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!

30 March 2014

Christina Jwar (1901 - 1986 ) nurse

For 65 years Christina Jwar was a nurse to the black community in Ficksburg, Orange Free State (now Free State) on the border of Lesotho. She was affectionately known as Me Jwar (Mother Jwar).

At the age of 85 she became seriously ill with her legs and feet badly swollen. She was rushed to hospital, where she was undressed and revealed to be male-bodied. The shock of being revealed brought on a heart attack and she died.
  • Ivor Crews & Samkelo Kumalo. "After 65 Years the Secret of Christina the Nurse is Out … She's a Man!".. The Sunday Times, 27 July 1986. Reprinted in Ruth Morgan,, Charl Marais, Joy Rosemary Wellbeloved, and Robert Hamblin. Trans: Transgender Life Stories from South Africa. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2010: plate 5.

27 March 2014

Riki Anne Wilchins (1952 - ) computing, activist.

(S/he and hir are Riki's preferred pronouns.)

Wilchins grew up in Cincinnati, his father a surgeon, and transitioned to Riki Anne in the late 1970s. S/he did a bachelors degree in Psychology & Communication at Cleveland State University in 1980 where s/he also attended the gender clinic. Hir transition resulted in a breakup with hir girlfriend of seven years. Wilchins later did a masters in Clinical Psychology at the New School for Social Research 1981-94.

In 1981 s/he moved to New York where s/he found work on Wall Street doing computer consulting in banking and brokerage despite being openly transsexual.

S/he approached lesbian archivist, Joan Nestle, asking to be included in the archive, but fearing rejection, and they became friends.

Wilchins was an early supporter of Nancy Burkholder after she was ejected from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (MWMF) in 1991. Wilchins was one of the founders of Camp Trans across the road from MWMF from 1994. Wilchins argued strongly that pre-op and non-op should be included in MWMF as much as post-op women. Also in 1994 Wilchins and Denise Norris co-founded Transexual Menace to follow on from Transgender Nation. Later that year, after the murder of Brandon Teena, Wilchins organized a demonstration against New York's Village Voice which had printed an article by Donna Minkowitz on the murder which used only female pronouns for Teena. Later still Wilchins confronted Janice Raymond at the New York bookstore Judith's Room:
"You say we want to 'pass' as women. Well, I don't pass. I wear this Transexual Menace logo every place that I go. Between the two of us, only you pass as a woman. If, as de Beauvoir held, 'One is not born a woman, but becomes one,' if femininity is an invention of men foisted on women, if feminine behavior is a learned cultural performance of hair, clothing, voice, gesture, and stance so one is perceived as a female, then by presenting yourself as a woman it is you who have been co-opted into traditional sex roles, you who serve their institutions, and you who are performing here." 
photo by Mariette Pathy Allen
In 1995 Wilchins worked with Phyllis Frye and Karen Kerin on National Gender Lobby Day, a largely successful attempt to lobby every member of the US Government. Riding the excitement from the lobbying effort, Riki gave a rousing speech at that year's Be-all convention in Chicago on the need for a transgender organization to press for political change. In 1996 representatives from most US transgender organizations (but not Phyllis Frye after Wilchins took over the leadership of Lobby Day) met to charter the new organization GenderPAC. The paperwork was signed and Wilchins was named Executive Director.

A split quickly developed between those who wanted to keep the organization transgender specific and those who followed Wilchin's lead in addressing the gender expression of everybody. Policy Advisor JoAnn Roberts and President Angela Gardner resigned over this issue. That same year Riki wrote an article for TGForum with the ironic title '…Only a Crossdresser', in which s/he wrote:
"Once crossdressers ever *really* come out, and begin to enunciate the politics of the direct, head-on challenge their very existence poses to gender regimes, I think we have a truly revolutionary force on our hands, a potent force. The only question is, how long will they think of themselves, and allow so many of us to think of them, as '…only crossdressers?' "
Also that year, when Sean O'Neill in Colorado was sentenced to 90 days for statutory rape after consensual sex but without revealing his gender history, Wilchins commented:
"If you look androgynous and someone wants to claim that you're passing yourself off as the other gender, you've just committed a felony".
Riki also campaigned with Hermaphrodites With Attitude and Lesbian Avengers.

MWMF 1994 - photo by Mariette Pathy Allen

In 1997 hir book Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender came out, and became one the iconic books of 'transgender' as it was then conceived, and along with Kate Bornstein and Leslie Feinberg, Wilchins was one of the 1990s iconic transgender persons. It was also a kickstart to the burgeoning Gender Queer movement. The book is a mixture of gender theory a la Judith Butler and Michel Foucault mixed with Riki's personal experiences. It also includes photographs by Mariette
Pathy Allen. Amongst other things s/he says:

"I have no interest in being part of a transgender or transexual movement whose sole purpose is to belly up to the Big Table and help ourselves to yet another serving of identity Pie, leaving in our wake some other, more marginalized group to carry on its own struggle alone. What I am interested in is the original cultural gesture to regulate and contain what your body and mine can mean, or say, or do. The point of a gender liberation movement for me … is also about the seventeen-year-old Midwestern cheerleader whose health is destroyed by anorexia because 'real women' are supposed to be preternaturally thin. It's about the forty-six-year-old Joe Six-pack who wraps his car around a crowded school bus on the way home from the bar because 'real men' are supposed to be heavy drinkers. It's about the unathletic and fat little boy who's physically attacked by his classmates everyday after school. It's about the two lesbian lovers stalked and killed on the Appalachian trail in Virginia. It's about the aging body succumbing to an unnecessary hysterectomy because certain kinds of gendered bodies simply don't matter as much. And it's about the sensitive, straight young man who is repeatedly raped his first year in prison because, within that environment, he's received as genderqueer, genderdifferent, or simply gendervulnerable".
"Academics, shrinks, and feminist theorists have traveled through our lives and problems like tourists on a junket. Picnicking on our identities like flies at a free lunch, they have selected the tastiest tidbits with which to illustrate a theory or push a book. The fact that we are a community under fire, is irrelevant to them. They pursue Science and Theory, and what they produce by mining our lives is neither addressed to us nor recycled within our community … Our performance of gender is invariably a site of contest, a problem which – if we could but bring enough hi-octane academic power to bear – might be solved".
The same year GenderPAC produced The First National Study on Transviolence, with 402 respondents the most extensive study on violence against gender variant persons. Later in 1997 Wilchins and GenderPAC made a tactical agreement with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) that 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' be dropped from that year's version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to improve its chance of passing. In exchange both groups would lobby for gender variance to be added to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. This of course infuriated the various trans activists groups – the more so as both acts failed to pass.

Wilchins was on the cover of the Summer 1999 Transgender Tapestry. By that time Wilchins had managed to push out of GenderPAC most representatives of the founding transgender organizations with the exception of Tony Barreto-Neto from TOPS and Carrie David from IFGE, and converted the supposedly political campaigning organization into a non-profit educational charity. GenderPAC started recruiting state and campus co-ordinators. In December 2000, Gina Reiss, GenderPAC Managing Director was quoted:
“I’m tired of the fact that 85% of the people calling the office are transgender people
seeking help”.
In a speech that year Wilchin said:
"A transgender struggle is an important thing, but it is not my fight. In fact I personally have no interest in being transexual or transgender… What I am interested in is the original cultural gesture to regulate what your body and mine can mean, or say, or do".
In 2001 Tony Barreto-Neto was forced out. Later that year, Time Magazine selected Wilchins as one of "100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century." Wilchins was a featured columnist on gender issues for The Advocate.

In 2002, Riki with Joan Nestle and Clare Howell edited GenderQueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary which included essays by Sylvia Rivera, JT Leroy, Cheryl Chase, Gina Reiss, Rusty Mae Moore and many others. It includes four essays by Wilchins: A Certain Kind of Freedom: Power and the Truth of Bodies. In the fourth, "Deconstructing Trans", s/he wrote:
"It's fair to say that 'transgender' was created by the gay and feminist movements. Its emergence became practically inevitable from the day those movements began moving away from gender. … Genderqueerness would seem to be a natural avenue for feminism to contest Woman's equation with nurturance, femininity, and reproduction: in short to trouble the project of Man. Yet feminists have been loath to take that avenue, in no small part because queering Woman threatens the very category on which feminism depends."
In 2004 Riki published hir primer of theoretical concerns, Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer. However at $63 it was priced not to sell. S/he worked with anthropologist David Valentine. He helped hir edit Read My Lips, they wrote a paper together on violence against gender variant people, and s/he is frequently mentioned in his Imagining Transgender. They both critique the obligatory identity requirement for being transgender.

In 2006 Riki and hir wife adopted a baby girl.

In 2009 s/he closed GenderPac, and founded TrueChild which promotes "'gender transformative' approaches to philanthropy and policy that challenge rigid gender norms and inequities in order to improve life outcomes for at-risk youth".
EN.WIKIPEDIA       BCHolmes       LinkedIn


In earlier days Riki prefered to spell 'transexual' with one 's' to avoid the medical implications.   However more recently she has been spelling it 'transsexual'.

This site is called 'gender variance who's who' and so of course we welcome those who speak up for other forms of gender variance in addition to transgender and transsexual.

However Wilchins did upset many trans activists by downplaying the trans aspect of GenderPAC.  S/he should have made it clear from the start what GenderPAC would be doing, and relied much less on donations from trans groups.

24 March 2014

Louise Hannon (1962–) business development manager, photographer.

Hannon was raised in Dublin. In the five years up to 2006, Hannon, self-employed, had worked as a business development manager at First Direct Logistics Ltd, and broke up with wife and children.

In October Hannon disclosed to management that she was transsexual and would be leaving because she did not think that a transport firm "would be comfortable with it". However she was encouraged to stay, but was asked to wait a few months to accommodate a new staff member.

She changed her name by deed poll in March and arrived at the office, but was told to work from home and to maintain her male identity on the phones, and when meeting clients. She was also told not to use the women's toilet at work (despite the fact that the manager often did so if the men's was occupied). Later she was told that a new employee had been hired, and there was no desk for her at the office. In July Hannon was told that the company director was not happy with her work. She left feeling that she had been constructively dismissed.

She appealed to the Equality Tribunal as she was entitled to do under the Employment Equality Act 1998. The Tribunal awarded her €35,422.71, and commented: "requesting Ms Hannon to switch between a male/female identity whenever the respondent felt the need for it constituted direct discrimination on the gender and disability grounds".

Louise has been Co-Chair of Labour LGBT Elected to the Labour Equality Co-ordinating Council, sat on the steering group of the Equality and Rights Alliance, been Vice Chair of Transgengender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

She currently works as a photographer in Dublin.

22 March 2014

Jessica Diana Bussert (1965 - ) network specialist, photographer.

Joshua Bussert grew up in the US Mid-west. He married his girlfriend at 18 when she became pregnant. In 1985 he studied data processing at Vincennes University, Indiana. He was also seeing a counselor to overcome his desire to be a woman. He had three children with his first wife before they divorced.

Bussert converted to Catholicism, and then met Sharon, a born Catholic, who became his second wife in 1990, after being told of his cross-dressing. They raised the three children from his first marriage and adopted two sisters from Haiti. Bussert worked in business consulting and systems analysis for networks, went to the Kinsey Institute for counseling, and they found Gender Identity Dysphoria.
In 2001 Bussert started working for Hitachi Data Systems, and in 2003 started laser hair removal, and looked for a transsexual community, but being in the middle of Indiana found none. In addition a 19-year old transsexual was murdered locally with her body set on fire.

Bussert applied for a transfer to the UK branch of Hitachi. He was to be an IT techie and business manager at £88,000 a year. The supervisor was open-minded, but moved on soon after. In London Bussert met Russell Reid at a conference, became a patient of his and started taking female hormones, and going out as female more often. She socially transitioned 2005 with Facial Feminization Surgery and breast augmentation with Dr Douglas Ousterhout in San Francisco. Her new supervisor had responded to the mention of a sex change: “Don’t do that to me, Josh. I had to work in an office with someone who did that once and it was weird”.  By this time Russell Reid had been forced into retirement and Charing Cross Gender Clinic gave her a run-around.

Hitachi effectively demoted her and she was given a negative appraisal. She took sick leave for stress, returned and again went on sick leave. Hitachi stopped paying her salary and she resigned. Jessica sued for £500,000 in the UK and $3.6m in the US, but without success.

Since the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 it is clear that not only is it illegal to discriminate against transsexuals, but that this covers employees intending to undergo gender reassignment. However the Employment Tribunal in Reading dismissed Bussert's claims ruling that she had left the company of her own free will. Furthermore it found no fault with the way that Hitachi had handled the situation, and even commended Hitachi managers for displaying good management practice and embracing diversity.

As Bussert was no longer employed, the Home Office ruled that her permit to live in the UK was no longer valid, and Jessica and Sharon returned to Indiana.

They have since become award-winning photographers.

18 March 2014

L.S. (1889 - ?) model

L.S. was an attractive woman who worked as a fashion model in Paris. In 1909, aged 20, she was engaged to be married. She was bothered by apparent tumours in her labia majora and attended the Hôpital Beaujon.

However a biopsy of the tumours resulted in them being identified as testicles. The doctors then decided that she was a 'true male', that is a masculine pseudo hermaphrodite. She was informed that her feminine 'genital aspiration', that is her engagement to her fiancé, was an act of homosexuality.
  • T. Tuffier & A. Lapoint. "L'Hermaphrodisme: Ses variétés et ses conséquences pour la pratique médicales (d'après un cas personnel)". Revue de gynécologie et de chirurgie addominale, 17,1911: 209-268.
  • Alice Domurat Dreger. Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex. Cambridge, Ma, Harvard University Press. 2000: 130-2.

L.S. had the misfortune to live during the period when gonads were taken to define a person’s ‘true’ sex.

While Drs Tuffier & Lapoint conceal the patient’s name behind the initials LS, they published 4 photographs of her, one dressed and three nude, all where her face is clearly identifiable.

15 March 2014

Leslie Phillips (194?–) lawyer.

Ralph Plotkin was a law student in Philadelphia when in 1969 he met and married Tamara. He graduated and became a lawyer, while Tamara pursued a career in urban planning. They purchased a house together.

In 1974 Tamara came home to find her husband in female attire. He said that he was a transvestite, it was not normal and he was trying to overcome it. Such did nor recur, until July 1977 when on a weekend trip to New York, Ralph announced that he was transsexual and had been on female hormones since the previous December. For a few months Tamara accompanied her husband, dressed as female, to various social events, but by October it was obvious that they could no longer co-habit.

In December Tamara filed for divorce, Leslie Phillips (as Ralph had become) moved into an apartment, and made substantial withdrawals from a joint bank deposit (that had been a gift from Tamara's mother). Further Phillips made harassing telephone calls with threats demanding that Tamara pay Phillips' bills.

In September 1979, Phillips petitioned the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia County for support in that a spouse is obliged to care for a partner suffering from a mental disorder. The judge ruled a) that the petitioner's behavior "constituted conduct on petitioner's part within the standard enunciated above sufficient to obviate petitioner's right to support", b) "the prevailing viewpoint seems to be that transsexuals are psychologically healthy individuals" c) "petitioner's conduct was violative of the marital contract between the parties; that the specific acts described herein and attributed to petitioner were 'humiliating and degrading, inconsistent with the [respondent's] position as a wife,' that these acts together with petitioner's consummation of the alteration of petitioner's sexual characteristics constituted a course of conduct 'of such character as to render the condition of any woman of ordinary sensibility and delicacy of feeling intolerable and her life burdensome'; that petitioner's conduct manifested a spirit of malevolence, settled hate and estrangement toward respondent, and that respondent had adequate legal cause to quit the marital domicile".

*Not the actor.

I think that the important point here is the judge's point B:  transsexuals are psychologically healthy individuals.   Transsexuality is not a pathology.

12 March 2014

Anne-Daphné Henry (1950-2000) army captain.

Jean Michel Henry served as a captain in the Swiss Army.

Jean transitioned to Anne in 1992 and in 1994 won a landmark court case in which the Federal Court ordered her insurance company to reimburse the costs of the surgical operation. She was Switzerland's best known transsexual campaigner.

She died of cancer aged 50.

09 March 2014

Carl-Philip Öfverström (1960 - ) musician.

Öfverström was born in Stockholm. At age 17 using the name Cris Owen, Öfverström had a breakthrough album, Here I Am, and went on to a career – largely in Finland – as songwriter, arranger, producer, and performer. Owen was the manager and producer for major Finnish artists such as Miisa and Janina Fry.

In 1989 Cris came second in in the competition to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest, and wrote the Finnish Eurovision entries in 1992 and 1993.

In 2002 Owen's autobiography Valheellinen elämäni.(My Life, A Lie) created quite a stir in the Finnish media. He completed transition with surgery in Sweden in 2005. In 2008, Cris expressed some regrets such as starting transition so late in life, and it was twisted in the press that he regretted transition.

Cris' EN.WIKIPEDIA page was deleted in 2008.
FI.WIKIPEDIA   IMDB   EurovisionWiki   Discogs

06 March 2014

Shonna (1947–) performer, travel agent, housewife

Shonna was raised in Singapore, and had two younger sisters. Father was a dentist who often beat his wife and put her in the hospital several times. Grandmother dressed Shonna as female, and arranged for Shonna to be adopted as a girl at the local Kwan Yin Temple.

At 7 Shonna returned home and was sent to school as a boy. However Shonna failed primary school, and later failed to obtain a school certificate. Shonna found some friends who also liked to dress as female and they would so meet in a church.

Father attempted to involve Shonna as a dental assistant, but after embarrassing comments from his patients, he banished her from his clinic. At 16 Shonna worked as a sales girl, and frequented the trans scene on Bugis Street. Her father died when she was 17. She worked as a housemaid for a European man, and had an affair with him. Subsequently she worked in a bank and then in public relations for a hotel.

She came second in the Miss Singapore Beauty Contest, which led to modelling work. In 1968 Shonna started a cabaret act using the name Mama Chan. Twice she attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills.

In 1969 Shonna approached gynaecologist S. S. Ratnam at the Singapore General Hospital and asked for transgender surgery. He sent her to a psychiatrist, but she kept returning two or three times a week. Ratnam had at that time never done sex change surgery, but he started to read the literature, and finally practised the operation on two cadavers in the mortuary. He had Shonna evaluated by a team of psychiatrists who confirmed that she was indeed transsexual. Legal clearance was sought from the ministry of health and granted. Surgery was performed 30 July 1971 at the Kandang Kerbau Hospital 竹脚妇幼医院. This was the first such operation in east Asia.

Afterwards, Shonna was prescribed female hormones. Later she married a French man and owned a travel agency in Paris. Later still she lived in England.
  • S.S. Ratnam & Victor H H Goh. "Becoming Shonna and Becoming Sam". In S. S. Ratnam, Victor H. H. Goh & Wing Foo Tsoi. Cries from Within: Transsexualism, Gender Confusion and Sex Change. Singapore: Longman, 1991: 25-6.
SGWiki     SingaporeInfopedia

03 March 2014

Veronica Paris Baxter (1975 – 2009).

Veronica, an aboriginal from Cunnamulla county, in the south-west of Queensland, had been living as a woman since 1994 when she was 19.

In March 2009, three days after the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, she was arrested in a police sting in Redfern, Sydney, and charged with supplying a prohibited drug, and held at the NSW Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre, a maximum security jail for men. She was not offered the opportunity of solitary confinement in a women's jail instead, that by law should be offered to non-op trans women. She was in the general male population of the prison. She had not been checked for 14 hours – a contravention of policy – when she was found hanging in her cell from a 1.5m (5 foot) bunk despite being 1.98m (6'5'') tall.

After two years of public campaigning, an inquest was held April 2011, a few weeks after the death of Paris' mother. Two days were slated for the inquest, but it was over by 15.30 on the first day. The only witnesses called were the Police Investigative Officer, a Corrective Services Investigative Officer and a Programmes Manager who had arranged for the gaol Transgender Correctional Officer to talk to Paris. All witnesses were vague in several important areas of their individual responsibility areas. No reason was given why the gaol Transgender Officer was not called. A finding of "asphyxiation, which occurred as a result of him hanging himself with the intention of ending his life" was issued using Paris' male name.

At 18.30 the Deputy Coroner held a press conference and invoked s75(5) of the Coroner Act, 2009 which inflicts a $1100 fine or six months imprisonment for an individual who publishes anything about the case, and $5500 for a media outlet. Within 30 minutes all articles placed by the Associated Australian Press, Sydney Morning Herald, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation relevant to Veronica had been removed.

Activists asked why, and were given the reason of protecting the family. Veronica's brother William Drury replied:
“I had not been contacted by any person from the Coroners Office. I was rung twice by the Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) Solicitor who, among other matters, urged me to accept the continuation of the gag. I did not want this, as I want my sister's case to become very public, so such a tragedy never happen again.” 

The family then transferred authority to act on their behalf from the ALS to the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), in that ISJA were willing to take instructions from the family. Paris' two bothers, William and Geoffrey, informed the Deputy Coroner that they wished to allow media articles, and the non-publication order was lifted.

01 March 2014

Trans rights are Human rights

Produced by the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network (ATPN) in partnership with UNAIDS.