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

29 July 2018

Jackie Starr (1915 – 198?) performer

Jack Starr grew up on a farm in the US Midwest. His parents encouraged his desire to be an actor, and he studied voice, acting and classical ballet. His elder sister was dressing him in female clothing from age five.

By the age of 14 he was doing drag in mob-controlled speakeasies in Chicago: both solo and in the line of chorines. He played the drag circuit in the 1930s, and did a tour of South America, and of Europe. Jackie met a Prince who wanted to take her home.
“I was tempted but I’m glad I didn’t because he was killed in a coup and I’d have been killed too.”
In Washington DC Jackie went out with senators. Later she moved to Greenwich Village, and tried acting and singing. She also did ballet, both as male and as female. She was one of only a few men in the US who could dance en pointe. She was a fill-in for the noted stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and she also danced as a Rockette at the Radio City Music Hall (and was also married briefly to another
Rockette).

In the late 1930s, Starr was one of the first artists to join the Jewel Box Review. Starr was one of only a few Jewel Box Revue artists to be dating a woman. He married a second woman, and they had a child.

Starr was in the merchant marine during WWII.

Jackie on the cover 
When the Garden of Allah in Seattle opened in late 1946, Starr was quickly signed up as the headliner. By this time Starr was in her mid-30s, and was regarded as past her peak, although she gave class to the show. She stayed for the full ten years of the club’s existence. She could make a striptease last twenty minutes, finishing in a g-string. Walter Winchel, the syndicated columnist called Jackie "the most beautiful man in America".

Bill Scott and his wife, known as Sister Faye, were street preachers, although most donations to their mission went to Faye’s heroin habit. Bill was devastated when she left town without him (she later died in a car accident, while high). Bill was both bisexual and homophobic, and also worked as a trucker.

He was the recoil from a sex-only affair with a gay man, when he found himself in the Garden of Allah and Jackie was on stage. They married. They had a formal wedding and reception, in the home of a friend who played the part of a minister. Performer Skippy LaRue was the maid of honor and a lesbian the best man. They partied till 9am, and afterwards the couple had a big fight.

However the marriage persisted. Jackie, as the woman, ran their daily affairs and the apartment, however sexually she was the top.
Jackie & Bill's wedding


Later Scott also married a woman who was supposed to inherit, with the idea of spending the money on Jackie. The inheritance never happened, and the second wife died. Scott moved back in with Jackie, and they ran a restaurant together.

Towards the end Scott had to have both legs amputated, and Jackie took care of him till he died in the late 1960s.

Jackie lived the last ten years of her life in a mobile home near the Seattle-Tacoma airport. She was as meticulous as ever in her appearance, and when she and her friends went to the Golden Crown drag bar in Seattle, the younger generation of drag performers would crowd around.

  • Don Paulson & and Roger Simpson. An Evening at the Garden of Allah: A Gay Cabaret in Seattle. Columbia University Press, 1996: 151-163.
  • Mara Dauphin. “ ‘A Bit of Woman in Every Man’: Creating Queer Community in Female Impersonation”. Valley Humanities Review, Spring 2012. PDF.
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Jackie Starr was a pre-eminent female impersonator 1930s-1950s, and yet there is - until now - no web page for her.  Queer Musical Heritage has a page but it only reproduces a few show bills; Lawrence Senelick's The Changing Room says not a word about her; likewise F Michael Moore's Drag! Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen and Television.  

24 July 2018

A miscellany of unknowns


The Garden of Allah, a gay-owned cabaret was open in Seattle 1946-56. It featured mainly female impersonation, though some male impersonators also performed.

Bill Plant took the name Peewee Nattajon in homage to an older performer called Nattajon (born 1895, died late 1960s). The elder Nattajon had been a character actor. Bill Plant says that he was in 13 Hollywood movies, including Beauty and the Beast and The Picture of Dorian Gray. However there is no Nattajon listed in IMDB. He is probably listed under another name – but which?
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Finocchio’s, the famous San Francisco nightclub that featured female impersonators, was owned by Joe and Marjorie Finocchio. Marjorie died in 1956, and Joe remarried to Eve. Rachel Harlow in Philadelphia was also born with the Finocchio name. No relationship has been established between them.

Concetta Finocchio Jorgensen (1941 – 2012) daughter of Joe and Eve Finocchio had a short failed marriage that left her to raise four children alone. She worked doing publicity for her parents’ nightclub, but later was afflicted by MS, and became a disability activist. The husband who left was called Jorgensen. Surely not a relative of Christine? Probably not, but it is intriguing to find two of the most famous names in TG history born by the same person.

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Who is Gregory G Bolich?

The Amazon Author Page lists only the following:

Karl Barth and Evangelicalism, 1980
Authority and the Church, 1983
Christian Scholar: An Introduction to Theological Research, 1985
God in the docket: The problem of good and evil, 1992
Psyche’s child: The Story of Psychology, 2000
12 Magic Wands: The art of Meeting Life’s Challenges, 2002

WorldCat tells us that Bolich did a Ed.D, at Gonzaga University in Spokane in 1983: On dating James : new perspectives on an ancient problem, and a PhD at the Union Institute in Cincinnati in 1993: Serving human experience : the boundary metaphor.

He also has several book published through Lulu, but not listed in Amazon.

Scripture Study and Scholarship, 2015
Brick by Brick on the Road through OZ: Recovery from Sexual Abuse Trauma, 2007
Transgender and Religion, 2009
Transgender Realities, 2009
Transgender and Mental Health, 2013
Crossdressing in Context (5 volumes) 2007-2010
Asaph’s Dream (a US Civil War novel), 2011
Conversing on gender: a primer for entering dialogue, 2007

There is no web site for GG Bolich, and no reviews of his books. The transgender books are much more expensive than the theological ones. His books are not in the library. If I were to purchase his transgender works it would cost me hundreds of dollars. I cannot find any reason why I should do so. Does he have anything original to say, or are his books a regurgitation of the usual stuff? I do not know. How would I find out?

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Toni Ebel, post-op Hirschfeld patient in Berlin, fled Germany in 1934 after the Nazi takeover. She
fled to Czechoslovakia, claiming to be a Jewess. She settled in Prague using the name Antonia Ebelová. In 1937 she moved to Brno. Karl Giese, Hirschfeld’s lover, had also fled to Brno.

In October 1938, Nazi Germany occupied the Sudetenland; in March 1939 Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Giese killed himself before the Germans got him. Somehow Toni Ebel survived the war, and in 1949 became a citizen of the newly created German Democratic Republic (DDR). She was able to claim compensation from the DDR as a victim of Nazism. She was a minor painter and was recognized at the Akademie der Künste in East Berlin. She died in 1961 at the age of 80.

We do not know how she survived the Nazi occupation.

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In the photographs included in Harry Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon, 1966, the 6th and 7th pages (not in the PDF version) are the before and after of an actor, both in a stereotyped pose more typical of silent films than of the 1960s. This actor has never been named. How an actor can transition in stealth and keep working is intriguing.

The US trans actors of the 1960s such as  Candy Darling were non-op (however, of course, several of the stars of Le Carrousel in Paris were in films in at that time). The first US trans actor known to have surgically transitioned was Ajita Wilson who did so in the mid-1970s. The unnamed actor in the photograph is the true pioneer in her field, and we know nothing of her.

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18 July 2018

Lynn Edward Benton (1962 - ) cop, convicted of murder

Lynne Irene Benton had been a cop in the small town of Gladstone, south of Portland, Oregon, and nearby towns since 1987. She had become a detective in 1993, the same year that she married a Brazilian man to help him acquire US citizenship (they divorced a few years later). 

By 2008 Benton was a sergeant, the Public Information Officer for the Gladstone force, and taught at the local community college. She had been in a registered domestic relationship with a woman, and was working towards transition, although still presenting as female in both jobs. Benton had changed his name to Lynn Edward Benton, and been able to change his name on his driving license. 

In June 2008 Benton was the local cop summoned when Neil Beagley was found dead. While eventually Neil’s parents, who belonged to the Followers of Christ Church, would be convicted of criminally negligent homicide in denying medical care to their 16-year-old son, initially it was the duty of Benton to announce that the son himself had declined medical attention (Oregon law allows those 14 and older to make such decisions). 

During the Beagley trial in March 2010, Sergeant Benton was not called as a witness, despite being the first cop at the death scene. The lawyers did not want to confuse the jurors with Benton’s personal situation. Police Public Information Officers are often promoted to police chief, but Benton had been passed over when the former chief retired. 

Benton had broken up with his domestic partner of nine years, and had taken up with Debbie Higbee, who owned a beauty parlor in Gladstone. They were married in July 2010. 

Debbie considered that Lynn was becoming angrier and meaner, and attributed it to his taking testosterone. By the following May, Debbie was about to report him for domestic violence, which would have damaged his career. 

Benton offered $2000 to a friend, Susan Campbell, and her son Jason Jaynes, to kill his wife. They shot, beat and then strangled her. Campbell said too much revealing what she knew of the murder, and was arrested. Jaynes was arrested on charges of sex with underage girls and imprisoned for 15 years, where he admitted to another inmate that he had helped his mother do the killing. 

Benton was first placed on administrative leave, but then fired in December when pornography was found on his laptop, and because of the 1993 sham marriage – it was also said that he had not filed charges against Jayne for sex with underage girls. He became a Greyhound Bus driver.

In 2016 Irene Berg, the mother of Debbie Higbee, filed a $900,000 wrongful death lawsuit against Lynn Benton. 

At the trial in 2017, Susan Campbell, whose grand jury testimony had secured the indictment, declined to testify, despite her plea deal for a reduced sentence. Despite this Lynn Edward Benton was found guilty of arranging the murder of his wife in 2011. He was sentenced to life without parole. 

Benton is currently registered with the Oregon Department of Corrections as female and is in Oregon’s only women’s prison at Coffee Creek. (The facility also processes all new inmates, male and female. There are usually about 400 men at the facility. There are also six trans inmates there.)


RapSheets 

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How far transitioned was Benton at the time of the 2010 marriage or the murder?   Stauth's book and the newspaper articles are not in agreement.  Certainly their is no mention of a doctor or clinic facilitating  transition, although he obviously has been taking male hormones.

Campbell and Jaynes apparently never did get the $2,000.





Cameron Stauth explains faith-healing homicide

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.

www.deenakayerose.com    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     http://camillaroselive.com     TransitionRadio

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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.

https://gendercentre.org.au/about-us/our-history

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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.