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08 December 2017

Atlanta-Savannah Timeline–Part II 1981-now

Part 1
Part II


Divine and Christine Jorgensen appeared at first annual party of the Limelight disco in Atlanta.

Elvira/Cassandra Peterson, hired to host a Los Angeles horror show, copied look that Atlanta drag performer Lily White had in 1970s.


Lady Bunny moved to Atlanta from Tennessee.


300 subscribers to The Transsexual Voice including Leo Wollman, Rupert Raj and Michelle Hunt. Phoebe mailed packets of transsexual-related material to newspaper editors, television news programs, talk show hosts etc. Very few responded.

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

The Montgomery Medical and Psychological Institute started by trans man Jerry Montgomery and his wife Lynn who had been a nurse at the Georgia Mental Health Institute Gender Clinic. The Institute published a newslatter, trained supportive professionals and liaised with gay and lesbian groups.


  • Phoebe Smith. “FMI Forum: The Transsexual Voice”. Female Mimics International, 14,6, 1985 Online. This is a reprint of the 1980 brochure,
Trans performer Bobbie Holliday moved to Atlanta, had gender surgery, and changed her legal name to Jennifer North.

Tina Devore elected Miss Black America.


Michael Hardwick, had been arrested under the sodomy law for fellatio, and the ACLU had challenged the Georgia Sodomy law as unconstitutional. This reached the US Supreme Court where the law was upheld.


Jayne County had not been home for 20 years. She phoned her mother and proposed a visit. She got a gig at Atlanta's Club Rio and attempted to find those she knew from the 1960s, but could find only Diamond Lil. She was introduced to the rising stars RuPaul and Deandra Peak. To visit her parents she really dressed down. She ended up staying the summer.

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+


Tina Devore elected Miss Gay South USofA.


  • Rupert Raj. “Tribute to Phoebe Smith”. Twenty Minutes, August 1989:3.  Online.
Dallas Denny living in Tennessee, “I chanced across a copy of IFGE’s TV-TS Tapestry magazine and saw a listing for a TS support group in Atlanta. It was exactly what I had been searching for—for years. I phoned daily for several months, at all hours. I left message after message, but none were returned. Finally, someone answered the phone. It was Lynn and Jerry’s nephew, Scott. Several weeks later I drove to Atlanta for an intake interview and my first support group meeting.” Lynn & Jerry of the Montgomery Medical and Psychological Institute, that is.

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.


Dallas Denny found a full-time professional job as a behavior specialist working for DeKalb County.
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.


First Southern Comfort Conference. It was the held annually in Atlanta until 2014.

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.


Benjamin Dickerson co-founder of band Smoke.

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.


The Sigma Epsilon Chapter acquired a new leader who enforced Tri-Ess National’s xenophobic no-gays no-transsexuals rule.

Unsuccessful attempt to repeal the sodomy law.

Tina Devore elected Miss gay Georgia USofA,


Lady Chablis featured as a major character in John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, set in Savannah.

  • 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.


Because of family health problems taking her time and energy, Phoebe discontinued The Transsexual Voice.

++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.
  • Jayne County with Rupert Smith. Man Enough to be a Woman. Serpent's Tail, 1995.

Murdered in Atlanta: Quincy Taylor, shot.


1996 Olympics held in Atlanta. Brazilian judoka Edinanci Fernandes da Silva and 7 others fail the new Y-region sex test, but allowed to compete anyway after further examination. 3 had Complete AIS, and 4 had Partial AIS. 29 GLBT competitors, 15 win medals.

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.


After lobbying for the part, Lady Chablis played herself in Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The first major Hollywood film to cast a trans woman, and to not kill the character, pathologize her or laugh at her.

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.


Robert 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.


Jamie Roberts joined Atlanta Gender Expressions.

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.


Phoebe Smith retired in in 2000. She had worked for the State of Georgia for almost 30 years.

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.


Documentary film Southern Comfort released.

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.


Diamond Lil re-released her 1984 album on CD.

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.


Shelley returns to Dr Suporn for genital surgery.

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.”


CD by Diamond Lil: Live at the Moonshadow Saloon.

Murdered in Atlanta: Precious Armani, 37, shot.


Shelley Emerson first transgender woman to lead Fourth Tuesday, a lesbian social and community service organization. Emerson is also the first transgender person to be named a Grand Marshall of the annual Atlanta Pride Parade.

++Thomas/Dana Bevan Research VP at KFORCE Government Services in Atlanta, working on artificial intelligence algorithms for Homeland Security. 


CD by Diamond Lil: Verge, Vigor and Vim.

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.


Dallas Denny retired.

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.


Ja’Von Crockett had been a drag performer under the name Mother Cavali. At age 45 he entered a dialogue with Pastor Willis Graham, accepted Christ and was ordained.

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 .


Vandy Glenn won again in the appeal court. Her case became a precedent.

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.


++Dana Bevan gave a presentation at the Southern Comfort Conference.

Ashley Diamond, 34, musician, Rome, Georgia, sentenced to 12 years for burglary, sent to men’s prison, repeatedly raped, denied medical attention, filed multiple complaints.

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.


Atlanta adds gender identity to city non-discrimination laws.
  • 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.
Readers of the Georgia Voice newspaper voted Diamond Lil the Best Icon.

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”., Nov 7, 2015. Online.
Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots honored Diamond Lil in the first ever Our Founding Valentines event.

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. 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.


January: 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"., 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”.
  • 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”., Nov 7, 2015. Online.
  • TGEU. Trans Respect Versus Transphobia. Murder Monitoring.
  • “Unsolved Murders”. TransFM. Online.
EN.Wikipedia(LGBT history in Georgia (U.S. state)) – contains no trans events at all, and in its Notable LGBT Georgians section, all the above persons are ignored with the sole exception of RuPaul.

Gay History Wiki(Georgia Chronology of LGBT historical events) – lists many of the trans who were murdered, but no other persons.

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