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.

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 page. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

30 June 2017

Other trans persons in New York 1969-72


Out of the Stonewall riots 27-30 June 1969 grew two pioneering trans organizations: Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and Queens Liberation Front (QLF), and two gay organizations Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). Of course at that time ‘gay’ was the umbrella word that included bisexuals and trans persons, but GAA and GLF were not usually focused on trans issues.  

There are already articles in this encyclopedia on the major persons in both trans groups:

STAR - Bubbles Rose Lee, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, Bebe Scarpinato, Bambi L’Amour
QLF: Lee Brewster, Bunny Eisenhower, Bebe Scarpinato (again), Vicky West, Chris Moore.

This article is about other trans persons who were around them, but of whom there is insufficient information to do a full article, although in a few cases a short article has been done. While I say trans, from the perspective of 2017, most of them look more gender queer than transgender. Harry Benjamin had been treating transsexuals in New York for many years, and had published his definitive book in 1966, and Johns Hopkins had done a very few transgender operations starting in the same year. There were cheaper doctors in the New York: Leo Wollman, David Wesser, Benito Rish, Felix Shiffman, Peter Fries. However to progress down the transsexual path required both money and some degree of stability in life. Holly Woodlawn was given the money by her boyfriend, but she quickly found that Johns Hopkins would require a multi-year evaluation as well as the money. It was possible but not easy to go from selling your body on 42nd Street to being a completed transsexual. Patricia Morgan is a salutary example of how that could be done.

Some regard gender queer as second best to transsexual, but others regard it as an equally valid identity or choice. The persons below didn’t use either of these terms. They were homosexual, transvestite, drag queen, street queen etc.

How was the word ‘transvestite’ used? Here is Marsha P Johnson’ definition: “A drag queen is one that usually goes to a ball, and that’s the only time she gets dressed up. Transvestites live in drag. A transsexual spends most of her life in drag. I never come out of drag to go anywhere. Everywhere I go I get all dressed up. A transvestite is still like a boy, very manly looking, a feminine boy. You wear drag here and there. When you’re a transsexual, you have hormone treatments and you’re on your way to a sex change, and you never come out of female clothes.” The QLF magazine was called Drag: a magazine about the Transvestite.

Certainly this definition is radically different from the usage of Virginia Prince, Ethel Person and DSM III that attempted to limit the word to heterosexuals, and even regarded transvestism as a type of fetishism.

The persons below are mentioned in the books about Stonewall, STAR, QLF etc, but the pictures of them are far from complete. They are but snapshots, and in almost all cases we do not know which of them lived only a few years more, which of them lived a normal life expectancy, nor do we know if any of them later did a successful transition.

Major sources:

· Martin B Duberman. Stonewall. Plume, 1994.
· David Carter. Stonewall : the riots that sparked the gay revolution.: St. Martin's Press 2004.
· Stephan L. Cohen. The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York: 'An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail'. Routledge, 2008.



Andorra

Andorra lived at STAR House, and went with Sylvia and Bambi in the demonstrations at New York University, and to the state capital, Albany.

Duberman: 252, 254.
Cohen: 91, 111, 122, 127, 132, 139, 147, 159, 253n212,

Birdie Rivera

From the age of 11, Birdie was the lover of a police officer who beat him and made him wear dresses. Birdy and other gays at school formed a gang, the Commando Queens. They staked a claim to Riker’s, a restaurant at Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue, which they took over from the winos. He was active at Stonewall.

Carter: 59-60,167,177,179.
Cohen: 17.

Boom Boom Santiago

Boom Boom was one of the street transvestites whom Bob Kohler brought to the early GLF meetings (1969). “Here are the people that you’re supposed to be helping. Meanwhile they’re starving, they’re dying, they have no clothes, they have no food. They’re the ones who started the goddamn [Stonewall] riot”. Kohler’s appeal was actually met with hostility.

Cohen: 99

Chris Thompson

Chris was a dancer, and aspired to be a dance therapist. Chris was also black, gay, trans and asthmatic. She sought treatment for asthma at New York’s Bellevue Hospital in 1970, but was locked in the psychiatric wing. She was ridiculed by the staff for sexual and gender deviance, and was threatened with transfer to the state mental hospital, but was quite accepted by the other patients. Arthur Bell & Sylvia Rivera discovered her and were able to do an interview. “When I came into admitting office, I told the doctor I had congestion and asthma. Because of me wanting to be a woman so much, he asked me did I ever have a fear of cutting my penis off. I didn’t tell him one way or the other, but on my record they have it down that I have a fear of cutting my penis off, to become a woman. I want to become a woman that bad, so they asked me these questions — do I still have a fear of taking a razor and cutting my penis off and I told them no, and if I did decide to have a sex change I would go through the legal procedures and go to the proper physicians and have it done.”

Arthur Bell & Sylvia Rivera. “Chris: Gay Prisoner in Bellevue.” Gay Flames, Nov. 14, 1970: 1, 2, 7. Online.
Cohen: 136.

Christine

Christine was described as a ‘hard old queen’. She was once bailed by Bob Kohler, the GLF activist.

Cohen : 98.

Congo Woman

Congo was regarded as ‘nasty’. She used to throw a brick though a display window to grab a dress or a wig.

Carter: 56

Ivan Valentin

Ivan, also Hispanic, was a friend of Sylvia from 1966, and also a friend of Ed Murphy of the Stonewall Inn. He is quoted: “A drag or transvestite is somebody who always dresses as a woman. A female impersonator is someone who claims to actually be a woman. I’m just a man who likes to dress up.”

Ivan was at the first night of the Stonewall riot where he was hit in the knee by a policeman’s billy club, and had ten stitches at St Vincent’s Hospital. He credits Sylvia with jumping a cop and starting the Stonewall riot – however he is alone in this claim.

Ivan later headlined a drag troupe “Leading Ladies of New York”. This show was shut down in Spring 1975 in West Hartford by the Connecticut state liquor authorities. Valentin took the case to the University of Connecticut School of Law, and got the law changed.

Eric Gordon. “An Imitation of Images,” The Hartford Advocate, Oct. 27, 1976, Feb. 9, 1977.
Duberman : 125, 182-3, 192, 201, 290n25, 297n14, 300n40.

Josie

A friend of Sylvia’s from the mid-1960s. When Sylvia first went to a GAA meeting, it was Josie who went with her.

Duberman : 235,
Cohen: 102, 109

Lola Montez

Listed, but no further details.

Cohen : 99,

Michele
Michele, 3rd from left, at Stonewall

Listed but no further details.


Cohen : 99






























Nelly

Also known as Betsy Mae Kulo, a young Latina, who passed very easily.

Carter : 56

Orphan Annie

With white skin, a red afro and prominant eyes, Annie was said to resemble the comic-strip character. She had a habit when in cheap hotels of throwing radios or lamps out of the window. It was apparently Annie, giving out GLF leaflets in Greenwich Village, who gave one to Arthur Evans and his lover Arthur Bell – which brought them into the group.

A character in the 2015 Stonewall film was given this name.

Carter : 56, 60, 227
Cohen : 99, 101

Miss Pixie

Miss Pixie lived in STAR House. She was at the March 10, 1972 conference on transvestism attended by STAR, QLF and GAA.

Cohen : 91, 132, 145.

Raquel Wilson

Raquel was known as the ‘queen of sex’.

Cohen: 99.

Stanley

Despite her name, Stanley was always in drag, and given to claims such as that she had attended a famous school, which she would not name.

Carter: 56.

Wanda/cross-eyed Cynthia

She was pushed out of a window of the St George Hotel in Brooklyn. More.

Wallace Hamilton. Christopher and Gay ; a Partisan's View of the Greenwich Village Homosexual Scene. Saturday Review Press, 1973: 8-9. 57-9 .
Duberman: 188-9.

Carter: 56, 60 refers to a cross-eyed Sylvia, who would liberate hotel curtains to make dresses, and who fell from the roof of the St George Hotel.

Zazu Nova

Zazu was from upstate New York, and a staunch Unitarian. She had a violent temper and had been in prison more than once. It was rumored that she had done time for murder. She often carried a large chain in her purse for self-defense.
Cohen p48

David Carter writes of the Stonewall riots: “we can name three individuals known to have been in the vanguard: Jackie Hormona, Marsha Johnson and Zazu Nova”.

Nova was active in Gay Youth and GLF – she wrote for GLF News. Cohen quotes Perry Brass: “the divine Nova, a great transgendered creature whom I adored back then: totally original young man, who was maybe 19 or 20, and gorgeous, I mean Fab-u-lasss in the most intense way. I have no idea what happened to him (or her, in the more pc language). Nova was not strictly speaking a “she.” He often dressed as much young male as female. But he was a great dancer, and I can still hear his voice and the way he spoke—hugely poetic, outrageous, and very sweet. He was tall, about 6’, and looked wonderful.” She disappeared a few years after GLF folded.

Carter : 64-5, 162, 261, 298-9n11.
Cohen : 38, 41, 47-8, 88, 99-100, 116-7, 234n5, 236n30, 247n60.

25 June 2017

Joe Tish (1924 –) performer.

Joseph Touchette, often known as Tish, was raised the eldest of seven children in Dayville, Connecticut, in a French Catholic family.

Soon after World War II, Joe met Norman Kerouac, a first cousin of Jack Kerouac the beat writer. They decided to have a wedding in Providence, Rhode Island – despite there being no gay marriage at the time. A minister officiated, friends who worked in a bridal salon provided outfits for the bridesmaids, and a lacy white wedding gown for Joe – the first time that he was ever in drag. He liked it, and someone said that he should be a female impersonator.

He was working in a factory, but took dance and singing lessons in Providence. He then performed in local clubs. When Joe and Norman broke up in the early 1950s, he moved to New York City.

For forty years Tish worked as a female impersonator, sang and danced across New York and along the East Coast, often in Mafia-owned establishments. In particular he performed at the Moroccan Village at 23 West 8th Street (owned by the Genovese family). In the late 1960s he had a long-running show at the Crazy Horse. He was also in the 1960’s travelling act, French Box Revue.
Tish, on the right, at Crazy Horse.  Supplied by Queer Musical Heritage 


Tish was one of the few performers who sometimes left the club dressed as female. Once a club where he was performing was raided by the police, but they shooed him away assuming that he was a woman. Joe would be refused admission to the Stonewall Tavern when in costume, although he was so admitted at some uptown straight clubs, where his artistry was recognized. It was to Joe’s apartment that Tammy Novak ran after escaping from a police paddy wagon on the first night of the Stonewall riots; however Tish was performing in upstate New York.

In the 1970s one of Joe’s lovers, being of the next generation, went beyond stage performance, and transitioned as Eve. Tish was not keen that she should do so, but he continued to take care of her. She was a sex worker and died during the Aids epidemic. Tish still has her urn.

He continued doing drag shows after retirement, even performing at retirement homes. Tish is now in his 90s, and being taken care of by his room-mate.

18 June 2017

Ethel Person–Part II: theory

Part I: Life
Part II: theory

Unless otherwise noted, page references are to The Sexual Century.

Person and Ovesey follow the old psychoanalytic tradition of referring to trans persons by their birth gender, and thus a heterosexual trans woman is in their terminology a ‘male homosexual’.

Development model

Person and Ovesey were influenced by the development model of psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler, and from this proposed that a child's separation-individuation anxiety produced a fantasy of symbiotic fusion with the mother which the transsexual tries to resolve by surgically becoming her mother.
“The male transsexual is defined by most workers as having a female core gender identity. From our experience, it seems more accurate to say that transsexuals have an ambiguous core gender identity. … [this] permits the disorder to be conceptualized psychodynamically in conflictual terms as a neurosis. In our opinion, transsexualism originates in extreme separation anxiety occurring early in life, before object differentiation has been accomplished. To alleviate the anxiety, the child resorts to a fantasy of symbiotic fusion with the mother. In this way, mother and child become one and the danger of separation is nullified. We believe that this reparative fantasy is the psychodynamic basis for transsexualism in the male and that the transsexual phenomena can be understood clinically as attempts to ward off threats to psychic fusion with the mother.” (p 107-8)

Typology

They proposed a typology of transsexuals as follows (as summarized by Vitale):

1 Primary - functionally asexual and who progresses resolutely toward a surgical resolution without significant deviation toward either homosexuality or heterosexuality, no evidence of effeminacy in childhood.

2a Secondary, homosexual - effeminate from earliest childhood, preferred girls as playmates, avoided boyish pursuits and were "mother's helpers." Crossdressing began in childhood, initially for narcissistic satisfaction, but later at puberty to attract male sexual partners. Cross-gender fantasies were frequently tied to identification with movie actresses and drag queens. The authors note that the homosexual cross-dresser wants to be noticed and to this end often wears flamboyant and colorful clothing and engages in theatrical endeavors.

2b Secondary, transvestic - appropriately masculine, and occasionally exceedingly hyper-aggressive and hyper-competitive. They neither played with girls nor engaged in female pursuits. They fantasized about being girls when cross-dressed, but valued their assertiveness and maleness.
This typology was in contradistinction to Stoller’s writings where the homosexual early transitioner was regarded as primary.

Trans men

With regard to trans men, Ovesey and Person write:
“we have concluded from a study of female transsexuals that there is no female equivalent of primary male transsexualism. In our opinion, the transsexual syndrome in women develops only in homosexuals with a masculine gender role identity. Female transsexualism, therefore, can be classified as another form of secondary (homosexual) transsexualism.” (p 112)

Homosexual transsexuals

Of male homosexuals, Person and Ovesey write:
“The vast majority of male homosexuals lack the propensity for a transsexual regression. The propensity exists almost entirely in cross-dressing effeminate homosexuals who comprise a very small segment of the homosexual population.”
They divide homosexual transsexuals into two subgroups:

a) passive effeminate homosexuals who
“in many ways present a caricature of typical female norms. They are interested in such things as cooking and decorating, but most of all, they seek a love relationship with another man where they can assume the female role. … on the surface they are passive and dependent, but they often dominate their mates through oversolicitousness. In this respect they, they tend to duplicate the close-binding behaviour frequently ascribed to their mothers. Often a relationship is terminated because the lover feels suffocated.”
b) the more aggressive, though equally effeminate, drag queens. They
“are usually involved in a community of other queens. They treat each other as ‘sisters’, and sexual relations within the group are rare. …. Narcissism is institutionalized in an endless series of drag balls and parties. … The queen claims that he wants involvement with a hypermasculine man who will overpower him …[however] he frequently prefers to be the active partner in anal intercourse. … These queens are quick to violence, both verbal and physical.”
Two examples are given: C. a 33-year-old who lives with mother and has worked only two years in his life. He met a man in Spain while on holiday and maybe the man would marry him if he had the operation. D. works as a drag queen and also turns tricks. His family know that he is gay, but not the rest. He has lost interest in sex, but hopes that post-op he would find a ‘real man’.
(p 127-135)

Transvestic Transsexualism

“transvestic transsexuals have the typical personality structure of their parent group, transvestites. The personality is organized on an obsessive-paranoid axis with attenuation of both tender affectivity and sexuality. These patients are hypercompetitive, may be hypermasculine, and engage in endless struggles for power with other men. … The relationship with the wife is essentially dependent. As such, its success is determined by the personality of the wife and her capacity to tolerate both cross-dressing and minimal sexuality. … Mental life is characterized not only by irritability and preoccupation with power struggles but also by bouts of depression. … they are countered most frequently by cross-dressing and many instances by resort to alcohol. … Suicide attempts are common, as we would expect in a patient population so prone to depression.” (p135-142)

Transvestism

Person and Ovesey went with the definition that transvestism is done by male heterosexuals (not gay men nor women) for fetishistic sexual arousal, although they concede that it may also be done ‘to relieve anxiety about gender role identity’. They divide transvestites into masochistic and non-masochistic. The psychoanalyst Milton Jucovy had proposed the concept of ‘initiation fantasy’ as a central part of male transvestism. Person elaborated that there are two versions: forced initiation by a dominant, big-breasted, booted phallic woman, and also initiation by a kindly woman who dresses the man to save him from ‘Mafia killers’ or some such.

DSM III

In 1978 the Archives of Sexual Behavior published Virginia  Prince's "Transsexuals and Pseudotranssexuals" in which she proposed that the only true transsexuals are asexual, socially-inadequate men who would function better as women, as "less is expected of women". She presumed that bisexuals (2,3,4 on the Kinsey scale) of their nature do not become transsexuals. She also proposed two kinds of 'pseudotranssexual' based on sexual orientation.
"The preoperative homosexual group (Kinsey 5,6) gave much higher scores on all questions dealing with sex and lower scores on those questions dealing with gender, while those in the heterosexual group (Kinsey 1,2) gave high scores to gender type questions and much lower scores on the sex type questions".
The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM III) 1980 added transsexualism for the first time, and subdivided it into asexual, homosexual, heterosexual and unspecified. Thus it was roughly congruent with Stoller, Person-Ovesey and Prince. Furthermore ‘transvestites’ was defined as done by a heterosexual male. Again congruent with Stoller, Person-Ovesey and Prince. However to the chagrin of Prince (who had been insisting on a differentiation from fetishism) it was defined as done for sexual excitement.
  • Robert Stoller. Sex and Gender. Science House, 1968.
  • Ethel S. Person. “Some Differences Between Men and Women: We think and behave different for biological and psychological reasons, not just cultural ones”. The Atlantic, March 1988. Online.
  • Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “The transsexual syndrome in males I: primary transsexualism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974: 4-20.
  • Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “The transsexual syndrome in males II: secondary transsexualism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974: 174-193.
  • Ethel Person. “Initiation fantasies and transvestism: discussion”. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 24, 1976:547-551.
  • Lionel Ovesey & Ethel Person “Transvestism: A disorder of the sense of Self”. International journal of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 5, 1976: 219-235.
  • Virginia Prince. "Transsexuals and Pseudotranssexuals", Archives of Sexual Behavior, 7, 4, 1978: 263-272. Reprinted in Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds) Virginia Prince: Pioneer of Transgendering. The Haworth Medical Press, 2005: 33-7 and the International Journal of Transgenderism, 8,4, 2005: 33-7.
  • Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “Psychoanalytic Theories of Gender Identity”. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis. 11, 2 (Apr 1, 1983): 203.
  • Ethel Spector Person. “Harry Benjamin and the Birth of a Shared Cultural Fantasy”. In The Sexual Century: 347-366.
  • Vern L. Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. University of Philadelphia Press 1993: 219-220..
  • Ethel Spector Person. By Force of Fantasy: How We Make Our Lives. Penguin, 1996.
  • Anne Vitale. “Primary and Secondary Transsexualism--Myths and Facts”. www.avitale.com, January 22, 2000. http://www.avitale.com/PrimarySecondary.htm
  • “Initiation Fantasy” in Salman Akhtar. Comprehensive Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Karnac Books, 2009: 146.
  • Ethel Spector Person. The Sexual Century. Yale University Press, 1999.
  • Elizabeth. “The Person Ovesey Transsexual Study”. Notes from the T side, October 3, 2010. http://ben-girl-notesfromthetside.blogspot.ca/2010/10/person-ovesey-transsexual-study.html.
  • Leslie Kaufman. “Ethel Person, Who Studied Sexual Fantasies, Dies at 77”. New York Times, Oct 20, 2012. Online.
  • Irene Silverman. “Ethel S. Person, Psychoanalyst”. The East Hampton Star, October 25, 2012. Online.
  • Stephen Burt. “Ethel Person”. The New York Times, December 30, 2012. Online.
  • Molly Haskell. My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation. Penguin, 2014: 15, 73.
EN.Wikipedia
______________

Surely the non-homosexual transsexual group should have been called ‘heterosexual transsexuals’ or even better ‘gynephilic trannsexuals’. To put ‘transvestic’ in the type name predisposes to a negative interpretation just as much as calling them ‘autogynephilic’.

I have previously commented on similar attempts at typology. See Kay Brown androphilic and gynephilic, and Anne Vitale. I still think that 3-part typologies of transsexuals are better than Blanchard’s 2-part – but I am certainly not recommending the Person-Ovesey model. Vitale’s model regards the pathology as gender deprivation anxiety - non-standard gender identity as such not being a pathology. Thus Vitale’s approach is preferable if we are to continue with typologies. Those who transition as soon as possible, those who spend some time living as gay before transition and those who marry and have children before transition are intuitively three different types. However to define the three types by adding psychoanalytical interpretations and to ignore the great variety within each type ends up defaming all and sundry. The intuition of three types does lead to some valuable insights, but to reify the three types leads to severe distortion.

In part I, I mentioned Elizabeth who writes Notes from the T Side. Apparently she is a Benjamin VI (High Intensity True Transsexual), a Vitale G1 and a Stoller Primary; but a Person-Ovesey Secondary and a Prince Pseudo-transsexual. This is an excellent example of how typologies should not be taken literally.

I am not aware of any trans persons who actually identity with the Person-Ovesey model. Rachel Webb identied as a ‘constructed woman” as per Janice Raymond; Kay Brown and Kiira Triea identified as Blanchardian HSTS; Anne Lawrence, Willow Arune, and probably Maxine Petersen self identify as autogynephiliacs. But no-one has in public identified as a Person-Ovesey secondary transsexual.  This despite the fact that the Person-Ovesey papers came out over a decade before Blanchard's.

It is difficult to reconcile the portraits of all three types of transsexuals as described by Person-Ovesey with the range of creativity and achievement of individuals featured in this Encyclopedia. Apparently Person was charming and easy to get on with face-to-face. However when you read the descriptions of trans persons in her book, then obviously she was not so nice.

Furthermore, the typology that Person-Ovesey come up was far from original.   In its basic structure adheres closely to street stereotypes current at the time.   All Person-Ovesey really did was revise the psychoanalytic dialectic to support the model.   This despite Person being credited for doing field work in porn shops and transvestite parties!   How come she never saw those of us who do not fit into the model - and I strongly argue that those of us who do not fit are the majority.   She must have worked at ignoring those of us.   This is later called erasure.   Yes, there are some trans people who are like those described.   There are some who have the separation-anxiety neuroses described.   There there are even more who do not.

I have not found any record of Benjamin’s reactions to the 1974 Person-Ovesey papers on Primary and Secondary Transsexuals.

We should remember that two decades earlier, Benjamin had provided a few of his patients to Federick G Worden & James T Marsh who quite disappointed the volunteers and in effect refused to listen to them, because they knew in advance what transsexuals were.

The New York Times obituary says: “Her work, upsetting the conventional thinking, found that many transsexuals and transvestites did not perceive themselves as homosexuals but rather saw themselves in many different lights — sometimes, for example, as a woman trapped in a man’s body, and sometimes as a heterosexual who preferred a feminine demeanor.” Surely this and more had been established by Magnus Hirschfeld over 50 years before.

Molly Hacker commends Ethel Person in her book about her trans sibling. But did she never read Person’s book? Does she actually regard her sibling as a ‘transvestic transsexual’, in effect a fetishist? If she does not, how can she commend Person in her book?

This is Anne Vitale’s summing up of Primary and Secondary Transsexualism:
“It is with dismay that I continue to encounter individuals with gender identity issues using the terms Primary and Secondary Transsexualism as diagnostic indicators. The terms show up repeatedly in Internet chat rooms, in the Internet news groups, in my email, and by individuals presenting to me in my private practice. The individuals who self-identify as Primary Transsexuals are usually using the term to mean that they are "Benjamin Type VI, true transsexuals." Those who self-identify as Secondary Transsexuals are usually trying to diminish their condition and to find some way to deal with their gender dysphoria without having to face the possibility of transitioning. As we shall soon see, neither term has ever had anything to do with severity or prognosis. There is no hierarchy of transsexualism. There are no Primary Transsexuals or Secondary Transsexuals. There are only gender dysphoric individuals who need help.”

See also A Blanchard-Binary Timeline.

17 June 2017

Ethel Person (1934-2012) psychoanalyst: Part I Life

Part I: Life
Part II: theory

Unless otherwise noted, page references are to The Sexual Century.

Ethel Jane Spector was raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Her mother was a mathematician, and her father owned a bar. He died when she was twelve. She completed a first degree at the University of Chicago in 1956, and then a medical degree at the New York University College of Medicine four years later. She became Mrs Person when she wed an engineer. The marriage ended after ten years, although she kept his name for her professional life. She married her second husband, a psychiatrist, in 1968, and became Mrs Sherman.

Soon after joining the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Person was invited to work with Lionel Ovesey (1915-1995), the author of The Mark of Oppression: A Psychosocial Study of the American Negro, 1951, and Homosexuality and pseudohomosexuality, 1969. His concept of ‘pseudohomosexuality’ concerned `homosexual anxieties' in heterosexual males who were concerned about dependency and lack of power. Ovesey was one of the psychiatrists strongly opposed to the delisting of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.

Ovesey’s proposal was that he and Person would write a textbook on sex and gender. They quickly realized that neither of them had any experience with transvestites or transsexuals. An acquaintance in the psychoanalytical world was Harold Greenwald, the founder of the Professional School for Humanistic Studies (where Anne Vitale qualified as a psychologist). Greenwald introduced Person to the then 88-year-old Harry Benjamin and his assistant Charles Ihlenfeld in 1972. She spent time in Benjamin’s office interviewing some of his patients.
“The work that I did with Lionel would have been well nigh impossible without the cooperation of Harry Benjamin, who was hospitable to me despite his major bias against psychoanalysts. In fact we became great friends.” (p xiii)
Indeed Benjamin asked her to write a biographical portrait of him to be published after his death. She formally interviewed him to this end a dozen times.

One person that Person met at Benjamin’s offices was Ed/Edna, 60, a retired tugboat captain who had become the superintendent of a rental building. He fell in love with Clair, one of his tenants, a completed transsexual. He detransitioned to become her lover, and was devastated when she left him for a truck driver. To cope with the resulting depression, Edna restarted hormones and dressing full-time. Again he rented to a completed trans woman, Janet. Again he reverted to male, and became her lover. After Ed’s original wife died, he married Janet, and lived happily with her until she also died ten years later. He was then 85. (By Force of Fantasy p 131-4)

Edna subscribed to Transvestia magazine, and through that discovered transvestite social groups. Edna introduced Person to these socials: “it was at these events that I gained some of my deeper insights into the subjective meaning to transvestites of their participation in that world”. Person and Ovesey also sought confirmation for their work by visiting pornography shops and reading trans publications.

Person and Ovesey proposed a typology of trans persons assuming that a child's separation-individuation anxiety produced a fantasy of symbiotic fusion with the mother which the transsexual tries to resolve by surgically becoming her mother.  Papers to this effect were published 1973-85. (See part II for details).

One of the transsexuals included in the Person-Ovesey study was Elizabeth – author of the Notes from the T Side blog. She writes:

Harry Benjamin “in 1970 -71 asked me to talk to a Dr. Ethel Person as part of a study and I agreed although I am inherently distrustful of shrinks but I found her pleasant and quite nice and we became friendly. When the study was published I was stunned to be honest. I was part of the study and I knew two others who were part of it and friends of mine. We never talked about anything mentioned in the study directly. We talked about our lives as children until the current time and at the time I was 24 and had close to enough money for surgery. In point of fact Harry might have been more upset by the study than anyone. I am posting this to refute what they found because as one of the participants in the study I walked into her office and asked her where I fit in late 1974 and she said Secondary because I liked boys so I was a homosexual transsexual where by Harry's definition I was a Type VI high intensity transsexual and according to Harry the study was bogus.”
Ethel Person’s second husband died in 1976. She married a lawyer in 1978 and became Mrs Diamond. 


Person was director of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research 1981-91. She did an “epidemiological study of sexual fantasy” which she contrasted to Alfred Kinsey’s study of sexual acts.

Her best known book is By Force of Fantasy: How We Make Our Lives, 1995, where she argues that we shape our lives by trying consciously or otherwise to live out our fantasies.

In 1987 Person had paired the film critic Molly Haskell with an appropriate analyst, and became a friend. In 2005 when Haskell’s sibling was starting transition, she spoke to Person about the situation. Apparently Person said nothing to her about primary or secondary or separation anxiety. Only: “Transsexuals are the best, the kindest people I know, maybe because they have to learn compassion the hard way” and “He longs for validation,” Ethel spoke of transsexualism as being “a passion of the soul”. Later in Haskell’s book, Person is quoted: “The worst thing about it is you discover you don’t know the person you thought you knew.”

In 1997 Person gave a presentation to the International Psychoanalytic Association Congress in Barcelona on her life of Harry Benjamin, and used it to illustrate the origin of shared cultural fantasy. In 1999 she collected her works on sex and gender, including her biography of Harry Benjamin, and published them as The Sexual Century.

Person’s third husband died in 2009. Ethel Jane Spector Person Sherman Diamond, her final name, incorporating the surnames of all three husbands, died at age 77 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

12 June 2017

Jackie Shane (1940- ) musician

Originally from Nashville, Jackie Shane, like Jimi Hendrix, spent time with musical house mother, ‘Queen of the Blues’, Marion James, and in late teenage started touring.

In 1960 Jackie was picked out of the crowd by fellow-American Frank Motley at a gig in Montréal. Jackie became part of the band, The Motley Crew, which was based in Toronto, where they frequently performed at at the Sapphire Tavern. Jackie was a soul/R&B singer whose appearance was androgynous, often wearing makeup, and sometimes an evening gown. This at a time when homophobia was rife and taverns and clubs in Toronto had to close before midnight on Saturday as required by the Lord’s Day Act. Jackie’s type of show was new in Canada where the US black tent shows and the Chitlin Circuit with their traditions of drag performance were unknown. A rumour developed that Shane was cousin to Little Richard, but this was unfounded.

Carl Wilson comments:
“Jackie Shane wasn’t bringing his act to Toronto so it could be better understood. Instead he was taking it out of context, to someplace where it seemed more alien and strange. Maybe he liked it better that way. By coming to Toronto he was escaping segregation and getting to perform to white people with presumably deeper pockets, who had never seen anything like him before. You could cross over in the States, but then you’d have to pull a Little Richard and turn your ‘freak’ show into a clown act, taking out the gay innuendo.”
Shane had only one hit record, “Any Other Way” which was released in April 1962, and reached No. 2 in Canada.  (Listen)
“Tell her that I’m happy/ Tell her that I’m gay/ Tell her I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The words and emphasis were somewhat changed from that of the original versions by William Bell (video) and Chuck Jackson (video) which use the words as a man’s face-saving lie after being dumped. The new version reads like a gay woman's confession to a female friend, and in fact many listeners assumed that the singer was a woman.*

Between songs Jackie would talk to the audience:
"You know, when I'm walking down Young Street, you won't believe this, but you know
some of them funny people have the nerve to point the finger at me, and grin, and smile, and whisper ... but you know that don't worry Jackie because I know I look good. You what my slogan is? Baby, do what you want, just know what you're doing. As long as you don't force your will and your way on anybody else, live your life because ain't nobody sanctified and holy."
Toronto’s gossip tabloid, Tab, told how Jackie was invited to a local radio station CHUM for an on-air chat, but they were so upset by Jackie’s makeup and attire that they cancelled the interview and did not play the record until it was at the top of the charts.

Jackie was listed in the 1964 Etta James Revue as ‘female impersonator’.





In 1965 Jackie appeared on the WLAC television show, Night Train, in Nashville performing “Walking the Dog”.




Frank Motley discontinued The Motley Crew in 1966, and formed a new band, The Hitchhikers. Jackie was performing in clubs across North America, and released a couple of live albums.

On the back of her 1967 LP Jackie Shane Live, it said

“Warning: This Album is not meant for squares! You’ve got to be down with it and can’t quit it, baby. … What are Jackie’s likes and dislikes? Well, you know Jackie likes ‘chicken’. Even when food is concerned Jackie likes chicken. The only problem is when Jackie suggests, ‘let’s go out, and get some chicken after the show’, you can’t be too sure what he has in mind. … You’ll feel energetic and ambitious when you here ‘Money’. You’ll be inspired as Jackie tells you his life story in ‘Any Other Way’.”
Talking in the live version of ‘Any Other Way’, Jackie says:
“You know what my woman told me one night? She said, ‘Jackie, if you don’t stop switchin’ around here and playing the field and bringing that chicken home, you gonna have to get steppin’.’ I said, ‘Uh huh,’ and I grabbed my chicken by one hand, baby, and we been steppin’ ever since that night.”
That year a woman wrote to the Toronto Star:
“My friend and I saw a group called Jackie Shane and the Hitchhikers, and she says Jackie Shane is a girl. I thought he was a boy.”
Shane’s last singles were released in 1969, which was also the last time that Jackie worked with Frank Motley; and she left Toronto in 1971, maybe because of problems with immigration officials, maybe because the club scene was changing.

After moving to Los Angeles, Jackie turned down an offer to be part of the band Funkadelic. Jackie began caring for an aged aunt.

 After her mother’s death she and her aunt returned to Nashville. By now Jackie was living as a woman. Shane had become a legend, and it was even rumoured that she had been murdered in 1998.

After the airing of a CBC Radio documentary in 2010, renewed efforts were made to contact Jackie. A double CD is about to be released. The 2017 anthology about queer Toronto is named Any Other Way after her single.
  • Jackie Shane. “Any Other Way”. Single Sue, April 1963
  • Jackie Shane. Jackie Shane Live. LP Caravan, 1967. Listen at JunoRecords.
  • Kimdog. Comment on MataFilter. July 27, 2009. Online.
  • Elaine Banks. "I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane". CBC Radio, February 28, 2010. Online. Geo-restrictions in effect.
  • Carl Wilson. “I Bet Your Mama Was a Tent-Show Queen”. Hazlitt, April 22, 2013. Online.
  • Sonya Reynolds & Lauren Hortie. Whatever Happened to Jackie Shane? 2014
  • Elio Iannacci. “Searching for Jackie Shane, R&B’s lost transgender superstar”. The Globe and Mail, May 19, 2017. Online.
  • Steven Maynard. “ ‘A New Way of Lovin’’: Queer Toronto Gets Schooled by Jackie Shane”. In Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer. Coach House Books, 2017.
QueerMusicHeritage     EN.Wikipedia       CanadianBands

The Saphire Tavern from YZO on Vimeo.

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*Jackie was a unisex name in the 1960s. Jackie Robinson was a baseball player; Jackie Kennedy was a presidential spouse.


Some of the sources say that Jackie was in drag for the 1965 Nighttrain performance.