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 September 2019

A Chronology of trans persons in modelling and fashion: Part I: to 2000

Part I: to 2000
Part II: 21st century


L.S., a fashion model in Paris, In 1909. Aged 20, she was engaged to be married and was bothered by apparent tumours in her labia majora and attended the Hôpital Beaujon. A biopsy of the tumours resulted in them being identified as testicles. The doctors then decided that she was a 'true male', that is a masculine pseudo hermaphrodite. She was informed that her feminine 'genital aspiration', that is her engagement to her fiancé, was an act of homosexuality.


Michel-Marie Poulian worked as a model in Paris, in addition to painting portraits and doing stained-glass windows for churches.


Charlotte McLeod did modelling in New York and New Orleans.


Noted Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm went to Paris and shot Jacquie Sarduy, Nana and other trans women. These were later published as  Les Amies De Place Blanche, 1983.


After completion surgery in Casabalanca, April Ashley returned to England, and was able to build a career as a model; clothed, in underwear and nude. This led to a very small part in the film The Road to Hong Kong. Until November 1961 when she was outed in the Sunday People.


Holly Woodlawn was briefly employed as an in-house model at Saks Fifth Avenue, new York.


A person we know only as ‘Queen Elizabeth’ got a job in Davison’s department store in Atlanta as a model. One day the boss walked in as she was changing and saw her penis. She was immediately fired.


Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon tells us of Betty/Suzanne who after surgery worked as a fashion model.


Les Lee, performer at Le Carrousel, designed and modelled a collection of women's clothes with some success, such that the models union was able to persuade the French Government to pass a law forbidding female impersonators from working as models.

Georgia Ziadie was working as a model in New York when she met Lord Colin Campbell, married him a week later, and they were divorced the next year.


Rachel Harlow, following her lead role in The Queen, 1968, and her subsequent triumph at the Cannes International Film Festival, had become the hostess at a Philadelphia nightclub named with her own name. There were also interviews, endorsements, modeling jobs and television appearances.


Andy Warhol recruited models from the new transy bar Gilded Grape for his Ladies and Gentlemen (The Drag Queen Paintings) series. They were paid $50 and Andy took polaroids. They were not shown as such in the US, but in September 1975 were exhibited in Italy.


Tracy Norman attended a modeling event at the Pierre Hotel in New York in 1975. There she was discovered by renowned photographer Irving Penn and booked for Vogue Italia a few days later. She was quickly featured in major advertising campaigns, Ultra Sheen and Avon Cosmetics. Clairol put her face on their dark-auburn hair dye no 512, launched that year.


After the end of her public affair with John B Kelly, brother of movie-star and princess Grace Kelly, businessman and on the Philadelphia Council, Rachel Harlow dropped out of the night-life business and the gay subculture. She did continue to work as a model in New York, but avoided publicity.


Potassa de la Fayette, model and star on the dance floor at Studio 54.

Robertina Manganaro was a model for the avant-garde artist, Enrico Baj.


Diane Delia worked in New York as a model for Avon Cosmetics.


Lauren Foster had started working as a model in Johannesburg and then Paris regularly in magazines and advertisements. However she was disqualified from the Miss South Africa Pageant. Her big break was in 1980 when she was hired by and was featured Vogue to do a 6-page fashion editorial. She was outed by the tabloid Scope, when another model sold the story, which resulted in ignorant press attention.

Essense Magazine booked Tracy Norman again for several sessions in 1980. During the last session, the hair dresser's assistant, who was from the same part of New Jersey and had been asking around trying to figure out who Tracy was, spoke to the editor, Susan Taylor, who stopped the shoot. Nobody said anything. However Tracy was never paid for the last shoot, and the pictures were never used. Work in New York dried up. There was a rumor that Taylor threatened to sue Zoli, the agency for false advertising, but the agency did not know either. Eventually a friend confirmed that her secret had gone around quickly, but still no-one said so directly.


Caroline Cossey (Tula) was noted in Smirnoff Vodka’s “Well They Said Anything Could Happen” advertisement in 1981 that shows her water-skiing behind the Loch Ness Monster. She was a Page Three Girl for The Sun. This led to a small part in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, 1981, and an associated article in Playboy. This led to her being outed as trans, and as a consequence lost most of her modelling contracts.


Tracy Norman, seeking work in Paris, got a phone call for another model, who had returned to New York. She was offered the gig, but delayed it for two weeks while she slimmed down to a French size 6. This led to a six-month contract with Balenciaga.


in New York, the new fashion sensation was the openly transgender Teri Toye, who had moved to New York from Iowa to study fashion. She was offered modeling work, especially for the cult fashion designer Stephen Sprouse, but also for Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Circulate magazine dedicated six pages to Lauren Foster.

Tracy Norman returned to Newark in 1984, and signed with the Grace del Marco Agency. However after a few months she was featured in an Ultra Sheen cosmetics ad, and then she was remembered. Again work dried up.

Roberta Close in Rio was becoming famous as a model and actress.


Valerie Taylor, in stealth, was working as a model in Los Angeles.

Leslie Townsend, in stealth, was working as a model in Houston.


Noor Talbi found work in Paris on the fashion catwalks at age 19, before she returned to Morroco and became a renowned dance.


Robertina Manganaro, encouraged by her rich husband to become a stilista, opened a studio in Paris, using her title-by marriage Comtessa.


Alessandro di Sanzo, who had played a trans teenager in the films Mery per sempre, 1989. and Ragazzi fuori, 1990, was hired by the Rome fashion designer Egon von Furstenberg to walk the catwalk in a bridal dress. The Church took umbrage as she was a known transsexual.

Storme Aerison posed as a supermodel and claimed to be the sister of real supermodel Kathy Ireland. Photographers and others gave her their services in exchange for a percentage of a calendar that she said that she was producing.


Estelle Asmodelle was the face of the Supermodel Agency in Australia; she was their spokesman and main model during 1996-2000.


Claudia Charriez, then age 16, was already modelling.


Sophia Lamar modelled for Levi’s and others.

Lee Si-Yeon first made a name as a male model, and was known for a feminine appearance and wearing women's clothing on the catwalk – the first model to do so in South Korea. Later she decided to transition, which was completed in 2007.

Before becoming the host on Taiwan's Eastern TV Auction Channel, Li Jing had worked as a model.


Amanda Lepore worked extensively with photographer David LaChapelle advertising Armani and MTV. Swatch released a ‘Time tranny’ watch with her features.

Robertina Manganaro, stilista, had her first show at the Milan Pret-a-porter, which cost her a million francs of the family money.

14 September 2019

Tracey Gayle Norman (1951 - ) model

Original version: April 2014

Tracy Norman was raised in Newark, New Jersey. Father thought that his child was too effeminate and made a desultory attempt at teaching boxing. He moved out when Tracy was 6; the mother worked multiple jobs to support her two children.

The first in her family to graduate high school, Tracy, on the same day, told her mother that she was a woman, and was accepted. A few months later. Tracy met a old-school friend who had started transition. She answered questions and gave Tracy some birth-control pills.

In trans clubs, Third World and Up the Down Stairs, she was told of a doctor who prescribed to trans women, and soon she was not just being taken as female, but was being noted for her beauty. This was at the same time as Lottie and Crystal LaBeija founded the House of Labeija with a ball at the Up the Down Stairs.

A friend of Tracy who helped her with make-up, worked in the fashion industry and knew where fashion shows were being held. He taught her what to say at the door, that she was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which let her stand in the back row. Thus she attended a modeling event at the Pierre Hotel in New York in 1975. She noticed a group of black models and followed them in, making sure that she was the last person.  There she was discovered by renowned photographer Irving Penn and booked for Vogue Italia a few days later.

One of the other models, Peggy Dillard, was nice to her, while the others shunned the newcomer. Dillard revealed many years later that, as she had spent years DJ-ing at a gay disco, and had friends who had transitioned, she was able to read the newcomer. Tracy was paid $3,000 – more than she had ever had before. Penn referred her to an agency, Zoli. Some weeks later, Penn received a phone call from Condé Nast magazine, passing on the rumor that Norman was not born female. Penn dismissed it out of hand as ridiculous. A make-up artist approached her during a break and said that he knew what was going on with her. He also said ‘Don’t worry, I think you’re beautiful. Just be natural.’ He also told the photographer Anthony Barboza, who replied that if that were the case, the magazine must know. Apparently it went no further and Tracy was rehired by the same magazine six months later.

Tracy was similar in appearance to the rising black model Beverly Johnson, and quickly was featured in major advertising campaigns, Ultra Sheen and Avon Cosmetics. Clairol put her face on their dark-auburn hair dye no 512, launched that year.

Essense Magazine booked her again for several sessions in 1980. During the last session, the hair dresser's assistant, who was from the same part of New Jersey and had been asking around trying to figure out who Tracy was, spoke to the editor, Susan Taylor, who stopped the shoot. Nobody said anything. However Tracy was never paid for the last shoot, and the pictures were never used. Work in New York dried up. There was a rumor that Taylor threatened to sue Zoli, the agency for false advertising, but the agency did not know either. Eventually a friend confirmed that her secret had gone around quickly, but still no-one said so directly.

By 1982, Tracy had given up her apartment, and moved back in with her mother. A friend was already working in Paris, and another suggested that they go there. Tracy used her sister’s birth certificate to get a passport. In Paris the three friends shared hotel rooms. One day Tracy got a phone call for another model, who had returned to New York. She was offered the gig, but delayed it for two weeks while she slimmed down to a French size 6. This led to a six-month contract with Balenciaga.

The UltraSheen ad
Next she tried Milan, but work was slow there too. She returned to Newark in 1984, and signed with the Grace del Marco Agency. However after a few months she was featured in an Ultra Sheen cosmetics ad, and then she was remembered.  Again work dried up even though this was the year that openly trans model Teri Toye was being feted, and trans model Lauren Foster regained her career after being outed a few years earlier.

One thing went right. Tracey dated a straight male office worker from Long Island. He did not mind when she told him that she was trans, and they had a three-year relationship.

Tracy found work in shoe retailing, but again word got out and people came to stare through the window. She then took work at Show Center, a burlesque peep show in Times Square that featured trans women, but behind glass so that the customers could not touch. She was able to earn over $1,000 a day there, and stayed three years. This led to her involvement in the voguing balls, first as an observer, and then as a member of the House of Africa. She used her modelling experience and trained her team to walk like professionals, rather than the flamboyant style that the other houses affected. Her personal trademark was to walk in just jeans and t-shirt. She would take a white handkerchief and wipe her face in front of the judges to show that she was wearing no make-up – and the was met by applause. She became mother to the house, and was elected to the Ballroom Hall of Fame in 2001.

In the 1990s Tracey had encountered her father who was driving a bus that she was on. “I was like, ‘Daddy, it’s me.’ He was shocked to see me.” Later he was diagnosed with cancer, and she visited him in hospital. “He saw that I have done something very exciting with my life. I think he was proud of me at that point. He was more accepting.”

Later Tracey worked again in shoe retailing – for the up-market Peter Fox Shoes, and for a while was a manager.
Tracey in 2016

In December 2015, New York Magazine/The Cut ran a cover story reminding readers that Tracey, now 63, was the first black trans model. This led to Clairol welcoming her back as the face of its new “Color As Real As You Are” campaign.
  • Meekaprodigy. "Paris Is Burning Tea (Harlem Ballroom Scene)" Lipstick Alley, 03-26-
  • "Tracy Africa" The Luna show#100.
  • Jada Yuan & Aaron Wong. "The First Black Trans Model had her Face on a Box of Clairol". New York Magazine/The Cut, 14 December, 2015. Online.
  • Carly Stern. "The 'first black transgender model' reveals how her high-flying fashion career, posing for the likes of Vogue and Clairol, crumbled after her gender identity was exposed". Daily Mail, 17 Dec 2015. Online
  • Jada Yuan. "Susan Taylor Says She Wouldn’t Have Outed Tracey Africa". New York Magazine/The Cut, Dec 27, 2015. Online.
  • Jada Yuan. "Tracey Africa Norman Is Back As the Face of Clairol".  The Cut, August 2016. Online.
  • Hermione Hoby. "How Tracey Norman, America’s first black trans model, returned to the limelight". The Guardian, 21 Aug 2016. Online.
  • Yada Yuan. "Trans Models Will Cover Harper’s Bazaar for the First Time". New York Magazine/The Cut, Sept 19, 2016. Online.
  • Elspeth H Brown. Work! A Queer History of Modeling. Duke University Press, 2019: 2-4, 13, 263-5, 267, 270-2. 
Tracy or Tracey? She changed the spelling in the early 1990s.

After the December 2015 article in New York Magazine/The Cut, JadaYuan, the author, was finally able to get feedback from Susan Taylor, the editor at Essense who had supervised Tracey’s last shoot in 1980. Not surprisingly Taylor remembers things differently: “I always suspected she was genetically male. I accepted her as she presented herself, as an exquisitely beautiful black woman. Now, this is 40 years later, but I think someone that she went to school with in Newark told me that they knew her as a boy. I think.” … “And we sought to hire her into the ‘80s and she was not available. I just learned that a few days ago.”

31 August 2019

John Coulter (1834 - 1884) servant, labourer

John Coulter was a man of definite masculine appearance with good muscular development.

At the age of twenty-one he was working as a man-servant on a farm near Dungannon in County Tyrone. In this position he courted his master’s daughter, and was successful in marrying her.

From 1872 he worked for the Belfast Harbour Commissioners as a labourer. In 1878 his wife started living apart from him because of his dissipated habits.

He died from injuries caused by falling down a flight of stairs, and was discovered to be female bodied.

His wife returned to bury him.

The story was written up in The Lancet.

*not the Irish surgeon-apothecary who became famous for working on whaling ships in the 1820s and 1830s.

“Extraordinary Personation case”  The Lancet, Feb 2, 1884: 229.  Online.
Havelock Ellis. Sexual Inversion. In Studies In The Psychology Of Sex. Random House. 1936: 246

29 August 2019

Alfred H Read (187?-?) minister.

An elderly Congregational minister, the Rev. Arthur Read was featured in the press in the late 1920s when he was captured as the supposed female ghost that had been haunting the lanes around the village of Curry-Rivel, near Taunton in Somerset for a few years.

Villagers had reported seeing a large female ghost, usually veiled, who hung around after dark.  One day in 1927, Read was recognized by the local postman as the supposed ghost. This story quickly went around the village. Later that evening, a visitor staying at the King-William Inn, reported that he had just seen the lady in question. Two men took bicycles and caught up with her near Stoney Lane. The two did not then know the Rev Read, but Mr Woodrow, a leading member of the Congregational Chapel, had followed and immediately identified his minister.

Read bumped into one of the three men the next morning in the village and gave a partial excuse. He followed up by issuing a handbill, “Talks by the Masquerader”, inviting the public to hear his explanation. There would be separate meetings for men and women, and boys and girls under 16 would not be admitted. However the only meetings held were in the nearby village of Drayton.

Alfred’s explanation was that he had cross-dressed , usually when his wife was away, to see if men were so immoral that they would flirt with a strange woman. Without the knowledge of his wife, he had acquired female garments from items to be sold at rummage sales.
'It was difficult, for my height was against me. But by pressing a hat down tight on my head and stooping as much as possible, I seemed shorter.'  
In this guise, Alfred went many places, in the country and in the city. To his surprise and satisfaction, no one gave him any trouble.
“Only once did an immoral man molest me. That was at a far-away seaside resort. I sat on the sea front, and all at once I felt a man leering at me. It was a terrible feeling, and I moved away quickly.” 
He was therefore very impressed by the high moral standard of English manhood.

He referred himself to the Somerset Congregational Union, where he promised to stick to preaching.

His congregation released a statement:
“We do hereby place on record our unqualified conviction that such behaviour was not due to any moral laxity, but is the result of a nervous disorder induced by anxiety and over work. Further, we record our gratitude to God for our pastor's long and arduous ministry and affirm that our church has been most happy and successful during his four years as our leader. We have found him a helpful preacher and devoted friend and pastor, recklessly spending his strength in bringing the church through great difficulties to a place of honour in the community and the union.”
However Rev Read resigned his pastorate at the end of November 1927. He is still remembered for his efforts in raising 1,000 guineas which was used to reconstruct and renovate church buildings in the village.

  • “A Minister’s Masquerade”, Western Morning News, 19 Sep 1927: 4
  • C. J. Bulliet. Venus Castina: Famous Female Impersonators Celestial and Human. Covici 308 pp 1928. Bonanza Books. 1956: 248-9.
  • Dr Beachcombing. “Transvestite Vicar Ghost in Interwar England”. Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog, May 4, 2016. Online.
  • Paul Gallagher. “The Woman In Black: The Strange Story of a Crossdressing Ghost”. Dangerous Minds, 04.06.2017. Online.
  • Laura Linham. “Somerset's most unusual ghost story...a vicar who walked the streets as a woman”. Somerset Live, 18 Feb 2018. Online.


1,000 guineas would be almost £65,000 today.

Bulliet gives Read's first name as Arthur, not Alfred.

If his intention was to discover how women are treated by men, he could have started by asking his wife and other female members of the congregation. However that was probably just an excuse.

21 August 2019

Fulcanelli (?1839 - ?1954) alchemist

Fulcanelli is the name, almost certainly a pseudonym, on two esoteric books, Le Mystère des Cathédrales and Les Demeures Philosophales, both published at the end of the 1920s, which discuss alchemy, architecture, science and languages.

In accordance with the alchemical tradition Fulcanelli obfuscated the details of his life. However he is reputed to have made the philosopher's stone that transmutes metals to gold and imparts longevity and androgyny.

He disappeared after his books were published, except that in 1937 Fulcanelli apparently met Jaques Bergier and Andre Helbronner, French scientists, who were working on nuclear physics, to warn them of its potential (this was five years before the start of the Manhattan Project). Bergier reported him saying:
“… the vital thing is not the transmutation of metals but that of the experimenter himself”. 
Eugene Canseliet, Fulcanelli’s only student, met him for the last time in probably 1954, when Fulcanelli would have been over 110 years old - if he had indeed made the philosopher's stone this would not be surprising. Canseliet went to Seville where he was contacted and taken by a circuitous route to an isolated castle.

Fulcanelli was there looking younger than he had done in the 1920s. In Canseliet's presence, Fulcanelli appeared in female guise, a hypostasis of the Divine Androgyne of alchemy.

  • Fulcanelli. Le Mystère des Cathédrales (The Mystery of the Cathedrals). Paris 1926.
  • Fulcanelli. Les Demeures Philosophales (Dwellings of the Philosophers). Paris 1929.
  • Kenneth Rayner Johnson. The Fulcanelli Phenomenon: the Story of a Twentieth-Century Alchemist in the light of a new examination of the Hermetic Tradition. Neville Spearman. 1980: chp VII.

18 August 2019

Janis Ashley (1951 - ) pediatrician

Ashley qualified as a doctor, and married young. At age 25 he knew he wanted to be a woman, and the marriage ended in divorce.

She had completion surgery in 1978 and became one of the two practicing pediatricians in Sedalia, Missouri, a town of 21,000. In 1985 she adopted a baby boy.

In late 1989 Ashley decided that she wanted to be man again, and mentioned that she did so in an interview with the Sedalia Democrat. Many of her patients rallied in support.
  • “Pediatrician Discloses Sex Change, Desire to Change Back”. Associated Press, October 12, 1989. Online.
  • “Doctor Who Changed Sex Will Become a Man Again”. Chicago Tribune, October 13, 1989. Online.
  • “Woman Wants to Change Sex Again”. TGIC, Butterfly, Eon, November-December 1989:3. Online
  • Susan Jimison. “Sex Swap Doc Wants to be a Man Again”. Twenty Minutes, January 1990: 1. Online.

15 August 2019

Edward Dolan (1880-1937) murdered

Associated Press version May 28 1937

In 1937, Edward Dolan (we have only her male name) was living with her husband, Kenneth Reese, a hospital orderly, at an apartment building on Ludlow Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side (in fact only three blocks away from where Marsha P Johnson would live 30 years later). The Building was known as ‘the house of all nations’ because of the variety of its tenants.

Neighbors reported that Dolan “sometimes went out dressed in the attire of a woman”, and when questioned claimed that he worked as a female impersonator, and “preferred to dress at home”.

In late May 1937, the neighbours complained about much noise and commotion in Dolan’s apartment, and some hours later Dolan was found dead, strangled.

  • “Female Impersonator Slain in New York,” Baltimore Sun, 28 May 1937, 4.
  • “Dancer Found Slain in His Apartment,” New York Times, 28 May 1937, 3.
  • James Polchin. Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall. Counterpoint, 2019:


Two unanswered questions:

1) Was Dolan a professional female impersonator? There is no statement about a bar or nightclub where she was appearing. Perhaps she felt that she needed an excuse to wear female clothes when the neighbors had noticed her. It was actually quite unusual for professional female impersonators to dress female outside work at that time. Artists in the 1950s are considered pioneers for doing so: Mrs Shufflewick, Ron Storme, the performers at Le Carrousel, Hotcha Hinton. We might also consider the police raid on New York's Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia 14 years earlier when Ruby Bernhammer (non-professional) and Rosebud (professional) were nabbed. Variety and the New York Times disagreed as to whether Rosebud was in mufti or in female dress.

2) WhoDunnit? Was it the husband Kenneth or a third party? I could find no record of any arrest in the case. Nor any mention of Kenneth - did he stay or flee?

06 August 2019

Revival of an old bogey-person

Those of you who pay attention to my sidebar may have noticed a surge in visits to my June 2007 article on Angela Douglas. In fact there have been 450 visits in the last week. I am not always able to find where such surges come from, but in this case I was able to find that it came from a Gender Critical Reddit thread. The first line in my article suggests that visitors also read my July 2015 History of Tao. I can see from my statistics that very few of the Reddit visitors did so.

I assume that the participants in the thread are youngish. Their older sisters would have been quite aware a long time ago of Douglas’ ‘scandalous’ letter, which was published in Sister magazine Aug-Sep 1977. That is 42 years ago. The infamous Janice Raymond published a selection from it in her The Transsexual Empire, 1979.
"Free from the chains of menstruation and child-bearing, transsexual women are obviously far superior to Gennys in many ways .... Genetic women are becoming quite obsolete, which is obvious, and the future belongs to transsexual women. We know this and perhaps some of you suspect it. All you have left is your 'ability' to bear children, and in a world which will groan to feed 6 billion by the year 2000, that's a negative asset."
Now again this is being used to justify negative emotions. One of the Reddit contibutors writes:
“These dudes are so full of rage that they will never be us. They KNOW they are just men with fetishes in bad wigs. I used to think HSTS trans weren't AGP, but I've since been disabused of that myth. This is only further proof.”

There are various adjectives that could describe Douglas’ letter: satirical, ill-advised, arrogant, foolish, counterproductive. The editors of Sisters magazine in 1977 had enough sense of humour to print it, and their readers laughed at it, and that should have been the end of it. However two years later Raymond was looking for things said or done by trans women that she could pretend to be scandalized by, and as her book is still read by anti-trans people, the tale of Douglas’ letter gets repeated again and again.

The Reddit thread suggests that one foolish person can bring an entire movement into disrepute. That game goes both ways. Here is a list of lesbian serial killers. Here is review of a book about the suffragettes pointing out that some of them went way too far, e.g. bombing unoccupied houses (unoccupied meant that only the servants were there).

In fact all non-fascist social movements contain good and bad, wise and stupid, eccentric and otherwise. This encyclopedia features all kinds. Here is a pointer to trans persons convicted of murder – to balance the lesbian serial killers link.

Douglas did good in organizing TAO in Miami. Douglas did bad in sending trans women to Dr John Brown.

All of Raymond’s books are aligned with dogmas of the Catholic Church. In addition to transgender, she is also against abortion, contraception, reproductive technologies and the decriminalization of prostitution. In the early 1980s she campaigned against medical care for trans people, and both federal and private insurance care was thus denied to those who needed it. It must be the case that some died as a result.

Women in the US and elsewhere have their rights under attack. Serious issues like the right to choose, access to contraceptives, access to medical care, misogynist murders etc. Real issues! And these women on the Reddit forum are spending their time getting worked up about a letter written 42 years ago that perhaps deserved momentary attention, but not four decades of people saying the same thing again and again.

Kay Brown’s early comments on Angela Douglas, part of her Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex History, long unavailable is again available courtesy of the Wayback Machine. Read it here.

31 July 2019

Fatima Djemille (187? – ?1921) belly dancer

In 1893 the 11th World’s Fair was held in Chicago, and named the World’s Columbian Exposition.  It attracted over 27 million visitors and introduced electricity, the zipper, the Ferris Wheel and much more. It included an ethnological section and for North Africa (then called the Orient) introduced North African dancing. Dancing for middle-class Europeans and North Americans at that time consisted of a rigid body and educated foot-work – such as the Waltz. As respectable women were then corseted, this could not have been otherwise. North African dancing consisted of mainly moving the body while not moving the feet, and was considered scandalous, although of course it was a precursor of twentieth-century dancing. A variant of such dancing was already known as danse de ventre, and soon acquired the names belly dance and hoochy-coochy.

Jim Elledge in his The Boys of Fairy Town writes:
“Among the many forms of entertainment available to the fair-goers, one of the most popular acts was the performance of a belly dancer called Fatima. A hit of the Midway Plaisance, which ‘featured over a score of exotic dances,’ Fatima’s was ‘the wildest of them all.’ She danced with such ‘wild abandon’ and her movements were so lewd that the police felt obliged to step in and stop her act almost daily. As Fatima’s act grew in popularity, a rumor began to circulate. She was really a he, the gossipers claimed, a rumor that has been since verified by historian Joe McKennon.” (p33)
So is this true?

Elledge mentions McKennon as above, but not in his notes or bibliography. He does give a citation of Joe Nickell.  McKennon, writing in 1972, said of the Exposition: 
“Maybe he saw Fatima, the wildest of them all, over at the Turkish Village. This female impersonator when last heard of in 1933 was the father of five and grandfather of seven.”
Nickell writing in 2005 simply quotes McKennon.

There is no evidence that any dancer used the name Little Egypt at the Exposition. However the Wikipedia page on ‘Little Egypt’ assumes that one or more did and considers three candidates for being the original Little Egypt – one of whom is Fatima Djemille. Wikipedia is the only source to give her a surname, but makes no claim at all that she might be trans in any way.

The best book on North African dancing, its popularity at the Exposition and the legend of Little Egypt is by Donna Carlton, a dancer herself, and a teacher of dance. She explains that there were both authentic and inauthentic oriental exhibits at the Exposition. The inauthentic included the Moorish Palace and the Persian Palace. The latter engaged a troupe of Parisian dancers who performed to popular songs of the day. There were however three genuine exhibitions of the danse de ventre: the Turkish Village, A Street in Cairo and the Algerian Village.

The Algerian Village featured dancers from Ouled Naïl, a Berber tribe from the Atlas mountains. Modern belly dancing uses their name for a style of dance. Carlton says:
“Female impersonators of the Ouled Naïl also entertained in some cities of Algeria (It is possible that at least two impersonators came to Chicago with the Algerian Village troupe).” (Carlton p29-33)
The Turkish Village featured Mohammed in the costume of a cengi (a cross-dressed dancer). Carlton reminds us that the cengi were so popular in Constantinople that quarrels about them broke out in the Janissaries, the elite guard, and so Sultan Mahmud banned them in 1837. Many then left and continued their trade in Egypt. It is said that this Mohammed remained in Chicago after the Exposition, married and raised children. (Carlton p 36)

A Street in Cairo featured the Ghawazi, although without using that term. As Wikipedia puts it:
“there was a small number of young male performers called Khawals. The Khawals were Egyptian male tradiitonal dancers who impersonated the women of the Ghawazi and their dance. They were known to impersonate every aspect of the women including their dance and use of castanets.” 
We have already considered the cross-dressing belly dancer Hasan el Belbeissi in 1849 who was mentioned by Gustave Flaubert. Most histories of belly-dancing acknowledge the Ghawazi influence in both style of dance and costuming. (Carlton p36-45)

So far no Fatima. Were any of these exhibits raided by the police? Actually the three authentic exhibits were not. However the Persian Palace with its Parisian dancers imitating the oriental dance was singled out and ordered to be shut down – but is was not raided. The Persian Palace obtained a court injunction, and its shows continued.

On p62 Carlton refers again to the Turkish Village Mohammed, and calls her “Mohammed/Fatima” without any explanation. Presumably Fatima was Mohammed’s drag name. Carlton then provides photographs of Fatima in Coney Island, and on the cover of The National Police Gazette.

She says: 
“Some 1896 photographs provide a rare instance of a sideshow dancer who is convincingly genuine: Fatima, a Coney Island performer. Her poses are common ones in the Oriental Dance of today. Her costume has interesting authentic touches and was probably assembled by someone familiar with Egyptian jewelry and traditional Eastern symbols.”
Fatima at Coney Island
This appears to be the same Fatima who was filmed in 1897.

Elledge tells of an elderly man who returned to Chicago in June 1920, tried to get the attention of younger men and claimed to be the Fatima from the exibition – but Elledge assumes that it is a different person.

The Wikipedia page on Little Egypt claims that Fatima Djemille died 14 March 1921. Joe McKennon claims that Fatima was last heard of in 1933.

So. Is Mohammed Fatima? Is the Fatima in Coney Island 1896 the same person? Was s/he a female impersonator, or any other kind of trans. Where does Elledge get the claims of police raids and arrests?

  • Joe McKennon. A Pictorial History of the American Carnival. Carnival Publishers of Sarasota, 1972: 1.34.
  • Donna Carlton. Looking for Little Egypt. IDD Books, 1995. Passim. 60, 62, 78 for Fatima.
  • Erik Larson. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic & Madness and the Fair That Changed America. Vintage, 2004: 312.
  • Joe Nickell. Secrets of the Sideshows. The University Press of Kentucky, 2005: 49.
  • Jim Elledge. The Boys of Fairy Town: Sodomites, Female Impersonators, Third-sexers, Pansies, Queers, and Sex Morons in Chicago’s First Century. Chicago Review Press, 2018: 33-4, 89-90

EN.Wikipedia(Little Egypt)    EN.Wikipedia(Ouled Naïl)     EN.Wikipedia(Ghawazi)

24 July 2019

Richard Curtis (1967 - ) doctor, yacht racer

Richard Curtis started life as Vanda Zadorozny,  the child of a Polish immigrant who survived a Nazi forced labour camp and became a mine worker in West Yorkshire.

Vanda had medical training at St. Bartholomew’s Medical College and the Royal London School of Medicine, followed by work in various hospitals. Zadorozny also did an MBA and for three years worked in the pharmaceutical industry bringing medical expertise to sales and marketing, before returning to doctoring as a general practitioner.

Zadorozny had developed a passion for sailing while at university and competed at the national level for 15 years winning several championships. Zadorozny had affairs with men, but they did not feel right: he felt that he was “a gay man trapped in a woman’s body”.

He was working as a locum at a general practice in Richmond, London, when he completed transition as Richard Curtis in 2005, shortly after the Gender Recognition Act came into force. He was the first transsexual to be recognised by the General Medical Council under its terms.

Dr Curtis met Russell Reid, and started to sit in with trans clients, and by the end of the year was
taking his own patients. He took over the private practice in 2006, when Reid retired facing complaints that he was too willing to be helpful to transsexuals. Curtis was a member of  professional and activists groups: WPATH, Gendys Network, FTM NetWork, FTM London, Gender Trust and GIRES. He aimed to offer a ‘one-stop’ service wherein trans clients can be assessed, diagnosed, given referrals, prescribed and dispensed hormones, given follow-up and health checks, offered counselling and hair removal treatment and even speech therapy. Ruth Pearce describes his reputation at the turn of the decade: 
“The name ‘Dr Curtis’ was widely associated with a more liberal form of care that centres informed consent rather than placing the burden of proof upon trans patients, a factor that was sometimes linked by participants to Curtis’ own background as a trans man. Transhealth patients such as Ben felt more confident that the possible future of transition would eventually manifest, and within a predictable time frame too. They were less worried about encountering cisgenderism or transphobia from Curtis, or having to prove themselves ‘trans enough’.”
However some complaints were made: mainly about his high fees: as high as £240-an-hour. More significantly, a woman, who had presented as a trans man, regretted taking testosterone and having a double mastectomy; it was alleged that Dr Curtis had prescribed to patients under 18 “without the specialist knowledge or skills to do so”; that he failed to follow “accepted standards of care”. In November 2011, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) imposed a number of restrictions on Dr Curtis’ practice. He "must maintain an anonymised log detailing every case where he prescribes for patients with gender dysphoria and for patients who he refers for gender dysphoria surgery". The panel also ruled: "He must not prescribe hormonal treatment for patients with gender dysphoria, or refer any patients for gender dysphoria surgery, unless those patients have undergone a recent mental health or psychological assessment carried out by an appropriately trained mental health care professional."

In 2013 the General Medical Council opened an investigation into the practice of Dr Curtis. However in February 2015 it announced that the Fitness to Practice hearing originally scheduled for that month would not be going forward.

Curtis maintained the support of trans patients and activists. The Twitter #TransDocFail campaign led to a dossier of over 100 cases of serious and sometimes dangerous mistreatment of trans patients by other doctors. This was formally presented to the GMC, and Jane Fae wrote an article for The Guardian making the same points. However, no action appears to have been taken against a single doctor as a result.

Dr Curtis had made several changes so that his service was more similar to NHS gender clinics, such as requiring a second diagnosis prior to hormone prescriptions, and he stopped accepting patients under 21.

On June 2017 Dr Curtis announced the discontinuance of his practice. This was at the same time as the Welsh physician Helen Webberley who had been offering prescriptions after consultations by Skype, was also investigated by the GMC and put under restrictions.

*not the screenwriter, nor the Washington State representative.

  • Luke McEwan. “Laser 4000 Nationals at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club Report”. Yachts and Yachting, 22 Aug 2000. Online.
  • Nicki May Reid. Dr Richard Curtis BSc. MB.BS takes over from Dr Russell Reid. Angel News 2 Feb 2006 . No Longer available.
  • Elizabeth Day. “Richard, the first transsexual GP, was Vanda, the miner’s Daughter”. The Telegraph, 09 Oct 2005. Online.
  • Curtis, R., Levy, A., Martin, J., Zoe-Jane, P., Wylie, K., Reed, T. and Reed, B.  Guidance for GPs, other Clinicians and Health Professionals on the Care of Gender Variant People. Department of Health Publications, 2008.
  • David Batty. “Doctor under fire for alleged errors prescribing sex-change hormones”. The Guardian, 6 Jan 2013. Online.
  • Martin Evans & Andrew Hough. “Dr Richard Curtis: transsexual doctor faces investigation”. The Telegraph, 07 Jan 2013. Online.
  • Sam Webb. “Transsexual doctor who charges £240-an-hour investigated over sex-change treatments after complaint by woman who regretted having her breasts removed”, The Daily Mail, 7 January 2013..
  • Matthew Jenkin. “Campaign calls for end to trans doctor 'witch hunt'”. Gay Star News, 10 January 2013. Online.
  • Jane Fae. “The real trans scandal is not the failings of one doctor but cruelty by many” The Guardian, 10 Jan 2013. Online.
  • Nick Duffy. “General Medical Council drops case against transgender doctor”. Pink News, February 27, 2015. Online.
  • Tris Reid-Smith. “Is General Medical Council failing trans people as they clear top doctor after four year probe?”. Gay Star News, 26 February 2015. Online.
  • Kamilla Kamaruddin. “What it’s like to be a transgender patient and a GP”. British Journal of General Practice, 67 (600) 2017: 313. Online.
  • “Dr Curtis is closing his Gender Clinic”. Susan’s Place, June 2017. Online.
  • Ruth Pearce. Understanding Trans Health: Discourse, Power and Possibility. Policy Press, 2018: 72, 149-50, 165-7.


An item I did not put in the bibliography is Sheila Jeffreys’ Gender Hurts. She has a half-page on Curtis. Simply citing David Batty in The Guardian. she puts far too much weight on a statement that Curtis was quoted as saying:  ‘I’ve never wanted children, or a white wedding like most women dream of, or a man to take care of me. Instead, you were more likely to find me fitting a kitchen or tiling the bathroom’.  Jeffreys comments: “Her understanding of gender was very constricting and traditional”. Really! A woman who becomes a yacht-racing champion has a constricting and traditional view of gender! Of course Jeffreys does not mention that Curtis was a yachting champion.

Richard Curtis Gender Specialist - Part 1 from Jay Stewart on Vimeo.

12 July 2019

Review of two books about Stonewall

While Stonewall was an iconic event for both the trans and the gay movements, the perspectives of the two movements are quite different.   This is shown in the two books here, which, although both of much merit, do mainly reflect the gay perspective, but not the trans.

Richard Schneider Jr (ed). In Search of Stonewall: The Riots at 50, The Gay & Lesbian Review at 25, Best Essays 1994-2018. 245 pp  G&LR Books, 2019.

The Gay & Lesbian Review is a bi-monthly magazine out of Boston that publishes much that is worth reading.  I read most issues.   Unlike most gay/lesbian organizations and publications from the 1990s, the G&LR never renamed itself as the LGBTQ Review.   Writing from a trans perspective, it is right that they did not do so, as while it publishes occasional pieces about trans issues, they are usually from a gay and/or lesbian perspective.   Many of the issues that a trans reader would look for have not been tackled, so the magazine name is appropriate.

The book contains various essays previously published in the 25 years of G&LR, with new essays by Martin Duberman, Lillian Faderman and Andrew Holleran, and an introduction by editor Richard Schneider.   The book itself is supplemented by the May-June 2019 issue Stonewall Special. 

Schneider writes: ”If nothing else, it is a marker in historical time with a clearly defined ‘before’ and ‘after.’ But to imply that Stonewall interrupted the flow of history, singlehandedly resetting the LGBT calendar, is to pile a lot of responsibility onto a single event or era. Still, something happened, and it happened quite rapidly and even magically after the riots, so in this sense the search for Stonewall can also be a desire to reconnect with the overpowering energy and excitement of this period.”

From this he includes essays about before and after Stonewall, and about elsewhere in the US, although not in Canada nor in Europe.  No one discusses the wave of partial decriminalizations of homosexuality that had swept Europe in the 1960s: 1961 Czechoslovakia, Hungary, 1963 Israel, 1967 England & Wales, 1968 East Germany and Bulgaria, 1969 Canada and West Germany.   In the US, only Illinois and Connecticut followed.   The question of whether the fact that the US had fallen behind other countries contributed to the Stonewall events is not discussed.

Nor are there any essays in the book about how movies, theatre and novels partly prepared the way.  In the few years leading up Stonewall, there were plays by Jackie Curtis, John Vaccaro and Charles Ludlam, films by Andy Milligan, Avery Willard, Jack Smith and Paul Morrissey - not to mention Boys in the Band and Myra Breckinridge. This dificiency is addressed in the May-June issue with a review by Andrew Holleran of Kembrew Mcleod’s The Downtown Pop Underground.

Martin Duberman, in his introduction to Part 1, says:
“A prominent theory about the corrupt Sixth Precinct's uncharacteristic failure to alert Stonewall's Mafia owners to the imminent raid ascribes it to the owners' tardiness in the making their usual payoff. An opposing theory emphasizes instead that the Precinct's new commanding officer was sending a message that henceforth the payoffs had to be higher-or, argues yet another theory, that he was determined to abolish them altogether. And so it goes.”   
Surely there should be mention of the theory presented in David Carter’s book that Ed Murphy was running, from Stonewall, a blackmail racket against gay employees in the financial services and that stolen bonds were turning up in Europe.  Having noted that, I also noticed that none of the writers mention Police Inspector Seymour Pine who was in charge of the Stonewall Raid, and also of the raid on the Snake Pit the following March.  Nor are any of the mafia persons mentioned: not Eddy Murphy (who, in addition to working from the Stonewall later founded the Christopher Street Festival committee), nor Michael Umbers, landlord of STAR House, nor Matty Ianiello who co-ordinated the Stonewall for the mafia, and would in 1974 be behind the opening of the Gilded Grape - a new bar for trans women.

There were four activist groups in New York that emerged in the wake of Stonewall: Gay Liberation Front (GLF), Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and the Queens’ Liberation Front (QLF).   There is significant mention of the first two.  There is a passing mention of the third, and nothing at all about the fourth.  The mention of STAR names Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson, and Duberman’s Introduction concedes that she may actually not have been at Stonewall.  But that is all.   Not a word about Tammy Novak. Joe Tish, Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Lee Brewster, Bebe Scarpinato, Jayne County, Allyson Allante, Bubbles Rose Lee, Bunny Eisenhower, Kim Christie, International Chrysis, Siobhan Fredericks, etc.  The only trans woman featured is Major Griffen-Gracy, usually referred to as Miss Major.  Griffen-Gracy is not mentioned in either Duberman’s or Carter’s book on Stonewall, and did not particiapte in GLF, GAA, STAR or QLF.  So to choose her as the one and only trans woman to feature is a very odd choice.

I seem to be mainly listing what the book is not.  Much of it is well-worth reading, but do not expect coverage of the trans content of the Stonewall event. 

Jason Baumann (ed). The Stonewall Reader.  316 pp. The New York Public Library & Penguin Books, 2019.

This book is a collection of pertinent documents from the New York Public Library donated by many gay and trans New Yorkers, and as such is invaluable to gay and trans historians. Some of the interviews were previously published in Eric Marcus’ Making Gay History, 1992.

Like the G&LR book, this does before, during and after Stonewall, and spreads out to other cities across the US, but is also totally disinterested in Canada and Europe.

There is much more trans content: Masha P Johnson (twice), Sylvia Rivera, Holly Woodlawn, Jayne County, and again Major Griffin-Gracy.   So the four best known trans women in New Yorks activism and the arts, and Griffin-Gracy who was not in STAR or QLF or in any films, but all the others listed above are again ignored, and in particular there is nothing on the Queens’ Liberation people.  The trans bits are all in the “during” section, with nothing in the “after section” except for the second Masha P Johnson piece which is about STAR.  The “before’ section includes an excerpt from John Rechy’s City of Night, but not the section about Miss Destiny. 

There also is an entry from Transvestia in which Virginia Prince discussed being divorced by wife number 1 and marrying wife number 2 – which is rather out of sync with the rest of the book.   Prince was not a gay-libber in any sense.   Not that I want to wall off the FPE-TriEss people from the rest of the trans movement, but surely  - to take a sample from Transvestia - something by Susanna Valenti would be much more suitable, or perhaps an excerpt from Darrell Raynor’s A Year Among the Girls.  Both Susanna and Darrell were, of course, New Yorkers.

This leads to the question: having included material from Transvestia, a Los Angeles trans newsletter, why is there nothing from the New York trans magazines and newsletters: nothing from Turnabout, nothing from Female Mimics, and most importantly, nothing from Drag, A Magazine of Transvestism (which featured writings by Lee Brewster and Bebe Scarpinato and was by far the most radical of the trans periodicals).


To recap:

None of the trans historians are mentioned or quoted (not even yours truly).   I published a before and after Stonewall, New York trans timeline last month.   The story from a trans perspective is significantly different than that from a gay perspective.   We need to know gay perspective and read their books, but unfortunately, the gay editors are not paying much attention to the trans perspective.

My Timeline:

The four years leading to Stonewall
The five years following Stonewall
The trans geography of New York 1966-74

22 June 2019

The five years following Stonewall - a New York timeline

On the topics of, and around Stonewall, I have already published the following accounts

Stonewall Inn and the Riots
Three Centuries of Police Raids
Other Trans Person in New York 1969-72
Recurring Untruths: Masha P Johnson's Birthday
Where was Sylvia the night of 27/28 June 1969?
New York in the 1960s
East New Jersey in the 1960s
1969 – a Year of Much Activity

In the 14 months following Stonewall there were two other major gay riots in response to police raids: in January 1970 at the Snake Pit, and in August 1970 at the Haven.   I have not found any notice of trans participation at either of these.   And yet, and yet, there are still writers who wish to diminish the trans participation at Stonewall.   We claim only one out of three, and there are those re-write of history to take away even that !!

The wave of radicalism initiated by Stonewall was pretty much spent after the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day, and the retirement of Sylvia Rivera from activism, and shortly afterwards the death of Candy Darling.  I have include 1974 below to show the beginnings of the next phase: Rachel Humphreys, The New York Dolls at the changed 82 Club, Ajita Wilson, the Gilded Grape nightclub. Jean Hoff was introduced to Harry Benjamin.

The four years leading to Stonewall
The five years following Stonewall
The trans geography of New York 1966-74


March 8: Seymour Pine, who had led the raid on The Stonewall nine months previously, led a raid on the Snake Pit, a gay-run, non-mafia bar. The police arrested 167 persons and took them to the 6th Precinct Station House. Argentinian immigrant Diego Vinales, afraid of deportation, jumped from the second floor, and was impaled on the iron fence. He survived but word was that he was dead. The Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front organized a quick response and 500 marched from Christopher Park to the precinct station. Mattachine New York organized legal defenses and almost all charges were dismissed. Future NY mayor Edward Koch accused NYPD Commissioner Howard Leary of resuming raids and harassments against gays. Both Leary and Pine were reassigned to the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

Leo Wollman flew up to Toronto for the release of Dianna Boileau's autobiography. He rather dominated the event and predicted that transsexual women would be able to become pregnant within 10 years. At this time he claimed 110 sex change patients with only one case of regret. He estimated 5 male-to-females for each female-to-male.

Rupert Raj, then 18, visited New York for an appointment with Charles Ihlenfeld, and was given a prescription for testosterone.

In her last column for Transvestia, January 1970, Susanna Valenti wrote about the support from family and friends, and her ability to pass. She said nothing about her relationship with her wife Marie, or what Marie thought about what she was doing.

Chris Thompson, a dancer, black, gay, trans and asthmatic, sought treatment for asthma at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, but was locked in the psychiatric wing, and ridiculed by the staff for her gender deviance. Arthur Bell and Sylvia Rivera discovered her and were able to publish an interview in Gay Flames.

Richard Raskin/Renee Richards abandoned transition and remarried. They had a son in 1972.

Bebe Scarpinato became active in the Gay Activist Alliance, where she met Sylvia Rivera. Sylvia felt that GAA was not radical enough, but never actually left the organization. It was Bebe who ensured that Sylvia's dues were paid up.

GAA had started a petition to get the reluctant Carol Greitzer of New York City Council representing Greenwich Village to introduce a bill for gay rights. Sylvia Rivera liked the idea and starting soliciting signatures right on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues where she did her usual sex hustling.

15 April:  there was an anti-war demonstration down the street, and cops, actually the Tactical Patrol Force, told Sylvia to move. This escalated and she was arrested and had to pay $50 bail. She recounted her adventures at GAA. This was heard by Arthur Bell, who wrote a story for Gay Power, and made Sylvia a celebrity. When her case came to court the public gallery was filled with activists from GAA and GLF. Gay attorney Hal Weiner volunteered his services, and GAA picked up the legal fees. It was also her first meeting with Bob Kohler.

In GLF Bob Kohler often spoke up for the queens, despite opposition. At different times he brought along various queens, including Bambi L’Amour and Zazu Nova, but only Sylvia had the staying power. Kohler was on the committee that organized GLF dances. He put Sylvia on door duty, where, even though often stoned, she fiercely collected and guarded the money.

Eddie Dame found a bisexual woman who was accepting of his cross-dressing. They married in 1970. She gave up the Communist Party for him; he gave up the Ridiculous Theatrical Company for her.

Vicky West had returned from Los Angeles, and decided that she was more interested in art than in engineering. While still a student, Dirk (her male persona) was hired by publisher Henry N. Abrams, Inc. where he continued to work until retirement. At this time Dirk was living with a woman, but also investigated the homophile Mattachine Society. Here Vicky met Lee Brewster, Eddie Dame and also Chris Moore, the Jewel Box Revue performer.

It was becoming increasingly obvious that the Mattachine Society were disinterested in drag queens and other trans persons, so Lee Brewster and Eddie - using his thespian name of Bunny Eisenhower – and also Vicky and Chris and Bebe founded the Queens Liberation Front.

The Queens Liberation Front campaigned and hired lawyers to de-criminalize cross-dressing in New York, which was achieved in 1971. Previously, under city ordinances a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be cross-dressed, was present.

Furthermore the words "homosexuals, lesbians, or persons pretending to be ..." were also struck, thus decriminalizing gay clubs and parties. In addition, the still extant 1965 Anti-Mask: New York Penal Law criminalizing "the wearing of mask or disguises by three or more persons in a public place" was found inapplicable to those in drag.

Ex-sailor Deborah Hartin (1933-2005) had became a patient of Leo Wollman, and then had surgery from Dr Burou in Casablanca.

 April 16:  Deborah  was granted a divorce from her wife whom she had not seen since 1957. The mother retained custody of their daughter. The case attracted press attention as it was one of the first divorce cases where one party had transitioned. Hartin’s name change to Deborah Hartin was also granted – despite that being the name of the daughter.

Harry Benjamin received a letter from Angela Douglas then in Los Angeles: "As I progress as a transsexual, I find myself more attuned to Women's Liberation, in particular, the demands and ideas of gay women".

After Angela’s father, Czinki senior, was murdered in Maryland, she visited New York as part of investigating her father's death, where she met with Zelda Suplee of the Erickson Educational Foundation, and passed on a leaflet for a demonstration in Sheridan Square for 'transvestite and transexual liberation'. However only Suplee and one organizer turned up.

The New York State Government issued an order that all employees in the financial industry be fingerprinted. This resulted in a fair number of matches with the police records of old arrests for homosexual activities, and many old and trusted employees were fired because bonding companies would not insure known homosexuals. This confirmed to the gay employees that if the situation came up, they should give in to blackmail rather than tell their employers - the same problem that was behind the Stonewall raid.

After the Stonewall riots, the mafia had attempted to appease the gay community by setting up gay businessmen as fronts, and by hiring gay bartenders and managers. They even joined in the gay pride celebrations, and accused the police of homophobia if a bar was raided. Not that this was an easy union. Robert Wood was the gay owner of the nightclub Salvation in Sheridan Square who was murdered in February because he was not happy to hand over his profits to the mob.

June 28: The 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, the first anniversary of Stonewall. The first Pride parade. A march up Sixth Avenue to Central Park's Sheep Meadow for Gay-In. Assembly at Sheridan Square, 12-1. There was an attempt to exclude the drag queens, but Sylvia and Bebe led the parade repeatedly chanting a spelling of GAY POWER along the 60 blocks of the march.

There was an increase in police harassment after the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, particularly during the last three weeks of August. In one week alone over 300 hundred queers were arrested in the Times Square area.

Despite this and despite several appearances, Sylvia’s court case was thrown out 28 August when the arresting officer failed to show.

August 29: in response to the increased harassment, GLF, GAA, Radicals Lesbians and other women’s groups and organized a demonstration. About 250 people met near Times Square and marched down to Greenwich Village. While this was happening, the police were raiding The Haven, an alcohol-free gay after-hours club at 1 Sheridan Square. The demonstration met the raid and a battle ensued. A record shop was looted; eight were injured and fifteen were arrested.

August-September: the Gay Activist Alliance and then the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee had booked the basement of Weinstein Hall, a New York University residence building for fundraising dances. On the eve of the third dance, to be held 21 August, the administration attempted to cancel the rest. Although the two remaining dances were held, the situation escalated and the Hall was occupied. Bob Kohler told Sylvia and brought her along. She was pleased to see  Marsha Johnson and Bubbles Rose Lee. They discovered a matron’s bathroom, and Sylvia and others from the street were able to clean up. Disparate gay types bonded: street people, middle-class, those used to passing for straight, students, Latinos, black, white. The lesbians and the transvestites got on. Sylvia said: “I never knew lesbians like you. The only lesbians I knew were street dykes. But you’re all really nice”. One replied: “I feel the same way about you, Sylvia. I’ve never known any drag queens before”. “Transvestites” said Sylvia. “Transvestites”. It was here that the idea of a home for street people evolved. At first it was called Street Transvestites for Gay Power. On the Thursday night, the NYU students had been invited to meet the protesters. Sylvia ran uptown to the GAA meeting and implored more GAA persons to attend. Most GAA members did not seem to care, but a few came, one of whom was Bebe Scarpi. A further dance was planned for Friday 25 September. However the administration called the New York City Tactical Police Squad, which gave the occupiers 10 seconds to vacate the Hall.

After the demonstration following the eviction from Weinstein Hall, Bubbles, Sylvia, Marsha, Bebe Scarpi, Bambi L’Amour, Andorra and others continued with what became Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) which attempted to provide shelter, food and legal support for street queens. 
Their first home was a trailer truck seemingly abandoned in a Greenwich Village outdoor parking area. This was a step up from sleeping in doorways, and a couple of dozen young street transvestites moved in. One morning Sylvia and Marsha were returning with groceries, and found the trailer starting to move. Most of the queens were woken by the noise and movement and quickly jumped out, although one, stoned, was half-way to California when she woke up.

Bubbles knew a Mafia person, well-known in the Village, Michael Umbers, manager of the gay bar, Christopher’s End, operator of various callboy and porno operations and also a friend of future Dog Day Afternoon bank robber, John Wojtowicz. Bubbles spoke to him and for a small deposit the STAR commune was able to move into 213 East 2nd Street in November. There was no electricity or plumbing, not even the boiler worked, nor did the toilets. However with help they got the building working and it became STAR House, the first communal shelter that explicitly served street transvestites. Sylvia: “We had a S.T.A.R. House—a place for all of us to sleep. It was only four rooms, and the landlord had turned the electricity off. So we lived there by candle light, a floating bunch of 15 to 25 queens, cramped in those rooms with all our wardrobes.” Several of them hustled. Others liberated food from the supermarket. Neighbors left their kids for baby sitting. Expenses were supplemented by dances and a bake sale.

Sylvia continued her concern with the incarcerated.  In 1970 over 4,000 boys were held in Riker’s Island, mainly because they could not afford bail. S.T.A.R. publicized what happened when transvestites were arrested, often several times: long waits in remand, beatings by guards, rape, attempted suicide. Street transvestites on the outside joined the Gay Community Prison Committee, organized protests, interviewed prisoners and attempted to provide legal aid.

While GLF had openly supported The Black Panthers, had helped them with bail money etc, there was a constant problem with the Panthers’ homophobia. They had been confronted on this issue by GLF at a rally at New Haven on 1 May 1970. Shortly afterwards Panther Huey Newton published an admonishment that militant blacks should acknowledge their insecurities about homosexuality. The GLF was invited to send a delegation a Panther convention in Philadelphia, and Sylvia was chosen as part of the delegation. Huey even remembered her from a demonstration in New York.

In late 1971, GAA succeeded, after lobbying and protesting, in getting the New York City Council's General Welfare committee to discuss the problem’s faced by gays and transvestites. GAA equivocated and for a while agreed to removal of transvestite protections. However it ultimately endorsed them. Lee Brewster, Bebe, and Sylvia argued that transvestites “were being used as scapegoats by the gay movement” seeking to explain its failure to get the asked-for protections. Sylvia, usually an extemporaneous speaker, her face bruised after a confrontation with police at a recent demonstration, wore a conservative dress and her hair in a bun, and read in muted fashion, a statement based on STAR’s platform.

After her starring role in The Queen, and at the Cannes Film Festival, Harlow, now known as Rachel Harlow, had a few other minor film roles. Especially in Philadelphia, she became a night-life personality. Bar owner Stanley Rosenbleeth opened Harlow's in the Old City area in 1970, with Rachel as hostess. The place was an immediate sensation. A short time later, a second Harlow's was opened in Atlantic City. There were also interviews, endorsements, modeling jobs and television appearances.

Yugoslav film director Dusan Makavjev filmed scenes with Jackie Curtis that were to be incorporated in his WR: Mysteries of the Organism.

Jack Doroshow/Flawless Sabrina was a special advisor on film Myra Breckinridge. Candy Darling and Rachel Harlow had petitioned for the role but it went to Raquel Welch, a cis actress.

  • Jackie Curtis’ play Femme Fatale, with Patti Smith, Jayne County and Penny Arcade.
  • Jackie Curtis’ play Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit with Holly Woodlawn.
  • Arthur Bell & Sylvia Rivera. “Chris: Gay Prisoner in Bellevue”. Gay Flames, Nov 14, 1970: 1,2,7.
  • Paul Morrissey (dir). Trash, with Joe Dallesandro & Holly Woodlawn. US 110 mins 1970.
  • Win Chamberlain (dir). Brand X with Taylor Mead & Candy Darling. US 87 mins 1970.


Richard Green, Ivar Lovaas and George Rekers headed the “Feminine Boy Project”, funded by NIMH to at least $1.5 million. In retrospect the project was criticized for its valuation of gender conformity, and it attempts to get boys to conform. Although mainly located at UCLA in Los Angeles, work was also done at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the Roosevelt Institute in New York City, The Fuller Theological Seminary and the Logos Research Institute.

Roberto Granato, urologist, age 46, an immigrant from Argentina started doing vaginoplasties and phalloplasties. He did about 800 before retiring in 1985.

Dr David Wesser taught and practiced surgery in the New York area, usually at the Yonkers Professional Hospital. He also had an office at east 86th St and Park Avenue. His first transsexual patients were those who had had surgery elsewhere, and corrections were needed.

Dr Benito Rish was named to the advisory board of Reed Erickson’s Erickson Education Foundation, and was subsequently on the list of surgeons sympathetic to transsexuals issued by EEF.

March: A Conference of Gay Liberation was held at Rutgers University in New Jersey, with forums on sadism, masochism, and leather; bisexuality; and transvestism. Speakers from STAR, Queens Liberation Front and GAA addressed the inaugural event on transvestism.

Psychoanalyst Ethel Person was introduced to Harry Benjamin and Charles Ihlenfeld. She spent time in their office interviewing patients. Person and her colleague Lionel Ovesey also sought confirmation for their work by visiting pornography shops and reading trans publications.

Ed/Edna, 60, a retired tugboat captain had become the superintendent of a rental building. He fell in love with Clair, one of his tenants, a completed transsexual. He detransitioned to become her lover, and was devastated when she left him for a truck driver. To cope with the resulting depression, Edna restarted hormones and dressing full-time. Again he rented to a completed trans woman, Janet. Again he reverted to male, and became her lover. After Ed’s original wife died, he married Janet, and lived happily with her until she also died ten years later. He was then 85.

Edna subscribed to Transvestia magazine, and through that discovered transvestite social groups. Edna introduced Person to these socials: “it was at these events that I gained some of my deeper insights into the subjective meaning to transvestites of their participation in that world”.

One of the transsexuals included in the Person-Ovesey study was Elizabeth (194? - 2014) – author of the Notes from the T Side blog. She wrote
Harry Benjamin “in 1970 -71 asked me to talk to a Dr. Ethel Person as part of a study and I agreed although I am inherently distrustful of shrinks but I found her pleasant and quite nice and we became friendly. When the study was published I was stunned to be honest. ... We talked about our lives as children until the current time and at the time I was 24 and had close to enough money for surgery. In point of fact Harry might have been more upset by the study than anyone. I am posting this to refute what they found because as one of the participants in the study I walked into her office and asked her where I fit in late 1974 and she said Secondary because I liked boys so I was a homosexual transsexual where by Harry's definition I was a Type VI high intensity transsexual and according to Harry the study was bogus.”

Zelda Suplee of EEF was part of the First National Conference on Religion and the Homosexual, which took part in New York, and several time attended police conventions where EEF pamphlets were distributed.

The EEF sponsored the production of a 28-minute documentary, I am Not This Body, which featured a discussion in the EEF office between Zelda Suplee, Leo Wollman, two trans women and actress Pamela Lincoln (who was purportedly seeking information about transsexuals). Suplee and Wollman had previously known each other through their mutual interest in hypnosis.

Zelda introduced film-maker Doris Wishman, whom she had known since Diary of a Nudist, to Dr Leo Wollman, which resulted in the film Adam or Eve.

There were tragedies among the people at STAR House. One transvestite, June, died after drinking her mixture of methadone and alcohol. In March, Marsha P Johnson was overwhelmed when her husband, Cantrell, was shot dead while out to get money so that they could buy drugs. Sylvia, who had started heroin when in Riker’s Island prison, eventually locked herself in Marsha’s place and went cold turkey during several excruciating days.

July: mafia landlord Mike Umbers came around to STAR House about the three months rent that he had not received. Bubbles mumbled something about the cost of repairs. Umbers said that if he didn’t get his money, Bubbles was as good as dead. Sylvia screamed that if he killed her, she would go to the police. Bubbles skipped town soon after. Umbers decided against violence and simply had STAR put out on the street for non-payment of rent. Sylvia and the others reversed the improvements and threw the refrigerator out of the back window. Arthur Bell wrote an article for the Village Voice about STAR House.
STAR “is mainly into whoring and radical politics. Their philosophy is to destroy the system that’s fucking us over. They’re a sub-culture unaccepted within the subculture of transvestism and looked down at in horror by many of the women and men in the homosexual liberation movement. Sylvia and Marsha and Bambi and Andorra with their third world looks and their larger-than-life presences and their cut-the-crap tongues do not ‘fit’ at a GAA meeting. ‘We don’t relate to each other,’ says Sylvia. Marsha says, ‘Why should I go to their dances? No one asks me to dance. I freak them out.’ S.T.A.R. didn’t do too well with the Gay Liberation Front toward the end, either. The S.T.A.R.s relate very well to themselves, and to a certain segment of the ‘live and let live’ street people. But by and large, they’re the great unwanteds.”
Perhaps he said too much about how the inhabitants hustle. Its publication was followed by a flurry or arrests on 42nd St.

Sylvia found temporary refuge with friends on 109th Street. Marsha returned to her 211 Eldridge Street apartment that once again became S.T.A.R.’s de facto address.

Paula Grossman, music teacher in nearby New Jersey (Meryl Streep had been a student), transitioned and was suspended.

John Wojtowicz met Liz Eden at an Italian feast, and married her in a Catholic ceremony in December (despite being already married).

M.T. had socially transitioned at age 14, and had the same boyfriend, J.T. since 1964. Charles Ihlenfeld arranged surgery, and for her New York birth certificate to be revised. The next year the couple married and lived in Hackensack, NJ.

Artists Vaughn Bode and Catherine Jones shared a studio in Woodstock, NY, and did cross-dressing together

Lyn Raskin's 1971 autobiography, Diary of a Transsexual uses the pseudonym "Dr Len Williams" for Dr Wollman. He sent her to Dr Burou in Casablanca for surgery.

Patricia Morgan’s criminal lover escaped from prison. He had changed so much that she did not love him anymore. He was re-arrested.

Tracy Gale Norman, from Newark, had started going to the Ball scene in Harlem, where she became known as Tracy from New Jersey. She was encouraged by friends to attend a modeling event at the Pierre Hotel in New York where she was discovered by renowned photographer Irving Penn and booked for Vogue Italia a few days later. During the last session, the hair dresser's assistance, who was from the same part of New Jersey and had been asking around trying to figure out who Tracy was, spoke to the editor and spread the word that Tracy 'was not female'. Work in New York dried up.

Lee Brewster and the Queens Liberation Front started publishing Drag: A Magazine About the Transvestite, one of the more political transgender publications of the 1970s, which ran for 10 years. Initially Lee was the editor, and then Bebe Scarpie took over. Vicky West did the covers and illustrated stories in the magazine. Initially the cover illustrations were Vicky's versions of herself in different situations, but then she started doing other people.

Bebe also had a career as a high school teacher. It was commented that she looked like a middle-class lady. Bebe would be the first known trans woman to become a school principal.

Drag Magazine also evolved into Lee's Mardi Gras Boutique. Vicky was often to be found there, but always as Dirk. The Boutique was in business for 30 years at various locations around Manhattan, carrying a large stock of clothes, prosthetics and books. In addition to individual clients, the shop supplied costumes for Broadway, television and movies, in particular To Wong Foo and The Birdcage.
Often Chris Moore, ex soldier and merchant seaman, and ex Jewel Box Revue, won the Most Outstanding Performance award at drag balls. Chris was a constant at QLF parties.

November: the androgynously-dressed Bebe was called to testify before the New York City Council's General Welfare committee. The Gay Activist reported:
" 'Bebe' Scarpi, a transvestite in male attire, gave testimony on the minority group, he pointed out that transvestites used the men's room because they 'd been warned they would be subject to arrest if they entered the ladies room. And even transvestites had to heed the call of nature. Bebe, a student at Queens College, gave what amounted to a short course on the lifestyle and problems of transvestites with such charm, ready wit and intelligence, that even the Councilmen appeared beguiled. … Chairman Sharison seemed unable to comprehend that some transvestites were heterosexual. He wanted to know whether Bebe believed transvestites would be protected by Intro 475. 'Only as a homosexual, not as a transvestite', Bebe explained, and perhaps the councilman would care to enact legislation protecting the transvestite."

At a third hearing in December, policemen were posted outside the ladies' rooms to prevent 'transvestites' from using them. Bebe, definitely not androgynous that day, asked the policeman what he was doing, and then went in and did her business. On the way out she commented to the policeman that he had not checked her. The New York Mattachine Times complained that transvestites were jeopardizing the bill with their restroom behavior.

Debbie Hartin made a stir by being featured on local cable television and in Screw magazine. Both appearances included a clear view of her vagina. Later, in March the Queens Liberation Front presented themselves in a class on homosexuality at New York University, where Debbie also spoke. Later Debbie spoke about her problems with ‘her family, her neighbors and her daughter’ at a meeting that was supposed to be the inaugural meeting of Transsexuals Anonymous held at the office of Dr Benito Rish. That same year she was on the New York David Susskind Show, and later was filmed being interviewed and examined by Leo Wollman. Again this examination included a close-up of her vagina. The segment would be eventually incorporated in the 1978-released film Born A Man... Let Me Die A Woman. Debbie was living with her parents at that time.

A revision to the New York City Health Code was adopted unanimously to incorporate the existing practice that a re-issued birth certificate for a transsexual should not indicate the applicant’s sex.

Andy Warhol had been taping private telephone conversations, and he arranged for them to be transcribed and arranged into a play, that became called Pork. Wayne County was to play a character based on Viva. The play got a big write-up in The New York Times, and it was taken to England.

Back in New York Wayne got a gig as the house DJ at Max's Kansas City, and did some more theatre. While playing a transvestite revolutionary in a play, Wayne though about forming a band, which became Queen Elizabeth, which took a lot of ideas from the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and Jackie Curtis and put them to music. They played with the New York Dolls and at Max's.

November: San Francisco’s drag troupe The Cockettes were in New York, and celebrities John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Liza Minnelli, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Angela Lansbury, Andy Warhol Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling attended the first show. However many walked out. Gore Vidal quipped, "Having no talent is not enough."
  • Avery Willard. Female Impersonation. Regiment Publications, 1971. Online.
  • Lyn Raskin. Diary of a Transsexual. Olympia Press, 1971.
  • Alan J Pkula (dir).  Klute with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, and with Candy Darling in a small role. US 114 mins 1971. A prostitute murder mystery.
  • Mervyn Nelson (dir). Some of My Best Friends Are ..., with Candy Darling. US 110 mins 1971. A group of sad people in a mafia-run gay bar, on Christmas Eve.
  • Mario Monicelli (dir). La Mortadella starring Sophia Loren with Candy Darling in a small part. Italy 97 mins 1971.
  • Dusan Makavjev (dir), WR: Mysteries of the Organism with Jackie Curtis. Yugoslavia 84 mins 1971.
  • Jackie Curtis’ play Vain Victory: Vicissitudes of the Damned.
  • Jackie Curtis’ play: Heaven Grand in Vain Victory: The Vicissitudes of the Damned, with Candy Darling.
  •  Candy Darling was in Tennessee William's play Small Craft Warnings after impressing Tennessee at his birthday party.
  • Bob Roberts (dir). The Love Thrill Murders/Sweet Savior, with Tobi Marsh as a hair-dresser in drag who is killed. US 92 mins 1971. 
  • Paul Morrisey (dir). Women in Revolt, with Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn. US 97 mins 1971. Sometimes referred to as Blonde on a Bum Trip, in reference to Candy’s character.
  • Doris Wishman (dir) Adam or Eve. With Leo Wollman. Cinematography by Susan Malick. This was later recut as Born a Man … Let Me Die a Woman, 1978.


Rachel Harlow had completion surgery.

Wendy Carlos had completion surgery, but still went in male drag to meet Stanley Kubrick and appear on television.

Diane Kearny was referred by Charles Ihlenfeld and had completion surgery with Roberto Granato.

Rupert Raj had his mastectomy from Dr Wesser.

14 March: STAR, QLF, GAA and other groups went to the New York State Capital, Albany to demonstrate for repeal of laws against sodomy, solicitation and impersonation as well as to ask for housing and employment protections. Sylvia Rivera and Kate Millet were among the speakers.

Future doctor Dana Beyer, then a student, came to the Johns Hopkins Clinic but found the intake application so off-putting that she fled before seeing a doctor.

Dr Benito Rish was sued for malpractice in silicone injections.

Ex-Stonewall manager Ed Murphy founded the Christopher Street Festival committee, and by 1974 succeeded in reversing the direction of the march so that it ended in the Village so that the crowds would go on to drink in mafia bars.

August 22: John Wojtowicz and two others attempted to rob a Chase Manhattan Bank branch at 450 Ave P, Brooklyn. Wojtowicz held the bank employees hostage, and gave his reason as paying for Liz Eden’s sex change. Liz was in hospital at the time under her male persona following an overdose of barbiturates, and knew nothing of the plan.

Crystal Labeija founded the House of Labeija; the scene that was to become the voguing balls of the 1980s was evolving.

Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson were organizing transvestites with STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries).

Drag queen Herman Slater and his husband, both witches, opened the Warlock Shop in Brooklyn Heights.

After Stonewall, the business at the 82 Club drifted away, when people could be more open on the streets. At this time the club was run by two butch dykes, Tommy who worked the door and Butchie who ran the bar. As the club had an outcast image, punk and early glitter and glam kids started going there from 1972. Another Pretty Face was the house band in 1973.
  • Werner Schroeter (dir).  Der Tod der Maria Malibran with Magdalena Montezuma and Candy Darling. West Germany 104 mins 1972.
  • Theodore Gershuny (dir). Silent Night, Bloody Night/Night of the Dark Full Moon with Candy Darling, Jack Smith, Ondine, Mary Woronov. US 81 mins 1972.
  • Robert J Kaplan (dir). Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers. With Holly Woodlawn. US 82 mins 1972.
  • Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side”: “Holly came from miami f.l.a./ Hitch-hiked her way across the u.s.a. … Candy came from out on the island/ In the backroom she was everybodys darling … Jackie is just speeding away/ Thought she was james dean for a day …. She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side/I said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side/ And the coloured girls say”.


The American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

Charles Ihlenfeld came out as gay. His boss Benjamin was surprised but then became supportive.

Leo Wollman was an associate of Michael Salem, the cis-heterosexual who ran a boutique in New York and a mail-order service for transvestites. Wollman advised re colors and lingerie styles. He also helped Salem write his 1973 book How to Impersonate a Woman. He then sent copies to what he called "the clown-transvestites": Milton Berle, Tony Curtis, Johnny Carson, Flip Wilson, George Burns, Jack Benny.

John Wojtowicz, sentenced to 20 years in a federal penitentiary for bank robbery, sold his story to Warner Bros. for $7,500 and 1% of the net profit - it was filmed as Dog Day Afternoon. He had to sue (from prison) to get the money. He gave Liz Eden $2,500 for completion surgery, which she had with Dr Rish.

The National Gay Task Force was founded. Bebe Scarpinato was on the originating Board.

Bebe was also active in organizing the fourth Christopher Street Liberation Day (the precursor of Pride). She even went to the 82 Club and got the remaining showgirls, in full regalia, to march behind an 82 Club banner. Prominent were International Chrysis and Jean Chandler. Old style performer Ty Bennett was conveyed in a convertible. Sylvia Rivera and Bebe led the parade.
Lee in tiara, Sylvia in jumpsuit

Sylvia, wearing a jumpsuit that had belonged to the now deceased June from Star House, and not a listed speaker, pushed her way on to the stage, and gave an impassioned speech for Gay Power:
“They’ve been beaten up and raped. And they have had to spend much of their money in jail to get their self home and to try to get their sex change. The women have tried to fight for their sex changes or to become women of the Women’s Liberation and they write S.T.A.R., not the women’s group. They do not write women. They do not write men. They write S.T.A.R. because we’re trying to do something for them.”
Jean O’Leary of the Lesbian Feminist Liberation insisted on an opportunity to reply. She asserted biological sex, and that Sylvia was “a genital male”. She read a statement on behalf of 100 women that read, in part,
"We support the right of every person to dress in the way that she or he wishes. But we are opposed to the exploitation of women by men for entertainment or profit."
She was booed and MC, Vito Russo, the film historian, asked the crowd to let her continue. Lee Brewster, jumped onstage and responded,
"You go to bars because of what drag queens did for you, and these bitches tell us to quit being ourselves!”
The situation was calmed only when performer Bette Midler took to the stage and sang.

All this angry public confrontation left Sylvia in such a state that she attempted suicide.

Kimberly Barreiro from Cuba, raised in New York, fully transitioned with surgery less than a year after she joined TAO in Miami. She married Steve Elliot and they became involved in Art Kleps' Neo-American Church at Millbrook, New York which was based on the use of psychedelic drugs.

Puerto Rican Soraya Santiago had surgery with Dr Rish.

Dr Rish was sued for malpractice in surgery.

The balls that Lee Brewster had organized had continued until 1973 – the last one was attended by the real versions of Jacqueline Susann, Carol Channing and Shirley MacLaine.

Chris Moore was diagnosed with cancer. She was able to fight it for over five years. Lee Brewster put on a special ball for Chris so that she could perform and be the star, and Vicky West drew her for the cover of Drag magazine.

++ Lottie and Crystal LaBeija founded the House of Labeija with a ball at the Up the Down Stairs.

Debbie Hartin had been able to get her name and sex changed on her baptismal certificate and certificate of discharge from the navy. She applied to get the same changes on her New York birth certificate. As per established New York practice, the name was changed but sex left blank. Despite the fact that this practice had been previously tested in court in 1966, and subsequently incorporated into the New York City Health Code, Debbie sued the Director of the Bureau of Records in that she was not issued a revised birth certificate saying ‘female’ and that this was arbitrary and capricious and constituted an abuse of discretion. However the court denied her suit ruling that the Board had acted in a rational manner and made no error with regard to their own rules. They cited the 1966 precedent.

The New York City Council's General Welfare committee was still blocked in its attempt to pass a bill to ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing and public accommodation. To get it passed, an amendment was proposed that nothing in the definition of sexual orientation “shall be construed to bear upon the standards of attire or dress code". Bebe Scarpinato, as QLF director, was put in the uncomfortable position of submitting to this wording or seeing the bill fail.

Female Mimics was relaunched as International Female Mimics in 1973, the first issue featured Kim Christy winning a Los Angeles beauty contest.
  • Patricia Morgan as told to Paul Hoffman. The Man-maid Doll. Lyle Stuart, 1973.
  • Gilles Larrain. Idols. Links, 1973. A book of photographs of New Yorkers. Alexis Del Lago was on the cover.
  • Michael Salem. How to Impersonate a Woman; A Handbook for the Male Transvestite.: M. Salem Enterprises, 1973.
  • Carolyn Heilbrun. Towards a Recognition of Androgyny. Knopf, 1973. Heilbrun was a professor at New York’s Columbia University. The book is only a tepid proposal to avoid gender extremes. Camille Paglia, then a graduate student reviewed it: “Heilbrun’s book is so poorly researched that that it may disgrace the subject in the eyes of serious scholars”.
  • Vaughn Bodé. Schizophrenia. Last Gasp Eco Funnies 1973.  Bodé’s Last work. It included a confessional running below a collection of Cheech Wizard strips. He describes himself as “auto-sexual, heterosexual homosexual, mano-sexual, sado-sexual, trans-sexual, uni-sexual, omni-sexual..”.
  • TV Series The Corner Bar. Episode “Mixed Doubles” featured Jackie Curtis.
  • TV series An American Family, #1.2 featured Jackie Curtis.


Eugene Hoff was introduced to the Harry Benjamin practice, possibly by Wardell Pomeroy of the Kinsey Institute. Hoff was a guest on the NBC television program Not for Women Only where he explained transsexualism from a medical viewpoint referring to trans women as 'men' as was the then practice.:
"You can say that you know that you are a woman, therefore you want to be one. But no woman I have ever asked has been able to tell me what that means, and I doubt that transsexuals will be the first to define it."
In a paper with John Hoopes, psychiatrist Jon Meyer, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic, wrote:
“Most of the patients continue to be emotionally and socially much the same as they were in the pre-operative phase”.
Dr Benito Rish was sued for malpractice in surgery.

Luis Suria, then aged 45, was in transition to female. She was an unlicensed school teacher, who had not worked steadily since 1961, but held sporadic employment as a commercial artist. She visited Dr Felix Shiffman and also Dr Rish, mainly the former, in June/July 1974 and again in December and underwent injections of free silicone to acquire female breasts.

23-year-old future intersex-cum-HSTS activist Denise Tree (Kiira Triea) had surgery with Dr Howard Jones at Johns Hopkins after years of therapy from Dr Money.

Bebe Scarpinato attended a feminist conference where Jill Johnston, mother of two and author of Lesbian Nation, had proposed that mothers neglect to care for male babies. Bebe, from the question line, accused Johnston of being a neo-fascist and dictating to women as well as to men. At this point Bebe was recognized from earlier encounters.

M.T.s husband left, and she filed for support. He replied that was ‘was a male and the marriage was void’. The judge ruled that the plaintiff was female, and ordered $50-a-week support payments.

Garrett Oppenheim, an acquaintance of Leo Wollman, had been running Confide Personal Counseling Services with his wife. They specialized in advice to transvestites, and put out a 54-minute cassette giving advice on hormones and make up for $12. They had sold 100. Benjamin, Ihlenfield, Green and Money were listed on his board of directors.

Gloria Hemingway was living as man in New York. He was a doctor and married to his father’s last secretary. In 1974 he read Jan Morris’ Conundrum, and talked about having the same surgery.

Georgia Ziadie, from Jamaica and living in New York, met Lord Colin Campbell. They were engaged on the first night, married within a week, and divorced a year later. She used his name, ie Lady Colin Campbell, on the books that she later published.

Candy Darling died: some say as a side effect of the particular hormones that she was taking; others say of leukemia.

October: The former firehouse at 99 Wooster St, the headquarters of the Gay Activists Alliance was destroyed by Arson

Mafia associate Gerald Cohen founded the Gilded Grape at 719 8th Ave. He was quoted:
“Drag queens, tranvestites came to my place. I had a market and I served them. The only people I didn’t let in were whores. I’ve been harassed by the SLA and the police. Once a cop told me they kept the pressure on me because the ‘establishment’ didn’t like drag queens. My lawyer has been fighting all the way. I wanted to stand by my customers. They’ve got a right to be that way.”
It was from the Gilded Grape that Andy Warhol recruited models for his Ladies and Gentlemen (The Drag Queen Paintings) series. They were paid $50 and Andy took polaroids. They were not shown as such in the US, but in September 1975 were exhibited in Italy.

Rachel Humphreys, was a regular at Max’s Kansas City and the 82 Club. She met rock singer Lou Reed. He took her home, and his then current girlfriend moved out. Reed said “Rachel knows how to do it for me. No one else ever did before. Rachel’s something else”.  She appeared on the inner sleeve of Sally Can’t Dance.

The New York Dolls started to perform at the 82 Club. For their first show, April 17, 1974, they performed in drag, except for Johnny Thunders who refused. They were followed by Wayne County (later to be Jayne) and short-lived glitter bands like Teenage Lust and Harlots of 42nd Street. David Bowie, and Lou Reed and Rachel were encountered there.

New Jersey Appeals Court upheld Paula Grossman’s dismissal as a teacher.

Ajita Wilson had started transition.  After surgery she appeared in adult films, and went on to become a film star in Europe.
  • Robert Bogdan (ed). On Being Different: The Autobiography of Jane Fry. John Wiley & Sons, 1974. Not really an autobiography, rather an edited condensation from 100 hours of interviews in Bogden’s office. Place and person names are replaced by pseudonyms. Fry is 27 and still pre-op at the end of the book.
  • Roberto C. Granato. “Surgical approach to male transsexualism”. Urology. 1974 Jun; 3(6):792-6. PMID: 4836347
  •  Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “The transsexual syndrome in males I: primary transsexualism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974: 4-20.
  • Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “The transsexual syndrome in males II: secondary transsexualism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974: 174-193.