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!

26 December 2018

Two early pioneers in Los Angeles

Annette Dolan

Annette Dolan had been told by doctors that “there was no ‘help’ for me, and I accepted this [as] gospel”.  After the news about Christine Jorgensen in 1953, she consulted with Harry Benjamin who suggested that she go abroad for castration, after which a US surgeon would be willing to complete the operation.

 However she could not afford such a trip. She decided to perform the operation herself. She read medical texts and bought the appropriate equipment.  "I learned to ligate, suture and anesthetize. I studied the surgical procedure step by step and memorized its sequence”.

She presented her doctor with the successful result and in 1954 she went for completion surgery with Elmer Belt. However she was disconcerted to see her confidential records left open on the business manager’s desk.

Annette sent an account of her self-surgery to Harry Benjamin and it was later published in Sexology magazine, under a different pseudonym.

In 1955 she participated in the Worden and Marsh project, and like other participants was angered by the way that they used her words to cast transsexuals in a negative light. She wrote to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Elmer Belt and Harry Benjamin as well as to Frederick Worden. “In general my words were twisted to suit their purpose.” She spoke of how she could sense the ridicule in their words.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 145-6, 157, 162, 166.

Tom Michaels

At age 16, in the late 1940s, Michaels, then still living as a girl, discovered the lesbian scene, and was initially elated to find other similar people, but then realized that they were not so similar. Michaels lived as a man, but then went back to living as a woman for a while.

As a man, Tom had difficulties being accepted, and for some years lived in a criminal subculture, the one place where he was accepted on his own terms.

Eventually he moved elsewhere and did a bachelor’s degree in zoology. He again reverted to living as a woman, and did a year at a medical school. In the mid-1960s he contacted Robert Stoller at UCLA and was able to start taking testosterone.

  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 143, 144, 195.

17 December 2018

2018 Obituaries

Milton Edgerton 1921-2018. Surgeon, co-founder of GIC at Johns Hopkins. Died age 96.

Peter Farrer (1926 – 2017) tax inspector, trans historian, Liverpool. Died age 90.

Sue-Ellen Jacobs (1936-2017) co-ed Two-Spirit People 1997.

Lyndsay Kemp (1938-2018) known for his radical drag performances in the 1970s based on Notre Dame des Fleurs and Salome. Mentor to early David Bowie. Died age 80.

Roberta Perkins (1940 – 2018) sociologist, activist in Sydney, NSW. Died age 78.

Julia Yasuda (1943-2018) set theorist, performer, one of the original members of Anthony and the Johnsons.  Died age 75, at a time of her own choosing after a long struggle with chronic pain and increasing immobility.

Brandy Alexander (1946 – 2016) Charlotte, NC, drag performer since 1964. Featured in a mural. Died age 70 from cancer.

João W Nery (1950 – 2018) psychologist, writer in Sao Paulo. First surgical trans man in Brazil. 4 wives, 2 autobiographies. Dies age 68 after struggle against cancer.

Boom Boom Latour (1955 – 2016) Charlotte, NC, drag performer for 5 decades. Died age 63 after a major heart attack.

Joseph Cluse (1954 - 2018) Two husbands. With the second she was a Christian wife and mother, but concluded that she was outside God’s will. Reverted and became a pastor with Crossover and Exodus. Died age 64.

Tracy Lynn Garner (1960 – 2018) Convicted of killing by buttocks injection. Died in prison age 58 after serving less than three years.

Terri Bruce (1963 – 2018) Hermosa, SD. Archeologist. In 2017 the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on Bruce's behalf against the state of South Dakota for refusing to cover medical care for transgender people. Died age 55.

Michael Berke (1964 – 2018) roadie, reverted to male after becoming involved with the Calvary Chapel mega church in Fort Lauderdale. Featured in an MSNBC documentary in 2008. Died by suicide.

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien (1975 – 2018) 42, launched New England Trans Pride and Miss Trans New England pageant. Murdered by her husband Mark Steele-Knudslien.

Lara Kruger (1986 – 2018) South African DJ and radio personality, after a period of depression.

Dudu dos Santos (1991 – 2018) Brazilian military policeman, abducted and murdered.

Casey Hoke (1997 – 2018). Artist and trans activist, California, died at age 21.

Murder Count

Murders in the 12 months up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance. GayStarNews. Transrespect.
There were 369 recorded deaths this last year – plus many more nor reported, especially in countries were transgender is not recognized. This is a serious jump from the 270 in 2017.

As usual the most murders were recorded in Brazil (167), Mexico (71), the United States (28), and Colombia (21). The situation in Brazil is likely to get much worse after the new president and self-declared homophobe, Jair Bolsonaro, takes over. Already Brazil has more murders of trans persons than all the rest of the world together.

13 December 2018

Richard Green, John Randell and ....

See also  John Randell (1918 – 1982) Psychiatrist.

In Richard Green's new book

  • Gay Rights, Trans Rights: A psychiatrist/lawyer's 50-year battle.  2018.

we find on p 154: 

"Randell was a careful clinician who assessed nearly as many gender dysphoric patients as Harry Benjamin.  John became a friend in my 1966 London fellowship year.  He had a home and family in North London.   But he also had a flat in Central London.  One evening, as we were preparing to go out for drinks and dinner at his club, he went to the wardrobe to get his coat.  There were many dresses on hangers.  'A woman stays here sometimes' he explained.  I thought he had a mistress.  I did not realize that they were his dresses."


09 December 2018

Valentina Sampaio (1996 - ) model

Sampaio, from Aquiraz in the province of Ceará, in the north-east of Brazil, was using the name Valentina by age 10. She was accepted as a girl by her parents, a fisherman and a schoolteacher, and by the local community.

At college in the nearby provincial capital of Fortaleza, she studied architecture, at the same time as she was doing modelling work. She was fired from at least one gig specifically for being trans.

However, barely 19 years old, Valentina went from doing local shows and photo shoots to being in São Paulo Fashion Week, and being on the cover of Elle Brasil and L’Officiel Brasil. She had to file a lawsuit to rectify the name and gender on her identity documents, but had a favourable ruling.

International recognition came when she was on the cover of Vogue Paris, March 2017, with the by-line: ‘Transgender beauty: How it’s shaking up the world’ and with an editorial inside.

She acted in the film, Berenice Procura, 2017, and is a spokeswoman for L’Oreal Paris.
  • Neto Lucon. “’Nenhuma cirurgia vai me fazer mais ou menos mulher’, diz a modelo trans Valentina Sampaio”., Novembro 14, 2016. Online.
  • Paul McQueen. “Everything You Need to Know About Transgender Model Valentina Sampaio”. Culture Trip, 3 March 2017. Online.
  • Anna Jean Kaiser. “Meet The Transgender Model Who Broke Fashion's Highest Barrier”. Buzzfeed, June 05, 2017. Online.
  • Julirta Vartabedian. Brazilian Travesti Migrations: Gender, Sexualities and Embodiment Experiences. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018: 226-7.
PT.Wikipedia    IMDB


Only one week before the issue of Vogue Paris with Valentina on the cover, another trans woman in Forteleza, Dandara dos Santos, 42, was brutally murdered; the crime was recorded on a phone and uploaded to the internet. In this case at least, the killers were convicted and sentenced to 16+ years each.

07 December 2018

Books on Gender Variance in 2018

The two biggest publishers on trans topics continue to be Routledge and Jessica Kingsley. Routledge books are almost invariably priced so high that you would not buy them, although your library may do so. Jessica Kingsley books are reasonable priced. The odd thing though is that when you go to the Jessica Kingsley web site you find a list of ‘Subject Areas’ but the list does not include Transgender.

$£¥ €=Excessively overpriced books. 
  • $£¥ € Aren Z Aizura. Mobile Subjects: Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment. Duke University Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Michael J Boucher. Transgender Representation and the Politics of the Real in the United States. Routledge, 2019.
  • $£¥ € B Caminga. Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa: Bodies Over Borders and Borders Over Bodies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
  • Andre Cavalcante. Struggling for Ordinary: Media and Transgender Belonging in Everyday Life. New York University Press, 2018.
  • Edward Burlton Davies. Third Wave Feminism and Transgender: Strength through Diversity. Routledge, 2018.
  • Heath Foff Davis. Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter. NYU Press, 2017.
  • Evelyn Deshane (ed). #Trans: an anthology about transgender and nonbinary identity online. CreateSpace, 2017.
  • Oren Goslan. Current Critical Debates in the Field of Transsexual Studies: InTransition. Routledge, 2018.
  • Az Hakeem. Trans: Exploring Gender Identity and Gender Dysphoria. Trigger Press, 2018.
  • Jack Halberstam. Trans: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability. University of California Press, 2018.
  • Sally Hines. Is Gender Fluid?: Primers for the 21st Century. Thames and Hudson, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Nina Kane (ed). Reflections on Female and Trans* Masculinities and Other Queer Crossings. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.
  • C. N. Lester. Trans Like Me: Conversations for All of Us. Seal Press, 2018.
  • Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel & Sarah Tobias (eds). Trans Studies: The Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities. Rutgers University Press, 2016.
  • $£¥ € Candace Moore. Marginal Production Cultures: Infrastructures of Sexual Minority and Transgender Media. Routledge, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Z Nicolazzo. What’s Transgressive about Trans* Studies in Education Now? Routledge, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Larry Nuttbrock (ed). Transgender Sex Work and Society. Harrington Park Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Erich N Pitcher. Being and Becoming Professionally Other: Identities, Voices, and Experiences of U.S. Trans* Academics. Peter Lang Inc, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Christina Richards, Walter Pierre Bouman & Meg-John Barker (eds). Genderqueer and Non-Binary Genders (Critical and Applied Approaches in Sexuality, Gender and Identity). Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
  • Juno Roche. Queer sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Gayle Salamon. ‘The Life and Death of Latisha King: A Critical Phenomenology of Transphobia’. NYU Press, 2018.
  • Dean Spade et al. Written on the Body: Letters from Trans and Non-Binary Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Brynn Tannehill. Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Trans*. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Jemma Tosh. Psychology and Gender Dysphoria: Feminist and Transgender Perspectives. Routledge, 2018.
  • Clair Ruth Winter. Understanding Transgender Diversity: A Sensible Explanation of Sexual and Gender Identities. CreateSpace, 2018.
  • Chantal Zabus & David Coad. Transgender Experience: Place, Ethnicity, and Visibility. Routladge, 2018.

Christian and Jewish

  • Austen Hartke. Transforming: The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians. WJK Books, 2018.
  • Abegail Hester. Transgender Christian 101: A Biblical Case For The Acceptance Of Transgender People In The Church. Kindle, 2018.
  • Joy Ladin. The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Brandeis, 2018.
  • Laurie Scott. God Doesn't Make Mistakes: Confessions of a Transgender Christian. Tek-Chic Systems, 2018.
  • Andrew T Walker. God and the Transgender Debate. The Good Book Company, 2018.
  • Jonathan Williams. She’s My Dad. Westminster John Knox, 2018. By the son of Paula Williams.

Legal & Imprisonment

  • Stephen Dillon. Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State. Duke University Press 2018.
  • Alison Ash Fogarty & Lily Zheng. Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace: Transgender and Gender-Diverse Discrimination. Praeger, 2018.
  • Marty Gitlin. Transgender Rights. Greenhaven Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Pater Goodrich. Schreber's Law: Jurisprudence and Judgment in Transition. Edinburgh University Press, 2018. An interpretation of the legal writings of of Daniel Paul Schreber.
  • $£¥ € Heather Panter. Transgender Cops: The Intersection of Gender and Sexuality Expectations in Police Cultures. Routledge, 2018.
  • Jens M Scherpe, Anatol Dutta & Tobias Helms (eds). The Legal Status of Intersex Persons. Intersentia, 2018.
  • Alex Sharpe. Sexual Intimacy and Gender Identity 'Fraud': Reframing the Legal and Ethical Debate. Routledge, 2018.

Health and Medical

  • $£¥ € Sarah Boslaugh. Transgender Health Issues. Greenwood, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Sand C Chang & Annaliese A Singh. A Clinician's Guide to Gender-Affirming Care: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients. Context Press, 208.
  • $£¥ € Cecelia Hardacker. Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Health and Aging. Springer, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Ruth Pearce. Understanding Trans Health: Discourse, Power and Possibility. Policy Press, 2018
  • Eric Plemons. The Look of a Woman: Facial Feminization Surgery and the Aims of Trans- Medicine. Duke University Press, 2018.
  • Miguel Rosello-Penaloza. NO BODY: Clinical Constructions of Gender and Transsexuality - Pathologisation, Violence and Deconstruction. Routledge, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Loren S Schechter & Bauback Safa. Gender Confirmation Surgery. Elsevier, 2018.
  • Benjamin Vincent. Transgender Health: A Practitioner's Guide to Binary and Non-Binary Trans Patient Care. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.
  • Eric Yarbrough. Transgender Mental Health. American Psychiatric Association, 2018.


  • Cael M Keegan. Lana and Lilly Wachowski. University of Illinois Press, 2018.  An analysis of the films.
  • $£¥ € Rachel Carroll. Transgender and The Literary Imagination: Changing Gender in Twentieth-Century Writing. Edinbugh University Press, 2018.


  • Kike Arnal. Revealing Selves: Transgender Portraits from Argentina. The New Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Jess T. Dugan & Vanessa Fabbre. To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults. Kehrer, 2018.
  • Pilar Vergara. Female. Daylight Books, 2018.


  • $£¥ € Vikki Krane. Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Sport: Queer Inquiries. Routledge, 2018.


  • $£¥ € Richard K Adler, Sandy Hirsch & Jack Pickering. Voice and Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Gender Diverse Client: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide, Third Edition. Plural Publishing, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Walter Pierre Bouman, Annelou LC de Vries & Guy T’Sjoen (eds). Gender Dysphoria and Gender Incongruence. Routledge, 2018.
  • Hannah Brooks-Lane. Transgender Voice Workbook. Independent, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Chester Alexis C Buama. Sexual Orientation and Transgender Issues in Organizations: Towards an Inclusive Human Resource Practice. Society, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Alfred F Carlozzi & Kurt T Choate (eds). Transgender and Gender Diverse Persons: A Handbook for Service Providers, Educators, and Families. Routledge, 2018.
  • Sarah Gibson & J Fernandez. Gender Diversity and Non-Binary Inclusion in the Workplace: The Essential Guide for Employers. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Abbie Olszewski, Selah Sullivan & Adriano Cabral. Here's How to Teach Voice and Communication Skills to Transgender Women. Plural Publishing, 2018.
  • Dana Pizzuti. Transitioning in the Workplace: A Guidebook. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Juno Roche. Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.
  • Vanessa Sheridan & Mike Quigley. Transgender in the Workplace: The Complete Guide to the New Authenticity for Employers and Gender-Diverse Professionals. Praeger, 2018.
  • Matthew Waites. Supporting Young Transgender Men: A Guide for Professionals. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Jamie Winters. TransForm: Answers to the Trans Questions You Have No Idea How to Ask (Questions from Trans Everything Book 1). Kindle, 2018.
  • Vera Wylde. Skirting Gender: Life and Lessons of a Cross Dresser. Nathaniel Wayne, 2018.

Trans Children

  • Fox Fisher & Owl Fisher. Trans Teen Survival Guide. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Transgender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Colt Keo-Meier & Diane Ehrensaft (eds). The Gender Affirmative Model: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Supporting Transgender and Gender Expansive Children. Americam Psychological Association, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Aron Janssen & Scott Leibowitz (eds), Affirmative Mental Health Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth: A Clinical Guide. Springer, 2018.
  • Irwin Krieger. Helping Your Transgender Teen, 2nd Edition: A Guide for Parents. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Tey Meadow. Trans Kids: Being Gendered in the Twenty-First Century. University of California Press, 2018.
  • Denise O’Doherty. Thriving Through Transition: Self-Care for Parents of Transgender Children. Sojourn Publishing, 2018.
  • Kelly Storck & Noah Grigni. The Gender Identity Workbook for Kids: A Guide to Exploring Who You Are. Instant Help, 2018.
  • Ann Travers. The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution. New York University Press, 2018.

Couples & Family

  • Anne M Reid. She Said She Said: Love, Loss, Living My New Normal. Christopher Griffith, 2018.



  • Caspar Baldwin. Not Just a Tomboy: A Trans Masculine Memoir. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.
  • Ben Barres & Nancy Hopkins. The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist. The MIT Press, 2018.
  • Brian Belovitch. Trans Figured: My Journey from Boy to Girl to Woman to Man. Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.
  • Eve Burchert. Reflections: Transgender at 7, Out at 84. Kindle, 2018.
  • Tess deCarlo. The T Words. Lulu, 2018.
  • Michael Dillon/Lobzang Jivaka. Out of the Ordinary: A Life of Gender and Spiritual Transitions. Fordham University Press, 2019. Finally Dillon’s own autobiography – 60 years after he dies.
  • Carla Anne Ernst. Life Without Pockets: My Long Journey Into Womanhood. Henschel Haus, 2018.
  • Allyson Hamblett. A Life Lived Twice. Allyson Hamblett, 2018/
  • Kenna Henderson. I’m not the Man I Used to Be. Independent, 2018.
  • Rene Jax. Don't get on the plane: Why a sex change will ruin your life. CreateSpace, 2017.
  • Julia Kaye. Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition. Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2018.
  • Diana Kelly. The Sky Turned Green & The Grass Turned Blue: Diane's Story: My Personal Journey as the Significant Other to an M2F Transsexual. Green Sky Publishing, 2018.
  • Janet Mock. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me. Atria Books, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Julie Elizabeth Peters. A Feminist Post-transsexual Autoethnography: Challenging Normative Gender Coercion. Routledge, 2018.
  • Sarah Krasnostein. The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay & disaster. The Text Publishing Company, 2017.
  • Joanna Santos. Different. Lulu, 2018.
  • Chloe Schwenke.. SELF-ish: A Transgender Awakening. Red Hen Press, 2018.
  • Daia Singleton. Kissing Boys and Running: A Transgender Memoir. Kindle, 2018.
  • Rhyannon Styles. The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It Like It Is. Headline, 2018.
  • Mia Violet. Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love. Jessica Kingsley, 2018.

Doctor Autobiography

  • Richard Green. GAY RIGHTS,TRANS RIGHTS: A psychiatrist/lawyer's 50-year battle. Agenda Book, 2018.


  • Jeremy Dronefield & Michael Du Preez. Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of her Time. Oneworld Publications, 2017.  Warning: presents Barry as a woman, not as a trans man.
  • Jane Fae. Transition Denied: Confronting the Crisis in Trans Healthcare. (the life and death of a young trans woman, Synestra de Courcy) Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.
  • $£¥ €= Ann Heilman. Neo-_Victorian Biographilia and James Miranda Barry: A Study in Transgender and Transgenre. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
  • Dick Kirby. The Wrong Man: The Shooting of Stephen Waldorf and the Hunt for David Martin. The History Press, 2016.  A transvestite burglar in 1960s London. 
  • Lisa Ohliger. The Narrative of Lucy Ann Lobdell: A Woman's Case for Equality. Westholme Publishing, 2018.
  • Daphne C Reiley. Love, Then Listen: Sharing My Son's Journey Toward His True Gender. Nururing Faith Inc, 2018.
  • Lanei M Ridemeyer. Lou Sullivan Diaries (1970-1980) and Theories of Sexual Embodiment. Springer, 2018.
  • Angela Steidele , translated from German by Katy Derbyshire. Gentleman Jack: A biography of Anne Lister, Regency Landowner, Seducer and Secret Diarist. Profile Bokks, 2018.

Race and Gender

  • Rogers Brubaker. Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities. Princeton University Press, 2018.

Trans/GLBT history

  • $£¥ € Thomas A Abercrombie. Passing to América: Antonio (Née María) Yta's Transgressive, Transatlantic Life in the Twilight of the Spanish Empire. Penn State University Press, 2018.
  • Christine Burns (ed). Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows. Unbound, 2018. Review.
  • Martin Dammann. Soldier Studies: Cross-Dressing in der Wehrmacht. Hatje/Cantz, 2018.
  • Jim Elledge. The Boys of Fairy Town: Sodomites, Female Impersonators, Third-Sexers, Pansies, Queers, and Sex Morons in Chicago's First Century. Chicago Review Press, 2018.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Genealogies of the Transgender Child: Sex, Race, and Plasticity University of Minnesota Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € William T Hoston. Toxic Silence: Race, Black Gender Identity, and Addressing the Violence against Black Transgender Women in Houston. Peter Lang Inc, 2018.
  • Norena Shopland. Forbidden Lives: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Stories from Wales. Seren, 2017.
  • Howard Philips Smith. Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans. University Press of Mississippi, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Jami Kathleen Taylor, Donald P Haider-Markel. The Remarkable Rise of Transgender Rights. University of Michigan Press, 2018.

Other Cultures

  • T Jackie Cuevas. Post-Borderlandia: Chicana Literature and Gender Variant Critique. Rutgers University Press, 2018.
  • Nandini Krishnan. Invisible Men: Inside India's Transmasculine Network. Penguin Viking, 2018.
  • Slobodan Randjelovic. Lives in Transition: LGBTQ Serbia. The New Press, 2018.
  • $£¥ € Julieta Vartabedian. Brazilian 'Travesti' Migrations: Gender, Sexualities and Embodiment Experiences. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.


  • Wren Hanks. The Rise of Genderqueer: Poems. Brain Mill, 2018.
  • Roz Kaveney. Catullus. Sad Press, 2018. 
  • Jamie Winters. TransVerse: Poetry About Being Transgender. Independent, 2018.


  • Dallas Denny.  Chance Down the Mountain.  CreateSpace, 2018.
  • Samantha Kane. Mohammed and Susan. Diversity Book, 2018.  Yes, that Samantha Kane.
  • Roz Kaveney. Realities - Rhapsody of Blood. Plus One Press, 2018.


  • Ryan T Anderson. When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. Encounter Books, 2018.
  • Ruth Barrett (ed). Female Erasure: What You Need To Know About Gender Politics' War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights. Tidal Time Publishing, 2016. With chapters by Germaine Greer, Sheila Jeffreys, Gallus Mag, Cathy Brennan etc.
  • Ashley McGuire. Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female. Regnery Publishing, 2017.
  • Lisa Nolland et al. The New Normal: The Transgender Agenda. Wilberforce Publications, 2018.
  • Andrew T Walker. God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say about Gender Identity? The Good Book Company, 2017.

Announced for 2019

  • Donald R Laub. Second Lives, Second Chances: A Surgeon's Stories of Transformation. ECW Press, 2019.
  • Hugh Ryan. When Brooklyn Was Queer: A History. St Martin’s Press. 2019.
  • Kristen Worley & Johanna Schneller. Woman Enough: How a Boy Became a Woman and Changed the World of Sport. Random House, 2019.

28 November 2018

Dante Gill (1930 - 2003) sex entrepreneur, mobster

Lois Jean Gill was raised in Pittsburgh, and was first arrested at age 18. By the late 1950s Gill was an accomplished horse-rider, was working as a blacksmith.

From 1963 Gill worked as a prostitute, and was arrested for it the next year. Otherwise Gill was a retailer, running a baby furniture shop and a frozen foods store. By 1968 Gill was giving his name as Dante, and explained that he was a man.

He became involved with George Lee, the Pittsburgh mobster involved with pornography and prostitution. Gill’s mother Agnes died in 1973 after a struggle with cancer. Afterwards Gill became manager of one of Lee’s massage parlors (where sexual services were available). Here Gill learned the sex business: how to deal with johns and vice cops, how to run a legitimate cover business.

George Lee was gunned down in 1977, which set off a battle for his assets. Nick DeLucia, a former fireman, took several of the parlors, and for a while Gill was his business partner. However not without a struggle: one employee was murdered at home; a parlor was destroyed by a package bomb received at Christmas and one sex worker was killed. Amidst this, Dante found the time to marry Cynthia from Texas on a vacation in Hawai’i. They lived together in Pittsburgh, although the marriage did not last.

In November, the gay bar in Tampa, Florida run by an associate, Frank Cocchiara, burned down. Gill gave him a job running one of the parlors in Pittsburgh. Cocchiara became a regular at Pittsburgh’s drag balls, befriended local gay activist Herb Beatty and was one of the first to become HIV+.

In 1980 an arson attack destroyed one of Gill’s parlors, killing three men who were sleeping on the top floor. The partnership between DeLucia and Gill had degenerated to antagonism. DeLucia and some associates were even charged with an alleged plot to kill Gill (although due to a key witness’ attempt to extort money from the defense, nothing was ever proven in court).

Dante was tough enough to hold on. He got both his adversaries and the police to refer to him as Mr Gill. He expanded into gay bars, and into supplying anabolic steroids. He dressed expensively, traveled the world and collected rare animals. He was known for reciting Irish poetry.
Dante & Cynthia 1984

DeLucia was jailed for tax evasion in 1981. Then Gill attempted to re-introduce Lee’s old monopoly by chasing the competition out of town. However he claimed to earn only $60,000 for income tax purposes, but the tax authorities were able to demonstrate that he was spending much more than that. They also found that each of his parlors brought in more than $500,000 each year.

In 1984 he was arrested, convicted and jailed for tax evasion. He was sentenced to 7 years, but paroled in 1987. The tax authorities filed a $12.5 million claim against him. However he no longer had much money.

Also he required dialysis. He died in hospital aged 72.
  • Torsten Ove. “Obituary: Dante ‘Tex’ Gill / Sexually ambivalent rub parlor owner”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazett, January 09, 2003. Online.
  • “The complex and tough Dante ‘Tex’ Gill. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 17, 2014. Online.
  • “Revealed: The incredible life of transgender gangster Mr Gill who controlled a criminal empire of brothels in 1970s Pittsburgh and will controversially be portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in her latest movie”. The Daily Mail, 6 July 2018. Online.
  • Furio_from_naples. “Dante ‘Tex’ Gill vs Pittsburgh Mafia”., 07/23/18. Online.
  • Richard Gazarik. Wicked Pittsburgh. The History Press, 2018: 123-5.


27 November 2018

Regina Adams (1952 - ) widow, performer

Prior to the June 2016 shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the deadliest attack on gay people was the 24 June 1973 arson attack at the Up Stairs Lounge, 141 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The prime suspect is a gay man who had been ejected from the bar earlier in the day. He was never charged and killed himself 17 months later.

On 24 June, the Metropolitan Community Church was having a social after its religious service on the final day of Pride Weekend. Just before 8PM the door buzzer from downstairs rang, and the door was opened revealing the stairs to be on fire, along with the smell of lighter fluid. The bartender led some 20 patrons out through the back entrance and to safety. However others were accidently locked in. 29 died, and another 18 were injured, of whom three later died.

Among the dead was Reginald Adams, an Afro-American from Dallas who had been studying at Loyola University in New Orleans, initially with the aim of becoming a Jesuit priest. At the Up Stairs lounge he had met the still young Ricky Soleto, who did drag acts, and was trying out some feminine personae. They became a couple, one of the few inter-racial gay couples in New Orleans at that time. The ambition to become a priest was being abandoned.

It was Reginald who suggested that Ricky become Regina, not so much from his name, but because she was his queen, which is what ‘Regina’ means. He started to wear Ricky’s high-school ring, and they shared an apartment in the French Quarter.

Regina and Reginald were both at the Up Stairs social on the fatal night. They realized that they did not have enough money for a dinner arrangement afterwards, and, having finished her drink, it was Regina who went home to get some, and also a borrowed hat to be returned. As she returned she saw the flames and fire engines were arriving. She could not find Reginald, and searched at Charity Hospital, where the victims were taken, but without success.

She was in shock. She continued to lay out Reginald’s clothes each day, even after her mother moved in to take care of her. Reginald was one of the last to be identified, being burnt beyond recognition. He was finally identified by dental records and by the high-school ring on his finger.

After her recovery, Regina became well known performer in New Orleans, first as a drag performer, and then as a woman. In 1980 Regina legally changed her name to Regina Adams, honoring the man who should have been her husband.

Because of Hurricane Katrina, there was no Southern Decadence in 2005. Therefore joint Grand Marshalls Lisa Beaumann and Regina Adams reigned in both 2005 and 2006.
  • Johnny Townsend. Let the Faggots Burn: The Upstairs Lounge Fire. BookLocker, 2011: 302-4.
  • Clayton Delery-Edwards. The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-Two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar, June 24, 1973. McFarland & Company, 2014: 29, 36, 38, 45, 49-50, 52, 73, 88, 108, 121.
  • Diana Anderson-Minshall. “Book of the year: Biography Documenting Worst Mass Killing of Gays in U.S. History”. Advocate, March 03 2015. Online.
  • “Transgender Mormon Survives Mass Murder“. Main Street Plaza, October 6, 2015. Online.
  • Robert L Camina (dir & scr). Upstairs Inferno, with Regina Adams. US 96 mins 2015.
  • Jim Downs. Stand by Me The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation. Basic Books, 2016: 28.
  • “Deadly 1973 hate crime recalled in new documentary”. Washington Blade, February 9, 2017. Online.
  • Robert W. Fieseler. Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation. Liveright, 2018: 36 -7, 59-60, 68-9, 87, 123, 150, 225, 235, 267n62.
Celebrazzi 2006


25 November 2018

Case of Sheffield and Horsham v. The United Kingdom, 1998

Rachel Horsham (1946 - )

Horsham was raised in a small village in Surrey, with a father who had been born in India, and a mother from Ireland. Horsham knew from an early age that she was not really male. As Rachel she emigrated to the Netherlands in 1974 because that country recognised trans women as women at a time when the UK did not.

She became a patient of Professor Dr Louis Gooren at the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) of Amsterdam, wrote the first version of her autobiography in 1991, and completed transition in 1992.

She applied to the UK Consulate for a re-issued UK passport in her new name and gender:

“During an interview with the Consul, I was informed that it was not possible to be issued with a new passport reflecting my current status, at the time. Nor would they accept a letter of Deed Poll from a Solicitor for a change of forenames. Their reasoning: that the issuing of passports to transsexuals in the United Kingdom, showing their female status, on production of a letter of Deed Poll from a Solicitor, and a letter of acknowledgement from a qualified doctor, that the bearer was a transsexual, was not legal outside of the United Kingdom.” (Plaintiff’s Observations)
She was told that she needed an order from a Dutch Court. This was obtained and the passport re-issued. She became a Dutch citizen in 1993, and obtained a ruling in a Dutch court that her UK birth certificate should be amended. As this did not happen she initiated legal proceedings in the UK. This was appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 1994.

Kristina Sheffield (also born 1946)

Sheffield was a pilot with Brittania Airways, and had 34 years experience when she transitioned in 1986.

Kristina divorced from her wife as was almost always required in the 1990s (in retrospect she felt that she had been coerced into it underhandedly), and a judge also granted an injunction banning Kristina from seeing her daughter as “transsexuals are not suitable company for children”.

She applied to every UK airline, but was always obliged to show her birth certificate which said that she was born male, which resulted in her not getting employment.

While her passport was re-issued in her new name, she was still unable to obtain a US visa, and twice in court to stand surety for a friend, was obliged to reveal her previous name. A misunderstanding with the police with regards to a replica firearm indicated that they were aware of her gender change although the topic had not come up. A request under the Data Protection Act 1984 would have required her to state all previous names.

She also appealed through the UK court system and then to the ECHR.

And then

Both cases were initially accepted by the ECHR in 1994. Kristina met with Rachel in Amsterdam. Following advice from Rachel, Kristina revised the statement of her case. This made the two cases rather similar although the circumstances were different, in that Rachel wanted to marry and Kristina to find employment. The ECHR decided to couple both appeals.

Rachel, with Kristina’s assistance researched the Ewan Forbes-Sempill case and the Corbett divorce case. They obtained the birth certificates for April Ashley, Roberta Cowell, Michael Dillon and Georgina Turtle, and the marriage certificates for Georgina Turtle and April Ashley. Only April had not had her birth certificate amended re her name and sex. From this they were able to conclude that the Corbetts’ divorce trial could have been quickly concluded in that April was still legally male and thus the marriage was invalid according to the law at that time. There was no need for the detailed medical examinations that were done. Unless, of course, something other than an annulment of marriage was being enacted.

The original birth certificate for Ewan Forbes-Sempill proved impossible to obtain, however a copy specifying his male sex and name was available. The Sempill and Corbett cases had been more about establishing the boundaries of aristocratic privilege than of determining the best governance of transsexuals.
“It was also found, that there had been prior knowledge of these birth certificates by the plaintiffs of former cases that had gone to the ECHR. They were the cases of Rees and later Cossey. None of the fact that it was possible to amend a birth certificate, within existing statute law, was ever presented to the ECHR in those cases. They were based on a demand that the UK government must change the law. The court in those cases was not prepared to demand that a government must restructure its laws. Both cases lost and this created a case law in the ECHR upon which any further cases from the UK would be accepted and judged. The ECHR works on the basis of creating its own case law upon which to judge a case presented to them and where they have none they create it. If a case challenges existing case law, then the court can examine the situation.” (Rachel Horsham .4)
In May 1996, Rachel wrote an anonymous article that was published in The Independent, "Trapped in a man's body with a woman's mind". She detailed the then lack of human rights for transsexuals in the UK; explained how HRT and reconstructive surgery have a 97% success rate and attributed the condition to an incongruence of pre-natal hormones (a theory that was accepted in the late 1990s). She rightly points to the 1970 Corbett v Corbett divorce case as the point where things went wrong.
“All that is required is for government to accept a return to the pre-1970 status quo, a move that is supported by medicine, a large section of legal opinion and many parliamentarians. There is no need for new legislation or new administrative systems; the Birth Certificate still contains a column where errors at registration can be corrected as they were before 1970. Time has shown that there were no practical complications with those corrections, and thus there is no realistic argument for not reinstating the practice. Indeed, there is every reason for regarding it as an urgent necessity.”
The ECHR gave its judgement 30 July 1998. By 11 to 9 it voted that the Article 8 right to respect for a private life was not violated (although the court noted “no steps taken by respondent State to keep need for appropriate legal measures in this area under review despite Court’s view to that effect in Rees and Cossey judgments — Court reiterates that view”). By 18 votes to 2 it voted that the Article 12 right to contract lawful marriage was not violated. Unanimously it voted that Article 14, the right not to be subjected to difference in treatment was not violated. The judgment does not address Horsham’s argument that Corbett vs Corbett was a bad judgment and a simple reversal would solve the problems.

As Rachel summarises the result on her home page:
“The United Kingdom rejected [the plaintiffs’ plea] on the grounds that under British law a person’s sex is fixed at birth and cannot be amended or changed and argued that the Court of Human Rights had given two Judgments in their favour upholding this contention in two previous cases, Rees and Cossey. The plaintiff, in her submissions, proved that the government had lied to the court in those previous cases, and that English Statute law did have the required legislation to amend a person's birth certificate, in such cases. In 1998 the court decided to uphold its case law based on Rees and Cossey and the case of Rachel Horsham was never judged on the facts presented to them.”
Rachel expanded her autobiography to include the appeal to ECHR, and published it, also in 1998.
Kristina won an employment discrimination case in 1998 at an industrial tribunal in that she was unable to obtain even an interview with Easyjet to be a pilot despite her 34 years’ experience.


In 1997, after 18 years of homophobic Conservative misrule, the Labour Party became the new government. Initially it continued the Conservatives’ homophobic policies, one of which was to oppose appeals such as that by Horsham & Sheffield. The GLBT censorship known as Section 28 was not repealed until 2003.

While government lawyers were in Strasburg arguing against the petitions of Horsham and Sheffield, Petra Henderson, British but resident in Germany, had completed surgical transition and wished to be recognised legally as female, which the government quietly permitted. She had threatened to go to the ECHR and the Government wished to keep her out of the newspapers. It was insisted that this was a one-off exemption and did not set a precedent. There were some other similar one-offs, such as the UK citizen in Paris who was able to obtain a similar result with Petra's assistance. Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke of ‘joined-up government’, but this was one area where it was definitely not so.

Press for Change had been founded in 1992. It engaged with lawyers and Members of Parliament. Inevitably a slow process. A private member's bill was introduced in 1996, but as the then Conservative Government refused to endorse it, it was without success. In 2002, another appeal to the ECHR finally met with success, and two years after that the Labour Government passed the Gender Recognition Act – not perfect, but the best in the world at that time.


Rachel’s book is not listed in either Amazon or Abebooks. It is on the Dwarf Empire web page.

In recent years Rachel has self-identified as HBS, although independently of the two major strands thereof.   In 1998 the only Benjamin Syndrome movement was the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin in Paris run by Tom Reucher, Diane Potiron, Hugues Cariou, and which was inclusive unlike the HBS movement which developed after 2005.
  • "Trapped in a man's body with a woman's mind", The Independent, 1 May 1996. Online.
  • Rosa Prince. “Transsexuals in test case”. The Independent, 22 February 1998. Online.
  • “British Pilot Wins Discrimination Case”. NewsPlanet, June 1, 1998. Online.
  • Case of Sheffield and Horsham v. The United Kingdom. European Court of Human Rights, 30 July 1998. Online.
  • “UK Transsexuals lose court case”. BBC News, July 30, 1998. Online.
  • Christine Burns. “Court Judgement Criticises UK Government's Lack of Action”. PFC, 9th August 1998. Online.
  • Rachel Horsham. Release of the Dove. Dwarf Empire, 1991 and 1998.

Rachel Horsham’s Home Page

26 October 2018

The geography of Charlotte McLeod in New York, 1957

Charlotte McLeod:
Part 1: Youth and Copenhagen
Part II: fame and marriage
Part III: The geography of Charlotte McLeod in New York, 1957

1.   45 East 68th Street.  The home of Dorothy Kilgallen and Richard Kollmar.  “I got tired of Dorothy Kilgallen chasing me around and writing things about me that I have never thought of doing. And I went to her house one day and knocked on her door and the butler recognized me, it was strange, he said, ‘aren’t you Miss Charlotte?’ And I said, yes. And he said, don’t go away. I said, well I have no intention, that’s why I’m here. So I met Dorothy. And I said, well Dorothy, I’m tired of this, this business and I need a job. If you’ll help me get a job, I’ll tell you anything you want to know."

2.  44 East 67th Street.  The then office of Harry Benjamin. 

3.  318 51st Street.   The Washington-Jefferson Hotel where Charlotte lived.   This is still in business. Its rooms are now $126 a night and up. Charlotte says: it “was a place for retired show people who lived there” which probably means that even after adjusting for inflation it was cheaper in 1957, particularly if you paid by the month. 

4.  723 7th Ave.   Maxie's.  A restaurant close-by that Charlotte sometimes visited.   There she ran into Ralph Heidal, whom she had met in Bergen, Norway, and had stayed in touch with by mail. They married in 1959.

5.  309 West 50th Street.  The West Bank Club, owned by Richard Kollmar, where Charlotte worked as a hostess and hat-check girl.   It was there that she met Harry Benjamin, who came in as a customer.   

22 October 2018

Willi Pape/Voo Doo (1893 - 1967) performer

Willi Pape was raised in the Berlin suburb of Spandau.  His father owned a wooden-shoe factory and his mother was a dressmaker. He had said from an early age that he did not want to be a boy, and took pleasure in female clothing, and in working with his mother as she made dresses.   

In teenage he had seen a female impersonation on the stage of a Berlin variety theatre, and very much wished to do the same. His parents had arranged for Willy to study to become an artist, and he was engaged to a young woman, Emma, whom he loved and with whom he had been intimate.  

Reading in the newspaper that a male-impersonator in Hamburg was looking for an opposite-sex partner, Willi, who was then 17, stole 300 marks from his parents and travelled to Hamburg, where firstly he purchased female clothing.  The project did not realize, and Willi further travelled to Stettin and then back to Berlin.  This was done while presenting as female, travelling in the women’s section on trains, and registering in hotels as Selma Bruegge.   Not knowing how to continue, Selma took a hotel room in Friedrichstadt and cut the arteries of her left hand.   

Pape was rescued by the hotel staff and taken to the Urban hospital.  Given the circumstances of her dress, the head physician contacted Magnus Hirschfeld, who visited on the third day after admission.  Willi confided in Hirschfeld, and also mentioned that he did not find men attractive, and could not understand that such was possible.  Hirschfeld contacted the parents, explained the situation and led them to understand that the best solution was to allow Willi to become a performer.  

Using the stage name of Voo-Doo, Pape became a Travestiekűnstler,  Pape is discussed in the Suicide chapter of Hirscheld’s Die Transvestiten as P. from Standau, and is pictured under the name of Willy Pape in Hirschfeld’s Der erotische Verkleidungstrieb (Tafel XVI), where he is described as a “highly successful Variété artist who performs as a Snake Dancer”.  

Pape actually presented himself in female clothing when summoned for military service in 1914.  
By 1918 Willi had a male lover, Emile Schmidt, but never set foot in a gay establishment until ten years after that.    

Willi became a prominent figure in Berlin’s sexual subculture.  In 1927, by which time Voo-Doo was celebrated across Europe, the lesbian magazine Die Freundin featured a photograph of Voo-Doo alongside an article about women’s fashion (fig. 5.16). The article, introduced by the magazine’s editor as an “Open Forum regarding Questions of Fashion,” launched what she hoped would be a “lively discussion regarding this timely issue.”

·         Magnus Hirschfeld translated from the German by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress Prometheus Books. 1991: 316-8.
·         Magnus Hirschfeld and Max Tilke, Der erotische Verkleidungstrieb (Der Transvestiten), Illustrierter Teil (Berlin: A. Pulvermacher, 1912: Tafel XVI..
·         Anonymous, “Meinungsaustausch über Modefragen: Ein Mann über Damenmode,” Die Freundin, Jg. 4, 14, 1927: 27-28.
·         “(Photo Gerlach) Der Transvestit Voo-Doo, einer der bekanntesten internationalen Tanzsterne.” Die Freundin, Jg. 3, 4, 1927: 27.
·         Jens Dobler. Der Travestiekünstler Willy Pape alias Voo-Doo. Invertito 6, 2004:110-21.
·         Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Gesch-lechts. Transvestitismus und Trans-sexualität in der frühen Sexual-wissenschaft. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag 2005: 76, 93. 
·         Julie Nero. Hannah Höch, Til Brugman, Lesbianism, and Weimar Sexual Subculture. PhD Thesis, Case Western Reserve University, 2013: 234-5.

10 October 2018

RT has to go to Arizona to find 3 regretting trans persons

RT (Russia Today) sometimes produces intriguing documentaries well worth thinking about.   This is not one of their best.  They interview three persons, raised as boys, who transitioned to female, and live in Arizona.  Two, Billy Burleigh and the perennial Walt Heyer, have reverted, and the third, Rene Jaz (who continues to present as female) has written a book Don't get on the plane: Why a sex change will ruin your life.  Jaz and Heyer were patients of Dr Biber.

The documentary also includes a brief interview with a sex-change surgeon.   As they actually went to Arizona, the expectation would be that they would interview Drs Toby Meltzer and Ellie Zara Lay, both well regarded surgeons in Scottsdale, Arizona.   However the documentary goes to Belgrade instead to interview Dr Miroslav Djordjevic (or is it recycled footage from another program?).   Again a well-regarded surgeon, but why go to Serbia when making a film about Arizona?

There are several points that can be made.   Nowhere is it stated that the vast majority of trans (97% or so) persons who have surgery are pleased and remain pleased with what they have achieved.  On the other hand Heyer is allowed to spout his dubious statistics claiming that 40% of trans suicides are post-transition.

The infrequency of reversion is demonstrated by the repeated use of the same few persons, in this case Walt Heyer.  Neither the narration nor the final credits say so, but I suspect that the RT film-crew went to Heyer who introduced them to the other two.   Heyer actually says that he was in contact with Billy previously, and in this article  by Heyer discusses Jaz and her book.   Heyer has been in so many programs of this type.

Let us return to Jaz's book,  Don't get on the plane: Why a sex change will ruin your life.   The summary on Amazon contains an enormous clunker:  "medicine is operating in the same ignorance and arrogance as it did when Magnus Hirschfeld killed Einer Wegener (The Danish Girl) with his experimental surgery in 1930".    As we know, but apparently Jaz does not, Lili Elvenes (whose pen name was Lili Elbe) was a patient of the Dresden Doctor Kurt Warnekros, not of the Berlin Doctor Magnus Hirschfeld.   Also Hirschfeld was not a surgeon.  The three trans women who were patients of Hirschfeld, Carla van Crist, Toni Ebel and Dörchen Richter, all survived their operations and two of them lived into the 1960s.  Bad fact checking like this makes one think that the book is not worth reading.

It is important to read one's enemies.   If you are building up to gender surgery, it may be useful to watch this documentary to know what one is not.   There is much diversity among trans women, and you will probably be aware of how different you are from these three.

04 October 2018

Skippy LaRue (1921-2003) sex worker, performer

Skippy LaRue was born in Port Arthur, Texas. His father was a boilermaker and bootlegger; his mother ran a house of prostitution where they all lived. His mother beat him frequently.

He was drinking whiskey from age 5; having sex with boys from age 9. He was expelled from school at age 11 for hustling merchant seamen.

He discovered the whorehouses across the tracks and was introduced to a madam called Evelyn Hardtimes. He lived there a couple of years. He tended bar and did other chores, and when a customer wanted a boy there he was. He was able to charge 50¢, while the girls charged only 25¢. He was also the only one giving fellatio. His customers included judges, lawyers, police, doctors, military, executives.  He was frequently taken as a girl, even in boys clothes. 

He was 18 before he was introduced to the gay scene.

As he grew older Skippy tried straight jobs: retail and delivery. However he kept drifting back into working as female. Skippy (as such) worked a roadhouse serving customers in their cars, and then as a carhop. She went with men but French (oral) only unless they were in the know.

During WWII, LaRue was excused military service because of an ear injury from his mother’s beatings. He moved to Seattle and worked at Boeing for 72¢ a hour, and then on a ferry lunch counter. He met Jackie Starr, first at a party, and then because they lived in the same building.

When Skippy started going to the Garden of Allah, Jackie and others encouraged her to perform, and helped with costumes, makeup and how to a do a gaff.  She sometimes performed as Madame Fifi.

Skippy supplemented the income from performing with running an after-hours bottle club where
Jackie and Skippy, 1946
customers pretended that they had brought their own drinks to get around the licensing laws.

Later Skippy went on the road with Hotcha Hinton and Jackie Starr working carnivals, performing in girlie shows. The other carnies knew what they were, but not the customers. In addition to the show they had a blowoff (sideshow) act where they did a striptease and even, being very confident of their gaffing, they had men pay to touch their genital area.

They were busted in Oxnard, California and had to prove their male sex to the police chief. However word got out, and the chief simply told them to get out of town.

In later years, Skippy lived in a mobile home in south Everett, north of Seattle, and worked at a gay bathhouse in Seattle, where he was known as Seattle’s oldest female impersonator. He kept in touch with others, and when Don Paulson was researching his book on the Garden of Allah, Skippy acted as a major resource.

He died at age 82.
  • Don Paulson & Roger Simpson. An Evening at the Garden of Allah: A Gay Cabaret in Seattle. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996: Chp 7.
  • Gary L. Atkins. Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging. University of Washington Press, 2003: 63.
  • Mara Dauphin. " ‘A bit of Woman in Every Man’: Creating Queer Community in Female Impersonation”. Valley Humanities Review, Spring 2012.: 11, 14. Online.
  • Don Paulson. “South End Steam Baths”. Seattle Gay News. Online.

Don Paulson and Skippy LaRue photograph collection, 1903-2000


The 1930s were rather different.  On p126 of Paulson & Simpson, Skippy says "a twelve-year-old boy was no different than a a twelve-year-old girl.  At that time, many girls became prostitutes at twelve or thirteen,"

 72¢ a hour does not sound much, but at that time one could rent an apartment for $10 a week.

30 September 2018

William Seymour (184? - ?) cab driver

Seymour was raised with the name of Mary in Taunton, Somerset, with a father who was a land agent for the local nobleman.

At age 14 Seymour was married to an army surgeon, by the name of Honeywell. However the marriage was unbearable and Seymour ran away to London.

There Seymour met a woman who had previously been a farm servant on the estate in Taunton. She was married to a cabman, and with his example Seymour took a haircut and with a ‘judicious use of clothing’ was able to pass as a man, and make a living as a cab driver.

After three years, in 1869, Seymour relocated to Liverpool, where he continued in his trade. By this time he had a wife, Agnes, who would bring his dinner to the cabstand. They were recorded as married in the 1871 census.

In February 1875 Seymour was committed for trial for stealing 30lbs of meat from a butcher on Leece Street Liverpool. In the detective office suspicions were aroused in that Seymour was almost 30, and there was sign neither of a beard nor of the use of a razor. Seymour was persuaded to confess his original gender and was indicted under his male name, his girl name and his married name of Mrs Honeywell. He was found guilty and imprisoned for two months in Walton Jail.

  • “A Woman as a Cabdriver for Ten Years’. The Liverpool Mercury, 13 February 1875. Reprinted in Alison Oram & Annmarie Turnbull. The Lesbian History Sourcebook: Love and Sex Between Women in Britain from 1780–1970. Routledge, 2001: 31-2.
  • Billie-Gina Thomason. “William Seymour: The ‘Female Cabdriver”. Museum of Liverpool, January 2018. Online.

There is no information of what happened to Seymour after his release from jail.  Hopefully he was able to continue as a cab driver.  

Of course there are some cis men with no apparent beard.

This is a hansom cab from the 1870s. which is possibly what Seymour drove: