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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 who re-write of history to take away even that !!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 29: in response to the increased harassment, GLF, GAA, Radicals Lesbians and other women’s groups 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.

Transvestites and Transsexuals (TAT) was formed by Judy Bowen but lasted only a couple of months. Bowen was quoted as saying that she found the transvestites “too politically radical”.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

++Wanda could wear ordinary male clothes and still come on as womanhood personified. She was a queen who didn’t need drag.  She fell or was pushed out of the fifteenth floor of a hotel in Brooklyn. Since she had no identification, she lay unclaimed in the morgue for several days before friends had been able to trace her down.

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, and organized by Judy Bowen. 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.

Judy Bowen had surgery from Drs George T Whittle and John Clarke at the Jersey Shore Medical Center in 1971. There were complications and then litigation that continued for many years. The Jersey Medical Center discontinued transsexual surgery in response.

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

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

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

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


Rachel Harlow had completion surgery.

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

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

Rupert Raj had his mastectomy from Dr Wesser.

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

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

Dr Benito Rish was sued for malpractice in silicone injections.

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

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

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

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

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

Jimmy Camicia founded the Hot Peaches acting troupe in 1972, with drag as a major component. Marsha P Johnson was an early recruit.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puerto Rican Soraya Santiago had surgery with Dr Rish.

Dr Rish was sued for malpractice in surgery.

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

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

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

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

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

Wilhelmina Ross joined Hot Peaches. They were skeptical about the Warhol Factory scene and satirized it as The Magic Hype drag show, starring the celebrity-obsessed sell-out Randy Whorehall. In another play, Wilhelmina played drag queen superstar Belladella Bosom with the line: “I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, it’s my own game”.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mafia associate Gerald Cohen founded the Gilded Grape at 719 8th Ave. He was quoted:
“Drag queens, tranvestites came to my place. I had a market and I served them. The only people I didn’t let in were whores. I’ve been harassed by the SLA and the police. Once a cop told me they kept the pressure on me because the ‘establishment’ didn’t like drag queens. My lawyer has been fighting all the way. I wanted to stand by my customers. They’ve got a right to be that way.”
The Gilded Grape announced a Miss Gilded Grape Contest. The most sensational contestant was Judy Bowen who spoke for ten minutes about her operations. However her operations seemed to count against her. Drag Magazine commented that rules against surgery should be spelt out clearly in advance. The winner was Eddie, a bartender at the Grape, in drag for the first time.
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.  Wilhelmina Ross had the biggest presence. She was in 52 Polaroids and 73 of the paintings. The paintings were exhibited in Italy the next year, but none of the sitters were identified.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Am saddened to learn from your writing that Elizabeth had died in 2014, although I had suspected that were the case.


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