This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

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

28 February 2019

A black trans woman in 1960s New Jersey

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

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

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

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

27 February 2019

Ira M Dushoff (1931 – 2013) plastic surgeon

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

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

A full story does not seem to be available.

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

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

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

Also in 1975, a 15-year-old trans boy in Tennessee wrote to Charles Ihlenfeld, then with Harry Benjamin's practice in New York.
“I don’t know what to do next. I need to make my life as normal as possible . . . sometimes I get so depressed I just don’t get whether I live or not but I’m still hanging on coz I’m gonna get help.” 
While the general practice in Benjamin’s office had been to dismiss pleas from children, Ihlenfeld wrote back and suggested contacting Dr Dushoff, although with the caveat:
“Of course, no ethical physician will treat you without the consent and cooperation of your parents”. 
Gill-Petersen notes that the GIA operated without the constraints of university clinics:
“It is possible that Ihlenfeld felt that the trans boy who had written him would have better luck accessing hormones or surgery options at a clinic formed in many ways with that privatized goal in mind, especially if parental support was insecure”.
Ira Dushoff continued working as a plastic surgeon. He published a few papers on various types of surgery but, apart from the 1973 conference paper, nothing on transsexual surgery.

He died age 82.
  • “In Jacksonville”. Erickson Educational Foundation Newsletter, Fall 1972: 4. Online.
  • Ira M. Dushoff, “Economic, Psychologic and Social Rehabilitation of Male and Female Transsexuals Prior to Surgery,” Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Gender Dysphoria Syndrome, ed. Donald R. Laub and Patrick Gandy (Stanford: Division of Reconstructive and Rehabilitation Surgery, 1973), 197-204.
  • Fourth International Conference on Gender Identity in March 1975, hosted by the Stanford GIC. Online.
  • Letter from Judy Jennings of the GIA to Lou Sullivan. May 12, 1989. Online.
  • Julian Gill-Peterson. Histories of the Trangender Child. University of Minnesota Press, 2018: 172-3, 249n11.

Find a Grave      Professional Papers


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

18 February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 February 2019

Herman Karl Hedwig, a early German pioneer

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

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

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

09 February 2019

More non-fiction books by trans writers

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

Here are some that I missed previously.

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

Willow Arune

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

Raewyn Connell

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

Jane Fae

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

Donna Gee

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

Julia Ann Johnson

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

Roberta Perkins

  • With Garry Bennett. Being a Prostitute: Prostitute Women and Prostitute Men. Allen & Unwin, 1985.
  • A History, Manifesto, and a Report on the Proposed Welfare Services of the Australian Prostitutes' Collective. The Collective, 1985.
  • Female Prostitutes in Visible Prostitution in Inner-City Sydney. The author, 1985.
  • Female Prostitution in Sydney an Overview: An Information Document on Female Prostitution and Prostitute Women of Sydney. Australian Prostitutes Collective (N.S.W.), 1985.
  • "Working Girls": Normality and Diversity Among Female Prostitutes in Sydney. Macquarie University MA Hons Thesis, 1988.
  • Working Girls: Prostitutes, Their Life and Social Control. Australian Inst. of Criminology, 1991.
  • With G. Prestage, R. Sharp & Frances Lovejoy. Sex Work, Sex Workers in Australia. University of New South Wales Press, 1994.
  • With Frances Lovejoy. Call Girls: Private Sex Workers in Australia. University of Western Australia Press, 2007.

Jay Prosser

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

Carol Riddell.

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

Martine Rothblatt

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

Eleanor Schuler

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