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!

29 July 2014

Frances Harris (1941 - ) fraudster.

Frederick Harris and his wife had three daughters. His sister Pamela died in the 1960s.

For a while Harris owned a bar in Spain with William Coutts as a partner, but they separated on bad terms.

Harris became Frances in the late 1990s with breast augmentation. She used Pamela's passport to illegally claim £27,000 in benefits.

From 2003, Harris indulged in several acts of deception. Reverting to male, she pretended to be Coutts, and thereby was able to get a £15,000 loan from Halifax Bank, and tried to gain a passport under Coutt's name. In her own gender she obtained a Marks & Spencer credit card pretending to be Coutt's daughter, Vanessa. She spent the money on jewellery, a cruise and health spas, and was travelling in a chauffeur-driven Bentley. Coutts and his daughter inevitably noticed irregularities in their bank accounts, and were contacted re loan applications they had hot taken out, and finally contacted the police. Harris was arrested in September 2004. The police searched her home and found a hidden alcove with a passport, a drivers licence and credit cards in the names of the Coutts.

Harris was originally due in court in 2006 but absconded to Spain with two of her daughters and only returned to the UK after one of them unexpectedly died in 2011. While in Spain, Harris took up with a younger couple, Graham Lewis and Rosemary Nye, and they set up Rest Assured Property Services selling timeshare apartments by phone. Around 100 people lost considerable savings.

On return to England, Frances lived in a council flat in Brighton paid for by housing benefit and in receipt of pension credits. Later in 2011 Harris was brought to court re the impersonation of the Coutts and 37 previous convictions were discovered. As the practice at that time was to place a non-operative trans woman in a men's prison, the defence barrister's plea was accepted and Harris was handed a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

A year later Harris, Lewis and Nye were arrested re the timeshare fraud, tried and found guilty. This time Harris was jailed for five years. Lewis was jailed for four-and-a-half years, and Nye was handed a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to carry out unpaid work.

For some reason, The 2013 Daily Mail article does not seem to know about the 2012 Daily Mail article.

If Harris had been imprisoned in 2011, she would have spent most of the time in a women's prison as the New Prison Guidelines came into effect.   Harris was one of the last trans convicts to escape jail in that there was nowhere safe to put her.

None of the newspaper accounts explain why Harris was not extradited back from Spain.   The European Arrest Warrant system has been in place since 2004.

27 July 2014

Wynd D. Harris (196?–) professor of marketing.

Harris worked in public administration and telecommunications. With a PhD from the University of Oklahoma, he was a Yale post-doctorate fellow, and professor of marketing and international business at Quinnipiac College, Connecticut and Director of the Masters of Health Administration.

Harris first requested to be recognized as Jewish, then as an aboriginal, and then in 1997, after taking female hormones and a name change to Wynd, to be recognized as female. The college asked that she should take a physical exam to prove that she was a woman. Harris refused.

In October the college suspended Dr Harris and started termination proceedings. The next year, by which time Wynd had had genital surgery, a committee of faculty members voted nine-to-one to retain her.

She transferred to the University of Connecticut where she is the leader of the global marketing and business intelligence marketing initiatives for the MBA program.

24 July 2014

Anna Grodzka (1954–) publisher, entrepreneur, Member of Parliament

Krzysztof Bęgowski was born in Otwock, 24 km southeast of Warsaw, and raised by adoptive parents. Krzysztof graduated in Clinical psychology from the University of Warsaw, where he was active in the Student's Union and the Communist Party. He married and became a father.

In the 1980s he worked in publishing and became an executive at Alma Press. He then ran his own publishing business, and got into radio as an executive. He was active in Socjaldemokracja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, SdRP, the successor to the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR (the Polish Communist Party) and stayed with it in 1999 when it was folded into the Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD (the Democratic Left Alliance).

By 2007 their son was an adult, and the Bęgowskis divorced. Krzysztof then transitioned as Anna Grodzka with surgery in Bangkok in 2010.   Changing her birth certificate led to her discovering for the first time that she had been adopted, and to a discovery of three younger sisters.
"I never changed my biological sex, I have only undergone adjustment surgery, because I don't believe you can change your sex. The surgery that trans people go through are adjustment procedures."
In 2008 she was co-founder and then president of Trans-Fuzja which was an activist group for trans persons. She was also vice-president of the Commission for Social Dialogue Committee for Equal Treatment under the President of the Capital City Warsaw.

On 10 April 2010, a Polish Air Force plane on route to Smolensk crashed killing the Polish President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others, many members of the Polish elite. In the aftermath Janusz Palikot founded a new political party, Ruch Palikota, initially named after himself. The party was anti-clerical, pro-pot, pro-EU, pro-gay marriage and in favour of flat taxes. It attracted mainly entrepreneurs as candidates, one of whom was Anna Grodzka, and another was the openly gay Robert Biedroń. In the October 2011 elections the new party received 10% of the vote and 40 seats in the Sejm. Grodzka and Biedroń became list MPs. In 2013 Grodzka was nominated for Deputy Speaker, but the MPs voted to keep the incumbent.

In 2013 she was Grand Marshall at Dublin Pride, the first non-Irish person to be so. 

Her wife has broken off contact, but she is in contact with her son.

++In 2015 the Polish Parliament passed a Gender Accordance Act: 252 MPs voted for, with 158 against, and 11 abstained.   However the President, Andrzej Duda, vetoed it, which left Anna feeling defeated, and in the general election of October 2015, she lost her seat, along with the entire left wing.

21 July 2014

Mavi Susel (195? - ) housewife

Susel was abused at school and at home, and father wanted the child out of the family home. After several suicide attempts, Susel became Mavi, was chosen to be Cuba's first surgical transsexual and had the operation in 1988 provided by the state medical service. There was a report on this in Juventud Rebelde which is put out by the Young Communist League. The public reaction was mainly negative, and transgender surgery was suspended for two full decades.

Mavi met a man who wanted to marry her. It was a hurdle to tell him her gender history, but it took it well: "I met a woman, you're a woman".

Mavi's dream was to be a nurse, but ended up caring for her husband and her elderly mother. However she became an assistant at a health centre and joined an amateur singing group.

Film director Marilyn Solaya appeared on television explaining that her new project would be about transsexuals. Susel phoned her the next day, and became herself the focus of the project. The film came out in 2010 financed by DOCTV Latinoamérica, which produces programs for the national broadcasting channels in 14 Latin American countries. However in Cuba it was showed only in cinemas.

18 July 2014

Heli Hämäläinen v. Finland

(In this account, Mrs Hämäläinen refers to Heli's cis spouse).

Helsinki resident, Hämäläinen (born 1963), did a degree in economics and became a customs officer.  He married as a man in 1996, and he and his wife had a daughter in 2002.

In 2004 they discussed his dissonant gender identity and he sought professional help. In April 2006 he was diagnosed 'F64', and Mrs Hämäläinen accepted that her spouse is a woman. In June Hämäläinen took that name Heli, but was unable to have her identity number changed to one that indicates female, as she is married to a woman, and Finnish law, which does permit same-sex civil unions, does not permit same-sex marriages. Either divorce or conversion of the marriage to a civil union is required before Hämäläinen can be registered as female.

In September 2009, Heli had transgender surgery.

Without success, Hämäläinen appealed through the Finnish court system, and then to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) complaining about breaches of her rights under Article 8 (right to privacy and family life), Article 12 (right to marry) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination). In November 2012 the ECHR rejected the complaint on all grounds in that the European Convention on Human Rights does not oblige states to open marriage to same-sex couples.

Constantin Cojocariu became their lawyer at this point. While agreeing that
"it would have been preferable to argue the case for same sex marriage more broadly. Indeed, equal marriage legislation also benefits transgender spouses, as it removes the underlying objection to legal gender recognition of the trans spouse",
it is obvious that the ECHR is not ready to move forward on the issue. He therefore attempted to distance the case from the issue of same-sex marriage. Forced divorce legislation severs existing marriages unlike discriminatory marriage legislation that does not allow same-sex marriage to form in the first place. The law in Germany and Switzerland makes this distinction and allows transgender marriages to continue. In Finland the marriages of transsexuals are, with the consent of the cis spouse, converted automatically to a civil union with almost the same rights and benefits as a marriage. Cojocariu  and the Hämäläinens therefore decided to concentrate on the personal and religious significance of marriage, even though Article 9 (religion) had not been mentioned previously. It was Cojocariu's opinion that
"forced divorce legislation empties Article 12 of any significance, to the extent that Article 12 is interpreted as allowing the state to interfere with valid marriages to the point of triggering their dissolution".
Heli and her wife are Evangelical Lutherans and feel that, regardless of the circumstances of sex/gender, they should not be compelled to degrade their marriage sacraments. In October 2013 the Grand Chamber of the ECHR held a hearing, and asked various questions including the motivation of Mrs Hämäläinen. In response she wrote a letter to the court in which she says:
"I have considered the found transsexuality as an illness. It is like cancer, there is a treatment practice for that illness. I am aware that when I call this phenomenon an illness I may hurt someone. But since in Finland it has a diagnosis and requires an intervention of modern medicine I can call it an illness. There is no spousal consent required in Finland for the treatment of illnesses. … I was never asked a question whether I accept the change of gender of my spouse. I was asked a question whether I consent with the degradation of my religious marriage to something else. And my answer is no. … The question is about the religious marriage. I have entered into a holy matrimony and other arrangement is against my religious conviction and puts me in an unequal position vis-à-vis compared to other wives having a spouse with a treatable disease."
In July 2014, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled: "The Court found that it was not disproportionate to require the conversion of a marriage into a registered partnership as a precondition to legal recognition of an acquired gender as that was a genuine option which provided legal protection for same-sex couples that was almost identical to that of marriage. The minor differences between these two legal concepts were not capable of rendering the current Finnish system deficient from the point of view of the State’s positive obligation under Article 8. In addition, such a conversion would not have any implications for the applicant’s family life as it would not affect the paternity of the applicant’s daughter or the responsibility for the care, custody, or maintenance of the child."

Observations.   There are aspects that are not addressed in either Constantin Cojocariu's article in ECHRSO or in the ECHR’s rulings.

1) To become a women is to be treated as one in law.   Hämäläinen is asking to be treated differently from Finnish cis women.   The best resolution is for Finland to introduce equal marriage legislation, but until then, to ask to be a woman married to a woman while cis women are denied this, is to ask for a special right/privilege.   Cojocariu  makes a distinction between breaking an existing marriage and forming a new one. He does not seem to realize that this would increase the discrimination against cis women.   It would be to say that those who have, may have more, but those who have nothing, may not.

Among the things that we are not told is how Finnish gay and lesbian couples are treated if they have lived and married in say Spain or Belgium.   Are their marriages 'degraded' to a civil uinion on return to Finland?  Does Cojocariualso regard this as emptying Article 12 of any significance?

2) Religious marriage and civil marriage are not the same thing.  True many persons marry in church, mosque, synagogue or temple and find that they have acquired the rights of civil marriage in taxation, inheritance, the law courts etc.  This is because the priest/imam/rabbi is a registered agent of the state and files the civil marriage papers for the married couple. 

However it is quite possible to be religiously married and not civilly married:  one partner is too young, or the degree of consanguinity is too close; one man and multiple wives can be married as Muslims or Mormons.  Or if the priest does not file the civil marriage papers.   Contrariwise, same-sex marriages are valid in many countries but not religiously recognized.  Divorced Catholics do marry civilly, but the marriage is not recognized by their church.

Mrs Hämäläinen said that she does not "consent with the degradation of my religious marriage to something else".  There is no mention in any of the articles that I read of the attitude of the Finnish Lutheran Church.   Nobody has told us whether their religious marriage has been in any way degraded - only that the civil aspect would be converted to a civil union.  If the church still regards the Hämäläinens as married, then as Lutherans that is all that should matter.   The Lutheran Marriage will smoothly co-exist with a civil union.


It is not to the advantage of transsexuals in general to have special marriage rights, nor is it a good idea to confuse religious marriage with civil marriage.   As the Hämäläinens are primarily concerned with their marriage in that they are religious people, neither the Finnish state nor the ECHR should have been involved.  The status of their religious marriage is up to the hierarchy of the Lutheran church. 

This lack of distinction between religious marriage and civil marriage, whether through ignorance or intention, is creating confusion.

16 July 2014

Petra De Sutter (1963 - ) gynaecologist, academic, senator

De Sutter was raised in Oudenaarde, in East Flanders. De Sutter gained an MD, 1987, and two PhDs, 1991, 1994, from Ghent University, and also studied at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, and became a professor and head of the Reproductive Medicine Department at Ghent University.

She completed transition in 2004.

She and her team researched on embryonic stem cells, the oocyte activation mechanism and fertility. De Sutter is on the executive of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), a member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine, and of the French Agence de la Biomedecine. She has published more than 200 journal articles.

In 2014 Petra was placed second on the Green Party list for the European elections, but they gained only one seat. In July 2014 it was announced that De Sutter was appointed to the Senate as a Green Party nomination, where she will focus on health care and environmental issues.
NL.WIKIPEDIA   LinkedIn   UniversiteitGent   WorldCat   Blog

14 July 2014

Paula Nielsen (1938 - ) secretary, evangelist, performer,

Larry Nielsen of Portland, Oregon, became a born-again Christian at age 12.

In the 1960s Nielsen became a patient of Harry Benjamin, and as Paula transitioned in 1963. In stealth Paula was active in her local Foursquare Church and its choir. She worked as secretary to the comptroller for a theatrical agency.

In the 1970s Paula joined the gay and lesbian oriented Metropolitan Community Church. She became church secretary, came out publically as transsexual, assisted the pastor, edited the church newsletter and participated in the student clergy program. She was the religion editor for the NW Fountain, a gay community paper.

Through the 1980s, Paula wrote a column that was printed in four different alternate publications. In 1980 Paula débuted on the stage of the Darcelle XV showplace where, billed as "Portland's Own Red Hot Mama", she did Sophie Tucker impersonations.

From December 1987, Paula had her own television gospel show, and was featured as a guest on television shows in the US, the UK and Canada. She is now on the internet. For seven years Paula worked on her autobiography, and it was published in 2012.
"...God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.....and things which are despised, hath God chosen...." (I Corinthians 1:27, 28)
*not the Swedish actress.
BLOG   YouTube   CreateSpace

11 July 2014

Paris Green (1991 - ) convicted of murder

In March 2013 Paris Green was in the early phase of transition and living in Glenrothes, Fife.  She and two others, Kevin McDonagh and Dean Smith, who had served in Afghanistan, invited Robert Shankland, who had previously helped her out with a place to stay, to Green's flat for drinks. Apparently a row developed over buying a bag of chips, and Shankland was battered, kicked, a ligature tied around his neck and a plastic bag was pulled over his head. Shankland, who suffered from heart disease, died.

They then sold his phone to buy ham sandwiches. A female friend of Green dropped by and they
actually boasted about the death, and showed her the body. She fled and contacted the police.

After conviction at Glasgow's high court, all three were sentenced to a minimum of 18 years each. Green was sent to Cornton Vale prison for women, the only such prison in Scotland. It was also announced that transgender surgery would be arranged for Green on the NHS, which would have to be in England. The Shankland family, supported by some politicians, objected that Green should lose her right to transgender surgery as part of her punishment.

Soon Green was found to be having sex with other inmates, and after warnings was moved to the women's section of Edinburgh's Saughton Prison.

*Not the Houston band.

Trivia: paris green is a highly toxic inorganic compound used to kill insects and rodents. 

08 July 2014

Harry Sidney Foy (1901 – 1942) barman, female impersonator.

Harry Foy was born in Sydney, NSW. The son of a horse-trainer, Harry worked as a barman, but at night he was Sydney’s best-known female impersonator after Lea Sonia died.

He had appeared at various venues in Sydney since the mid 1920s. He often performed at the Ziegfeld Club where in semi-drag he flirted with the customers. A visiting US sailor, John Williams, took offence and struck him in the mouth. He fell and never recovered consciousness. Williams was charged with manslaughter, released on £40 bail, handed over to the US shore patrol and never seen again.
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 25 Dec 1942: 5.
  • Truth (Sydney), 3 Jan 1943: 7.
  • Sunday Telegraph (Sydney), 3 Jan 1943:18 .
  • Garry C. Wotherspoon. 'Foy, Harry Sidney (1901 - 1942)'. Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume. Melbourne University Press, 2005, p. 134.

05 July 2014

Nicole Dolder (195?–) software engineer, actor, director.

Raised in London, Dolder made a first effort at living as a woman in the 1970s, while working as an audio engineer, but was unable to complete transition.

From 1978 to 2012 Dolder worked for Hewlett Packard and associated companies as a development engineer and later as a software engineer. In 1979 Dolder gained a Masters in Electronic Engineering. In 1983 this involved a move to Edinburgh.

In 1998 Nicole started her transition, and she had surgery in Brighton.

She is interested in acting. In 2006 Nicole was co-founder of the Edinburgh theatre group, The Luvvies, and her first part was as Mrs Madrigal, the trans landlady in Tales of the City. In 2008 they presented her play Painted Eggs, based on her own experiences as a transsexual. She does the sound and lighting, and also has written, directed and edited several short films. From 2009 she has had her own recording studio.

Click here to watch a film by Nicole.    LinkedIn    FilmandTVPro    Patents

02 July 2014

26 trans persons in Scandinavia who changed things by example or achievement

In addition to the citizens and residents below there are some others with a Danish connection:
  • There is a rumour that a Sergeant in the UK Army, part of the occupation forces in Hamburg in 1945, was permitted to travel to Denmark to become a woman. GVWW
  • Christine Jorgensen (1926 – 1989) US citizen of Danish descent, had her first operation in Denmark. EN.WIKIPEDIA   Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
  • Charlotte Mcleod (1926 - ?) also from the US who arrived in Denmark after Parliament had restricted sex-change surgeries to Danish nationals, but after being butchered by a back-street surgeon, proper Danish doctors finished the job properly. GVWW  Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
  • Carlett A. Brown (193? - ?) US sailor, performer who renounced US citizenship to get Danish citizenship, and perhaps the operation. GVWW
  • Armistead Maupin wrote that his character Anna Madrigal had surgery in Denmark in 1964 – which is just bad research. GVA.
  • Brenda Lana Smith, a long-time resident of Bermuda where she was the Honorary Danish Consul. GVWW
It became a cliché expression in North America in the 1960s/1970s that transsexuals went to Sweden (rather than Denmark) for the operation. Does anyone know of anyone who did so?

Prominent Scandinavian physicians:
  • Christian Hamburger (1904 – 1992) Christine Jorgensen's endocrinologist in Denmark. Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet. There is no Wikipedia page on him, not even in the Danish Wikipedia.
  • Jan Wålinder (1931 - ) pioneering Swedish psychiatrist whose work with transsexuals is unfortunately forgotten. Author of Transsexualism: A Study of 43 Cases. There is no Wikipedia page on him, not even in the Swedish Wikipedia.
  • Thorkil Sørensen. Danish Professor, MD and psychiatric consultant at Odense University Hospital, author of Det transsexuelle syndrom: afgrænsning og behandling, 1984. Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
Citizens and residents:
  • Christina Vasa (1626 – 1689) Queen of Swedes, Goths & Vandals 1632-54, abdicated, converted to Catholicism, and moved to Rome. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  • Caroline Matilda Oldenburg (1751 – 1775) Queen of Denmark and Norway. GVWW
  • Lars Larsson Molin (1785 – 1845) Swedish thief and chef. GVWW    SV.WIKIPEDIA
  • ?Lind? (1877 – 1940) Swede who toured the world as a female impersonator. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  • Bothwell Browne (1877 – 1947) Danish female impersonator who found fame in San Francisco and New York. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  • Alberta Neilsen. Legal gender change in 1924 supported by certificate from German specialist that she was intersex. Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
  • Lili Elvenes (Elbe) (1882 – 1931) painter,  surgical transsexual at Warnekros' Institute, died of complications from surgery.  GVWW     EN.WIKIPEDIA    Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
  • Eila Neergard (1930 - ) Danish engineer, twice married and father of 3 who transitioned at age 71 with surgery in Thailand. Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
  • Annette Hall (193? - ?) Swedish founder of FPE-Northern Europe in 1966.
  • Sandra Day (1939 – 2010) Danish bookseller, stripper, actress, singer. GVWW    DA.WIKIPEDIA
  • Sabrina Ramet (194? - ) Trondheim professor of eastern European studies, member of Norwegian Academy of Sciences. GVWW    DE.WIKIPEDIA
  • Esther Pirelli (1949 - ) Norwegian doctor, sexologist. GVWW     NO.WIKIPEDIA
  • Anna Kristjánsdóttir (1952 - ) Icelandic marine engineer, transitioned in Sweden in 1995, active in TGEU, co-founder of Trans-Iceland. GVWW.
  • Marja-Sisko Aalto (1954 - ) Finnish Lutheran vicar. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  • Aase Schibsted Knudsen (1954 - ) Lillehammer professor of film and television. NO.WIKIPEDIA
  • Anette Egelund (1956 - ) Danish sailor, politician. GVWW   DA.WIKIPEDIA
  • Cris Owen (1960 - ) Finish musician. GVWW    FI.WIKIPEDIA.
  • Cecillia Mundt (1965 - ) Danish poet, hate crime victim. Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet.
  • Aleksa Lungberg (1981 - ) Swedish actress. GVWW.
  • Maria Sundin. Swedish archivist, TGEU board member and chair. TGEU   QX.
  • Viktor (1985 - ) born male in Ecuador, adopted and raised female in Norway, changed back after 16. CrossDreamers
  • Tone Maria Hansen. On board of Harry Benjamin Ressurssenter
  • Fernanda Milan. From Guatemala, first trans person granted asylum in Denmark. NewsArticle.
  • Tina Thranesen (1948 - ) Danish trans historian, activist. DA.WIKIPEDIA    Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet
  • Jack Molay. Norwegian who developed the concept of Crossdreamer. Crossdreamers.
  • Mianne Bagger(1966 - ) Danish golfer in Australia. 1st open trans woman allowed in female tournament. EN.WIKIPEDIA