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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



1970

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.



1971


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.

1972


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”.


1973


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.

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.



1974


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.

16 June 2019

The four years leading to 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 Birthda
                                                           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

It is now 50 years since the Stonewall riots.  They became a pivotal event for both trans and gays.  There are a number of commemorative books out this year, but all from the gay perspective.   My June 2011 account is one of only a very few from a trans perspective.

What I am doing here is putting Stonewall in context.   What else what was going on in New York by and/or for trans people in the surrounding years?   I start with 1966 because that is the year of Benjamin's influential book, and continue to 1973 and the contentious pride march when Sylvia Rivera was badly treated, the death of Candy Darling, and with 1974, new beginnings.

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


1966


The decision by the New York Bureau of Records to omit a sex designation from amended birth certificates for transsexuals was tested legally but unsuccessfully in Matter of Anonymous v. Weiner,

Harry Benjamin referred Phyllis Wilson to the new clinic at Johns Hopkins.

Sylvia Rivera was hustling as a woman.   She used a gun on a trick who was beating her.  He later had her arrested and charged.   Ray appeared in court as a clean-cut young man and was acquitted.

Marsha Johnson, 22, from Hoboken and Elizabeth, New Jersey, moved to Manhattan.   Sometimes she worked as a waitress, but usually she worked the streets.  

Spring 1966: the new New York City mayor, John Lindsay, had announced a crackdown on pornography and prostitution. Sylvia, at her usual spot on 9th Avenue and 44th Street was one of many caught in the sweep. Sylvia was put in the gay section in Rikers Island prison. It was here that she started doing heroin. She also met Bambi L’Amour.

After release Sylvia tried female hormones for a while: then stopped.  
“I don’t want to be a woman. I just want to be me. … I like pretending. I like to have the role. I like to dress up and pretend, and let the world think about what I am. Is he, or isn’t he?”
The noted photographer Walter Rutter came and took a series of photographs at Susanna Valenti's transvestite resort Casa Susanna in upstate New York.

Later that year Phyllis Wilson had become a dancer in New York.  Oct 4 a gossip column in the New York Daily News carried the item about her: 
“Making the rounds of the Manhattan clubs these nights is a stunning girl who admits she was male less than a year ago and that she underwent a sex change operation at, of all places, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore”. 
Johns Hopkins made a tactical decision and gave an exclusive to The New York Times, which ran the story on the front page on Nov 21. A press conference was called on the same day, where Edgerton and several colleagues announced at a press conference the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic under the chairmanship of plastic surgeon John Hoopes. They announced that they had already operated on 10 patients, all of whom were happy with the outcome. Three were already married, and three more were engaged.

A black trans girl (born 1948) previously in the New Jersey foster care system, expressed the kinds of statement that a trans girl normally would, and for that was committed to a psychiatric institution.

Holly Woodlawn went to John Hopkins for the operation, but she was denied it in that she had not been in the program for at least a year. She went on a shopping spree instead with the money that her boyfriend had provided for the operation.

Kim Christy and her friend Billy, who was becoming known as International Chrysis and entering pageants and performing, shared a tiny apartment in the area that later became New York's SoHo. They met sex magazine pioneer and editor of Exotique magazine, Lenny Burtman who arranged photo-shoots and other favors. She got to know New York female impersonators such as Tammy Novak, and performed at Club 82 as a stripper and as a showgirl. 

·         Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press, 1966. With a bibliography and appendix by Richard Green.  A close reading.   The seminal work that defines the field for decades to come.   


1967


The Harry Benjamin Foundation presented eight separate papers at a meeting at the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences on January 16, 1967, mainly considering etiology based on pre and post examinations of Benjamin's patients. Robert  Stoller,  Richard Green, Herbert Kupperman, Wardell Pomeroy, John Money, Ruth Doorbar, Leo Wollman and Henry Guze presented papers, based on their work with the HBF.


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

Over 700 desperate transsexuals wrote and implored the doctors at the Johns Hopkins Clinic to help them. However the Clinic would approve for surgery only those whom they unanimously deemed to be ‘good candidates’. They often chose to err on the side of wait-and-see, recommending therapy rather than progressing a patient on to surgery.

Dr Edgerton adopted and adapted Burou's penile inversion method of vaginoplasty.

April: Mauricio Archibald, en femme, having been to a masquerade party, was on a New York subway platform waiting for a train. A police officer charged him as being a vagrant in violation of subdivision 7 of section 887 which forbids a disguise "in a manner calculated to conceal his being identified". He was tried and convicted.  See also Felicity Chandelle, who had been convicted under the same law three years earlier.  Neither Virginia Prince nor Siobhan Fredericks arranged help as they had done for Felicity.

September: Section 105 of chapter 681 of the Laws of 1967, which chapter repealed section 887 came into effect as of September 1, 1967, "provided that the newly enacted sections were not to apply or govern the prosecution for any offense committed prior to the effective date of the act".  

One-year-old Bruce Reimer from Manitoba was brought to see Dr Money after losing his penis in a botched circumcision, and was surgically reassigned to female as Brenda, and continued annual visits for almost 10 years, until Brenda began to refuse, and started to change back to male as David.

Phyllis Wilson’s marriage in Baltimore was reported in Jet Magazine.

Ray Rivera (Sylvia) was called to the draft board.   She proclaimed “I know I like men. I know I like to wear dresses. But I don’t know what any problem is”, was rejected and was still able to get a lift home.  

Eddie Dame, a cross-dresser since early childhood, was best man when his lover of four years married a women (Eddie and the lover had sex the night before and continued to do so occasionally until 1982 when the lover was seriously ill).   Eddie then went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and bought a full set of female clothing. Back in New York Eddie started going out dressed female. 

Flawless Sabrina/Jack Doroshow had organized 46 Nationals Pageants a year from 1959-1967, including the annual Miss Philadelphia contest held at the Hotel Philadelphia (now demolished) at Broad and Vine Stree, which was won in 1967 by the 19-year-old Rachel Harlow.

Flawless Sabrina held the Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant.  Miss Philadelphia (Rachel Harlow) was the winner;   Mis Manhatten (Crystal Labeija) staged a tantrum.  Kim Christy and International Chrysis were in the chorus line.  Minette and Mario Montez performed songs.   Dorian Corey, Jackie Curtis, Andy Warhol and Terry Southern were also present.  

Wayne County (the future Jayne) arrived in New York for the first time, and survived by meeting people in the Stonewall Inn.   However  he returned to Atlanta come September as could not afford a winter coat.

Siobhan FredericksTurnabout magazine for transvestites ceased publication.
 
Valerie Solanas, masculine woman and room-mate of Candy Darling, wrote the SCUM Manifesto Scum stood for Society for Cutting up Men.  She commented on male transvestites: 
“Women, in other words, don't have penis envy; men have pussy envy. When the male accepts his passivity, defines himself as a woman (males as well as females think men are women and women are men), and becomes a transvestite he loses his desire to screw (or to do anything else, for that matter; he fulfills himself as a drag queen) and gets his dick chopped off. He then achieves a continuous diffuse sexual feeling from `being a woman'. Screwing is, for a man, a defense against his desire to be female.”
Pudgy Roberts  was a New York female impersonator most famous in the late 1960s. He also wrote two novels, an how-to book, and edited a monthly magazine, The Great Female Mimics.

·         Andy Milligan (dir)  Compass Rose, with Minette.  US 73 mins 1967.
·         Jackie Curtis play:   Glamour, Glory and Gold.   Performed by Candy Darling and Robert De Niro.  
·         Pudgy Roberts.  Female Impersonator’s Handbook.  Capri Publishers, 1967
·         Bob Clarke (dir).  She-Man. With Hans Crystal and Dorian Wayne. US 68 mins 1967.  Bad transvestites blackmail men into feminization.  
·         The Rolling Stones in the song “Citadel” on Their Satanic Majesties Request: “Candy and Taffy, hope we both are well/Please come see me in the citadel”



1968


Leo Wollman  was on the WBI Boston television channel with Virginia Prince.

Renée Richards met with John Money at Johns Hopkins, but at the end was told that Johns Hopkins was not accepting any more transsexual patients at that time.

Dr Stanley Biber, in Colorado, contacted the Johns Hopkins Clinic for advice on how to do gender corrective surgery.   He was supplied with diagrams based on Dr Burou’s penile inversion method.

The most prominent patient in the Gender Identity Clinic was writer Dawn Langley Hall who had surgery in 1968, married an African-American the next year, and publicly announced the birth of a daughter in 1971 (a claim that the Gender Identity Clinic said was “definitely impossible”).

Erica Kay had surgery with Dr Benito Rish.

Lee Brewster, from West Virginia, who had been fired from the FBI finger-printing section because of suspicions that he might be gay, had arrived in New York, and started organizing drag balls as fund raisers for the Mattachine Society.

Eddie Dames joined Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and had a part in When Queens Collide.  The troupe gave him the name Bunny Eisenhower.  

Wayne County met photographer Leee Childers and they shared a coldwater walkup.  Later Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn moved in.

June 3. Valerie Solanas, shot Andy Warhol three times.  He was pronounced clinically dead. The doctors managed to revive him and operated for 5 1/2 hours, removing his spleen. Warhol was in critical condition but survived.

At approximately 8:00 pm, Valerie walked up to a traffic cop near Times Square and surrendered.  She was arrested and later taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric examination.

A photograph of Kim and Chrysis appeared in Female Mimics.

Flawless Sabrina/Jack Doroshaw was special advisor for gay and trans aspects on John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy.

Schlesinger’s new lover, photographer Michael Childers -- an old friend of Morrisey -- negotiated for a bunch of Factory regulars to be in the film’s party scene.  They each got $25 a day, but were left sitting around and became very bored, and only a few of them appeared very briefly in the film.  Schlesinger’s film was the first notable Hollywood film to tell of hustlers and the underground countercultural life.  Warhol, still in hospital, spoke on the phone to Morrissey,  and admitted jealousy that his material was being stolen.   They had made a film, My Hustler, in 1965.  Warhol suggested the Morrissey make a similar film, and have it out before Schlesinger’s, and use whoever had not been sent to Midnight Cowboy.   This Morrissey did.  He shot the film, Flesh, over six weekends, and for less than four thousand dollars (compared to $3 million for Midnight Cowboy).   He again used Joe Delasandro, as a hustler called Joe, and he included two trans actresses who had not been in the bunch sent to Midnight Cowboy: Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling.   During their short scene, they sit reading Hollywood magazine, commenting on the articles while Joe gets a blow job. The film opened at the New Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre in the last week of September 1968 and played there for seven months before moving to the 55th Street Playhouse in May, 1969. At the Garrick, its average gross was $2,000 per week, making $10,000-12,000 during the first six weeks.

A troupe of street queens, with varying membership sometimes camped out in the parkette opposite the Stonewall tavern.   It was a tough life.  One drugged-out queen fell asleep on a rooftop and came close to death with third-degree sun burn;  ‘cross-eyed Cynthia’ (?=Wanda) died when she was pushed out of a window of the St George Hotel in Brooklyn; another, Sylvia (not Rivera) jumped off its roof; Dusty ‘ugly as sin, never out of drag, very funny, big mouth’ who was careless about the term she used to refer to an African-American and was stabbed to death.

Sandy, a Yale-educated lawyer, was 6'5" (1.96m). He liked to say that he was five foot 17 inches. He was a regular in both Virginia Prince's FPE organization in New York, where he rarely wore female clothing, but did show photographs of himself so dressed.  He was also part of the local bondage community.   His lover was the drag performer Tobi Marsh.

David Wilde, who had been a focal point for FPE members in Manhattan, met Joan Bennett (1910-90), the film star and member of the New York acting dynasty, at a party.  When she met David she was appearing in the occult soap opera, Dark Shadows, 1966-71. They would date for ten years. When David told her about his female persona, Gail, she was initially dismayed, but afterwards she was unperturbed. David knew Harry Benjamin and asked him to talk to her about cross-dressing. 

Susanna Valenti responded in her column to Prince’s recent appearance on the Alan Burke television show. Burke pushed the line that a transvestite taking hormones and considering surgery was close to being a transsexual. Prince replied that she would not have the operation for anything. Susanna commented:   “Such a statement marks the boundary between the TV and the TS. The TV rejects the thought of surgery. He enjoys living the two sides of the human coin.”  However she estimated that she personally knew a dozen transvestites who had had surgery. “I met them all before the sex change, and some of them, at first, did not know they were TS’s, they only knew that they enjoyed dressing and would feel much happier as girls than in their male role.”  However she believed that many who did think themselves as transsexuals were mistaken. She also criticized transsexuals as a group as not being able to pass: “Very few of the TS’s I know have learned to move and gesture with that suppleness that is exclusively female”. Later she continued: “Society insists upon females behaving like ladies—and this is where our TS and pseudo TS friends fail in a most regrettable way. I am thinking right now of several instances whereby people continue to ‘read’ a TS as being a man even AFTER the operation”.


Catherine Bruce was photographed by Diane Arbus in both female and male personas.

Joe Tish had been a female impersonator since the early 1950s.   In particular she performed at the Moriccan Village on West 8th St.  In the late 1960 she had a long running show at the Crazy Horse. Tish was one of the few performers who left the club dressed as female. Although refused admission at the Stonewall when so dressed, she had no such problem at uptown straight clubs. 

Alexis Del Lago, from Puerto Rico had studied at the Parsons School of Design, and had started going as female.   She met Jackie Curtis which led to her being introduced to Andy Warhol’s Factory where she was invited to be in one of his films.

Desiree, who had previously hung around the Stonewall Tavern, took up with Petey, a gangster, and they moved to the suburbs as a heterosexual couple.  Petey, in a fit of jealousy, shot and killed her.

++Big Bobby, the bouncer at Tony Pastor's, a mafia gay club at 6th Ave and McDougal St, was the lover of Tony Lee who performed ballet at the club.

October:  Mauricio Archibald appealed to the New York Supreme Court. He contended that a) he could not be a vagrant in that he has visible means of support b) while cross-dressed, he had no intention of committing any illegal act. Judge Markowitz observed that the 1845 law had been updated and readopted, with a more modern aim to discourage “overt homosexuality in public places which is offensive to public morality” as well as disguises used to cover criminal activities.” But Archibald was not engaged in criminal activities, nor was he gay. Mere “masquerading” without harming third parties is not a crime in New York, suggested Judge Markowitz. “If appellant’s conviction was correct then circus clowns, strangely attired ‘hippies,’ flowing-haired ‘yippies’ and every person who would indulge in the Halloween tradition of ‘Trick or Treat’ ipso facto may be targets for criminal sanctions as vagrants. However Judges Streit and Hofstadter rules that the wording of subdivision 7 does not require that the State must establish either a lack of means of support or an intention to commit an illegal act. Thus the conviction was affirmed.

Edward Sagarin, who had published The Homosexual in America, 1951 as Donald Cory, wrote a paper "Ideology as a Factor in the Consideration of Deviance" for The Journal of Sex Research, in which he made the commonplace observation that scientists are not always as objective as they should be. In the section he named "Normal Necrophiles and Transsexuals", he quotes Harry Benjamin finding "no evidence of serious mental illness", and replies: "Benjamin describes a condition in which 'the male speaks of his female counterpart as of another person,' but to label this schizophrenia would constitute social condemnation, rather than diagnostic realism" and "One need only read the case histories, written by Benjamin or his collaborators, to note how disturbed are the patients". The Journal allowed Benjamin to reply: "My criticism of Sagarin's contribution is that his own ideology leads him to draw unwarranted conclusions in some (not all) instances, and his tendency to generalize too much".

Patrician but ever controversial novelist, Gore Vidal (1925-2012) produced a novel, Myra Breckinridge, (named for San Francisco transvestite Bunny Breckinridge, and an outgrowth of a proposed sketch for the risqué revue Oh! Calcutta! - itself produced by semi-closeted transvestite, drama Critic Kenneth Tynan).   An exploration of what real-life transsexuality never could be.   Myra, the supposed widow of film critic Myron, is taken on at a Los Angeles acting academy owned by Myron’s uncle, also rapes one of the young men.   After a car accident, Myra reverts back to being Myron.

·         Frank Simon (dir). The Queen, with Flawless Sabrina, Rachel Harlow, Crystal Labeija, Mario Montez, Minette and uncredited in the chorus line:  Kim Christy and International Chrysis.  US 68 mins 1968.  Rachel went to the Cannes International Film Festival with the film and was a center of attention. David Bowie, in his androgynous phase, would cite her influence. 
·         Mart Crowley.  The Boys in the Band.   Dir: Robert Moore.  Premiered Off-Broadway April 14, 1968 and played 1001 performances through September 1970.   Despite its rather old-fashioned view, it was one of the first plays centered on gay men.
·       Jack Smight (dir). No Way to Treat a Lady. Scr: John Gay from a novel by William Goldman, with Rod Steiger and Kim August.  A misogynist serial killer does drag for one killing of a cis woman played by Kim August.  US 108 mins 1968.     One scene shot in the 82 Club. 
·       Andy Milligan (dir).  The Filthy Five. A heterosexual sex film, with Selena Robbins as the stripper who has a threesome with two men.  Robbins was featured prominently on the film’s poster – and incidently was post-op by then. 
·        Paul Morrissey (dir). Lonesome Cowboys with Francis Francine as the transvestite sheriff.  US 109 mins 1968.
·       Avery Willard (dir) Flaming Twenties. With Mario Montez, Minette, Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam, Bill Vehr.  US ? mins 1968
·        Minette.  Come to Me at Tea-Time.  LP, 1968.
·       Jean Marie Stein.  Season of the Witch. Essex House, 1968.   Stein was still pre-transition when she wrote this science fiction of a man, accused of rape, who has his consciousness transferred to the woman’s body.
·       Jackie Curtis’ play Amerika Cleopatra with Harvey Fierstein and Alexis Del Lago.
·       Lou Reed’s song “Sister Ray” – said by some to be about Sylvia/Ray Rivera who was 16 at the time. although the lyrics don't support this.
·       Lou Reed’s song “Lady Godiva’s Operation”.  “Life has made her that much bolder now/ That she [has] found out how/ Dressed in silk, latin lace and envy/ Pride and joy of the latest penny-fare”  -- however the operation ends badly.  



1969


Transsexual pioneer Christine Jorgensen came to Johns Hopkins for corrective surgery. 

Future showgirl Michelle Brinkle ran away to Baltimore intending to register at the Johns Hopkins Clinic, but never did, and ended up at Dr Burou’s Clinic in Casablanca instead.

Psychiatrist Jon Meyer became chairman of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic, and his predecessor, John Hoopes wrote: “The surgery, often considered outrageously excessive and meddlesome by the uninformed, must be undertaken regardless of the censure and taboos of present society”.

Charles Ihlenfeld was a medical internist with an interest in endocrinology when a friend arranged an introduction to the then 84-year-old Dr Harry Benjamin who asked him to cover the office during the summer while Benjamin was in San Francisco. Ihlenfeld learned on the job, and stayed on: 
"I was awed by the courage of people who were willing to risk losing everything to gain the truth of their own lives".
Kim Christy was being kept by an oil tycoon.  She also starting doing photography for Eros Publishing Company, which published Eros, Mode Avantgarde, Hooker and Exposé.

Phoebe Smith, from Atlanta, came to New York after initial surgery with Dr Barbosa in Tijuana, to see Harry Benjamin for a hormone prescription.  She returned in November and Benjamin declared her ready for final surgery.

Terry Noel had been performing at the 82 Club since her operation in 1964.  Later she was a typist.  Then she moved to Virginia and married a naval officer.

Holly Woodlawn talked her way into Paul Morrissey’s Trash, first in a bit part, but then as the female lead (a heroin addict’s girlfriend).  She was paid $25 a day, and ad-libbed many of the lines.   Several Hollywood people petitioned the Academy to nominate her for best actress.

Vicki Strasberg, sex worker, was photographed by Diane Arbus at her birthday party.  

Susanna Valenti, writing her column in Transvestia, took up the concept that had been proposed by Sheila Niles of ‘whole girl fetishist (WGF)’ for members who did not pass well enough, particularly if it were for lack of trying,   Susanna even estimated that the majority of members were WGFs (Transvestia #55, 1969).  Later in the year, despite what she had written the previous year, Susanna Valenti had decided to live full-time as female. She planned to quit her job in the city and run Casa Valenti as a year-round bed-and-breakfast.

Joe Tish was performing in upstate New York. 

June 22: Judy Garland died, age 47 from an overdose. 

June 27: Judy’s funeral.

Edmund White: “I was just walking past Sheridan Square with my close friend Charles Burch the night of the raid. I had stopped going to the Stonewall because it had been taken over by drag queens, whereas before it had been a simple gay cruise bar where people danced to jukebox tunes.”

27/28 June  - 1st night of Stonewall Riots.  The police raid against the Stonewall Tavern hours after the Judy Garland funeral, was co-ordinated by Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine, who used the excuse that the bar was unlicensed. The raid was carried out without the knowledge of the local precinct which was suspected of being on the take. Interpol had recovered negotiated bonds from Wall Street which were turning up in Europe. The bonds were being stolen by Wall St. employees who were victims of a blackmail operation run by Ed Murphy, sometimes called the Skull from his time as a wrestler. Murphy sometimes worked the door, where one task was to hand envelopes to a representative of the Sixth Precinct, rumored to be $1,200 a month. Other times he behaved as if he were the manager of the Stonewall Inn. Murphy had served time for stealing gold from dental offices, and had been arrested previously on blackmail charges, but supposedly had incriminating photographs of J. Edgar Hoover, and the charges had not been pursued. The NYPD figured out that the theft of bonds was tied to blackmail at the Stonewall Inn, and the order went out to shut down the club.  One of the first reported actions that started the riot on the 27th, was that a cop hit a butch female/trans man and that he hit back. It has been debated whether this was Stormé DeLarverie, who was previously the sole male impersonator in the Jewel Box Revue. Deputy Inspector Pine has testified that the first significant resistance that he encountered in the bar was from the transvestites. Allyson Allante, then 14, was arrested, as was Maria Ritter who was there with her friend Kiki to celebrate Maria being 18 and legally able to drink for the first time. Street queen, Birdy Rivera was also there. Diane Kearny was in the area and for a time joined the crowd that was observing events. Tammy Novak was arrested and put in the paddy wagon for drag queens, but escaped in the confusion and ran to Joe Tish's apartment where she holed up for the weekend. A police officer putting Maria Ritter into the paddy wagon had commented that he couldn't believe that she was a boy. She said that she wasn't. As some more trans women were directed in, Maria stepped around them and walked away. The same policeman went to intercept her, but as she broke into tears, waved her to go away. Marsha P. Johnson and Zazu Nova were also active in the riots, and Michelle, Dario Modon and Christine Hayworth were present. Marsha was observed dropping a heavy weight onto a police car. Wayne County met Miss Peaches and Marsha P Johnson on arrival and realized what was going on.  He joined an impromptu march up and down Christopher Street shouting "Gay Power!".  Beat poet Alan Ginsburg lived on Christopher Street and inevitably joined the crowd. Ed Murphy was handcuffed to another man, but they managed to escape into the crowd and took a taxi to an S&M friend who knew how to remove handcuffs. Perhaps the Sixth Precinct cops, already peeved in not knowing about the raid in advance, recognized the man who paid them off.

Apparently Sylvia Rivera was not at the Stonewall Inn at the outbreak of the riots as often been claimed.  Comparing the different accounts, the most likely account is that she had fallen asleep in Bryant Park after taking heroin. (Marsha later went to Bryant Park, found her asleep, and woke her up to tell her about the riots.)

A few weeks later the Gay Liberation Front was formed.  Five months later, the Gay Activists Alliance split from GLF. 

A few months after the riots, the Stonewall Inn closed. The space was occupied in turn by a bagel sandwich shop, a Chinese restaurant, and a shoe store.

September 19:  Leo Wollman was on the Phil Donahue television show to discuss transsexual operations.

In the October 1969 Transvestia Susanna Valenti, announced what she was doing. She had lost the “fabulous thrill” that comes with the transformation from ‘him’ to ‘her’ but it was becoming increasingly agonizing for her to make the switch back to ‘him’. She was criticized for failing to maintain the balance.

John Money conducted a follow-up study of ‘17 male and seven female patients’, and found that after surgery nine patients had improved their occupational status and none declined. “Seven male and three female patients married for the first time” and “All of the 17 are unequivocally sure they have done for themselves the right thing”.

There had been discussion that a book should emerge to embody the findings of the Harry Benjamin Foundation, but this was felt to be too narrow.   In particular that would exclude the important work being done in Europe.   The book, financed again by the Erickson Educational Foundation, eventually came out in 1969.


·         Richard Green and John Money (eds) Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment, with a preface by Reed Erickson, an introduction by Harry Benjamin. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969.  With contributions by Erickson, Money, Green, Stoller, Guze, Pomeroy, Doorbar, Hamburger, Wollman, Sherwin.
  • Avery Willard (dir). Camp Burlesgue. With Pudgy Roberts impersonating Bette David, Carol Channing, Tiny Tim, Marlene Dietrich, Lily Tomlin, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. US 6 mins 1969.
  • Jackie Curtis play: Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit, with Candy Darling.
  • Lou Reed’s song “Candy Says”:  “Candy says, I've come to hate my body/ And all that it requires in this world …. Candy says, I hate the big decisions/ That cause endless revisions in my mind”