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

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

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

27 January 2020

Michelle Confait (1945 – 1972) sex worker

Confait, born in the Seychelles, but living in London, had been raised with the name Maxwell but preferred Michelle.

In the early 1970s she was working as a trans prostitute, and in 1971 was arrested for importuning and served five months in HMP Wormwood Scrubs (a men's prison) where she was protected by and provided sexual favours to Douglas Franklin.

On release she frequented the Black Bull Pub (later the Fox and Firkin) in Lewisham High Street where she met Winston Goode, an occasional transvestite. Goode had broken up with his wife although she and their children still lived in the same house in Doggett Road, Catford. Michelle became a lodger in the house at £2.50 a week.

A fire started in the early morning of 22 April 1971. Goode awoke, evacuated his wife and children and ran to Catford Bridge railway station, almost next door, to dial 999. The Fire Brigade arrived and extinguished the fire within ten minutes. They also found a body, later identified as Michelle Confait. Unusually the police surgeon did not take a rectal temperature to establish time of death as the senior policeman remarked that the body was a ‘possible homosexual’ and he did not wish to destroy any evidence of recent sexual activity. It was established that Confait had been strangled and there was no struggle.

The first suspect was Goode – for example why was he in his day clothes rather than his night clothes when he ran to ring the fire brigade? He was held at the police station all day and medically examined. He mentioned that Confait planned to move out, and admitted jealousy, but also denied that they were lovers. The Detective Chief Superintendent later commented that he was such a weak individual that he would have confessed under interrogation if guilty. A few days later Goode was admitted to Bexley Psychiatric Hospital, apparently unable to remember the previous few days.

There were a few other fires in the area in the next few days. An 18-year old with the mental age of eight, and two younger boys were arrested and interrogated without either their parents or a social worker being present. They were tried at the Old Bailey. Mr Justice Chapman described the victim as “an odd creature, and indeed it may be your view that he has been no great loss to this world”. The three boys were found guilty of manslaughter, despite having alibis for the estimated time of death, and claims of being hit by the police. Nor was it explained why they would kill Confait, and having done so, then wait several hours before setting the house on fire.

In May 1974 Goode swallowed cyanide and died – several publications had hinted that he was involved in the crimes. The next year Mrs Goode was quoted in the media that her husband had once tried to kill her, and she was certain that he had started the fire and murdered Confait.

Also in 1975 the new Labour Home Secretary Roy Jenkins referred the case to the Court of Appeal with the result that all three boys were found not guilty and freed. The judge particularly criticised the police for not putting more emphasis on the fact that there had been no struggle.

The house in Murder Houses of South London
In 1976 Douglas Franklin and Paul Pooley were sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, partly as a result of Franklin informing on Pooley. Pooley attempted to appeal but Franklin declined to give evidence. The two men were increasingly at odds, and other inmates said that Franklin was fearful of being incriminated for the Confait murder. Pooley was later quoted (with typical misgenderings):
“I tagged around with Doug and he took me down to Confait’s house in Catford. We both had a lot to drink by the time we got there and Doug was fooling around with Confait. Max put a record on and Doug started dancing with him. He was twisting a scarf around his neck. I Don’t know where it came from but suddenly I realised that a bit of fun was ceasing to be a joke. Max went blue in the face and fell to the ground.” 
In 1980 a high-level police report identified Franklin as the killer. It also confirmed that the time of death was 48 hours earlier than stated at trial. It had been assumed that rigor mortis started after the discovery of the fire. In fact, Confait had been dead for 48 hours and rigor was wearing off. The report concluded that had the boys not been arrested, Douglas Franklin would probably have become a suspect at an early stage of the original murder enquiry. Franklin committed suicide shortly afterwards.
27 Doggett Rd in Google St View

In the late 1970s and early 1980s there were other flagrant miscarriage of justice cases, Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Cardiff Three etc, and following a report by a former High Court Judge, the government set up the Royal Commission of Criminal Procedure which ultimately led to Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), 1984,  and the Crown Prosecution Service under the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 – which decides independently of the police whether a prosecution will proceed.

  • Satish Sekar. “Failure”. Fitted In: Social Justice, Legal Issues, July 2, 2014. Online.
  • Satish Sekar. “Douglas Franklin”. Fitted In: Social Justice, Legal Issues, July 1, 2014. Online.
  • Satish Sekar. “Paul Pooley”. Fitted In: Social Justice, Legal Issues, July 1, 2014. Online.
  • Jan Bondeson. Murder Houses of South London. Troubador Publishing, 2015: 171-7.
  • Kate More. “Testimonies of HIV Activism” in Kate More & Stephen Whittle (eds) . Reclaiming Genders: Transsexual Grammars at the Fin de Siecle. Routledge, 2016: 137.
  • “The Maxwell Confait Muder”. Lewisham Heritage, 25 August 2018. Online.
  • Jon Rogers. “INJUSTICE FIGHT What happened to Maxwell Confait and was his murder case ever solved?”. The Sun, 23 Oct 2019. Online.
  • Jon Robbins. “Cases that changed us : Maxwell Confait”.  Justice Gap, 21 November 2019. Online.
  • Paul Rock. The Official History of Criminal Justice in England and Wales: Volume II: Institution-Building. Routledge, 2019: 253-308, 290nn88, 94.

22 January 2020

Richard Hoskins (1964 - ) theologian, criminologist

​Hoskins was born in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and mainly educated at Uppingham School, a boarding school in Rutland County, where he was sexually abused by a teacher who later was sent to prison. When he was fifteen, he sent off for mail-order oestrogen from Amsterdam. However his father intercepted the package and incinerated all of it at the bottom of the garden. Richard was pulled out of Uppingham, completed his sixth form elsewhere, and was then sent to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to learn how to be a ‘real man’. This led to a Short Service Commission in the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

At the age of twenty-one Hoskins, again a civilian, travelled to Africa intending a gap year, but stayed six years until 1992. He and his wife spent most of the time working at the Baptist Mission medical centre in Bolobo, upriver from Kinshasha in what was then Zaire. In 1988 they became pregnant with twins. However the twins were two months premature, and a breech birth was required. The first daughter was a still-birth; the second survived, but only for 18 months.

The Hoskinses returning to Britain in 1992 and Richard read theology at Oxford University. The Hoskinses had two further children. Richard did a PhD at King's College London with a thesis on the doctrine of the trinity among Anglo Catholics at Oxford University in the late 19th century. Richard became a senior lecturer at Bath Spa University teaching African religions, and a senior research fellow at King's College London. The Hoskinses divorced. Richard remarried, and with his second wife wrote several entries on African religions for The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature.

On 21 September 2001 the mutilated body of a very young black male was found floating in the Thames. The police dubbed him ‘Adam’, not knowing his name. Suspecting a ritual murder, they approached Hoskins for his knowledge of African religions. He was then called as an expert witness in many other criminal cases, including numerous high-profile murders, such as those of Victoria Climbié, Jodi Jones and the Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu case (in the last of which the killers claimed ‘kindoki’ – that the murdered child had evil powers). Hoskins was the only registered multicultural expert on the UK national police database at that time.

His first book on this subject was Sacrifice: journey to the heart of darkness, 2005.

In 2006 Hoskins was the lead presenter in Witch Child, a BBC 2 documentary re African children accused of being witches and then severely abused.

In 2009 his son with his first wife, David, then 19 and with mental health problems, climbed an electricity pylon and touched the 33,000 volt cable. He was then in hospital for 42 days before life support was switched off – a decision that his mother, the first Mrs Hoskins had to take.

Soon afterwards Richard’s second marriage ended. Which left him free to explore his feminine side, mainly taking instruction from YouTube videos.

In 2012 Richard published his account of the 2001 murder of ‘Adam’. The Boy in the River was both a commercial and critical success.

In autumn 2014 Hoskins surfed the Dark Web and purchased oestrogen from a site registered in Vanuatu. “They all seemed bona fide and a few even carried expiry dates”. They worked, but they also made him ill. A trip to the doctor, and, as Rachel, Hoskins was referred to the National Health Service gender identity system. By February 2015 she was not only accepted but fast-tracked into the programme. She was now on prescribed oestrogen, and over 18 months had her facial hair removed by NHS electrolysis.

Rachel 2016
In September 2015 Hoskins was asked by detectives of Wiltshire Police to examine claims made by "Lucy X" of a VIP satanic sex-abuse ring which was said to include the deceased former Prime Minister Edward Heath, as part of two separate investigations by the force into sexual abuse. She was addressed as Dr Rachel Hoskins, and so referred to in press reports. She compiled a 40,000-word report, and also went public alleging that some of the evidence presented was ‘preposterous’, ‘fantastical’ and gained through the ‘controversial’ practice of recovered-memory therapy. After the Mail on Sunday article in November 2016 on the Edward Heath investigation in which Dr Rachel Hoskins was mentioned for the first time, questions were inevitably asked.

In her Goodreads blog, she wrote 
“I was worried about reaction to my public and police profile. I needn’t have been. Most of my friends and family have been fantastically supportive and it helped that other public figures have acted as pioneers. When I eventually dragged myself to my GP she was brilliant and the NHS took me through counselling and then onto properly prescribed treatment. … I’d like to think we’re reaching a point in society when gender transition or gender-flex no longer matter. We certainly fixate too much on isolated body parts as human identifiers. … What’s important is to be true to yourself and value yourself. And for others to accept you for who you are. Be happy. That’s all that counts.”
In October 2016 Hoskins, apparently as Richard, went to Paris for the release of the French translation of The Boy in the River, published as L’Enfant dans la Tamise.  From there Hoskins flew to Bangkok and took a train to Malaysia “on the trail of both traffickers and some practices in the world of spiritual healers …..On a personal level I feel like the real Richard is back”.

In December Hoskins was back in Bangkok for an orchiectomy and facial feminisation surgery with Dr Sutin Khobunsongserm. This cost £15,000 and included only one night’s stay. Recovery had to be done in a hotel. Hoskins began to doubt the path she was on. In March 2017 Rachel received a referral letter for vaginoplasty at Brighton’s Nuffield Hospital, but instead went as a private patient to Nightingale Clinic, London. They diagnosed her as suffering from complex PTSD: multiple severe traumas, from the deaths of two daughter in Zaire, from the death of David, and from the gruesome nature of her police consulting work. Hoskins underwent intensive trauma counselling, and returned to being Richard, taking male corrective hormones.

In January 2020 he wrote an account of his gender journey for the Mail on Sunday.
“For a decade, I ran and ran. I tried to escape my life, my very identity. I changed my
gender to leave Richard and his life behind. Inspired by youthful images of smiling women, I grabbed the chance for a different life. I know I’m unusual and that few others have experienced the multiple traumas to have befallen me. I accept, too, there are some people who feel they have no choice but to change gender and I have sympathy, although I suspect the true numbers are small. For the few who genuinely feel they have no choice, perhaps a third gender would be a way forward: neither male nor female. For as I know all too well, it is nigh impossible for surgeons to replicate female body parts in full, nor can they alter the XY chromosomes with which most men are born. There is, after all, an added issue here about respect for women born as women. Looking back, I sometimes think that I was insensitive, that in my rush to change identity I trampled through places which rightly afford women their own dignity and space. What really gave me the right to use ladies’ loos, for example? Most of all, we need to recognise that gender transition can, in truth, be a misguided attempt to escape the person you were born to be – and demand a halt to this dangerous headlong charge.”

*Not the NZ trans activist Rachel Hoskin.
*Not the Christian Nordic writer Richard Kelly Hoskins; nor the Cornish writer Richard Hoskin.


There are passing mentions of novels by Hoskins. The first one was apparently called The Ritual Killer and published in 2015. However the book is in neither Amazon nor World.Cat. In addition, the article “Kimbanguism” in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, written by Hoskins and his wife cites a 2003 book by Hoskins on the topic. This too is not found in either World.Cat or Amazon.

Hoskins is listed on the Wikipedia page for old Uppinghamsians.

Virginia Prince had a PhD in pharmacology, and listed her doctorate in the context of sexology and counselling.   This was at best misleading.   Hoskins has a PhD in theology and is referred to as the criminologist Dr Hoskins.   I really doubt that the trinitarianism of  John Illingworth contributes much to the study of ritual murder.    Not that I regard Hoskins' skill as a criminologist as being any the less for being learnt on the job, but the use the Dr title in the context is misleading.

Hoskins is not the only trans person to get better service for already being on hormones, blackmarket or otherwise.   However it was very marked in his case.  Perhaps because he graduated from private school and Oxford.  Most applicants for NHS gender change get such slow service that they have plenty of time to reconsider.   In addition it seems that even in 2016, Hoskins was not really presenting as female.   While news articles in various newspapers referred to Dr Rachel Hoskins, the person interviewed on television was a slightly androgynous Richard Hoskins - see video below.
  • Richard Hoskins. The Trinitarian Theology of John Richardson Illingworth and William Temple: and the implications for contemporary Trinitarian theology. PhD Thesis, University of London, 1998. Published as The Doctrine Of The Trinity In The Works Of John Richardson Illingworth And William Temple, And The Implications For Contemporary Trinitarian Theology. The Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.
  • Richard Hoskins. "Social and Transcendent: The Trinitarian Theology of John Richardson Illingworth Re-examined”. International Journal of Systematic Theology, 1,2, July 1999: 185-202.
  • Richard Hoskins. Sacrifice: journey to the heart of darkness. Little, Brown, 2005.
  • Richard Hoskins & Faith Warner. “African Religions and Nature Conservation”, “Biodiversity and Religion in Equatorial Africa”, “Kimbanguism” in Bron R Taylor (ed) The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. Thoemmes Continuum, 2005.
  • Richard Hoskins. “Muti and African Healing”, “Muti Killings” in Bron R Taylor (ed) The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. Thoemmes Continuum, 2005.
  • Ian Cobain & Vikram Dodd. “How media whipped up a racist witch-hunt”. The Guardian, 25 Jun 2005. Online.
  • “King's Sociologist of Religion presents documentary”. King’s College London, 4 April 2006. Archive.
  • Witch Child, with Richard Hoskins, BBC 2. 4 April 2006. Online.
  • Richard Hoskins. Boy in the River: a shocking true story of murder and sacrifice in the heart of London. Macmillan, 2012.  Translated into French by Marie Causse. L’Enfant dans la Tamise: Mautres rituels et sorcellerie au Coeur de Londres aujourd’hui. Belfond, 2015.
  • Richard Hoskins. “How a criminologist probing the ritual 'boy in the Thames' murder had to confront the personal tragedy of his own daughter's mysterious death in Africa”. Mail on Sunday, 19 May 2012. Online.
  • Richard Hoskins. “How London became the child abuse capital of the world: Trafficked here by gangs, prey to pimps, paedophiles and murderers... the booming trade in 'lost' children that shames us all”. Mail on Sunday, 2 August 2014. Online.
  • Rachel Hoskins. “Gender: are you sure you know?”. Goodreads, January 1, 2016. Online.
  • Rachel Hoskins. “A Trans response to Greer & Humphries”. Goodreads, January 5, 2016. Online.
  • Richard Hoskins. “The Witch Children: Tortured by evil exorcists, but 'multicultural' Britain is too liberal to admit they exist”. Mail on Sunday, 30 April 2016. Online.
  • Martin Beckford with Rachel Hoskins. “Sir Edward Heath accuser is a 'satanic sex fantasist': Police warned by OWN expert that ritual abuse claims are false - including how the former PM 'went to candlelit forest for paedophile parties' ”. Mail on Sunday, 26 November 2016. Online.
  • Robert Booth. “Ted Heath's accuser 'gave child abuse inquiry fantastical evidence'”. The Guardian, 27 Nov 2016.  Online.
  • Richard Bartholomew. “Police Probing Recovered “Memories” of Satanic Ritual Abuse Involving Former Prime Minister Edward Heath”. Bartholomew’s Notes, November 27, 2016. Online.
  • Rachel Hoskins. “Going public as Rachel Hoskins”. Goodreads, November 29, 2016. Online.
  • Jean La Fontaine. Witches and Demons: A Comparative Perspective on Witchcraft and Satanism. Berghahn Books, 2016: 59, 61-2, 64, 71, 72n13, 81.
  • “Should we have the right to decide our own gender?”. The Big Questions, BBC1, 5th February 2017. Archive.
  • Richard Bartholomew. “Expert: Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims are the “Core Strand” of Wiltshire Police Investigation into Edward Heath”. Bartholomew’s Notes, April 16, 2017. Online.
  • Richard Hoskins in David James & Jane Lunnon (eds) The State of Independence: Key Challenges Facing Private Schools Today. Routledge, 2019: 115-6.
  • Richard Hoskins. “Academic had gruelling sex swap surgery and then changed his mind at the last minute - and is now accusing the 'transition' industry of pushing vulnerable people like him into irreversible operations they'll regret”. Mail on Sunday, 11 January 2020. Online.
  • Lara Keay. “'I was very convincing': Academic who detransitioned four years after living as Rachel says he was 'hurtled through the system' and would never have changed gender if he was assessed properly by therapists”. Daily Mail, 21 January 2020. Online.

EN.Wikipedia    EN.Wikipedia(March 2017)     Revolvy   People Pill    YouTube


18 January 2020

Alexander Polycleitos Cawadias - part II

Continued from Part I.

A.P. Cawadias expanded his 1941 lecture into a book, Hermaphoditus: The Human Intersex, first published in 1943 despite the wartime rationing of paper. A second edition was published in 1946.

He re-iterated that everyone is at least mildly intersex, hermaphrodites being severely so. For those assigned male he recognised four intermediate types:

A) Dilettante – talkers, emotionalists using supposed female social forms 
B) Transvestist “a higher degree of male psychological intersexualism”.
C) Homosexual – again “a higher degree of male psychological intersexualism (1946 p40)” but there are other non-intersexual homosexuals such as those of ancient Greece, and those due to “excessive virility”. “Oscar Wilde was wrong to defend his practices by referring to ancient Hellas, because his homosexuality was of definitely intersexual nature, as shown by the general emotional make-up of the poet. It was thus a source of social mischief and had no link with the homosexuality of ancient Greece (p41)”.
D) Masochistic – “a very high degree of psychological intersexualization (p41)”.

For those assigned female, he concentrates on adrenal virilism (the major form that was treated at Charing Cross Hospital under Lennox Broster at that time). The intermediate forms that he recognises are:

A) Amazonian – “These are women excelling in sports and other male activities, and exhibiting qualities of leadership (p63)”.
B) “Psychological forms corresponding to those described for male feminism are frequent. Female homosexuality and female transvestism are outstanding. Striking examples of the latter form are George Sand and Christina of Sweden. Joan of Arc does not enter into this category. (p64)”

For those severely intersexual he of course recommends medical support, but with an important caveat.
“The Pragmatic Sex is that indicated by the will of the patient. It is the sex that will make him happier and confer better adaptation. … The pragmatic sex is to be accepted in cases of severe intersexualisation, in which the genetic sex is very doubtful and cannot be discovered. These individuals must have their place in the sun, and can have it only by virtue of their will to a particular sex. Otherwise they would be abandoned as a class apart of ‘undetermined sex.’ Many will object that the sex they will may not be their true, i.e., genetic sex, but in such cases the sex that brings most happiness and the best adaptation is surely the true sex.(p32)”
He accepts and admires the female intermediaries. However:
“Even if male homosexuals or male transvestists live unhappily and commit suicide when thwarted, overwhelming social considerations oblige the physician to ignore their will and thus their pragmatic sex. A male homosexual, for example, is a source of moral depravity in a group of other persons, particularly at schools. Besides being a generally depraving influence he is a source of contagion of intersexuality. He must therefore be thwarted in his activities, although more by treatment than by punishment. (p33)”
Michael Dillon, in his Self: A Study in Ethics and Endocrinology, 1946, describes Cawadias’ book as “vigorous and original” but fails to take the point for he continues to talk of true and pseudo-  hermaphroditism.

Mary Cawadias had survived, stayed in Greece and was a correspondent for Time and Life magazines during the 1944-9 Civil War. She later married a British diplomat.

Christian Hamburger, Georg K Stürup & E Dahl-Iversen, of the team that operated on Christine Jorgensen, read a paper at a meeting of Danish medical societies 13 February 1953, and then published it in the Journal of the American Medical Association later that year. They specifically quote Cawadias re the physician must “ignore their will and thus their pragmatic sex”. Hamburger et al reply:
 “It is understood in medical ethics that if a disease cannot be cured an attempt should be made to improve the stress and inconvenience of the patient in order to make his life as tolerable as possible, having, naturally, due regard to the interests of society. We are unable to agree with Cawadias”.
In 1954 Cawadias wrote to the British Medical Journal: 
“What is the predominant sex in an intersexual ? As I pointed out in my Thomas Vicary lecture many years ago, ‘with our contemporary ideas the predominant sex is that manifested by the total personality and not that indicated by special features of nuclear genes, gonads, endocrines, or even by the balance of sexual characters. Total personality is shown by the behaviour and will of the individual. Thus, in principle, an intersexual individual has the right to demand of us to perfectionate his sex according to his choice.”  ... "The application of this principle of free choice for the other class of intersexes, the transvestites, is much more difficult. These are individuals whose genital organs and gonads are distinctly male or female but who feel they belong to the opposite sex and want to live, dress, and work like members of the opposite sex. … In my opinion, these transvestites are as much hermaphrodites as those designated with this term, and, in fact, we find definite endocrine, genital, and other physical stigmata pointing to a definite intersexuality. They are the most unfortunate beings, leading lives of misery often terminating in suicide. We have to help them-but how ?”
In 1955, Georgina Turtle, then in transition, was referred to Dr Cawadias “London’s leading sexologist”. He conducted a proper examination and declared Turtle to be a hermaphrodite, prescribed oestrogen and advised a change of sexual role. In 1960 he supplied an affidavit to aid her in obtaining a revised birth certificate.

In 1959 Cawadias wrote to The Lancet
“Are we to deny to transexualists (the most tragic of all intersexes) the benefit of a change of registration which would not do any harm to anyone and would prevent for these unfortunates a life of misery and even suicide, on the basis of their nuclear chromatin ? Our legislation regarding intersexual conditions is already very deficient, and the dogma of sexual chromatin will lead to even more erroneous legal decisions. For the clinician who will guide such legal decisions, the sexual chromatin is a part; and we cannot know the whole by considering only a part. Sex is a matter of total personality -including the most important, psychological personality --and not a matter of genes, gonads, genital organs, or endocrines.”
In 1962, at the age of 78, Cawadias returned to Athens where he continued to write and give lectures. He stayed after the 1967 coup d’état that led to rule by the Military Junta. He died at age 87.

Publications by Cawadias:

  • “Physical Methods of Endocrinotherapy”. The British Medical Journal, Aug 1, 1936.
  • “The History of Endocrinology”. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, XXXIV, 303, December 4, 1940.
  • “Hermaphroditism: A Historical Approach”. British Medical Journal, 818, Dec 6, 1941. First page.
  • Hermaphoditus: The Human Intersex. William Heinemann, 1943. Second edition 1946.
  • “Change of Sex”. Letter to the British Medical Journal, April 10, 1954: 876.
  • “Sex Reversal”. Letter to the Editor of The Lancet, 14 February 1959: 369.

By Others

  • Michael Dillon. Self: A Study in Ethics and Endocrinology. William Heineman, 1946: 58-9.
  • Christian Hamburger, Georg K Stürup & E Dahl-Iversen.  “Transvestism: Hormonal, Psychiatric, and Surgical Treatment”. Journal of the American Medical Association, 151, 5, May 30, 1953: 395.
  • Georgina Somerset. A Girl Called Georgina. The Book Guild, 1992: 34, 42.
  • Katrina Karkazis. Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience. Duke University Press, 2001: 44–45.
  • “Mary Henderson: Diplomatic consort with an unusual past”.  The independent, 15 April 2004. Online.

EN.Wikipedia                   Royal College of Physicians

Cawadias was one year older than Harry Benjamin, and his book came out 22 years before The Transsexual Phenomenon. From our 21st century viewpoint his legacy is mixed. His concept of the ‘predominant’ sex and the statement that the behaviour and will of the individual trump chromosomes, gonads and body shape is very modern. And yet it is a return to the 18th century when intersex persons where allowed to choose a gender, which would then be accepted. Cawadias’ position here is very similar to Benjamin’s “Seven Kinds of Sex” published in Sexology in 1961, and then revised as the first chapter of The Transsexual Phenomenon. It is noteworthy that Cawadias is not mentioned in Benjamin’s book. Not even in passing.

The intermediate types designated Dilettante and Amazon are now quaint and dated. The social construction of gender has changed since 1943 and the behaviours mentioned are now encouraged for both genders without implications of being intersex.

Cawadias’s book was advanced for its time. It is a shame that he succumbed to the homophobic mores of the time and demanded that male homosexuals and transvestists be thwarted in their attempts to be themselves.  However the letters that he wrote to medical journals in the 1950s indicate that he had changed his mind.

The claim that transvestites (which in the 1940s included what we now call transsexuals) are a type of intersex is of course contentious. But we cannot expect Cawadias to anticipate the next 80 years of debate after he wrote.

15 January 2020

Alexander Polycleitos Cawadias / Αλεξανδρος Πολυκλειτος Καββαδιας (1884 – 1971) endocrinologist - Part 1

Cawadias was the son of the noted Greek archeologist, Panagiotis Kavvadias/ Παναγιώτης Καββαδίας (1850 – 1928). Alexander was educated locally in Athens and then at Montpellier University and at the University of Paris where he earned a baccalaureate in 1901, and then studied in Bonn and Heidelberg. From 1906-10 he was a resident physician at a Paris teaching hospital, where he gained a MD. In 1912 he was elected Chef de Clinique in the Paris Faculty.

However the Balkan states having formed the Balkan League fought successfully to complete secession from the Ottoman Empire. This was the First Balkan War 1912-13. Immediately afterwards Bulgaria went to war against Greece and Serbia to settle boundaries. This was the Second Balkan War. Dr Cawadias returned to Greece to help his country, and in particular served during the cholera epidemic in Salonika. In 1914, he married the daughter of a banker, and, on the nomination of Queen Mother Olga, he was appointed Chief of the Medical Clinic in the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, and he became physician to the new king, her son. During the Great War, Cawadias was the liaison officer to the British Sector, and in 1918 was appointed to the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Greece attempted to expand into Asia Minor, but was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War 1919-1922. After this chaos and the need to absorb 1.5 million refugees, there was a referendum on the monarchy, and Greece became a republic in 1924. A fervent royalist, Cawadias followed his King Geórgios II (Olga’s grandson) into exile in London two years later. He qualified as a British MD at Durham University. He found a home in the prestigious Wimpole Street, and became a British subject. He quickly established a consulting practice mainly amongst wealthy Greek expatriates. He did not follow his king back to Greece in 1935 after the right-wing coup that restored the monarchy.

Cawadias specialized in endocrinology and established a reputation in the field. He was president of the History of Medicine Society of the Royal Society of Medicine from 1937 to 1939.

The reigning paradigm re intersex persons, or hermaphrodites as they were then called, was that of Theodor Klebs (1834-1913) who in his Handbuch der Pathologischen Anatomie, 1876 codified the already accepted notion that primacy in sex determination should be the gonads: thus a person with a typical female body but also testes would be designated male and a person with a typical male body but with ovarian tissue would be designated female. Klebs distinguished true hermaphroditism (both ovarian and testicular tissue) from what he called pseudo-hermaphroditism.

Cawadias was one of the first to speak out against this paradigm. In December 1941, when the worst of the Blitz was over, he gave the Thomas Vicary lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons: Hermaphroditism: A Historical Approach.
“In all cases of ‘complete’ hermaphroditism described even to-day the testis or the ovary was rudimentary and not functioning. Bisexualism could not be accepted on such slender evidence. Was there a normal woman who did not possess in her ovarian medulla testicular rudiments, or a normal woman who did not secrete testosterone? According to Klebs's criterion all normal women should be considered true hermaphrodites. (1941 p818)” …. “The ovary and testis were not the basis of sex, but merely manifestations or results of the initial genetic sexoformic impulse, which in human beings was either male or female and never bisexual. A female was not the appendage of her ovaries, to use Virchow's phrase, but had ovaries because she was female. A male was not male because he had testes; he had testes because he was male. There was neither absolute male nor absolute female. Every male had more or less latent female features, and vice versa. Intensification of this normal intersexualism characterised the disease hermaphroditism, and all degrees were encountered. (p819)”
Cawadias’ daughter Mary had been a Red Cross nurse during the Italian Invasion of Greece in 1940, and after the Germans also invaded in 1941 she was arrested by the SS and condemned to death for assisting the Allies.

Continued in Part II
52 Wimpole St


Cawadias was first at 52 Wimpole Street, and then at 50. Number 50 was the residence 1838-46 of poet Elizabeth Barrett, lover of poet Robert Browning. Their courtship was immortalised in the play  The Barretts of Wimpole Street, 1930. It was filmed twice, 1934 and 1957, in both cases directed by Sidney Franklin. It was also remade by the BBC in 1982.

The Royal College of Physicians biography of Cawadias (which does not mention intersex even once) says “In 1914, on the nomination of Queen Olga, he had been appointed Chief of the Medical Clinic in the Evangelismos Hospital”. However her husband Geórgios I had been assassinated in 1913 so she was no longer Queen. Their son Konstantínos ruled 1913-17 but was forced out for being pro-German. His second son, Aléxandros ruled 1920-3 until death from a monkey bite. Following a referendum, Konstantínos returned but abdicated in 1922 after Greece lost a war with Turkey. His first son Geórgios II then reigned 1922-4 until a republic was proclaimed. Geórgios then spent most of his time in Britain, and with his English mistress. He divorced his wife in 1935. After the right-wing coup that year and a rigged referendum, Geórgios returned and ruled during the Metaxas dictatorship, giving his consent to the suspension of the parliament, etc.

The Wikipedia page on Theodor Klebs does not mention his work on hermaphrodites. !!

07 January 2020

Donald Purcell (1914 - 1958) chauffeur, business man

In 1938 Purcell was living in Monton Green, Eccles, Manchester (map). He was accepted at Charing Cross Hospital in London and operated on by Dr Lennox Broster. An article in the Daily Mirror headlined “Doctor Changes Sex of 24: Patients Have Married”, concentrated on Purcell who was said to be taking the name Donald, although as his sister was quoted: “Doris was always a tomboy and my brothers called her Donald. … She knew all about motors and engineering, and was never happier than when tinkering with engines. …. Pretty frocks made no appeal to her. …. She never used paint or powder, and she smoked like a man”. The press discovered a special female friend, Charlotte, and wrote her up as Donald’s intended. This was not to be.

From his start as a chauffeur, Donald became a small business man. Donald took a wife, Lilian: they were married at Shrewsbury Register Office in May 1942. In 1946 they moved to Gorton, Manchester, close to where Donald’s mother had previously kept a small shop and off-licence. They adopted a son.

In January 1958, after two years of problems with his heart, Donald collapsed at home and was taken to hospital where he died – he was 44. His body was examined, and a policeman reported his death to Mrs Purcell, and also told her that her husband was a ‘woman’ – which came as a great surprise to her.
  • ‘Doctor Changes Sex of 24: Patients Have Married’, Daily Mirror, 5 May 1938: 2.
  • ‘Drama of Girls’ Surprise Meeting in Hospital Ward’, News of the World, 8 May 1938: 7.
  • ‘Police Tell Wife: Your Husband Was a Woman’, Daily Express, 27 January 1958, p. 1.
  • Alison Oram. Her Husband was a Woman!: Women's gender-crossing in modern British popular culture. Routledge, 2007: 115-6.
  • Alison Oram. “ ‘Farewell to Frocks’ – ‘Sex Change’ in Interwar Britain: Newspaper Stories, Medical Technology and Modernity” in Kate Fisher & Sarah Toulalan (eds). Bodies, Sex and Desire from the Renaissance to the Present. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011: 102, 109-10. 
  • Clare R Tebbutt. Popular and Medical Understandings of Sex Change in 1930s Britain. PhD Thesis, University of Manchester, 2014.:  88, 128-133, 139.

02 January 2020

Marsha Naquin-Delain (1953 - 2017) publisher, community activist

Marsha was raised as Marion Greeson in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  His mother Betty Greeson was a cop, and Marion came out to her at age 15 – although they agreed not to mention the fact to his father, a high-school football coach.  His first boyfriend was his mother’s hairstylist. 

Marsha & Rip 1972
In 1973, on a weekend trip to New Orleans Marion met Rip Naquin (1954 – 2017) on Bourbon Street. They soon moved in with each other in Baton Rouge, and Marion became Marsha Naquin-Delain.  They started two gay publications that ultimately failed.  Their third attempt was Ambush Magazine.  Originally it covered Baton Rouge and north Louisiana, until 1985 when they moved to New Orleans.  

In 1986 they acquired the building at 828 Bourbon Street.  The ground floor was the office of Ambush Magazine and Naquin and Delain lived upstairs.  They have been active in Southern Decadence, PFLAG, LGBT+ Archives of Louisiana.  They founded the carnival Krewe of Queenateenas, and participated in the Gay Easter Parade.

When New Orleans introduced same-sex domestic partnerships in 1993, Naquin and Delain were the first to be registered.   In 2013 they were married in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on their 40th anniversary.   

Rip died age 63 in August 2017 of liver failure.  Marsha died four months later – some say of a broken heart.

·         Frank Perez & Jeffrey Palmquist. In Exile: The History and Lore Surrounding New Orleans Gay Culture and Its Oldest Gay Bar. LL-Publications, 2012: 131-2.
·         Cathy Hughes. “Rip Naquin, a leader in New Orleans' LGBT community, dies at 63”  The Times-Picayune, Aug 10, 2017. Online
·         Frank Perez.  “Obituary: Marsha Naquin-Delain”.  Ambush Magazine, February 27, 2018.  Online


Ambush Magazine is still going.   
I did not find any statement to the effect that Marsha considered herself transgender.  Certainly she did not change her legal gender to female so that she and RIP could marry before 2013.
In the two articles by Frank Perez the pronouns referring to Marsha drift from male to female.