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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.
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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.

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