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!

31 October 2014

Deborah Bershel (1954–) doctor.

Roy Shelton grew up Jewish in Flushing, New York. He trained as s doctor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine on a US Army scholarship. He married Alison Berkowitz in 1981 and changed his name to Roy Berkowitz-Shelton. He served with the US Army in Germany until 1987, and he told Alison about his desire to crossdress, but he repressed it.

They had a son in 1985, and a daughter in 1988. Bershel opened a general medical practice in Newton, Boston, and Alison became his office manager.

Not until 2004 did Bershel tell Alison that he felt that he was a woman, Deborah. Bershel started visiting a gender therapist who suggested that it be Deborah who attended the sessions. Bershel read and identified with She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Alison went with Deborah as female for a cross-dressers' weekend on Rhode Island.

Deborah started laser hair-removal and voice training. In 2006 she had facial surgery, sent letters to the patients, and set up a website. Most of the patients stayed, and the synagogue was accepting. Her parents were accepting, but Alison, after living with Deborah for a few months asked Deborah to move out. Their daughter stopped speaking to Deborah.

Deborah met and formed a new life partnership with Berni, lesbian and a psychiatric social worker. Deborah had genital surgery with Dr Pierre Brassard in Montréal in 2007, and Berni accompanied her. At that time she had three trans patients. That number later grew to about 50. Dr Bershel attended the WPATH meeting in Oslo in 2009, had testified at the Massachusetts State House re discrimination suffered by transsexuals, and in 2010 gave a presentation at the First Event Transgender Conference.


Margaret Wente used Deborah’s story to align herself with the Blanchardian-dichotomy school.

28 October 2014

Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia, raided 1923

In February 1923 the Charles Street Police Station in Manhattan was paying special attention to Greenwich Village. Deputy Inspector Joseph A. Howard and Captain Edward J. Dempsey of the Charles Street Station, and a party of ten detectives visited each tearoom and cabaret.

Detectives Joseph Massie and Dewey Hughes of the Special Service Squad were assigned to the Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia, 46 Charles Street, to witness what they had been informed would be a “circus", and arrested five women and eight men.

However on closer inspection, Ruby Bernhammer 21 from West Hoboken, New Jersey, did not meet their definition of a woman. Bernhammer was charged with disorderly conduct for giving an indecent dance, and they gave her name as 'Harry'.

Another arrested was Arthur C. Budd also 21 who worked as a female impersonator in “The Lady in Ermine” at The Century Theater under the name Rosebud.

The next day the local magistrate dismissed charges against all but the proprietors of the Black Parrot. Rosebud lost his job at The Century Theatre, but was working again the next year.
  • "Village Raid Nets 4 Women and 9 Men: Detectives Thought They Had Five Females, but Misjudged One Person by Clothing”. New York Times, February 5, 1923: 17.
  • "Board Ship to Get Big Liquor Agent". New York Times, February 6, 1923: 23.
  • "Cabaret" column. Variety, February 15, 1923: 30.
  • C. J. Bulliet. Venus Castina: Famous Female Impersonators Celestial and Human. Covici 308 pp 1928. Bonanza Books. 1956: 252.
  • Chad Heap Slumming Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940. University of Chicago Press,2009: 353.
  • "Mae West: Rosebud". Mae West, July 26, 2008.
IBDB(Arthur C Budd)   

In contradiction to the New York Times, Variety claimed that the one “togged up in complete female attire” was Rosebud, as does Bulliet.

26 October 2014

24 trans persons from Wales/Ireland/Scotland who changed things by example and/or achievement.

  1. Christian Davies (1667 – 1739) soldier from Dublin. EN.WIKIPEDIA
  2. Anne Bonny (1698 – 1782 ) Irish cross-dressing pirate. EN.WIKIPEDIA

  3. Lavinia Edwards (1809 – 1833) Irish actress in London. GVWW
  4. Edward de Lacy Evans (1830 – 1901) from Waterford, labourer and husband in Melbourne. GVWW

  5. John Coulter (1834 – 1884) labourer at Belfast Harbour. GVWW
  6. Murray Hall (1841 – 1901) from Govan, Glasgow. Businessman, Tammany Hall politician in New York. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  7. Albert Cashier (1844 – 1915) from Clogherhead, County Louth, fought in US Civil War, then labourer in Illinois. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  8. Raymond Browne-Lecky (1881 – 1961) Warrenpoint, County Down, aristocratic thespian GVWW

  9. Ewan Forbes (1912 – 1991) Aberdeenshire doctor, Baronet and landowner. GWVV EN.WIKIPEDIA
  10. Jan Morris (1926 - ) Pwllheli, Gwynedd journalist, travel writer and historian. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  11. Alga Campbell (192? - ) from Dublin, co-founder of the Beaumont Society and the one who suggested the name.
  12. Stephanie Anne Booth (1946 - 2016) She and her husband owned Transformation shops, a chain of hotels in North Wales. Stephanie was leader of Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism. Featured on BBC Wales. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  13. Jo Clifford (1949 - ) major Scottish playwright. GVVV.
  14. Nicole Dolder (195? - ) Edinburgh software engineer, actor, director GVWW.

  15. Rebecca De Havalland (1958 - ) Dublin celebrity hair dresser, model. AMAZON newsarticle

  16. Lydia Foy (1947 - ) dentist in County Kildair, appealed to Supreme Court. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  17. Louise Hannon (1961 - ) Dublin business development manager awarded more than €35,000 after employment discrimination. Vice-Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. GVWW

  18. Sarah Stafford (1968 - ) farmer in Donegal. GVWW
  19. Martine Cuypers (1970 - ) Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. Also Classics professor at Trinity College, Dublin. GVWW
  20. Orlaith O'Sullivan (197? - ) Dublin editor, writer, Campaigns and Advocacy Manager for Transgender Equality Network Ireland. GVWW  

  21. Panti Bliss (197? - ) from County Mayo, major Dublin drag queen who regularly hosts Dublin Pride and whose January 2014 comments on Irish homophobia went viral. EN.WIKIPEDIA.
  22. Jasmine Goode (1976 - ) burglar from Rhyl, Denbighshire. GVWW

  23. Lauren Harries (1978 - ) from Cardiff, antiques retailer, television personality. GVWW EN.WIKIPEDIA

  24. Broden Giambrone (1982 - ) from Toronto, Chief Executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. GVWW

23 October 2014

Pequeña P. (1982 – 2009) performer.

Juan Atum from Gualeguaychú, Entre Rios, descended from a family of clowns, became famous on Argentinian television as Pequeña P. She competed with Florencia de la Vega for boyfriends, appeared in the show at El Angel, and had a small part in the film Fantasma de Buenos Aires

From 2003 she lived with Miguel, a taxi-driver, and was also having an affair with a policeman.

At the age of 27 her body was found hanging by her boyfriend. He was initially charged but the case was dismissed for a lack of evidence, and Pequeña was ruled to be a suicide who should be interred without an autopsy. However Juan's mother did not accept this verdict, and registered a complaint.

This resulted in a forensic investigation which found that Juan had been struck in the face and stomach before death, and that neither the electrical cord nor the scarf that it was proposed that she had used to hang herself would have borne her weight. There were also calls on her phone after she had been found dead, one to a nephew of a former president.

A few weeks later the Gualeguaychú police found the decomposed remains of Ramón "Rony" Galante who also was a travestie using the name Gisela, and also cleaned house for Atum.

Three years later when her sister and mother attempted to retrieve her body from the Gualeguaychú Judicial Morgue, it was found to be missing. The sister Alejandra Atum was threatened by phone several times for persisting in her inquiries.
Blog     CineNacional


As with International Chrysis and Sir Lady Java, we have a male name and a performance name but not a female name.   This could be a defect of reporting, although I consulted more than the 5 articles listed above.   It could be that Pequeña P. thought of herself more as gay than as female, as was common until fairly recently.

20 October 2014

Karine Espineira (1967 - ) activist, author.

Espineira was born in Santiago, Chile, with a Chilean father and a French mother. After the US-backed Pinochet coup in September 1973, they fled to France.

In 1987 Espineira was involved in a serious road accident and expected to die, and ended up needing over 30 operations over several years.

From 1988 to 1992 Espineira did a degree at the University of Grenoble in letters and communication, and started a doctorate at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, but dropped out to deal with personal issues.

As Karine she went to Paris and became involved with the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin that had just been founded by Tom Reucher, Diane Potiron, Hugues Cariou and others. Another participant was Maud-Yeuse Thomas who became Karine's life partner. Karine started psychiatric interviews as part of the official French transition protocol, but as Tom Reucher as done earlier, she was repelled by the excessive pathologization, and by the surgical failures. She did keep seeing a psychiatrist on the official team, but negotiated hormones, and in 1998 has surgery with Dr Michel Seghers in Brussels. She was able to obtain a changed Chilean birth certificate.

Karine and Maud-Yeuse joined the anti-essentialist, anti-psychiatry, queer-theory group organized by University of Lille sociologist, Marie-Hélène Bourcier, and also LesboTrans.

In 2001 Karine and Maud-Yeuse moved to Marseille and became a social activist. In 2008 Karine published La transidentité: de l'espace médiatique à l'espace public. In 2012 Karine, Maud-Yeuse and Arnaud Alessandrin published La Transyclopedie: Tout Savoir Sur Les Transidentites, a history-cum-encyclopedia of transgender in France. In 2014 Karine obtained a PhD at the University of Nice – Sophia Antipolis in Information Science and Communication.
Blog    Amazon.FR     WorldCat

Présentation de la transyclopédie : extrait by QueerDays

17 October 2014

Erika Ervin (1977–) paralegal, personal trainer, model, actress

Ervin was raised in California by a tall family of Dutch-German descent. By age 14 Ervin was 5"9'/1.75m, and finally grew to 6"8'/2.03m. Ervin's mother was a nurse who died from AIDS after an accidental needle-prick.

After working in a law office for six years, Ervin transitioned as Erika in 2004, but was rejected by her family. Erika's first boyfriend introduced her to fitness training and she studied with the National Academy of Sports Medicine to become a personal trainer. She also did session wrestling with men.
Erika appeared in the documentary Trans/Formed in 2007, and therefore technically outed herself.

A fitness client introduced her to the world of Amazons, and this led to international tours as Amazon Eve. In Australia in 2009 she was discovered by the magazine Zoo Weekly, and featured in the November edition. In Japan she became known as Babezilla. This resulted in modeling work for Harper's Bazaar and in fashion shows in Milan, and in 2011 Amazon Eve became the Guinness World Record World's Tallest Professional Model.

She started acting, but mainly was offered parts as aliens or monsters because of her size. There were rumors about her gender, and she was fired from a television show. However the Daily Mail ran an article on Amazon Eve merely about the difficulties that tall women have finding men, and how she had finally found a 6"4'/1.93m boyfriend.

Amazon Eve had a small part in the pilot of the sitcom Family Tools (the remake of White Van Man), and a regular part in the supernatural drama Hemlock Grove, where the cast found out that she was trans. Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård was very supportive and encouraged her to come out, which she did on Sweden's TV3 in 2013.

The producers of American Horror Story: Freak Show thought that it would be too difficult to find a 7 foot/2 meter woman so they posted a casting notice for a male actor. “I auditioned for the part as a guy. ... I slicked back my hair, no makeup, flannel shirt, bound my breasts, dropped my voice, and walked in — and nailed it.” The producers were delighted when they found that indeed they had a woman for the role, and renamed the character to Erika's performance name: Amazon Eve.

Ericka campaigns to end child abuse, and for LGBT rights and for those who suffer from AIDS.
IMDB   EN.WIKIPEDIA   Website   Guinness

15 October 2014

Toni F. (190? - ?)

An early German trans woman who is unrecorded except for her attempt in the late 1920’s to change a birth certificate from male to female. Toni's application was denied on the grounds she was biologically male although she wore female clothing, looked completely female and thought of herself as female.
  • A. Marcus & E Webers (eds). Zeitschrift fűr sexual Wissenschaft. XVI (1929-30): 45.  Cited in Vern L. Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. University of Pennsylvania Press 1993: 275n7.

Bullough gives Toni’s name as “Toni Claus Hans F. Den Antrag”  which seems to be a conflation of her female name, her male name and the German word ‘Antrag’ which means 'application'. 

DE.Wikipedia does not feature any persons at all with the surname Den Antrag. 

10 October 2014

Anderson Toone (1958–) drag king, performer, musician.

Annie Toone ran away at 16 and played drums and harmonica in New York, and then at 19 in San Francisco for blues legend Mike Bloomfield and beat poet Bob Kaufman.

At 21, she moved to New York, and in partnership with Jordy Mark performed the review Sex & Drag & Rock n Role at the 1st Women's One World (WOW) Festival. They sang as both men and women, switching gender onstage. This led to meetings with Adele Bertei and Kathy Rey and the founding of postpunk group The Bloods, an all-butch cross-dressed band. The Bloods, along with Jayne County and Phranc, were the only out queer acts in New York at that time. Adele and Toone, as men in tuxedos, performed as dancers at CBGBs and other New York clubs. They opened for The Clash, and played with Richard Hell and most of the 1980s New Wave musicians. After a European tour, they played at the 2nd WOW Festival. In 1982 The Bloods fell apart while in Amsterdam.

Toone formed Idiotsavant with German drummer Leroi Pink who also passed as a man, and they were much featured in the European press for their gender play. The Dutch magazine Homologie ran a comic strip for two years based on Toone in real life. In 1985 Toone moved to London and was in Chain Reaction with Della Disgrace, Sophie Moorcock and Billy Goodfellow. They mainly performed genderfuck for lesbian audiences. Toone was then in the Well-Oiled Sisters. In 1990 Toone was featured in The Observer, and described as a cross-dressing gender bender, trans and a top.

By 1992 Toone was in San Francisco, with a band called The Bucktooth Varmints, and singing dyke-a-billy songs from a passing perspective. In late 1993 Toone and Elvis Herselvis (Leigh Crow) began working together. In 1995 he was featured in a SF Weekly cover story on drag kings, and produced an all-drag Queer Ole Opry. Leigh Crow and Toone were the first drag kings to appear at Wigstock and Trannyshack, and also at the first FTM Conference of the Americas. In 1996 the all-drag musical Hillbillies on the Moon, starring Toone and Leigh Crow, opened in San Francisco, and was featured on the cover of the San Francisco Bay Times.

In 1996 Toone taught himself web coding and created the Toone in Space, and later Madkats, "where drag is king". The Drag King Book, 1998, acknowledged Toone as a founding father, but does not otherwise feature him.

In 2001 he created the trans-art website, and the first version of The Drag King Timeline. He acted as Drag Dad to Carlos & Ken Las Vegas who invited him into the Las Vegas chapter of the Imperial Court. He wrote for and was features editor of Kingdom magazine, where he notably wrote a profile of singer Gladys Bentley, and later an overview of what he dubbed the SF dragcore. In 2002 he gave the keynote address at the International Drag King Extravaganza (IDKE) conference.

In 2003 Toone, after years of contemplation, decided to medically transition. His first name Anderson contains the German 'anders' for different, and is the Swedish form of Andrew which means manly.

In New York in 2004 Anderson performed as the Very Reverend Buck Shot, store-front preacher of the Gospel of Transensual Love. In 2007 he was featured in the film Riot Acts, a documentary about trans music, and presented and performed at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta.
  • Yvonne Roberts. "A whip away from plain old vanilla". The Observer, 5 August 1990.
  • Amy Linn. "Drag King: Sometimes girls will be boys". SF Weekly, 27 September 1995.
  • Del Lagrace Volcano & Judith Halberstam. The Drag King Book. London: Serpent's Tail, 1999: 7, 22.
  • Jacob Anderson Minahull. "Genre Fluid Performer Marches To Own Toone". San Francisco Bay Times, July 12, 2007.
  • Diane Torr & Stephen J. Bottoms. Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigating Gender As Performance. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010: 27, 66, 67, 129.
  • Kate Davy. Lady Dicks and Lesbian Brothers: Staging the Unimaginable at the WOW Café Theatre. University of Michigan Press, 2011: viii, 17, 18, 27, 35, 52, 61, 66, 67, 71, 178, 185, 187, 204, 210.
IMDB   SoundCloud   QueerMusicHeritage

The IMDB entry for Anderson Toone is dreadfully deficient.  In addition to appearing in Riot Acts, Toone:
  • did part of the soundtrack for Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames, 1983
  • did the soundtrack for Michelle Baughan’s Jake’s Progress, 1987
  • with the Well-Oiled Sisters appeared in Channel Four’s Stand on your Man, 1990 (on women in country music)
  • The Sisters performed music for and appeared in the BBC comedy Came Out, It Rained, Went Back In Again, also 1990.
  • contributed to the soundtrack of Channel Four’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, 1994 (the 25th anniversary of Stonewall).

07 October 2014

Kerstin Thieme (1909 – 2001) composer. music teacher

Karl Thieme was born and raised in the Erzgebirge, on the border between Saxony and Czechoslovakia. He studied music and composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig with Hermann Grabner. He became a music teacher in Leipzig. His first major success was Variations on a Theme by Hindemith for large orchestra, 1934.

During the Second World War he was conscripted into the German army and became a prisoner of war in Italy.

From 1946-8 Thieme worked at Leipziger Rundfunk, but then decided to relocate himself outside the Soviet zone of occupation.

In 1950 he found work teaching music at a Nuremberg secondary school, and later taught at the Nuremberg Conservatory and then the Friedrich-Alexander Universität. He composed for the Nuremberg International Organ Week. An important work was Canticum Hope for soprano solo and mixed choir, 1973.

Thieme retired in 1974, and as Kerstin completed transitioned two years later. Kerstin kept composing. In 1989 she was awarded the composition prize at the  Fanny Mendelssohn competition. Her Requiem was premiered in 1998.

Kerstin died at age 92 in Stuttgart.
  • Antje Olivier & Sevgi Braun: Komponistinnen aus 800 Jahren. [800 years of women composers] Sequentia, Kamen 1996: 412.
DE.WIKIPEDIA    List of works

04 October 2014

Grayce Baxter (1966 – 1992) sex worker, murdered.

Grayce Baxter from British Columbia completed transition in 1985 at a clinic in the US. Her parents had understood her gender dyssonance, and helped with the arrangements.

Grayce moved to Toronto in 1988, nominally to find a computer job, but known to many as Candace, she soon became a successful call girl with a roster of 100 clients. She specialized as a dominatrix. She acquired an expensive lake-front condo filled with fine antiques, a BMW, and designer clothing, and told her parents that she had become an executive in computing. However she always carried a stun gun and a can of mace when working. In December 1992 she had sent plane tickets to her parents to arrive for Christmas.

On 7 December Grayce worked a stag party with another prostitute and left after midnight. At 2 am she received a call at the number in her advertisement in Now weekly. The caller was 23-year-old Patrick Johnson, from Abbotsford, BC, a weightlifter and a part-time guard at Toronto's Don Jail. They agreed $200 for a 45-minute encounter. However Johnson had difficulty performing, and when his time was up, be became enraged. Grayce attempted to spray him with mace, but he overwhelmed her and choked her to death. He then cut her body into pieces, put them into garbage bags and dumped then in the apartment garbage bins.

Two days later Baxter's BMW was found. Mr & Mrs Baxter arrived in Toronto to meet a double shock of finding out how their daughter made her living combined with the fact that she was missing. Johnson pawned her diamond ring and Rolex on Dec. 21 for $1,650. The police tracked him from his cellphone records.

After it was mentioned in the press that Baxter had been born male, Johnson wrote a six-page letter to the Toronto Sun in which he admitted having seen Baxter on the night in question. He described himself as a “big, tough weightlifter, the womanizer, the loudmouth and joker” and insisted: : “I want to let the guys at the Don know I never knew she was once a he ... so quit the jokes”.  Charged with first-degree murder, Johnson opted to plead guilty to second degree on the eve of his trial. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but could apply for parole after a decade.

After nine years in a BC prison, he was granted day parole on condition that he stay away from sex workers. However he did not, and was returned to prison. In 2004 he had another chance, but was seen by the police as a prostitute entered his car. A third attempt at parole lasted two and a half years, but ended in June 2013 when a girlfriend reported him for alcohol abuse and attending to sex workers. However he took full responsibility for Baxter's murder, and has found Aboriginal spirituality. In 2014 he was released on parole a fourth time.

No trace of Grayce's body was ever found.
Mirha-Soleil Ross takes issue with the fact that the Transgender Day of Remembrance includes Grayce in that she was a passing woman and murdered by a john who did not know that she was trans.

01 October 2014

Charl Marais (1958 - 2013) teacher, bookkeeper, activist.

Marais was born and raised in Cape Town, in a religious family. As both parents worked, the child lived, until the age of ten, with other family members, and was sexually abused by an uncle.
"I knew that I was a girl because I looked like all the other girls, but why did that make me sad? … The most permanent thought and feeling in me almost all of my life was this feeling of just going though the motions. Medication was the only thing that could bring me out of this feeling of wanting to die and possibly commit suicide."
When in hospital having the appendix removed, a friend suggested that to Marais that she was a lesbian. She knew that she had had crushes on girls but thought that "this was wrong as it's not Christian". At this time, 'lesbian' was the only concept that she had encountered that approximated her feelings.

Marais qualified as a teacher, but did not feel suited to the profession,  and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 1978. The uncle who had abused her came to visit and Mrs Marais applied for a court order to keep him away. The lawyer who was assisting met Marais, and straight-away asked: "Have you ever considered having a sex change?". This set her thinking.

Marais obtained a teacher's post in a small school of 50 children in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape.
"I met a girl there, and it was like an instant attraction for both of us. The sex-change thing didn't yet sit well with me because it was impossible, So we went with the lesbian thing."
In 1981 Marais moved back to Cape Town and found work at a newspaper. When the girlfriend arrived she was pregnant, which led to their breaking up.

In the mid-1980s Charl Marais discovered the Cape Town group, Phoenix, which was a Virginia Prince type group of mainly married cross-dressers. Charl was welcomed to their meetings and parties, and made a fuss of as he was their only female-to-male member, and also their only coloured member (this was still the apartheid era). One of the members was transsexual and told Charl about gender surgeries, and that operations were being done in Durban by Dr Derk Crichton.

In 1992 Charl had a hysterectomy and an ovarectomy, and was able to change the name on his ID card (but not the gender code embedded in the ID number).

One girlfriend left because he didn't have phalloplasty, even though he couldn't afford it. Another committed suicide.

From 2002 Charl worked as a bookkeeper.

After the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 2003, he applied again to change his ID number but each person he saw demanded different documentation. In 2009 he tried again armed with letters from a psychiatrist, psychologist and two GPs, and the Department of Home Affairs lost his application form. He tried again in June 2010, and this time was successful.

He became involved with Gender DynamiX, South Africa's major transgender organization, and for some years was their bookkeeper and newsletter editor. In 2010 he was a co-editor and contributor to Trans: Transgender Life Stories from South Africa.

He died at age 55 after a period of illness.