestite makeovers at $100 a go. It was reported a few times that she had been seen at Peanuts bar when they had a "queens' nite".

There are several Sulka look-alikes.

*Not the Finnish photographer, nor the New York haberdasher.
  • New Female Mimics, 5,3, 1979: cover.
  • Kim Kristy (dir). Dream Lovers, with Sulka. US 85 mins 1980
  • The Transformation of Sulka, with Sulka. US 29 mins 1981.
  • "Sulka! The before and after photos". Club International, April 1982.
  • Mike Stringer (dir). Sulka’s Wedding. Scr: Joaquin Quinn & Kim Kristy, with Sulka, Paul Barresi. US 75 mins 1983.
  • Kim Kristy (dir) Sulka's Daughter, with Sulka. US 86 mins 1984.
  • Elizabeth Freeman.   The Wedding Complex.  Duke University Press, 2002: xii, xiii, 35, 37.
  • Cal Y. Pygia. "Sulka: A Vintage Shemale". literotica.
  • Jim Beaux. "Sulka". Hung Devils, 27 May 2013. 
  • "Sulka: DoesAnyoneKnow...??" IMDB Message Boards,. Online.

IMDB tends not to have its usual reliability with regard to porn films, so I may not have the full list of her films.

The Transformation of Sulka is featured on many of the sites that give basic details of films, but for some reason none of them give a summary of the plot.  The best evasion is found here at SynopsiTV:  “This is probably about something. It is probably very interesting, with great character development, plot buildup, and a nail-biting climax with a twist that will blow your mind. We just don’t have the details.”

16 November 2013

Charles L. Ihlenfeld (1937 – ) sexologist, psychiatrist

Charles Ihlenfeld came from West Virginia, where his father was a prominent attorney and then mayor.  He graduated from the New York School of Medicine, and was working in 1969 as an internist with an interest in endocrinology when a friend arranged an introduction to the then 84-year-old Dr Harry Benjamin who asked him to cover the office during the summer while Benjamin was in San Francisco. Ihlenfeld learned on the job, and stayed on.
"I was awed by the courage of people who were willing to risk losing everything to gain the truth of their own lives".
 He came out as gay in 1973. Benjamin was surprised but then became supportive.

1975 was Benjamin's last summer in San Francisco. He developed facial herpes, and was hospitalized for a few days with what was probably mild encephalitis. Ihlenfeld continued the practice after Benjamin's retirement for another year, until 1976 when he took a psychiatric residency in the Bronx, and Jeanne Hoff took over the practice. This disappointed Benjamin who had considered Ihlenfeld to be his successor. Benjamin, who had learned to be wary of psychoanalysts, was further concerned in that Ihlenfeld had chosen a program with a strong analytic tradition, and old-fashioned ideas about homosexuality. Ihlenfeld told his Director of Residency Training that he was gay and the other was somewhat puzzled and replied: "You mean that there are gay psychiatrists?"

That same year Ihlenfeld was interviewed in The National Observer. He spoke of how working with Benjamin's patients had helped him come to terms with his own sexuality. And how he felt the need to understand more about his patients. He spoke of how he no longer considered the idea of a female mind in a male body to be a satisfactory explanation, and that there were psychologic issues that hormones and surgery did not reach, which might resurface in later years. The newspaper article came with a sidebar which ended with:
“Whatever surgery did, it did not fulfill a basic yearning for something that is difficult to define. This goes along with the idea that we are trying to treat superficially something that is much deeper."
This was quoted twice in Janice Raymond's Transsexual Empire, 1979, and has been often copied in feminist criticism. She hailed his leaving as "a significant defection from the transsexual empire".

The same year as Raymond's book, Ihlenfeld spoke to Garrett Oppenheim's Confide group:
"Should every patient who comes in asking for hormone therapy receive it? I used to feel that most of them should, but now I look at this request a bit more critically. … Perhaps my psychiatric training has made me more conservative. ... 80 percent of the patients who want to change their sex shouldn't do it. ... There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery. ... Too many of them end as suicides. ... The transsexual candidate has been described as the only patient who diagnoses himself and prescribes his own treatment".
Ihlenfeld settled on the North Fork of Long Island with his lover, also a psychiatrist. He continued to see transsexuals for evaluation and counseling, and continued to prescribe hormones and surgery when they seemed appropriate.
"Cross gender feelings strong enough to bring a person to reassignment are probably fixed in personality far too early and far too firmly to reconcile any other way."

Ihlenfeld and his lover were married in Massachusetts in 2008 after several decades together, when the law was changed.

His patients have included Rupert Raj, M.T. Diane Kearny, Renee Richards, Ron Rigsbee. He appeared in court to support the law cases of M.T. and Paula Grossman.

*Not the Ohio prosecuting attorney.
  • Charles L. Ihlenfeld. "When a woman becomes a man." Sexology, 1972.
  • Harry Benjamin & Charles L. Ihlenfeld, “Transsexualism". American Journal of Nursing, 73, March 1973: 460.
  • Charles L. Ihlenfeld. "Thoughts on the treatment of transsexuals." Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy 6.1, 1973: 63-69.
  • D. Greene interviews Charles L, Ihlenfeld. "A Doctor Tells Why He'll no Longer Treat Transsexuals". The National Observer, October 16, 1976: 14.
  • Janice G. Raymond The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-male. Boston: Beacon Press. 1979: 184, 208n33, 212n4.
  • Garrett Oppenheim. "Ihlenfeld Cautions on Hormones". Transition, 1979. Online at:
  • Charles Ihlenfeld. "A Memorial for Harry Benjamin." Archives of Sexual Behavior 17.1, Feb. 1988: 1-33.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 214, 217, 249, 251, 267.
  • Charles L. Ihlenfeld, MD. "Harry Benjamin and Psychiatrists".  Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy 8.1-2, 2004: 147-151. Reprinted in Ubaldo Leli & Jack Drescher. Transgender Subjectivities: A Clinician's Guide. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Medical Press, 2004: 147-152.

14 November 2013

Nadia Almada (1977–) performer.

Jorge Leodoro was born in Madeira. As a teenager, he lived in South Africa with his parents and five younger brothers 1989-1992. Mother and the boys returned to Madeira, leaving the father in South Africa.

At age 19, Leodoro, then thinking of himself as a gay man, moved to Woking, England with some friends, and worked in retailing and as a bank teller. As Nadia she completed transition in 2003.

In 2004, only a few months later, Nadia competed in Channel 4’s reality show Big Brother 5. Her fellow contestants were not aware of her gender history, but viewers were informed. £4.9 million was traded on Nadia alone by bookmakers. Her personality charmed viewers and after 71 days, she placed first, with 78% of the vote, and won £63,500. She was then on cover of Heat, the "self-appointed Big Brother magazine" four times in a row. The Sun newspaper tracked down her father in South Africa to inform him that he had a daughter – he had always wanted a daughter, he said.  Later that year she released a single, which charted at number 27 in the UK.

She has since appeared in other reality shows and television shows. In Ultimate Big Brother, in August 2010, another contestant was removed after making transphobic comment, none of which were broadcast, but Nadia also was evicted after conflicts with others. She objected that the transphobic remarks were not broadcast, and chose not to attend the final with all the other contestants.


11 November 2013

Holly Ahlberg (1934–) photographer, artist.

Ahlberg was born in Riga. The family lived in German-occupied Poland 1939-45, and then in West Germany until 1952.

After emigration to the US Ahlberg served in the US Army, and lived in New York and Los Angeles, married and became an advertizing photographer.

In the early 1970s, Ahlberg became Holly, divorced, and was accepted at the Stanford University Gender Clinic. However she chose not to have the operation. In 1975 she informed her clients of her change, and lost only a few of them.

She retired in 1985 and has become an artist. In 2013, using Google Earth, she found a previously unknown archaeological site in the Atacama Desert, which has provisionally been named Nuevo Albergis.

07 November 2013

Jan Morris (1926 - 2020) Part 3: travel writer.

Part 1: youth and journalism.
Part 2: transition and empire.
Part 3: travel writer.

Jan resigned from the all-male Travellers' Club, gave away James' dinner jacket and wrote to Who's Who to change her entry. At her own pace she changed her public identity.
"Presently I took to signing articles and reviews as Jan: also letters to The Times, whose letters editor imperturbably printed them, through the sequence of male to female, without comment."
She commented:
"Few people understood it. I did not expect them to understand the cause, since it was a mystery even to me, but I had supposed more people might understand the compulsion. I had once surmised that it might be an impulse common to all male persons, and though friends of both sexes vehemently deny it, it still seems to me only common sense to wish to be a woman rather than a man – or if not common sense, at least good taste."
The second volume of Pax Britannica, Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress, came out in 1973, with James' name on the title page.

Morris' colleague, David Holden, wrote an essay, "James & Jan", on his experience of Jan's transition and it appeared in The Sunday Times, 10 March 1974.  Jan's account of her transition, Conundrum, was serialized for four weeks in the same newspaper in April, and then published as a book. As she was a well-regarded and famous journalist, her autobiography was much reviewed, although the reviews were uncomprehending at best, and some were vituperative.

The review in The Times Literary Supplement by Russell Davies was particularly cutting: He asked
"Is it not just a token immersion in what may always have been a shallow, impressionistically received idea of womanhood?"
and cites her anecdotes of gossiping at the shops as having nothing to do with womanliness. Jan was sufficiently hurt that she wrote to the editor to specify that Davies' review was just one in a wide range of "love and bitterness, hope and sorrow".

Rebeccca West wrote for The New York Times and said:
"She sounds not like a woman, but like a man's idea of a woman, and curiously enough, a man not nearly so intelligent as James Morris used to be.”
V.S. Prichett in The New Statesman wrote:
"A woman? The handbag swings and the muscles are softening. Women's chats, a woman's interest in clothes, finding men attractive, pleasure in the fact of being socially cosseted, are coming on. But essentially, Jan is an invented woman, for she has not been formed by the psychic-physical fate and surprise of menstruation or the power-giving possibility of child-bearing".
Nora Ephron was appalled by Morris' notion of what it is to be a woman:
"I always wanted to be a girl, too. I, too, felt that I was born into the wrong body, a body that refused, in spite of every imprecation and exercise I could manage, to become anything but the boyish, lean thing it was... I wanted more than anything to be something I will never be – Feminine and feminine in the worst way. Submissive. Dependent. Soft-spoken. Coquettish. I was no good at all at any of it, no good at being a girl; on the other hand I am not half bad at being a woman. In contrast Jan Morris is perfectly awful at being a woman; what she has become instead is precisely what James Morris wanted to become all those years ago. A girl. And worse, a forty-seven-year-old girl. And worst of all, a forty-seven-year-old Cosmopolitan girl."
Despite these reviews Conundrum became one of the best selling and most discussed transsexual autobiographies. Jan and Elizabeth did later divorce, but keep on living together as a couple.

The third volume of Pax Britannica, Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat, came out in 1978, again with 'James Morris' on the title page for consistency.

Janice Raymond published her The Transsexual Empire in 1979. She was delighted to find examples of a transsexual embracing the gender stereotypes that feminism was rejecting. However the only negative review that she quoted was that by Rebecca West.

Jan and Elizabeth live mainly in Wales.

Jan was shortlisted for the Booker Prize with her first novel, Last Letters from Hav in 1985.

She returned to autobiography with Pleasures of a Tangled Life, 1989, which is a collection of her essays. Only in the essay "As to Sex" does she discuss how she is famous to people who never read her books.

She was elected to the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards in 1993.

She was offered a CBE in 1999, and despite being a Welsh republican she accepted it.

Jan and Elizabeth were formally re-joined in a civil union in 2008, after living together for nearly 60 years.

She is a noted travel writer, and the author of over 40 books. 

++She died age 93.
  • James Morris. Coronation Everest. Faber and Faber, 1963.
  • James Morris. Pax Britannica: The Climax of Empire. Faber and Faber, 1968.
  • James Morris. Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress. Faber and Faber, 1973
  • David Holden. "James & Jan". The Sunday Times, 10 March 1974. Reprinted: The New York Times, March 17, 1974.
  • Jan Morris. Conundrum. London: Faber and Faber. xi, 148 pp.1974. New York: Harcourt Barce Jovanovich 1974. London: Coronet Books 1975. New York New American Library 1975. Harmondsworth: Penguin 1987.
  • Rebecca West. "Male and Female He Made Them". Review of Conundrum by Jan Morris. New York Times Book Review, April 14, 1974: 5.
  • Russell R. Davies. "Mr Morris Changes Trains". Review of Conundrum, The Times Literary Supplement, 26 April 1974, 431.
  • V.S. Pritchard. "Clouded Conundrum". New Statesman, 26 April 1974: 596.
  • Nora Ephron. "Conundrum", Esquire, 1975 reprinted in Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble: Some Things About Women & Notes on the Media. 2012: 242-8.
  • James Morris. Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat. Faber and Faber, 1978.
  • Janice G. Raymond The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-male. Boston: Beacon Press. 1979: 78,83, 86-90, 126, 143, 166, 184.
  • Mark Morris. 'My Father's Life: that my father is now a woman is besides the point' Esquire November1984.
  • Jan Morris. Pleasures of a Tangled Life. London: Barrie & Jenkins. 209 pp1989. New York: Random House 1989. New York: Vintage Books 1990.
  • Kevin Allman. "Jan Morris Finds Peace in 'Pleasures'". Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1989.
  • Sandy Stone. “The Empire Strikes Back: A Post-transsexual Manifesto”. In. Straub, K. and Epstein, J. (eds), Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity. Routledge. 1991. Also online at
  • Bernice L.Hausman. Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995: 142, 162-4, 166, 235n95.
  • Pat Califia. Sex changes: the politics of transgenderism. San Francisco: Cleis Press 1997. Second edition by Patrick Califia 2003: 7, 29-37, 48, 163, 196, 198.
  • Jay Prosser. Second Skins: The Body Narratives of Transsexuality. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998: 68, 99-100, 116-8, 124, 130-1, 245n2.
  • Don George. “Writers we love: Jan Morris”. 1999.
  • Dr Georgina Somerset. "Re: Saddest part of the syndrome". Letter to the Daily Telegraph, 23 Nov 2003. Online at:
  • Paul Clements. Jan Morris: around the world in 80 years. Writers of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 175 pp1998. Seren Books 2006.
  • Alan Rusridger. "Courage under fire". The Guardian, 10 July 2006.
  • Daniel J. O'Connor. Sex Signs: Transsexuality, Autobiogrpahy, and the Languages of Sexual Difference in the United Kingdom and United States of America, 1950-2000. History PhD Thesis, University of Warwick, 2006: 1, 6, 15, 2-5, 27, 28, 30, 33, 35, 39, 45-51, 54, 58, 67, 76, 92-4, 96, 106, 117-120, 127-130, 138-9, 141-171, 253-4 .
  • Andy McSmith. “Love story: Divorce, the death of a child and a sex change... but still together”. The Independent. 4 June 2008.
  • Gillian Fenwick. Traveling Genius: The Writing Life of Jan Morris. Columbia: University of South Carolina press, 2008.
  • Mike Conefrey. Everest 1953: The Epic Story of the First Ascent of Everest. Oneworld Publications, 2013: 223-4230, 239, 251, 272, 283, 291, 300.


Raymond quotes Rebecca West but does not say where she got the quote from.  She certainly does not quote the male reviewers.  She could have made a much better job making her point - this  illustrates well that even if you were to agree with her position, she is still not a good scholar.

Patrick Califia follows Morris in referring to Dr B-- and does not identify him as Georges Burou.

I have listed only the most relevant of Morris' books above. See Worldcat or Amazon for a fuller list.

Unlike for Femke Olyslager, the editors at Worldcat have revised James Morris' books to be by Jan, even when the edition is question was issued as by James.

David Holden was a colleague of Morris whose article "James and Jan" preceded the serialization of Conundrum in The Sunday Times. He was working for the newspaper in Cairo three years later when he was killed execution-style. Sunday Times editor Harold Evans used three of his top journalists to investigate but no group ever claimed responsibility and the murder remains unsolved.

It seems that Jan never did engage with the dialectic of feminism beyond the facile dismissal quoted in part 2.

The Traveller's Club is still a 'gentlemen's club': that is no female members.  Unlike say Stephanie Anne Booth who used her legal masculinity to attend the Lancashire Cricket Club AGM, Jan made no attempt to open up The Traveller's Club to female travellers.

Neither does she discuss her class entitlements beyond mentioning them as natural.  She does not tell us what her father did, but implicitly he was so placed and had the financial means to send James and his brothers to Public School (that is: expensive private schools).  Today 7% of the UK has been educated in Public Schools, so I will assume the same percentage in the 1940s.   James left Lancing after only three years which should not have enabled him to get into any university, let alone Oxford.  When he volunteed to join the army he was sent to officer school.  My father and my uncles volunteered in the same war with no such offer, but then they were in the bottom 93%.  The two-year degree at Oxford was intended for veterans, but only for those with the right background.   The degree at Oxford led to an introduction to the editor of The Times: a foot in the door that most of us never get.   Morris was initially resented by the Everest climbing team, but managed to overcome that resentment - which is to his credit.  He "trod the long well-beaten, expensive and fruitless path of the Harley Street psychiatrists and sexologists".   That is, he did not use the NHS like the rest of us, although he did end up at the same Charing Cross gender clinic, and the same clinic in Casablanca that many transsexuals of limited means were able to save up and access.

05 November 2013

Jan Morris (1926 - 2020) Part 2: transition and empire

Part 1: youth and journalism.
Part 2: transition and empire.
Part 3: travel writer.

Morris investigated transsexualism. One winter evening in Ludlow he found a half-price copy of Lile Elvenes (Elbe)'s Man into Woman, and "with what agonies of embarrassment" bought it. Morris also read Robert Stoller, an unspecified account of Charlotte D'Eon and one transsexual novel: Geoff Brown's I Want What I Want.
"I trod the long well-beaten, expensive and fruitless path of the Harley Street psychiatrists and sexologists, one after the other, getting their names from their published works, or being passed from one to the other. None of them in those days, I now realize, knew anything about the matter at all, though none of them admitted it."
Morris was one of thirty cases featured in Georgina Turtle's Over the Sex Border, 1963. In 1964 Morris was in New York and visited Harry Benjamin, who advised him that a change of body must be a last resort, and that he should try working life as a man. Shortly afterwards Morris obtained an appointment with a London endocrinologist who said:
"What it would do to your personality or your talent, we cannot say. It is a grave decision to take, but it must be your own. You do know what you are doing?"
Morris returned to Venice with a box of oestrogen tablets, but considered the advice of both men and flushed them down a lavatory. However a subsequent prescription from Dr Benjamin he did take.

During this time Mottis was preparing a Empire trilogy, Pax Britannica.

With the support of Elizabeth, Morris lived as a woman in Oxford, but travelled the British Empire androgynously, sometimes being taken as male, and sometimes as female. Jan was issued a new passport 'without any indication of sex at all'.

Word of course got around. Morris' old tutor at Christ Church College had heard from a colleague at Harvard before being told directly. Some in London knew of Jan but others only of James. Private Eye magazine jested that if Morris were invited to a function 'dressed informally', it was Jan who was expected. At their other home in Pwllheli, Gwynedd in North Wales, Jan and Elizabeth presented as sisters-in-law to explain why two women had the same surname.

The first volume of James' trilogy, The Climax of Empire, was published in 1968 to mixed reviews but commercial success. In 1971 Morris was invited to write a short book on the Cascade Mountains and she and Elizabeth travelled by boat and car along the range being accepted as two women.

However "The book was still-born, all the same, for in Chapter Three the publishers discovered my unquenchable antipathy to the Douglas Fir".

Jan had been accepted in the program at Charing Cross Hospital Gender Clinic, but it was insisted that Jan and Elizabeth be divorced before surgery.
"I saw his point, for he could not know the nature of the relationship between us. And indeed I recognized that we must be divorced in the end. But after a lifetime of fighting my own battles I did not feel in a mood to offer my destiny like a sacrifice upon the benches of Her Majesty's judges. Who knew what degradations we might both endure? What business was it of theirs, anyway?"
Jan completed transitioned to Jan in 1972 at age 46, with two weeks in the clinic of Dr Georges Burou in Casablanca. She was in his clinic the same time as Carol Riddell.
"Dr B--'s craftmanship, though aesthetically brilliant, was functionally incomplete, and I underwent two further sessions of surgery in an English nursing home."
She commented on being a woman:
"I don't feel it incumbent on me to read Kate Millet and Germaine Greer. I like being a woman. But I mean a woman! I like having my suitcase carried. I like gossiping with the lady upstairs. If Elizabeth would let me, I'd be wildly extravagant about clothes, though I must say I'm not much interested in cooking. Never was. And yes, I like to be liked by men."


Morris' comment that she needed further surgery on return to the UK is very imprecise. Does it mean that Burou's technique was not as good as we are told in other autobiographies?

The statement that Jan was issued a new passport 'without any indication of sex at all' means less than it appears.  I was granted the same privilege 16 years later.   The old pre-European-Union UK passports had no 'sex' box to be filed with either 'F' or 'M'.  Sex, or gender as we would now say, was merely implicit from the person's honorific: Lord, Lady, Sir, Dame, Mr, Mrs, Miss.   Despite the ruling in Corbett v. Corbett, the UK Passport Office dealt with transsexuals by simply not putting a honorific.   Incidentally doctors (PhD or MD) were issued passports that said Dr and were therefore gender neutral if the person's name and photograph permitted.  This is a much better solution than the new fashion in the 2010s of issuing a passport with gender=X.

03 November 2013

Jan Morris (1926 - 2020) Part 1: youth and journalism

Part 1: youth and journalism.
Part 2: transition and empire.
Part 3: travel writer.

James Humphrey Morris was born in Clevedon, Somerset, the youngest son of a Welsh father and an English mother. His prep school education was at Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford, during which time his father died.

In 1939 he attended Lancing College, which is in Sussex, but after the War started was moved to Ludlow in Shropshire. He participated in the standard homosexual play in public schools, mainly in that he was treated as a girl by older boys. Morris left at 16 and worked unpaid for six months for the Western Daily Press in Bristol.

In 1942 he then volunteered for the army and with his class background was sent for officer training at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Despite being only 16, he was assigned to the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers (founded 1715) as a subaltern, which took him to Italy, Egypt and in Palestine he was the regimental intelligence officer.
"In the Army as at Lancing, I was never short of protectors. … Such kindnesses were seldom exactly homosexual. I still did not look effeminate, and certainly did not feel myself to be homosexual. … It was a harmless quixotry, part of a game, part I suppose a compensation, and if it ever went beyond the platonic I never experienced it myself."
He was demobbed in 1947 and in London met Elizabeth Tuckniss, the daughter of a Ceylon tea planter. They married in 1949. After a short period of employment with the Arab News Agency in Cairo, Morris went up to Christ College, Oxford to read English. He graduated with a BA, second class after two years, and with an introduction to the editor of The Times.

For five years he worked at The Times, going from trainee sub-editor to correspondent. He made his name attached to the 1953 British Mount Everest expedition, when his coded message to The Times enabled the story of the successful ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to be announced on the morning of the Coronation. This despite opposition by the expedition leader, John Hunt, who thought him unsuitable.

By 1956 Morris was working for The Guardian, and as their war correspondent during the Suez crisis he provided the first evidence that Anglo-French forces were in collusion with the Israelis. He reported on the Adolf Eichman trial in Israel in 1960 and the Gary Powers trial in Moscow also in 1960.

James and Elizabeth had five children, one of whom died in infancy.

In 1960 Morris won the George Polk Memorial Award for Journalism.
In 1962 he resigned from The Guardian and became a freelance writer.

01 November 2013

Georgie Jessup (196? - ) musician.

Baltimore resident, Georgie, is a three-time Washington Area Music Award (Wammie) winner.

Although not born Lakota, she identifies as Winkte. Her first album, American Holocaust 1996, was deemed to be too controversial, and was banned by many radio stations without being heard.

She was featured in the 2006 film, Almost Myself, about Josef Kirchner's reversal of his gender change.

Her fourth album, Woman in a Man’s Suit 2006, has photos of her in both men’s and women’s clothing.