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!

27 September 2014

Martine Cuypers (1970–) lecturer.

Cuypers studied Classics at Leiden University and gained a PhD there in 1997, and then worked as a lecturer and research fellow in Hamburg, Leiden, Groningen, Chicago and Washington D.C. before joining Trinity College, Dublin in 2005 as lecturer in Greek.

She was Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) from 2010.

In February 2011 the Irish Sun featured the "world exclusive" revelation of Dr Cuypers gender history on its front page, "Trinity's Sex Swap Prof" as if it were news.
  • Annette Harder & Martine Cuypers. Beginning from Apollo: studies in Apollonius Rhodius and the Argonautic tradition. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2005.
  • James Joseph Clauss & Martine Cuypers. A Companion to Hellenistic Literature. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • "Trinity's Sex Swap Prof". The Irish Sun, 2 February 2011.
  • "Irish Tabloid outs trans woman",, February 3rd, 2011.
  • Dr Martine Cuypers. "TENI wins Parade Award at Dublin Pride". Transgender Equality Network Ireland, 02 Jul 2012.

24 September 2014

Mirha-Soleil Ross (1969–) sex-worker, activist, performer, filmmaker, broadcaster

Ross was raised in a poor francophone family on the south shore of Montréal with lots of cats and dogs, an illiterate but resourceful father in construction work and a Métis mother.
"In the mid '80s, when I was about 16 years old, I watched a TV documentary about fur that included footage of animals caught in snares and leg-hold traps. It changed my life forever. I was so traumatized by what I witnessed that the next day I ran to an anti-fur protest. That's when I met a whole bunch of animal rights activists. I had lots of questions; they had good answers and by 6pm that same night, I had stopped eating meat, stopped wearing leather, and was eager to learn and do a whole lot more."
She settled in Toronto, and made a living as a sex worker.
"...from the early to mid-1990s, there were a bunch of us who had visions of transsexual and transgender spaces – of a parallel trans culture – operating independently of the queer community. … I was hoping that we, as a community, could develop a sense of ourselves that wouldn't be narrowly framed through a queer lens or bogged down in lesbian cultural references. … But unfortunately, this has been a complete failure. Those trans cultural spaces we attempted to create throughout the 1990s have all either disappeared or been absorbed by the lesbian-transgender community."
"But my main request is for transgender activists to stop their sinister appropriation of the abuse and violence that transsexual and transvestite prostitutes endure on every continent. … Trans activists use their deaths as fuel in their crusade for 'transgender rights'. Their campaigns have everything to do with supporting their own political agendas … but absolutely nothing to do with improving the the working conditions or lives of transsexual and transgender prostitutes. The most shameful of this type of political appropriation is the 'Transgender Day of Remembrance'."
From 1993-5 Mirha-Soleil worked with Xanthra Mackay to publish GenderTrash, a political and arts magazine for trans people. From 1995 and for five years, she conducted educational workshops for Toronto social service and health care agencies, and served as a consultant for researchers into trans experience.

In 1996 and for four years she hosted a weekly animal rights radio show on CUIT FM, and was also involved in other radio shows on topics such as lesbian sexuality and disability, AIDS, and transsexuals and immigration.

In 1997 she took up with and became the life partner of film-maker and animal-rights activist, Mark Karbusicky.

Also that year and for three years she, Mark, Xanthra and others ran Counting Past 2, a trans arts Meal-Trans, which included a weekly vegan meal drop-in. She was appalled when, after she left, Meal-Trans started serving meat.
festival. And she developed the first publicly funded social services program for low-income and street trans people,

Mirha-Soleil has worked to raise consciousness of animals’ rights in the queer communities, and of prostitutes' rights in the animal rights community.

In 2000 Mirha-Soleil and Mark made a film G-SprOuT (not in IMDB) about love between vegans contrasted with factory farming which has been shown at over 25 queer and other film festivals.

Mirha-Soleil was Grand Marshall of the 2001 Toronto Pride Parade, and was able to place animal liberation activists at the front of the parade.

In 2001 Mirha-Soleil developed her performance piece, Yapping Out Loud: Contagious Thought from an Unrepentant Whore, which drew parallels between animal rights and prostitutes' rights. Later it was presented at the first Transgender Theater Festival in New York. 

Mark unexpectedly committed suicide in 2007, and was later memorialised in a documentary by Mike Hoolboom.

Mirha-Soleil continues to agitate on behalf of sex workers, transsexuals, non-human animals, Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women, and much more.
  • Viviane K. Namaste. Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000: 41-2, 44-6, 57, 58, 62, 66, 178-9, 239, 274n2, 280n33, 285.
  • Mirha-Soleil Ross interviewed by Heze. "No White Gloves on Mirha-Soleil Ross". Trade: Queer Things. Autumn 2003.
  • Mirha-Soleil Ross interviewed by Claudette Vaughan. Satya Oct 2003.
  • Viviane K. Namaste. "Interview with Mirha-Soleil Ross". Chp 7 in Sex Change, Social Change: 86-102.
  • Viviane K. Namaste. Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism. Women's Press, 2005: 44, 53, 54-7, 82-5, 86-102.
  • Thomas Waugh. The Romance of Transgression: Queer Sexualities, Nations, Cinéma. Carleton University Press, 2006: 159, 330, 343, 345, 353, 394.
  • Mike Hoolboom (dir). Mark. With Mark Karbusicky & Mirha-Soleil Ross. Canada 70 mins 2009.
  • Chaos McKenzie. "Mark, Mike Hoolboom's difficult documentary". Xtra, Apr 21, 2010.
  • Darryl B. Hill. Trans Toronto: An Oral History. NY: William Rodney Press, 2012: 28, 35, 151, 169.
  • Mirha-Soleil Ross interviewed by Claudette Vaughan. "Queer Rights/Animal Rights. Straight talking". Animal Liberation Front, no date.
  • Mirha-Soleil Ross. Gut-Busting Ass-Erupting and Immoderately Whorish Compilation Tape. VHS.
  • Dan Irving & Rupert Raj (eds). Trans Activism in Canada: A Reader. Women's Press, 2014: 108.

19 September 2014

Trans women in the New York Correctional System

Daniel Genis recently finished a 10-year prison sentence.   He has written about his experience for The Concourse: "A Gentleman's Guide To Sex In Prison".    There are two references to trans women:

"There are many transsexuals (still called "shemales" in the system), especially in the maxes, for some reason. Some truly look like women, and as a consequence they are well taken care of by their admirers. Others just look like men with breast implants. There was one called Grandma who was quite a fright, but apparently had customers anyway, because his dentures came out. The old-timers call these guys 'lizards' and have nothing to do with them, but the younger guys who grew up with Will and Grace and so forth are more easygoing about it.

It was my understanding that if you declared yourself to be out upon arrival at the clearinghouse called Downstate, they'd send you somewhere safe (unless you yourself were not actually very safe, according to your record). I spent two years in a place like that, called Groveland Correctional Facility. It was a beautiful campus of a prison with a huge gay population. They had to cut the bushes down to discourage some of the activities taking place around them. There were even competing gay gangs. The most established one was led by Becky, who had been in for 35 years and who, it was said, had cut out his lover's heart back when he, Becky, was a teenage girl in a boy's body. "

17 September 2014

Owain mab Urien (50? - 595) prince.

It seems that Urien, king of Rheged (later known as Strathclyde), a 6th century kingdom on the border of what is now England and Scotland, arranged for his son, Owain to go to Glasgow to court Teneu, daughter of Lot/Loth/Lleuddun, king of Gododdin (later known as Lothian) in order to bring about a dynastic alliance.

While Gododdin was a traditional Celtic kingdom under the spiritual guidance of druids, Teneu was tempted by the alternate reality of the Christian missionaries. Possibly Teneu became devoted to the Virgin Mary and hoped to emulate her by having a virgin birth. Teneu became pregnant, but Owain and Teneu declined to marry.

The three mediaeval accounts differ in the details, but both the Fragmentary Life and the Breviarium aberdonense claim that Owain transvested in order to gain access to Teneu. Ardrey points out that this makes no sense in that Teneu was not in a convent or in purdah. He argues that Teneu found that Owain was trans, but the retellings introduced a pragmatic reason for his cross-dressing. On his side he was not interested in marriage to a woman.

Teneu was sent away to Culross where she was sheltered by Serf, who also helped to raise the child who was named Mungo (dear one) but later became known as Kentigern (head chief).

Serf, Teneu and Kentigern all became saints in the Christian Church. Teneu and Mungo are the patron saints of Glasgow.

A legendary version of Owain appears in Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, the Knight of the Lion and the Welsh Romance Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain.
  • Anon. Fragmentary Life of St Kentigern. MS Cotton Titus, xix.f.76-80. Before 1164.
  • Jocelin of Furness. Vita Kentigern. 1185
  • Anon. Breviarium aberdonense. 1507
  • Adam Ardrey,. Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2008: Chp 4 – Signs and Portents.
EN.WIKIPEDIA (Owain, Mungo, Teneu, Serf)

Mungo and Serf are in Wikipedia as Saint Mungo and Saint Serf, but St Teneu is there simply as Teneu.

12 September 2014

A re-reading of Leslie Feinberg's Transgender Warriors.

I have already written about Leslie Feinberg’s life.

There are two editions of this book, both Beacon Press, 1996: Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul (hardback) and Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman (paperback). It is the former that I have in front of me, which makes no mention of Rodman, now best known for his bromance with Kim Jong-un, so neither will I.

The book was published by Beacon Press, Boston, owned by the Unitarian Universalist Association, which had been out of favour with trans people after publishing both Janice Raymond and Mary Daly.

The book title uses 'transgender' and in the preface, Feinberg proclaims: "The word I prefer to use to describe myself is transgender". Transgender, not transgendered. In more recent years this distinction has become heated, and as I re-started the book I hoped that ze was anticipating the then future resolution, however as the book proceeds, transgendered is used more. Ze also uses transgender as a noun as well as an adjective – a practice that is nowadays disputed. Ze does the same with intersexual.

Feinberg frequently uses the term bigender (bi-gender) which is popular with the FPE/Tri-Ess people but does not mention the joke form also popular with them: big-ender.

Two paragraphs below we find the mission statement of the book: "I asked many self-identified transgender activists who are named or pictured in this book who they believed were included under the umbrella term. Those polled named: transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites, transgenderists, bigenders, drag queens, drag kings, cross-dressers, masculine women, feminine men, intersexuals, androgynes, cross-genders, shape-shifters, passing women, passing men, gender-benders, gender blenders, bearded women and women bodybuilders who have crossed the line of what is considered socially acceptable for a female body." If a similar list were put together today, it would of course include gender queer and non-binary. The list sort of fits with the last chapter which is a portrait gallery, where there is a woman bodybuilder and a bearded woman performer. But I cannot but think that the vast majority of bearded women and female bodybuilders would object to being located under transgender. However the real issue here is inclusiveness: the dabblers and the part-timers along with the committed.

The tone changes dramatically in the next paragraph. "But the word transgender is increasingly being used in a more specific way as well. The term transgenderist was first introduced into the English language by trans warrior Virginia Prince. Virginia told me, ‘I coined the noun transgenderist in 1987 or ’88. There had to be some name for people like myself who trans the gender barrier’ “. This claim is factually incorrect. I have already written extensively on this, and so I will not repeat the detail here, other than to mention that this endorsement by Feinberg strengthened the myth that Prince had coined the term, and led to very heated refusals of the term transgender, and thus undermined Feinberg's mission. This is my most negative comment about Feinberg's book.

There is no further mention of Prince except for a photograph in the end portrait gallery of her, Ariadne Kane and Maxine Miller attending church at Fantasia Fair. (For some reason the photograph has been flipped left-to-right – see the original in Mariette Pathy Allen's Transformations.)

On the next page, Feinberg comments: "the word trans is being used increasingly by the gender community as a term uniting the entire coalition". Memory of course always deceives, and in retrospect I was surprised to find this in 1996. There is no mention at all of the older forms of trans: tranny or transy.

Twice, pages 7 and 123, there are photographs of arrests being made at the National Variety Artists Ball, Halloween 1962. This was the night before the gathering at Susanna Valenti's Chevalier D’Eon Resort that became a major event in Prince's organizing. Neither the irony of this nor the Chevalier D’Eon Resort gathering are mentioned.

Feinberg has a chapter on the North American Two-Spirit tradition, but without the criticism of the gay male writers such as Walter Williams who regarded Two-spirit as gay rather than trans that we find for example in Pat Califia's Sex Changes. Ze has a whole chapter on Joan of Arc arguing for Joan as transgender. Personally I do not buy that argument, but Feinberg's chapter is one of the best arguments for Joan being so. Ze adds other female-born warriors (in the conventional sense) and monarchs to the chapter: Catalina de Erauso, Angélique Brûlon (Liberté), Nzinga Mbandi, Qiu Jin, Franklin Thompson. However ze also adds the Albanian sworn virgin of Rapsha who was a farmer.

Some of the persons featured are more thought of as gay or feminists. While Feinberg argues for Joan of Arc being transgender, ze merely presents Luisa Capetillo, Assotta Saint, Quentin Crisp, Craig Hickman as being so. Charles Stuart, the young pretender to the British throne is also included despite being a thorough reactionary with no sympathy at all for anything queer.

Page 86 is a full page photograph of a man in an expensive suit working on a 1920s car. The person is Violet Morris and Feinberg comments: "Morris sued the French Federation of Feminine Sports for 100,000 francs for withdrawing her license to wear trousers".  Feinberg does not mention that Morris, an all-round athlete, used the excuse of fitting into a racing car to have her breasts removed. Licences to wear trousers were issued by the  Préfecture de Police, but Morris never bothered to apply for one. Morris was rejected for the 1928 and 1936 Olympics on grounds of being too masculine. She was accused of being a collaborator and assassinated by the French Resistance in 1944. Several books, none of them translated into English, argue whether or not she was a Gestapiste.

RuPaul, Joan of Arc's partner in the book title, appears very briefly on pages 96-7, but there is only a photograph and the best known quotes from RuPaul's book, such as "You're born naked and the rest is drag". There is nothing about RuPaul's life or career, and no anticipation to the recent brouhaha (but see below on drag queens in general).

On the next page is a call for gay-trans solidarity: "I understand that many heterosexual transsexual and transgender people have been justly angered by a lifetime of accusations that their sex-change and or gender expression is merely a result of being ashamed to admit that they are gay. No one wants the identity they are willing to live for – or to die for – to be invalidated or misunderstood. But while not all lesbian, gay, and bi people face trans oppression, all trans people experience anti-gay bigotry. To the bigots and bashers, all trans expression is 'queer'. Distancing ourselves from the lesbian, gay, and bi movement will not make us safer."

On page 115, ze writes about drag performance: "I've heard women criticize drag queens for 'mocking women's oppression' by imitating femininity to an extreme, just as I've been told that I am imitating men. Feminists are justifiably angry at women's oppression – so am I! I believe, however, that those who denounce drag queens aim their criticism at the wrong people. This misunderstanding doesn't take gender oppression into account. … There is a difference between the drag population and masculine men doing cruel female impersonations. The Bohemian Grove, for example, is an elite United States club for wealthy powerful men that features comedy cross-dressing performances. Many times the burlesque comedy of cross-dressed masculine men is as anti-drag as it is anti-woman. In fact it's really only drag performance when it's transgender people who are facing the footlights. Many times drag performance calls for skilled impersonations of a famous individual like Diana Ross or Judy Garland, but the essence of drag performance is not impersonation of the opposite sex. It is the cultural presentation of an oppressed gender expression."

Like most books, Transgender Warriors, was a product of its time, the mid-1990s. However it was a book needed at that time, and many of the issues within are still being argued over. A re-reading is certainly fruitful.

09 September 2014

Bet Power (1950 - ) archivist, activist

Of Polish descent, Power was born and raised in Chicago. Power's father, a sailor taught the child, who already thought of himself as a boy, carpentry, baseball, bowling, billiards and poker. He played sports with his elder brother's friends without being outed as a girl.

At age 6 he witnessed a women pedestrian killed in a car accident. His mother started abusing him, attacking her husband and mutilating herself. At 13 Power was obliged to wear a dress for confirmation, and after that for church and the Catholic all-girls school.

Power became a street kid who did alcohol and other drugs. By 16 he passed well enough to get into leather bars and drag-show clubs. He marched for civil rights and ran from the police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was part of the Workers World Party.

He went to a therapist and fell in love with her, but she was homophobic, and rejected him with prescriptions of antidepressants and antipsychotics. She urged Power's mother to have him committed. He was diagnosed as having a "narcissistic personality disturbance with anxiety and recurring panic attacks". He managed to avoid taking the compulsory pills, and started talking about a boyfriend. Six weeks after this he was released. He became an activist in the anti-psychiatry movement.

In 1972 he found a butch lesbian psychologist who told him that he was a butch, that he did not need therapy and should get involved at the Lesbian Feminist Center. There he found support to get off drugs, lose the 50 pounds he had gained from the prescription drugs, and to eat vegetarian. He was grateful but did not really think that he fitted in. The Chicago Lesbian Feminist Center housed the New Alexandria Lesbian Library (NALL) and Power became a volunteer there. He also had his first lovers and completed an MA in comparative literature and sociocultural processes, and got a job as a proof reader with a magazine publisher.

In 1977 the Chicago Lesbian Feminist Center closed and Power rescued the books and magazines from the NALL. He broke with his bio-family in 1979. They denied all the abuse, and Power had not only made it up, he was also queer. He, his lover, and the NALL collection moved to Huntington, and later Northampton, Massachusetts. He got a job in an ad agency in Hartford. Connecticut.

Lovers came and went. Bet drank heavily in "dyke, gay and trannie bars". In 1982 he tried to stop drinking. In 1983 he kicked in the bedroom window of an ex-lover, and was briefly in jail. He went to an alcoholism counselor, and also did a past-life regression with a psychic counselor. He was told that he had always, in every past life been a man, and in his previous life had been a Japanese scientist who was executed for treason after helping the US develop the atom bomb. He admitted his alcoholism and started going to Alcoholics Anonymous. He also came out both as trans and as into Sado-Masochism.

In 1986 the NALL received a letter from Louis Sullivan containing his pioneering Information for the Female-to-Male Crossdresser and Transsexual. Bet finished reading it in two hours. It gave him a vocabulary to describe himself, and now he knew that he was not the only FTM transsexual. He contacted Louis, and a few weeks later flew to San Francisco to meet him. They wrote and phoned each other frequently until Lou's early death in 1991. By then Bet had met his wife and his job was going well, and he did not feel that he could move to San Francisco to continue Lou's work.

He was no longer involved in the lesbian community. They were uncomfortable with his maleness, and also with the fact that he directed a monthly support group for lesbian, bi and trans into S/M. He decided that the NALL collection was not just a lesbian collection, and renamed it as the Sexual Minorities Archives.

He visited a gender counselor to decide if he wanted to medically transition, as his wife was
encouraging him to do. Despite knowing only one FTM crossdresser in all of New England, in 1992 he founded, on his forty-second birthday, the East Coast Female-to-Male Group (ECFTMG). It grew slowly but eventually was able to split into separate groups in the major New England cities.

He settled as being non-hormonal and non-operative. Despite some employment discrimination, he has managed to achieve creative director—vice president positions in advertising and marketing. His wife left him for a cis man in 1995.

In 2007 Power was diagnosed with granulomatosis polyangiitis, and now needs surgery every six months to keep breathing. He has not worked since. He is living on disability.

The house that contains the Sexual Minorities Archives is rented, and the owner wishes to sell. Power does not have the money to buy it, but has organized a fundraising campaign.

He is also contemplating a legal name change to Ben.
  • Leslie Feinberg. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul. Beacon Press, 1996: 155.
  • Bet Power. "My Wonderful Askewness". In J. Ari Kane-Demaios & Vern L. Bullough (eds) Crossing Sexual Boundaries: Transgender Journeys, Uncharted Paths Prometheus Books, 2006: 57-74.
  • Andre Perez. "Interview with Bet Power". Transgender Oral History Project, May 12, 2008. Online.
  • Fred Contrada. "Bet Power shines bright amid his Sexual Minorities Archives". MassLive, July 15, 2014. Online.
Facebook     GoFundMe

05 September 2014

Brigitte Boréale (1963–) broadcaster, sports journalist.

Brigitte is a presenter, journalist and television actress on Pink TV, the French gay channel, where she does sports programs.

She has had a few small parts in films. In July 2011, her daughter Morgane appeared on the reality television program Secret Story, where her secret was that "Mon père s'appelle Brigitte".

02 September 2014

Synthia China-Blast (1974 - ) convicted of murder

Luis Morales grew up in the South Bronx where she always felt that she was a girl. Her sister helped her with underwear and makeup.

She was selling crack at age 13. At 16 a squatter-house burned down with six deaths, and Morales was accused of starting the fire. On remand Morales was sent to Riker's Island jail. After she had been raped a couple of times, a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation gang offered her protection in exchange for regular sex. After two years on remand, a witness recanted, and Morales was released.

However the Latin Kings now regarded her as a neophyte member. She was ordered to report to a gang member in the Bronx:
“He knew I was a gender bender, and he was putting me through it. Then he forced me to be involved with him sexually. Nobody knew. But any time he wanted me to do something, I’d have to do it. I hated him.”
In her own time she dressed more and more as female, and spent time at Escuelita, a gay club in Manhattan.

1993 was a dramatic period of internal power struggle and murders within the Latin Kings that would lead to mass arrests.

A 13-year-old girl from Harlem, Ebony Williams, ran away from home again, but was found at her sister's in Coney Island, close to where Carlos Franco, also of the Latin Kings, lived. Ebony returned home, but then ran away again the same day, August 21. The night of the next day a slashed, battered and burning body of a teenage girl was found beneath a highway overpass in the Bronx. It would be two weeks before the body was identified as Ebony Williams. A police informer who was involved in the crime, named Luis Morales and Carlos Franco as the perpetrators.

There are two accounts of what happened. The first is by journalist Esther Haynes, whose account is the only detailed account available:
[Morales] "says someone from the gang paged her and told her to report immediately: 'I had to take off my makeup, pick up my van, and go clean up an apartment in the Bronx'. In her haste, she left her skirt on. 'When I got there, there was blood all over the floor. I don’t know if I was just stupid or I’d seen a lot of The A-Team, but I just started cutting off the bloody carpet and put it in plastic bags. The body was already in a box,' Synthia says. She claims that she and a few other jittery gang members then dropped the box off in a Bronx underpass and later set it on fire." Morales hid in the "trannie-friendly" Skyway motel in Jersey City for a few days, until her mother persuaded her to turn herself in.
The other account is the New York Daily News reporting on the trial:
"Morales, 22, and Franco, 24, appeared unmoved as Bronx Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus sentenced them to 25 years to life for the 1993 slaying. Bronx Prosecutor William Hrabsky said the two held the girl captive in a Hunts Point apartment, Morales raping her and repeatedly slashing her body. Franco was charged with killing the girl after breaking her neck. 'The suffering that this poor child went through is beyond belief and puts this crime in the category of monstrous and barbarous,' Hrabsky said. Investigators said the men shoved Ebony's body into a box and dumped it on the Sheridan Expressway at E. 165th St., where it was set on fire. They later bragged about the crime to friends, many of whom testified against them."
However Morales was convicted of murder and manslaughter, but not of rape. She commented:
"They had to switch their story in the trial because how do you tell the jury that he had on a dress and then he was raping a girl? I’ve never had sex with a female in my life.”
She was sentenced to 25 years to life, and returned to Riker's Island, where she legally changed her name to Synthia China-Blast. As a female Synthia had sex with some of the most notorious murderers and rapists in the New York prison system. In 1999 she was put on low-level female hormones, which have given her small breasts. However she was refused the higher level dosage that some other prisoners are on in that she did not have an official prescription before incarceration. She is suing for medical treatment up to and including genital surgery.

In 2002 Synthia was transferred to Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The next year she attempted but failed to castrate herself, and then took up with the 35-year-old then virgin copycat serial killer Eddie Seda, and in effect became his wife. In 2004, after she was transferred to Wende Correctional Facility, she sent a letter to the New York Daily News as by the Zodiac Killer’s Wife, in which she said:
“If I was a real woman I could bring about little future serial killers to terrorize NYC like my husband did. How [New Yorkers] would of loathed the Zodiac Children”.
In 2014 the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) focused on Synthia China-Blast as part of its project of ending the practice of isolating trans prisoners in solitary. The SRLP asked Laverne Cox to read a letter from Synthia China-Blast on video, but did not share details with her about the murder of Ebony Williams. When apprised of the details, Laverne Cox, asked for the video to be removed.
tumblr   SRLP   MetaFilter

The murder of Ebony Williams is of course monstrous and barbarous.   However there is a possibility that a wrong person is being punished for it, which makes the crime even worse.

As with several accounts of inmates, we do not have all the facts.   The account in New York Magazine by Esther Haynes is the only one to go into details.

Gallus Mag, Laverne Cox and Parker Molloy all say that Synthia China-Blast was convicted of rape.   This is not correct.   She was convicted of murder and manslaughter, but not rape.   Her prison sex life has been in the female role, and she claims (plausibly) that she has never had sex with a woman.   I am inclined to accept this.

Synthia’s 2004 Zodiac Killer’s Wife letter was of course a stupid thing to do.

There was a third person at the murder, the police informer.   We really need to know about this person who would seem to be escaping his own guilt by blaming another.   We are told nothing about him except the simple fact of his existence.   Nor are we told anything about Carlos Franco, except his guilt.

The Wikipedia article on the Latin Kings tells us that from June 1993 to February 1994 there was an internal power struggle within the Latin Kings in New York.  7 Latin Kings were murdered, and afterwards the police were able to charge 20 major members with murder and racketeering.   Ebony Williams’ murder in August 1993 falls right within this period.    No journalist has bothered to explain if there is a connection.

If we go with the account by Esther Haynes, Morales was a bottom level functionary in the Latin Kings who did not dare to refuse an order.   Cleaning up after the murder makes Morales an accessory, and disposing of the body is also a crime.   However no motive was cited as to why Morales wanted to murder Ebony Williams, and the silence about just what the police informer actually did makes the conviction of Morales a very unsafe conviction.

Gallus Mag, Laverne Cox and Parker Molloy all have such faith in the patriarchal justice system that they do not consider that Synthia China-Blast may be a victim also.  Even the SRLP seems to consider her conviction a safe conviction, and are only concerned about the extra punishment of being 23 hours a day in solitary.

If Synthia China-Blast’s guilt is only that of being an accessory, and an accessory under duress at that, then her sentence is certainly excessive.

If Synthia China-Blast were in the UK, she would be in a women’s prison under the 2011 New Prison Guidelines.   If she is guilty only of being an accessory, then she is no danger in a women’s prison.   Even if she were guilty of the murder, there are equally violent women in women’s prisons, and the system is able to manage them.

Gallus Mag seems to be obsessed that a male-bodied person convicted of rape must not be allowed to have his/her penis and testosterone removed (=genital surgery).  See also Sandy-Jo Battista.   This is a very strange position.