This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc.

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

14 July 2018

Deena Kaye Rose (1943 - ) musician

Dick Feller was born and raised in Missouri. At 12 he had his first guitar, and at 15 played with a local band.

In 1964 he tried his luck in the Los Angeles music scene.

In 1966 he moved to Nashville: he toured with The Statesiders, did session work and wrote songs. Johnny Cash had a hit with Feller’s "Any Old Wind That Blows" in 1972; Jerry Reed recorded "The Lady is a Woman" and "One Sweet Reason". "Lord, Mr. Ford" – the last was a number-one hit in 1973. Feller’s first album came out some months later.

He spent time at the Chelsea Hotel in New York in the mid-1970s.

Feller and Jerry Reed did the music for the film Smokey and the Bandit, 1977. John Denver had a hit with Feller’s "Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stone)".

Feller has 400 published songs, received 10 BMI Music Awards for most performed songs of various years including two “Million-air” awards for songs that have played over a million times in broadcast play in North America alone, and has lectured at several universities.

In the 2010s, Feller relocated to Las Vegas, transitioned at the age of 70 and became Deena Kaye Rose, and published her autobiography.

*not Deena Rose the preacher

Albums (under the name Dick Feller)

Dick Feller Wrote, 1973
No Word on me, 1974
Some Days Are Diamonds, 1975
Audiograph Alive, 1982
Centaur of Attention, 2001.    EN.Wikipedia   IMDB    Alchetron

12 July 2018

Camilla Rose Waters (1957 - ) musician, clown, social worker

Steve John Kern was born in Santa Rosa, California, and raised the youngest in a family of six kids, all of whom played musical instruments. Steve sang, and learned to play trumpet, trombone, French Horn, Baritone and tuba. From 7th grade he was teaching music.

He did a degree in Social Work and Music Therapy, and developed programs for those with physical and mental disabilities, and a 135-agency coalition to provide housing and food for the homeless. He created a company to provide musicians and other entertainers to corporate clients and to schools. He also became certified as a professional clown. He was for a while the Event Manager at the San Jose Convention Center. Discovering that the surrounding school districts had lacked music programs for 20 years, he set up programs that reached 1,500 students weekly.

He had been born lacking peripheral vision. This meant being unable to view the sheet music and the conductor at the same time. He compensated by memorizing the music. While he wore glasses from the 8th grade, it was not until age 30 that the problem was correctly identified.

Kern was often taken for the singer John Denver. After Denver’s death in a airplane crash in October 1997, Kern began singing in Denver’s style, and audiences were amazed at the physical as well as musical likeness, and in a 24-month period he ‘accidentally’ met a dozen people who had links with Denver.

In 2009, at the age of 52, Kern started transition, and became Camilla Rose Waters.

In 2012, in Flagstaff, Arizona, while out shopping, Camilla collapsed and woke up in hospital. Her lack of sight was now almost complete. She decided to move to Portland, Oregon for access to the Casey Eye Clinic, the city’s mass transit system and its strong music scene.

She was welcomed by the Portland Folk Music Society and invited to be one of the representatives of the blind community. She is the first trans person in the history of the Western Music Association. She was chosen by the Portland Folk Music Society as their featured artist for November and December 2013, however the Oregonian Newspaper refused to do a story on her, or to review her music.

Her current album is Songs from the Prairie.

*Not the musician and pastor, also called Steve Kern; nor the Steve Kern, son of Artie Shaw and grandson of songwriter Jerome Kern.
  • Paul Von Ward. The Soul Genome: Science and Reincarnation. Fenestra Books, 2008: 9, 85, 127, 175-6, 190, 200-2.
  • Ray Ashmun. “An Interview with Camilla Rose”. Portland Folk Music Society, August 11, 2013. Online.
SoundCloud     TransitionRadio


The book by Paul Von Ward proposes that Steve Kern and John Denver are a split soul.

Make of that what you will.

The book was published in 2008, just before Camilla Rose transitioned. If it had been published a few years later, what would Von Ward have proposed: that John Denver, had he survived, also would have eventually transitioned?

05 July 2018

Transgender Surgery Addendum – July 2018

The full tale is still not told.   These items will be added to the full timeline, and are published here so that they will be noticed.

Netherlands, Arnheim Municipal Hospital 1959 – 

plastic surgeon S.T. Woudstra did a phalloplasty for a trans man. This was published in the Dutch Journal of Medicine resulting in letters of protest and questions in Parliament. Woudstra never did a second such surgery.

Japan. Nippon Medical School Hospital 1950-1. 

Akiko Nagai had an orchiectomy, a penectomy and breast augmentation.

Japan Tokyo - 1964. 

Gynecologist Taro Kono performed sex change operations on three trans women at a Tokyo clinic — and was arrested the following year and charged with violations of the Eugenics and Motherhood Protection Act of 1948, as  well as an  unrelated  violation of the Controlled  Substances  Act.  In 1969 he was found guilty of all charges , sentenced to two years and fined Ɏ400,000. The case attached a stigma to transsexualism and made it taboo for medical professionals for many years to provide adequate care or even information. This lasted until the late 1990s.

Billings & Urban

A history of transgender surgery that I did not consult for my transgender surgery timeline was,
  • Dwight B. Billings and Thomas Urban. “The Socio-Medical Construction of Transsexualism: An Interpretation and Critique”. Social Problems, 29, 3, Feb., 1982: 266-282.
This was reprinted in In Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds), Blending Genders: Social Aspects of Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing, Routledge 1996: 99-117, and various other places. It is much cited.

Here is the abstract:
“This article examines transexualism and its treatment by sex-reassignment surgery. Physicians have drawn upon their previous experience with hermaphrodites and the psychological benefits of elective surgery to legitimate sex-change surgery for what they view as a distinct patient population, transexuals. We demonstrate that transexualism is a socially constructed reality which only exists in and through medical practice. Furthermore, we contend that sex-change surgery reflects and extends late-capitalist logics of reification and commodification, while simultaneously reaffirming traditional male and female gender roles.”
The paper closes with:
“But rather than support contemporary movements aimed at reorganising gender and parenting roles and repudiating the either/or logic of gender development, sex-change proponents support sex-reassignment surgery. By substituting medical terminology for political discourse, the medical profession has indirectly tamed and transformed a potential wildcat strike at the gender factory”.
This was published only three years after Raymond’s The Transsexual Empire, and agrees with it that transsexuals would not exist without pushy profit-oriented doctors.  !!

Billings & Urban are not incorrect in what they write, although they twist the interpretation as indicated. They are extremely US-centric and have no interest at all in the work done by Gillies, Fogh-Andersen, Burou, Randel, Steiner or Ratnam. What facts they do have that are not in my timeline are those relating to the opposition by psychiatrists. That is another tale. I am first concentrating on the surgeons who made transgender surgery what it is.

However there are two items in their footnotes which are not mentioned anywhere else.

1) “Thomas Urban was a participant observer for three years (1978–80) in a sex-change clinic”.

But they do not say which one or otherwise elaborate. Did he leave, as did Grant Williams from the Charing Cross Clinic, because he disagreed with the program? This is an unknown.

2) Footnote 8 reads:

“Other university hospitals, such as the University of Minnesota’s, began surgical treatment at roughly the same time but avoided public disclosure. In addition, a few operations were secretly performed in the 1950s at the University of California at San Francisco. We have learned that Cook County Hospital in Chicago was performing sex-change operations as early as 1947, predating Jorgensen’s famous European surgery by five years.”

We know that Elmer Belt (not mentioned at all in Billings & Urban) was doing such operations at the University of California at Los Angeles in the 1950s. Do they have the wrong city, or is this something lost to history?  Louise Lawrence worked with Alfred Kinsey and Harry Benjamin in San Francisco in the 1950s.   If these surgeries happened there is strange that neither Lawrence nor Benjamin knew about them.  The Langley Porter Clinic, while admitting that psychotherapy did not work, generally would not recommend surgery, although it is said that they did arrange surgery in a couple of cases.  Dr Frank Hinman, urologist, author of  “Advisability of Surgical Reversal of Sex in Female Pseudohermaphroditism”, 1951, was brought in in 1953 to save Caren Ecker after an auto-orchiectomy, which was felt to require a penectomy. 

I cannot find any account of transgender surgery at Cook County Hospital in 1947. Orion Stuteville who did transgender surgery at Cook County and Northwestern University Medical School twenty years later was already a surgeon there, but in the dental school. Was it he who did the transgender surgery, or someone else?   Harry Benjamin had requested Max Thorek, a renowned surgeon in Chicago to do an operation, but, after consulting his lawyer, he declined. Again what Billings and Urban are referring to seems to be lost to history.

02 July 2018

Roberta Perkins (1940 – 2018) sociologist, activist

Perkins did a dissertation on transvestism and transsexuality at Macquarie University in Sydney in 1981 – one the very first by an openly trans woman.

She was also one of the members of the newly founded Australian Transsexual Association. She approached Rev. Bill Crews of the Wayside Chapel Crisis Centre to ask for a regular meeting place. Weekly support meetings were arranged.

Roberta’s book The Drag Queen Scene: Transsexuals in Kings Cross, a study of 146 lives based on her dissertation came out in 1983. This was read by Frank Walker, New South Wales Labor Assembly person and at that time Minister for Youth and Community Services.

In July, he invited her to come in and talk, which led to a grant of $80,000 which was used to open a centre, Tiresias House, at 75 Morgan Street, Petersham, Sydney – its 12 bed spaces were filled immediately, and had to be converted to 16 by using the lounge as a bedroom. In December that year, Walker officially opened the centre.

Within a few years, the centre has expanded to four houses, one of which was registered as a halfway house for ex-convicts on parole. A residential nurse and a community worker were employed. Six years later it was renamed the Gender Centre.

Perkins left Tiresias House in 1985, and went on to write and subsequently publish books and articles in peer-reviewed journals on trans women and sex workers. She was involved in the struggle for decriminalization of sex work in New South Wales and Australia.

Roberta died aged 78.
Publications by Roberta Perkins:
  • The Third Sex and Sanctified Persons: A Cross-Cultural Survey, Comparison and Analysis of Transvestism and Transsexuality. Macquarie University BA Hons Thesis 1981.
  • The Drag Queen Scene: Transsexuals in Kings Cross. George Allen & Unwin, 1983.
  • With Nikki Searant & Linda Tyne. Transsexualism: An Overview : Understanding the Transsexual.: Collective of Australian Transsexuals, Australian Transsexual Association, 1983.
  • With Garry Bennett. Being a Prostitute: Prostitute Women and Prostitute Men. Allen & Unwin, 1985.
  • A History, Manifesto, and a Report on the Proposed Welfare Services of the Australian Prostitutes' Collective. The Collective, 1985.
  • Female Prostitutes in Visible Prostitution in Inner-City Sydney. The author, 1985.
  • Female Prostitution in Sydney an Overview: An Information Document on Female Prostitution and Prostitute Women of Sydney. Australian Prostitutes Collective (N.S.W.), 1985.
  • "Working Girls": Normality and Diversity Among Female Prostitutes in Sydney. Macquarie University MA Hons Thesis, 1988.
  • Interviewed by Phil Jarratt. "The working girl's friend. -Interview with Roberta Perkins, founder of the Australian Prostitutes Collective". Bulletin (Sydney). 140-141,143-144, 13 September 1988.
  • "Wicked Women Or Working Girls: The Prostitute on the Silver Screen". Media Information Australia, 51, 1989: 28-34.
  • "Working Girls in ‘Wowserville’: Prostitute Women in Sydney Since 1945". In Richard Kennedy. Australian Welfare: Historical Sociology. Macmillan, 1989: 362-389.
  • Working Girls: Prostitutes, Their Life and Social Control. Australian Inst. of Criminology, 1991.
  • With A. Griffin, & J. Jakobsen. Transgender Lifestyles and HIV/AIDS Risk. University of New South Wales, 1994.
  • With G. Prestage, R. Sharp & Frances Lovejoy. Sex Work, Sex Workers in Australia. University of New South Wales Press, 1994.
  • With Frances Lovejoy. "Healthy and Unhealthy Life Styles of Female Brothel Workers and Call Girls (Private Sex Workers) in Sydney". Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 20, 5, 1996: 512-6.
  • “The Drag Queen Scene: Transsexuals in Kings Cross". In Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds). Blending Genders: Social Aspects of Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing. Routledge 1996: 53-62.
  • With Frances Lovejoy. Call Girls: Private Sex Workers in Australia. University of Western Australia Press, 2007.
About Roberta Perkins
  • Katherine Cummings. “Vale Roberta Perkins (1940-2018)” Gender Centre, 2018. Online.
  • “'Trailblazer' to be remembered in Sydney”. Australian Associated Press, 28 June 2018. Online.


It is a shame that Roberta's books are so hard to find.

She was a pioneer in what we now accept as normal, that trans people write about trans people, but until the 1980s this was regarded as heretical, and writings by trans persons were dismissed simply because the person was trans.