This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 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.
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28 April 2014
27 April 2014
He was expelled three years later and moved to Exarchia, in downtown Athens and lived as female. She made a living as a sex worker.
"I've met all sorts of people, from murderers to saints. I have seen the secrets of the Greek man, I've seen as few saw."In the 1980s Paola was involved in many protests against state repression and for gay and trans (parendytikon) rights. In 1985 she published a collection of poetry Σαλτάρισμα (Saltarisma). From 1986-92 she published Kraximo, a 'trans-anarchist fanzine' which ran articles about gay and trans rights and photographs of her tricks.
In 1990 Paola became the first trans candidate for the Οικολόγων Εναλλακτικών (Alternate Ecological Party), and was one of the founders of the Greek version of ACT UP. In 1992 she was a prime mover in Athens' first gay pride, which was done without there being any gay organizations to support it. In 2003 she was elected as the president of the SATTE= Σωματείου Αλληλεγγύης Τραβεστί Τρανσέξουαλ Ελλάδος (Solidarity Association of Greek Transsexuals and Transvestites).
In 2008 she was a co-author of Η ιστορία του λεσβιακού, γκέι, αμφί και τρανς κινήματος στην Ελλάδα: μια πρώτη αποτίμηση(The history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans movement in Greece: a first assessment), and appeared in the short film, Κι αν είναι αλήθεια; (What if it is true?).
In October 2013 she had an exhibition of her photographs in London.
- Еγο Лэтяο. "An afternoon cup of coffee with Paola ". Ough, 21/05/2012. www.ough.gr/index.php?mod=articles&op=view&id=899&lang=en.
- "Πάολα: ένας θρύλος του αντεργκράουντ μιλά στη LiFO: Με αφορμή μια έκθεση με φωτογραφίες της που ξεκινά στις 17 Ιανουαρίου στην γκαλερί The Breeder ". LiFo, 8.1.2013. www.lifo.gr/mag/features/3572.
- Hannah Lack. "Paola Revenioti: The Greek transgender activist on blowing up sexual taboos in the name of art". Dazed Digital, 2013-05-07. www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/16110/1/paola-revenioti.
- Marina Fokidis. "Paola Revenioti". Frieze, 155, May 2013. www.frieze.com/issue/review/paola-revenioti.
- Jean Paul Zapata. "Trans artist sex worker shows off lovers in London photo exhibit: Trans artist and prostitute Paola Revenioti shares photos of her former lovers and clients from 19 October to 3 November at East London’s George and Dragon gay bar". Gay Star News, 18 October 2013. www.gaystarnews.com/article/trans-artist-sex-worker-shows-lovers-london-photo-exhibit181013.
24 April 2014
"I wasn't meant to study arithmetic, and I wasn't meant to study history. I was meant to be a blonde!".He ran away at 13 and became a kept boy, boy hooker and transy hooker in Hollywood. In 1971, booked on prostitution charges, he fled back to Tampa. He débuted in Florida’s nightclubs as Roxanne Russell, working with Paul Wegman. He won the 1974 Miss Florida title.
Off-stage he was masculine. As did British impersonator David Dale, Logan made Charles Aznavor’s ‘What Makes a Man a Man?’ his theme song, in which he stripped as female, and ended up as male. Filmmaker Derek Calderwood recorded the act as a 6-minute film, which later became a tool for classroom debates on what is gender.
Logan shot to fame as a drag performer, and also as a male model. In Manhattan, photographers would stop him on sight asking him to pose. In male clothes he posed for a punk-rock store. Italy’s Harper’s Bazaar and Mode International ran an avant-garde spread of Logan as both male and female.
His lover was Jack Nichols (1938 - 2005) gay activist and author of Men’s Liberation, 1975.
Logan performed regularly at La Cage, in Hollywood. He was on the cover of The Advocate.
He had a small trans parts in Second Serve, 1968, Down On Us, 1984, and Love Streams, 1984. He played a wife on Repo Man, 1984, and a hooker in Hollywood Vice Squad, 1986. In 1985 he, and several other impersonators, did part of their stage act in the film Dream Boys Review.
Logan died of Aids at 33.
- Derek Calderwood (dir). Gender. With Logan Carter. US 6 mins 1978.
- Howard Schwartz & John Moriaty (dir). Dream Boys Revue. Hosted by Lyle Waggoner & Ruth Buzzi, with Logan Carter and other female impersonators. US 74 mins 1985.
- Jack Nichols. “Logan Carter Remembered: Starting as Florida Teen, He Danced Across International Stages”. Badpuppy Gay Today. 19 May 1997. http://gaytoday.badpuppy.com/garchive/people/051997pe.htm.
- James T. Sears. Rebels, Rubyfruit, and Rhinestones: Queering Space in the Stonewall South. Rutgers University Press 421 pp 2001: 41-7, 73-5, 84-5,128-130, 154-6, 160-2, 287, 309.
- J. Louis Campbell. Jack Nichols, Gay Pioneer: "Have You Heard My Message?". New York: Harrington Park Press, 2007: 156-170, 176, 189, 191, 237
17 April 2014
However, a year later, the surgery program had been suspended. Simone ended up waiting ten further years. Then using her contacts she heard that the program at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town (where Christiaan Barnard had performed the first heart transplant in 1967) had been revived and they were doing operations again. Transgender operations had been done, on and off, at Groote Schuur since 1970 but ironically were discontinued after the end of Apartheid, as was state funding for the operation. Simone, one of the last to have the operation there, was approved in 1994 for state funding but her insurance company stepped in once assured that the operation was medical and not cosmetic. She told her then boss that she was having gender surgery and he thought that that meant that she would become a man.
Simone's elder sister Tammy was also trans but died of AIDS before she could have surgery – 23 days before Simone had her second-stage surgery.
Even after surgery, the embedded gender number range in her National ID number kept outing her to banks and government bureaucracies. Working with the Gender Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and with the nerve to make an appointment with the Attorney General himself, Simone was able to threaten to go to the Constitutional Court. The Department of of Justice and the Department of Home Affairs agreed to change her ID book and even her ID number as a one-off.
Simone found a boyfriend who was quite accepting of her past, and they were engaged. However he had a history of depression, and hanged himself in March 2003.
Simone had been working with the Triangle Project, a trans support group in the Western Cape at that time. On the Internet she discovered that the National Assembly was discussing an Alteration of Sex Description Bill. With Estian Smit and Sally Gross (an intersex person), also of the Triangle Project, they prepared a submission to the Assembly committee – even though they had only three weeks to do so. Simone was given three weeks off work to attend portfolio committee after committee. Against opposition from established gay and lesbian organizations, they formed the independent Cape Town Transsexual/Transgender Support Group to lobby that surgery not be a requirement and that provision be made for intersex persons.
"Refusing to legally recognize a transsexual person’s reassigned sex serves no purpose. It impedes their ability to live and work in their new gender, in accordance with their medically prescribed treatment. Being able to obtain correct identity documentation is the key to equal participation in employment and educational opportunities for a transsexual person. Rather than erecting additional barriers in the path of transsexual people, the law should encourage and support their successful adjustment by providing them with the legal recognition necessary to be productive members of society."The resulting Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 2003 was voted for by the ruling African National Congress and most opposition parties with the conspicuous exception of the Christian Democratic Party.
Simone later became involved with Gender DynamiX.
- Simone Heradien. "Oral Representation re the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Bill". www.pmg.org.za/docs/2003/appendices/030909simone.htm.
- Charles Phahlane. "Transgender group calls for more time to consider 'inhumane' bill on sex status". Cape Times, September 10, 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20081006022315/http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=271&fArticleId=224963.
- Ufrieda Ho. "Transforming people's thinking". IOL, December 11, 2009. www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/transforming-people-s-thinking-1.625888?ot=inmsa.ArticlePrintPageLayout.ot.
- "Simone's story: 'Three of us took on the entire system". In Ruth Morgan,, Charl Marais, Joy Rosemary Wellbeloved, and Robert Hamblin. Trans: Transgender Life Stories from South Africa. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2010: 179-184.
- Amanda Lock Swarr. Sex in Transition: Remaking Gender and Race in South Africa. New York: Suny press, 2012: 1, 18-25, 69, 73, 233-8, 241, 244-6.
- "Simone Heradien, Board Member, Gender DynamiX Gallery". Zoominfo, www.zoominfo.com/p/Simone-Heradien/1408951894.
14 April 2014
Broden transitioned before doing a BA in Sociology, 2006, at McGill University, Montréal. In 2007 he was part of G/B/Q Trans men HIV Prevention Working Group (now QueerTransmen.org) which wrote the health guide Getting Primed: The Back Pocket Guide for Transmen and the Men Who Dig Them. From 2006-8 he was a volunteer with the social justice organization OPIRG at York University, Toronto. He then worked with Trans Pulse on HIV health issues, and in 2010 completed a Master of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
He has expressed concern about the lack of provisions for trans persons in Ireland, but gave a cautious welcome to the government's proposed gender recognition legislation in 2013, despite concerns that the draft had been put together without any consultation with trans or LGBT groups, or medical specialists.
- Francine Kopun. “Youth no barrier to gender change: New guidebook offers support as decision to `transition' being made earlier in life”. Toronto Star, May 21, 2007. www.thestar.com/news/2007/05/21/youth_no_barrier_to_gender_change.html
- A.Adams, M. Lundie, Z. Marshall, R. Pires, K. Scanlon, A.I.M. Scheim, B. Giambrone, N. Redman, S.M. Ware, T. Smith. Getting primed: informing HIV prevention with gay/bi/queer trans men in Ontario. AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference. Abstract. PDF.
- Louise Hannon, Orlaith O'Sullivan, Lydia Foy, Broden Giambrone. Trans Voices in Ireland. TENI, 2012.
- "Almost four-fifths of transgender people have considered suicide – survey". The Journal, Oct 4 2012. www.thejournal.ie/transgender-suicide-mental-health-620872-Oct2012.
- Orlaith O'Sullivan (ed). Equality & Identity: Trans and Intersex Experience in Ireland. Essays by Louise Hannon, Broden Giambrone, Orlaith O'Sullivan. TENI, 2013.
- Scott De Buitléir. "A Very Irish Solution to Transgender Rights". Huffington Post, 07/22/2013. www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-de-buitleir/a-very-irish-solution-to-transgender-rights_b_3619560.html.
- Lindsay Kopit. "Ireland in Transition". Metro Éireann, August 1, 2013. http://metroeireann.com/article/ireland-in-transition,3907.
- Broden Giambrone. "Gender Recognition Bill is concrete progress, but there are 3 key roadblocks". Public Interest Law Alliance, November 2013. www.pila.ie/bulletin/2013/november-2013/6-november/guest-article-by-teni-s-broden-giambrone-gender-recognition-bill-is-concrete-progress-but-there-are-3-key-roadblocks.
Yes, Toronto politician Adam Giambrone is Broden’s elder brother. He dropped out of the 2010 Toronto Mayoral election because of revelations about his private life. But it was old-fashioned philandering, and Broden was not even mentioned. He was running second in the polls at the time. So it is a shame that he did not stay in and defeat the much more scandal-plagued Rob Ford.
11 April 2014
In 1961-2 there was a 'gayola' scandal about police taking payoffs from gay bars. One reaction to this was that José Sarria set a precedent by running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Another was that Blackstone was assigned as the police department's first liaison officer with the homophile community. He worked with the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, he helped to end entrapment in public toilets, he trained police recruits by bringing in gays, lesbians and trans people to talk about themselves.
In 1965 the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) had negotiated with Blackstone so that they could hold a gay New Year's ball; however others in the police force had different ideas and it was raided anyway. Even Mrs Blackstone was taken to be a drag queen and shoved about.
In August 1966 there was a riot at Compton's Cafeteria, and Blackstone attempted to moderate between the queens and the security people. Later Blackstone met Louise Ergestrasse (Durkin), the first transsexual to use that term to him. She got him a copy of Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon, and he began to arrange help. He persuaded the Center for Special Problems, part of the city Department of Public Health, and they began to offer hormones, counseling and referrals. Benjamin came and trained the staff, and worked with Blackstone. Blackstone gave lectures to fellow police officers.
He encouraged transsexuals to organize as Change: Our Goal (COG) and attended their meetings. With Blackstone's support COG dissuaded the police from arresting people for using the 'wrong' toilets or being cross-dressed. He helped to establish an anti-poverty office that employed transsexuals. He collected donations at his church to pay for hormones for transsexuals who could not afford them. The office provided ID cards that enabled trans persons to open bank accounts and obtain employment. After Reed Erickson's EEF funded the National Transsexual Counseling Unit (NTCU) in San Francisco, Blackstone managed its office as part of his police liaison role. EEF provided funds so that he could attend professional development and criminal justice conventions across the US and in Europe to give his views on police mistreatment of transsexual minorities. In the office he worked with individuals who were having problems with the law or their employers. He gave a presentation to every San Francisco Police Academy Class.
However in 1973 a police agent persuaded an NTCU employee to bring cocaine on to the premises, which were then raided. Drugs were also planted in Blackstone's desk. He was then assigned to another job. Within two years Blackstone had retired and NTCU was no more.
Blackstone had been 26 years with the force. He was presented with a plaque: "Many thanks, The Transsexual Community of San Francisco". At age 81 he became the first retired officer to receive a commendation from the Police Commission, and was a grand marshal at the 2006 San Francisco Pride parade. He died a few months later of a stroke.
* Not the mountaineer.
- "Police Liaison". Life, 31 Dec 1971. http://bit.ly/gkBA9p.
- Antony Grey. Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992: 144-5.
- Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California. “Mtf Transgender Activism in the Tenderloin and Beyond, 1966-1975: Commentary and Interview with Elliot Blackstone”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. The Transgender Issue edited by Susan Stryker. 4,2 1998: 349-372.
- Nan Alamilla Boyd. Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965. University of California Press 2003: 196, 198.
- Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 229-30, 231, 232, 257.
- Kevin Davis. "Retired SF cop to help lead parade". The Bay Area Reporter, 6/22/206. www.ebar.com/pride/article.php?sec=pride&article=33.
- Wyatt Buchanan. "Pride parade salute for an unlikely ally: Police officer who reached out in 1960s to be grand marshal". San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2006. www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/23/BAG7KJILMR17.DTL.
- Susan Stryker. Transgender History. Berkeley: Seal Press, 2008: 75,76,81,92.
- Josh Sides. Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco. Oxford University Press, 2009: 101.
- Suzan Cooke. "HBS? Count me out". Women Born Transsexual, 8/25/2009. http://womenborntranssexual.com/2009/08/25/hbs-count-me-out.
- Suzan Cooke. "Compton’s Cafeteria: Transsexual and Transgender People’s Stonewall". Women Born Transsexual, 08/28/2012. http://womenborntranssexual.com/2012/08/28/comptons-cafeteria-transsexual-and-transgender-peoples-stonewall.
- Stephen. "Born On this Day – November 30th … Elliot Blackstone". Post Apocalyptic Bohemian, November 30, 2012. http://nopoboho.blogspot.ca/2012/11/born-on-this-day-november-30th-elliot.html.
Joanne Meyerowitz says (p257) that the two trans women arrested in 1973 were Suzan Cooke and Janice Maxwell who were there running NTCU. However Suzan's own account does not say that. Cooke: "Elliott Blackstone remained a constant, a supporter who was too often paternalistic and too often clueless but nonetheless stood by us."
08 April 2014
Later she ventured to Place Blanche where the experienced trans women worked. However she was arrested for soliciting and spent three months in the male prison La Sante. Afterwards Jacquie returned to living in the hotel Fairyland.
Sarduy was called up for national service during the Algerian troubles. She went as a woman and flirted with the officers, which resulted in being exempted for life.
Jacquie was done for soliciting a second time during the 1957 Paris visit of the British Queen. This sentence was six months in the high-security prison at Poissy with dangerous criminals. She was raped; there was a rebellion by the Arab prisoners and she had to be hidden. Her hair was cut two days before release.
She found work at the Heure Bleue club and developed a friendship with Liane, a cis woman. They visited Jacquie's mother and Jacquie announced that that was the last time that they would see her as a boy. Her mother came to visit her and Liane and gave Jacquie stockings and a necklace: "Je ne vais pas t'offrir une cravate maintenant". She sometimes forgot and addressed Jacquie by her boy name.
Jacquie sometimes worked at Madame Arthur. From April to September 1959 she worked in Cannes, where she refused to be taken on by pimps. Later that year she met the Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm. By Christmas that year Jacquie was a woman. After that her mother always got her name right.
Jacquie's boyfriend, Jacques, was with the army in Algeria, but during his leave she found that he was two-timing her.
A friend who worked at Paris Jour and Paris Match referred to Jacquie as 'Manon' in his column, and introduced her to famous people, some of whom became lovers. She alternated soliciting with cabaret work, for example at Drap d'Or, and toured across Europe, but had a bad reputation at Le Carrousel, until 1969 when she met Marcel Oudjman, the owner. She then performed there until it closed.
She had parts in two underground films by the Spanish filmmaker, Adolfo Arrieta: Les intrigues de Sylvia Couski, 1975 and Tam Tam, 1976. One of the people she had come to know was the Argentinian playwright Copi (Raúl Damonte Botana) who proposed to put Jacquie in a play, and they both performed it at the Festival Europalia in Brussels. However when the play was performed in Paris, Jacquie was no longer in it.
After Le Carrousel closed in 1985, Jacquie and a friend who was a second-hand dealer had a stall in the flea market.
- Hélène Hazera interviews Jacky. "Aujord'hui Jacky Se Raconts". In Christer Strömholm. Les Amies De Place Blanche. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2011: 60-6.
05 April 2014
The last book as Jonathan was Primer of Ecological Theory, 1997. In 1998, at the age of 52, Jonathan came out as transsexual.
"It became clear to me that I wasn't ever going to figure out how to do the guy thing. Imagine as a woman if you'd set out to be a man, to learn how to live as a man. Could you do it? I couldn't. It's like asking a fish to fly."She took a sabbatical and returned as Joan. She soon noticed how she was now much more frequently interrupted, ignored and condescended to by men. At a meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Minneapolis a prominent expert jumped up on the stage after her talk and started shouting at her. Once every month or two, she said, ''I will have some man shout at me, try to physically coerce me into stopping …When I was doing the marine ecology work, they did not try to physically intimidate me and say, 'You have not read all the literature.' “
Undeterred by this, she ran for San Francisco's District 6 Supervisor in 2000.
In 2003 gay neurobiologist Simon LeVay had a temporary position at Stanford, and invited both Roughgarden and North American Man Boy Love Association to address the same class under the title 'minority sexualities'. She declined in that "being transgendered was not an expression of sexuality". He rescheduled her but spoke for 45 minutes giving what she could only regard as "an appallingly incorrect account of presumed biological bases to gender differences".
Roughgarden was one of many trans academics who was appalled by Michael Bailey's The Man who Would be Queen, 2003, and wrote a critique of it:
"From a transgender perspective, Bailey's claim that all transgendered women match one of these two profiles is clearly counterfactual. Many transgendered women come out late in life and yet are sexually oriented to men, many come out early in life and yet are oriented to women, many who are oriented to women are attractive nonetheless, many have changed direction of sexual orientation when they transitioned, many are bisexual, and many are not sexually active. Transgendered women also encompass heterogeneity in occupation, presentation, temperament, sexual history, and ethnicity. Furthermore, transgendered people are not as fixated on sex as Bailey evidently is. The need to locate in the social and occupational space of one's gender identity, to live as a woman, is a stronger motivation for many transgendered women than is attaining sexual pleasure. … Bailey has no data, none at all. He offers no surveys, no data tables, no statistics, nothing. He doesn't give the sample size for the 'study' he refers to occasionally. No references are offered to primary literature either. Six transgendered people are mentioned by name (pseudonym). Bailey did not take detailed and rigorous notes when interviewing these subjects, and relies on his recollection of their meetings. This sample is highly non-representative because the women he interviewed he met while 'cruising' (p. 141) in 'the Baton, Chicago's premier female impersonator club,' (p. 186) leading to an occupational and socio-economic bias."Roughgarden's next book was to be published by Princeton University Press, but she found that they were using LeVay as a reviewer and that he wanted the critical material about the search for a gay gene removed and in fact that he wanted "to reduce my book into a David-Attenborough-like nature book about gay animals, related by a transgendered woman". She moved her book to the University of California Press where it came out in 2004 as Evolution’s Rainbow. It argues for a correction to Darwin’s theory of sexual selection taking into account the varieties of gay and trans behavior found in most species. It also puts transgender behavior in the context of traditional alternate gender roles in traditional societies, and evaluates the estimated statistics. It argues for social selection rather than the Darwinian sexual selection oriented on the selfish gene, competition and deception. She further developed this approach in The Genial Gene, 2009.
Roughgarden is also a Christian and has written on the relationship between Christianity and evolution.
She retired Emerita in 2011, and moved to Hawai'i where she became an adjunct professor at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology.
- Carol Kaesuk Yoon. “A Theorist With Personal Experience of the Divide Between the Sexes” The New York Times, October 17, 2000. www.nytimes.com/2000/10/17/science/17ROUG.html.
- Joan Roughgarden. "Making connections re psychologist Simon LeVay". Email to Lynn Conway, 11 Jul 2003. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Bailey/Joan-re-LeVay.html.
- Joan Roughgarden. The Bailey Affair: Psychology Perverted. February 11, 2004. Online at: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Reviews/Psychology%20Perverted%20-%20by%20Joan%20Roughgarden.htm.
- Joan Roughgarden, Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. University of California Press, 2004. Awarded 2005 Stonewall Prize for nonfiction from American Library Association. Chapter 1 online at www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10139/10139.ch07.html
- Steven Kotler. “Oh So Natural: Sexual selection, the Good Book and why gay is good”. LA Weekly: Art + Books. April 15. 2004.
- Antony Thomas (dir & scr). Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She. With Louis Gooren, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Milton Diamond, Alice Dreger, Joan Roughgarden, Calpernia Addams, Andrea James. USA/UK 74 mins 2005.
- Joan Roughgarden, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. Island Press. 2006.
- Joan Roughgarden. The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
- Shankar Vedantam. “How the sex bias prevails”. The Age, May 15, 2010.
Joan's website used to be http://joandistrict6.com. However that is now a site in Japanese.
The history/anthropology chapters of Evolution's Rainbow are perhaps not as good as the biology chapters. For example the section on ancient Greek/Roman sexuality is based on Kenneth Dover alone. This is a very large topic and Dover's major virtue is merely his early date.
For some reason LeVay is not mentioned in Evolution’s Rainbow.
In WorldCat Jonathan's books are listed as by Joan, but in Amazon they are treated as two different people.
Ben Barres, a physicist, also at Stanford, transitioned in the other direction at around the same time. He commented on how he was interrupted, ignored and condescended to by men less often. The contrast was explored in several newspaper articles.
02 April 2014
Ratnam's father was ordered to be beheaded by the occupying Japanese in 1942, but was saved by a Japanese woman married to an Indian man. His mother died at age 38 during the Occupation from rectum cancer, as did his youngest sibling from tuberculosis meningitis. This inspired him to become a doctor.
He trained at the Singapore General Hospital from 1959, and began teaching at the University of Singapore in 1963. He studied at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London where he earned MRCOG and FRCS in 1964. He then became Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Singapore in the new Singapore independent of the UK and then in secession from Malaysia.
In 1969 Ratnam was pestered by Shonna who was desirous to have sex change surgery. He became intrigued by the possibility, 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.
A Gender Identity Clinic was set up headed by Prof Ratnam, who ran it until his retirement in 1995, when it was passed to his nephew, Dr. Anandakumar. In 30 years more than 300 sex change operations were performed.
In 1972 Ratnam's gynaecology department was recognized by the World Health Organization as one of 13 outstanding research centres in human reproduction.
In 1974 Dr Ratnam, his assistant Dr Lim and several of his then patients were featured in the documentary Shocking Asia.
In 1983 Ratnam did the first Asian In-vitro fertilization. In 1987 the first Asian live birth from a frozen embryo. In 1989 the world's first live birth after microinjection, and in 1991 the world's first infant born via human ampullary coculture. He published 596 research papers in internationally refereed journals, 396 in local and regional refereed journals, 138 chapters in books and 795 presentations at conferences. In 1996, Ratnam was appointed as Emeritus Professor. In 2000, the Shan S. Ratnam Professorship endowment was set up to award internationally recognised O& G specialists annually.
He developed heart complications and died of pneumonia at the age of 73.
After his death the Gender identity Clinic was quietly closed on the excuse that the gynaecologist in charge had left for private practice. The Ministry of Health had been pushing for closure for some years. However petitions from the trans community supported by local media resulted in the Clinic re-opening in 2003.
Other patients include: Wu Mingen(Li Jiang)
- S. S. Ratnam, Victor H. H. Goh & Wing Foo Tsoi. Cries from Within: Transsexualism, Gender Confusion and Sex Change. Singapore: Longman, 1991.
This video was made in 1974.