Essays on trans, intersex, cis and other persons and topics from a trans perspective.......All human life is here.
This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.
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Michel Seghers qualified as a doctor at the Catholic
University of Luvain in 1957. As an alternative to Belgian military service
he did a three-year medical internship in the then Belgian Congo, first on a
sugar cane plantation, and then at the University of Lovanian in
Léopoldville (renamed Kinshasha in 1966), which was affiliated with the his alma
mater. His wife was with him, and as it happened each of their three children would be born on different continents.
From 1962 he worked for a year in Cincinnati, USA, where he gained experience
in plastic surgery at the Christ and Children’s Hospital. He accepted a position
at the University of Léopoldville in 1963 where he did plastic and
reconstructive surgery, but returned to Brussels in 1966 during the instability
with the change of government that resulted in Mobutu Sese Seko
coming to power.
In October 1967 Peggy
Wijnen died of a blood clot shortly after transgender surgery. Her surgeon,
Andre Fardeau, was charged with inflicting fatal blows and wounds with
premeditation and willingly but without intent to kill, but died during the
trial. This attracted Segher’s attention, and shortly afterwards a French
psychiatrist introduced him to a patient who lived and passed as female and had
attempted suicide several times in despair. Seghers studied the literature, and
realized that he was the only hope for the patient. The operation at St Joseph’s
Hospital was successful, and afterwards Seghers communicated the facts to the Belgian
Society for Plastic Surgery.
There was another Belgian surgeon who was known for attempting to build
extra-large vaginas and ended up with vagina-rectal fistulae. Against this
background, two of Seghers’ early patients requested penectomy and orchiectomy
only, that is without a vagina.
At his clinic first at St Joseph’s Hospital and then from March 1991 at
Avenue de Broqueville 60, Brussels (map)
he performed over 1,600 mtf genital operations, and some ftm top surgery. He
generally insisted that a patient be 21 or older, but did the operation on a
younger US girl who was accompanied by her mother.
In 1988 a registered nurse from the US, Michelle Hunt, herself trans, stayed
on in Brussels after her operation. She met Dr Seghers’ US patients at the airport, and took them to
his office. She also toured trans groups in the US, and made appointments for
surgery where appropriate. However she held back the name of the surgeon to
protect him from enquiry letters which generated criticism. In Fall 1993 there
was conflict between Michelle Hunt and the Ingersoll Gender Center in that their
respective booklets on Dr Seghers' services were similar.
Veronica Jean Brown assured her readers that Dr Seghers is "American trained'. Well he did one year in Cincinatti. He did six years in Zaire. So 'Zaire trained' would be more descriptive. This is actually very relevant. He got a lot of experience reconstructing bodies that had been seriously damaged by war and violence. That kind of training makes a good surgeon. Other sex-change surgeons who learned their skill in war zones include: David Wesser (Vietnam War), Stanley Biber (Korean War), Howard Jones (WWII), Georges Burou (WWII), Harold Gillies (WWI & WWII).
Certain parts of the US seem to have gone nuts about toilets. The opponents against trans persons being allowed to use toilets
seem to base their claim on something in their religion.
I am not aware of any injunctions or even any mention of toilets in the
Christian testament, and I don’t see any being cited in newspaper articles on
I have a friend who was a professor of Classics (the study of Greco-Roman
antiquity). He informed me about Roman public toilets. They had running
water to carry away the human waste, and patrons sat on commodes much like the
ones that we use. The important difference was that the room was was
open-space. No division into cubicles; you could see the person next to you
And the toilets were not gender segregated. So the next person might be a man, might be a woman, might be a gallus (trans). You can see such such toilets in
television series of a few years ago.
Nazareth is/was a village just outside the Greco-Roman city of Sepphoris. A carpenter from
Nazareth would inevitably have gone to Sepphoris for work, and Sepphoris would
have had Roman toilets.
Frederikke Vilhelmine Møller, the daughter of a metal worker was raised in
Copenhagen. Her father died in 1856, and she was raised by her grandparents. At
age 20, working as a maid, Vilhelmine was jailed for stealing food for her
impoverished mother and four small siblings.
In 1881 Vilhelmine Møller was appointed head of the Kana boys’ home. She was
respected for her modern opinions on child rearing, and she was published in
many magazines. In 1889 at the first public meeting of Kvindevalgretsforeningen
– KVF (the Female Suffrage Association) 1500 women voted Møller onto the board.
On 28 February 1893 16-year-old Volmer Sjøgren (born 1878), one of Møller’s
wards, died in bed after a birthday party. He was about to leave the home and
take up an apprenticeship as a metal worker in Copenhagen. The doctor listed the
cause of death as a blood clot and Volmer was buried.
However his roommate, Louis, told his mother that Matron Møller often called
Volmer to share her bed. The mother contacted the chairman of the Kana board.
The chairman dismissed the insinuation as ludicrous, but when he told Møller of
the claim, she lost composure, collapsed and was admitted to hospital. After
discharge she was interviewed by the police, who found her explanations
inconsistent. She confessed to a five-year affair with Volmer, but denied
killing him. The police exhumed his body but found no evidence of foul play.
At Easter Vilhelm attended religious services in prison, and then confessed
that she had killed Volmer by adding a sedative to his fruit juice and then
suffocated him in his bed, fearing that after leaving the home, he would
disclose their relationship. The district judge wondered about Møller’s large
and stocky figure and her deep voice, and finally asked her directly if she were
a man. This she adamantly denied.
She was then examined by professor Stadfeldt who decided that Møller was not
a woman, not a hermaphrodite, but a man. Møller was put into men’s clothing and
transferred to the men’s prison at Christianshavn. Here he
wrote an autobiography, in which he describes himself as Dobbeltmennesket
(a double person). Further examination established genital ‘abnomalities’.
It came out that Møller had also had sexual relations with an assistant, a young
widow called Mackwitz. Such was Møller’s reputation as devout and respectable
that Mackwitz was suspected of corrupting her boss. She was arrested, but
released after two months.
Møller’s defense was based on the personal suffering and social circumstances
of living in a false gender role. Møller’s mother testified that as her baby’s
penis was so small, she thought that she had a daughter. However on 4 March
1894, under the male name of Vilhelmi Møller, he was condemned to death. The
Supreme Court upheld this verdict 22 June. On 21 July Møller’s sentence was
commuted by King Christian IX to hard labour for life. The next year, a Dr
Stilhoff analysed the documents and published an account in a medical journal.
After eleven years, Vilhelmi Møller was released from Vridsløselille
prison. In December 1905, Møller married Agnes Larsen (1858 - 1925) who had been
a warder in the women’s prison where Møller had first been held, and had kept in
touch by correspondence. He found work in the office of the lawyer who had
In 1907 Vilhelmi Møller changed his legal name to Frederik Vilhelm Schmidt.
He died aged 91 in Vangede, a suburb of
In 2005 Karen Søndergaard Jensens published a novel Dobbeltmennesket
about the life of Frederik Schmid.
Karin Lützen. “La Mise en discours and Silences on the History of Sexuality”
in Richard G. Parker & John H Gagnon. Conceiving Sexuality: Approaches to
Sex Research in a Postmodern World. Routledge, 1994:38-9.
Else Cederborg. A World of Weird Truths and Truthful Weirdnesses.
Sabine Meyer. 'Wie Lili zu einem richtigen Mädchen wurde': Lili Elbe: Zur
Konstruktion von Geschlecht und Identität zwischen Medialisierung, Regulierung
und Subjektivierung. "Wie Lili Zu Einem Richtigen Mädchen Wurde". [s.l.]:
transcript, 2015: 16-7.
Adolf Butenandt was raised in Lehe, near
Bremerhaven, the son of a businessman. The first from his family to go to
university, he studied chemistry at Marburg and Göttingen,
and graduated PhD from the latter in 1927. He was politically active from 1925
in the Jungdeutscher
Orden, a party then opposed to the rising Nazi Party. His thesis was
supervised by Adolf
Windaus who was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize for work on sterols.
From 1927 until 1930 he was Scientific Assistant at the Institute of
Chemistry, Göttingen. He and his assistant Erika von Ziegner worked with the
pharmaceutical company Schering AG, which
collected human pregnancy urine, and then mare’s urine. They isolated the
estrogen hormone oestrone in
pure, crystalline form, almost at the same time that E.A. Doisy did
this in the US. Erika and Adolf married in 1931, Erika giving up her career, but
raising five daughters and two sons.
From 1931 until 1933 Adolf was Privatdozent in the Department of Biological
Chemistry at the University of Göttingen and acting Head of the laboratories for
organic and inorganic chemistry. Schering AG had an arrangement with the Berlin
police to make daily deliveries of men’s urine totalling over 17,000 litres.
Butenandt and Kurt Tscherning distilled this and obtained 50 mg of androsterone, in pure,
crystalline form.which they found to have a chemical formula very similar to
From 1933 Butenandt was Professor of Chemistry at Danzig Institute of
Technology, where he succeeded in isolating Progesterone in the female
ovary in 1934. This was partly financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, as was
his two-month trip in 1935 to Canada and the US, where he met all of the major
North American scientists in his field. Shortly after his return to Germany he
was offered a chair at Harvard University, which he declined.
In 1936 it was requested that Butenandt join the Nazi party, and the same day
that he did so, he also became director of the Kaiser
Wilhelm Institute for Biochemistry in Berlin. His predecessor, Carl Neuberg, who was
Jewish, was dismissed for that reason alone. From androsterone Butenandt
obtained testosterone in 1939, a compound which had been first obtained from the
testes in 1935 by Ernst
Laqueur. By 1938, based on Butenandt’s pioneering work, scientists at
Schering AG, Hans
Herloff Inhoffen and Walter Hohlweg,
estradiol – this was approved by the FDA in the US in June 1943, and became
the basis of the vast majority of birth control pills and hormone therapy into
the 21st century.
In January 1938 word reached England that Schering had applied for a patent
on ethinyl estradiol. A team under Charles Dodds at the
Courtald Institute of Biochemistry at the Middlesex Hospital (where Hans
Inhoffen had worked a few years earlier) combined with a team under Robert
Robinson at Oxford. A crash program led to the synthesis of Diethylstilbestrol
(DES). A chemist on Dodd’s staff, Wilfred Lawson, developed a formulation,
and Leon Golberg, an Oxford student performed the actual synthesis. Dodds
published the formula in Nature. It was not patented but given away, and
quickly produced by over 300 pharmaceutical companies, thus depriving Schering
AG of royalties.
Butenandt was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with the
Ružička for work on sex hormones. Richard Kuhn from
Heidelberg had been awarded the 1938 prize for his work on vitamins. Otto Hahn was awarded the
1944 prize for his work on nuclear disintegration. All three Germans were
obliged to decline the prize by the Nazi government which objected that Carl von Ossietsky,
a German Jew, convicted of treason and held in a concentration camp, had been
awarded the 1935 Peace Prize.
Butenandt was a staff physician of the Luftwaffe from 1942, and helped
develop a hormonal solution to counter sudden drops in pressure at high
altitudes. Otmar Freiherr
von Verschuer was director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology.
He believed that blood could be analysed to determine race. He was the
supervisor of Josef
Mengele who supplied non-consensual blood samples from over 200 inmates of
the Auschwitz concentration camp. The blood was analysed by a member of the
Biochemistry Institute. Historians have discussed to what extent Butenandt knew
that the blood was taken from concentration camp inmates. In addition, selected
inmates at Auschwitz were fed liquid estrogen. It was simply poured into the
daily soup. The women stopped menstruating, and the men lost their sex drive.
Butenandt was awarded the Kriegsverdienstkreuz
(War Merit Cross) Second Class in 1942, and First Class in 1943. To escape the
allied air raids, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biochemistry was transferred
to Tübingen in 1944. Butenandt
became Professor of Physiological Chemistry at the University of
Tübingen, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was lodged with the Institute of
Physiological Chemistry there.
From the end of the war until June 1947, Butenandt was listed as wanted in
the US occupation zone, but he was treated as a Nobel Laureate in the French
zone which included Tübingen. As early as November 1945 he was in Basel for financial discussions with the La Roche
pharmaceutical company. In 1946 he visited Paris and met with the Académie de
Médecine. In September 1948 he was offered a chair at the University of
Basel, but turned it down. Butenandt was able to claim his Nobel Prize in
He was able to pull strings so that von Verschur was not prosecuted as a war
criminal, and while von Verschur was never again an Institure director, in 1951
he was appointed a professor of genetics at the University of
In 1960 Butenandt became President of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, now renamed
the Max Planck Institute. He retired in 1972, but continued as Honorary
In 1984 Benno
Müller-Hill published Tödliche Wissenschaft: die Aussonderung von
Juden, Zigeunern und Geisteskranken, 1933-1945 which accused Butenandt of
knowingly collaborating with von Verschuer and Mengele. Butenandt refused any
serious discussion of the issue, and that was that.
Adolf and Erika both died in 1995, aged 91 and 88.
Adolf Butenandt. Das Werk eines Lebens, 4 vols.
Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht, 1981
Benno Müller-Hill. Tödliche Wissenschaft: die Aussonderung von Juden,
Zigeunern und Geisteskranken, 1933-1945. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1984.
Tranlated by George R Fraser as Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific
Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others in Germany, 1933-1945. Oxford Univ.
Press, 1988: 5, 33, 36, 39, 60, 72-3, 83, 119, 188, 190.
Barbara Seaman,. The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women:
Exploding the Estrogen Myth. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2009: 13, 22-7,
30-6, 42, 44, 61.
Wolgang Schieder. “Adolf Butenandt between Science and Politics:
From the Weomer Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany”. In Susanne
Heim, Carola Sachse & Mark Walker (eds). The Kaiser Wilhelm Society Under
National Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 74-98.
Achim Trunk. “Two Hundred Blood Samples from Auschwitz: A Nobel Laureate and
the Link to Aischwitz”. In Susanne Heim, Carola Sachse & Mark Walker (eds).
The Kaiser Wilhelm Society Under National Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2009: 5,6,14,15,16,19,20, 46, 74-98, 120-144, 374-387,
Michael Schuring. “The Predecessor: The Uneasy Rapprochement between Carl
Neuberg and Adolf Butenandt after 1945”. In Susanne Heim,
Carola Sachse & Mark Walker (eds). The Kaiser Wilhelm Society Under
National Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 400-418.
Vitale first qualified as an artist, doing a 1972 BA at the University of
California at San Diego followed by a Master of Fine Arts.
After some years of therapy for gender identity issues, she did a psychology
PhD at the Professional School for Humanistic Studies, also in San Diego, and
transitioned at the same time. Her dissertation was on gender identity issues,
and she joined HBIGDA (now WPATH) in 1979. She had surgery in January 1980,
moved to San
Rafael, California and completed her PhD in 1982. She then studied Existential Psychotherapy with James F. Bugental, 1983-91.
A licensed psychologist in California, Anne Vitale has been at the same
clinic in San Rafeal since 1984. Initially she thought that trans persons were
too few for her to specialize in gender identity issues, and that she might be
unsuitable in that “Countertransferance issues can be very destructive to a
vulnerable population”. However there were few other gender therapists, and a
San Francisco clinic started making referrals. She made contact with other
gender therapists in the San Francisco area and they formed the Bay Area Gender Associates.
Glassgold and Drescher regard Vitale as a follower of Victor Frankl who
entwined meaning and authenticity. They write, with regard to Vitale's 1997 paper:
“General authenticity is the clinical focus of Anne Vitale, a
trans-identified, American psychologist specializing in existential-humanist
psychotherapy. Vitale provides therapeutic support for cross-dressing and
gender-divergent clients in such a way as to skillfully combine therapist
advocacy and self-empowerment of the client. Specifically, she employs a
client-centred, open-minded approach to helping her trans and questioning
clients to take responsibility for discovering and actuallizing their own
particular form of life meaning and personal power. This supported quest for
identity and validation typically involves a dovetailing of genderal integrity,
community connection, and existential authenticity.”
Rather than use the DSM diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder, Vitale
proposes instead that, where there is a pathology, it is better labelled Gender
Deprivation Anxiety Disorder (GEDAD): that it is this deprivation, not a
person’s gender identity, that she seeks to treat. She divides gender variant
individuals into three categories:
“for discussion purposes only and with no regard to importance or severity of
G1. “natal males who have a high degree of cross-sexed gender identity … we
can hypothesize that the prenatal androgenization/ defeminization process – if
there was any at all – was minimal, leaving the default identity largely intact.
Furthermore the female expression of identity of these individuals appears very
difficult or impossible for them to conceal.” (p19)
G2. “natal females who almost universally report a lifelong history of
rejecting female dress conventions along with conventional girl’s toys and
activities. … these individuals typically take full advantage of the social
permissiveness allowed women in many Western societies to wear their hair short
and dress in loose, gender-neutral clothing.” (p20)
G3. “individuals who look and act unambiguously as society expects them to
but privately identity as the opposite gender. We can hypothesize that the
pre-natal androgenization/ defeminization process was sufficient enough to
establish a workable gender identity that approximated their biological sex but
insufficient enough to provide comfort in that gender role. For these
female-identified males and male-identified female [see note below] the result
is a more complicated and insidious sex/gender discontinuity. From earliest
childhood these individuals typically suffer increasingly painful and chronic
gender dysphoria. They tend to live secretive lives, often making incrementally
stronger attempts to convince themselves and others that they are the gender
they were assigned at birth.”(p20)
G1 and G2 are clinically similar. They both “report relatively low levels of
anxiety”. If they decide to transition physically, they “accomplish it with
relatively little difficulty”.
“The cloistered, [G3] natal males, on the other hand, typically only start to
realize the seriousness of their dilemma at this age. It is common to hear
reports of these individuals increasing the intensity with which they try to rid
themselves of the ever-increasing gender-related anxiety. Many individuals
paradoxically adopt homophobic, transphobic, and overtly sexist attitudes in the
hope that they will override their desires to be female.” (p28)
She regards being trans as a congenital condition and cites Zhou et al, 1995,
and Kruijver et al, 2000. As in the quotes above, she assumes that these studies
justify an assumption that the prenatal androgenization/ defeminization process
is different in G1 and G3 persons.
She regards sex as purely chromosomal and actually says
“The idea that one can ‘change’ from one sex to the other [is] absurd”. (p52)
However with a few cautions she does use hormones as a diagnostic tool.
“It is well documented that cross-sex hormones have a mitigating effect on
patients suffering from severe gender dysphoria. The effect is so marked, in
fact, that the treatment is used to confirm or reject the GID diagnosis.
Fortunately, psychological outcomes precede permanent physiological secondary
sex characteristic changes, making it an ideal tool for diagnostic confirmation
All page references are to Vitale’s 2010 book..
Anne Vitale. “History and resolution of sex/gender integration needs in four
male-to-female transsexuals”. PhD thesis, Professional School for Humanistic
Anne Vitale. “The Therapist Versus the Client: How the Conflict Started and
Some Thoughts on How to Resolve It” in Gianna E. Israel & Donald E. Tarver.
Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information, and Personal
Accounts. Temple University Press, 1997.
A note on the Professional School for Humanistic Studies. It has neither a
webpage nor a Wikipedia page. Googling it brings up other PhD theses by other
students, but apparently all in the early 1980s, which gives an indication of
when it discontinued. Apparently the founder was Harold Greenwald,
the author of a best-selling 1958 book on female prostitution, a student of Theodor Reik and Albert Ellis, and the
developer of Direct
Decision Therapy. Vitale says nothing about any of this or whether Direct
Decision Therapy has influenced her therapy.
I like the expression Gender
Deprivation Anxiety Disorder (GEDAD). Pity that it is not more widely used.
In Vitale’s 2003 paper, G3 persons are all ‘natal males”, but in her 2010 book,
ftm persons are also included.
Obviously there is an approximation of Vitale’s G1/G2 to Blanchard’s
HSTS, and of G3 to autogynephilia. The citation notes to her book include both
Blanchard and Zucker, and the reading list on her website includes the Clarke
Institute’s 1990 book, Clinical Management of Gender Identity Disorder in
Children and Adults. However there is no mention of Blanchard in the text,
and thus neither acceptance nor rejection of the inevitable notion that her 3
categories are a rewrite of Blanchard’s. An obvious improvement over Blanchard
is that Vitale does not align her 3 categories with sexual orientation, nor does
she write her G3 as a sexual obsession.
Vitale starts by saying that her three types are “for discussion purposes
only and with no regard to importance or severity of diagnosis”, but then claims
a differential hormonal underpinning for each type. Some would say that this is equivocation
or even reification.
Zhou at al. “A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to
transsexuality” 1995, is a much-criticized small sample(N=6) that claims to
find a female-sized BSTc in the brains of dead trans women. Anne
Lawrence argues that it is a marker of autogynephilia; Rose
White that it is marker of HBS. However the paper argues only for a
difference between trans and cis, and does not attempt to differentiate between
different types of transsexuals, G1 vs G3, HSTS vs AGP etc. Thus Vitale’s use of
it to claim hormonal differences between G1 and G3 is unsupported.
While Heath discusses Vitale’s typology in her 2006 book, there is no entry
in the index for it.
a) "It is always easier to believe in a theory that matches your own life experience." Kay Brown feels that she is classic Blanchard HSTS and endorses his typology. I feel that neither of Blanchard's types match me and I reject it. Maxine Petersen, as a loyal disciple of Blanchard, must regard herself as an autogynephile, but has never confirmed this. Anne Vitale, who transitioned at age 42 after years of receiving gender therapy, is presumably a G3, but likewise does not confirm this.
b) I criticized Blanchard and Brown for using the label 'homosexual transsexual' not only for its denial of their current womanhood, but even more so for using it re early transitioners who never spent time as gay men. "On the other hand there are gay transsexuals, many of whom are not early transitioners. This is a common pattern among trans men, many of whom spend some years as lesbians, often gaining a female lover who stays with them when they become men. Similarly many trans women spend some time as gay men on their way to womanhood: Jennifer North, Poppy Cooper, myself, Roz Kaveney, Dawn Langley Simmons." I should also have mentioned Susan Cannon, science historian, who went to Dr Biber at age 55 after decades of sex with men.
Vitale initially regarded G3 as 'natal males' only but after further thought made it gender neutral. If I am to fit into Vitale's typology I would best fit into G2 which is described as ftm only. The quote above from p20 does not make this clear, but elsewhere Vitale mentions that many of her G2 persons spent time in the lesbian community. I would see the concept of G2 being improved by making it gender neutral, and for all alumni of gay and lesbian experience. Likewise G1 would be for all early transitioners who never join gay or lesbian communities.
Herbert Bower, the only child of Jewish parents, was training as a doctor in
Vienna in 1938. After the Nazi takeover, he fled to Switzerland, and completed
his studies at the University of Basel, after which he and his fiancée made
their way to London where they were married. They were on the last ship from
London to Australia, as war broke out in September 1939.
However the Australian authorities would not recognise his medical
qualifications. He worked as an orderly at Launceston
General Hospital, and then did two years in the Northern Territory as a
medical officer ministering to Chinese tungsten miners. The Government
appreciated this and accepted him as a Swiss neutral rather than as an enemy
alien. His parents died in the Theresenstadt
After the war, he repeated his medical training at Melbourne University. He
became a psychiatrist, and encountered his first trans patient.
In 1955 Bower became the superintendent of Kew Asylum, which had many
elderly patients and was appalled at the conditions, which he immediately set
By then he had fallen in love with another woman. They both divorced their
spouses, and married in 1956.
Bower introduced the concept of ‘successful aging’, and in 1963 gave two
influential lectures at the University of Melbourne on the topic.
In 1965 he suffered a heart attack, and resigned the superintendency, but
continued as a consultant with the Mental Health Authority of Victoria. He also
began teaching, and in 1970 became director of post-graduate studies at
Melbourne University. In 1972 he called, but without much support, for
psychiatrists to have a role in assessing the fitness of politicians. He was
influenced by Herbert Marcuse, and engaged with feminism and the anti-psychiatry
In 1974 at age 60 Bower, with Trudy Kennedy, approached the Queen Victoria
Hospital with the idea of a gender dysphoria clinic. A team was created that
eventually included a second psychiatrist, an endocrinologist, a speech
therapist, a gynaecologist and a plastic surgeon. The first transgender surgery
was performed there the next year. The clinic was later moved to Monash Medical
From 1975 Bower was technically retired, but continued to teach, consulted as
a psychogeriatrician and saw an increasing number of trans patients. His second
wife died from cancer in 1980, and later that year he suffered anginal attacks
and had triple bypass surgery. He recovered and took a third life partner.
His work led to a Unit for Old Age Psychiatry at the Melbourne Clinic. At the
gender dysphoria clinic he began co-ordinating a research project to establish
possible genetic origins.
In 2004 a Melbourne patient who started on a change to male, but then
reverted and later had three children attempted to sue the Gender Dysphoria Clinic for
malpractice. This resulted in an independent review ordered by the State
Government. Bower observed “If our team erred twice in 29 years, and during that
period we operated, not saw, because many more - but we operated on 600
patients, two errors in 600 is, I think, in any area of human endeavour, is
He died later that year at age 90.
Two other ex-patients including Alan
Finch also took legal action. Dr Trudy Kennedy was obliged to resign, and
the Clinic was closed until 2009. Various fundamental Christian groups and Alan
Finch’s Gender Identity Awareness Association lobbied against the Clinic’s
Herbert M. Bower. ‘Old age in western society’, Lectures 1 and 2, Medical
Journal of Australia, 2, 8, 1964: 285-291; 2,8,1964: 325-332.
Herbert M. Bower. ‘Psychiatry and Political Thought’, Australian and New
Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 6,3, 1972: 191–6.
H. M. Bower. “Liberation and Psychiatry—Towards a reconciliation”. In N.
McConaghy (ed.), Liberation Movements and Psychiatry, Ciba-Geigy
Australia, 1974: 125–8.
Herbert M. Bower. ‘Diagnosis and Differential Diagnosis’, in Walters, W. and
Ross, M. (eds), Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment, Oxford University
Herbert Bower. "The Concentration Camp Syndrome". The Australian and New
Zealand Journal of Psychiatry : Official Organ of the Australian and New Zealand
College of Psychiatrists. 28, 3, 1994: 391-397.
Herbert Bower. "Psychogenic Trauma and Transient Psychosis". European
Psychiatry: Supplement 4. 11, 1996: 294s-294s.
Herbert Bower. "The Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV Classification: a
Critical Evaluation". Australasian Psychiatry. 35, 1, 2001: 1-8.
“Concerns raised over sex change clinic”. Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, 06/05/2004. Transcript
Stephen Pincock. “Herbert Bower”. The Lancet, 364, October 16, 2004.
“Dr Herbert Bower – Psychiatrist – 19/12/1914-29/8/2004”. Australasian
Psychiatry, 12, 4, December 2004: 430-2. First Page
Cecily Hunter. “The concept of successful ageing: A contribution to a history
of old age in modern Australia”. History Australia, 5, 2,2008: 42.1 –
In the 6th edition of Drag Magazine, Online, the QLF presented a report of what it
had achieved to that date. Some of the wording is dated, particularly in using
‘men’ and ‘he’. The struggle for basic rights shows how far we have come in 44
years, although remember that there are still many countries where it is illegal
to dress as seems appropriate.
The broad objective of Queens Liberation Front is to gain the legal right for
everyone who so desires to cross-dress regardless of their sexual orientation or
desires. Queens Lib is not a membership organization but more of a foundation
that is financed by drag balls, the publication of a magazine, DRAG and by
speaking engagements on the phenomena of cross-dressing. The only contributions
accepted by Queens is in the form of time and talent on the part of
professional people. To keep in contact with people interested in cross-dressing
QLF maintains an international mailing list of over 2,000 individuals and
organizations. Also, the voice of QLF or commonly Queens, DRAG magazine reaches
3,500 people across the country.
In its original prospectus Queens Liberation Front, then just known as Queens put forth two goals;
1. RIGHT TO CONGREGATE;
In New York the license for a drag ball or
rather dance permit stated that men dressed in the female attire were not to be
permitted on the premises of said dance.
2. RIGHT TO DRESS AS WE SEE FIT …………………………………
We feel that the
wearing of a particular article of clothing doesn't make one a criminal. We
hope to get a ruling adopting the law presently used in the state of Hawaii. It
has been interpreted to mean that one may wear the clothing of the opposite
sex as long as he does not deceive others. If one wears a button stating that
one is a male it takes away all criminal aspects of cross-dressing.
On October 31st, 1970 the first anniversary of the organization Executive
Director, Lee Brewster presented to the transvestite community QLF's first
birthday present. . .the removal of the discriminatory clause on the dance
permit. Afterwards, during 1970-71, before going to court to set a legal
precedent Queens Lib attorneys searched the law books for something else that
might be used against the transvestite. The only anti-drag statement the
lawyers came up with was one on the Catering and Cabaret licenses which stated: "No homosexuals, Lesbians OR PERSONS PRETENDING TO BE were to be allowed on
the premises of a licensed establishment”. Afraid someone would use that clause
against the cross-dresser as cause not to allow the tv access to public
accommodations, Queens Liberation director, Lee Brewster and her attorneys made
another call upon the Bureau of Consumer affairs. Mrs. Susan First, legal
representative for the department wanted to know which of the aforementioned
groups Mr. Brewster and the lawyers represented. Lee spoke up and said,
"the persons pretending to be". After about one hour of debating Queens Lib
won again. The clause was removed from the books. A second birthday gift
was given to the TV community.
Queens Liberation has been represented on the campuses of the colleges in the
North East area of the
QLF speaking panel
U.S. Some of the more recent engagements were at
Rutgers University, New York University, Patterson State College, Mills
College (an all girls school) and Newark State college at Union, N.J. At
all the speaking engagements QLF representatives appear in full female attire.
To date all the appearances have been very well received. At Patterson State
College, Mr. Brewster received such a reception she had to ask them to stop
In less than two years QLF has met exactly one half of its goals, which is
more than most organizations can claim fame for. Soon QLF will attack the
antiquated loitering statutes used to harass the cross –dresser. We hope to get
the law interpreted to be similar to the Hawaiian
precedent. THEN attack
again on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and similar to Nazi
Germany's tactics when they forced the German Jews to wear the STAR OF DAVID.
Queens Liberation is not a radical group of people. The only radical element
is the fact that all want to be able to wear the clothing they choose without
being classed as criminals. They feel that it is their constitutional right and
if demanding that right is radical, then they're radical! The only time QLF
gets involved in politics is when it concerns the cross-dresser or