This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

25 June 2015

Robert Allen (1914 - 1997) film maker, radiologist, teacher

Joyce Allen from Warrington, Lancashire was a masculine tomboy who frequently scrapped with both boys and girls. She resisted having to wear girls' clothes, and took pleasure in dressing in her father's trousers. She pilfered dad's cigarettes, and when he bought a car, she, although under age, borrowed it and drove around the streets.

She had learned the violin, but at her first public performance, of Luigi Arditi's Il Bacio, a string snapped, and it was many years before Allen picked up the violin again.

She left school at fourteen, and worked at a variety of jobs, but also became well known at the local labour exchange where she befriended one of the clerks. The most satisfying job was at a local cinema.

In 1933, Joyce had met a man with whom she enjoyed going to horse races and greyhound tracks. They married, but quickly realized that 'a normal marital relationship' was impossible. Bored and incompetent as a housewife, Joyce took up gambling and lost everything, even the furniture.

Afterwards, now usually wearing slacks and with a man's haircut Allen worked in the exhibition side of the entertainment industry. She continued to suffer from stares and comments while trying to pass as a girl/woman.
"The sadistic delight of strangers in making mocking remarks about my appearance perhaps called forth a sadistic response from me. I actually had visiting cards printed, bearing a false name and address, and when people were offensive to me in public, I would hand them a card with the remark: 'If there are any further details you would like to know, perhaps you would write to me.'"
With the start of war in September 1939, Allen immediately enlisted. She was assigned as a driver to First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), and after six months was made a sergeant. In December 1941 Allen was having difficulties in avoiding a woman's sexual advances, when her mother fell ill and she was given a compassionate release.

After some weeks of caring for her mother, Allen applied for work and found a job at the Ministry of Supply where she was working with men driving heavy lorries and tippers, wearing slacks beneath a boiler suit. One evening, returning home, tired on the bus after work, Allen was subjected to an extended tirade from a man who had known her since childhood. She chased him and they fought until both were exhausted.

That done Allen knew it was time to leave Warrington. A spate of letters to film companies, advertising firms etc. produced several offers (it being wartime there were many vacancies as staff were in the forces). As a masculine woman in slacks, Allen became a secretary at the Denham Film Studios just outside north-west London, which at that time was more used than the nearby Pinewood. She was part of the team under Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger which made The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, and then The Volunteer, a short starring Ralph Richardson.

At this point, in late 1943, Allen received a directive from the Ministry of Labour and National Service with instructions to report as a woman porter at a London station. This provided the nudge needed and Allen went to the Ministry of Labour headquarters in person, where he was put in touch with Valentine Harvey, the Chief Press Officer who accepted Allen as a man, quashed the directive and guided him through the bureaucracy. Allen's doctor who had previously treated him only for influenza, did a thorough examination and sent samples for pathological analysis. Allen wrote to his parents explaining that they had a son and not a daughter, and received a strongly supportive letter from his father.

In 1944 Allen took a position with Halas and Batchelor, the film cartoon company.

In September that year Allen wrote to the Registrar General, and with the doctor's report and a declaration from his parents, Allen was invited to Somerset House at the end of October that year where his birth certificate was rectified. He was asked for his male name, and, unprepared, chose ‘Robert’ from a glance at somebody else's documents.

In December Robert received a legal opinion that his first marriage was void ab initio, and he was free to marry his love from the Warrington Labour Exchange who was now working at Denham. They married quietly two days before Christmas, and spent the holiday with Robert's parents.

Allen returned to Denham to be the second assistant director on the film Carnival, directed by Stanley Haynes based on the novel by Compton Mackenzie. He was then an assistant to David Lean on Great Expectations, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.

In 1946, the British film industry suffered one of its periodic crises with the end of wartime government subsidies, and Allen was out of a job. In March his father died. Allen suffered a few years of short-term employments and unemployment.

Valentine Harvey helped yet again, and in 1948, Allen was awarded a grant to train as a medical auxiliary, and in 1951 qualified as a diagnostic radiographer.

He developed a friendship with another radiographer who was a fervent Catholic, and promised to look into the religion after qualifying. Which he did, and at Christmas 1951 was baptised into the Catholic Church.

After a number of temporary radiography posts, Allen became a science teacher at a Christian Brothers run College in Liverpool.

++His marriage came to an end, and they were divorced.  In 1957 Robert remarried in a Congregational church

At the end of his life he was a resident in a nursing home in Cheshire.   He died age 83.

*Not the fabric designer, nor the finance writer, nor the composer. Alan Hart also used the name Robert Allen Bamford Jr in 1918. Also Laud Humphries was born Robert Allen Humphries. Robert Eads was in full Robert Allen Eads.
  • Robert Allen. But for the Grace: The True Story of a Dual Existence London: W.H. Allen 149 pp 1954.
  • "He was once a bride".  Daily Mirror, 30 August 1957: backpage.  See More on Robert Allen

This is one of the country's earliest officially recognized gender changes. He did not take hormones or have surgery. Obviously he had an intersex condition with anomalous genitals, but he does not say which.

There is no record of Robert Allen after the second marriage in 1957.  

22 June 2015

Carol Anne Masters (1921–?) impersonator, model, actress.

Masters was dressed and treated as a girl until the 6th grade, on the pretence that every time that he wore trousers he got into a fight.

As a girl Masters had applied to act in the Hal Roach Our Gang comedies, and made the short list.

He served in the US Army during World War II where he played a female role in a few army shows.

Afterwards she lived in Los Angeles where she became known for cross-dressing at gay parties, and did some professional modeling and appeared in five films in small uncredited roles.

She came third in a beauty parade with 80 contestants.

She then became a professional female impersonator. She usually dressed as female outside work also.

At age 28 Carol wrote an autobiographical sketch for Sexology magazine, which was later reprinted in D.O. Cauldwell's Transvestism: Men in Female Dress, 1956.
  • Carol Anne Masters,. "Transvestite Confession." Sexology, xvii, 9 (April 1951): 567-76.
  • Carol Anne Masters. “Confessions of a Female Impersonator”. In D.O. Cauldwell. Transvestism: Men in Female Dress. New York: Sexology Corp, 1956: 85-92.
  • Vern L. Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. University of Pennsylvania Press 1993: 244.

19 June 2015

Leslie Townsend (1960 - ) model, film extra.

Townsend grew up in Philadelphia. After learning about Renee Richards, and seeing a Donahue episode about transsexuals Townsend sent away for some informational materials which were then discovered by father. Townsend was then sent for professional help to, among others, John Money.

At 19 Leslie left home for Key West, New Orleans and then New York. She worked as a female impersonator and a sex worker. She had genital surgery at 23. She was married to a man for 18 months. She moved to Houston and was reasonable successful as a model, acting in commercials for malls and condominium complexes. In Los Angeles she was an extra in television shows: The West Wing, Alias, Boomtown and Malcolm in the Middle. In Las Vegas she was a stand-up comic. She has also worked as a secretary and tended bar.

After 20 years of stealth she wrote her autobiography and started speaking at colleges and transgender groups.

"Following my surgery, I realized that I could fit into society as a woman and no one would ever be the wiser. And until very recently I lived in deep stealth. In fact, I was in so deep that I didn't know there was a name for it. Stealth. Once I was told its meaning and it's use in the transgender community, I realized that it is definitely a word that describes the last twenty years of my life. In all that time I never found it easy or advantageous to reveal the details of my past to anyone. I'm sure that fear was the motivating factor in keeping my secret. Fear of rejection, loss of friendship, loss of boyfriends. In retrospect, I think I feared the loss of my female persona and validation of that persona that I received from the men in my life. Fear can be such a crippling emotion. For me, the prospect of divulging my secrets went hand in hand with giving up life as I knew it in my seemingly secure little world. Looking back, I have to wonder how secure that world was if one tidbit of information could have brought it tumbling down. It has taken me all of those twenty years to come to terms with the shame I held onto for so long."

Leslie has moved back to Philadelphia to reconnect with her family, and is now active in real-estate development. She has set up a fund for transgender students at the University of Pennsylvania.

She was also part of the all transgender production of The Vagina Monologues, and the resulting film, Beautiful Daughters.

*Not the Derbyshire cricketer, nor the Australian cricket umpire, nor the Royal Navy Rear-Admiral, nor the Ohio River historian.

16 June 2015

Pete Burns (1959–2016) performer

Burns was born in Cheshire to a father from Liverpool and a German Jewish mother who had fled from the Nazis.

He later told journalist Kris Kirk:
"When I was 13 I heard about April Ashley's sex change and I thought 'Bloody hell, that's what I have to do', 'cos I was really enjoying putting on make- up and stuff. But after a while I realised you didn't have to be a 'she' to do it".
At 14 he dropped out of Catholic school after it was clarified that his appearance/actions were not in line with the rules. Shortly afterwards Pete met hairdresser Lynne whom he married in 1980.
"The only thing that spoiled it was that the man in the registry office had to go and make a feeble joke by asking which one of us was the bride".
They remained married until 2006.

After working in a Liverpool record shop, Burns was able to perform with a band, and after personnel changes they became Dead or Alive, who had a number one single with a cover of "You Spin Me Round" in 1985. Pete fronted the group and was known for his androgynous look.

After his friend InternationalChrysis died in 1990, he put out a cover version of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" under her name in 1994:
"You've got your mother in a whirl /She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl ".
Burns became a media personality, swearing on the BBC, a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. He became famous for his feminizing plastic surgeries, and appeared on television programs on the subject.

In 2006 Pete and Lynne were divorced; shortly afterwards he entered a civil union with Michael Simpson.

He published an autobiography in 2007. In 2010, Burns won £450,000 in damages from cosmetic surgeon Dr Maurizio Viel, who, the singer claims, left him 'suicidal' after his lip implant operations went wrong.

However by 2015, and more plastic surgery, he was bankrupt.

Pete died of cardiac arrest, aged 57.   
EN.WIKIPEDIA(Pete Burns)   IMDB   EN.WIKIPEDIA(Dead or Alive)    Transgender-Net


13 June 2015

Sheela-Marie Padgett (1958- ) dance, artist

Padgett, the son of a Baptist minister and a first-grade school teacher in Mississippi, won a scholarship at age 14 to study ballet at North Carolina School of the Arts, and then at the School of American Ballet in New York City leading to the award of a Ford Foundation Scholarship.

This led to membership of the New York City Ballet, and dancing major male roles in ballets created by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Robert Lafosse and Dick Tanner. It also led to hanging out with Andy Warhol at Indochine and late nights at Studio 54.

Padgett retired from ballet in 1995, took up painting and has become known as an outstanding painter of animals. In 2007-8, both parents died in quick succession. There was a small inheritance, and a transsexual friend was upgrading with facial feminization surgery.
Padgett decided it was time and announced that she was transitioning as Sheela-Marie. This was completed with genital surgery by Toby Meltzer in Scottsdale, Arizona. While she had medical insurance, transition costs were not included: altogether including facial feminization it cost $100,000.

10 June 2015

Sandra Clark (1959 - 2014) musician

Clarke grew up in San Jose, California. After a BA in music performance from San Jose State University, Clarke worked in sales for two years, before beginning studies at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. While there he met and married a fellow French Horn player. They had two daughters.

Clarke has played French horn with the Toledo Symphony since late 1990. Clarke and wife divorced in 2001, and as Sandra she transitioned later that year. She stayed in the orchestra as principle horn player, and wrote an autobiography in 2004.

She composed and gave recitals and won the Fischoff National Chamber Music competition. She also organized the symphony’s out-of-town concerts, managed ticket sales, and handled advertising for programs.

By 2014 Sandra's health was deteriorating, although she was able to play during the entire season. She died of brain cancer at age 54.

*Not the character in the sitcom, 227, nor the linguist at Memorial University.

07 June 2015

Pascale Ourbih (1972 - ) model, actress, activist

Original February 2008, revised June 2015.

Ourbih was raised in Algeria and initially trained as a pharmacist. At age 18 Ourbih moved to Paris as Pascale, and started transition. She had surgery a year later.

She found work as a model. In 2000 Pascale was offered the lead role by Pierre-Alain Meier in his film Thelma about a trans woman who returns to Crete and meets her daughter. Since then Pascale has worked in several films and television series.

In 2008, right after acquiring French citizenship, she ran for office for the Greens in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. She ran again in 2014.

From 2008 to 2013 Pascale was president of the Chéries-Chéris LGBT film festival. In 2010 she was on the jury for the Cannes Film Festival first gay prize.

She is also an activist for trans rights, human rights, the ecology and against AIDS.

FR.WIKIPEDIA    IMDB    Linteraute

04 June 2015

James Dalrymple (1931 - 2014) surgeon

James Dalrymple was born in Cardiff, his father a doctor.   He himself qualified as a doctor at Charing Cross Hospital, London, in 1955, where he became a resident obstetric officer.

He did his national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps January 1957-December 1958.  Afterwards he worked as a surgeon at Prince of Wales Hospital, Royal Masonic Hospital, St Mark's Hospital, all in London, and then at the London Hospital in Bath and Darlington Memorial Hospital, County Durham. 

In 1967 Dalrymple moved to Ontario and did orthopaedic surgery at Oshawa General Hospital, and then at the Port Perry and Uxbridge hospitals.

In 1970, he went to Peru, where he helped establish the surgical department of Hospital Amazónico Albert Schweitzer in Pucallpa, a charity foundation for the poor. In 1975 when the hospital ran out of money, he moved on to South Africa, where from October 1975 to December 1977 he was a principal surgical specialist and later medical superintendent at Umtata Hospital in Transkei.  He briefly returned to Canada, where he was a surgeon at Inuvik General Hospital, North West Territories.

From 1979 he was back in London, and worked at the London Hospital, the Olchurch and Rush Green hospitals in Barking, and then St Andrew's Hospital, Bow.

He then trained for genital surgery under Peter Phillip, and took over his practice when he retired in the early 1980s.  He did operations at Charing Cross Hospital, and also did private work with psychiatrist Russell Reid.

Later, in partnership with surgeon Trevor Crofts, Dalrymple practiced privately at London Bridge Hospital.

He performed over 2000 mtf transgender surgeries before he retired in the early 2000s.

Patients include: Bibíana Fernández, Zagria.

*Not any of the Viscounts of Stair, nor the cricketer, nor the manager of Glasgow Corporation Tramways.
  • Russell Reid, Domenico di Ceglie, James Dalrymple, Louis Gooren, Richard Green, John Money. Transsexualism: The Current Medical Viewpoint. Produced for the Parliamentary Forum on Transsexualism, Second Edition, 18th January 1996. PDF
  • "James O. Dalrymple". 11 May 2001. Archive.  
TSRoadmap    Plarr

01 June 2015

20 trans Londoners who changed things by example or achievement

There is a separate listing for the Rest of England.  See also Wales/Scotland/Ireland.

London, of course, was the home of the first Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital, supplemented by specialist consultants on Harley Street and nearby.

  1. Harold Gillies (1882 – 1960) pioneer plastic surgeon who did one ftm and one mtf surgery 1942-6. GVWW   Wikipedia
  2. Lennox Broster (1888 – 1965) pioneer surgery on 100s of CAH and other intersex in 1930s and later  GVWW   Wikipedia
  3. Norman Haire (1892 – 1952) sexologist, colleague of Hirschfeld GVWW   Book
  4. Patrick Clarkson (1911 – 1969) colleague of Gillies, surgery on Georgina Somerset. GVWW   Plarr
  5. John Randell (1918 – 1982) at Charing Cross from 1950 till his death, MD thesis on TSs 1960. GVWW    GenderOrg
  6. James Dalrymple (1931 - 2014) surgeon, worked with Russell Reid. GVWW  
  7. Russell Reid (1943 - ) consultant at Charing Cross from 1982, 2004-7 he was referred to General Medical Council and sued for giving patients what they requested. GVWW   Wikipedia
  8. James Bellringer (1958 - ) worked previously with Charing Cross. TSSurgeryGuide   TGBoards
  9. Richard Curtis (196? - ) trans himself, took over Russell Reid's private practice. Transhealth   Guardian
  1. Robert Allen (1914 - ?) birth certificate amended 1944, worked in film industry, radiologist, 1st ftm autobiograpy.  GVWW      Book  

  2. Betty Cowell (1918 – 2011) motor racer, pilot, 1st mtf autobiography. GVWW    TGZone 
  3. Bobbie Kimber (1918 – 1993) ventriloquist. GVWW    Travalanche   

  4. Charlotte Bach (1920 – 1981) hypnotherapist, fraudster, theorist. GVWW    Book  

  5. Della Aleksander (192? - 2002) school teacher, organized pioneering gender conferences in 1974/5, and BBC program on transsexuals 1974. GVWW 

  6. Stella Minge (192? - ?) ran the last ever Molly House, in Newham, London in the 1950s and 1960s. GVWW
  7. Gladys Shufflewick (1924 – 1983) drag performer from 1950s who stayed in character offstage and later GLF legend. GVWW    Review  

  8. Ron Storme (1926 – 2000) performer, organizer of drag balls. GVWW     Obituary  

  9. Gloria Greaves (1933 - ) sex worker, convicted of a crime that only a man can commit, and sent to a female prison. GVWW
  10. Yvonne Sinclair (1934 – 2013) activist, ran TV/TS Group 1976-88. GVWW    Website 

  11. Dee Palmer (1937 - ) keyboardist in Jethro Tull, GVWW    Wikipedia  

  12. Rachael Webb (1940 – 2009) lorry driver, Labour councillor in Lambeth. GVWW   

  13. Sonia Burgess (1947 – 2010) lawyer working with trans and immigrants, killed by a client. GVWW  Whittlings  

  14. Letitia Winter/Fay Presto (1948 - ) magician, Press for Change. GVWW    Wikipedia    

  15. Roz Kaveney (1949 - ) GLF, writer, editor, activist. GVWW   Website  
  16. Kellie Maloney (1953 - ) boxing promoter, UKIP candidate  Wikipedia   
  17. Stella Nova (1960 – 2010) musician GVWW   Wikipedia 

  18. Alex Silverfish (1965 – 2008) techno DJ GVWW   Skrufff 

  19. Miranda Yardley (1967 - ) accountant, music magazine publisher, GVWW    Blog 

  20. Nikki Sinclaire (1968 - ) UKIP and later independent MEP. GVWW    Wikipedia