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.
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!
29 December 2017
Aaron Stewart , 33, US soldier injured in Kuwait in 2015, who won eight medals including two golds Invictus as a woman at previous Invictus Games, competed at this year’s Invictus Games, Toronto as a man.
Alex Hahn, New Brunswick, played football at St. Thomas University in Fredericton last year, but now has dropped out to transition.
Chloe Psyche Anderson, 24, California, gave up on volleyball
Christina Ginther, 44, Minnesota, never played US football before, rejected by the Vixen team management despite a good try-out, but now accepted on Minnesota Machine .
Hannah Mouncey, 26, Australia, who previously represented Australia in men’s handball, denied a position in Women’s football.
Jacob Roy, 20, at University of New Brunswick in Saint John, dropped sports to transition.
Laurel Hubbard, NZ, 39, who previously held junior male weightlifting records, transitioned in 2012, won three women’s records in 2017, and will represent NZ.
Mark Beggs, 18, Texas, wrestling, obliged by state law to compete against girls, and won girls’ state title.
Pat Cordova-Goff, 17, California, accepted on girls’ softball team after passing of California’s A.B. 1266 law.
Pat Manuel, US boxer, reached Olympic Trials as a female boxer, transitioned 2013-4, 2016 approved by USA Boxing to fight as a man, now ready to fight at age 32.
Savannah Burton, actress from Newfoudland, competed for the 3rd time at the WDBF Dodgeball World Championships
Tia Thompson, 32, Hawai’i approved after three years by USA Volleyball to play in women’s division.
Tiffany Abreu, Brazil, who has 2 MVP awards for playing in men’s volleyball before transition in 2012. In 2017 she was authorized to play in women’s teams. Early 2017 played in a second divison team in Italy. Now signed a contract with Volei Bauru, in the Superliga.
Vanessa Sites, 31, Pennsylvania, roller derby player tried for Team USA
27 December 2017
Tony Sinclair (192? – 2017) Performer in Oklahoma City.
Diamond Lil (1935 – 2016) Atlanta performer.
Aleshia Brevard (1937 – 2017) performer, Hollywood actress, theatre director.
Andrea Susan Malick (1939 – 2015) photographer at Casa Susanna, camera work on Let Me Die a Woman.
Flawless Sabrina (1939 – 2017) performer, organizer of the pioneering drag pageants in the 1960s, including the 1967 final which was filmed as The Queen, which went to the Cannes film festival and made a star of Rachael Harlow.
Marissa Sherrill Lynn (1942 – 2017) activist, founder of Tiffany Club, IFGE.
Diane/Danny Torr (1948 – 2017) gender performer, author of Sex, Drag and Male Roles, 2010, with Johhny Science did drag king workshops to train women to pass as men.
Holly Boswell (1950-2017) early adopter of term ‘transgender’, activist.
Mohammed Amin (1957 - 2017) a Pakistani ladies’ tailor working in Riyadh, Arabia, was arrested at a trans party and died that night in police custody.
Jenny Swift (1967 – 2016) on remand for murder, but in Doncaster men’s prison, by suicide.
Rowan Feldhaus (1967 – 2017) after winning a legal battle to change his name, died from complications after a hysterectomy.
Murder CountMurders in the 12 months up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance. There 270 were recorded deaths this last year – plus many more nor reported, especially in countries were transgender is not recognized. However this is slightly down from the 295 in 2016. On the other hand, there was an increase in the US from 23 murders in 2018 to 29 in 2017 – almost certainly resulting from the change in the political climate. However Brazil, where 171 murders of trans persons were reported in 2017, has the largest count – and has more murders of trans persons than all the rest of the world together.
- Ygor Coelho. “Why does Brazil have the highest murder rate of transgender people?” Quora. https://www.quora.com/Why-does-Brazil-have-the-highest-murder-rate-of-transgender-people.
16 December 2017
In compiling this list I kept noticing Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Thus they are printing quite a few trans titles, although more advice books than history or politics. Their web page list categories: Autism, Disability, Religious etc, but not Trans. Here is the list of the 19 trans books that they do publish, but without making them into a category.
$£¥ €=Excessively overpriced books.
- $£¥ € Robert Diaz, Marissa Largo & Fritz Pino (eds). Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries. Northwestern University Press, 2017.
- Qwo-Li Driskill. Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory. University of Arizona Oress, 2016.
- Laura Erickson-Schroth & Laura A Jacobs. "You're in the Wrong Bathroom!": And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming People. Beacon Press, 2017.
- Haeth Foff Davis. Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?. New York University Press, 2017.
- Ephraim Das Janssen, Phenomenal Gender: What Transgender Experience Discloses. Indiana University Press, 2017.
- $£¥ € Jon Ingvar Kjaran. Constructing Sexualities and Gendered Bodies in School Spaces: Nordic Insights on Queer and Transgender Students. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
- Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel & Sarah Tobias. Trans Studies: The Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities. Rutgers University Press, 1016.
- Kate Norman. Socialising Transgender: Support for Transition. Dunedin, 2017.
- $£¥ €Tobias Raun. Out Online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube. Routledge, 2016.
- $£¥ € Christina Richards. Trans and Sexuality: An existentially-informed enquiry with implications for counselling psychology. Routledge, 2017.
Legal & Imprisonment
- Sarah Jane Baker. Transgender: Behind Prison Walls. Waterside Press, 2017.
- Jennie Kermode. Transgender Employees in the Workplace: A Guide for Employers. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Rebecca T Klien. Transgender Rights and Protections. Rosen Publishing Group, 2017.
Health and Medical
- $£¥ € Lynne Carroll & Laurn Mizock. Clinical Issues and Affirmative Treatment With Transgender Clients, An Issue of Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Elsevier, 2017.
- $£¥ € Michael R Kauth & Jillian Shipard (eds). Adult Transgender Care: An Interdisciplinary Approach for Mental Health Professionals. Routledge, 2017.
- Susan Meyer. Health Issues When You're Transgender. Rosen Young Adult, 2017.
- Reina Gossett, Eric a Stanley & Johanna Burton (eds). Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. MIT Press, 2017.
- Sébastien Lifshitz, textes de Christine Bard et Isabelle Bonnet. Mauvais genres: les travestis à travers un siècle de photographie amateur. Les éditions textuel, 2016.
- $£¥ € Jolene Zigarovich (ed). TransGothic in Literature and Culture. Routledge, 2017.
- $£¥ € Eric Anderson & Ann Travers. Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sport. Routledge, 2017.
- $£¥ € Corona Brezina. Coming Out as Transgender. Rosen Young Adult, 2017.
- Candis Cayne. Hi Gorgeous!: Transforming Inner Power into Radiant Beauty. Running Press, 2017.
- Vernon Coleman. Men in Bras, Panties and Dresses: The Secret Truths About Transvestites. Kindle, 2017.
- Charlie Craggs (ed). To My Trans Sisters. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Declan Henry. Trans Voices: Becoming Who You Are. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Alex Iantaffi & Meg-John Barker. How to Understand Your Gender: A Practical Guide for Exploring Who You Are. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Ephraim Das Janssen. Phenomenal Gender: What Transgender Experience Discloses. Indiana University Press, 2017.
- Matthew Mills & Gillie Stoneham. The Voice Book for Trans and Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide to Creating and Sustaining Authentic Voice and Communication. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Sara Woods. Identifying as Transgender. Rosen Publishing Group, 2017.
- Alex P Serritella. Transgenda - Abuse and Regret in the Sex-Change Industry. Bookstand Publishing, 2016.
- ++David Kupelian. The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture. WND Books, 2015.
Couples & Family
- Mary Collins & Donald Collins. At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces. Beacon Press, 2017.
- Jo Green. The Trans Partner Handbook: A Guide for When Your Partner Transitions. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Wenn B Lawson & Beatrice M Lawson. Transitioning Together: One Couple's Journey of Gender and Identity Discovery. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
- Elijah C Nealy. Transgender Children and Youth: Cultivating Pride and Joy with Families in Transition. WW Norton, 2017.
- Tatiana de Rosnay. Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier. St Martin’s Press.
- Alex Bertie. Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard. 2017
- Eli Clare. Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure. Duke University Press, 2017
- Kimberley Davis. Becoming Kimberly: A Transgender's Journey. CreateSpace, 2017.
- Juno Dawson. The Gender Games: The Problem With Men and Women . . . from Someone Who Has Been Both. Two Roads, 2017.
- Denise Chanterelle DuBois. Self-Made Woman: A Memoir. University of Wisconsin Press, 2017.
- Chris Edwards. BALLS: It Takes Some to Get Some. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2016.
- Laura Jane Grace. Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout. Hachette Books, 2016.
- Caitlyn Jenner. The Secrets of My Life. Grand Central Publishing, 2017.
- Charlie Kiss. A New Man: Lesbian. Protest. Mania. Trans Man. Matador, 2017.
- Amanda Lepore. Doll Parts. Regan Arts, 2017.
- C N Lester. Trans Like Me: a Journey for All of Us. Virago, 2017
- Thomas Page McBee. Man Alive: a True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man. Canongate, 2017.
- Janet Mock. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me. Atria Books, 2017.
- Caroline Paige. True Colours: My Life as the First Openly Transgender Officer in the British Armed Forces. Biteback Publishing, 2017.
- Sam Peterson. Trunky (Trangender Junky).
- Rupert Raj. Dancing The Dialectic: True Tales of A Transgender Trailblazer. CreateSpace, 2017.
- Kaitlin Sine Riordan, Bondage of self. Kaitlin Sine Riordan, 2016.
- Rhyannon Styles. The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It Like It Is. Headline, 2017.
- Anastacia Tomson. Always Anastacia - A Transgender Life in South Africa. Jonathan Ball, 2016
- Patricia Bell-Scott. The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice. Knopf, 2016.
- ++Val Brown. Toupie Lowther: Her life. Matador, 2017.
- Denis Cosnard. Frede. Des Équateurs, 2017.
- Rosalind Rosenberg. Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray. Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Bruce D Smith. Lou Sullivan: Daring To Be a Man Among Men. Transgress Press, 2017
- Roy Woodard. Bunny Breckinridge—Book One: Exalted as an Early Hero of the Gay Rights Movement. Kindle, 2016.
- Roy Woodard. Bunny Breckinridge—Book Two: Exalted as an Early Hero of the Gay Rights Movement. Kindle, 2016.
Race and Gender
- Sonia Borawska. Rachel Dolezal Affair: race, identity and representation of women in the news. : Comperative analysis between media coverage of Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner. Kindle, 2016.
- C. Riley Snorton. Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
- $£¥ € Domitilla Campanile, Filippo Carlà-Uhink & Margherita Facella (eds). TransAntiquity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World. Routledge, 2017.
- Julio Capo. Welcome to Fairyland Queer Miami before 1940. University of North Carolina Press, 2017.
- Emily K Hobson. Lavender and Red: Liberation and Solidarity in the Gay and Lesbian Left. University of California Press, 2016.
- Bob Ostertag. Sex Science Self: A Social History of Estrogen, Testosterone, and Identity. University of Massachusetts Press, 2016.
- Barbara Penne. Transgender Role Models and Pioneers. Rosen Young Adult, 2017.
- $£¥ € Walter Penrose. Postcolonial Amazons: Female Masculinity and Courage in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit Literature. Oxford University press, 2016.
- Benita Roth. The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA: Anti-AIDS Activism in Los Angeles from the 1980s to the 2000s. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Emily Skidmore. True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. NYU Press, 2017.
- $£¥ € Thomas Taylor, Annette Timm & Rainer Herrn (eds). Not Straight from Germany: Sexual Publics and Sexual Citizenship since Magnus Hirschfeld. University of Michigan Press, 2017.
- Magnus Hastings, with a Foreword by Boy George. Why Drag? Chronicle Books, 2016.
Previously Announced for 2016:
- $£¥ € Michel J Boucher. Transgender Representation and the Politics of the Real in the United States. Routledge, delayed to December 2018.
- Michael Brownstein. Medical Maverick: 35 Years of Transgender Surgery. Transgress Press. 2016 - disappeared
- Donna Gee. Why Is My Dad Not Answering Her Phone? CreateSpace, 2015. Preview – disappeared
- $£¥ € Eyler. Transgender Healthcare. Springer Publishing, 2017. disappeared
- $£¥ € Lynda Johnson. Trans Gender, Sex, Place, and Space: Geographies of Gender Variance. Routledge, 2017. disappeared
- $£¥ € Candace Moore. Marginal Production Cultures: Infrastructures of Sexual Minority and Transgender Media. Routledge, 2017. Delayed to 2018
Announced for 2018:
- Brian Belovitch. Trans Figured: My Journey from Boy to Girl to Woman to Man. Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.
- Christine Burns (ed). Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows. Unbound, 2018.
- $£¥ € Ruth Pearce. Understanding Trans Health: Discourse, Power and Possibility. Policy Press, 2018
- Juno Roche. Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.
13 December 2017
This is the controversial documentary that was broadcast by the BBC last January, and was supposed to go out on CBC this week, but was withdrawn at the last moment. There is a lot of Canadian content.
The documentary, as per standard television practice, presents different points of view, but of course the director decided the balance. And it is the balance that is the problem. There is far too much Ken Zucker, he is given a platform, and he is presented as a well-meaning victim. There is also too much Ray Blanchard. The claimed statistics that the overwhelming majority of trans kids actually desist are extremely dubious. The statistical arguments against them are not given.
Twice Zucker is shown saying: “a four-year-old might say that he’s a dog – do you go out and buy dog food?” Is not even he ashamed to use such a stupid argument?
Here is an article in the Guardian from when the documentary was shown on the BBC. "Green [CEO of Mermaids] said she had been contacted by the producer of the documentary but only to see if she knew anyone who had 'detransitioned', and said it was worrying that this had been a focus for the programme makers."
This encyclopedia is anti-censorship. So here is an embedding of the entire documentary. Watch it but watch it critically.
One needs to know one's enemies.
11 December 2017
(auto)biographies that are almost unobtainable
French and Belgian (auto) biographies and Histories
Biographies with the pre-transition name in the title
Advice Manuals I: 1957-1979
Advice Manuals II: 1980-2000
Advice Manuals III: 2001-2017
This article has been moved to the to of the blog page. https://zagria.blogspot.com/p/trans-authors-write-about-all-kinds-of.html.
08 December 2017
Elvira/Cassandra Peterson, hired to host a Los Angeles horror show, copied look that Atlanta drag performer Lily White had in 1970s.
Diamond Lil put out a full LP of original material, The Queen of Diamonds/Silver Grill. She was an
acknowledged influence on performers Lady Bunny and RuPaul who started out in Atlanta at this time. However, by then Diamond was losing her fans to AIDS. There were fewer places to perform, and she reduced her performances and concentrated on a new antiques business. She was writing for the bar magazine Etcetera – these articles were often obituaries.
Benjamin Dickerson, blues punk queer drag queen, in Opal Foxx and other bands.
Lady Bunny moves on to New York.
?? unknown years
- Phoebe Smith. “FMI Forum: The Transsexual Voice”. Female Mimics International, 14,6, 1985 Online. This is a reprint of the 1980 brochure,
Tina Devore elected Miss Black America.
Film RuPaul Is: Starbooty! , a pastiche of 1960s Blaxploitation films, starring Rupaul and Lady Bunny.
RuPaul left for New York.
Dee Dee Chamblee diagnosed as HIV+
- Rupert Raj. “Tribute to Phoebe Smith”. Twenty Minutes, August 1989:3. Online.
December: Dallas Denny, recruited to work at the Montgomery Medical and Psychological Institute, moved to live in Atlanta.
Jennifer North died of complications from Aids.
Tension developed with the Montgomeries. Dallas moved out of their house and launched the nonprofit American Educational Gender Information Service and launched the groundbreaking publication Chrysalis Quarterly.
The Sigma Epsilon Chapter of the Society for the Second Self, hesitant to risk exposure of its mostly Atlanta-based members, had been meeting on alternate months in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina. The chapter began to meet in Atlanta. Under the leadership of Linda Peacock, a wife of a crossdresser, the weekend-long meetings were open to transpeople of all types.
Sabrina Marcus, on a trip to Boston, asked the International Foundation for Gender Education to start a trans conference in the South. IFGE said no, but agreed to send a team to Atlanta to show the locals how to put one together. In the early fall of 1990 IFGE’s Merissa Sherrill Lynn and Yvonne Cook-Riley flew to Atlanta and met with representatives from every group in the South at the La Quinta Inn on Piedmont. There were representatives from AEGIS, AGE, Sigma Epsilon, The Montgomery Foundation, Asheville’s Phoenix Transgender Support Group, and groups from Florida, Virginia, Louisiana, and as far away as Texas. This consortium planned and held the first Southern Comfort Conference the next year.
RuPaul became known on Atlanta club scene.
Murdered in Atlanta: Edna Brown, shot dead.
Amber Richards elected Miss Continental, and Miss Gay Georgia USofA.
Murdered in Atlanta: Huriell Lockett, shot; Rhonda Star, shot; unknown person, blow to head; Jean Powell, shot.
Sophia Pastel died after silicone injection. Fred Kennedy Glenn later charged.
Murdered in Atlanta: Anthony Swain, shot; unknown person, shot; Derry Glenn, shot.
At least 12 trans women of color, mainly sex workers, were murdered over a few years. Dallas Denny appeared on local TV after each discovery. She urged the police to admit that there was a serial killer, but they never admitted to it.
Unsuccessful attempt to repeal the sodomy law.
Tina Devore elected Miss gay Georgia USofA,
- Lynn & Jerry Montgomery. Transition to Completion: The TS Journey. Montgomery Institute, 1994.
- John Berendt. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story. Random House,1994.
++Erica Kay's marriage was invalidated as a same sex marriage in Georgia and since she was no longer legally married she was convicted of theft by taking of the family auto. Erica spent 4 years in prison.
The political group Trans=Action and LaGender, started by black transwoman DeeDee Chamble.
Maxwell Anderson, lecturer and tax expert moved to Atlanta area.
Erin Swenson, Presbyterian minister, transitioned and retained ordination. First known mainstream Protestant minister in US to make an open gender transition while remaining in ordained office.
- Lady Chablis & Theodore Bouloukos. Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah. Pocket Books, 1996.
Amber Richards died of smoke inhalation when her house caught on fire.
Robert Eads, refused treatment in Florida for ovarian cancer, accepted at Medical College of Georgia.
Benjamin Dickerson provided music for film The Shop Below the Busy Road.
1998Robert Eads filmed for what will become the documentary Southern Comfort. He makes a last
appearance at Southern Comfort Conference and addresses a crowd of 500.
Jamie Roberts, 26, began transition while at law school at the University of Georgia.
Georgia Supreme Court struck down the sodomy law in a case of heterosexual oral sex.
Robert Eads died of cancer in a nursing home in Toccoa, Georgia at age of 53.
Benjamin Dickerson died age 39 of AIDS related problems.
Murdered in Cordele, Georgia: Tracy Thompson, beaten with a baseball bat.
Murdered in Savannah: “Charles” Bolden.
Maxwell Anderson co-chair 10th Southern Comfort Convention.
++ Thomas/Dana Bevan married his second wife and moved to Atlanta after finding a job at Georgia Tech Research Institute.
Posthumous film Benjamin Smoke.
Murdered in Savannah: Billy Jean Lavette.
Shelley Emerson announces to boss that will transition.
++Dana Bevan found a therapist experienced in trans issues.
Murdered in Ashburn, Georgia: Robert Martin, severely beaten.
Shelley Emerson starts transition, and is in a small transition group led by the Rev Erin Swenson. She has facial surgery with Dr Suporn in Thailand.
Diane Schroer, prominent US military person, building up to transition, attended the Southern Comfort Conference . “For the first time in my life I spent an extended period of time as a woman.”
Murdered in Atlanta: Precious Armani, 37, shot.
++Thomas/Dana Bevan Research VP at KFORCE Government Services in Atlanta, working on artificial intelligence algorithms for Homeland Security.
Anderson Toone performed at the Southern Comfort Conference.
++Dana Bevan of Atlanta gave a paper at the IFGE conference held in Philadelphia.
Tristan Skye founded TransAmerica, later renamed TQ Nation.
Cheryl Courtney-Evans founded Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth.
Vandy Glenn, legislative editor at Georgia General Assembly, started transition, fired.
- Wesley Chenault, Stacy Lorraine Braukman, Gay and Lesbian Atlanta, Arcadia Pub 2008. No mention of Phoebe Smith, Dallas Denny or Jayne County.
First annual Trans March.
James Parker Sheffield promoted to Executive Director of Atlanta Pride.
Vandy Glenn became first trans person to address a Congressional committee.
Maxwell Anderson dies of brain cancer at age 53.
Judge orders Vandy Glenn to be reinstated in job at Georgia General Assembly.
Atlanta Pride partnered with TransQueer Nation to hold the second annual Trans March.
Tracee McDaniel founded Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, and sits on GLBT Advisory Board for the Atlanta Police Department .
January Ja’Von Crockett was featured on the religious talk show, Atlanta Live.
Dee Dee Chamblee a Grand Marshal for Atlanta Pride, and picked as one of Obama’s nine “Champions of Courage” in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic.
WPATH meeting in Atlanta. Aaron Devor made an official announcement that the Rikki Swin Institute archives had been donated to the University of Victoria Library Transgender Archives.
++Dana Bevan gave a presentation at the Southern Comfort Conference
- Tristan Skye. Natural Transitioning: An Ftm Alternative. Lulu Com, 2011.
Trans man Ky Petersen, 20, Americus, Georgia, was assaulted and raped by a stranger, killed in self-defence and is serving 20 years for involuntary manslaughter.
Murdered in Savannah: Akeem Laurel, 27, shot; Rashawn Howard, 26, shot.
James Parker Sheffield leaves Atlanta Pride to become Director of Organizational Development at the Health Initiative.
Lily White’s home in Rome, Georgia, burnt down. Saved mother and dog but lost wigs and costumes. Heart attack two weeks later. Moved to Atlanta, retired shortly afterwards.
- Tracee Macdaniel. "Transitions" Tracee McDaniel. Nephriti Publishng, 2013.
- J.R. Greenwell. Who the Hell is Rachel Wells? Chelsea Stations Editions, 2013. AuthorPage.
- Dana J Bevan. The Transsexual Scientist: The Causation and Experience of Transgenderism and Transsexualism. Bevan Industries Inc, 2013.
Ashley Del Valle from New York arrested in Savannah for showing her breasts, jailed with men.
Murdered in Savannah: Konyale Madden, age 34.
Murdered in Atlanta: “Edward” Campbell, 36, shot.
- Phoebe Smith. From Sharecropper's Son to Who's Who in American Women. CreateSpace, 2014.
- Thomas E. (Dana) Bevan. The Psychobiology of Transsexualism and Transgenderism: A New View Based on Scientific Evidence. Praeger, 2014.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin, 'formally apologized' to trans community at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta. Transcript. "“HRC has done wrong by the transgender community in the past, and I am here to formally apologize, I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should have been standing together.”
Jamie Roberts,Tracee McDaniel & Cheryl Courtney-Evans founded Trans Housing Atlanta Program.
Announced that future Southern Comfort Conferences will be held in Florida.
Long time Atlanta drag performer Kitty Collins, age 60, shot dead - her husband was arrested, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Murdered in Albany, Georgia: Keymori Shatoya Johnson, 24, shot.
- Dallas Denny. “Creating Community: A History of Early Transgender Support in Atlanta”. dallasdenny.com, Nov 7, 2015. Online.
Tristan Skye withdraws from TQ Nation.
Amiayah Scott in Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Audrey Middleton in Big Brother US.
Lateasha Shuntel, trans performer, died after having silicone injected into her buttocks, hips and lips.
Ashley Diamond released after three years.
- Tristan Skye. Transgender Journey: Real Stories from Around the World. Lulu.com 2016.
- Qwo-Li Driskill. Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory. University of Arizona Press, 2016.
- Thomas E. (Dana) Bevan, Being Transgender: What You Should Know. Praeger, 2016.
James Parker Sheffield tweets a photograph and comments when he is in North Carolina, he is now
required to use women’s restroom, even perhaps with Governor’s wife. Tweet went viral.
Tracee McDaniel appointed to Atlanta Citizen Review Board.
Rowan Feldhaus refused legal permission to change his name.
Cheryl Courtney-Evans died from cancer at age 64. She was posthumously a grand marshal at Atlanta Pride.
After a struggle with cancer, Diamond Lil was moved into a hospice. She died age 80.
Lady Chablis died from pneumonia at age 59.
Murdered in Macon, Georgia: Candace Towns, 30, shot.
2017January: Rowan Feldhaus appealed to Georgia Supreme Court re permission to change his name. The Court unanimously ruled in his favor and overruled the state court judge.
May: Rowan Feldhaus had a hysterectomy, a few days later went into septic shock and died.
Derek Easterling, Mayor of Kennesaw, Georgia, an exurb of Atlanta, did a drag show for a charity event that raised $250,000 to help Alzheimer's patients.
Murdered in Atlanta: TeeTee Dangerfield, 32, shot multiple times; Scout Schultz, 21, shot by Georgia Tech campus police.
Murdered in Athens, Georgia: Ava Le’Ray Barrin, 17,shot.
These publications were consulted in compiling this timeline:
- Jayne County with Rupert Smith. Man Enough to be a Woman. Serpent's Tail, 1995.
- Wesley Chenault. "The Unspoken Past: Atlanta Lesbian and Gay History". www.historians.org, December 2006. Online.
- Wesley Chenault, Stacy Lorraine Braukman, Gay and Lesbian Atlanta, Arcadia Pub 2008. How could such a book totally ignore Phoebe Smith, Jayne County, Dallas Denny.
- Dyana Bagby. "Trans Atlanta: A look inside an evolving community". The Georgia Voice, November 12, 2010. No longer available.
- “Out in Atlanta: Atlanta’s Gay and Lesbian Communities Since Stonewall: A Chronology, 1969-2012”. http://outhistory.org/exhibits/show/atlanta-since-stonewall/out_in_atlanta
- Phoebe Smith. From Sharecropper's Son to Who's Who in American Women. CreateSpace, 2014.
- Tracee McDaniel & Jamie Roberts. ``Being transgender in Atlanta``. Creative Loafing, June 26, 2014. Online.
- Dallas Denny. “Creating Community: A History of Early Transgender Support in Atlanta”. dallasdenny.com, Nov 7, 2015. Online.
- TGEU. Trans Respect Versus Transphobia. Murder Monitoring. http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources
- “Unsolved Murders”. TransFM. Online.
Gay History Wiki(Georgia Chronology of LGBT historical events) – lists many of the trans who were murdered, but no other persons.
06 December 2017
This first local trans Timeline, is centred on the US Georgia cities of Atlanta and Savannah. We juxtapose Phoebe Smith, Jayne County, Dallas Denny, Diamond Lil, Lady Chablis etc. A criticism of Smith’s book is the total lack of mention of what other trans persons were doing. Smith is rightly lauded for The Transsexual Voice 1980-95. However it is important to remember that Diamond Lil had been writing for the Great Speckled Bird and then other alternate and gay publications from 1970 onwards.
I partially quote the 1968 Atlanta police ordinance against cross-dressing. There were earlier ones, but I did not find details of them – note that Francis Renault complained about such in 1913. The list of such ordinances included in Susan Stryker’s Transgender History does not include Atlanta.
I could not find precise dates for the Georgia Mental Health Institute gender clinic, or for the Montgomery Medical and Psychological Institute. I have put an entry for these two under ??unknown rather than a specific year.
The Spanish invasion pushed some of the Timucua tribe into what is now Georgia. Timucua Two-spirit persons were often healers, and played an important role in funerals. By 1595 the Timucuan population had shrunk by 75%, mainly from the new diseases and war. By 1700 only 1000 survived, and the British killed or enslaved those. They are extinct.
Upon independence from the United Kingdom, Georgia retained most laws imposed under British rule, but did not retain the 16th century anti-buggery laws.
First anti-sodomy law in Georgia.
The Cherokee were the first Indigenous people to become US citizens. Two-spirit terms: nudale asgaya , nudale agehya, asegi.
Georgia anti-sodomy law amended: "carnal knowledge and connection against the order of nature by man with man, or in the same unnatural manner with woman" was outlawed on force of life imprisonment with labor.
The forced removal of Cherokee from Georgia to Oklahoma, resulting in 4000 deaths.
++A municipal ordinance prohibited stage performers from wearing the garb of the opposite sex in their acts.
First sodomy conviction in Georgia goes to the State Supreme Court featuring two boys under 14, one of whom was sentenced to two years.
|Atlanta Constitution re Renault and police force|
Female impersonator Antonio Auriema /Francis Renault performed in Atlanta and contested local
ordinance banning cross-dressing, to the consternation of the local police.
The future Diamond Lil born in Savannah.
Dr Newdigate Owensby (1882-1952) of Atlanta began treating LGBT persons with Metrazol (aka Pentylenetetrazol) which at high doses causes causes convulsions.
The future Phoebe Smith born in Irwin County, Georgia.
Ella Thompson and one other had been convicted on “an indictment charging her with sodomy, both participants in the act being alleged to be female”. Thompson appealed and the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the sodomy law did not apply to two women, as the law specifies: “against the order of nature by man with man, or in the same unnatural manner with woman” – therefore not two women.
++Savannah resident, gay novelist and Hollywood writer, Harry Hervey (1900-1951) (he wrote the story for Shanghai Express, 1931, filmed with Marlene Dietrich) published The Damned Don't Cry about Savannah's sexual underside. IMDB.
- Harry Hervey. The Damned Don’t Cry, The Greystone Press, 1939.
Dr Owensby published a paper in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases presenting several cases where he claimed that using Matrazol to induce multiple seizures resulted in LGBT persons being ‘cured’, including Case 3, aged 44, who previously had been proud of being a ‘man-woman’. No other doctor ever replicated such results.
The future Catherine Jones born in Atlanta.
Wayne Rogers (future Jayne County) born in Dallas, a suburb of Atlanta.
State Sodomy Law amended, reducing the compulsory life sentence to 1-10 years. However it was gradually expanded in breadth to include such as fellatio.
1951Guy Dobbs was performing in drag at the Supper Club.
Halloween: Diamond Lil and a drag friend got dolled up and crashed a party at a local American Legion in Savannah. Only after several drinks did it come out that they were not cis women. They quickly left but driving home they were followed by two soldiers who shot out a tire on their car, and Lil was orally raped. "It was so scary: there's no words for it. But I made a decision that night that I was out. A real weird way to come out, though."
Diamond Lil’s first drag performances in Savannah. She was popular with sailors in the port and would perform on ships docked there. Eventually this led to her male persona being discharged from the Georgia Air National Guard, and fired from a secretarial job at the Seaboard Railroad. The Savannah police arrested her several times, once on a drummed-up loitering charge.
Guy Dobbs was managing the Queen of Clubs, and brought in female impersonators such as Bobbie Larr from New Orleans. He also performed in drag as ‘Terry Lynn’ – mainly in heterosexual supper clubs. The Queen of Clubs touted its uniqueness in featuring female impersonators.
Christine Jorgensen tour played six days at the Steak Ranch, Atlanta.
Mobster Vito Genovese, owner of the drag nightclub, the 82 Club in New York, and other gay bars, was convicted of heroin trafficking, and sentenced to 15 years in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.
The pre-transition Phoebe Smith found a position at Rich’s department store and stayed for ten years. Every now and then there would be an article in the news about a transsexual, but when Smith attempted to correspond with a doctor or psychiatrist, was told that a change of sex was impossible.
Benjamin Dickerson born in Atlanta.
Phoebe Smith called to draft board and classified 4-F because of desire for sex-change
Amy Larkin, the agony aunt at the Atlanta Constitution (actually a pseudonym for Olive Ann Burns (1924 – 1990) who later became renowned for her novel Cold Sassy Tree) communicated with Phoebe Smith. Larkin passed anonymous information about Smith to Harry Benjamin in New York. Benjamin wrote back that “there seems very little doubt that this patient is a transsexual”. Larkin arranged an appointment with a local endocrinologist, but he, despite the letter from Benjamin, maintained that what was wanted could not be done.
Wayne Rogers (later to be Jayne County) lived in the Marietta suburb of Altanta. Wayne started going out dressed female. He also found a copy of John Rechy's City of Night and immediately identified with Miss Destiny, and Kenneth (later Katherine) Marlowe's Mister Madam.
Smith wrote to the Governor of Georgia who passed the letter to the Dean of the Medical College of Georgia who replied that the transgender surgery was illegal within Georgia.
Wayne became a Screaming Queen: they wore make-up, screamed at boys and ran away. The local word for that was 'wrecking’. The other queens were referred to as Miss Cocks, Miss Hair, Miss Car, and Davinia Daisy who passed well.
A person we know only as ‘Queen Elizabeth’ got a job in Davison’s department store as a model. One day the boss walked in as she was changing and saw her penis. She was immediately fired.
Diamond Lil arrived in Atlanta. At that time she had a husband, and they started a small antiques shop near Peachtree and 11th Streets. She dabbled in drag shows. According to Jayne County, Diamond was one of only a few who could pass in straight clubs.
Smith contacted Atlanta Constitution journalist, Dick Herbert, who became interested and wrote a sympathetic story (by the standards of the time) using a pseudonym: “Long-Ill Tim Gets New Hope to Solve Endocrine Malady”.
Wayne got a Yankee boyfriend, and they got a flat together – the first time that he left home. By now Wayne was a gay hippy rather than a screaming queen. He did his first drag performances miming to Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin at the hippy bar, The Catacombs, on the corner of 14th Street. Diamond Lil also performed there.
|The woman that Jones became many years later|
Inman Clarke moved to Atlanta after army service, and founded a drag group, the Sir-Premes.
1967++Tom Buckley's "The Transsexual Operation", in the April 1967 issue of Esquire, told of 'Adeline' a high-school teacher who lost her job when arrested in drag. She moved to Atlanta, found a sympathetic woman at the cosmetics counter in Rich's Department Store who helped her to do herself up. 'Adeline' found a job and a husband.
Wayne took the Greyhound bus to New York City for $25 ($175 in modern money). He survived by meeting people in the Stonewall Inn, but could not afford a winter coat, so in September phoned his father for money and returned to Atlanta.
Phoebe Smith applied to Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation and Georgia Mental Health Institute. They responded with a mixture of ignoring her, giving a run-around and even rudeness.
February. The Police Committee passed an Ordinance “to make it Unlawful for Persons of one sex to Impersonate, Masquerade or Disguise themselves as being of another sex to aid in the commission of unlawful acts”.
Billy Jones, from Griffin, Georgia, was one of the first to perform in drag in the new gay bars, that were frequently raided by the police.
Phoebe Smith saw Christine Jorgensen on the Merv Griffin television show, and wrote to ask for Christine’s address. Christine put Smith in touch with a doctor, who in turn gave the names and addresses of two surgeons: Dr Burou in Casablanca and Dr Barbosa in Tijuana. Smith decided on the latter.
Wayne County trained as a male nurse and worked in an old-folks' ward. One night Wayne "in hippy chick drag" took his mother's car but was stopped by the police. He was let out on bail, but the hospital was informed and he lost his job the next day. He took the Greyhound to New York City again.
A friend asked Diamond Lil to headline a new drag show at Mrs P’s, a restaurant in the basement of the Ponce de Leon Hotel. There was an arrangement with the police: only on week-nights, and the show was not to be advertised. At first Lil mouthed to Motown records, but started singing with her own voice – one of only a few drag performers to do so.
January: Phoebe Smith attends Dr Jose Jesus Barbosa in Tijuana. Is treated for thyroid disorder and given an orchiectomy.
Phoebe returns to Atlanta and starts living as female. Visits Harry Benjamin in New York for hormone prescription.
Phoebe attempted to return to work at Rich’s Department Store, but a few co-workers objected, and the supervisor said no. Phoebe appealed up two levels but without success.
August 11: Atlanta police raided George Ellis’ Film Forum, which was showing the Andy Warhol movie Lonesome Cowboys, with drag actress Francis Francine, and took photos of audience members.
November: Phoebe returned to Harry Benjamin and was told that she was ready for final surgery.
April: Phoebe Smith’s final surgery with Dr Barbosa in Tijuana.
Phoebe took the Georgia State Merit test, and got a position in Disease investigation department.
For six months there was a bar called the Club Centaur. Diamond Lil and another drag artist, Phyllis Killer, performed backed by a live band. Diamond became known for her hard-driving rock’n’roll songs. She added in her own songs, and released them on 45s – some of them were played on jukeboxes across the city.
Diamond performed several times for the Georgia Gay Liberation Front. She also wrote, for the alternate weekly, The Great Speckled Bird, the first time after being caught in a police raid on a club in Savannah in 1970. This was one the very first examples of a trans woman writing about being trans.
October 31: first Miss Gay Atlanta Pageant.
May: Phoebe transferred to working in the Georgia Medicaid department.
Phoebe now undergoing electrolysis, and for a short while worked with a local transsexual support group before it discontinued.
Diamond moved to Sweet Gum Head, a focal point for the burgeoning drag scene. Other performers included Rachel Wells, Lavita Allen and Charlie Brown.
First Atlanta Gay Pride parade was organized by the Georgia Gay Liberation Front.
Diamond did a benefit for the Committee on Gay Education at the University of Georgia and sang “Stand by Your Man.” UGA officials did all they could to throw the COGE off campus, but Lil’s support gave COGE financial backing and a public profile. Diamond started a column in the gay paper, Sunset People, and then in the nightlife magazine, Cruise.
Mickey Day moved to Atlanta from Indianapolis. His drag show became a regular at the Onyx Club.
Rachel Wells elected Miss Gay Atlanta.
First Atlanta area Metropolitan Community Church congregation was established.
Despite how they had treated Phoebe Smith, the Georgia Mental Health Institute started a gender clinic, and provided hormones and surgery for a select few. However the Sunday Atlanta Journal and Constitution announced the use of federal dollars by the Georgia Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to fund two male-to-female sex reassignment surgeries, and later the clinic was closed.
Spring: a trans woman whom Phoebe had spoken to with the support group applied to Medicaid in the hope of having her surgery paid for. They met at the elevator, and the woman introduced herself. This made Phoebe think that everyone was talking about her. A close work friend told her that “we all know and we still love you”.
Atlanta Barb, the state's first gay newspaper.
Phoebe transferred to Family and Children Services. One day a co-worker rushed in and exclaimed: “Y’all, there is a transsexual that works for the State!” Again it turned out that most of the co-workers already knew, and never said.
15-year-old RuPaul Charles moved to Atlanta from San Diego, to study performing arts.
Tina Devore moved to Atlanta from Florida, and quickly found work as a drag performer.
Atlanta Gay Center was first opened.
Rachel Wells elected Miss Gay Georgia.
Lena Lust , from Chicago, drag performer, arrived in Atlanta.
Kitty Collins, Lily White and Alvina Laverne performed as the Grease Sisters.
Rachel Wells elected Miss Gay America 1979.
June: Phoebe Smith wrote her first autobiography, Phoebe. She self-published it and advertised in
trans newsletters. A thousand copies were printed, and a New York bookstore bought four hundred. Reactions at work were mixed. People she had not previously known became friendly; no man at work ever asked her out again.
- Phoebe Smith. Phoebe. P Smith Pub Ind, 1979.
Cheryl Courtney-Evans, who had transitioned in Kansas City in 1974, moved to Atlanta.
Phoebe put together a brochure, “The Journey from One to Forty was Difficult but Successful”. It included a photograph of herself at age one with father, and a photo at age 40. It criticized the report from Jon Meyers of John Hopkins of the previous year that had been used as an excuse to close its Gender Identity Clinic. “I have worked for the State of Georgia for almost ten years. During my fourth year of employment, knowledge of my surgery became widespread. It was upsetting, but also a big relief to get it in the open.”
The sale of the autobiography resulted in mail, much of it from persons seeking information. This led to the idea of a newsletter, The Transsexual Voice. The first two issues were complimentary, and 30 copies were printed. Within a few months there were over 100 subscribers.
A subscriber contacted her wanting to find someone to train in electrolysis. Phoebe jumped at the chance and for the next 15 years they worked on each other.
Continued in Part II.
In 1965 Phoebe Smith was working at Rich's department store and "Queen Elizabeth" was modelling at Davison's department store. So there is no reason to assume that Phoebe would even know about, much less meet "Elizabeth". What we know about "Elizabeth" is taken from Jayne County, Man Enough to be a Woman: 23. However in Simon Reynold's Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-First Century: 383 we find a loose retelling of the anecdote claiming that "Elizabeth" modelled at Rich's. It that were so, Phoebe and "Elizabeth" may have met. But it wasn't so!
05 December 2017
Timelines, sometimes called Chronologies. Many Timelines of LGBT or just trans history are found on the Internet. Some are quite good, others are pretty bad.
WikipediaEN.Wikipedia has Timelines, which it usually calls LGBT History. Here is one for Canada. Note the almost total lack of trans content. Where is Diane Boileau, The Clarke Institute, Rupert Raj, Aaron Devore, Toby Dancer, Viviane Namaste? And therefore why call it LGBT rather than LGB?
Here is the EN.Wikipedia Timeline on US Georgia. It contains no trans events at all, and in its Notable LGBT Georgians section, the closest it comes to a trans person is RuPaul.
Gay History WikiWhat about Gay History Wiki? Here is its Georgia Chronology. It actually lists several trans persons – but only those who were murdered! Of those who thrived, who organized, who wrote, who performed – not a word.
OutHistoryWhat about OutHistory.org. They have a page: Out in Atlanta: Atlanta’s Gay and Lesbian Communities Since Stonewall: A Chronology, 1969-2012, which does not claim to include trans events but does mention various trans marches and Southern Comfort Conference. But no trans individuals are mentioned.
On the other hand the same site has Las Vegas Transgender which is actually quite informative.
How about universal or national trans Timelines?
T-VoxThe one at T-Vox (which is UK centric) is worth looking at. However it make nonsense claims such as that Hirschfeld coined ‘transvestite’, and of the Berlin trans women only Lili Elvenes (Elbe) is mentioned; Toni Ebel and Dorchen Richter are ignored. The Beaumont Society is mentioned but not Virginia Prince or Tri-Ess. And what happened to Charlotte Bach and Victor Barker? Where is Yvonne Sinclair?
Mercedes AllenMercedes Allen did a US-centric trans Timeline in 2008 and published it in six parts on Bilerico Project:
· Trans Expression in Ancient Times
· The Rise of Hatred (Middle Ages)
· Into the Modern Age (1700s - 1932)
· From Germany to Stonewall (1933 - 1968)
· Stonewall and Its Fissures (1969 - 1995)
· Toward the Future (1996 - 2007)
This is certainly one of the better Timelines. It does include Violet Morris, but not Victor Barker, “Lili Elbe” but not Toni Ebel and Dorchen Richter, ignores sexologist Bernard Talmey and Benjamin’s first trans patient Otto Spengler.
Pierre-Henri CastelThe most detailed trans Timeline was compiled by Pierre-Henri Castel with Bernice Hausman, Heike Boedeker & Geneviève Morel, and was published as an appendix to Castel’s book La métamorphose impensable: essai sur le transsexualisme et l'identité personnelle. Gallimard, 2003. The Timeline is France-centric but includes much from the UK and North America. The emphasis is on professionals and publications, and actual trans persons only pop up here and there. For example neither Violet Morris nor Victor Barker are even mentioned. Coccinelle is in, but not Bambi. The timeline is online in two parts:
GVWWWithin this encyclopedia I have included several Timelines:
The Eurovision Song Contest
Trans Persons acting in soap operas, telenovelas and other dramatic serials on television
A Blanchard-Binary Timeline - Part 1: to 2000
A Blanchard-Binary Timeline - Part 2: 2001-10
TG, Word and concepts: Part 2: The early years up to 1990
TG, Word and concepts: Part 3: The full-blown usage after 1990
Sport Gender & Trans - part 1: to 1945
Sport Gender & Trans - part 2: the Cold War
Sport Gender & Trans - part 3: recent developments
Trans in Prison: Part 1 - to the conviction of Oscar Wilde
Trans in Prison: Part 2 - to Stonewall
Trans in Prison: Part 3 - to Framer v. Brennan
Trans in Prison: Part 4 - to the Synthia Kavanagh Human Rights Case
Trans in Prison: Part 5 - to the New Prison Guidelines
Trans in Prison: Part 6 - Comments & Bibliography
To do a universal Trans timeline would be an enormous task. However I will now be doing a series on smaller areas – cities or close-by cities.
This is in addition to the series of Trans persons who changed thing at the country or multi-country level.
27 November 2017
At Halloween 1953, he and a drag friend got dolled up and crashed a party at a local American legion. Only after several drinks did it come out that they were not cis women. They quickly left but driving home they were followed by two soldiers who shot out a tire on their car, and Forrester was orally raped.
"It was so scary: there's no words for it. But I made a decision that night that I was out. A real weird way to come out, though."The first public drag performance was at age 18. She was popular with sailors in the port and would perform on ships docked there. Eventually this led to Forrester being discharged from the Georgia Air National Guard, and fired from a secretarial job at the Seaboard Railroad. The Savannah police arrested her several times, once on a drummed-up loitering charge.
It was time to move and she arrived in Atlanta in 1965. At that time she had a husband, and they started a small antiques shop near Peachtree and 11th Streets. That area became ‘the Strip’ where bohemians and gays were to be found.
She dabbled in drag shows using the name Leslie Diamond. Jayne County wrote in her autobiography:
“It was considered a very big deal to go to straight clubs and pass as a woman, and there weren’t many of the queens who could pull it off. One who could was an older queen called Diamond Lil, who was the mother of all the young street queens in Atlanta.”In 1968 a friend asked Diamond to headline a new drag show at Mrs P’s, a restaurant in the basement of the Ponce de Leon Hotel. There was an arrangement with the police: only on week-nights, and the show was not to be advertised. She took the name Diamond Lil as a last minute inspiration on the opening night. At first she mouthed to Motown records, but started singing with her own voice – one of only a few drag performers to do so.
For six months in 1970 there was a bar called the Club Centaur. Diamond and another drag artist, Phyllis Killer, performed backed by a live band. Diamond became known for her hard-driving rock’n’roll songs. She added in her own songs, and released them on 45s – some of them were played on jukeboxes across the city.
Diamond performed several times for the Georgia Gay Liberation Front. She also wrote, for the alternate weekly, The Great Speckled Bird, the first time after being caught in a police raid on a club in Savannah in 1970.
|Diamond Lil, mid 1980s|
In the early 1970s, Diamond moved to Sweet Gum Head, a focal point for the burgeoning drag scene. Other performers included Rachel Wells, Lavita Allen and Charlie Brown.
In 1972 Diamond did a benefit for the Committee on Gay Education at the University of Georgia and sang “Stand by Your Man.” UGA officials did all they could to throw the COGE off campus, but Lil’s support gave COGE financial backing and a public profile.
Diamond started a column in the gay paper, Sunset People, and then in the nightlife magazine, Cruise.
In 1984 Diamond Lil put out a full LP of original material, The Queen of Diamonds/Silver Grill. She was an acknowledged influence on Lady Bunny and RuPaul who started out in Atlanta at this time. However, by then Diamond was losing her fans to AIDS. There were fewer places to perform, and she reduced her performances and concentrated on a new antiques business. She was writing for the bar magazine Etcetera – these articles were often obituaries.
In the 1990s she had a few revival shows. In 2002 she re-released her album on CD. She put out two more albums: Live at the Moonshadow Saloon, 2004, and Verge, Vigor and Vim, 2007. In 2014 the readers of the Georgia Voice newspaper voted her Best Icon; in 2015 Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots honored her in the first ever Our Founding Valentines event. After a struggle with cancer, Lil was moved into a hospice. She died age 80.
Lady Bunny is quoted in The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
"She was singing with a live band and I had never heard of a drag queen doing that. That really helped shaped my experience because it was not disco music, it was rock 'n' roll and it was original. What always interested me about Diamond Lil, she broke the boundaries of what most drag queens thought they could do. Most thought they could either lip sync or do a celebrity impersonation and she said no, I’m going to front a rock band and do original music...I did love the mock grandeur of her. I totally bought it, when you were in the same room with her, she was regal. She really was magic. She really was unique."
- Diamond Lil. ‘Diamond Lil, Most Glamorous Queen in the World, In Captivity’. The Great Speckled Bird, 3, 38, September 28, 1970:10-11. Online.
- Jayne County with Rupert Smith. Man Enough to be a Woman. Serpent's Tail, 1995: 29- 30, 160.
- James T. Sears, Rebels, Rubyfruit, and Rhinestones: Queering Space in the Stonewall South. Rutgers University Press, 2001: 81, 159.
- Tray Butler. “God save the Queen: If Diamond Lil is the grand dame of Atlanta drag, why can't she get a steady gig?” Creative Loafing, Oct 9, 2003. Online.
- Wesley Chenault & Stacy Braukman. Gay and Lesbian Atlanta. Arcadia Pub, 2008: 55, 62
- Patrick Saunders. “Atlanta drag icon Diamond Lil dies at 80”. Georgia Voice, August 9, 2016. Online.
- Shane Harrison. “Pioneering Atlanta drag performer Diamond Lil has died”. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 10, 2016. Online.
Other Diamond Lils.
Honora Ornstein, from Austria-Hungary, performed during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s.
Evelyn Hildegard, also from Austria-Hungary, performer in California and Nevada in early 20th century. Later a brothel keeper.
A 1928 play by Mae West, the basis of the 1933 film, She Done Him Wrong.
Katie Glass, a female wrestler in South Carolina in 1960s-1970s.
Trans woman performer in Hackney, London 1940s-1960s.
Marcus Craig New Zealand drag performer as Diamond Lil from 1972.
The 1970s rock group from Essex.