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.

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31 January 2015

Richard Mühsam (1872 – 1938) surgeon - and probably the first surgical sex changes

Mühsam was a physician-surgeon who qualified at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin in 1893. He married in 1896, and they had two sons and a daughter.

Between 1912 and the mid 1920s Mühsam was involved in several pioneering surgeries that he wrote up for the Therapie der Gegenwart journal in 1926. None of the patients are given names.

In 1912 he did a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy on a painter aged 25, born female, who had always considered himself to be a "man in disguise".

In 1920, at the request of Magnus Hirschfeld, Mühsam castrated a 23-year-old who had been dismissed from military school for not being brave enough, although he did serve in the Great War as an officer, which tested his manhood. By 1920 he could no longer function. "He gave up his medical studies ... spent the day in bed and slept most of the day". He normally wore a corset and stockings when he went out. He masturbated 3-8 times a day imagining himself as female. He implored Mühsam, who considered him to be a severe sexual neurotic, that he be castrated. This was done on 21 June 1920, and two days later he had stopped masturbating and resumed his studies. Mühsam wrote (seven times in three pages) that the purpose of the castration was to enable the patient to work. However now felt an enhanced desire to become a woman, and started living fulltime as female. He requested to have an ovary implanted to generate female hormones, and this was done in March 1921 by another doctor. The patient also requested genital surgery. A month later, Mühsam, who was reluctant, cut a "vagina-like structure" and hid the penis within. Mühsam had created the first constructed vagina for a male-born person. However by August the patient returned. He had fallen in love with a woman, dressed and behaved in a manly fashion and now demanded a reversal. This Mühsam was able to do. Reportedly, the man qualified as a doctor, emigrated and became a pathologist.

Also in 1921, Mühsam removed the ovaries from his 1912 patient. Unfortunately the painter died in 1924 of tuberculosis. Mühsam did a similar service for another trans man, but he later committed suicide. Mühsam decided that "female" transvestites could not be treated surgically as the removal of the ovaries does not affect their sex drive.

In addition Mühsam performed four testicle implants on three gay men and one bisexual – the Steinach procedure. This was supposed to induce heterosexual tendencies. However Mühsam reported that it worked only for the bisexual, and he discontinued the practice.

Richard Mühsam died at age 66 as Europe prepared for war. His widow emigrated to the US, and died in Colorado in 1969 at age 94.
  • Richard Mühsam,. Über den Fundort des Bacillus pyocyaneus und seine Farbproduction bei der Symbose mit anderen Mikroorganismen. Thesis (doctoral)--Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin, 1893.
  • Richard Mühsam. Compendium der Operations- und Verbandstechnik von Eduard Sonnenburg und Richard Mühsam. 2 volumes. Berlin: Aug. Hirschwald, 1903.
  • Richard Muhsam. "Chirurgische Eingriffe bei Anomalien des Sexuallebens," Therapie der Gegenwart 28, 1926: 451-55
  • Richard Mühsam,. Was kann und wann muss der praktische Arzt operieren? Leipzig: G. Thieme, 1928.
  • Hans Hirschfeld & Richard Mühsam. Chirurgie der Milz. Stuttgart: Enke, 1930.
  • Sander L. Gilman, Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery. Princeton University Press, 1999: 272-5.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 18.
  • Volker Weiß.  "Transsexualität im Geschlechtsdispositiv", Part III of „Eine Weibliche Seele Im Männlichen Körper“ – Archäologie Einer Metapher Als Kritik Der Medizinischen Konstruktion Der Transsexualität.  PhD Thesis, Freien Universität Berlin, 2007.  PHD.
  • Robert Beachy. Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity. Knopf, 2014: 176-7.    Mühsam family

Mühsam (like Harold Gillies 20 years later) did only one male-to-female operation.  It is a shame that a better candidate was not chosen.

The co-author of Mühsam’s last book was one Hans Hirschfeld.  A German doctor called Hirschfeld in 1930 raises the suggestion that he was a relative of Magnus Hirschfeld, but I could not confirm this in any of the books about Magnus.

28 January 2015

Felicia Garza (1941 - ) musician

Felipe Gil was born in San Antonio, Texas. He moved to Mexico and pioneered rock music in Spanish under the name Fabricio. He was in the film Buenos días, Acapulco, 1964, playing himself.

After a few years in Argentina, he returned to Mexico and worked in television. In 1975 he wrote the OTI Festival winning song "La Felicidad" performed by Gualberto Castro (video). This led to other songs performed by Mexican singing stars.

Since 1983 Gil has been on the executive of the Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico (SACM), and from 2007 was Vice President.

In 2014, at age 73, father of 6 children, grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of 2, Gil announced that she was transgender, and took the name Felicia Garza (from the 1975 hit, and her mother's family name).


25 January 2015

Mimi Juareza (1975 - ) actress, performer.

After her father's death in the 1990s, Filipino Juarez was the family breadwinner and did drag shows in Japan, and started taking female hormones. She continued performing on returning to Manila.

Mimi was included in Janice Villarosa's documentary Shunned about Philippino trans women, but that film was shown only at film festivals.

Following that she was chosen for the lead role in Quick Change, 2013, as a trans woman who makes a living injecting other trans women with silicone, but is traumatized when her boyfriend leaves her for a younger trans woman. Director Eduardo Roy Jr. commented: “Luckily, he was a good actor to begin with. We only had a two-day workshop before the shoot”.

At the 2014 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, Mimi won the Best Actor award. She took this in good grace and when asked if she had wanted to win the Best Actress award instead: “Best actor, best actress … whatever, for as long as they show their appreciation for my work, I don’t mind".

She has since been in South Korea filming a romantic comedy Seoul Mates, where she plays a Filipino trans who goes to Korea to see her boyfriend, but finds that he has a new life.
IMDB      WikiPilipinas(Quick Change)


It is depressing that the Philippino news sources and the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival insist on addressing Mimi as 'he'.   Of particular concern is the director Eduardo Roy Jr who researched trans lives and wrote the script.   He must know better, but insists on male pronouns.

22 January 2015

Carla LaGata (196? - ) anthropologist, activist

Carsten Balzer, whose female persona is Carla Lagata, has been active in social movements since the mid-1980s, holds a MA and PhD from the Free University of Berlin, has done fieldwork in Tanzania, the Brazilian Amazon region, Rio de Janeiro, New York City and Berlin and has taught Cultural Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the Free University of Berlin.

S_he has published on the differences between drag queens and Tunten, and the differences between the trans subcultures in Rio, New York and Berlin paying attention to the interaction between the international/US concept of drag queen and autochthonous local traditions.

S_he is chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Board of the transgender network Berlin (TGNB), founding member of the online journal Liminalis – Journal for Sex/Gender Emancipation and Resistance, Editorial Board member of the academic journal Transgender Studies Quarterly (TSQ), and member of the Advisory Committee of the Open Society Foundations’ LGBTI rights initiative.

S_he supported Transgender Europe (TGEU) from its very beginnings in 2005 and served as a TGEU Steering Committee member from 2008 to 2012. Currently, s_he is the lead researcher of TGEU's Transrespect versus Transphobia research project, which s_he initiated in 2009, and resulted in the publications of several reports on transgender and human rights around the world. In particular for each year's Transgender Day of Remembrance and each International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, under the name Trans Murder Monitoring, they issue a list of named trans persons known to have been murdered in the previous twelve months.

  • Carsten Balzer. Santo Daime in Deutschland - eine verbotene Frucht aus Brasilien.(Santo Daime in Germany - a forbidden fruit from Brazil ). ZfR, Zeitschrift Für Religionswissenschaft ; 7.1999. [Marburg]: [Diagonal-Verl.], 1999.
  • Carsten Balzer. Wege zum Heil: die Barquinha ; ein religiöses Rettungsboot auf den Wogen des kulturellen und sozialen Chaosmos amazonischer Welten ; (amazonische Transformationen im Lichte Ayahuascas). (Ways to salvation: the Barquinha; a religious rescue boat on the waves of the cultural and social Chaosmos Amazonian worlds; (Amazonian transformations in the light of ayahuasca) ) Freie Univ., Fachbereich Sozialwiss. II, Magisterarbeit, [ca. 1999]--Berlin, 1999, 1999.
  • Carsten Balzer. Wege zum Heil: die Barquinha : eine ethnologische Studie zu Transformation und Heilung in den Ayahuasca-Ritualen einer brasilianischen Religion. (Ways to salvation: the Barquinha: an ethnological study of transformation and healing in the ayahuasca rituals of a Brazilian religion). . Mettingen: Brasilienkunde-Verlag, 2003.
  • Carsten Balzer. "The Beauty and the Beast: Reflections About the Socio-Historical and Subcultural Context of Drag Queens and 'Tunten' in Berlin". In Steven P. Schacht & Lisa Underwood. The Drag Queen Anthology: The Absolutely Fabulous but Flawless Customary World of Female Impersonators. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2004.
  • Carsten Balzer. The Great Drag Queen Hype: Thoughts on Cultural Globalization and Autochthony. Paideuma : Mitteilungen Zur Kulturkunde ; 51.2005. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2005.
  • Carsten Balzer,. Gender - Outlaw - Triptychon: eine ethnologische Studie zu Selbstbildern und Formen der Selbstorganisation in den Transgender-Subkulturen Rio de Janeiros (Gender - Outlaw - Triptych: an ethnological study of self-images and forms of self-organization in the transgender subcultures of Rio de Janeiro ), PhD Freie Universität Berlin, 2008.
  • Jan Simon Hutta & Carsten Balzer. "Identities and Citizenship under Construction: Historicising the 'T' in LGBT Anti-Violance politics in Brazil". In Yvette Taylor & Michelle Addison. Queer Presences and Absences. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Jan Simon Hutta & Carsten Balzer. "Trans Networking in the Europen Vortex: Between Advocacy and Grassroots Politics". In Phillip Ayoub & David Paternotte. LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe: A Rainbow Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014
  • J K Carsten Balzer/Carla LaGata. "Human Rights". TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. 1, 1-2, 2014: 99-103.
  • Aren A. Aizura, Trystan Cotten, Carsten Balzer/Carla LaGata, Marcia Ochoa, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (eds). Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary. Duke University Press, 2014.
TGEU    WorldCat

16 January 2015

Rachel Harlow (1948–) pageant winner, model, nightclub hostess, restaurateur

See also: Flawless Sabrina, Rachel Harlow and 'The Queen'

Richard Finocchio was raised in South Philadelphia, and bullied at school for being too pretty. A friend of the family was a gay man who introduced young Finocchio to the gay subculture, where acceptance was found.

Finocchio started winning drag contests. The Hotel Philadelphia (now demolished) at Broad and Vine Streets was the site of the annual Miss Philadelphia contest. The contest was organized by Sabrina (Jack Doroshow). The big winner in 1967 was Finocchio using the name Harlow (in homage to Jean Harlow, the 1930s movie star). Harlow did a few times visit The Stonewall Inn when in New York, but preferred the straight uptown scene.

Harlow won the Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant held in New York in 1967 (again organized by Sabrina). This was filmed, and released as The Queen, 1968. The contestants are shown chatting in their hotel rooms, discussing how they were not called in the draft, their boyfriends, why they would never have a sex change. Harlow throws a fit because he does not have a suitable wig (although her own hair is quite feminine enough). The other standout among the contestants is Miss Manhattan (Crystal LaBeija, who later founded the House of LaBeija) who stages a tantrum when Harlow wins. The film includes shots of only Harlow arriving and departing, and on stage she gets longer and better-lit close-ups than the other contestants.

She went to Cannes International Film Festival with the film and was a center of attention. David Bowie, in his androgynous phase, cited her influence. A few other minor film roles followed, and, especially in Philadelphia, she became a night-life personality. Bar owner Stanley Rosenbleeth opened Harlow's in the Old City area in 1970, with Rachel as hostess. The place was an immediate sensation. A short time later, a second Harlow's was opened in Atlantic City. There were also interviews, endorsements, modeling jobs and television appearances.

Rachel Harlow completed gender correction in 1972.

The Philadelphia disco-nightclub was a place that attracted celebrities, and one person who came was John B. Kelly Jr., brother of Grace Kelly, film star and Monaco princess. In his own right Kelly was an accomplished rower, a four-time Olympian, and an Olympic medal winner. He was also a businessman and was 12 years on Philadelphia council. He separated from his first wife in 1969. In 1975 he began a well-publicized affair with Rachel. He ran to be the Democratic candidate but his mother publicly and financially supported his opponent. This combined with the publicity over his affair led to his dropping out. He claimed that he intended to marry Rachel, but a year later, after his mother threatened to disinherit him, he ended the relationship.

Rachel was having problems finding her identity. She dropped out of the night-life business and the gay subculture. She did continue to work as a model in New York, but avoided publicity.
"I was burned out. I was tired of being on all the time. I began to dread meeting new people, having to talk about my life.  Even now, the only way I can talk about my life is to think of it as just a story. It's as if it all happened to somebody else, and I'm just telling about it."
One night in 1979, she and a woman friend stopped for a drink in a small bistro, got into conversation with two men, and a year later Rachel and Gerard Billebault were married. On the wedding day:
“I came out of my mother's South Philadelphia house and there were 500 to 600 people waiting in the street for me to leave the house. It wasn't the neighbors, it was the neighborhood. I turned to my mother and said `Look mom, it's all the neighbors - I guess they have forgotten, too' ''.
Rachel in 1989
Billebault was a chef and had founded a bakery. After a trip to Paris Mr & Mrs Billebault opened
Harlow's, a restaurant, in 1988, with Mrs Billebault as the hostess.

However later both the marriage and the restaurant failed.   They were divorced in 1993.   Rachel has stayed out of the news since.
  • Frank Simon (dir). The Queen. Hosted by Jack Doroshow (Sabrina), with Rachel Harlow Crystal Labeija, International Chrysis, Kim Christy. US 68 mins 1968.
  • Arthur H. Lewis. Those Philadelphia Kellys, With a Touch of Grace. William Morrow, 1977: 175-7, 233-5, 249.
  • John Carr. "Different, Yet The Same: Philadelphia's Famous Transsexual Started Life As Richard Finocchio, But Became Famous As Rachel Harlow. After Years Of Shunning Publicity, She's Back In The Spotlight. Her Restaurant Is Harlow's - And She's Still Rachel"., April 18, 1989.
  • William Grimes. "'The Queen' on the Runway Again". The New York Times, March 27, 1993.
  • Martin B Duberman. Stonewall. New York: Dutton, c1993. New York: Plume, 1994: 186.
  • April Adamson. "It's Harlow! City's Best-known Transsexual Recalls Her Rise From S. Philly To A Life Of Glitz And Glamor"., November 16, 1998.
  • Thom Nickels. Gay and Lesbian Philadelphia. Arcadia Publishing, 2002: 37, 52, 56.
  • Marc Stein. City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972. Temple University Press, 2004: 81-2, 269.
  • Wendy Leigh. True Grace: The Life and Death of an American Princess. New York: St Martin’s Press 307 pp 2007: 9, 219-20.
  • Gail Gerber & Tom Lisanti. Trippin' with Terry Southern: What I Think I Remember. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2009: 81-4.

There was a famous nightclub in San Francisco owned by another Finocchio.   There is no evidence of them being relatives.

John B Kelly, Jr, died in 1985 at age 57 of a heart attack.  His mother lived till 1990.  So, as fate would have it, he didn't inherit after all.

The IMDB, entry for a long time, was in Rachel’s boy name.  In fact, in the cast list for The Queen, it said: “Richard Finnochio as Harlow” rather than "Harlow as Herself".   It now says Rachel Harlow plays Harlow (as Richard Finnochio)

13 January 2015

Lili Elbe, media construct

Part I:  Einar Wegener, artist
Part II: Lili Ilse Elvenes, surgery and womanhood
Part III:  Lili Elbe, media construct

The young writer Aldous Huxley published Limbo, a collection of short stories, in 1920.  The first story "Farcical History of Richard Greenow", 115 pages in length, told of a Cambridge-educated writer attempting a philosophy synthesis who is disturbed to find that he has an alternate identity, one Pearl Bellairs, who takes over when he is asleep and pens long sacharine romances.  Her novels, La Belle Dame Sans Morality and Daisy's Voyage to Cytherea become best sellers and provide an income.  In writing this story Huxley had been inspired by William Sharp, who after his death in 1905 was found to be also the author of the prose and poetry published under the name of Fiona Macleod.   Huxley, and many others, were also influenced by the very popular same-sex duality 1886 novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Another well-known story in this period was the 1890 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde which told of a beautiful (natural beauty?) young man whose life and whose portrait become confused.

Contrarywise, Virginia Woolf's 1928 novel, Orlando, takes the  opposite approach:
"Orlando had become a woman - there was no denying it.  But in every other respect, Orlando remained precisely as he had been.  The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity".  
Lili was not a follower of Orlando.

In October 1930, rumours circulated about the non-appearance of Einar, to the extent that sales were not happening at Gerda's exhibition of paintings.  Louise (Loulou) Lassen, the pioneering female journalist, had interviewed Gerda in 1927, and was now able to interview Lili Elvenes and produced a short series of articles for the sister publications, Politiken and Ekstra Bladet.

It was Loulou who proposed that Lili Elvenes be known as Lili Elbe.

The first article was by Loulou about Lili and Gerda. In her write-up Loulou stressed that there was nothing homosexual in the lives of Lili and Gerda.  The marriage had not been sexual, Lili had been a woman's spirit in a man's body since childhood, and more than that, that Einar and Lili were, in the style of Richard Greenow and Pearl Bellairs, two different identities. She explicitly stated:

"Einar Wegener no longer paints … he was so markedly virile in his whole manner of painting" that Lili could not continue it.
The second article is a transcript of a telephone call between Copenhagen's Dr Rank and Dr Kurt Warnekros, who was referred to as von Warnekros [‘von’ implies nobility]. Warnekros boasted that he had performed an unprecedented operation that the top French doctors were incapable of. There is no mention of the other trans women who had been operated on under the aegis of Magnus Hirschfeld.

In the third article, Copenhagen endocrinologist Kurt Sand gave his opinions, and a lawyer discussed the legal aspect.

Fra mand til kvinde: Lili Elbes bekendelser (From Man to Woman: Lili Elbe's confession) was published in Denmark within months of Lili's death in 1931 incorporating the news articles by Louise Lassen. It uses Lassen's pseudonym of Lili Elbe rather than Lili Elvenes, and Andreas Sparre rather than Einar Wegener although Lili's real names were well known in Copenhagen. Gerda becomes Grete, and the doctors and others are hidden behind pseudonyms.  Lassen's idea that Einar and Lili were two competing identities is retained in the book, as is the Richard Greenow/Pearl Bellaire idea that the male identity is neurasthenic and sickly while the female identity is vivacious and strong

Ernst Harthen (1884-1969), a German correspondent in Copenhagen, using his pen name Neils Hoyer, produced a German version,  Ein mensch wechselt sein geschlecht, a year later, and an English translation from the German, Man into Woman, with an introduction by Norman Haire came out in in 1933. Haire concluded:
“I cannot help thinking that until we know more about sexual physiology it is unwise to carry out, even at the patient’s own request, such operations as were performed in this case”.

The Spanish sexologist Gregorio Marañón perceived sexual evolution to be directed towards the virile, with feminine as an intermediate stage between adolescence and full masculinity.   For him the idea of a regression from male to female was untenable.   In the appendix to The Evolution of Sex and Intersexual Condition, 1932, he comments that "this woman, obviously intersexual, was always a woman".  Furthermore he suggested that Andreas and Grete were 'viriloid' women, their virility proven by their artistic prowess.

In 1933, Maurice Rostand's La femme qui était en lui, the first novel based on Lili's life came out

Warnekros' files were destroyed along with his clinic in the Allied bombing and resulting firestorm 13-15 February 1945.

The Neil Hoyer book became legendary and several transsexuals mention it as an influence on the way: Betty Cowell, Renée Richards, Jan Morris, Sally Barry, Dawn Simmons.

Various academics gave brief summaries of the book from the 1990s onwards adjusting it to fit their theses. With the exception of Sandy Stone in 1991, it was not read closely until Rainer Herrn in 2005.

Sanda Davis in her 1995 book, Am I a Man or a Woman?, revived the idea of an alternate identity, but without mention of either Pearl Bellairs or Lili Elbe. This she called an introjection, which can become so dominant that it becomes the major personality: 
 "All humans acquire Introjects. Depending on specific factors, Introjects may or may not lead to dissociation, even to severe forms of dissociation. Reflecting the person that is imprinted as an Introject, some Introjects are content with limited control, while others take over completely, using, abusing, and transforming the body. Such is the case with Gender Identity Disorder: a cross-gender Introject takes over the body, and demands gender reassignment.
David Ebershoff fictionalized Lili’s life for his 2000 novel, The Danish Girl, making major changes such as changing Greta to be from Pasadena, California (where Ebershoff grew up) and giving her a previous husband and child. It was announced in 2008 that the novel would be filmed with cis actress Nicole Kidman as Lili, but it never happened, and in 2014 it was announced that a male actor, Eddie Redmayne, will play the part.


There was another woman, Lili von Elbe, the first wife of Kuno von Moltke, one of the participants in the Eulenburg homosexual scandal in 1907, who testified about his aversion to women.  She was no relation to this Lili Elbe.

You may argue that to apply the tools of literary criticism to the Lili Elbe biographies is to make a category mistake, but my point is that the fact that we are able to do so, that there are such strong echoes of Pearl Bellairs, Edward Hyde and Dorian Gray in the tale of Lili Elbe, that the veracity of the tale is suspect.   Not to the extent of doubting the historicity of Lili Ilse Elvenes, but that we should consider that Lassen and Hoyer, and maybe Lili herself, adjusted the facts.

There is a good discussion of "Farcical History of Richard Greenow" in Sandra Gilbert & Susan Gubar's No Man's Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century. Vol.1, , The War of the Words: 131-6.

You can actually find novels by Pearl Bellairs listed in both Worldcat and Amazon.  They were in fact written by Margaret Jepson Birkinshaw, mother of Fay Weldon.  And she quite consciously took the name from Aldous Huxley's story.

Louise (Loulou) Lassen, one of only a few female journalists in the 1920s, was fluent in French, had translated Guy de Maupassant into Danish, and specialized in medical reporting.

There is a 1991 book, Struggling Under the Destructive Glance: Androgyny in the Novels of Guy de Maupassant, by Rachel M. Hartig.  As Lassen had translated de Maupassant, I looked at it to see if it discusses anything like Pearl Bellairs, but did not find anything like competing identities in the same body.

Elbe is, of course, the river in Dresden.  However 'elvenes' is Danish for 'rivers' and in fact 'elbe' is an old German word from 'albiz'=river.  Additionally a river often what separates two states, so by metaphor two sexes.

Ernst Harthern, born Ernst Ludwig Harthern Jacobson, wrote several books under the pen-name of Neils Hoyer.  He was raised in Stade, Lower Saxony, and was of Jewish descent.  His father abandoned him and his mother died when he was nine.  Despite difficulties he did finally become a journalist and covered Scandinavia for German newspapers until the Nazi takeover in 1933 when his writings were banned.  He escaped the German occupation by moving to Sweden, and in 1943 was part of the team that helped the majority of Danish Jews to escape to Sweden.

Rainer Herrn,  Schnittmuster des Geschlechts. Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft, comments how, in reading the book, it is difficult to know which bits are by Elbe and which bits by Hoyer.  It is not so simple as separating the 1st-person bits from the 3rd-person bits.  Furthermore Sabine Meyer points out in "Mit dem Puppenwagen in die normative Weiblichkeit. Lili Elbe und die journalistische Inszenierung von Transsexualität in Dänemark" that some parts are written by Louise Lassen.   Nor is it clear whether Hoyer was involved in the original Danish edition.  Unlike the German and English editions, his name in not on the book, although WorldCat has added his name to the 5th edition, but not the earlier 4.  The German version is not claimed to be a translation of the Danish.   Nor is at at all explained how or why Hoyer had access to Lili's papers.  There is no mention in the book itself of a Neils Hoyer, although Wegener does socialize with a friend in Berlin, said to be from Copenhagen, who is called Neils Hvide.  It would be a useful PhD thesis if someone were to compare the three language versions and the newspaper articles by Lassen.

Was Warnekros attempting to outdo Hirschfeld?   His comments in the telephone interview transcipt in Ekstra Bladet would lead one to think so even though Hirschfeld was not mentioned.

Lili Elvenes was a patient of Kurt Warnekros, of course, and not of Magnus Hirschfeld, but hers was the case that was taken up by the press, while Carla, Toni or Dörchen were forgotten to the point that many writers claim that Lili was the first person to have a surgical sex change.

Contrarywise, in the following books about Magnus Hirschfeld, Lili Elvenes/Elbe is not even mentioned:
Charlotte Wolff.  Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology. 1986.
Ralf Dose.   Magnus Hirschfeld: The Origins of the Gay Liberation Movement.  2005/2014.
Robert Beachy.  Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity. 2014
and she gets only one line in:
Elena Mancini. Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom: A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement.  2010.

Tim Armstrong's Modernism, Technology, and the Body: A Cultural Study, chapter 6 "Making a woman' is the best attempt that I found which attempts to integrate the Lili Elbe book into its cultural context, and it should be referred to in any future attempt to do the same.    However he does drop a few big clangers.  He thinks that the next transgender operations are in the US in the 1950 (thus ignoring Drs George Burou, Lennox Broster and Harold Gillies),  he assumes that Magnus Hirschfeld was a transvestite (as does Vern Bullough but nobody else), he feels obliged to drag in Janice Raymond for no reason at all, he opens and closes with the Freudian equation of castration and decapitation.

And his biggest clanger of all found on p281n24.  He says that the title of the German version, Ein mensch wechselt sein geschlecht, means A man changes his sex, and is therefore a masculine fantasy. This is incorrect, misleading and tendentious.   The proper translation of the German is A Person Changes Sex;   'sein' is masculine only because of its antecedent.  'Mensch' is a noun of masculine grammatical gender, but 'Mensch' simply means a 'human being', regardless of gender.  With no greater distortion, the title could be translated A woman changes her sex.

The Pseudonyms:

Andreas Sparre = Einar Wegener
Grete Sparre = Gerda Gottlieb Wegener Porta
Lili Elbe = Lili Ilse Elvenes
Werner Kreutz = Kurt Warnekros
Hardenfeld = Magnus Hirschfeld
Gebhard = Erwin Gohrbandt
Neils Hoyer = Ernst Harthern
Neils Hvide = Neils Hoyer Poul Knudsen
Ridolfo Furuzzi = Fernando Porta

In all the accounts that I have read about the Danish Girl film there has not been the slightest mention of any input from any real-world transsexual.  The very idea of using a trans actor seems to be totally alien to the production.  Likewise the idea of using a trans writer.   The following is the first line of the story description from IMDB: “Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife”.   Gerda Wegener was Danish.   The story cannot be true if she is anything else.   The film is fact-free and transsexual-free.   However as Lili Elbe, as opposed to Lili Elvenes, is a media construct by Lassen/Warnekros/Hoyer/Stenning perhaps the further fabulation is not that inappropriate.   However the word 'true' should definitely not be used.

PS I notice that in the Wikipedia article on Fay Weldon they retroject her name inappropriately (as they do for transsexuals).  Weldon was born Fay Birkinshaw, and by a first marriage became Mrs Bateman.  However the Wikipedia authors refer to her as 'Weldon' in childhood and again when she was Mrs Bateman, that is before she met and married her second husband Ron Weldon in 1960.

12 January 2015

Lili Elbe: bibliography

Part I:  Einar Wegener, artist
Part II: Lili Ilse Elvenes, surgery and womanhood
Part III:  Lili Elbe, media construct

Figure 10 in Ein mensch wechselt sein geschlecht

  • Vigge Afrelius. "Ved en Bortrejse". Ekstra Bladet, 04.03.1913; 2.
  • Aldous Huxley.  "Farcical History of Richard Greenow".  In Limbo. Chatto and Windus, 1920.
  • Thorkil Barfod. "Gerda og Einar Wegener fortæller om Paris". København, 03.08.1924; 5.
  • K.P. "Gerda Wegeners Udstilling(Gerda Wegener's Exhibition)“. Politiken, 26.02.1931, 4.
  • Loulou Lassen. "Et Liv gennem to Tilværelser. En Fortid som Mand og en Fremtid som Kvinde. Lili Elbe fortæller om Maleren Einar Wegener og om sig selv"(A life through two existences. A past as male and a future as a woman. Lili Elbe tells about the artist Einar Wegener and about herself ). Politiken, 28.02.1931, 5–6.
  • Dr. Rank: "Manden, der blev Kvinde. Professor von Warnekros fortæller: Lili Elbe blev til ved et i Lægevidenskabens Annaler enestaaende Indgreb“"(The man, who was female. Professor von Warnekros says: Lili Elbe results from an intervention unique in the annals of medical science). Ekstra Bladet. 28.02.1931, 1, 9.
  • Loulou Lassen. "Kønskarakter og dens Svingninger: Prof. Knud Sand udtaler sig om abnorme Kønstilstande hos Mennesker"(Sexual character and its fluctuations: Prof. Knud Sand's opinion on abnormal sex type of people ). Politiken, 01.03.1931, 5–6.
  • Lili Elbe. Fra mand til kvinde: Lili Elbes bekendelser. København: Hage & Clausen, 1931.
  • Lili Elbe (ed Neils Hoyer). Ein Mensch wechselt sein Geschlecht; eine Lebensbeichte. Aus hinterlassenen Papiere. Dresden: Reissner, 1932.
  • Gregorio Marañón & Warre Bradley Wells. The Evolution of Sex and Intersexual Conditions / Translated from the Spanish by Warre B. Wells ; with New Appendix. London: G. Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1932.
  • Lili Elbe (ed Neils Hoyer) translated from the German into English by H.J. Stenning, with an Introduction by Norman Haire. Man into Woman: an Authentic Record of a Change of Sex. The true story of the miraculous transformation of the Danish painter, Einar Wegener. New York: E.P.Dutton & Co, Inc. London: Jarrold Publisher's, xiii, 287 pp 24 plates 1933. London : Beacon Library, 1937. Reissued by NY: Popular Library, 1953. Reissued as Man into woman: the first sex change, a portrait of Lili Elbe: the true and remarkable transformation of the painter Einar Wegener. London: Blue Boat Books, 2004.
  • Maurice Rostand. La femme qui était en lui. Paris: E. Flammarion, 1933.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld. 'L'amour et la science'. Voila, 3, 199, 1 Juli 1933: 6.
  • "A Man Becomes a Woman". Sexology, 1,4, December 1933: 252-4.
  • Sandy Stone. "The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto". In Julia Epstein & Kristina Straub (eds). Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity. New York: Routledge, 1991: 284-9.
  • Sanda Davis. Am I a Man or a Woman? Ottawa: Personality Press, 1995.
  • Bernice L. Hausman. Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995: 15-19.
  • Tim Armstrong. Modernism, Technology, and the Body: A Cultural Study. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998: chp 6 "Making a woman".
  • Sander L. Gilman. Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999: 277-80.
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Geschlechts. Transvestitismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag 2005: 204-211.
  • Håkan Lindquist. "Lili Elbe – Vetenskapens stora mirakel". Håkan Lindquist, 25 Juni 2009.
  • Sabine Meyer. "Mit dem Puppenwagen in die normative Weiblichkeit. Lili Elbe und die journalistische Inszenierung von Transsexualität in Dänemark". NORDEUROPAforum, 20, 2010,1-2: 33-61. PDF.
  • Susanne Kailitz. "Das Experiment: 1930 führte der Dresdner Gynäkologe Kurt Warnekros eine der weltweit ersten Geschlechtsumwandlungen durch". Zeit Online, 13. Januar 2012.,
  • Nadya Lev. "The Incredibly True Adventures of Gerda Wegener and Lili Elbe". Coilhouse, August 3rd, 2012.
  • Diana Wyndham. Norman Haire and the Study of Sex. Sydney University Press, 2012: 222.
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11 January 2015

Lili Ilse Elvenes, surgery and womanhood

Part I:  Einar Wegener, artist
Part II: Lili Ilse Elvenes, surgery and womanhood
Part III:  Lili Elbe, media construct

In Spring 1930 Einar was depressed in that Lili seemed to be taking over. He had been to several doctors, one of whom was a radiologist, who had perhaps exposed him to too much x-ray therapy. This had been all to no effect and he was contemplating suicide. A friend arranged an appointment with the Dresden Doctor Kurt Warnekros who was visiting Paris. It was not Lili but Einar who attended, and Warnekros, after an examination, made an appointment for further examination and surgery in Berlin the next week.

Einer alone went to Berlin – in male clothes and with a change of only male clothes in his suitcase. Warnekros arranged blood tests, and for Magnus Hirschfeld to do a psychological examination. This required a visit to Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, where he encountered trans women, and it is highly likely that they included Charlotte Charlaque, Toni Ebel and Dörchen Richter, all of whom had had a first operation by this date. Einar did not relate to them:
"He felt intensely uncomfortable. In this large room a group of abnormal persons seemed to be holding a meeting – women who appeared to be dressed up as men, and men of whom one could scarcely believe that they were men. The manner in which they were conversing disgusted him; their movements, their voices, the way in which they were attired, produced a feeling of nausea." (p54).

Later that day, Einar dined with his Berlin friend Neils Hvide who puts a question:
"'As a man you have always seemed to me unquestionably healthy. I have, indeed, seen with my own eyes that you attract women, and that is the clearest proof that you are a genuine fellow.' He paused, and then placed his hand on [Einar]'s shoulder. 'You won't take it amiss if I ask you a frank question? ...Have you at any time been interested in your own kind? You know what I mean'. [Einar] shook his head calmly. 'My word on it, Niels; never in my life. And I can add that those kind of creatures have never shown any interest in me'. 'Good, [Einar]! That's just what I thought'."(p56)
And two paragraphs later Einar adds:
"I will  honestly and plainly confess to you, Niels, that I have always been attracted to women.  And to-day as much as ever. A most banal confession!"
After Einar's orchiectomy at the age of 48, which was probably done by Dr Erwin Gohrbandt, Gerda arrived and purchased women's clothes for Lili, and Wegener was declared to be no longer male and was now entitled to enter Warnekros' Staatliche Frauenklinik (National Women's Clinic) in Dresden, where a second operation was done.

Lili and Gerda then returned to Copenhagen in October 1930, a few weeks before Magnus Hirschfeld left Germany for New York, never to return. King Christian X Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg annulled the marriage of the Wegeners, and Lili was issued papers in her new legal name of Lili Ilse Elvenes, including a passport.

In 1931 Gerda married Fernando Porta, an Italian officer, aviator and diplomat and went to live with him in Morocco.

A further operation on Lili Elvenes to implant ovaries, or maybe an uterus, taken from a 26-year-old woman was done at the Dresden Clinic by Warnekros. However Elvenes died three months later, probably of transplant rejection, but maybe from infection or a heart attack. She was buried in Dresden.

Gerda Porta was still in Morrocco when she heard of Lili’s death. She divorced Porta in 1936, and returned to Denmark in 1938. She held her last exhibition in 1939, but by then was rather out of fashion. She died alone and impoverished in 1940, of a heart attack at age 54, shortly after the German occupation.
Lili in Copenhagen, late 1930


It is not my practice to name essays by the pre-transition name of the person if the post-transition name is on record.   I have made an exception in this case in that the name Lili Elvenes is not generally known, and would probably not be recognized.  Almost all accounts refer to her simply as Lili Elbe, but that was never her real name. 

As already mentioned, the book by Lili Elbe is an unreliable narration.   To take two examples.  It is claimed that the orchiectomy not only changed her voice from a tenor to a soprano, but altered her handwriting to a definitely feminine style.    It only it were so!  Secondly Lili Elvenes appears to be the only person to have had four gonads: two testicles which were removed in the orchiectomy, and two ovaries which had been feminizing his body.  Note that Dr Norman Haire in his introduction to the English version of the biography says that Einar "was sufficiently normal both psychologically and physically to be able to fulfil  his functions as a husband".

Lili claims that Einar's monthly bleedings from the nose and elsewhere which were taken as representative of menstruation.  30 years later Dawn Langley would also claim to menstruate.

When Lili had her final operations to transplant ovaries/uterus she was 49, an age when many women have reached menopause, and the childbearing years are definitely over.

So how does "I can add that those kind of creatures have never shown any interest in me" fit with the repeated reports of men chasing, making passes and wanting to marry Lili.  Are we to presume that 'those kinds of creatures'=gay, while those who made passes at Lili were 'healthy'=straight.   It was an open secret in both Copenhagen and Paris that  Einar=Lili, and at least some of those making passes must have heard the rumours.

On the eve of the operation Einar asserted an 'banal' interest only in women.  And yet shortly afterwards wanted the extra operations so that Lili could marry a man and bear children.   While such a turnaround is not inconceivable, the assertion of it is very much part of Louise Lassen's program of re-assuring her readers that there is nothing queer in the story.

Sandy Stone, raises the naughty question of whether Einar wrang the turkey's neck, and continues: "No wonder feminist theorists have been suspicious.  Hell, I'm suspicious."

Is Neils Hvide, Neils Hoyer?

Was Einar/Lili intersex?  Here is an article by Karin of OII Australia that argues that she was.  However many of the pioneer transsexuals, Betty CowellDawn Langley, etc maintained that they were intersex, with as little proof.  There is also the problem that most intersex persons stay with the gender of rearing.  An intersex person may or may not be trans, and probably is not.

My opinion is that Einar was what is often called a Natural Beauty, a man who is often taken as a woman, even when not trying.  The pre-transition Coccinelle, April Ashley, Rachel Harlow were all natural beauties.  Nobody has really argued that this condition is a type of intersex, nor does it always lead to transition: Jaye Davidson, who was cast as Dil in The Crying Game, was so cast because of his beauty, but afterwards continued his life as a man.

Although I must admit that looking at the male-dressed photographs of Einar, I do not see a Natural Beauty, although we may put this down to the low-definition photography andthe unflattering male clothes and hairstyles of the 1920s.   But if Einar was not a Natural Beauty why did so many men assume that the male-dressed Einar was a woman in trousers?   Maybe in fact they did not, and again this is part of the unreliable narration.  Lili would not be the last trans woman to overestimate both how well she passed, and how attractive she was.

Why was Elvenes accepted for surgery, when so very few were?  Unlike Charlotte Charlaque, Toni Ebel and Dörchen Ritcher she was not living fulltime as female.  It was Einar who showed for the Paris appointment, and again it was Einar who arrived in Berlin, with only male clothing in a suitcase.  Many transsexuals in later times were rejected until they started arriving dressed as the target gender.  Warnekros did not have Hirschfeld’s experience with trans persons; he was a gynecologist and obstetrician and radiologist, and apparently he wanted to be famous.  I suggest that he mistook being a Natural Beauty for being a transsexual.

It is not clear just what operations Lili Elvenes had.  However there is a general assumption that death was caused by a transplant, either of ovaries or of a uterus.   Orchiectomy, penectomy and vaginoplasty were quite safe though experimental.   Unlike Elvenes, Hirschfeld’s patients lived: Charlotte Charlaque was still alive in New York in 1952; Toni Ebel lived until 1961; nothing is known of Dörchen Ritcher after 1933, but the presumption is that she was murdered by Nazis, not that she died as a result of her surgeries.   If Elvenes had settled for the same she also probably would would have lived several years more.

It was not Lili's age, 49 in 1931, that affected her survival chances.  She was in fact one year younger than Toni Ebel.

We do not have enough information to be sure, but it would seem that Carla, Toni and Dörchen were more androphilic than gynephilic, and they would have been early transitioners if the social support had existed at the time.   So was Lili the first gynephilic transsexual to achieve surgery?   It is of course ironic that Charlotte Goiar proclaims Lili, and not Carla, Toni or Dörchen, as the first surgical HBS person.  Incidentally there was an earlier attempt at gynephilic transgender surgery in Berlin, as early as 1921.   I will return to that later in the month.

We should of course mention Dr Eugen Steinach (1861 - 1944) of Vienna.   Steinach proposed that ligation of the vas deferens, while causing atrophy of spermatogenic tissue, would produce additional testosterone. This vasoligation, unlike the similar vasectomy, was done on one testicle only, and most patients (that is men) reported increased vigour and sexual power. This of course was homeogender not transgender surgery.  Some of the men who had this operation were Sigmund Freud, Harry Benjamin and WB Yeats, all of whom were well pleased with the results.  Benjamin became Steinach's US disciple and performed over 500 Steinach operations in New York (unlike Steinach who never did the surgery himself).  Norman Haire, In London, also performed the operation.  Some other doctors, both then and now, say that the results were psychogenic rather than hormonal.

Along with Steinach, Benjamin pioneered an equivalent operation for women, diathermy, applied to one ovary, supplemented by x-ray treatment of the area.   So much for the idea in the book that Einar's visits to a radiologist had damaged his birth ovaries.

Steinach also did apparent ‘sex changes’ on guinea pigs with castrations and gland transplants.   This was the background behind the decision to transplant ovaries in Lili Elvenes (who of course should not have needed new ovaries if she had two of her own all along).   Could Steinach's results be also achieved in humans?  Steinach did report that he implanted a testicle into a man who was castrated, passive and feminine, and that the man became a 'normal' heterosexual. There is however a lack of verifications and replications.

09 January 2015

Einar Wegener, artist

Part I:  Einar Wegener, artist
Part II: Lili Ilse Elvenes, surgery and womanhood
Part III:  Lili Elbe, media construct

(all page references are to the Blue Boat edition of Man Into Woman, 2004)

Part III will be a discussion of the fact that Man Into Woman appears to be an unreliable narration.  However without it we have almost no story at all.  So in parts I and II details from the book will be used.   However bear in mind that this is tentative.


Einar Mogens Andreas Wegener (1882 - 1931), the son of a grocer in Vejle, Denmark, was educated as a painter at Vejle Tekniske Gymnasium and then Copenhagen Kunstakademi (Art School) where he met Gerda Gottlieb (1886-1940), the only survivor of four daughters of a pastor. Einar and Gerda married in 1904.

After graduation Gerda exhibited at the Autumn Art Exhibition, The Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition and the Journalists' Union. Her breakthrough was in 1907 when she won a competition organized by Politiken newspaper, and in the same year several female painters including Gerda were rejected from the Charlottenborg Exhibition – which became known as the Peasant Painter Controversy.

One of Gerda's early commissions was a portrait of Anna Larssen (1875 - 1955), the popular actress. One day Anna was unable to attend, and on the phone suggested that Einar's legs be used as had been done once before. This time Gerda fully dressed Einar in a dress and wig. In the end Anna did arrive, and on seeing Einar exclaimed:
"I will christen you my girlie. You shall receive a particularly lovely musical name. For example Lili. What do you say to Lili?" (p 67)
A few weeks later Lili appeared at the Artists' Ball and was a great success. Gerda found Lili to be a charming companion. Einar did landscape paintings and Gerda illustrated books and fashion magazines. Einar received the Neuhausens prize in 1907 and exhibited at Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling and at Vejle Art Museum.

Lili/Einar was an open secret, and in 1912 when Einar and Gerda decided to leave Copenhagen, a satirical poem by Vigge Afrelius, was published in Eksta Bladet, a sister publication to Politiken, that included the lines: "hvis vi tro kan, hvad Saga fortæller,/Michelangelo og som Zahrtmann/you bru'r kun mandelige Modeller! (if we can believe/what the story tells you used/such as Michelangelo and Zahrtmann male models!)".

After travels in Italy and France Gerda and Einar moved to Paris later that year, and at first stayed at the Hôtel d’Alsace, and were shocked to find themselves in room 16, the very room where Oscar Wilde had died twelve years earlier. They took inspiration and read Wilde's writings out loud to each other.

Gerda worked for Vogue and La Vie Parisienne. She also held regular exhibitions at the Ole Haslunds gallery in Copenhagen, and came to be considered a major Art Deco artist and was well known for her erotica. Einar exhibited in the Salon de Paris and Salon d'Automne in Paris. However he de-emphasized his own work to help Gerda, and became her favourite model.
Lili painted by Gerda

Gerda became famous for her paintings of women, and it was later discovered that most of them were actually of Lili. In 1924, Einar, on a trip back home, was interviewed by the København newspaper, and spoke about dressing as a woman during Paris Carnival.
Through the 1920s Einer was increasingly Lili. She attended public events, entertained at home as Lili, and went on trips to the countryside. She passed well and men even proposed to her. Gerda introduced her as Einar’s sister. Einar was often depressed and suffered from coughing spells; however Lili was bright and happy: Gerda came to prefer the company of Lili. Einar in male clothing was several times taken as a woman in trousers.

One day Einar said:
"Really I cannot imagine what existence would be like if Lili should one day vanish for ever, or if she should no longer look young and beautiful, Then she would no longer have any justification for living at all."
Gerda replied:
"In recent months I have felt prickings of conscience because I was, to a certain extent, the cause of creating Lili, of enticing her out of you, and thus becoming responsible for a disharmony in you which reveals itself most distinctly on those days when Lili does not appear." (p92).
and she continued:
"It often happens thatwhen she poses for me as a model a strange feeling comes over me that it is she whom I am creating and forming rather than the girl whom I am representing on my canvas.  Sometimes it seems to me that here is something which is stronger than we are, something which makes us powerless and will thrust us aside, as if, indeed, it wanted to be revenged on us for having played with it." (p93)

Later Einar wrote:  "Formerly I had found distraction in reading.  Now I never opened a book or journal.  What were the fates of strange persons to me, unless I could find consolation in reading about a person of my own kind?  But of such a person no author had been able to able to write, because it had never occurred to any author that such a person could ever have existed."  (p110-1)  (This was 20 years after the publication of Magnus Hirschfeld's Die Transvestiten, and 2 years after Havelock Ellis' Eonism and Other Supplementary Studies.) 

 Paintings by Einar Wegener     Paintings by Gerda Wegener  

Do click through to see paintings by both Einar and Gerda.   In Part III Louise Lassan will describe  Einar’s paintings as ‘virile’ but I do not see them as so.  They strike me as ordinary landscapes.   To my eye Gerda was obviously the more adventurous painter.

Some sources claim that Gerda was lesbian.   I found no confirmation of this, and of course she will re-marry to a man as soon as her marriage to Einar is annulled in Part II.

Presumably Einar and Gerda were in Paris during the Great War.  However there is no mention of it in Man into Woman.  

Anna Larssen was a popular actress in the 1900s.   Surprisingly, she quit acting in 1909 and became a Pentecostal minister, and with her second husband founded the Danish Apostolic Church.  No date is given for when Anna named Einar as Lili, but 1907 must be a terminus post quem and 1909 a terminus ante quem.  Thus it must have been only months before her abandonment of her acting career to dedicate her life to God.

The poem published on the departure of Einar and Gerda from Copenhagen in 1912:.

[...] Jolies Popo’s – petites Nichon’s
kan ingen som Fru Gerda tegne –
og ganske ligegyldigt hvor –
for sligt ser ens ud allevegne! [...]

Med Kunstens Store du i Slægt er,
hvis vi kan tro, hvad Saga fortæller,
som Michelangelo og Zahrtmann
du bru’r kun mandelige Modeller!

Den Ting har saare mig bedrøvet
og din er Skylden, skønne Tegner!
Tænk! Jeg har glædet mig ved Former,
Der rim’ligvis har tilhørt Ejnar! [...]

[...] Pretty butt - small breasts
no one like Mrs. Gerda can draw,
and no matter wherever -
as such looks the same everywhere. [...]

The Great Art thou art related,
[and] if we can believe what the story tells
you used such as Michelangelo and Zahrtmann male models!

The thing I was extremely saddened
and yours is the guilt, beautiful illustrator!
Imagine that! I'm pleased me to forms
that have probably heard Ejnar! [...]
  •  "Afrelius, Vigge:" Ved en Bortrejse ". In: Ekstra Bladet, 04.03.1913; 2.

06 January 2015

4 trans mayors in India

Kamla Jaan (1954 – ), although illiterate, was elected mayor of Katni, Madhya Pradesh, in 1999. She won 28 of 45 wards, finishing 1,897 votes ahead.  She sank wells, fixed the drains and renovated the bus station, and dismissed the advisory council. In 2003, the High Court upheld that Kamla Jaan was not a "woman" and hence she was asked to step down from the post of mayor, reserved for female candidate.  NYTimes

Asha Devi (1952 – 2013) in 2000 ran for the post of mayor in Gorakhpur, eastern Uttar Pradesh, a post reserved for a woman.   The pradesh Election Commission ruled that her sex was to be decided by how she was enrolled in the voters’ list.   She won over one lakh (1,09,849) votes. Every other candidate including the one from Bharatiya Janata Party lost her deposit.  During her tenure she concentrated on the construction of roads and drainage.  In May 2003 her election was declared invalid on the grounds that the post was reserved for a female, and that Asha is not female. This was in response to a petition by from the Samajwadi Party candidate, who had had come second but received over 60,000 fewer votes.

Kamla Kinnar (1954 – ) was elected mayor of Sagar, Madhya Pradesh in 2009.  She ran independent candidate with a margin of over 43,000 votes defeating her nearest BJP rival Suman Ahirwar.  Two years after the election, the Sagar district court declared Kamala Kinnar's election as "null and void" because the mayor's seat was reserved for a 'woman' belonging to scheduled caste category.

Madhu Kinnar (1979 – ) who previously worked as a singer/dancer on trains, was elected mayor of Raigarh, Chhattisgarh in 2015 by 4357 votes on 4 January, beating the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate.


Let us hope that unlike Kamla, Asha and Kamla, Madhu is allowed to complete her term of office.

05 January 2015

Jo Shanley (1936 - ) machinist

Joseph Shanley of Billerica, Massachusetts, had felt since childhood that he was the wrong sex. In 1969, at age 33, Shanley went to Casablanca and had surgery with Dr Burou.

However on return Shanley continued dressing as a man to keep his job as a machinist. Shanley dressed and lived as Jo outside work.

Shanley retired in 2001, and with her sister, Ann Cavanaugh, bought a house in Claremont, New Hampshire. After a few weeks, it was apparent that the arrangement was not working, and the house was put back on the market. On October 4th three real estate agents and two prospective buyers heard gunshots, found Shanley apparently intoxicated, and Cavanaugh dead on a bedroom floor.

Joseph Shanley was arrested, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and was sentenced to 22 years to life. Shanley also filed a motion to be declared a woman. The state attorneys objected to the motion on procedural and jurisdictional grounds in that the court had no power to make such a ruling.

However, after Shanley's physical state was confirmed, the prosecutors were agreeable that she be placed in a Connecticut prison with a special transgender unit. A year later she was transferred to the Correctional Center for Women, in Purdy, Washington.

There are unanswered questions.   Was the sister unaware of Jo’s womanhood?   If not, what was Jo thinking in agreeing to share a house?  Shanley was presenting as male at the time of arrest, even though she had retired and moved to another town.