This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

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

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

26 May 2020

Jeffrey McCall (1988 - ) Christian organizer

All bible quotations from the King James Bible.

McCall, from Franklin Springs, Georgia, identified as gay from age 15. By age 18 he was living in Nashville:
"I just partied and would shop, and that was my life, shopping, partying, and whoever was my boyfriend at the time. I was addicted to drugs. I was taking a ton of Xanax and smoking crystal meth.” 
He then returned to Georgia to attend college, and by the time he graduated at age 27 was using the name Scarlet, and identified as a trans women. He started doing drag shows and living as Scarlet and as such was actively sexual, and was drinking heavily. He threatened suicide and spent two days in a psychiatric ward. McCall obtained a psychiatrist’s diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’, but had not started on hormones.

In secret he was also listening to and watching preachers on television or online, particularly Jentezen Franklin. In March 2016 he had a religious experience and felt that Franklin’s god had a mission for him. By June he had thrown away all the aspects of Scarlet:
“All the hair, makeup, jewelry, clothes, shoes, everything. I just threw my life as I knew it away. It was an encounter with the Lord.” 
He made a Facebook video about acknowledging Jesus Christ as his saviour and cut ties with his previous life. He lost friends and some family, and had peace and joy.

He has organized “Freedom Marches” in various US cities, proclaiming that people gain “freedom from homosexual/transgender lifestyles by the grace and power of Jesus Christ”.  He insists that this is not a type of Conversion Therapy:
"It's not about conversion therapy. It's about following the Holy Spirit. And as I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, I changed. My ideas of who I was changed. The Lord showed me that He created me as Jeffrey McCall and He showed me how much He loved me specifically as Jeffrey." (Christian Post, 2018)
McCall is inspired by the death of Jezebel (2 Kings 9:30-36), wherein a rebellious army commander, Jehu, having murdered his king, intends to kill the king's mother, Jezebel, who had stood up for religious diversity against the monolatrous Yahwists:
"And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot."   
To this he adds Isaiah 56:4-5
"For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."  
and Matthew 19:12: 
"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
He identifies 'eunuchs' with LGBT persons, and comments:
"The Lord spoke to my heart that eunuchs born that way are those who were set apart by God from the womb to minister to God. They are to continually minister to his heart, and He to them. They were set apart not to be touched by any other humans. They were not created for marriage and the typical family life.  Then the Lord shared with me revelation of where they are today. The Lord spoke to me again, saying, 'Many eunuchs are trapped in the LGBTQ community.' He showed me that not all in the LGBTQ community are born eunuchs, but that many eunuchs are trapped in those lifestyles under deception from the enemy."(Charisma 2019)
In 2018 McCall published his memoirs.

*not the boxer, nor the media critic.
  • “Jeffrey McCall: From Transgender to Transformed by God”. CBNnews, 04-29-2019. Online.
  • Brandon Showalter. “Former Transwoman, Gay Male Prostitute Shares New Life in Christ”. The Christian Post, May 04, 2018. Online
  • Sam Damshenas. “Ex-LGBTQ activists humiliated after only 36 people show up to gay conversion therapy march”. Gay Times, 8th May 2018. Online.
  • Peter Montgomery. “Ex-Gay ‘Freedom March’ Organizer: Trump’s Jehu Anointing Opens Door for ‘Trapped’ LGBTQ Eunuchs to Defeat Jezebel”. Right Wing Watch, August 23, 2019. Online.
  • Jeffrey McCall. For Such a Time: From Transgender to a Son of God. Jeffrey McCall, 2018. 
  • Jeanne Gossett Halsey. The Emperor has no Clothes!. Lulu, 2019: 128-9.
  • Jeffrey McCall.  "Prophetic Word: Eunuchs Trapped in LGBT Community Will Overthrow Jezebel".  Charisma, Aug 2019,  Online.  

Others would observe that like many religious fundamentalists, Jeffrey not only relies on questionable interpretations of scripture, but also alleges personal communications from his god supporting his views. None of this is provable, and, we might observe,  this would appear to be a very different religion from that of Fran Bennett, even if both call their gods by the same name. 

18 May 2020

Fran Bennett (195?-) monk, spiritual guide

Francis Bennett did a BA in Philosophy at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, and then a two-year chaplaincy residency in the Ohio Health Hospital system. He then entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane, Kentucky in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. And then after that a small urban monastery in Montréal. Bennett has been a “spiritual seeker” throughout, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and inspired by the Christian mystic, Thomas Merton, and working deeply with teachers in both the Theravadan Vipassana and the Zen traditions of Buddhism as well as the Advaita-Vedanta teachings of Ramana Maharshi;. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness.

Bennet then left monastic orders, and came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who one really is and has always been; the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints from many spiritual traditions down through the ages.

In 2013 Bennett published a book: I Am That I Am, described by reviews as simple and straightforward, yet profound.

Bennett then travelled and taught, lead residential retreats and weekend events in the US, Ireland, the UK and elsewhere in Europe, and also wrote and recorded a series of online courses.

She transitioned to female 2016-7. This was announced on Facebook 16 November 2016.
“God created humankind in the divine image … both male and female (Genesis 1:27). So God as Creator is both father and mother. God is both male and female. God is fully androgynous……God is therefore trans-gender if you will… 
I believe that we LGBTQI persons can be considered to be special gifts of God not in spite of, but precisely BECAUSE we are different and don’t fit within normally accepted societal gender or sexual attraction categories. We have been rejected by the leaders of most organized religions. Simply to survive emotionally and spiritually, we have been often forced to look more deeply into the meaning of life than the average person who fits in more easily. Our rejection by mainstream religions causes many of us to question the basic tenets of these religions in order to determine what fits for us and what does not. Though not always, this in turn can sometimes result in a higher level of spiritual consciousness. . . . Because our very survival depends on it, we who are different must question all these things. As survivors of this painful process, we are perhaps better able to tap into the true nature of God/Source/Consciousness, and the intended relationship of humanity with this absolute Reality.” (Bennett in Science & Non-Duality, and quoted in Horsley)
Fran has since then been involved in spiritual outreach to LGBTQI communities, as well as others interested in an inclusive study of the mystical forms of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. She regards being trans as just one part of her own journey, which she describes as a quest of the spirit.

“In that journey and process we do not necessarily need to reject spirituality or religion altogether. But we do need to reject the patriarchal, misogyny and sexism that has defined virtually all religious hierarchies and structures, both in the East and the West from time immemorial.”

*There is another trans woman with the same name: Fran Bennett the celebrity DJ in Phoenix and Los Angeles.
  • Rick Archer. “133. Francis Bennett”. BatGap, August 7, 2012. Online.
  • Francis Bennett. I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self. Non-Duality, 2013.
  • Jim Morekis. “Renowned mystic leads two-day event at UU Church”. Connect Savannah, November 29, 2017. Online.
  •  Jasun Horsley. “The Rise of the Dream-State, part 3 of 3: Trans-Culture, Paraphilias, Non-Duality, & Corporate Cures for Alienation”. Auticulture, 12 June 2017. Online.
  • Francis Bennett. “What Does Being Transgender, Intersexed, Lesbian or Gay Have To Do With Spirituality Anyway?”. Science & Non-Duality, no date. Online.

Finding Grace at the Center (archive)       Francis Bennett Europe (archive)


Francis has stayed with the male spelling: not Frances.

I am that I am” is the standard English translation of the name given by Yahweh or perhaps the Elohiym in Exodus 3:14. This is not the same as “I am what I am” as per Greta Garbo, Popeye, the Village People, a song in the musical version of La Cage aux Folles and a defiant cry from many who are queer.

15 May 2020

Abby Sinclair (1938 - ) performer

Sinclair was raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn. By age 14 Sinclair was starting to be perceived as gender variant, and at age 17 left home and found work as a female impersonator at the Circus Bar in Miami.  
However the club closed after two years, and Sinclair returned home, and found a sympathetic doctor who found female hormones in a blood sample.  Sinclair was then drafted, and explained the circumstances to the medical officer.  
“I was told I would get a discharge, not because I wasn’t physically fit to serve, but for psychological reasons.  I Waited four months to be processed out and then suddenly I learned that my company was being sent to Trieste.”  
An officer in Trieste was sympathetic and arranged for Sinclair to serve as a hospital orderly.

After discharge Sinclair rented an apartment in Manhattan, and found work as a female impersonator in clubs on Long Island and in the Catskills, sometimes with the Jewel Box Revue.  This was supplemented by work as a photographer’s model, usually in furs – this paid up to $70 an hour. She was by now taking female hormones, and having electrolysis to remove facial hair, and she had been told of the outstanding work of Dr Burou in Casablanca.

They corresponded, and then Abby with a female friend for support travelled to Casablanca.  The operation cost $5,000. A few weeks later, they were in Paris. Abby even had a brief fling with a count who took her to the Riviera.

Back in Manhattan, Abby became a stripper – one known to be transsexual.  In Summer 1965 Female Mimics magazine ran a photo-spread on her and announced that she was to wed a New York Lawyer.

  • Watson Crews. “Sex Change Breaks Up Old Gang of His (Hers)”. New York Sunday News, 43, 47, March 22, 1964: 1-3,26.  Online.
  • “MD’s Knife Changed my Sex”.  The National Insider, 5, 14, Oct 18, 1964.
  • Abby Sinclair, George Griffith, Carlson Wade & Latina Seville. I Was Male. Novel Books. 95 pp 1965.
  • “Abby Sinclair .. Ex-GI now a Bride-to-be”.  Female Mimics, 1, 6, August 1965: 54-63”. Online.
  • “Dear Abby: A Change is Gonna Come”.  Pulp International, Oct 18 2011. Online
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 199-201.


$70 in 1963 is equivalent to $580 now.
$5000.00 is equivalent to $42,000 now.

08 May 2020

Pamela Helen Bonert (1950 - ) military captain, medical officer, counsellor

Bonert was the first openly trans woman in the German military.

After marriage and two daughters, Bonert, in 1999, then a captain in the Luftwaffe, completed surgical transition as Pamela Helen Bonert. The Bundeswehr personnel management transferred her to the medical division, since before 2001, women were permitted in the Bundeswehr only in the medical and musical sections.

Bonhert retired from the Bundeswehr in 2004, although by then procedural instructions for women and for trans persons and their acceptance in the Bundeswehr were being issued.

Bonert had written an autobiography, and it was to be published in 1998. It was to be titled Glücklich (=happy), however Bonert parted from the publisher and book was self published in 2001 with a different title.

Since 2008 Helen has been managing a branch office of the White Ring association which supports victims of crime.

Her entry was deleted from DE.Wikipedia in 2008.

  • Pamela Helen Bonert. Der kalifornische Alptraum oder wie ich glücklich wurde: autobiographische Geschichte mit Leitfaden für Betroffene und transidentische Menschen. Pahebo, 2001.
  • Laszlo Scheuch. „Ein Opfer hat immer lebenslänglich“. General Anzeiger, 19, Juni 2017. Online.


-------------------- included an excerpt from Bonert's book, but under the abandoned title of Glücklich.   Bonert wrote to them 15 November 2003, asking that they correct the title.  17 years later they have still not done so.

Der kalifornische Alptraum oder wie ich glücklich wurde is not listed in nor in    I have added it to my article:   (auto)biographies that are almost unobtainablel.

06 May 2020

Chez Nous - Berlin Travestietheater

A nightclub in Berlin that was open 1958-2008, at Marburger Straße 14 in Charlottenburg, that was the oldest surviving Travestietheater in West Germany. It was a smallish bar with a capacity of only 150. Local artists included Marcel Andre and Gloria Fox. From France, and specifically from Le Carrousel came Coccinelle, Everest, Capucine; from the US came Sonne Teale, Angie Stardust, Ricky Renée.

The original choreographer and costume designer was Yvana who established the clubs original image. He was succeeded by Le Boy, from London. And in turn he was succeeded by Manel Dalgó.
Like Le Carrousel, Chez Nous became a brand name, under which performers from Chez Nous performed to packed houses across Europe.

Peki de Oslo (the future Amanda Lear) did a striptease show in 1962.

The Michael Caine/Harry Palmer espionage film Funeral in Berlin, 1966, featured a scene shot in Chez Nous – although they avoided including any trans women who could pass or who were attractive – such as Ricky Renée:

Harry Palmer arrives at the ChezNous

Harry Palmer within the club.

Ricky Renée had been one of the early artists who made the club famous. In 1966, in London entrepreneurs Ray Jackson and Eric Lindsay had contracted with Sonne Teale that she would would have a third share in a new club to be called Sonne Teale’s. While renovations were being done to the building, Sonne headlined in a Carrousel tour of Japan. However she and three other performers were killed when their return flight crashed. Ricky Renée had been working at Chez Nous for some years, having made Berlin his home. Lindsay phoned and offered the same deal to Ricky that Sonne would have had. Ricky accepted.

Tobi Marsh, ex-Jewet Box Revuew and the 82 Club, 1968, got a contract to do four shows a night at the Chez Nous for US$200 a week. Even though accommodation was arranged via personal contacts at the club, the first landlord objected to overnight male visitors.

Working the bar and waiting since 1978 was Daisy St Denise, an ‘Urberliner original’. She opened her own bar after Chez Nous closed.

  • Guy Hamilton (dir). Funeral in Berlin. Scr: Evan Jones based on the novel by Len Deighton, with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer. UK 102 mins 1966. IMDB.
  • R Kurt Johnson. “An American Drag Queen in West Berlin: The Negotiation of Homosexual Identity, Transgressive Behavior and Social Acceptance in late 1960s and early 1970s West Germany”. Sexuality and Culture, 16, 2, 2012: 187-204.
  • Eric Lindsay. “ 'A Time For Tears': A further instalment in the Casino de Paris Striptease Theatre Club Story”., 1 May 2013. Online.

HomoWiki    DE.Wikipedia     Queer Music Heritage    Harry Palmer Movie Site    ReelStreets(Funeral in Berlin)    Danny Stafford    Dragstravaganza    Discogs


Homosexuality was partially decriminalised in West Germany in 1969, a year after East Germany had done likewise.    Most of the information about Chez Nous refers to pre-1969 when homosexuality was illegal.  Much of it sounds very old fashioned.  In particular the performers were obliged to arrive and leave in mufti - not in 'costume' as was then said.     

This of course changed  later in the 1970s when artists such as Jayne County and Romy Haag became dominant on the Berlin scene.

28 April 2020

Two Snapshots

Some people are featured once in the press, and never heard of again.

Lorraine Campbell-Craig

Lorraine, originally from New South Wales, met and was inspired by Coccinelle (presumably in Paris) in the 1950s, and then found work “travelling with theatrical shows through Egypt and Italy” and arrived in London in 1957. She worked as the manager of a bistro, and saved up the £700 needed for sex-change surgery. However her voice gave her away, and by 1966 and she descended into drugs and sex work while living in Manchester.

This much was featured in the Sunday People in November 1967, at a time when she was down.

Lorrains on Cross's blog
There is also a blog post from Peter Cross remembering a club on Sydney’s Oxford Street called Capriccios or simply Caps, where the featured performer was a Lorraine Campbell-Craig, “one of the great personalities of Oxford Street”.

He describes her:
"Lorraine was also a very, very large woman… to say the least, how she made it up the stairs I was never sure but this was her throne. Her history is shrouded in myth and mists of time. Some say she was on the run from the police in Britain, although I doubt she could have run anywhere very fast or far, others say she was just a local girl who liked a frock. One or two people know the truth; sometimes the stories are better than the facts.” 
Cross does not give a date, but I assume that it was the 1970s.

  • Alwyn Thomas. “The Tragic Case of the Woman Who was Once Called Donald”. The People, 5/11/1967: 7. Online.
  • Peter A Cross. “Riah, eek and slap… bona… must be Caps”., 1 October 2009. Online.

Stephen Goad (1929 - ?)

Goad, from Birmingham, Alabama, worked as a nurse pre-transition, and was married for a while, but was divorced in 1953. He had surgeries in April and June 1960, and then in September, in Miami, legally changed his name. He was living with a common-law wife, mainly working as a cab driver, and doing some free-lance writing. The journalist described him as “an admitted genius and unpublished novelist”.

However it seems that he never was published, at least not under the name Stephen Goad.

  • “Sex Change Is revealed by ‘Genius’ “. Sarasota Journal, 2 September 1960.

25 April 2020

Remembering the Cockettes

The Cockettes, the way-out San Francisco performance troope 1969-1972 features lots of drag, cross-dressing and dressing up.   Two of its members, Dahlia McGowan and Bobbi Cameron later transitioned. 

Sylvester James was also a member .   He went on to be a disco star and is especially remembered for "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)", but remained faithful to his drag heritage until his death from AIDS at age 41.

Dahlia, despite being an alumna from the American Conservatory Theatre, had to work as a stripper after surgery.  She married, but her husband died in a bike accident.

Bobbi was in  two of the Cockettes films: she played the lead role in Tricia’s Wedding, 1971, and was Cynthia in Elevator Girls in Bondage, 1972.   She was then in Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult movie The Holy Mountain, and was assistant to actress Judy Carne.    Finally, after surgery she married either a cop or a dentist in Las Vegas, and became the lead showgirl at the Tropicano.

Here is a photograph of Bobbi.

courtesy of Clay Geerdes

This is found of p327 of new luscious 50-year anniversary tribute to the troope, which has lots of pictures, and cuttings, and even more pictures.

  • Fayette Hauser. The Cockettes—Acid Drag & Sexual Anarchy, 1969-1972. Process Media, 2020. 

16 April 2020

Szecsődi Kári (1992 - ) singer

Szecsődi was born in Balatonkenesén, Hungary at the northern end of Lake Balaton to a dynasty of circus performers and musicians, and was singing onstage with mother’s band before starting school.

In 2007 mother died in a car accident, and Szecsődi descended into depression and drugs. With the help of the Szecsődi family, father and siblings, Szecsődi entered the 2008 Megasztar, the talent search program on Hungary’s TV2. 10,000 applied, and Szecsődi came 7th.

In 2011, as Kári she came out as trans in a television interview. She defined herself as “not a boy, not a girl, not straight, not bisexual, not gay, just me”. She had top surgery in 2012.

After the failure of her single in 2016, she has been living abroad with a US boyfriend and doing erotic work.

  • Orbán Violetta. “A Megasztár énekese nem kellett a TV2-nek - Ezért nem került a Sztárban Sztár leszek! Adásába” Femina, 2019.09.18 . Online. Translation.

13 April 2020

La Paloma - a nightclub outside Miami

Miami was not very observant of the alcohol prohibition laws when they were in force, and when they ended in 1933, it was ready to expand and to entertain the tourists who were coming in greater numbers.  It was in competition with Havana, and the newly available airplanes allowed tourists to go to Havana without stopping in Miami. While New York City closed down the Pansy Craze after the repeal of alcohol prohibition, would-be tourists were informed that it was not so in Miami.

La Paloma (=the dove) was a nightclub located on NW 79th Street, then an unincorporated part of Dade County. It featured strippers, female impersonators, off-color jokes. Kofoed commented of the clientele that you could find “homosexuals in evening gowns, trousered lesbians, and prostitutes”, and that performers “solicited customers for normal or abnormal sex practices”. The club was run by Al Youst (1902 -1973), an entrepreneur with an arrest record: for intercourse with a minor, selling liquor without a proper license, assault and battery, and burglary in New Jersey and Baltimore. Judge William Smathers of Atlantic City had released him after several months in jail on condition that he leave New Jersey: “Go away. Go a long ways away. Go to some place like Florida.”

Not all in the county related to what Miami was becoming. In 1935 several dozen neighbors demonstrated, calling for La Paloma to be shut down. One called it a menace to the community’s health because “women and liquor prevail[ed]” without a proper license.

On Monday15 November 1937 there was a gathering of nearly 200 members of the local Ku Klux Klan wearing their standard long white hooded robes, and several dozen new members were inducted. They burned a fiery cross on public property. Then they charged into La Paloma. The band kept playing, figuring that it was all part of an act. However the intruders smashed furniture and musical instruments. They roughed up some of the performers and the staff. They told everyone to leave, and threatened to burn the place down.

However The Miami Herald affirmed:
“Law enforcement has not been turned over to the Ku Klux Klan in Dade County”. 
The raid also made national news. The New York Times commented:
“Every civic club of the Miami area is sure to approve the Klan’s militant stand against too rough divertissement which has characterized the city’s night life from 1934”, 
and also opined that “once-famous hot spots” in Miami would now be unavailable.

Life Magazine, Nov 15, 1937
The Dade County sheriff declared the club to be a menace, and ordered that the club remain closed. However it did re-open. Two weeks after the KKK raid, the sheriff and his men themselves raided the club.  This time the club again re-opened after two days. Youst vowed La Paloma would “reopen with spicier entertainment than ever.” He even incorporated actors dressed as KKK in the skits.

In July 1939 there was another police raid on La Paloma, and they arrested “four men employed . . . to wear feminine clothes and impersonate women in songs and dances”. None of the four appeared in court – they were represented by the club’s attorney, Fred Pine, who entered pleas of guilty. They were to pay a fine of $25 or serve “30 days on charges of vagrancy”. The one exception was an impersonator whose male name was Robert Trent, who appeared personally and was freed on a directed verdict.

The tourist industry was for a while too important. Sporadic raids continued in response to public nuisance charges to placate conservative residents, but in no way did the police attempt to eradicate such clubs. Indeed almost all raids were during the tourist off-season. For the clubs it was a cost of doing business.

In March 1940 Federal agents raided La Paloma. Youst was arrested on two “white slavery” charges for bringing in five young (17-year-old) women from Chattanooga, Tennessee and jailed when he was unable to supply a $20,000 bond. Other employees were released after signing affidavits. One of the transported five, Evelyn Clark, had become Mrs Youst.

Assistant district attorney, George Smathers, nephew of the Judge in Atlantic City, co-prosecuted both Al and Evelyn Youst. Al Youst, supposedly suffering from tuberculosis, attended the trial on a stretcher; Evelyn bottle-fed their child in the courtroom until the judge barred the crying child. Al spoilt his act by rising to enter a not-guilty plea. When the subpoenaed employees, mainly young attractive women, testified about exotic dances and after-hours activities, the judge banned all observers from the courtroom, and newspapers said that “testimony went beyond all printable bounds”.

Fred Pine, the Yousts’ attorney, argued that the charges were hypocritical.  “If they’re going to clean up Miami why is this the only club they pick on? Is it because Al Youst wouldn’t turn rat and save himself by giving false testimony against the sheriff?” – referring to graft charges against the local police. Youst had refused to testify that the police had accepted bribes in exchange for permitting continued operation. The prosecution’s case centered on a $25 check sent to Evelyn’s mother endorsed by Youst and Pine. That and testimony about activities at La Paloma led to guilty verdicts. Evelyn got four years; Al eight.

The club closed down after this arrest. The attorney, Fred Pine, who had worked for Al Capone in 1929, and later been the Dade County solicitor before working for Youst was also convicted on similar charges the next year.

It is said that one of the cops later dated one of the impersonators and escorted her to the annual policeman’s ball – and took her there in a patrol wagon.

  • “The Ku Klux Klan Raise a Miami Hot Spot”. Life, 15 Nov 1937. Online.
  • “La Paloma ‘Artists’ Handed $25 Fines: Four Plead Guilty to Vagrancy Allegations”. The Miami News, 26 Jul 1939: 2. Online.
  • “G-Men Stage Miami White Slave Raid: La Paloma Club Closed and Manager Held in $20,000 Bond”. The Evening Independent, Mar 27, 1940. Online.
  • Jack Kofoed. Moon Over Miami. Random House, 1955: 229.
  • William Peirce Randel. The Ku Klux Klan: a century of infamy. Chilton Books, 1965: 225.
  • Brian Lewis Crispell. Testing the Limits: George Armistead Smathers and Cold War America. University of Georgia Press, 1999: 6-8.
  • John A Stuart & John F Stack. The New Deal in South Florida: Design, Policy, and Community Building, 1933-1940. University Press of Florida, 2008: 56.
  • Melanie Shell-Weiss. Coming to Miami: A Social History. University Press of Florida, 2009: 120.
  • Paul Chartrand. Seeing Red: Paranoia, Politics, and McCarthyism in the 1950 Florida Democratic Primary for the US Senate. Florida Gulf Coast University, 2013: 34-5
  • Julio Capó Jr. Welcome to Fairy Land: Queer Miami before 1940. The University of North Carolina Press, 2017: 232-3, 252, 263, 267-271, 277-8.
  • Julio Capó Jr. “Why a Forgotten KKK Raid on a Gay Club in Miami Still Matters 80 Years Later”. Time, November 28, 2017. Online.
  • Brittany Shammas. “Five Moments in Miami’s LGBTQ History, From 1937 to 2015”. Miami New Times, March 12, 2019. Online.


Youst and Pine sent $25 to Evelyn's mother.   Five young women, so $5 each.  According to this inflation calculator, $5 in 1939 is worth $92.85 now.  Chatanooga-Miami is a bit less than 800 miles/1300 km.   So the money was probably for bus fare, with very little left over.

The racist term 'white slave traffic act' was used as a nickname for the The Mann Act, 1910, which was "An Act to further regulate interstate and foreign commerce by prohibiting the transportation therein for immoral purposes of women and girls, and for other purposes".   While that wording says nothing about race, the act was use to interfere with with interracial relationships and also premarital and extramarital relationships.   Jack Johnson, the black boxer, was charged in 1912 with violating the Mann Act due to traveling with his white girlfriend, Lucille Cameron, who refused to cooperate with the prosecution and whom he married soon thereafter.  In 1941 Charlie Chaplin ended his affair with Joan Barry and bought her a train ticket to New York.  For this he was charged under the Mann Act. As Wikipedia puts it: "The penalties would be applied to men whether or not the woman involved consented and, if she had consented, the woman could be considered an accessory to the offense". 

So the Yousts were convicted in that Youst and Pine had sent bus fare combined with "after-hours activities".   Evelyn would seem to have consented in that she ended up as the boss's wife - although nothing is said about the other four. 


So we have the irony that a mixed queer-straight night club was raided for being queer and kept going.   But was finally closed when the boss was convicted of a technical infraction of a law about heterosexuality.

We might also mention the novel The Saint in Miami, 1940 by Leslie Charteris.   On p136, the protagonist goes to a nightclub with the fictional name of Palmleaf Fan which may well be inspired by La Paloma.
"And he realised that there were some things about the clientele of the Palmleaf Fan which were more than somewhat queer.
He wasn’t thinking of the more obvious queernesses, either; although it dawned on him in passing that some of the groups of highly made-up girls who sat at inferior tables with an air of hoping to be invited to better ones were a trifle sinewy in the arms and neck, while on the other hand some of the delicate-featured young men who sat apart from them were too well-developed in the chest for the breadth of their shoulders. Those eccentricities were standard of the honky-tonks of Miami."

11 April 2020

Anita Verig Sandor (1934 - ) usherette, housewife

As Anita later told her tale to the News of the World:

Her parents in Hungary raised her as a girl, and sent her to school as such, even during the war. When she was 15 she found her birth certificate that said that she was a boy.  She was told to shut up and not ask questions.

After leaving school, she worked as a female in a factory. She found her first boyfriend and told him she was different from other girls. He said that he also had a proper girlfriend and now could have the best of both worlds.

When the Hungarian Uprising began in October 1956, Anita was afraid of being raped by the Russians, so she cut her hair, dressed in some of her father’s clothes and fled to the West. Sandor was shot in the knee, and was two months in hospital before getting to England. Sandor found work in a London hotel stillroom. He met and married a French women in 1959.  They had two sons, but separated after four years, and were divorced in 1967, with  the wife retaining custody of the children.

Anita returned to living as a woman. She was working as a cinema usherette when she met 17-year-old Peter, a building labourer.  They socialised and went on holidays with the other building workers. The major problem was his parents who objected to Anita being so much older.

She had applied for a sex-change operation as it was then known. Peter accepted this and they were able to get a council flat in Islington, north London.  In 1976 they decided to get married at an Anglican church in Hackney. She explained that she had lost her birth certificate in flight from Hungary. So they had to go to a solicitor and swear a declaration that she was Anita Verig Sandor born in 1940.

There were 50 guests at the wedding, and the vicar attended the reception.  All went well until somebody told the News of the World - three years later.

However even the article in that paper finished on a positive note with Peter declaring
“But whatever happens in the future our ambition is to continue to be as happy as we are now.  If anything ever happens to Anita, I know that I’d never marry again.”

  • Ray Chapman. “Secret of the bride in white: she’s the father of two sons”. The News of the World, 25 March 1979. Online.

As readers of the books by Peter Farrer will know, parents cross-raising a child was considered a cause of adult transgender in the 1920s and 1930s.  However it was a very unusual claim by the 1970s.

I was rather naughty of Anita to drop six years from her age.

It is not mentioned whether Anita was making child support payments.

I presume that she was going to the Charing Cross Gender Clinic.  There were very few alternatives in 1976.

09 April 2020

Michelle-Lael Norsworthy (1964 - ) convicted of murder

​After high school, as Jeffrey, Norsworthy became a police informer, joined the army national guard, ran around town inebriated, and carried a loaded gun.
“I was an extremely aggressive, non-thinking person. I did anything I could to suppress my femininity”. 
One night in 1984 Norsworthy, then 20, encountered a man in a bar in Fullerton (close to Los Angeles) whom he had helped bust in a drug deal years before.  They argued, first in the bar, then in the parking lot, and Norsworthy got a gun from his car.  It went off three times, nicking the man’s femoral and carotid arteries.  Norsworthy began dressing his wounds as help was summoned. The man died six weeks later.

Norsworthy was sentenced in 1987 to 17 years to life in prison for second degree murder. Norsworthy takes full responsibility for the murder –
“the crime I committed I’m responsible for. I’m not trying to mitigate that in any way”. 
Most of Norsworthy’s 28 years incarceration was spent in Mule Creek state prison in Ione, California. Most of the first years were violent: fights, self-mutilation, etc. It was not until 1994 that Norsworthy was able to put a name to various feelings. A prison psychiatrist, or maybe the priest, used the term ‘transsexual’. Norsworthy looked it up in a dictionary and it clicked.

She came out and started expressing as female – she now declared her name to be Michelle-Lael. However it took many years of agitation before she was transferred to Vacaville, the only California prison with a Gender Clinic.  She was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 1999, and it was another year after that before she was allowed female hormones. She requested a bra, was denied, appealed and was so allowed.

In 2009, again in Mule Creek, she was gang-raped with the prison guards doing nothing. This left her with broken teeth and Hepatitis C – for the latter she was not allowed any treatment.

Finally in 2012 her psychologist recommended gender-affirmation surgery – however he was quickly transferred to another prison. In 2013 Norsworthy was again denied parole as “a danger to society”.

In 2014 she filed a lawsuit, arguing that denying her surgery was cruel and unusual punishment. In addition one doctor added that, without surgery, her already damaged liver would suffer from the high dose of hormones – after surgery they could be reduced.   In April 2015 U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar agreed, ordering California to provide her transition surgery. This was a groundbreaking decision. Norsworthy was the first person incarcerated in California to get such a ruling.
Michelle-Lael in prison, 2015

All of a sudden she was returned quickly – two years early - to the parole board because of  "a change in circumstances or new information” and parole was granted – officially this was recognition of Norsworthy’s model behaviour: she hadn’t been written up for a disciplinary infraction for years. The same day the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation filed a motion to toss out Judge Tigar’s opinion, arguing that since she’d been paroled, the ruling was moot. The Transgender Law Center, who were representing her, went back to court, arguing the state was trying to make the precedent (not to mention the cost of surgery) go away by releasing her.

In August 2015 the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agreed with Shiloh Quine, 56, also suing for transgender surgery, that it would pay, but only if all parties agreed that no precedent was being set.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did rule that the timing of Norsworthy’s release implied “there was at least some chance that the defendants influenced the parole process.” Norsworthy’s case was allowed to set legal precedent for other inmates.

After release Michelle-Lael, aged 52 after 28 years in prison, initially lived in a halfway house in San Francisco for female drug addicts. Although she had been sober for more than 20 years, it was the only place that would take her. She was then able to receive treatment for Hepatitis C. She is sort of cured but has permanent damage to her liver.

She had affirmative surgery in 2017 provided by Medi-Cal. She has been attempting to setup a charity to help trans persons and other women in San Francisco.

The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation announced a new policy in 2015 re trans prisoners, and a few were even granted surgery, but most were not.  A 30-page guidance document was released in March 2020 that aligns more closely to WPATH criteria, and permits primary care doctors to prescribe hormones.

  • Ed Pilkington. “'Prison within prison': a transgender inmate's years-long battle for treatment”. The Guardian, 26 July 2015. Online.
  • “Transgender convicted murderer, 51, seeking sex-reassignment surgery whilst in jail will now be RELEASED from prison after serving 28 years of her sentence”. The Daily Mail, 7 August 2015. Online.
  • Bob Egalko. “Transgender pioneer out of prison, on a new path”. San Francisco Chronicle, March 19, 2016. Online.
  • Annie Brown. “Michelle’s Case”. The California Sunday Magazine, May 17, 2016. Online.
  • Jacob Anderson-Minshall. “This Trans Ex-Con Helped Make History” Advocate, March 07 2017. Online.
  • Chris Johnson.  “Calif. prison system updates policy on trans inmates as scrutiny grows”.  Washington Blade, March 11, 2020. Online.

31 March 2020

San Quentin Prison, California

(All photographs within the prison via the Digital Transgender Archive)

San Quentin is one of the world’s best-known prisons. It is the oldest and largest in California, and the only one in the state where executions have been done. It is known for recorded concerts by Johnny Cash and BB King.

The prison was opened in 1852. It was so named as it is located on San Quentin Point. That, also, is not named for the 3rd century saint in Gaul. It is named for a renowned sub-chief of the Coast Miwok first nation.

There has been more drag and trans at San Quentin than you might expect.

See also: Trans in prison which I wrote in November 2012.
Part II: to Stonewall


Artie Baker, 14 years for bank robbery, San Francisco, was in San Quentin for some time before being discovered to be female-bodied. (Peter Boag. Re-dressing America's Frontier Past, 2012: 211)

Prison Vaudeville Show featured cross-dressed prisoners.


Prison Vaudeville Show again featured cross-dressed prisoners.


The 17th annual field meet held at San Quentin in 1930 when James B. Holohan was the acting warden. Olympic Club member, Frank G. Kane, was Master of Ceremonies. The entertainers depicted are San Quentin inmates; the cross-dressers were a popular attraction.


20th Annual Olympic Club Track & Field Meet at San Quentin prison was sponsored by the Olympic Club of San Francisco. Prison inmates held a field and track day. Consisted of some 29 athletic events, stunts, chorus girls and vaudeville acts performed by prisoners. Some 5000 inmates attended.


  • Leo L.Stanley & Evelyn Wells. Men at Their Worst. By L. L. Stanley ... with the collaboration of Evelyn Wells. Illustrated. [The autobiography of the Chief Surgeon of the California State Prison, St. Quentin.], 1940: 203. Dr Stanley relates that while examining an apparently male prisoner, he discovered that the prisoner had been surgically transformed into a woman.


Josephine Montgomery was arrested and convicted of strong-arm robbery. After two months in the women’s wing of the Imperial county jail, and one night in the women’s prison at Tehachapi, a routine physical exam resulted in a transfer to a man’s cell at San Quentin. NewsArticle.


Katherine Marlowe, author of Mr Madame, 1964, met her future husband while lecturing at San Quentin prison, and finally transitioned to female in 1972. (Richard Nelson. Call Me Kate: The Story of Katherine Marlowe, a Transexual, 1999)


Guthrie Danowski, 24, who was serving a life sentence at the prison, apparently slipped into some of his wife's clothing in a restroom of the crowded prison visiting room. His wife arrived at the prison early in the day, checking out two hours after her arrival. About five hours after that, San Quentin officials realized that Danowski was missing. (The Gateway, 2,12, June 1980: 9. Online)


Janet Kolmetz on death row at San Quentin – at that time the only known trans woman in San Quentin. (TV-TS Tapestry, 55, 1990: 15-6. Online)


Jeanne Hoff, the last doctor at Harry Benjamin’s practice, had become returned to being a psychiatrist after transition in the 1980s, and was employed at San Quentin. She was in the news in April-May 1998 when she was the only one of three psychiatrists to testify that murderer Horace Kelly might be competent to be executed, and the defense attorney attempted to impeach Hoff. Although Horace Kelly's lawyer subpoenaed Hoff's prison personnel file in an attempt to impeach her, he presumably hadn't heard rumors that she was transsexual, didn't find it in the file and didn't read her. Otherwise he probably would have used it to defame her. She had been in a 1978 television special under the same name, but that was 20 years earlier. Jeanne was also named as trans in Jayne County's 1995 autobiography, but presumably the lawyer didn't read punk biographies. GVWW.


  • Stuart Cabb (dir). Louis Theroux: Behind Bars, with Deborah Worledge. UK BBC 60 mins 2008. Deborah was filmed shortly before her release on Sept. 2, 2008. Two days after release she was dead from a drug overdose.


Skylar Deleon, who had killed to be able to afford transgender surgery, arrived at San Quentin death row.


Mandi Camille Hauwert,  Correctional Officer at San Quentin. One of the first US Correctional Officers to transition on the job. Another is Meghan Frederick who works at the state prison in Sacramento.


Lady Jae Clark, who came out in 1973 and has been in San Quentin since 2013, was the first trans woman to play Lady Macbeth in San Quentin’s production of the play. Newsarticle.  She co-founded a program called Acting with Compassion and Truth (ACT) in San Quentin to increase understanding and decrease violence toward LGBTQ inmates. Newsarticle.

Trans woman at San Quentin approached the Insight Prison Project. They asked for support for the formation of Acting with Compassion and Truth (ACT) at San Quentin. They didn’t want a support group. “We live our lives here every day surrounded by thousands of people who have been for the last 20 or 30 years who haven’t had exposure to the evolution that we know is happening out there.” A year-long curriculum was set up. Newsarticle.

Shiloh Heavenly Quine, incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison was approved for transgender surgery, which set a precedent so that other trans inmates in California could hope.

  • Kristin Schreier Lyseggen,. The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons. 2015: 109 – 136. About trans women in prisons, but most are not in San Quentin, despite the title of the book.


Lisa Strawn who transitioned at age 18, but has been in men’s prisons for 25 years following a three-strikes burglary charge, who had helped establish an LGBTQ group at Vacaville prison, was transferred to San Quentin and joined ACT. Newsarticle.


The LGBTQ education program was replicated on death row. Newsarticle.

First TDOR at San Quentin’s Catholic Chapel emceed by Lisa Strawn, the first such in a California prison. Newsarticle.

Child killer death row inmate Jessica Hann filed for change of name and legal gender.

29 March 2020

Florence Hines (186? - 1924) male impersonator

It is quite possible to be famous and yet unknown. Florence Hines is one such.

Hines, an African American, became known as a male impersonator at the beginning of the 1890s, and therefore was probably born in the late 1860s. Her stated home town of Salem, Oregon had not been in a slave state, but it was the only state with a black exclusion law – one that stated that black people who did not leave were to be publicly whipped. This was not repealed until 1925, although it was apparently often not enforced.

In the 1870s and 1880 several white male impersonators came to fame in New York and touring across country.  Two of the biggest names were Annie Hindle and Ella Wesner.  Black male impersonators attracted less attention, but Florence Hines was beginning to get noticed.

Until 1890, all-black minstrel shows lacked representational freedom, the stereotypes of black people The Creole Show which ran 1890-7.  The show was produced by Sam T Jack, a white man, but he accepted the ideas put forward by his lead performer Sam Lucas.  The show featured multi-talented black women noted for their beauty, and shifted the focus from the plantation past to the urban present.  And notably the interlocutor, the master of ceremonies, a role usually performed by a white male, was performed by Florence Hines who was already known as a male impersonator. Hines’ act mocked the Dandy, flashy young men who drank and dated openly and wore the latest clothes.  Hines was not simply copying the white male impersonators who had preceded her: the Dandy was a way to resist the degraded images of black men and over-sexualized images of black women that were popular with white audiences.
had been established by the white actors in blackface who performed Zip Coon and Jim Crow.  These roles dominated into the twentieth century. The major breakthrough that took black performance in another direction was

The New York Age reported in 1891: 
“Miss Florence Hines impersonated a male character in a manner that would do credit to any variety actor on the stage. …  The grand Amazonian March, under the direction of Miss Florence Hines, with a superb tableau, concluded the performance.” 
Hines’ Dandy was a long way from the old plantation stereotypes. Abbott and Sheroff comment: “Hines’s male impersonations provided the standard against which African American comediennes were compared for decades.”

In 1892, while performing in Cincinnati, Hines was in a fight with singer Marie Roberts with whom she performed a duet.  The Cincinnati Enquirer, journalist wrote that
“the utmost intimacy has existed between the two women for the past year, their marked devotion being not only noticeable but a subject of comment among their associates on the stage.”
Despite this Hines continued working, performing not only to black audiences but also to both white working-class and well-off white audiences.  
By 1904 the Indianapolis Freeman reported that Hines 
“commanded the largest salary paid to a colored female performer.”
There are two rumors about her later years: that she became an invalid in 1906; that in 1920, the first year of Prohibition, she had returned to Salem, Oregon to become a preacher.

Hines’ death was reported to the Chicago Defender in 1924 by a Nunnie Williams in Santa Clara, California who said that Hines was her mother – although no-one has found any mention of the death in any California or Oregon newspaper.

  • WLM Chaise. “Gossip of the Stage”. The New York Age, June 6, 1891.
  • “Two Beautiful Creoles Pull Hair,” Cincinnati Enquirer, March 2, 1892.
  • “Miss Florence Hines,” Indianapolis Freeman, September 10, 1904.
  • “Florence Hines Dead”, Chicago Defender, March 22, 1924
  • Lynn Abbott & Doug Seroff. Out of Sight: The Rise of African American Popular Music 1889-1895. University Press of Mississippi, 2002: 154-6, 159-160, 167, 308, 339, 371, 388, 473.
  • Kathleen Bridget Casey. “Cross-dressers and race-crossers : intersections of gender and race in American vaudeville, 1900-1930”. University of Rochester, PhD Thesis, 2010: 174n452, 195-6, 199. Online.
  • Marvin McAllister. Whiting Up: Whiteface Minstrels & Stage Europeans in African American Performance. The University of North Caroline Press, 2011: 78, 275n15.
  • Hugh Ryan. “This Black Drag King Was Once Known As the Greatest Male Impersonator of All Time”. Them, June 1, 2018. Online.
  • Hugh Ryan. When Brooklyn was Queer. St Martin’s Press, 2019: 55-8, 116.

22 March 2020

Pipás Pista (1886–1940) farm worker convicted of murder

Note1: In Hungarian/Magyar third person pronouns are not gendered. Ő is used whether the person is male or female, and will be used here for the protagonist, but, to avoid complication, only for the protagonist. The accusative, him-her, is őt; the possessive is övé.
Note 2: Hungarians put the family name first, as do Basques, Chinese etc.
Note 3: If a traditional Hungarian woman takes her husband’s name, ő adds né to it. So when Fődi Viktória married Rieger Pál ő became Rieger Pálné.

Fődi Viktória was born in Átokháza ( which actually means 'curse house') , 40 km east of Szeged in what is now southern Hungary.   Ővé father a jobbing shepherd. Ő continued animal herding until age 17 while other girls were put to working as servants from age 12 or so.

Ő was then married without övé consent to 46-year-old Reiger Pál, a wagon driver, and became known, as per the local tradition as Reiger Pálné. As no dowry was provided, ő was regarded as a sort of unpaid domestic servant. A few months later Pál made a wrong accusation as to who was stealing his tobacco, and then found out that it was his new wife. Ő had been smoking since childhood on doctor’s advice because of a lung disease. He also learned that when working as a shepherd, ő had become accustomed to drinking in taverns. Most years they had a pregnancy, six in all, but most became miscarriages, and only one child survived. Ő hated having sex with övé husband, and he beat őt regularly.

In 1910, ő left him. Ő flattened övé breasts with rags and straps, wore male clothing and gave övé name as Pipás Pista (Pista is a nickname derived from Istvan or Steven, and Pipás is a pipe smoker). Ő travelled around the Great Hungarian Plain doing male jobs such as plowing, sowing, harvesting and slaughtering pigs. Ő was primarily employed by widows or wives whose husband was not able or not doing the job for whatever reason. The advent of war in 1914 increased such employment.

With the end of war, the dual sovereignty of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary fell apart. Austria became a republic. In Hungary, after a year of being a republic, strongman and last Admiral of the Hungarian Navy, Miklós Horthy took over, re-established the Kingdom of Hungary and declared himself Regent. The apparent king, Károly IV, twice attempted to take the throne, but was rebuffed, exiled to Madeira and died shortly afterwards. Hungary continued as a kingdom without a king. By the Treaty of Trianon, 1920, Hungary lost over 70% of its territory as Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Poland came into being, and Romania was enlarged.

Szeged was now a border town close to both Romania and the new Yugoslavia. Pipás Pista went into a partnership with a wagon driver to smuggle goods from Subotica (Szabadka in Hungarian).

Some wives, having become used to independence, were not too happy with the return of their husbands from the front, especially if they were abusive. Divorce was not an option. In 1919 Pipás Pista performed övé first husband killing, that of Börcsök István, with the help of two male assistants, and in front of the wife and children. Pipás hiding behind the main door, put a rope around Börcsök’s neck, at which moment övé accomplices threw the other end of the rope over the beam, and started to pull it as quickly and as strongly as they could. They then carried the body to the stable—with the help of the victim’s oldest son—and hanged him so that it would resemble suicide. Pipás put a chair under the hanging corpse and knocked it down to look like it had been kicked away.

The widow did not feel secure alone and invited Pipás to live with her. However ő stole hens and was often drunk. The widow felt that Pipás was as bad as her husband. Ő did not co-habit with any other later clients, mainly being paid with agricultural products and some money.

It is not recorded how many husbands were removed by Pipás Pista. Word of övé services spread by word of mouth, but the authorities were not informed. The land was poor in the region, and small farmers were fairly often driven to genuine suicide.

In 1929 there was a big murder scandal in Tiszazug, 95 km north of Szeged.  Authorities were alerted by an anonymous letter that there was an epidemic of arsenic poisonings in the area.  The arsenic was mainly obtained by soaking it out of fly-papers, and many of the victims were unwanted husbands. Exhumations at the cemeteries found 162 corpses apparently murdered – the deaths dating back to 1911. People began to speak of the Angel Makers of Tiszazug (Tiszazugi méregkeverők). 34 women and one man were indicted. Afterwards, 26 of the Angel Makers were tried. Eight were sentenced to death but only two were executed. Another 12 received prison sentences. However the investigation had become inconvenient for the government, and further investigations were discontinued.

In June 1932 local police broke up a couple quarrel, and walked the woman home. The man’s former wife was the daughter of one of the husbands that Pipás Pista had eliminated. The woman talked too much, and soon afterwards Pipás Pista was arrested and with two of övé clients and övé assistants was put on trial. After the Tiszazug scandal, authorities wanted to minimize the charges against Pipás Pista.

The arrest of course outed Pipás Pista as having a female body, and ö was compelled to dress as a woman for the trial, something that caused őt obvious distress. Ő remained unwilling to admit to being a woman, even though it was reported that her gender was an open secret.

Pipás Pista was sentenced to death in January 1933, but the sentence was commuted by the Regent Miklós Horthy. Pipás Pista died in prison in 1940 suffering from emphysema and myocardial degeneration.
  • Judit Ember (dir). Pipás Pista és társai. MTV-2, Sepember 1983, Hungary
  • “The Cross-Dressing Husband-Killer For Hire: Viktoria Foedi Rieger – 1933”. Unknown Gender History, September 25, 2011. Online.
  • “P is for Pipás Pista, Cross-Dressing Assassin for Hire” . MopDog, April 18, 2014. Online.
  • Tamas Bezsenyi. “The First Female Serial Killer in the Kingdom of Hungary”. In: Nermin Ahmed Haikal and Morag Kennedy (eds) The Spectacle of Murder: Fact, Fiction and Folk Tales. Brill, 2016: 9-17.
  • Tamas Bezsenyi. “The Great War in the Backyard: The Unsettling Case of a Rural Hit(Wo)man”. In Nari Shelekpayev, Francois-Oliver Dorais, Daria Dyakonova & Solene Maillet (eds)i. Empires, Nations and Private Lives: Essays on the Social and Cultural History of the Great War. Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2016: 171-184.


As the old saying goes: divorce is better than murder.   However in a culture where young woman, that is teenage girls, are married off without their consent and divorce is not available ....

These are hardly the only examples of husband elimination.

Here is the case of Madam Popova executed in Samara, Russia in 1909 accused of over 300 such killings.

Tamas Bezsenyi, in The Spectacle of Murder comments:
"In fact, this kind of murder, the poisoning of men returning home from the war, was not a new kind of criminal activity among women, especially among rural women. In the Gendarme pocketbook (which was published every year) of 1904 an anonymous officer wrote an analysis about the poisoning crimes. He stated that this kind of crime was really well known among midwives (old women who assisted in childbirth), for whom active ingredients of various chemical agents was already known. These women distributed these agents in exchange for money or other benefits in several parts of the country. In a research group, we analysed the poisonings around Tiszazug. We found that the first case of poisoning took place in 1905. During the Horthy era the existence of poisoning can also be proven in other villages besides Tiszazug, e.g. in the county of Békés and Csongrád. Across the Danube, on the other side of Hungary, in the county of Zala, some cases also revealed the use of arsenic."

13 March 2020

Aleksa Lundberg (1981 - ) actress, author, activist

Original version May 2014.

All quotes from Bögtjejen via Collmar via Google Translator.

Lundberg’s father was a union organizer, but despite this the parents rejected her gender expressions. However there was an accepting grandmother, and it was a friend of the grandmother who introduced the child to a video of the drag show After Dark with Christer Lindarw.

At the age of 15, Lundberg was able to start an acting career with a recurring small male part in the Swedish television series, Kenny Starfighter.

Lundberg first came out as gay, then that she felt like a girl, and finally that she wanted correction surgery.  However Aleksa did not really fit in with the other trans women.
 “The difference between being transsexual and transvestite was important to point out. In no circumstances did I want to be taken to be like Birgitta or the other ladies. … In addition, I thought that the aunties at Gyllene Gåsen looked like boys in dress, which I myself was terrified to be perceived as. I was a girl born in the wrong body and otherwise normal. … It felt insanely sad not to order a large portion of meat. I had always loved luxurious steaks, clove potatoes and fatty sauces. But I had decided to appear as a woman in every conceivable part of my life.”

Transition was completed by 2002. In 2003 she was in the television miniseries, Veganspöket Lisa, but uncredited.

After 13 attempts she was accepted in 2006 to study drama at Teaterhögskolan, Göteborg. As she grew older she came to resent that Swedish law had prohibited her from freezing sperm before transition, and therefore from having children. She stopped hiding that she had been born male, and launched a one-woman show, Infestus, which told of her life as a boy, her transition, and life as a grown woman. She played this all over Sweden to acclaim.

In 2009 she graduated in drama, the first known trans person to do so in Sweden. However she found that she was not able to obtain work with any of the institutional theatres.

By 2010, apart from the Christian Democrats, the main political parties supported repeal of the 1972 law which prohibited transsexuals from having children after surgery. In 2011 Aleksa played in a stage version of Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf.

The ban on freezing eggs or sperm was removed in 2013. Aleksa, and another 141 transsexuals claimed damages of 300.000 kronor each, but received neither damages nor an apology.

In 2014 she was cast in Jean Genet's The Maids, but after a few weeks of rehearsal realized that she could not play the transgender implications of the play. Then, in three days, she wrote Maids! The transgender version and premiered it at Stockholm's Theatre Three.

At that point she was insistent that she would never reveal her boy name, but, of course, as her first acting gig had been as a boy her name was available in IMDB.

In 2018 she published her autobiography, Bögtjejen (=gay girl). Here she first expressed some degree
of regret:
“I regret it. I'm not a woman. Never been”. although she quickly adds: "My temporary stage of regret passed so quickly".   
As Collmer paraphrases: “She questions the image of herself - the simplified narrative of being born in the wrong body, and she questions the value of being normal. She puts words on the internalized transphobia that requires her to be exaggerated and purely feminine, and instead tries to embrace that she also has masculine sides. Gradually, she seems to stop looking for something that already exists, and instead start looking for opportunities to change attitudes at the community level. She goes from wanting to fit in to wanting to change.”

In October 2019 Aleksa apologised for not having been sufficiently open about the depression she had felt after her operation.
“I would probably not undergo corrective surgery if I had the same choice today,” she wrote. “And I want to apologise to those who perhaps needed to hear that story earlier.”
  • Ann Tornkvist. "Aleksa Lundberg, Swedish Transgender Actress, Mourns Forced Sterilization". Huffington Post, 11/02/2011. Online.
  • "Sterilized transsexuals sue Swedish government". The Local: Sweden's News in English, 24 Jun 2013. Online.
  • Karin Thunberg. ”Vår sexualitet väljer inte kvinnor eller män”. SvD Kultur, 13 April 2014. Online.
  • “'It means it a lot': Sweden compensates transgender people for forced sterilization” CBC, Mar 29, 2017. Online.
  • Aleksa Lundberg. Bögtjejen. Brombergs, 2018.
  • Marcus Joons. “En bögtjejs uppväxt”. Göteborgs-Posten, 22 sep, 2018. Online. Review of Bögtjejen. Translation.
  • Katie Collmar.  “En bögtjej med lesbiska erfarenheter väcker tankar om vad kön är”., 2018.10.22.  Online.  Review of Bögtjejen. Translation.
  • Cecilia Nelson. “Medryckande om en bögtjejs uppväxt“. Göteborgs-Posten, 5 nov, 2018. Online.  Review of Bögtjejen. Translation.
  • “Hear Aleksa Lundberg - the gender dysphoria remained after the operation: ‘What the hell am I supposed to do?’”. Teller Report, 10/9/2019. Online.
  • Richard Orange. “Teenage transgender row splits Sweden as dysphoria diagnoses soar by 1,500%”. The Guardian, 22 Feb 2020. Online.
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Genet’s The Maids need not be cast for male or trans actors. The 1974 film version featured Glenda Jackson and Susannah York as the maids, and the 2013 Sydney Theatre Company version starred Cate Blanchette and Isabelle Huppert.