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

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

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

28 August 2017

Babette Ellsworth (1928 – 2002) academic

Albert Ellsworth was born in Yakima, Washington State, to a teenage mother, Mildred Sweet (1911-1955) and her husband Albert Ellsworth (1906-1990). They were told that the child was not expected to live, and relocated to Redmond, Washington. Subsequent enquiries to the hospital re the child went unanswered.

Neglected, the baby was cared for by a French aristocrat, Germaine Bonnefont (1894-1983) a teacher of French and Spanish, and her US husband, Robert Brown, and in the 1930 census he was listed as their son Bobby Brown. They took the young boy to France, although without the formality of adoption.
The Bonnefonts - Albert on left

Brown returned to the US alone in 1932, and to his work in the forestry service, but came down with liver damage, and died.

Albert was raised in Narbonne close to the Spanish border and grew up tri-lingual. He was educated as a Catholic and lived at the Chateau du Lac south of Narbonne. The Bonnefont clan were acquainted with exiled Russian aristocracy, including  Felix Yusupov (1887-1967) transvestite and assassin of Rasputin. They had connections with the Francoist regime in Spain and were supporters of the Vichy regime during the German occupation: some joined the Waffen SS and died defending France from the Allied invasion in 1944; others were killed after the Liberation of France.

In the ensuing chaos, Albert came to the attention of the new government in Paris, and after scrutiny of his documents, it was determined that he was a US citizen and he was sent back to Yakima on the SS Argentina in 1946. He was upset that US customs confiscated his portrait of Hitler.

He was then 17, and had no memory of his birth mother who was still only in her mid-30s. They had sex and a sister-daughter Rosalyn was born, although by then Albert had left and did not know about the child. After living rough, Albert was saved by the Portland, Oregon Catholic charity, Blanchet House. They arranged educational scholarships and Ellsworth was able to do a BA and a masters at the Catholic University of Portland (not to be confused with the Methodist Portland University or with Portland State University).

Germaine reinvented herself as a veteran of the French Résistance, and arrived in Portland in 1947. She later lived in British Columbia.

Ellsworth did a doctorate at the University of Bordeau. He was employed to teach history, French and Spanish at Portland State University. He took a wife, Helen, and they had three daughters. In 1964 Ellsworth was hired at the newly formed Portland Community College, and stayed the rest of his life.

Albert was cross-dressing in private.

One of his students was Billie, the wife of the progressive judge Raymond Shoemaker. They fell in love and Albert abandoned Helen. The Judge and Mrs Shoemaker welcomed him and the three lived ménage a trois, and traveled together until the Judge died in 1977. Billie came down with cancer in 1990. Albert and Billie married so that he would inherit the house.

Shortly after Billie’s death, Albert married Sandra, a close friend whom he had known for decades, who worked in administration at Portland Community College. However Ellsworth started talking about changing sex, and in 1994, transitioned on the job at the age of 66. She was one of the first patients of surgeon Toby Meltzer who had started performing vaginoplasty in Portland, only the year before. Her legal name became AJ Bobbie Ellsworth, but she was from then generally known as Babette.

Sandra could not relate to this and they were divorced shortly afterwards.

In 1998, Babette made an arrangement with one of her students, Ross Eliot, food and board in exchange for chauffeuring and other assistances.  Bills and other mail arrived addressed to Albert Ellsworth. "My professor smiled mischievously when I asked about this. Albert? Oh, he was my husband. Some people suspected I had him murdered. This suggestion made her laugh."

In 2002 Babette was contacted by the long lost Rosalyn, who came to visit her sister-father. While she was there, Babette died of a massive heart attack while entering a bus for a student tour that she was to lead. She was 74.


AJ Ellsworth is not listed among the Notable alumni of the University of Portland, nor among people from Portland nor among the faculty at Portland Community College.

Ross Eliot does not find out until p118 that Albert Ellsworth is Babette rather than her dead husband.  "Oh please! Ross?  You've seen her without a wig.  Ladies don't go bald that way.  And you know how deep her voice is.  Plus, come on, no real woman her age has tits that perky."

According to Ross Eliot, Ellsworth had three wives:
Helen, 195?
Billie, 1990
Sandra, 1992

Craig Snyder apparently omits the middle wife, and gives a different name for the 3rd.

Craig Snyder’s page on Germaine Bonnefont says that she and Robert Brown adopted two sons, the other named as Robert John Pierre. Ross Elliot in his blog entry on Ellworth’s FBI file ( May 4, 2015) gives this name as an alias of Babette.

I cannot find any account of Judge Raymond Shoemaker.

23 August 2017

11 trans persons in Thailand who changed things by example and/or achievement.


Sanguan Kunaporn, in Phuket, trained by Preecha Tiewtranon. WebPage Susan’s Place – patients include: Melanie Myers, Stefánie Faludi, Racheal McGonigal,

Preecha Tiewtranon in Bangkok. Been doing transgender surgery for over 30 years – over 35,000 surgeries. Trained several other surgeons. WebPage Newsarticle. - patients include: Donna Lee 

Thep Vechavisit in Bangkok is one of the cheapest, but not all are satisfied.  Beware  – WebPage TSRoadmap, Sydney Morning Herald, BBC, Susan’s Place, Patients include: Rose Venkatesan, Alexis Reich

Suporn Watanyusakul, in Chonburi, has been doing transgender operations for over 25 years, and has done over 25000 operations. He does 130 operations a year. Webpage Yahoo Group

Chettawut Tulayaphanich has done 3,000 transgender operations. Webpage


Choochat Dulayapraphatsorn (1962 - ). Kathoey elected village chief in Tai Ban Mai, Thailand 2008.

Kokkorn Benjathikoon โกโก้ กกกร เบญจาธิกูล (1969 - ) model, actress. GVWW.

Parinya Charoenphon ปริญญา เจริญผล/Nong Tum (1981–) boxer, actress, singer. GVWW.

Nicky Kiranant (1983 - ) air hostess. GVWW.

Yasmin Lee (1983 - ) Thai born US immigrant, started in porn videos and broke through into mainstream Hollywood. GVWW

Nuntita Khampiranon นันทิตา ฆัมภิรานนท์;/Bell Nunita (1983 - ) performer EN.Wikipedia

Yollada "Nok" Suanyot เกริกก้อง "นก" สวนยศ; (1983 - ) performer in Venus Flytrap, elected in Nan province, 2012, also founder and chair of TransFemale Association of Thailand GVWW

Nuntita Khampiranon/ นันทิตา ฆัมภิรานนท์/ Bell Nuntita (1983 - ) performer in Venus Flytrap, singer. EN.Wikipedia

Peche Di/Pitchadapha Phasi (1989 - ) Thai emigrant to US founded Trans Models, NYC. EN.Wikipedia    Newsarticle     Newsarticle

Sorrawee "Jazz" Nattee (1989 - ), , winner of the Miss Tiffany Universe 2009 contest, has had breast implants removed and has become a monk under the name Phra Maha Viriyo Bhikku. 2013. GVWW

Mimi Tao/ Phajaranat Nobantao (1993 - ) ex-Catholic, 6 years a Buddhist monk, now an in-demand lingerie and fashion model. Newsarticle Newsarticle

Events and institutions

Tiffany’s Cabaret Show, since 1974. Webpage

Miss Tiffany’s Universe/ มิสทิฟฟานี่ยูนิเวิร์ส, a beauty contest for Thai trans women, held in mid-May, in Pattaya, since 1998. EN.Wikipedia

Miss International Queen contest is held annually in Pattaya, with contestants, both pre-op and post-op, from around the world. Must be 18-35. EN.Wikipedia

Thai Transgender Alliance Webpage

Iron Ladies (สตรีเหล็ก, satree lek) volleyball team won the national championship in 1996. This was then portrayed in two films. EN.Wikipedia

Apple Model Management Agency, Thailand's leading modeling agency, announced the worldwide launch of its new Transgender board in 2015. Webpage

Westerners in Thailand

Willow Arune (1946 - ) Canadian lawyer and autogynephilia activist, was – before transition – arrested in Bangkok after becoming involved in a dubious $1million financial transaction with two Americans. GVWW

Melanie Myers (19?? - ) ran a guesthouse, Melanie’s Cocoon, in Phuket, Thailand in the mid 2000s aimed at trans women, and Mel passed her business card to Kunaporn’s patients. GVWW

Alexis Reich (1964 - ) US schoolteacher arrested in Thailand and charged with JonBenet Ramsey murder. GVWW

Veronique Renard/Pantau (1965 - ) Dutch writer, Buddhist activist, has been living in Bangkok since 2005. GVWW

19 August 2017

Sorrawee "Jazz" Nattee (1989–) beauty contestant, monk

Nattee was urged by her parents to enter, and became the winner of the Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2009 contest in Pattaya, Thailand.

In 2013 it was announced that Sorrawee was to become a monk. He had breast implants removed and took the name Phra Maha Viriyo Bhikku.
‘‘It’s not that I’ve become a monk to run away from problems, but I’ve studied dhamma for two years and now know what it truly is.’’ 
He entered the Wat Liab temple in his home province of Songkhla. Sorrawee was quite open about his past as a beauty contestant, and the abbot of Wat Liab declared him to be 100% a man.

14 August 2017

A review of Peter Ackroyd’s Queer City

One of Ackroyd’s first books was Dressing Up: Transvestism and Drag, the History of an Obsession, 1979, which I reviewed in September 2009. Strangely, while the 1979 book is listed in the bibliography at the end of the new book, it is not included in the list of the author’s works opposite the title page.

The new book concentrates on London, and is about all strands of LGBT. Ackroyd is openly gay and a widower: his husband died in 1994 – although this is not mentioned in either the book itself or on the cover. While some have wondered about why he chose transvestism as the subject of his early book, there are no rumours that he is a practitioner. In a 2007 interview in the Guardian, he commented: "Of course people assumed I was a transvestite, but you only have to look at me to know I'm not” – a comment that perhaps demonstrates his lack of knowledge of the subject.
  • Peter Ackroyd. Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the present day. Chatto & Windus, 2017.
Ackroyd finds no trans persons of any flavour in Roman London, neither among the native Celts nor with the occupying Romans (although we do know that some Gallae did come to Britain). The earliest trans person mentioned is the prostitute Eleanor/John Rykener in 1394, and possibly the Pardoner in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The age of Shakespeare provides a lot more named cross-dressers including the famed boy-actresses, but also female transvestites such as Long Meg and Moll Cutpurse. Into the 18th century and beyond various members of His Majesty’s Army and Navy were sometimes discovered to have been female born – Hannah Snell, Mary Anne Talbot, Mary Knowles, Christina Davies. This was also the age of the Molly Houses, of whose customers the most famous was Princess Seraphina. And also of Charlotte Charke and Peg Woffington who wore breeches onstage and off.

Of the 1979 book I wrote “He repeats the unreliable tales about Edward Hyde and Charlotte d’Eon de Beaumont”. Edward Hyde is not in the new book. Presumably Ackroyd became aware of Patricia Bonomi’s book that showed that all the evidence for his assumed transvestity is quite flakey. He still dubiously claims that d’Eon was “sent as a female spy to St Petersburg”. At which point I checked his bibliography. It contains none of the books by Gary Kates, who surely has become the authoritative source on d’Eon.

In the 19th century there is Walter Sholto Douglas, writer, James Allen, labourer, Lavinia Edwards, actress, the police raid of Druid’s Hall, Fanny and Stella, performers. But there is no mention of James Barry, the first trans doctor.

Discussion of trans persons in the 20th century is amazingly brief. A few minor incidents and the trial of John Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness in 1928. You might expect that Ackroyd would then mention the trial of Victor Barker, only a few months later – but he does not. The two trials together acted as a double warning that masculine women/trans men had better be extra careful. Trans man Joe Carstairs, (not mentioned) among others, took the hint and left England a few years later.

The amazing thing is that this is the last trans item in the book. No later transsexual or transvestite of any gender or flavour is even mentioned. So there is no mention of Betty Cowell, April Ashley, Charlotte Bach, Caroline Cossey/Tula, Yvonne Sinclair, Rachael Webb, Sonia Burgess etc etc etc. And consequently there is no mention of the two big legal changes for trans persons in the UK: Corbett v. Corbett, 1969, which took away the civil rights of trans persons, and the Gender Recognition Act, 2004, which partially restored them.

A book sorely missing from Ackroy’s bibliography is Kris Kirk & Ed Heath’s Men in Frocks, 1984, (review) which is a London-centric account of gay transvestites and trans women who emerged from the gay scene between 1945 and 1984. It is difficult to imagine why Ackroyd chose to ignore this excellent book, and thereby mentions none at all of the many persons featured within it.

In 2009 I wrote that “He always writes ‘trans-sexual’, but has little interest in them as opposed to transvestites”, and “He writes (p107) "Coccinelle, the male cabaret artiste” and nothing else about her, totally ignoring her transition”. This disinterest-aversion seems to be continued in the new book, for it is after 1928 that hormones and genital surgery became available, and apparently Ackroyd does not want to get into any of that.

Furthermore none of the informative books by Peter Farrar such as Cross dressing between the wars: selections from London Life, 1923-1933, 2000 nor Liz Hodgkinson’s Bodyshock: the truth about changing sex, 1987, are in the bibliography and thus the tales of the persons mentioned in them are also missing.

Ackroyd tells of kings who were gay, especially James I of England/VI of Scotland. However he is quite disinterested in 20th century Members of Parliament who were gay such as Jeremy Thorpe, who put on trial for ordering a hit on his boyfriend, Edward Heath, Prime Minister 1970-4, Tom Driberg, Labour MP, Peter Mandelson who was in Blair’s cabinet and Lord Boothby who both had an ongoing affair with the wife of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and consorted with gay criminals especially Ronnie Kray. These and more are discussed in Closet Queens: Some 20th Century British Politicians, 2015, by Michael Bloch. This again is not in Ackroyd’s bibliography

Queer London is easily readable, and is best on the 17th-19th centuries. However as I have indicated there are some serious gaps in the material. Caveat lector.

See also 20 trans Londoners who changed things by example or achievement.

Another review:

Simon Callow in the Guardian

13 August 2017

James Allen (1787 – 1829) labourer.

In London, groom, landlord, and pitch-boiler and then sawyer, James Allen was married to Abigail Naylor, known as Mary from 1807.

In 1829 he died in an accident at work, and examination of his body produced the claim that he was a ‘woman’. He was buried in a private vault, to protect his body from resurrection men.

  • C.J.S Thompson. The Mysteries of Sex: Women Who Posed as Men and Men Who Impersonated Women Hutchinson, 1938. Causeway Books,1974. Dorset Press, 1993: chp XV
  • F. Gonzalez-Crussi. Three Forms Of Sudden Death, And Other Reflections On The Grandeur And Misery Of The Body. Picador. Harper & Row, 1986: 61.
  • "The Female Husband". In Martin Duberman. About Time: Exploring the Gay Past. A Meridian Book, 1986,1991: 24-30.

06 August 2017

Yollada "Nok" Suanyot เกริกก้อง "นก" สวนยศ (1983 - ) activist, politician

The child of a police officer in Nan province, Suanyot transitioned at 13, using the name Yollada and completed surgery at 16. She did a science degree at Thammasat University, followed by a masters in political science and a doctorate in social science at Ramkhamhaeng University.

She worked as a model and as a beauty queen. She also did commercial voice-overs and ran a jewelry business and a home-shopping channel.

In 2005 she won the position Miss Apza Transvestite (Miss Alcazar Purple Star Award). Later that year Sony BMG announced that they would sponsor an all-kathoey pop group, Venus Flytrap, and auditioned 200 applicants. One of the chosen five was Yollada, who took the name Nok, and was known in the group as Posh Venus. They released their first album in November 2006. Nok left in 2007.

Yollada was a founder and chair of the TransFemale Association of Thailand. In 2012 she was elected as an independent (under her male name as required by Thai law) to represent  Mueang Nan District on the Provincial Administration Organization of Nan Province. She had the responsibility to oversee and inspect whether the provincial management's works are appropriate and transparent.

In 2013 she was awarded by the Women's Voice Association of Thailand. The award recognises people who play a crucial role in promoting and improving the role of Thai women.

Her partner is a trans man.