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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.

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