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28 May 2015

Violette Morris (1893–1944) Part II: performer, chauffeur, black-marketer.

Morris at Le Monocle
Continued from Part I.

In the 1931 census, Morris gave her name as Paule. At that time she employed a maid and two shop assistants. However she was not a good businessman and with many others went bankrupt in July as the Depression took effect, and the shop finally sold in September 1932 to la maison Delombre which agreed to pay a percentage on sales to her ex-customers.

The Olympics were held in Los Angeles, and France sent only six women competitors.

Morris was included in the photographs of patrons of the butch nightclub Le Monocle. She was also seen in other nightclubs with the US American performer Josephine Baker(1906-1975 IMDB). Other gossip magazines claimed that Morris was having an affair with athlete Raoul Paoli.

Morris and Josephine Baker

In January 1933 she moved into a houseboat, La Mouette (the Seagull) which was moored on the Seine at Neuilly in northwest Paris close to the Bois de Boulogne. Morris still had inheritance annuities to live on, and took up lyrical singing. She was successful enough to be broadcast on the wireless.

In December 1937 Morris shot and killed Joseph Le Cam, an intruder on her houseboat who threatened to throw her overboard. She was interned for "voluntary homicide" but released four days later, with a ruling of self-defence.

In April 1938 Morris' aunt Elvire Sakakini died and her domestic servants, Jules and Julie Trolin, came to live with Morris on the houseboat.

In 1939 Morris had an affair with Yvonne de Bray (1887-1954 IMDB) , stage and screen actress. Through her, Morris came to know Jean Cocteau (1889-1963). After war was declared in September, Cocteau's lover, Jean Marais (1913-1998 IMDB), was mobilized and sent to the Front. Cocteau wanted to visit with Marais and Morris drove him although neither of them had a pass for the war zone. Morris was taken to be Cocteau's brother.
Morris & Yvonne de Bray on the houseboat

Morris had a second boat, Le Scarabée (The Beetle) moored to La Mouette, and lent it to Cocteau to finish writing Les Monstres sacrés, a theatre piece to star de Bray. In May 1940, Morris transferred 83,091 francs to de Bray, possibly to finance the production. Morris was one of the performers when it was staged.

In June France surrendered to the German invasion.

The Raymond Ruffin version:

Morris was recruited by the German security service at an athletic games in Munich in 1935. She was a honoured guest at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Games, although she did not compete. She gave the Germans partial plans of the Maginot Line, detailed plans of strategic points within the city of Paris, and schematics of the French army's main tank, the Somua S35. She had dealings with the criminal Bonny-Lafont Gang which acted for the Gestapo, and did the organisation charts for the Gestapo in their headquarters at rue des Saussaies, and recorded the English spy networks. On orders from London, the Normandy Resistance executed her.

The Marie-Josèphe Bonnet version:

In February 1941 Morris was managing a garage at 34, boulevard Pershing, when it was requisitioned by the Luftwaffe. From May 1943 Morris was chauffeur to Captain Giraud of the Legion des Volontaires Francais, and vehicles registered to her were used by Sarton Du Jonchay. She collaborated in airplane construction and was present (?as chauffeur) when materials and parts were requisitioned. She was also involved in black-marketing which involved driving all over Normandy, and became well-known for her comings and goings. She was denounced, while others more deeply involved in collaboration were not. On 26 April 1944 Morris was driving M. Bailleul, a local pork butcher, his wife and their two children. They were ambushed and machine-gunned by the Resistance. There were no survivors.

Raymond Ruffin (1929 – 2007) published more than 20 books on World War II and the French Resistance, especially in Normandy. His attitude to Violette Morris is evident at first glance in his book titles: La diablesse and La hyène de la Gestapo. He got the idea from a novel by famous crime writer Auguste Le Breton (1913 – 1999), Les pègriots, 1973, which has 2 pages on Morris.

We do have a photograph of Morris at Le Monocle. If Morris were at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, why do we not have a photograph of her there? The Berlin Olympics were the most photographed event at that point in time, they were televised, and Leni Riefenstahl made a feature film. Morris was a celebrity.

Almost all web pages on Morris and the France 3 television documentary on Ces français qui ont choisi Hitler (Those French who chose Hitler) in 2009 uncritically follow the two books by Raymond Ruffin. Even sports historians apologise for mentioning Morris. Even Christine Bard, feminist historian, uncritically accepted Ruffin's account.

Marie-Jo Bonnet, went through the archives of the Free France Secret Service, and the BCRA (Central Bureau of Research and Action), which are available at the Office of the Resistance. She also examined trial transcripts of the treason trials which followed the Liberation, the National Archives and local archives in Normandy. She found minor references to Morris, but nothing to support the picture found in Ruffin's books. Likewise Morris was not mentioned in the criminal trials of the Bonny-Lafont gang, nor in the Gestapo's own files on repressing the Resistance. Bonnet points out that Ruffin does not seem to know what Morris was doing for the first three years of the Occupation.

Both Wikipedia and Facebook cite Morris living on a barge on the Seine as evidence of her Gestapo status, which is odd as we know that Morris had inherited wealth, and was living there by 1933 – seven years before the German occupation.

Both FR.WIKIPEDIA and EN.WIKIPEDIA list Bonnet's book in their references, but neither address its contents at all. FR.WIKIPEDIA had had a controversy section mentioning that Bonnet's version is different from Ruffin's. This was removed without explanation 10/4/2015.

If we regard Ruffin's books as the case for the prosecution, and Bonnet's book as for the defence, I do not think that a conviction would have been obtained if the case had come to trial.

Let her who is without sin …. Jean Cocteau was a right-winger who regarded Hitler as a pacifist, and accused France of disrespect towards Hitler. He was arraigned on charges of collaboration after the war. Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, juives, lesbiennes, états-uniennes, spent the war in Culoz, Rhône-Alpes without being bothered, and their art collection in their Paris home was untouched. This was because of their friendship with Bernard Faÿ, a high official in the Vichy Regime who was otherwise busy sending Freemasons to the concentration camps. They helped him escape after he was imprisoned for collaboration. Stein translated Marshal Pétain's speeches into English and compared him to George Washington. She still praised him after 1945 when he had been sentenced to death for treason. For John Radclyffe Hall, friend of Gabriele D'Annunzio, the John the Baptist of Italian Fascism, the fascists were the good guys, and she proudly wore their badge: "I believe (the Jews) hate us and want to bring about a European War and then a World revolution in order to destroy us utterly".

All these of course are very minor when compared to the involvement of Prescott Bush, IBM, Ford, ITT, Kodak, Standard Oil, etc, etc with Nazi Germany.  Partial list.

There is a general avoidance of the question as to why the pork butcher, M. Bailleul had to die, and why also his wife and two young children. Bonnet suggests that embarrassment over the killing of the two children led to a building up of the story of Morris' guilt.
  • R. Peyronnet de Torres. "L'extraordinaire carrière d'une sportive : Violette Morris", Le Miroir des sports, 2 juin 1925.
  • “La Morris”. Le Miroir des Sports, 3 Juin 1925: 338.
  • Paris Midi,21 juillet 1926
  • Patrick Modiano. La Ronde de Nuit. Gallimard,1969. English translation: Night Rounds Knopt, 1971. The Night Watch. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015. Novel about man working for both the Resistance and the Gestapo. Violette Morris is a character.
  • Auguste Le Breton. Les pègriots. France loisirs, 1973.
  • Raymond Ruffin. La diablesse: [Amazone scandaleuse, comparse du milieu, championne sportive internationale, espionne de la Gestapo; la veritable histoire de Violette Morris]. Paris: Éditions Pygmalion/Gérard Watelet, 1989.
  • Jean-Emile Neaumet, Violette Morris, la Gestapiste.  Fleuve Noir, 1994.
  • Gilles Perrault & Pierre Azema. Paris Under the Occupation. New York: Vendome Press, 1989: 38.
  • Jean-Emile Neaumet. Violette Morris: La gestapiste . Fleuve Noir, 1994.
  • Leslie Feinberg. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul. Beacon Press 1996: 86.
  • Christian Gury. L'Honneur ratatiné d'une athlète lesbienne en 1930. Kimé, 1999.
  • Brassaï translated into English by Richard Miller. "Le Monocle". In The Secret Paris of the 30s. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001.
  • Raymond Ruffin,. Violette Morris: la hyène de la gestap. Paris: Cherche midi, 2004.
  • Wendy Michallet. “Droit au But: Violette Morris and Women’s Football in ‘Les Années Folles’”. French Studies Bulletin, 26,97, 2005: 13-7.
  • "Violette Morris ou le terreau de la haine" Lucid State, octobre 2007.
  • Jean-François Bouzanquet. Fast Ladies: Female Racing Drivers, 1888-1970. Dorchester: Veloce, 2009: 22-5.
  • Joest Jonathan Ouaknine. “Violette Morris: du rose au brun”. Leblogauto, 17 avril 2009.
  • Christophe Weber (dir), Ces français qui ont choisi Hitler. France 3, 03 juin 2009. Vimeo (full program)
  • “Fast Women in History: Auto Racing’s Tough Female Pioneers”. The Selvedge Yard, Sept 29, 2009.
  • “165 - This chap is actually not a chap at all, he or should I say she is Violette Morris, the Gestapo's Hyena”. Facebook, 12 de febero de 2010.
  • Marie-Josèphe Bonnet. Violette Morris: histoire d'une scandaleuse. Paris: Perrin, 2011.
  • Christian Gury. La péniche sanglante: Violette Morris, Cocteau, Modiano. Paris: Non lieu, 2011.
  • Jean Williams. A Contemporary History of Women's Sport, Part One: Sporting Women, 1850-1960. Routledge, 2014: 121-3, 133-4, 138-9, 142-3.
  • Francine Prose,. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel. New York: Harper, 2014. A novelization. The Lou Villars character is a scarcely disguised version on Morris.
  • “Violette Morris”. Le Blog de Raymond Ruffin.
  • “Violette Morris”. Tumblr.
Books on life in Occupied France where Violette Morris is not mentioned, but you would expect to find her if Ruffin's charges are true:
  • Fabrizio Calvi & Marc J. Masurovsky. Le festin du Reich: le pillage de la France occupée, 1940-1945. Paris: Fayard, 2006.
  • Jaquemard Serge. La bande Bonny-Lafont. Scènes de Crimes, 2007.
  • Cyril Eder. Les Comtesses de la Gestapo. Grassetfas, 2007.
  • Grégory Auda. Belles années du "Milieu" 1940-1944. Michalon, 2013.

25 May 2015

Violette Morris (Gouraud) (1893 - 1944) Part I: sports champion.

Emilie Paule Marie Violette Morris was born into a family with military connections on her father's side back to the Revolution.

Her paternal grandfather was Louis Michel Morris (1803–1867), a cavalry officer who rose to General for his part in the French conquest of Algeria, and was made a grand officer in the Légion d'honneur. He married a Jewess from the Algerian city of Constantine after already having three children with her. Altogether they had two daughters and three sons:

Paul Louis Morris (1846-1901) who like his father became a General and a chevalier in the Légion d'honneur;

Louis Napoléon Morris (1865-1935) who never knew his father;

Jacques Pierre Morris (1849-1918) who also was a cavalry officer, mainly serving in the colonies, but never rising above the rank of Captain. He was a prisoner-of-war during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and later suffered from what might have been epilepsy, as well as from yellow fever. He was also cautioned and served 30 days hard labour for gambling. In 1888 he was put on sick leave, and effectively retired. In 1889 he married the 20-year younger Elisabeth Sakakini (of the prominent Levantine family) in Belgium. Elizabeth brought a significant dowry to supplement Jacques' army pension.

Their first child, Paul, died in his first year. They then had two daughters: Louise (1891-1986) and then Violette. Both daughters were educated at the 12th-century convent Abbaye de Solières close to Huy in Belgium by English nuns.

Even as a teenager Violette was a notable pugilist, and also outstanding in swimming, cycling and water polo. In 1913 Morris came 5th in the 8 km French swimming contest – she was the only female competitor.

The next year, three weeks after war was declared, Violette married Cyprien Gouraud (1886-?) the son of a paper maker. Three days later he was mobilized. In 1915 she joined the Red Cross, and later was a motorcyclist for them. However she came down with bronchitis and pleurisy and was six months in hospital.

In 1917 La Morris returned to championship athletics and set the first French record in shot put. Both her parents died in 1918, and shortly afterwards Morris started to wear male clothing, using the excuse that it was her wartime uniform. She never applied for a permission de travestissement.

Her inheritance provided a living, and gave her time to train. That year she also played in the first official women's football match in France. In goal, she played with her head bare (as men did) rather than wearing the prescribed beret. In 1919 she was admitted to the Fédération française de sports féminins (FFSF), and participated in the first Women's World Games in Monte Carlo in 1921 establishing new records for shot-put and javelin. In 1922, at the second female olympics she set records in athletics, and came second in 1,000 m swimming, and won a cycling race. She also took up motor racing, and, the only woman entered, came 4th in the Bol d'Or.

Morris in front of the shop
Cyprien and Violette were divorced in May 1923, and he remarried in October. She opened a car/motorbike accessories shop, Spécialités Violette Morris, at 6, rue Roger-Bacon, using the inheritance from her mother. The rent was 8,000 francs per annum, and the 41,000 franc valuation was all in the stock. She lived in the flat upstairs.

Morris was temporarily suspended for giving performance-enhancing drugs to her football team, for questioning the referees and for doing nothing when the referee was hit by a member of her team. In 1926 Morris was indefinitely suspended from football. She used her name to recruit female athletes for a film. She refused to transfer her licence to another club.

In 1927 the FFSF notified Morris that she was suspended for these violations, and for wearing male clothes. Her smoking and drinking did not help. The FFSF also banned shorts that were too short, playing without a bra, and costumes that were too tight.

A journalist from Paris Midi who questioned Morris apropos the new regulations thought that he must be meeting her husband or brother, "mais non, c'était bien elle, en chair plus qu'en os, habillée d'un complet veston, avec pantalon - comme vous et moi, monsieur - faux col et cravate (but no, it was her in the flesh, dressed in a full jacket with trousers - like you and me, sir - collar and tie)".

Morris in a Benjamin
In 1927 Morris won the motor-racing Bol d'Or, and practised boxing, sparring with Raoul Paoli (1887-1960), the Olympics athlete, champion boxer, wrestler, and rugby player for France.

Morris attended a meeting of the FFSF, and issued a defense of her dress style: "L'habit masculin n'a, à ce que je sache, rien de malséant. J'y suis tenue de par mes obligations professionnelles et tant que les lois de la République française ne m'en empêcheront pas, rien ni personne ne peuvent m'interdire un costume qui, vous en conviendrez, est toujours décent (There is nothing, to my knowledge, unseemly about male clothing. I am bound by my professional obligations and by the laws of the French Republic, but they do not prevent me, nothing and nobody can forbid me to dress in a way that you will agree, is still decent)". However this argument did not convince, and Morris was expelled from the FFSF, and thereby from all French championships and the French team for the Olympics where she was expected to win gold medals.

The 1928 Olympics were held in Amsterdam, although only a few women's events were included; Morris was not on the French team.

In 1929 Morris went further, and using the excuse of fitting into a racing car, publicly had a double mastectomy (what today we would call top surgery) at the clinic of Dr. Cazalis in the suburb of La Garenne-Colombes.

during the trial
Morris sued the FFSF for reinstatement and 100,000 francs in damages. While her case was against the arbitrary use of power, the trial focused on the right to wear male clothing. Her male lawyer defended the inherent decency of trousers, and questioned why trousers had been okay with the FFSF for ten years, but no longer. He contrasted Morris with Victor Barker in England who had attempted to pass as male. The FFSF had two female lawyers, one of whom, Yvonne Netter, was a noted feminist, divorced and an advocate of planned parenthood. They explained that because of their responsibility to the government (which provided grants) and to parents, they must set good examples. Morris was accused of cross-dressing to attract attention. They noted how female clothing had evolved from the long skirts and corsets of the pre-war era. They portrayed Morris as being a moral danger in female locker rooms, and criticized her in that she had never applied for a permission de travestissement. Morris' lawyer produced a letter from the Commissioner of Police giving assurance that they no longer pursued women in trousers.

The court ruled: "nous n'avons pas à nous occuper de la façon dont se vêt à la ville et dans ses autres occupations Mme Violette Morris, mais nous estimons que le fait de porter un pantalon n'étant pas d'un usage admis pour les femmes, la FFS avait parfaitement le droit de l'interdire. En conséquence, le tribunal déboute Mme Violette Morris et la condamne aux dépens"(we do not have to deal with how Mme. Volette Morris dresses in the city and in her other occupations, but we believe that to wear trousers is not permitted by custom for women, FFSF had every right to prohibit it. Accordingly, the court dismisses Mme. Violette Morris and awards costs)".

Continued in Part II.

EN.WIKIPEDIA says that Violette was "the youngest of six sisters", which is definitely wrong.

Genealogy sites: MyHeritage would seem to be the best on the Morris dynasty. Geneanet has Jacques Pierre as father of Violette only, but does not connect him to Louis Michel, although it traces Louis Michel's ancestors back to 1620. Webtrees denies that Jacques Pierre had any children at all. There is an FR.WIKIPEDIA page for Louis Michel Morris, but it does not mention any children.

Several of the men in the Morris dynasty were named Jacques, and they usually anglicized it to James. However there is no indication of any relationship to the Somerset/Welsh James Morris who transitioned to become Jan.

FR.WIKIPEDIA, as do most of the books, has Violette Morris as the winner of the 1927 Bol d'Or driving a Benjamin.

However the FR.WIKIPEDIA article on Bol d'Or lists the 1927 winner as "Lempereur" driving an FN. No first name is available for this mysterious winner who otherwise is unknown to history.

Did Morris and the very young Robert Cowell ever drive in the same race? Cowell did drive in the 1939 Grand Prix in Antwerp, but Morris, then 46, was no longer driving.

Almost all writers accept Morris' explanation that racing car cockpits were so tight that breasts got in the way. The transsexual perspective is that this was merely an excuse. See the photograph above of Morris in a Benjamin. It does not at all look cramped.

Like Madeleine Pelletier, we have somebody who looks, walks and talks like a trans man (and in Morris' case has had top surgery), but does not take a male name.   Morris does not attempt to pass as does Victor Barker in England, but she was already famous from her sporting achievements and thus passing was not really an option.

Morris did not care to use her first name Emilie, which she shared with her aunt, the wife of Paul Louis. The name she used, Violette, has connotations in that 'viol' means 'rape' (compare the English 'violate') and was associated with lesbians in early 20th century France in that several were Violettes: Violette Leduc, Violet Paget (who used the pseudonym Vernon Lee), Violette Murat, Violet Trefusis, Vivienne Renée wrote of her unrequited love for Violet Shillito. There was also the convicted non-lesbian parricide, Violette Nozière (who had been violated by her father).

What do the Wikipedia authors think that they are doing? While accepting that Morris was a life-long male-dresser who had her breasts removed, both FR.WIKIPEDIA and its almost copy EN.WIKIPEDIA choose to include a frontal photograph of Morris the swimmer that emphasises her then more than ample breasts, and a photograph of her in women's clothes – in effect in drag. There is no shortage of Morris in her preferred male clothes. So what is Wikipedia doing?

As with Madeleine Pelletier, Halberstam's Female Masculinity has nothing to say about Violette Morris. Likewise the lesbian cross-dressing set of Anglo-American expatriates that included Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein, although they did invite a few token French women: Collette and Mathilde de Morney, did not invite Violette despite her prestigious lineage. (Obviously Pelletier was not invited for, despite being a doctor, she was a child from the slums).

22 May 2015

Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992) artist

Francis Bacon was born in Dublin to English parents. His father Anthony (1870-1940), a veteran of the Boer War, was a horse trainer; his mother, Winnie Firth (1884-1971) a heiress to a steel business and coal mine. Anthony was a direct descendent of the Nicholas Bacon, the elder brother of the philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Anthony's father had been offered a revival of the title of Lord Oxford, but declined for financial reasons. Anthony forced Francis, who was allergic to dogs and horses, to go fox hunting – which brought on his asthma.

With the outbreak of war in 1914, Anthony Bacon was appointed to the War Office in London, which gave Francis experience of black-outs, bombed homes and the fear of Zeppelins. After the Armistice, their estate in Ireland was under fear of siege during the Civil War.

Francis had sex with the Irish stable boys, but on at least one occasion his father had the boy horsewhipped by the same stable boys. At a fancy-dress party Francis came as a flapper in a backless dress with long earrings – his father was disgusted. At age 16 Francis was discovered dressed in his mother's underwear and was banished from the house, and went to London. His mother provided a small allowance, which he supplemented with odd jobs, but more so from being picked up by wealthy men. He read some of the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and lost the last remnants of religious belief. He articulated that life was futile unless you do something 'extraordinary'.

Anthony Bacon attempted to straighten out his son in 1926 by sending him to Berlin in the care of a distant uncle. However Francis soon bedded his uncle. In Berlin he was delighted to discover the transvestite bars such as the Eldorado and the rent-boy culture. He had no trouble being paid for his charms. He also discovered the Bauhaus Functional Art movement.

The uncle moved on, and Francis, now 17, moved to Paris, discovered Picasso, and learned French. He was impressed by Nicolas Poussin's Massacre of the Innocents (1630-31) and Eisenstein's film The Battleship Potemkin (1925). He started to draw and to do watercolours.

At age 20 Bacon returned to London. He moved in with Roy de Maistre, an Australian artist and convert to Catholicism. They held a joint art exhibit. However, after a failed solo exhibition a few years later, Bacon destroyed most of his works, and painted very little for the next ten years.
He left de Maistre and made a living by petty theft, running a roulette wheel, odd jobs, but also by designing furniture. In 1929 he met Eric Hall who became his new patron/lover.

In 1940 Anthony Bacon died and his widow remarried and moved to South Africa. All the children except Francis, and Edward the youngest son who died in adolescence, moved to southern Africa. This left Francis feeling released.

By John Deakin, 1945
He was photographed in drag, along with other artist friends, by the photographer John Deakin 1945, the year that his first famous work, in Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, was put on display a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe. Despite his atheism, Bacon would become especially known for paintings of the Crucifixion and of the Pope.

In 1952 Bacon met Peter Lacy, a former fighter pilot who had flown in the Battle of Britain. Their relationship was tempestuous. Lacy tore up Bacon's paintings, and beat him in drunken rages, in one case throwing him through a plate-glass window. After a few years Lacy moved to Tangier, becoming a regular at Dean's Bar, and Bacon made long visits. Lacy died of alcohol complications in 1962.

In 1964 30-year-old George Dyer, a petty thief from the East End, burglarised Bacon's flat, but was seduced instead. Bacon kept Dyer, providing him with enough money to stay drunk. Bacon did many paintings of Dyer, but Dyer did not appreciate them. He committed suicide in 1971 while in
self portrait 1971
Paris with Bacon for a retrospective exhibition.

In 1974 Bacon met John Edwards with whom he stayed until he died of cardiac arrest at age 82. Edwards inherited the multi-million estate and refused to let any of Bacons work be used in the 1998 biographical film.

19 May 2015

Terry Gardener (1919 - 2000) female impersonator

Terry’s father had been the stage manager of a drag revue in the Great War. Terry started doing drag as a teenager, and was influenced by a pair of drag queens who went busking in the East End of London with a barrel organ.

At school, Terry played the lead in Mrs Mason’s Homely Kitchen, and it went so well that the teacher asked his mother if he could repeat it at a local pub.

During the Second World War he was a cook in the officers’ mess sailing between England and Gibraltar, and was also a performer both at Chatham Barracks and in concert parties in Gibraltar. In 1944 he was in the army drag show: We Were in the Forces.
Gardener and Chat mid 1960s

He was one of the few to continue working in drag when the forces drag shows came to an end in the mid 1950s. He was a partner with Alan Haynes for a while, and was then a partner of Barri Chat from early 1950s as The Pin-Up Girls of Comedy.

Then and later he played dames roles in Christmas Pantomimes – Terry did it every year for 40 years. He died at age 81.
  • Chris Shaw & Arthur Oates. A Pictorial History of the Art of Female Impersonation. King-Shaw Productions. 1966.
  • Roger Baker. Drag: a history of Female Impersonation on the Stage.  A Triton Book. 1968: 183,193.
  • Desmond Montmorency. The Drag Scene: The Secrets of Female Impersonators. Luxor Press. 1970: 158-9.
  • Kris Kirk & Ed Heath. Men in Frocks. London: GMP, 1984: 18, 19, 20,
  • Alkarim Jivani. It’s Not Unusual: A History of Lesbian and Gay Britain in the Twentieth Century. Indiana University Press. 1997: 14-5,21-2,52,62-4,65,120,210.

16 May 2015

During World War II – part iii

Part 1: UK France & Germany

Part 2: other countries 

Part 3: USA



The Doctors & sexologists

Harry Benjamin is working as a family doctor in New York. He has recently realized that Otto Spengler, one of his patients, is a transvestite.

Stanley Biber, the future sex-change doctor, is a civilian employee of the Office of Stategic Services and stationed in Alaska and the Northwest Territories

Thomas Szasz, the future opponent of sex change surgery, earns a degree in physics from the University of Cincinnati in 1941, and a medical degree from the same university in 1944.

Leo Wollman stays in Scotland until 1942, although his wife returned to New York in September 1939.  They have their first child in 1943.

John Brown, the future ‘Worst Doctor in America’, is drafted and sent by the US Army to medical school.

American Home Products (AHP) later known as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals puts Premarin on the market for the first time. It is first marketed in Canada.

Dr Harry Klinefelter at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, describes 47, XXY males in 1942. This condition becomes known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome.

Urologist Hugh Hampton Young does pioneer genital reconstruction surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 1930-45.

Gynecologist Howard Jones, later surgeon at Johns Hopkins, is a chief surgeon under Generals Patton and Simpson during the invasion of Europe.

Elmer Belt, who will be a pioneer sex-change surgeon in the 1950s, is associate professor of urology and clinical professor of surgery and urology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine.

Zelda Suplee, who will run Erickson's EEF, is a nudist.

Transgender surgery by 1945

Dr Alan Hart is Tuberculosis Consultant to the Idaho State Department of Public Health, and in 1943 serves with a army induction centre reading chest X-rays. Also in 1943 he publishes These Mysterious Rays, a popular account of X-rays and radiation treatment.

Charlotte Charlaque  and Toni Ebel, who had surgery at Hirschfeld's Institute in 1931, were in Czechoslovakia.

In 1940, a physician at San Quentin prison, California, discovers that one prisoner, Artie, born male, and living as male, has been surgically altered to female (Meyerowitz p 48).

Pussy Katt, working at Finocchio’s, is taken to Mexico City in 1945 by Howard Hughes for surgery and sex and paid $50,000. She will be a club owner in Acapulco, and later perform at Madam Arthur in Paris.

Lauren Richards plays the role of a devoted wife to Barbara Wilcox, but in 1944, away from media attention, she has a double mastectomy at the Langley Porter Clinic in San Francisco.

Claire Schreckengost of Pennsylvania has surgery to become male in 1934 (Meyerowitz p31)

Future transgender surgery

The future Reed Erickson, philanthropist to the transgender movement, is an engineering student at Louisiana State University. She will be the first woman graduate in the subject in 1946.

The future Hedy Jo Star, who will have surgery in 1952, is drafted in 1942 and is in the press when he makes a fuss about cutting his long hair. He serves as a female impersonator in the US Army shows.

Teenage Sally Barry, who will be Benjamin's  first transsexual patient, has already declared herself as female and is having problems with the school system.

The future Paula Grossman, who will transition in 1971, graduates with an A.B. in 1941 from the University of Newark, and spends the Second World War in the U.S. Army.

The future Tamara Rees  is a paratrooper and is wounded in combat.

Barbara Wilcox has been on female hormones for two years when in 1 July 1941, she petitions the Superior Court of California to change her name and to become legally a woman. The petition is granted in October.

The future Cynthia Conroy is doing a degree in physics and chemistry.

The future  Christine Jorgensen  will join the US Army in 1945 as the war finishes.

The future Charlotte McLeod will be drafted into the US Army as the war finishes.

The future Nancy Hunt  will be drafted at the end of WWII.

The future Susan Faye Cannon is at Princeton University, and then in the US Navy.

The future Barbara Dayton is in the Merchant Navy.

The future Liz Lyons, becomes a raunchy female impersonator.

The future Gloria Hemingway is first discovered in drag by his father Ernest who was also encouraging him at age 10 to get drunk daily on hard liquor, and to learn competition shooting.

No surgery - but already living full time by 1945

Louise Lawrence starts living full-time as female in 1944 after the failure of a second marriage, and moves to San Francisco from Berkeley.

Mildred M.  desiring transgender surgery, is examined and exhibited to medical student in Chicago in 1942.  

Georgia Black, who had transitioned in 1921, is living as a housewife with her second husband in Florida.

Billy Tipton is in transition in 1940 and obtains legal documents as a man. He is working as a saxophonist and pianist in jazz bands.

Wilmer Broadnax, living as male, moves to southern California with his brother and joins gospel groups.

Gladys Bentley has moved to southern California and is frequently harassed for wearing men’s clothing.

Lucy Hicks, madam, is outed as male bodied when one of her girls contracted a venereal disease, and the whole house is medically examined.  She marries Mr Anderson, a soldier, in 1944.  She is charged with perjury, and then fraud.

Rae Bourbon is a big draw on the West Coast headlining at Finocchio’s in San Francisco and runs own club, the Rendezvous in Los Angeles.

Hotcha Hinton is touring in burlesque musicals.

Michael Higgins is in jail.

Schlitze, the pinhead carnie, plays Princess Betsy, the Bird Woman in Meet Boston Blackie, 1941.

Will go full-time later

The future David Warren is at the University of California.

Stormé DeLarverie is a jazz singer as Stormy Dale. Later she will be the sole male impersonator in The Jewel Box Revue, will be at Stonewall, and several times has be an Imperial King.

The future Virginia Prince completes a PhD. in pharmacology, in 1939, and in 1941 marries. He teaches briefly at his alma mater, University of California at San Francisco.

The future Susanna Valenti immigrates to the US. 

Minette is just starting as a female impersonator.

Stella MacGregor lets her beard grow and finds circus sideshow work.  MacGregor will transition to male in late 1960s.

The future Candy Darling wins a ‘Most Beautiful Baby’ contest - but, because of a mistake by  mother, as a girl.

Carol Ann Masters is in the Army where he playes a female role in a few army shows. She will then became a professional female impersonator, and live full-time as female.


Florence Winter, who had wished to become a man, and had travelled to consult Dr Hirschfeld in Berlin, but his descriptions of the operation presuaded her to withdraw.  She continued to live as a man in Berlin, and returns to Chicago at the start of WWII.

Pauli Murray, civil rights activist, feminist, lawyer, Episcopal priest, Episcopal saint, felt that she was a man in a woman's body, and investigates hormonal therapy in the late 1930s, early 1940s.

Ruth Parrin, Chicago had masculinized in 1935, possibly because of an adrenal or ovarian tumor, and returned to femininity after a surgeon removed the tumor  (Meyerowitz p33)

Part-time trans persons

José Sarria, the future transgender activist and founder of the Imperial Court System, enlists in the US Army during World War II, despite his short height, by seducing the major at the recruiting station. He is assigned to the Signals Corps. He is rejected for Intelligence for unstated reasons (probably for being fey), and is trained as a cook. He becomes a major’s orderly, and after the occupation of Berlin manages an officers’ mess hall.

David Petilla, transvestite and mob killer, is in Sing Sing Prison doing 20 years on ‘white slavery’ charges.

James Herndon, hospital orderly and drag queen, is working at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

Ed Gein, who identified as female, but does murder and grave robbing instead, works on the family farm. Most of his relatives die 1940-5.

In 1941 Frankie Jaxon, jazz singer and female impersonator, retires and works for the Pentagon in Washington. In 1953 he dies in a veterans hospital.

Dan Dailey is signed by MGM in 1940. He serves in the Signal Corps during the Second World War and is discharged as a Captain.

Jeff Chandler, as a army officer, spends the war in the Aleutian Islands.

The future Felicity Chandelle, is the lead test flyer for the Grumman J2f Duck which is both a plane and a boat.

Neil Cargile builds an airplane on his father's estate.

Barbette had retired as a high wire artist after an accident, but continues as a ariel choreographer and consultant - neither of which provided an excuse for cross-dressing.

Edward D. Wood, Jr is in the Marines 1942-6.

Albert Finnie, the founder of Chicago’s Finnie’s Balls, is killed in a gambling brawl in 1943.

Phil Black performes in New York and Montreal, and starts the Funmaker Balls that eventually evolve into the voguing balls in the 1990s.

Patsy Vidalia is just starting a career in New Orleans as a drag performer.

Harvey Goodwin, recently released from a tuberculosis sanatorium, is working as a clerk on an army base when word gets out about his show-biz experience and he is coaxed to perform, which his drag persona does in 1942 at the Arkansas Ordnance Plant to a capacity crowd of 5000 with two full orchestras. He does three more victory balls.  In 1943 he moves to San Francisco and becomes a performer at Finocchio's night club.
Herbert (Berta) Beeson who had performed as a female slack-wire artist, is now retired, and doing advance advertising before the circus comes to a town.

Bobby Kork is working as a circus 'hermaphrodite' and is also a transvestist in his private life.  

William Stoffler, stockbroker and also performer at Finocchio's

Dancer Tommy Thompson is drafted into the Army in 1943 and assigned to pass himself as a woman, and to perform an act that included a total striptease in bright sunlight.

Sacha Brastoff enlists in the Airforce, and serves in the Special Services Events Division, where he designes costumes and scenery for USO shows. He is known for his impersonation of Carmen Miranda, which he repeats in the play and later film Winged Victory 1944.

T.C. Jones is in the Navy. After demob in 1946 he will become a female impersonator.

Skip Arnold is in the Navy, and will later become a female impersonator.

Carroll Wallace is billed as “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World” in the 1940s.

Lynn Carter is in the Navy, and will became popular as a female impersonator in the 1950s.

Murry Pickford, Boston, deaf-and-dumb, is developing her drag act with pigeons. 

Tony Sinclair is working as a female stripper.

Patsy Valdalia has started on her show-biz career.

Francis-Francine Hodgkiss is earning $500 a week as a half-and-half, and basically supporting the cast.

Julian Eltinge, previously the best paid female impersonator, appears in a mufti cameo in a 1940 Bing Crosby film, and dies, rather mysteriously in May 1941.  

The future Tony Midnite is a teenager working in munitions in San Francisco.  He uses fake ID to see the impersonator show at Finocchio’s, and is sure that he could do better.

Alexander Woollcott, transvestite, theater critic and radio broadcaster, dies during a live radio show in 1943.

Alice Bradley (Sheldon) who felt that she should be a man, but did not transition, but will later become a novelist as James Tiptree, Jr, joins the Army Airforce in 1942, works in photo-intelligence and becomes a major.  She later will work in the CIA.  

Jimmy Donahue, drag queen friend of Cardinal Spellman, hosts a party in 1945 and invites US servicemen found in a gay bar. It is said that one of the guests loses his cock whilst having his pubic hair shaved.

David Wilde has done a literature degree at Yale, has married, and is becoming a writer.

Marcel DuChamp, Parisian Artist, who had become known for his drag persona, Rose Sélavy, in the 1920s, moves to New York in 1942.

New York pickpocket, 1941.


The Jewel Box Revue of feminine impressionists is founded in Miami in 1939.

The Cabin Inn, Chicago, closes in 1940.

Finocchio's, San Francisco, is specializing in 'ethnic' impersonators.    Military authorities declare Finocchio's "off limits" for selling liquor to WWII military personnel outside of authorized hours. That temporary sanction is lifted New Year's Eve 1943 after Joe Finocchio and other bar owners sign an agreement to limit liquor sales to military personnel to between 5 p.m and midnight. Beer could, however, be sold between 10 a.m. and midnight.

  • Hugh H Young. Genital Abnormalities, Hermaphroditism & Related Adrenal Diseases. Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins company, 1937.
  • Georges Devereux. "Institutionalized homosexuality of the Mohave indians", Human Biology, n°9, pp.502-27, 1937.
  • Joseph McCabe.  Women Who Became Men: The Development of Unusual Variations, Including Hermaphrodites, Pseudo-Hermaphrodites, and Virgin Birth.  Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1938.
  • Eugen Steinach, Sex and Life. Forty Years of Biological and Medical Experiments, Viking Press, New York. 1940.
  • N.S. Yawger. “Transvestism and Other Cross-Sex Manifestations”, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 92, 41-48. 1940.
  • Harry Klinefelter, Edward Reifenstein Jr.& Fuller Albright,"Syndrome characterized by gynecomastia, aspermatogenesis without a-Leydigism and increased excretion of follicle-stimulating hormone", Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2, pp.615-27. 1942.
  • Jacob Finesinger, Joe Meigs & Hirsch Sulkowitch, "Clinical, psychiatric and psychoanalytic study of a case of male pseudohermaphroditism", American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology n°44, pp.310-7. 1942.
  • Siegmund Heinrich Foulkes, "The idea of a change of sex in women", International Journal of Psychoanalysis n°24, pp.53-6. 1943.
  • Paul De Kruif, The Male Hormone, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1945.
  • Albert Ellis, "The sexual psychology of human hermaphrodites", Psychosomatic Medecine n°7, pp.108-19. 1945.

13 May 2015

During World War II – part ii

Part 1: UK, France & Germany

Part 2: other countries 

Part 3: USA


The future Holly Ahlberg and family, from Riga, are living in German-occupied Poland.


George Maciunias, future founder of Fluxus art movement and transvestite, flees into Nazi Germany with his family as the Soviet Army advances into Kaunas.

Artist Toni Ebel, having fled Nazi Germany in 1934, survives the German occupation in Brno.

Kurt Freund, who will become associated with Penile Plethysmography and later work at the Clarke Institute in Toronto, is at the Univerzita Karlova.

Zdenek Koubkov, women's record for 800 metre dash in 1934, examined, stripped of award, is  living as male.  

Karl Giese, Hirschfeld’s lover and heir, fled to Brno, where he commits suicide after the German occupation.


The future Charlotte Bach is conscripted into the Railway Builders Regiment after Hungary declares war on the Soviet Union, but manages to wrangle a transfer to the army propaganda unit – where he steals cameras and sells them on the black market. He later admits that he cold-bloodedly killed a teenage soldier because he could not show the right papers, and will claim to have been in the German SS.


The future Maria Starace, then a child, is the nephew of notable fascist, Achille Starace.


Tonë Bikaj fights with the Albanian partisans against the Italian and German invaders 1939-44. Tonë is a unit commander. However his unit is with Balli Kombëtar, which opposes the Communists because they do not demand that Kosovo be part of Albania, and loses its credibility by allying with Nazi Germany. Tonë's mother is shot for refusing to persuade her sons to join the cease-fire.

Fatime Ejupi is 18 in 1944 when he is recruited by Tito's People's Liberation Army to fight the Axis occupation. Only after two years in the army is he examined by a doctor, who declares that he is a woman, and he is discharged.


Willy de Bruijn, champion cyclist, became a man in 1937.  He then married and opened a cafe in Brussels.


Homosexuality is decriminalized in 1942 with an age-of-consent of 20.

Arlette-Irène Leber has a series of operations including vaginoplasty in late 1941 and early 1942. In 1944 a Cantonal Court approves her petition for a change of civic status to female, and explicitly rejectes a caveat from one of Leber’s doctors that she be prohibited from marrying as a woman.

The novelist Bryher, who sees herself as male but does not wear male clothes, provides her home in Switzerland to help Jewish refugees from Germany.

Li Shiu Tong, Hirschfeld's other lover and heir, does a degree in Zurich until 1941, then moves to Boston until 1945.


Homosexuality is decriminalized in 1944 with an age-of-consent of 20.


Homosexuality is decriminalized in 1940, under British occupation.


Teresa Pla Meseguer, intersex raised as a girl, works as a shepherdess. At the age of 32 in 1949, the Francoist Guardia Civil take Teresa in for interrogation. On release, Meseguer never dresses as female again. He takes the name Florencio. He joines the Spanish Maquis which was still fighting the Fascist government although it had been abandoned by the Allies who had cut off their supply lines. He will be arrested in 1960, and amnestied in 1977.

Jordi Torremadé says in 1942 that it was an error that he has been raised a girl and became a female athletics champion.  He had surgery.  The Fascist state accepts this, changes his documents and invalidates his sporting records.

Soviet Union

A. P. Frumkin does phalloplasties on injured soldiers comparable to the work done by Harold Gillies in England.

K, from Kazan, is diagnosed as a transvestite in 1937, given permission by the People’s Court to wear female clothing, her identity papers are changed to her female name, and she is removes from the military recruitment rolls.  She survives the war.


Karl Baer was allowed to emigrate from Germany with his wife in 1938: there he works as an accountant.


Ludwig Levy-Lenz, one of Hirschfeld’s surgeons, fled the Nazis in 1933 and again in 1939. He is deprived of his German citizenship in 1939. He lives and sets up a practice in Cairo, where transgender surgery will later be done.


Georges Burou opens a medical practice in Casablanca in 1940. He serves in the Fourth French-Moroccan Mountain Division, and is part of the liberation of Alsace.

Lapsed transvestite Joseph Dean opens Dean's Bar in Tangiers (the real-life version of Rick in the film Casablanca)

South Africa

Christina Jwar continues as a nurse to the black community in Ficksburg.  


Kitanura Sayo is possessed (Kamigakari) in August 1945 as the war ends by Tensho-Kotai-jin and Amaterasu, that is major male and female deities at the same time. An androgynous experience. She later founds the Tensho-Kotai-Jingu-Kyo cult.

AkihiroMiwa, who later becomes one of Japan's best known drag performers, is a child in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb is dropped.

Ginza Rose is a show dancer for the US occupation forces.


Kawashima Yoshiko, plays a major role in persuading the last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi, to become the puppet ruler of Manchuria. He participates in the Japanese occupation of China, and extorts large sums of money from Chinese merchants who are accused of dealing with the Chinese forces. By the end of the war in 1945 Kawashima has gained much weight and has contracted syphilis. He is betrayed, by a spurned lover, to the army of Chiang Kai-shek. They find him guilty of treason and behead him.

With the Japanese invasion in 1937, Méi Lánfāng, the famous player of female parts in Chinese opera, moves to Hong Kong. He later returnes to Shanghai, but grows a beard and moustache and refuses to perform until 1946.

Cheng Yanqiu, player of female roles in the Beijing Opera, refuses to perform during the Japanese occupation and workes as a farmer.


Future sex-change doctor Shan Ratnam almost loses his father to execution by the occupying Japanese. His mother and youngest sibling die from lack of medical care.  


Lea Sonia, Australia’s major female impersonator in the 1930s, is killed in 1942 by a tram in the wartime brownout.

Harry Foy, Sydney’s best-known female impersonator, is flirting in a bar, when a US sailor strikes him in the mouth. He never recoveres consciousness.

Bill Smith is a jockey and horse trainer in North Queensland.

William Edwards is retired.

Neville McQuade (18) and Lewis Stanley Keith (19) - 1942.


Carlos Alberto Fonesco is writing poems and journalism, despite being bound to a wheelchair.
Joséde la Riva-Agüero y Osma, ex-mayor of Lima and ex-Prime Minister, chair of the Peruvian Fascist Brotherhood starts appearing at public functions dressed as female.

New Zealand

John Money, the future advocate of contentious gender and intersex practices, is a psychology student at Victoria University of Wellington.


Dick Montgomery is a female impersonator in Montreal’s black clubs.

Ross Hamilton is re-engaged to organize drag shows in the Military as he had done in the first war.   However he is caught having sex with subordinates and discharged.

In Toronto John Herbert Brundage, the future distinguished playwright, is already an accomplished cross-dresser, and is able to pass as female at a fashion show.

The future Michelle DuBarry wins first prize at the 1939 Port Hope Music Festival, singing “Cobbler, Cobbler Mend My Shoe”.  He does his first drag on his uncle’s farm at age 9. His high school years are filled with operettas and stage shows. With a friend he attends a school dance in drag.


Joe Carstairs, power boat racer, continues on his private island.   At Christmas 1939 he gives a banquet for 1200 people in Nassau. In January 1941 he is visited by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  Later he publishes poetry under the name Hans Jacob Bernstein


Joao Francisco dos Santo, is  released from a 10-year prison sentence for murder, wins the Best Costume award at the 1942 Rio Carnival as Madame Satã, and from there becomes a drag star.

10 May 2015

During World War II – part i

The start of World War II in Europe is generally taken to be 1 September 1939.  On this day Germany invaded Poland. We could also argue that the war started in1937 when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, or 1936, the start of the Spanish Civil War.  In Asia, the War started with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 or their invasion of China in 1937.

It is an interesting irony that both the USA and the USSR took the attitude that the war started in 1941.

The War ended on both continents in 1945, except in Spain where the anti-Fascist forces struggled on until 1960 even though they had been abandoned by the allies, and in Greece where UK/US allied with the fascists to defeat the Partisans.

The world population in the 1940s was around 2.5 billion. If the 1:500 ratio applied then also, there would have been 5 million potential transsexuals, but only a small few were offered the opportunity. Even the discredited 1:10,000 ratio would give 250,0000. Of course the trans and intersex persons whom we know of add up to a much smaller number.

Transgender surgery and cross-sex hormones were just becoming available at the end of the 1930s, but would remain unavailable to most of those who would want them for several decades more.  Not surprisingly, for many in this generation, drag performance or occasional cross-dressing remained a final stage, rather than a stop on the journey to womanhood or manhood.  

The few who are known to history are listed below.   A significantly shorter version of this was originally published in September 2009, the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland.   Days and months have come and gone, and now it is the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

This list also includes sexologists and doctors who worked with trans and intersex persons.

Part 1: UK,  France & Germany

Part 2: other countries 

Part 3: USA


The doctors  

Sexologist Havelock Ellis dies 8 July 1939.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis dies in London, 23 September 1939, the same day as Albert Moll.

Anthony Storr, after only average marks at school, gains a wartime courtesy degree at Cambridge and qualifies as a doctor at Westminster Hospital.  His asthma precludes his having to do military service.

Charles Armstrong is a consultant physician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. He specialises in intersex patients.

Harold Gillies, the surgeon who will later do two, and only two, pioneering sex changes, organises plastic surgery units and trains other doctors to help injured British soldiers. He has developed ‘flap surgery’ where a flap of skin is moved to another part of the body to help healing.

Lennox Broster, operated on hundreds of intersex patients, especially those with adreno-genital syndrome, at Charing Cross Hospital, in the 1930s and 1940s. On 2 August 1943 he is featured in an article in The News of the World, which attracts the attention of many persons whom we would now call transsexuals.

Norman Haire had been diagnosed as diabetic and nephritic. In 1940, shortly after war broke out, he returns to Australia. He pleads health reasons, but is accused of cowardice. He opens an expensive practice in Sydney, but also lectures for the Workers' Educational Association and the New Education Fellowship, and speaks on the wireless. He takes up acting, and is well reviewed for his performance in Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma. Using the name Wykeham Terris, he writes a series of articles for the weekly magazine, Woman, a pioneering series discussing sex-education, pregnancy and childbirth issues, gynaecological disorders and venereal disease. In 1944 he appears in a debate on the Australian Broadcasting Commission's 'Nation's Forum of the Air' arguing that population should be limited. Afterwards he is strongly denounced in the House of Representatives.

John Randell, who later will be the major doctor in the gender clinic at Charing Cross Hospital, qualifies as a doctor at the Welsh National School of Medicine in 1941. From 1942-6 he is a Surgeon Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). 

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is first synthesised at Oxford University in 1938 by Leon Golberg. It is not patented as it had been developed using public funds. Because it was not patented, it is cheap to synthesize from coal tar, and is produced by over 300 pharmaceutical companies. It acted in the body like a natural estrogen. It is hailed by leading researchers and gynecologists as a wonder drug with a host of potential uses. Golberg’s boss, Edward Charles Dodds will be knighted for this scientific achievement. Soon after, researchers in the United States begin giving the synthetic hormone to women with problem pregnancies. The massive experiment will eventually involve an estimated 10 million pregnant women worldwide. In the 1970s it will be established that DES can malform a fetus, including feminization of a male fetus, and studies will associate it with increased occurrence of transsexuality.

Transgender surgery by 1945

Mark Weston, champion female shot-putter and javelin thrower, is post-op, legally male and married to a woman.

Harry Weston, Mark's younger sibling, is operated on in September 1939.  He becomes depressed and commits suicide in 1943.

Michael Dillon, now living as male, working as a garage hand, is the first female-born person to take the new experimental testosterone. In 1942 he has a mastectomy and has his birth certificate changed. He will later have a series of experimental operations from Harold Gillies from 1945 to render him physically male.

Bill Allen, after a mysterious stay in hospital in 1935, claimed that he is now a man, and is working as a bus conductor. In 1949 he will murder a neighbour and become the last trans person to be hanged in the UK.

Robert Allen, works in the women’s auxiliary and as an assistant in the movies, successfully petitions the British government to amend his birth certificate in 1944.

Future transgender surgery

The future Ewan Forbes, graduates in medicine from the University of Aberdeen in 1944.

The future Georgina Somerset trains in dentistry. In 1944 he joins the Royal Navy as a dentist, which he is able to do without a physical examination.

The future Betty Cowell, marries in 1941 and becomes a father. He becomes a Spitfire pilot with the Royal Air Force, and flies several times over Germany. He is shot down over the Rhine. 

The future Angela Morley, is in demand as an alto-saxophonist as older musicians have been conscripted. He starts writing arrangements. He is principal saxophonist with the Oscar Rabin Band and the Geraldo Orchestra from 1944.

The future Jan Morris is an intelligence officer with the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers in Palestine and Italy while still in his teens. 

The future Judy Cousins, is a Major in the British Indian Army.

The future Susan Huxford, meets his wife in 1939. He joins the Royal Corps of Signals as soon as he is 18, and spends the war in India as a staff officer.

Poppy Cooper, the future Le Carrousel star, is working as a bus conductor in Preston.

No surgery - but already living full time by 1945

Wynsley Michael Swan, had married a woman in 1927, is in retirement. 

Jane Heap runs a Gurdieff group in London from 1935.

Micky Jacob, novelist, works for the Ministry of Information during the war, and then serves with ENSA in North Africa and catches malaria.

Michael Johnson, baker, is arrested in 1942 when it is noticed that the name on his ID card had been changed from Muriel to Michael.  

Lil, who lives as female, and Maisie, who dresses for the stage, are a gay couple who live in Hackney, London, and perform as a drag duo at various East End venues, particularly the Royal Oak, Hackney, during and after the war.

After a conviction in 1943, Pamela Bird goes full-time and works as a bus conductress, a barmaid and as a cook. She has a good voice and sings as a crooner with more than one band where she attracts male admirers.

Victor Barker, having been in the courts and the papers several times during the 1930s,works as a switchboard operator in a hospital outside London during the war.  

Will go full-time later

Ron Storme tours in popular all-male drag reviews during the war.

The future Roberta Kelly is assigned to GHQ in Whitehall to be a draughtsman, where he sits next to Winston Churchill during an air-raid.

Stella Minge is in the merchant navy.

Part time trans persons

Arthur Corbett, transvestite and future husband of April Ashley, rises to the rank of captain, and is awarded the Croix de Guerre. The future April Ashley is at school in Liverpool.

Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, a deception officer in MI6, is arrested, en femme, in Madrid in October 1941.   His superiors understood the wearing of disguise, but why was he wearing a brassiere?

Frederick Ashton, ballet choreographer and pantomime dame, is artistic director for the Vic-Wells Ballet, later known as the Royal Ballet.

Toupie Lowther, tennis and fencing champion, model for Stephen Gordon in The Well of Loneliness, has retired to a village in Sussex where she usually dresses in a man's suit but was known as Miss Lowther.

John Radclyffe Hall intended to retire to Florence, but war intervened.  With physical problems, Hall retires with Una Troubridge to Devon  Hall dies in London of stomach cancer in October 1943.  

Delbert Hill comes to England in 1942 as an entertainer in the US Air Force Special Services. He performs as "Dirty Gertie from Bizerti". He keeps performing during air-raids, and with this reputation is invited to a Royal Command Performance, 4 July 1944. In 1945, he is re-assigned as a latrine orderly, and runs away. He disguises as Donna Delbert, "America's Outstanding Lady Magician and the Only Lady Fire Eater in the World". He will be arrested as a deserter in 1949.

The peak years of Bobbie Kimber, female ventriloquist, who  will out himself as a man in 1952.

Arthur Lucan as Old Mother Riley is named as second only to George Formby as Britain's top film star in 1941. Old Mother Riley makes 9 successful films during the war years.

The future Danny La Rue, although Irish, is in the Royal Navy where he does drag shows.

Douglas Byng, having done the first drag show on television in 1938, is billed during the war as ‘Bawdy but British’.

Vesta Tilley, the great Music Hall male impersonator has been retired since 1920. 

Hetty King, also a Music Hall male impersonator keeps working into the 1960s.

Terry Gardner, who had been doing drag since his teens in the 1930s, is a cook in the officers' mess sailing between England and Gibralter. He is also a performer both at Chatham Barracks and in concert parties in Gibraltar. In 1944 he is in the army drag show: We Were in the Forces
The future Yvonne Sinclair, who will organize the TV/TS Group in London, is still a child and  has been cross-dressing since the age of three. 

The future Mrs Shufflewick is called up to the RAF and becomes part of the RAF Gang Show.   He tours North Africa, Italy and Cyprus putting on shows for the forces, usually cast as the leading lady.

Shelley Summers does drag while with HM forces in Burma until 1947 (for which he gets sergeant's stripes)

Jimmy Slater, who did forces drag shows in WWI and was then in Splinters, the ex-soldiers' impersonation revue, is still doing the same as a solo act.

Eric Gilbert Oakley, who will do a drag act as Linda in the 1960s, and write Man Into Woman, a faux-biography, and Sex Change and dress deviation, is in the army.

Gluck finishes one long-term affair and moves to Sussex with another, and is still a male-dresser.

Show Biz

Irving Berlins' This is the Army, plays the London Palladium for four nights in 1944.

Men in FrocksForces Showboat, We were in the Forces evolve from army entertainment units into companies touring the UK.


Transgender surgery by 1945

Violette Morris, masculine woman and poly-athlete had top surgery in 1929,  and is assassinated by the Resistance in 1944.

Willy de Bruijn, Belgian champion cyclist, came to Paris in 1937 for surgery. 

Henri Acces had surgery to become male in 1934 (Meyerowitz p31)

Future transgender surgery

The future Ovida Delect  is part of the Communist Résistance to the German invasion until arrested. 

The future Marie Schwidenhammer, working with the Résistance in 1940, helps several hundred prisoners-of-war escape the camp at Luneville. Then from late 1940 to 1943 he organises the production of a scouring powder, which employed a few dozen young people who would otherwise have been conscripted for compulsory labour in Germany. In 1943 he is arrested and sentenced to death by the Gestapo.

Michel-Marie Poulain, is a non-commissioned officer in the Army.

No surgery - but already living full time by 1945

Mathilde de Morny, Monsieur de Marquis, la Marquise de Belboeuf, commits suicide at age 82 in Paris, 1944.

Madeleine Pelletier, doctor and transvestite, arrested on abortion charge, dies neglected in prison, 1939.

Claude Cahun spends the war in Jersey, involved with the Resistance and as a propagandist.  In 1944 arrested and sentenced to death.  Health never recovers from time in jail.  Will die in 1954.

Anton Prinner, Hungarian artist in Paris, hides and is not noticed by the occupying Germans.

Part-time trans persons

Guilda works with the Ballets de Monte Carlo during the war. Afterwards he will become an international drag artist and move to Montréal.

Luis Fernando, Spanish Infante, had squandered the wealth of his wife, Marie Constance Charlotte Say.  She dies in ruin in a small apartment in German-occupied Paris in 1943. Luís Fernando then enters a nursing home, also in Paris, where he dies two years later, aged 56.

Felix Felixovich Yusupov, lapsed transvestite and killer of Rasputin, is living in Paris.

Clementine Delait, bearded café owner, sometimes male dresser, dies in 1939.

Show biz and literature

Marcel Oudjman, future owner of Madame Arthur and Le Carrousel, has arrived in Paris from Algeria, and is working as a bartender.  

Club Le Monocle closed.

Frede Baule's Chez Frede manages to stay open during the German occupation.

Jean Genet, convicted thief, in prison in 1942 writes Notre Dame des Fleurs (Our Lady of the Flowers) about a transgender prostitute, and after release into German-occupied Paris, manages to get it published.
  • Agnès Masson, Le travestissement. Essai de psycho-pathologie sexuelle. Éditions Hippocrate, 1935.
  • J. Fortineau, R. Vercier, C. Durand et L. Vidart, "Idées de transformation sexuelle et travestissement chez deux délirants chroniques", Annales médico-psychologiques 97, n°1, pp.51-3. 1939.
  • Etienne Wolff, Les changements de sexe, Paris: Gallimard, 1946. 


The Doctors

Sexologist Albert Moll dies 23 September 1939, the same day as Sigmund Freud.

Endocrinologist Eugen Steinach who had experimented with transplanting sex glands, and pioneered vasectomies, and is Director of the Biological Institute of the Viennese Academy of Sciences, dies in 1944.

Kurt Warnekros, gynaecologist and obstetrician, director of the women’s clinic in Dresden, who had transplanted ovaries and a uterus into pioneer transsexual, Lili Elvenes (Elbe) in 1930, keeps treating Jewish patients until 1944, but also does forced sterilizations. His clinic is destroyed in the February 1945 air raids and firestorm on Dresden.

Testosterone was first isolated from a bull in 1935. Karoly G. David, Ernst Laqueur, and colleagues isolated crystalline testosterone from testicles and published the results. Within a few months, groups led by Johann Butenandt and G. Hanisch (funded by Schering Corp. in Berlin), and Leopold Ruzicka and A. Wettstein of Ciba, independently of each other, developed synthetic methods of preparing testosterone. The production of synthetic testosterone from the success of Butenandt and Ruzicka earns them the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Concentration Camps & POW Camps

In February 1942 an SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer in full uniform, with silver ribbons and decorations, together with an elegant young lady are arrested in a box at the Hamburg opera, following a denunciation, in that the lady was a young man of 19, a soldier in the Waffen-SS and home on leave in Hamburg. His father owns a major nightclub on the Reeperbahn. They are taken directly to Flossenbürg concentration camp in Bavaria, and locked in separate individual cells. They remain in solitary confinement until the camp is liberated in April 1945.

The future Ovida Delect  is in Neuengamme Concentration Camp.

The future Marie Schwidenhammer,is interned at Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp (in Alsace which had been incorporated into the Reich). There he is subjected to experimental hormonal treatment.

The future Betty Cowell, is in Stalag Luft 1, near Lubeck, from where he is liberated by the Soviet army in 1945.

In Auschwitz Concentration Camp, a 13-year boy is involuntarily surgically changed into a girl. After the war, he will be changed back as much as doctors are able to.

In Buchenwald Concentration Camp, Danish endocrinologist Carl Værnet does involuntary Steinach operations attempting to turn gay men straight, but without success.  At least two contract infections from the insanitary conditions and die. Later Allied authorities turn a blind eye as Værnet escapes to Argentina.

Erwin Gohrbandt, of the Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin who did genital surgery on Dörchen Richter, Toni Ebel and Lili Elvened (Elbe), has become a general in the Luftwaffe. He also participates in hypothermia experiments at Dachau Concentration Camp and writes up the results in a major medical journal. In February 1945, he is awarded the Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkeuzes on Hitler's personal authority.

Many gay and transgender "men" in the Nazi concentration camps are not released when the camps are liberated in 1945. They are transferred to regular prisons to complete their sentences.

Transgender surgery by 1945

All idea of surgery had stopped in 1933 with the destruction of Hirschfeld's Institute.   Those who were post-op did not stay in Germany.   Dörchen Richter and Lili Elvenes (Elbe) were dead.  Charlotte Charlaque and Toni Ebel had fled to Czechoslovakia, and Karl Baer was allowed to emigrate to Palestine. 

However it was later reported that Hinrich B,  of Hannover had all her male parts removed in 1943 with the permission of the Nazis (Meyerowitz p48, p298n110).

Future transgender surgery

The future Jeanette Schmid is drafted into the Wehrmacht at age 17. He is in Italy until invalided home with typhoid fever. Like many Sudeten Germans, he flees from Czechoslovakia in 1945, in his case to Munich, where he starts a career as a female-impersonator.

The future Kerstin Thieme  is conscripted into the German army and becomes a prisoner of war in Italy.

No surgery - but already living full time by 1945

This was dangerous as transvestity was taken as proof of homosexuality.  Gerda von Zobeltitz somehow survived but we don't know how.   We don't know what happened to Josefine Meißauer nor any of the others who obtained a police permit to be their real gender.  Florence Winter (male name unknown) who had been living as a man in Berlin, returned to Chicago (Meyerowitz p29)

Will go full-time later

The future Charlotte von Mahlsdorf is the son of the local Nazi leader, and in 1942 has to join the Hitler Youth. When his parents split in 1944, the father pulls a gun on his son, who then kills him with a rolling pin while he sleeps.  After several weeks in a psychiatric institution, he is sentenced to four years in a juvenile prison, but is released with the fall of the Nazi regime.


Dora, now Heinrich Ratjen, high-jumper in the 1936 Olympics, is re-registered as a man, and returns to Hamburg.

  • H.F.. Voss. Ein Beitrag zum Problem des Transvestitismus. MD thesis, University of Hamburg. 1938.
  • Hans Bürger-Prinz & H. Weigel, "Über den Transvestismus bei Männern", Monatschrift für Kriminalbiologie, n°31, pp.125-43. 1940.
  • H.H. Huelke.  "Ein Transvestit (Der Fall Hinrich B.)".  Kriminalistik, 3, 1949.