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!

18 March 2019

Eleno de Céspedes (1545–?) surgeon

The child was born in Castile but the initial name is not recorded. The father was Pero Hernández, a Castilian peasant and the mother an African slave. The child inherited her mother’s slave status, and was branded on both sides of her face.

At age twelve, Elena de Céspedes, the owner, died, and the child was freed and given the owner’s name. The new Elena de Céspedes was married at 16, to a stone mason. He left after three months, and she received news that he had died.

However she was pregnant. As she reported later, the childbirth was unusual. During labour, a penis also emerged: “with the force that she applied in labour she broke the skin over the urinary canal, and a head came out”. Céspedes gave away the baby, and had surgery to further reléase the member.

Elano – as he now was – was able to have relations with women. He moved from town to town, working as a tailor, a hosier, a soldier. Finally he lodged with a surgeon, who taught him the trade. He worked in the Hospital de la Corte, and built up a library of 24 medical texts.

Céspedes was known for his affairs with women. In 1586, that is after over twenty years of living as male, he proposed to marry Maria Del Caño. The vicario (archdeacon) of Madrid, suspecting that he was a capon (eunuch), required an examination. The lead examiner was Dr. Francisco Díaz de Alcalá, a prominent urologist, and surgeon to the King. Diaz determined Céspedes’s identity to be male and not hermaphrodite:
“It is true that he has seen Eleno’s genital member, and having touched all around it with his hands and seen it with his eyes, he made the following declaration: That he has his genital member, which is sufficient and perfect, with its testicles formed like any other man. . . . And he thus said and declared that in his opinion Eleno does not bear any resemblance to a hermaphrodite or anything like it”.
The marriage went ahead. However a year later, just after injuries suffered while riding a horse, combined with a bout with cancer, he was arrested and charged in secular court with sodomy and ‘contempt for the sacrament of marriage’.  He explained that there had been changes:
"At present I have only my woman’s nature. The male member that emerged from me has just recently come off in jail, while I was a prisoner in Ocafia. It only now finished falling off, after more than fifteen days. What happened is that before last Christmas I suffered a flow of blood through my woman’s parts and through my rear end, which caused me great pain in my kidneys. I’d hurt myself while riding horseback and the root of my member became weak. The member became spongy and I went cutting it bit by bit, so that I’ve come to be without it. It just finished falling off about fifteen days ago, or a little more, as I’ve said."
Céspedes was examined by midwives who determined that he had a vagina, but was a virgin. The charges were changed to bigamy and the case was transferred to the Inquisition.

Dr. Díaz changed his testimony, now believing that the defendant’s male genitalia had been a deception:
“an art so subtle that it sufficed to fool him by sight and by touch”.
Céspedes asserted that he was a hermaphrodite.
“I never made any pact, explicitly or tacit, with the devil, in order to pose as a man to marry a woman, as is attributed to me. What happens is that many times the world has seen androgynous beings or, in other words, hermaphrodites, who have both sexes. I, too, have been one of these, and at the time I arranged to be married the masculine sex was more prevalent in me; and I was naturally a man and had all that was necessary for a man to marry a woman. And I filed information and eyewitness proof by physicians and surgeons, experts in the art, who looked at me and touched me, and swore under oath that I was a man and could marry a woman, and with this judicial proof I married as a man.”
He insisted that the women whom he had had relations with had no knowledge of his female organs. He was convicted of bigamy and sentenced to two hundred lashes. He was then put to work without pay in the Toledo hospital to use his medical skills, but was obliged to wear female clothing. The hospital administrator complained:
“The presence of Elena de Céspedes has caused great annoyance and embarrassment from the beginning, since many people come to see and be healed by her”.
Thus Céspedes became the first female surgeon in Spain. There would not be another for some centuries afterwards. 

Céspedes was mentioned in Jerónimo de Huerta’s 1599 annotated translation of Pliny’s Natural History (as a transgendered mulatta criminal lesbian) and Antonio de Fuentelapeña’s 1676 El ente dilucidado: Tratado de monstruos y fantasmas.
  • Vern L.,Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993: 94-6. (the Bulloughs never mention that Céspedes was born a slave; refer to him throughout as ‘she’ and refer to the Archdeacon as ‘vicar’. )
  • Israel Burshaton. “Elena alias Eleno”. In Sabrina P. Ramet (ed). Gender Reversals and Gender Cultures: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. Routledge, 1996.: 105- 122.
  • Elizabeth Krimmer. In the company of Men: Cross-Dressed Women Around 1800. Wayne State University Press, 2004: 75.
  • Leila J Rupp. Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women. New York University Press, 2009: 95-6.
  • Sherry Velasco. Lesbians in early modern Spain. Vanderbilt University, 2011: 7, 11, 68-9, 75-8, 81-3.
  • Richard L Kagan & Abigail Dyer. “Sexuality and the Marriage Sacrament: Elena/Eleno de Céspedes“. Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews and Other Heretics. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011: 36-59.
  • Von Christof Rolker. “„I am and have been a hermaphrodite“: Elena/Eleno de Céspedes and the Spanish Inquisition”. Männlich-weiblich-zwischen,  27/11/2016.

ES.Wikipedia    Butch Heroes


So what do we make of this.   His penis was maybe a large clitoris, and was later damaged.  But why would the midwives, having found a vagina, then declare that Céspedes was a virgin?   Elena had previously given birth.

Rolker makes the point: "At the same time, this in my view clearly demonstrates that Elena/Eleno was not ‚accused‘ of hermaphroditism. Rather, hermaphroditism in sixteenth-century Spain (as in medieval France, for that matter) was a defence strategy. Eleno/Elena’s story of first gradually changing from woman to man and later from predominantly male to predominantly female hermaphrodite may be mind-boggling, but given the very real danger of being condemned for sodomy, the story in the end was live-saving."

13 March 2019

Candy Lee (193? - ) female impersonator, bartender, Mardi Gras

The first gay 'krewe' – of the krewes that put on the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations – was the Yuga Krewe, founded in 1958. The name is an exoticism referring to the Kali Yuga of Hinduism. It was also a gay in-joke to refer to it as KY (after the branded lubricant), and perhaps Yuga is a play on (are) you gay? The Krewe had grown out of the Steamboat Club, a gay social organization. These were the years when gay organizations had to be discreet; Mayor deLesseps Story Morrison and Louisiana district attorney Richard Dowling pursued an anti-gay clean-up, supposedly for the tourists, and a crackdown ensued. The first two Yuga Balls were held in a private house on Carrollton Avenue, but the neighbors had become irate. The third Yuga Ball in 1960 was held in a jazz club, Mama Lou’s on Lake Pontchartrain, reached by a wooden walkway that proved quite difficult for those who came in high heels. The fourth and fifth Yuga Balls were held in the suburb Metairie in a school that had a large dance studio, and was surrounded by a wooded area close to the lake. The second gay krewe, that of Petronius, held its first ball in 1962 at the same location. However the Yuga Ball a week later was raided by the Parish Police. Some managed to flee, but many were arrested in what the police dubbed a ‘lewd stag party’. Those arrested had their names printed in the newspapers and thus most lost their jobs.

Candy Lee had started a career as a female impersonator at the Club My-O-My on Lake Pontchartrain. She also worked as a bartender at Bacino’s bar, and was an acquaintance of playwright Tennessee Williams when he returned to the city in the late 1950s.

Williams wrote an one-act play, And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens in 1958, which is said to be inspired by the life of Candy. The play’s protagonist, an interior decorator who sometimes cross-dresses, is called Candy, and is about to turn 35. Her older lover who set her up in business has left her for a younger man. Candy picks up a sailor, Karl, in a gay bar. She spends money on him, and he then beats her up and steals more. This was the first play by Williams with explicit gay characters, and was never performed during his lifetime.

The real Candy Lee had been arrested five times at Bacino’s in 1958, as had the other bartenders. She was also one of the founder members of the Yuga Krewe. However she did not get on with the other members, and by the early 1960s had been banned from the balls. The word is that she called the police on the 1962 Fifth Yuga Ball.
  • Michael Paller. Gentlemen Callers: Tennessee Williams, Homosexuality and Mid-Twentieth-Century Broadway Drama. Palgrave MacMillan, 2005: 133-7, 246n45n47. Discussion of the play.
  • Howard Philips Smith. Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans. University Press of Mississippi, 2017: Chp 1 The Royal Krewe of Yuga and the Birth of Gay Carnival.

Clay Shaw, New Orleans business man and prominent in the city’s gay scene was likely a member of the Yuga Krewe. He is best known as the only person to be prosecuted for the assassination of US President Kennedy (Tommy Lee Jones portrayed Shaw in Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK.)

09 March 2019

Elmer Belt (1893 - 1980 ) urologist, pioneer sex-change surgeon.

++Original version April 2009; revised March 2019.
Originally from Chicago, Elmer Belt moved to Los Angeles with his family at age 9. He did a bachelors, 1916, and a masters, 1917 at University of California Berkeley, and an M.D. (1920) at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. He followed this with a residency in General Surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He married his high-school girlfriend in 1918. Afterwards they lived in Los Angeles all their lives. Belt opened a private practice.

Belt had collected the works of novelist Upton Sinclair since he was a student. In 1934 he was part of Sinclair’s campaign to become governor of California. By then he had established the Elmer Belt Urologic Group, a group practice which moved to its own building on Wilshire Blvd. in 1936; the upper floor of this structure housed his ever-expanding library.

From 1939 through 1954 Belt served as the President of the State Board of Public Health, having been first appointed by California Governor Culbert Olsen and then reappointed by Governor Earl Warren for each of Warren's three terms in office. While treating Warren, Belt was able to put the case for a medical school at UCLA, which opened in 1946. He was not only instrumental in the founding of the UCLA School of Medicine, he found its first dean, and continued to support it for his whole life. Dr. Belt had privileges as a staff, attending, or consulting urologist at many hospitals around Los Angeles County and taught as Clinical Professor of Surgery (Urology) in the UCLA School of Medicine. He was acknowledged as a specialist for prostate problems.

In 1950, when he was 57, Belt became the first surgeon in the US to do sex change operations on a regular basis, many on patients referred by Harry Benjamin. He also just predated the team led by Poul Fogh-Andersen in Copenhagen, and he was doing vaginoplasty using skin grafts from the thigh, buttocks or back while the Fogh-Andersen team was was doing only orchiectomy and penectomy. While most surgeons would not do a castration because of the mayhem laws in effect in California and most other states, Belt got around this by preserving the testicles, pushing them into the abdomen, to preserve the hormones that they produced and to avoid charges of mayhem. He regarded this as good practice. As he explained to a colleague: “It is not necessary to disturb the patient’s endocrine balance to maintain his condition as a transsexual since the faulty tissues lay within the substance of the testis in the first place.”

Belt was also interested in doing surgery for trans men. He corresponded with Harry Benjamin about how to do this. Benjamin mentioned the flap techniques that Harold Gillies had done for Michael Dillon, but was unsure that such a procedure was worth following. Belt did have a trans man client who had had breast reduction from another Los Angeles surgeon, and as he had a cystic ovary, hysterectomy was medically justified anyway. Phalloplasty was considered, but in the end was not done.

One of his associates, his nephew, the urologist Willard E Goodwin, asked Rollin Perkins, a professor of law about the mayhem statutes in 1954. Perkins acknowledged that there was a “want of judicial decision on the point” and advised caution given the uncertainty and the prejudice. Belt ceased the operations at the end of 1954, Annette Dolan, who did her own auto-orchiectomy, having been one of his last patients, when a committee of doctors at UCLA, including psychiatrist Frederick Worden and Willard Goodwin, decided against the practice.

In 1956, Dixie MacLane was arrested in Los Angeles by a vindictive policeman, and although she had had her surgery in Mexico, Dr Lyman Stewart from Belt’s practice provided supportive written testimony as did Harry Benjamin.

Belt had restarted quietly. As he wrote to Benjamin, he considered himself a softie who found it hard to turn away such desperate patients. In 1956, he did completion surgery on Barbara Wilcox, who was one of the first trans women to receive female-hormone injections and who in 1941 had successfully petitioned the Superior Court of California to change her name and to legally become a woman. A notable patient was Agnes who approached UCLA psychiatrist Robert Stoller in 1958. Stoller convinced himself that she was intersex rather than transsexual, and referred her to Belt for surgery. Also that year, Belt saw an 18-year-old trans woman “who is trans-sexual and earnestly desires an operative procedure for the change of his sex”, but as he explained to Benjamin, he turned her away for being under the age of medical consent.

Patricia Morgan, from New York came in 1961, but it took four months before a bed could be found in a hospital for Belt’s type of surgery. Then she had to wait another two months for the second phase, the vaginoplasty. And then she developed urinary problems and Belt had to do a third operation.

Aleshia Brevard, who like Annette Dolan had done an auto-orchiectomy, came in 1962, one of Belt’s last trans patients.  Hedy Jo Star had also been referred to Belt and accepted.  She was saving up for this just before Belt discontinued doing genital surgery, however a friend referred her to a doctor in Chicago who arranged surgery elsewhere.

He discontinued finally in 1962 under family pressure after he heard about the growing practice of Georges Burou. He had continual problems finding hospitals where he could do the work; he feared that a dissatisfied patient would ruin his practice by suing; he had a percentage of patients who did not pay their bills. There were also complaints about the way that he treated some patients. He was by then 69 and ready for retirement.

He was not part of the UCLA Gender Identity Research Clinic (GIRC) that was founded the same year, led by Robert Stoller and Richard Green, although he had more experience of transsexual patients than the entire GIRC team together.

Elmer Belt was a collector of artefacts by or about Leonardo de Vinci for over 60 years. He gave the collection to the UCLA in 1966.

His nephew Willard Goodwin was a member of the GIRC and was the urological surgeon for the operation on Beverly-Barbara in 1968, the GIRC’s first transgender operation.

Elmer Belt died in 1980 at age 87.
  • Elmer Belt. Surgical teaching through motion pictures, A. R. Fleming co, 1937.
  • Elmer Belt. Leonardo the anatomist. Logan Clendening lectures on the history and philosophy of medicine, Ser. 4, Univ. of Kansas Press, 1955.
  • Patricia Morgan as told to Paul Hoffman. The Man-maid Doll. Lyle Stuart, Inc, 1973: 51-3, 56-64, 68-9.
  • Akleshia Brevard. The Woman I Was Not Born to Be. Temple University Press, 2001: 81-7.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States . Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 142, 146, 147-8, 160, 162-3, 164,192, 242.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Trangender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018: 137, 171-2, 244n25n26n28, 251n27.

LA Conservancy   Elmer Belt Papers   Vidensbanken om konsidentiten     Google Scholar

04 March 2019

Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez (1964 - 2016 ) sex worker, singer, prisoner.

++I originally wrote about Cristina Otiz in May 2008.  A lot has happened to her since then.

Cristina was born José Antonio Ortiz Rodriguez, the fourth of six children, in Adra, Almeria, Andalusia. Jose became known as Joselita.  From an early age Joselita showed talent in fashion design.  She was never accepted because of her gender expression and was attacked and mistreated, but as a man was considered to have good physique and was awarded the title Mister Andalusia in 1989 at the age of 24.  Still as José Antonio, Ortiz entered a competition on television in 1991 and won a trip to Thailand.

Ortiz had been secretly dressing as a woman, and in January 1992 she went to Madrid and began  transition.
Cristina was working as a prostitute in 1996 when she was discovered by television host and journalist Pepe Navarro who was doing a story on trans people. He hired her, and she became famous on his television shows Esta noche cruzamos el Mississippi and La sonrisa del pelícano, and with a music single ‘Veneno pa tu piel’ (Poison in your skin). She became known as Cristina La Veneno (the poison).

There was a plan to make a film about her life, but it did not happen. She starred in two porn films:  El secreto de la Veneno and La venganza de la Veneno, both 1997.  She toured Spain as a singer, and in 1998 was on television in Buenos Aires for a month.

In 1999, Cristina was arrested in an insurance scam, accused of arson, after an anonymous denunciation by her Italian ex-boyfriend. Investigation uncovered other crimes and she was sentenced to three years in a men’s prison, 2003-6, where she was frequently attacked and raped, and was incommunicado to her family for many months. Her weight doubled from 60 to 122 kg, and she suffered obvious physical deterioration.

After release she appeared on television gossip shows, complaining about her treatment in prison. The Instituciones Penitenciarias denounced her statement as calumny, but later in 2006 the Socialist Workers Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (no relation) introduced a new policy of respecting a prisoner's gender and changed name, and placing trans women in women's prisons.

She was confronted by other trans activists in that she gave a bad image to the trans community.   In 2010 she was challenged on television to lose the weight that she had gained in prison, and some months later had lost 35kg.  But she was still suffering from bulimia and depression. 

In 2013 Cristina presented her 23-year-old boyfriend.   However he disappeared with her savings of €60,000.   But she was hired as one of the stars of the show Que trabajo Rita. From the end of 2013 to 2014, La Veneno made stellar appearances in some of the concerts of the tour.

In October 2016 her long-promised memoirs, ¡Digo! ni puta ni santa, appeared.  It was co-written with Valeria Vegas, a friend, and self-published through the Bigcartel web site.  She gave the initials of many famous politicians and footballers who had had sex with her.    This resulted in death threats.

In November that year she was found at home with bruises, unconscious and with a serious bruise on her head.  She was rushed to hospital, put into an induced coma, and died a few days later.  She was 52.  Officially she was deemed to have suffered a fall after massive consumption of pills, but there are suspicions that one of the death threats was acted on. Her family attempted to re-open the case in 2017 to show that it was murder.

A plaque has been mounted in Cristina's Honour in Madrid's Parque del Oeste where she worked as a prostitute.

In 2019, Cristina's sister attempted to again re-open the case with the support of Dr Luis Frontela, a prestigious forensic doctor, who pointed out defence wounds on Cristina's hand.  However the attempt was without success.

*Not the  University professor.

  • "Los buenos modales son Veneno". Perlas ensangrentadas. Online.
  • "La Veneno pasa factura".  Interviu, 24/04/2006.  Online
  • "La Veneno, su infierno en la cárcel" Entrevista en “Qué me dices”, 3 de abril de 2006. Archive
  • "Prisiones denuncia a «La Veneno» por decir que sufrió abusos en la cárcel" ABC, 21 de abril de 2006. Online
  • «La Veneno, perdida por los hombres de mal vivir». El Mundo. 12 de noviembre de 2016. Online
  • CristinaOrtiz & Valeria Vegas. ¡Digo! ni puta ni santa: las memorias de la Veneno. Roi Porto DL, 2016.
  • "La Veneno murió por una caída accidental".  El Periodico, 10/11/2018.  Online.
  • " 'La Veneno' pudo ser asesinada, según un nuevo análisis forense".  La Opinion de Tenerife, 09.01.2019.  Online.


The ES.Wikipedia page on Adra does list Cristina among its citizens of note.

28 February 2019

A black trans woman in 1960s New Jersey

A black trans girl, for whom we are not given a name, not even a doctor’s pseudonym, was in the New Jersey foster care system as her mother was disabled and indigent. As she entered her teens, she expressed the kinds of statement that trans girls usually do. For this she was committed to a psychiatric institution and labeled ‘schizophrenic’. For the next fifteen years, her gender identity issues were taken as evidence of ‘delusion’, ‘mental retardation’ and ‘sexual perversion’.

In 1978 Jeanne Hoff, who had taken over Harry Benjamin’s practice, and had recently completed her own transition, became aware of the case. The patient was now 30 years old. Hoff interviewed her, and petitioned for her release.
 “Through all the florid language of the [psychiatric] reports there is an unmistakable moralistic disapproval of her effeminacy and homosexuality but not the slightest hint that the diagnosis of transsexualism was suspected, even though it was quite evident from the details provided. . . . She should be placed in the community, preferably living by herself” and “she should be permitted to explore the various problems that arise from cross-gender living, hormonal therapy, and surgical gender reassignment.”
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Trangender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018: 159-160, 248n105.

Gill-Peterson found this account in the Jeanne Hoff archives at the Kinsey Institute.   He discusses, of course, how maltreatment of this sort was more often inflicted on black people.   We have already seen Chris Thompson, a dancer, who was black, gay, trans and asthmatic. She sought treatment for asthma at New York’s Bellevue Hospital in 1970, but was locked in the psychiatric wing for not being heteronormative.  

Again we do not know what happened afterwards.   One hopes that the woman in New Jersey was discharged, but she would still have needed help after 15 years of incarceration.

27 February 2019

Ira M Dushoff (1931 – 2013) plastic surgeon

Ira Dushoff was a plastic surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida, who, mainly in the 1970s, was noted for the Gender Identity Association (GIA), a private clinic that he headed which provided transgender surgery – including phalloplasty - at a price. He also reached out to educate other members of the medical profession about his work with trans persons.

He and the GIA are now largely forgotten, and in most books on trans history he gets at most one line: for example Joanne Meyerwitz, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, 2002 (p151); Betty Steiner. Gender Dysphoria: Development, Research, Management, 1985 (p331).

A full story does not seem to be available.

In 1972, the members of the Gender Identity Association presented a program about their work at the monthly meeting of the staff physicians of the Methodist Hospital in Jacksonville. Dr. Ira Dushoff was a featured speaker at meetings of the Northeast Florida Association of Operation Room Nurses. He also presented a paper, “The Organization and Experience of a Private Gender Team,” at the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia in June.

At the Second International Conference on Gender Identity in 1973, Dushoff explained that the GIA had been contacted by large numbers of “female transsexuals”. He attributed this to the fact that he and his colleagues had made it clear that they recognized the wide variety of trans persons, and did not require that candidates for surgery parrot the standard “book story” in order to be approved for surgery. At he GIA, “rather than being in the untenable position of rejecting anyone, the entire process allows the patients to sieve themselves”.

At the Fourth International Conference on Gender Identity in March 1975, hosted by the Stanford GIC, Dushoff presented a 30-minute videotape, Transsexualism – Out of the Darkness”, made by a Jacksonville television station which included a discussion with Dushoff and his associate Judy Jennings, an interview with a pre-operative patient, and Dushoff performing surgery on the same patient.

Also in 1975, a 15-year-old trans boy in Tennessee wrote to Charles Ihlenfeld, then with Harry
Benjamin’s practice in New York. “I don’t know what to do next. I need to make my life as normal as possible . . . sometimes I get so depressed I just don’t get whether I live or not but I’m still hanging on coz I’m gonna get help.” While the general practice in Benjamin’s office had been to dismiss pleas from children, Ihlenfeld wrote back and suggested contacting Dr Dushoff, although with the caveat: “Of course, no ethical physician will treat you without the consent and cooperation of your parents”. Gill-Petersen notes that the GIA operated without the constraints of university clinics: “It is possible that Ihlenfeld felt that the trans boy who had written him would have better luck accessing hormones or surgery options at a clinic formed in many ways with that privatized goal in mind, especially if parental support was insecure”.

Ira Dushoff continued working as a plastic surgeon. He published a few papers on various types of surgery but, apart from the 1973 conference paper, nothing on transsexual surgery. He died age 82.
  • “In Jacksonville”. Erickson Educational Foundation Newsletter, Fall 1972: 4. Online.
  • Ira M. Dushoff, “Economic, Psychologic and Social Rehabilitation of Male and Female Transsexuals Prior to Surgery,” Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Gender Dysphoria Syndrome, ed. Donald R. Laub and Patrick Gandy (Stanford: Division of Reconstructive and Rehabilitation Surgery, 1973), 197-204.
  • Fourth International Conference on Gender Identity in March 1975, hosted by the Stanford GIC. Online.
  • Letter from Judy Jennings of the GIA to Lou Sullivan. May 12, 1989. Online.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Trangender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018: 172-3, 249n11.

Find a Grave      Professional Papers


We don't know further about the Tennessee boy.   I hope that life turned out well for him.

18 February 2019

Lance (1959 - ) UCLA GIRC’s first trans child

Lance had, almost since his first year, loved to parade in the shoes and clothes of his mother and sister. He also loved jewelry and makeup. The mother regarded this as just childhood play, but then a neighbor complained, and a teacher at school reported that he involved his friends in games of cross-dressing. At age five, Lance was taken by his mother to the University of California Los Angeles Gender Identity Research Clinic (UCLA GIRC).

Richard Green saw him twice weekly for six months, until called away, and then psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson continued the treatment. Robert Stoller, psychoanalyst and head of the GIRC analyzed the mother.

Greenson was a celebrity psychoanalyst in Los Angeles and had analyzed several film stars, such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis, and most famously had been Marilyn Monroe’s analyst at the time of her death in 1962. Lance was his first time treating a child.

He quickly noticed the child’s intelligence and athletic ability. He treated Lance mainly at the swimming pool at his own home, where he even taught Lance to swim. Most of the sessions were comprised of games in the water. This helped Lance to overcome his fears about being alone with a male adult. One day, while out for a walk, they encountered a group of girls playing with a Barbie doll, and Lance, becoming excited, asked to watch. At first he was mocked by the girls, but then became the center of their game. Later he begged Greenson to buy him a Barbie doll. Greenson did so, but on the condition that Lance could play with it only when with Greenson. After this point Lance largely stopped wearing female clothing. Lance did a drawing of the happiest day of his life, which was of himself in the pool, with a man outside watching. Lance avoided touching Greenson until the fifth month when they were playing together in the pool. Greenson was replacing Lance playing with the doll by playing with an adult male. According to Greenson, Lance had had difficulty differentiating loving an object from wanting to be the object. Initially he had referred to the doll as ‘me’.

Stoller analyzed the mother. She was in her forties, and had also an 11-year-old daughter. Her grandparents had been prize-winning lace-makers, and her father was noted for his needlework and weaving. She had been a creative dress designer before marriage, and still made all her own clothes. She permitted her children to see her nude and engaged in much body contact with them. Stoller describes her as looking ‘boyish’, and with shortish hair, although usually in a skirt. She took pride in her teenage photographs where she appeared to be a boy. She had passed as male whenever convenient; competed with boys in athletics and games; and played both male and female parts in theatricals. This was quite accepted by her family. She said:
"When you take off your own clothes and put on different clothes, you can be anyone".
Her own mother was emotionally distant, but her father comforted her, bought her clothes and took her, but not her brothers, to sports events. That is, until her younger sister was born. However at puberty she accepted her anatomical destiny, and developed her femininity. A brother 13 years younger was also a cross-dresser. She left home at 16. She married a man who was frequently away at work. They had a daughter and then Lance. Stoller describes both her mother and her husband as ‘empty’. He also diagnoses the mother as having ‘penis envy’. He summarizes:
“Let us review what has happened in this particular case. A strongly bisexual woman, with severe penis envy derived from her father and older brothers, in its turn the result of a sense of emptiness produced by her mother, married an empty man and had a son. On the one hand, the boy was (the phallus) of her flesh; on the other, he was clearly a male and no longer of her flesh. He was therefore both to be kept as a part of herself, by identification, and treated as an object whom she would feminize. He was his mother's feminized phallus.”
After many months of analysis, it came out that it was she, rather than her mother, who had brought up the brother, 13 years younger, who was also a cross-dresser. And he had the same name that she gave to her own son.

After Lance’s sessions with Greenson, he was deemed to be cured. Stoller, in a different essay (1968: 254) says:
“The first successfully treated case of childhood transsexualism is that of Greenson; a report written after the treatment was ended gives a vivid and warm account of this boy's rescue.”
A few years later when Agnes confessed to Stoller that she had taken external estrogens before first seeing him, she agreed for him to meet her mother, and he was able to analyze her. He found a pattern similar to that of Lance’s mother. He found a few more such, and proposed his intergenerational model of transsexual etiology, for which he became famous.
  • Robert Stoller. “ Mother’s Contribution to Infantile Transvestic Behavior”. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47, 1966: 384-395.
  • Ralph R. Greenson. “A transvestite boy and a hypothesis”. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47, 1966: 396–403.
  • Robert Stoller. Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity, Science House, 1968.
  • Ralph R Greenson. Explorations in Psychoanalysis. International Universities Press, 1978.
  • Pierre-Henri Castel. La métamorphose impensable: essai sur le transsexualisme et l'identité personnelle. Gallimard, 2003: 88-9, 432n17.
  • Riccardo Galiani. “Un cas, deux écritures, une catégorie “. Topique, 3, 108, 2009 : 143-156. Online.
  • Richard Green. “Robert Stoller’s Sex and Gender: 40 Years on”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 2010: 1460-1.

When Stoller reprinted his article in his 1968 collection of papers, he renamed it “Mother’s Contribution to Transsexualism”; likewise when Greenson reprinted his in his 1978 collection, he renamed it “A transsexual boy and a hypothesis”.   Stoller (1968: 131) explains how he distinguishes the words: "I found myself, on calling the child an "infantile transvestite," continuously having to explain that although he cross-dressed, he did not have essential qualities of the adolescent or adult male transvestite (e.g., love of and anxious regard for his penis)." 

As is often the case with psychoanalytical studies, we have no follow-up. Lance became an adult at the end of the 1970s, and will now be turning 60. Did Lance later return to being a woman? Did he, like the presumed pre-transsexuals in the UCLA/Richard Green Feminine Boy Project of the 1970s,  become a gay man instead? Does the claim that he was ‘cured’ by Greenson mean that he was not really trans to begin with? We know of apparent trans kids who desist. A major example from the 1960s would be Kim Christy who grew up to be cis heterosexual, father and grandfather. No adult, cis man or trans woman has come forward to identify with Lance. Unlike Freud’s published case studies where the corresponding real-life persons have been identified.

If Stoller and Greenson were right about what they were doing, then it was wrong in that it was conversion therapy, which today would be illegal. However if the only result of Greenson’s therapy was to teach Lance to swim, and to make him comfortable in the presence of an adult male, then no real harm was done.  However to the extent that an attempt was made to induce an Oedipal complex through the transferential interventions of a male therapist, than that is something else.

Stoller is critical of Lance’s mother’s lifestyle: nudity in front of the kids, body touching, interest in clothes, freedom to wear whatever clothing. A few years later this kind of lifestyle was dubbed ‘hippie’. Surely there was much in it that is positive.   Stoller implies that the mother's passing as a teenage male was somehow perverse.   This would have been the early 1930s.   Her accepting her body changes at puberty, and switching to being a woman, could equally well imply a healthy attitude to reality.

Stoller regards it as important that she admitted that it was she, rather than her own mother, who had raised the brother who cross-dressed.  However he was 13 years younger, and she left home at 16.   So she raised him only for the first three years. Yet Stoller implies that she repeatedly turned boys into cross-dressers.

Stoller calls the mother 'bisexual'.   He is not using the term as we do today.  There is no suggestion of a female lover.   It would be better if he used 'bigender'.

Did the UCLA GIRC provide the therapy sessions pro bono (as it was research) or was the family sent a bill? As usual, we are not told.

Castel (p88) describes Lance as the archetype of a child transsexual. Really! This, of course was long before the recent expansion of numbers of trans kids, but there are serious candidates for the term from the 1950s/1960s: Sally Barry, Jill Monroe, Hedy Jo Star and of course Agnes.

Stoller writes of “a mother's unconscious wishes on the infant who is later to become perverse.*" and immediately adds a footnote: “After studying transexuals , I am much less certain what the word "perverse" means”.

To my mind the most perverse thing in the article is Stoller’s designation of the mother’s mother and of her husband as “empty”. However that is just a word. Stoller does not explain how he is using the word, and more importantly he does so on the word of a single analysand.

Stoller adds a footnote that after three years Lance’s father was persuaded to come in once a week and to see a different team member, but we are told nothing further.

10 February 2019

Herman Karl Hedwig, a early German pioneer

A person, previously known as Sophia, successfully applied to a German court in 1883 for a revised birth certificate changing his forenames to Herman Karl. The doctor’s letter to the court specified that he had an hypospadic condition, thus he was what we would now call intersex.
  • Hans Haustein. “Transvestitismus und Staat am Ende des 18. und im I9. Jahrhundert”. Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft 15, S, 1928-9:116-126.
  • Vern L.,Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993: 255.
  • Jay Prosser. Second Skin: the body narratives of transsexuality. Columbia University Press, 1998: 250n14.
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Gesch-lechts. Transvestitismus und Trans-sexualität in der frühen Sexual-wissenschaft. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag 2005: 201.
Vidensbanken om kønsidentitet

Bullough & Bullough, referring to Haustein, present this case in their “Transsexualism” chapter as “the earliest known case of modern surgical intervention’. However, as Herrn points out, Haustein gives it only as a case of a legal change, not surgical. Nor was it unusual in the 19th century for hypostadic and other intersex persons to be allowed to change their legal gender. Unfortunately many more recent writers, such as Prosser, have uncritically repeated what the Bulloughs said.

Also the Bulloughs spell the writer’s name ‘Houstein”, and write as if the Herman’s surname became Karl.

09 February 2019

More non-fiction books by trans writers

Trans authors write about all kinds of things.  I have already published such a list.

Here are some that I missed previously.

Trans (auto)Biographies and books about trans topics are not included here. This is about other topics.  (In some cases you will need the writer's pre-transition name to find the book.)

Willow Arune

  • The Musician's Handbook: A Practical Guide to the Law and Business of Music. International Self-Counsel Press, 1985.
  • Commuting by Bike. Rocky Mountain Books, 1995.

Raewyn Connell

  • with Florence Gould.  Politics of the Extreme Right. Sydney University Press,1966
  • Ruling Class, Ruling Culture: Studies of Conflict, Power and Hegemony in Australian Life. Cambridge University Press, 1977.
  • with Terry Irving. Class Structure in Australian History 
    Longman Cheshire, 1980.
  • Making the Difference: Schools, Families and Social Division. Allen & Unwin, 1982.
  • Which Way Is Up?: Essays on Sex, Class and Culture. G Allen & Unwin, 1983.
  • Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics
    Allen & Unwin,1987.
  • with G. W. Dowsett. Rethinking Sex: Social Theory and Sexuality Research.  Melbourne Univ. Press, 1992.
  • Masculinities. Allen & Unwin, 1995.
  • Male Roles, Masculinities and Violence: A Culture of Peace Perspective. UNESCO Publishing, 2000.
  • The Men and the Boys. Allen & Unwin, 2000.
  • Education, Change and Society. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Southern theory: the global dynamics of knowledge in social science.  Polity, 2007.
  • Gender: in world perspective.  Polity, 2009.

Jane Fae

  • ALTU Discrimination Handbook. Association of Liberal Trades Unionists, 1983.
  • Targeting for Succes: a Guide to New Techniques for Measurement and Analysis in Database and Direct Response Marketing.  McGraw-Hill, 1993.
  • Taming the Beast: An Analysis of Legislative and Regulatory Responses to Concerns Over Online Pornography and Sexualisation. 2015.

Donna Gee

  • With Wade Dooley. The Tower and the Glory: The Wade Dooley Story. Mainstream, 1992.

Julia Ann Johnson

  • A Century of Chicago Streetcars, 1858-1958. Traction Orange Co, 1964.
  • Aurora 'n' Elgin: Being a Compendium of Word and Picture Recalling the Everyday Operations of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad.  Traction Orange, 1965

Roberta Perkins

  • 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.
  • Working Girls: Prostitutes, Their Life and Social Control. Australian Inst. of Criminology, 1991.
  • With G. Prestage, R. Sharp & Frances Lovejoy. Sex Work, Sex Workers in Australia. University of New South Wales Press, 1994.
  • With Frances Lovejoy. Call Girls: Private Sex Workers in Australia. University of Western Australia Press, 2007.

Jay Prosser

  • Light in the Dark Room: Photography and Loss. University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
  • American Fiction of the 1990s: Reflections of History and Culture.  Routledge, 2008.

Carol Riddell.

  • Social Self-Government: Theory and Practice in Yugoslavia. Our Generation, 1970.
  • with Margaret A Coulson. Approaching Sociology. Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972. 
  • The Findhorn Community: Creating a Human Identity for the 21st Century.  Findhorn Press, 1990.
  • The Path to Love Is the Practice of Love: An Introduction to Spirituality with Self-Help Exercises for Small Groups. Findhorn Press, 1995.
  • Tireragan: A Township on the Ross of Mull : a Study in Local History. Highland Renewal, 1996.
  • Introducing ESOL Skills for Life Provision in a Further Education College: The Quest for Materials. University of Manchester, 2005.
  • A Way Forward for Humanity: The Spiritual Basis of the Findhorn Community. 2013.

Martine Rothblatt

  • Radiodetermination Satellite Services and Standards.  Artech House, 1987.
  • Your Life or Mine: How Geoethics Can Resolve the Conflict between Public and Private Interests in Xenotransplantation. Ashgate, 2004.
  • Two Stars for Peace: The Case for Using U.S. Statehood to Achieve Lasting Peace in the Middle East. iUniverse, 2003.
  • Virtually Human The Promise - and the Peril - of Digital Immortality.  St. Martin's Press, 2014.

Eleanor Schuler

  • High Temperature Inorganic Coatings. Reinhold, 1963.
  • Double Agent.  New American Library, 1967.

31 January 2019

Rachel Humphreys (1952 - ?199?) hairdresser, muse to Lou Reed

Humphreys was raised in Bridgeton, New Jersey and San Antonio, Texas. It was said that the family were of part Mexican Native descent. An apparent trans child who played with dolls, and wore girls’ clothes, Humphreys wanted to do people’s hair. As Rachel she graduated in hair-dressing at a cosmetology school in Bayonne, New Jersey (north of Staten Island, across the river from Manhattan).

She was a regular at Max's, Kansas City, the hip and glam rock nightclub on Park Avenue South. She also frequented the 82 Club on E 4th St which was in transition from a transvestite performance club to a glam rock and then punk club. The New York Dolls did their first show there on April 17, 1974, when they performed in drag, except for Johnny Thunders who refused. They were followed by Wayne County (not yet using the name Jayne) and short-lived glitter bands like Teenage Lust and Harlots of 42nd Street. 

It was there at this time that Rachel met Lou Reed, the musician. Lou described Rachel in an interview with Bambi magazine:
"It was in a late night club in Greenwich Village. I’d been up for days as usual and everything was at that super-real, glowing stage. I walked in there and there was this amazing person, this incredible head, kind of vibrating out of it all. Rachel was wearing this amazing make-up and dress and was obviously in a different world to anyone else in the place. Eventually I spoke and she came home with me. I rapped for hours and hours, while Rachel just sat there looking at me saying nothing. At the time I was living with a girl, a crazy blonde lady and I kind of wanted us all three to live together but somehow it was too heavy for her. Rachel just stayed on and the girl moved out. Rachel was completely disinterested in who I was and what I did. Nothing could impress her. He’d hardly heard my music and didn’t like it all that much when he did. Rachel knows how to do it for me. No one else ever did before. Rachel’s something else.”
She moved in with him right away. He was then living in a modest one-bedroom apartment at 405 East 63rd street. Lou had already written a few songs about trans women, and with the single “Walk on the Wild Side” (which referred to the Andy Warhol-sponsored trans stars, Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis) had his biggest hit. Rachel was at this time oscillating. Some days she was Ricky, and others he was Rachel. People who knew Lou and Rachel used either pronoun. One journalist referred to Lou’s ‘boyfriend named Rachel’. Both Lou and Rachel enjoyed the confusion and further muddied the water by wearing each other’s clothes. She was street-wise and spunky in a way that Lou only pretended to be. She was said to always carry a knife, and was good in a fight – which proved useful when a concert at the Pallazzo dello Sport in Rome turned into a riot 15 February 1975.

Lou had been working on his fourth solo album, Sally Can’t Dance – the title track and spin-off single assumed to refer to trans woman, Sally Maggio, who was manager at the 220 Club, another trans bar where Lou went drinking. Sally would in the 1980s open Sally’s Hideaway, and then Sally’s II, again a bar for trans persons and with trans performers. However it was Rachel whose image was on the obverse of the Sally Can’t Dance LP sleeve, drawn as if reflected in Lou’s shades.

She supported him on some of his tours. In New York, they lived for a while in the Gramercy Park Hotel, and then an upscale apartment on East 52nd St at FDR Drive where Henry Kissinger, Greta Garbo and John Lennon had lived. In 1975 they began to frequent the rather grimey but seminal punk club, CBGBs. Lou was recording Coney Island Baby, released January 1976 and several tracks refer to Rachel. At the end of the follow-up tour, Rachel was mugged and assaulted. A doctor was called, who inevitably referred to Rachel as ‘she’, even though Lou was saying ‘he’. As Aidan Levy says:
“Rachel had been contemplating gender reassignment surgery, but the transgender rights movement had not yet solidified, and not fully understanding the nature of the decision, Lou was adamantly opposed to any operations, a growing source of conflict in their relationship”.
Despite this, a friend commented: ““I think that Rachel was the glue holding Lou together, or at least keeping him in the public view in many respects … I know that he doted on her. If there was a light shining, it was the two of them together. It doesn’t mean it was the healthiest relationship in the world.” The cover of Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed, 1977 is of photographs of the two of them.

Rachel acted as road-manager on the next tour, managed the money, and watched over the road-crew. They were in London for their third anniversary and ordered a three-tier cake to celebrate, and Lou gave her two diamond rings. He said:
"Rachel knows how to do it for me, no one else before ever did”.
However by the end of 1977, Lou and Rachel were fighting more and more, and frequently it was about the issue of transgender surgery. She had a date for surgery but backed off as Lou said:
“Well why are you doing that? I love you because of the way you are”.
The title track of Street Hassle, 1978 is about her, and an article in Rolling Stone referred to Rachel as the raison d’etre of the album, although in fact it marked the end of their relationship. Lou moved on, having met Sylvia Morales, who became his third wife in 1980.

Reed completely refused to talk about Rachel after 1978. He desisted and decided to go straight. Both his later marriages were with cis women.

There is a rumor that Rachel died in the early 1990s, possibly from HIV complications.
Lou died in 2013, aged 71, from liver failure.
  • LegsMcNeil & Gillian McCain. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Penguin books, 1997: 154-5, 206.
  • Marc Campbell.  "Rachel: Lou Reed’s transsexual muse".  Dangerous Minds, 02.06.2013.  Online.
  • Howard Sounes. Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed. Doubleday, 2015: 182-4, 187, 189, 191, 192, 194, 195, 202, 203, 205, 208, 212, 213, 214, 215-6, 221-2, 226, 229, 235, 248, 269.
  • Simon Reynolds. Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-First Century. William Morrow Publishers, 2016: 271-2.
  • Aidan Levy. Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed. Chicago Review Press, 2016: 221-2, 227, 233, 244, 251-3, 264, 285.



Many books and articles say that Lou Reed married three times, but of course he and Rachel were prohibited by the regressive laws in force at the time.    If they had been married legally, Lou would have had to pay alimony.   While separation from Lou left her free to pursue transgender surgery, the rumors are that she descended into poverty and homelessness.

It is of course the case that most of the New York music and movies trans women of this period opted against surgery:  Candy, Holly, Jackie, Chrysis, Kim Christie, Jayne County.

25 January 2019

The Harry Benjamin Foundation in the mid 1960s

In 1963 Benjamin was invited by Dr Robert Hotchkiss, the urologist, to read a paper at New York's Bellevue Hospital. He also read a paper at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (of which he was a charter member). That year Reed Erickson became a Benjamin patient and almost completed transition. He then founded the Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF), financed entirely by himself.

Through his foundation Erickson agreed to finance the newly created Harry Benjamin Foundation (HBF) for three years at a minimum of $1,500 a month. The money from Erickson enabled a move to a larger office at 86th St and Park Avenue. The foundation sought to enhance Benjamin’s professional status. Robert Stoller at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) had disparaged Benjamin in that he was not psychiatrically trained, and did not publish in the most reputable journals. Stoller politely declined to serve on the Foundation’s advisory board. Nevertheless Benjamin was able to use the Foundation to enhance his working relationship with other doctors and researchers in the field.

Meetings of the foundation were held in the office, mainly on Saturday evenings. The members conducted psychological, endocrinological and neurological tests on transsexual patients, and interviewed them before and after surgery, looking to prove or disprove any genetic, hormonal or neurological basis for the condition.

Those in regular attendance

Harry Benjamin

Of course. GVWW

John Money

Money had become head of the Psychohormonal Research Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 1962, and was keen on opening a Gender Identity Clinic.

Richard Green

In addition to attending meetings of the Foundation, Green also spent time in Benjamin’s office writing approval letters for his clients, and writing what became two appendices to Benjamin’s 1966 book. GVWW

Leo Wollman

Gynecologist and hypnotist, Wollman claimed to have seen more transsexual patients than Benjamin had. At this time they shared the practice, and worked from the same office. Wollman also ran a group session, the first Sunday of every month, near his other office at Coney Island. GVWW.

Henry Guze

Guze was a professor at the American Academy of Psychotherapies which he co-founded. He was also a co-founder of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, where he was president 1964-6. He specialized in psychosomatic illness, schizophrenia and disorders of sexual behaviour, and was a hypnotist. He proposed a 4-part typology of transsexuals: 1) effeminate in structural appearance 2) trained early to adopt a cross-gender role, as among some Native American tribes 3) problems of self-identification, perhaps as a result of a psychotic process 4) latent or expressed homosexuals. He found fantasies of sex change and cross-dressing common among ‘so-called normal’ people but regarded the expression of such desires as markedly fetishistic. Guze died in 1970, age 51, of cardiac arrest. Obituary.

Ruth Rae Doorbar

Doorbar had published on sex offenders and sex within marriage in the 1950s. Her major work with the HBF was “Psychological Testing of Transsexuals” (Online), which found more trans woman than expected with high IQs. At a time when inter-racial couples were still illegal in some US states, her boyfriend was Jamaican, and she moved to Jamaica with him and became a pioneer in Jamaican psychotherapy.

Robert Veit Sherwin

Sherwin was a lawyer and co-founder of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex. He was the author of Sex and the Statutory Law, 1949. He advised Benjamin and others on mayhem and other legal aspects of what they were doing. He published “The Legal Problem in Transvestism” in 1954, and a revised version “Legal Aspects of Male Transsexualism” was included in Green and Money, 1969. He died in 1979.

Herbert Kupperman

Kupperman authored Human Endocrinology, 3 volumes, 1963, and was known for his work on hormones in women. He was a pioneer in identifying the chromosomal sex of intersex infants.

Wardell Pomeroy

Trained as clinical psychologist, Pomeroy had been a major colleague of Alfred Kinsey, and they and Clyde Martin were co-authors of the landmark books Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). He moved to New York in 1963 and went into private practice as a sex therapist. He was known for his prodigious sexual appetite; while primarily gynephilic, he also went with men for balance. Later he wrote popular books on adolescent sexuality, that those who would ban books kept putting on their lists. He died in 2001 at age 87. EN.Wikipedia. Obituary.

And when they were in New York

Christian Hamburger

The Danish endocrinologist who had overseen Christine Jorgensen’s transition. EN.Wikipedia.

Walter Alverez

Alverez (1884-1978) was a prominent physician at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. After retiring in 1951 he began writing a medical column which soon became syndicated across North America. He was noted for his enlightened attitude to homosexuality. EN.Wikipedia.


Benjamin met monthly with John Money and Richard Green and the idea was raised of applying the kind of surgery being done on intersex patients to transsexuals as well. Money took three post-operative patients of Harry Benjamin to meet his colleagues at Johns Hopkins. As the Gender Identity Clinic there began to coalesce, it was integrated into the work of the Foundation, which provided them with patient referrals. Reed Erickson’s EEF donated $85,000 to the Gender Identity Clinic over a few years, and Reed became quite friendly with John Money. He went to Johns Hopkins for a double mastectomy repair in 1965.

The Harry Benjamin Foundation similarly endorsed the gender clinic at Stanford University. The Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis was considering opening a Gender Identity Clinic led by Donald Hastings. Two members went to New York, met with the HBF and were able to examine patients of Benjamin and Wollman who had had surgery abroad. Their surgeon, John Blum, went to Johns Hopkins to observe transgender surgery.

Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon came out in 1966. Guze gave it a very positive review in The Journal of Sex Research. Also in 1966, Benjamin referred Phyllis Wilson who was the subject of the first sex-change operation by Howard Jones at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He also witnessed an operation performed by Jones. By now Stoller had come round, and after meeting with Benjamin described him to Green as “not only a good heart but plenty of good clinical data’.

The Harry Benjamin Foundation presented eight separate papers at a meeting at the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences on January 16, 1967, mainly considering etiology based on pre and post examinations of Benjamin's patients. Stoller flew in from Los Angeles and presented the first paper. Green returned from London. Stoller and Green presented papers based on research at UCLA. Kupperman, Pomeroy, Money, Doorbar, Wollman and Guze also presented papers, based on their work with the HBF.

Benjamin and Erickson had been having disputes, sometimes quite petty, about how the money was spent. In the spring of 1967 the EEF grant was reduced to $1,200, and in the fall – after the promised three years expired-- stopped entirely. Shortly afterwards, the Erickson Educational Foundation asked Benjamin to vacate the office that it was subsidizing.

There had been discussion that a book should emerge to embody the findings of the Foundation, but this was felt to be too narrow. In particular that would exclude the important work being done in Europe. The book, financed again by the EEF, eventually came out in 1969 as Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment edited by Richard Green and John Money.

Publications by members of the Foundation

  • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press, 1966. With a bibliography and appendix by Richard Green.  A close reading.
  • Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, 29,4II, January 16, 1967.
Robert Stoller. “Etiological Factors in Male Transsexualism”. p431-3.
Herbert S Kupperman, “The Endocrine Status of the Transsexual Patient”. p434-9.
Richard Green. “Physician Emotionalism in the Treatment of the Transsexual”. p440-3.
Wardell B Pomeroy. “A report on the Sexual Histories of Twenty-Five Transsexuals”.p444-7..
John Money & Ralph Epstein. “Verbal Aptitude in Eonism and Prepubertal Effeminacy – A Feminine Trait”. p448-54.
Ruth Rae Doorbar. “Psychological Testing of Transsexuals: A Brief Report of Results from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the Thematic Apperception Test and the House-Tree-Person Test”. p455-62.
Leo Wollman. “Transsexualism: Gynecological Aspects. p463.
Henry Guze. “The Transsexual Patient: A problem in Self Perception”. p464-7.
  • Henry Guze. “Review of The Transsexual Phenomenon by Harry Benjamin”. The Journal of Sex Research, 3,2, May 1967: 183-5.
  • Richard Green & John Money. Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment. The Johns Hopkins Press, 1969. With contribution by Benjamin, Erickson, Money, Green, Stoller, Guze, Pomeroy, Doorbar, Hamburger, Wollman, Sherwin.


  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 214-5, 219, 222, 223.
  • Richard Green. Gay Rights, Trans Rights: A psychiatrist/lawyer’s 50-year battle. 2018: chp 16.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Transgender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018: 139-140.

19 January 2019

Who was Dixie MacLane?

On page xxii of C Jacob Hale’s introduction to Richard Docter’s biography of Christine Jorgensen, we find:
“During the 1950s, others who claimed to be seeking or to have obtained surgical alteration of the genitals – Ray/Rae Bourbon, John ‘Bunny’ Breckenridge, Dixie MacLane, Charlotte McLeod and Tamara Rees, for example – were in the news”.
Bourbon, Breckenridge, McLeod and Rees are well documented and are found in this encyclopedia. But who is Dixie MacLane? There is no mention of her name in Joanne Meyerowitz’ How Sex Changed, which is a thorough account of transsexuality in the US in that period.

On page xxiv, Hale tells us a bit more. She was one of the trans women included in the Worden & Marsh project.
“Dixie MacLane, who had been inspired to seek surgical transformation by the news about Jorgensen, had a more pragmatic goal: she hoped that her participation might lead to surgery at UCLA.”
Meyerowitz admits that the five names that she gave for the participants in the Worden & Marsh project were all pseudonyms. It is quite likely that Dixie MacLane is the real name of Meyerowtz’ Debbie Mayne: same initials, both waiting for surgical approval that never came.

Hale says that Dixie was in the news.   This was in February 1956, when she was 32, two years after the Worden & Marsh project.   Apparently she had obtained completion surgery in Mexico, and successfully applied for a legal name change. The Los Angeles Times reported that a Los Angeles police officer, G.H Nelson of the Pershing Square beat, took her existence as a personal affront. He made threats and made sure that she lost her office job. He then charged her with masquerading as a man, masquerading as a woman and outraging public decency. In a hearing at a municipal court, the judge accepted written testimony from Dr Harry Benjamin of New York, Dr Lyman Stewart of the Elmer Belt Medical Group and Dr Marcus Crohon of the LA County Jail. The judge refused attempts to determine Dixie’s actual sex, and dismissed the charges.


This was 1956, so Dixie was lucky to get a reasonably enlightened judge.   However justice would have required that Officer Nelson be sanctioned for unprofessional conduct, and that Dixie be re-instated in her job.

  • “Office Clerk Cleared of Charge of Masquerading”. Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1956.
  • Dal McIntire. “News & Views”. One: the Homosexual Magazine, 3/1/1956. Online.
  • C. Jacob Hale. Introduction to Richard F Docter. Becoming a Woman: A Biography of Christinr Jorgensen. The Haworth Press, 2008: xxii, xxiv.
  • Scott De Orio. Punishing Queer Sexuality in the Age of LGBT Rights. PhD Thesis University of Michigan, 2017: 59. Online.

09 January 2019

Robert Gaffney (1872 - ?) janitor.

Gaffney was raised on a farm in a religious family, and was married at 17 to a boy of the same age. They rambled, hunted and fished together, which gave her experience of wearing trousers and other men’s clothing.

After ten years of marriage they split. Gaffney then became Robert A Gaffney, moved to Spokane, Washington and found work as a photographer, a house painter and a janitor.

In 1911 Gaffney met Margaret Hart, an abandoned wife with one child and another on the way. He offered to look after her until she was able to do so by herself. For the sake of appearances, they were married by a Justice of the Peace. It is not clear when and to what extent Margaret realized that Robert was not a regular man. He lost his temper when she brought up the issue.

They moved to Seattle. He was employed as a janitor, and worked his way up to head janitor with 5 men and 10 women working for him. He earned $90 a month.

Then Margaret became pregnant and gave birth again. Neighbors congratulated him on his third child, but he felt that Margaret had broken their agreement. He disappeared, cycling all the way to California.

This left Mrs Gaffney and her three children destitute. The charity she turned to filed a charge under the 1913 “Lazy Husband” Act of Washington State.

Robert worked for a while in California, but then, being unemployed, he returned to Seattle, where he was arrested for abandoning his wife, and sentenced to hard labor (for which his wife would be paid $1.50 a day), which he did not care to do. All he had to do was to proclaim himself a woman, and
Newspaper cartoon implying
Margaret did not previously
know.  Skidmore p152.
dress in women’s clothes. He did so and was quickly released.

There was no law in Washington State nor in Seattle against cross-dressing. However his and Margaret’s marriage was declared void. The press went easy on both: Robert had stepped in to help a woman in distress; they accepted Margaret’s claim that she did not really know about Robert’s sex until the trial.

Gaffney said the required things about being a real woman, and wouldn't dress as a man again, despite still walking and looking like a man in women’s clothes, and having forgotten how to to cook, and how to sew. The best janitorial job that could be obtained now paid only $30 a month.

Gaffney left Seattle. A few months later, a reporter from the Seattle Star was invited to take an interview where he explained himself.  Gaffney pointed to his female dress: “It stands for all the follies of convention that makes men free and women slaves”.

Then Gaffney disappeared again.
  • “Story of Woman ‘Father’ of Family”: ‘Mr.’ Gaffney Tells How ‘He’ Came to Woo, Win and Marry ‘Margaret’”. The Daily Capital Journal, Feb 19, 1916. Online.
  • “Find ‘Lazy Husband’ In Reality Is Woman”. Tacoma Times, Feb 19, 1916. Online.
  • “Woman is ‘Man’ for 18 years”. Rogue River Courier, Feb 20, 1916. Online.
  • “She Longs for the Mental, Economic Freedom of Pants”. Seattle Star, Sept 7, 1916. Online.
  • Emily Skidmore. True Sex: The Lives of Trans men at the turn of the 20th Century. New York University Press, 2017: 150-6.
  • Kerry Segrave. ‘Masquerading in Male Attire”: Women Passing as Men in America, 1844-1920. McFarland Publishing, 2018: 193-5.
  • “100 years ago in Seattle: After 4 years of marriage, wife discovers husband she married in Spokane was a woman”. The Spokesman, January 08, 2019. Online

07 January 2019

Beverly-Barbara (1943 - ) restaurant worker

Beverly-Barbara*, from the Los Angeles area, was definitely a transkid expressing girls’ interest and dressing as a girl from an early age. Her parents hoped that she would grow out of it.

At age 15 she found work as a cocktail waitress, and saved up enough money to go and see Harry Benjamin. She claimed to be 18, although only 16, and Benjamin prescribed female hormones. Beverly-Barbara followed up with breast implants and electrolysis. Her voice had not changed much at puberty.

She found a boy-friend and in early 1967 they were married in Reno. She was able to do presenting her drivers license only. Beverly-Barbara was by then working as a receptionist at a prominent restaurant, but still not able to afford completion surgery. Benjamin suggested that she get in touch with Richard Green who, after two years with Benjamin in New York and a year in London with John Randell, had returned to the University of California Los Angeles Gender Identity Research Clinic (UCLA GIRC).

When Beverly-Barbara approached Green, he initially failed to understand why she was doing so.
“On the phone I did not suspect that she was transsexual. In person I saw no clue either.’ (Green, 2019: 144)
The GIRC had been active since 1962 but had not actually provided transgender surgery to any one, and Green thought that it was time to do so. Robert Stoller, the head of the GIRC was cautious about permitting such surgery, but was open to it being used as a research technique.
“Patient selection was crucial. It should be limited to those males who had been very feminine in childhood, had never lived acceptably in a masculine role, and who had not derived pleasure from their penis. He termed these ‘true transsexuals’.” (Green, 2010:1459).
Beverly-Barbara met these requirements. Green also endorsed John Money’s proposal that transsexual patients should undergo at least 12 months ‘real-life test’. Beverly-Barbara had in effect undergone 10 years real-life test.

Green enquired about the likelihood of being charged with mayhem. The University of California legal counsel in Berkeley quickly replied that such was a possibility, but that the University would pay the legal bill.

Green presented Beverly-Barbara to the GIRC at a Saturday morning conference in November 1968. Stoller gave a qualified approval. A second opinion was obtained from UCLA psychiatrist Larry Newman, and urologist Willard Goodwin (Elmer Belt's ++nephew who had argued against the continuation of transgender surgery by his uncle in 1954) agreed to do the operation.

All went well, and Beverly-Barbara co-operated in follow-up interviews. Then she disappeared into private life.
  • Robert Stoller,. Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity, Science House,1968: 251..
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 214.
  • Richard Green. “Robert Stoller’s Sex and Gender: 40 Years on”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 2010: 1459.
  • Richard Green. Gay Rights, Trans Rights: A psychiatrist/lawyer’s 50-year battle. 2018: chp 19.

*Green 2010 calls her Barbara; Green 2018 calls her Beverly.  Meyerowitz does not give her a name.

Beverly-Barbara will now be 75 years old.

Other clinics refused to start the clock on the real-life test until after they had interviewed the patient – as Holly Woodlawn had found when she approached Johns Hopkins in 1966.

Of course Beverly-Barbara is very similar to Agnes, who had been approved for surgery with Elmer Belt by Stoller 10 years earlier. There has been a lot of commentary about Agnes, but very little about Beverly-Barbara.

02 January 2019

The Worden and Marsh project, UCLA 1954

In 1954 Frederick G Worden, psychoanalyst, and James T Marsh, clinical psychologist, both at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, interviewed and tested five “physically normal men” (that is trans women): three of whom had already had transgender surgery, Annette Dolan, Caren Ecker and Janet Story; and two hoping for it, Carla Sawyer and Debbie Maine (all names pseudonyms).

Annette had prepared herself for surgery in 1954 by doing an auto-orchiectomy, and had sent an account to Harry Benjamin which was later published in Sexology magazine (albeit under another name). Carla provided Worden and Marsh with a 6-page letter, but they never bothered to read it. Caren had had surgery in San Francisco in 1953, where, while recovering, she gave out offprints of Harry Benjamin’s "Transsexualism and transvestism as psychosomatic and somatopsychic syndromes". She volunteered for the project to show “the true idea that I’m happy with my new life, and that for suitable subjects it is right to make these changes”. Debbie Mayne, hoping for surgery, spent a year working with Worden, waiting for surgical approval which never came – at the end Worden plain refused to approve her. She later wrote that Worden “has never recommended anything for anybody . . . he doesn’t know too much to begin with.”

At this same time, Elmer Belt, the urologist and surgeon who had been the first surgeon in the world to provide vaginoplasty for trans women as opposed to cis and intersex women, beyond a few experimental cases was persuaded to cease doing so --  Annette Dolan having been one of his last patients. A committee of doctors at UCLA, including Frederick Worden, had decided against the practice.

Worden and Marsh published their paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April 1955. Their subjects, they wrote’ had “an extremely shallow, immature, and grossly distorted concept of what a woman is like socially, sexually, anatomically, and emotionally”. They depicted them as attention-seeking, and even held their co-operation with the study against them as a “need for recognition”. Worden and Marsh were irritated by the two subjects who wanted surgery, and criticized their refusal to acknowledge “the possibility that the wish for surgery might be symptomatic of a disorder within themselves”. They, of course, did not provide the desired recommendations for surgery.

Harry Benjamin immediately wrote to the journal to object. Worden and Marsh had “badly misunderstood or misinterpreted” his work. Four of the five interviewees wrote to Benjamin expressing outrage. Annette also wrote to the Journal and Elmer Belt 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.


Carla Sawyer had the misfortune to have a session with psychoanalyst Robert Stoller, then new to the field, who attempted to reverse her ‘sexual tendencies’ and antagonized her. Benjamin later helped her to obtain surgery in Mexico.

Caren Ecker later became a nurse.

Debbie Mayne (who was probably the same person as Dixie MacLane) later had surgery in Mexico with Dr Lopez Ferrer.
  • Frederick G Woden & James T Marsh. “Psychological Factors in Men Seeking Sex Transformation: A Preliminary Report”. Journal of the American Medical Association, 157, 15, April 9 1955: 1292-4, 1297-8.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 107-9, 143, 146, 155-7, 166.


A similar thing happened in 1970-2 when Harry Benjamin allowed Ethel Person and Lionel Ovesey to interview several of his trans patients.  Person and Ovesey applied a psycho-analytic interpretation.   They proposed a typology of trans persons assuming that a child's separation-individuation anxiety produced a fantasy of symbiotic fusion with the mother which the transsexual tries to resolve by surgically becoming her mother.  Papers to this effect were published 1973-85.  One trans woman who had been declared by Benjamin to be a type VI High Intensity, was rendered by Person and Ovesey as a secondary transsexual.  Again Benjamin was appalled by the printed study.