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!

16 February 2020

Sophie White (1957 - ) filmmaker, actress

Sophie, originally from Houma, Louisiana, was previously known as Rory, and under that name had been a motorcycle racer, a boxing promoter, and a chiropractor, at first in Roswell, Georgia, and then, with a wife and three children, in Houma.

White invested in a brother’s new local television station, but it went bankrupt and White was left with a lot of equipment. Instead of selling it at discount, it made more sense to learn how to use it. White obtained camera work, and worked up to director of photography and then producer.

By 2017, White could no longer suppress her feminine side and had begun to transition as Sophie. That year she won an International Screen Writers Association award. She also pitched a film called Hummingbird loosely based on her own story of almost being pushed to suicide. They started filming with Sophie in the lead role. However another trans woman brought in as a consultant died by suicide, and they did not have the heart to finish post-production. 

Based on what had been filmed and seen, an agent signed Sophie as an actress. Since then she has had several film and television acting roles.

  • “Transgender Filmmaker Transitions into New Career Roles” Ambush Magazine, October 8, 2019. Online.
  • Eve Kucharski. “Transgender Actress Sophie White Talks Acting Origins, Upcoming Projects”. PrideSource, October 23rd, 2019. Online.

14 February 2020

Ernest Marples (1907 – 1978) Minister of Transport, businessman

​Ernest Marples was raised in Manchester by parents active in the Labour Party. In 1941 he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery and rose to the rank of Captain, before being medically discharged in 1944.

He joined the Conservative Party and was elected Member of Parliament for Wallasey in the 1945 election – despite the winning Labour Party surge. Around the same time he became a director in a construction firm. In 1948, with civil engineer Reginald Ridgway he founded Marples Ridgway and Partners which went on to build roads, dams and power stations.

He was appointed Postmaster General in 1957 by Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and then Minister of Transport in 1959, where he stayed until the transfer of power to Labour in 1964. MacMillan remarked that Marples was one of only two in his cabinet who was self-made.

Mr & Mrs Marples
Marples had resigned as a director of Marples Ridgway in 1951 when he became a junior minister, but continued to hold 80% of the company’s shares. He still held them in early 1960 when Marple Ridgway won a tender to build the Hammersmith Flyover despite not being the lower bidder. After a kerfuffle in the press, he attempted to sell his shares to his former partner, Ridgway, but the Attorney-General rejected this as he would be able to buy them back. But he was allowed to sell them to his wife instead. Marples Ridgeway, although not the direct contractor, was involved in the building of the M1, Britain’s first motorway.

In 1962 Marples oversaw the Transport Act which simplified the closure of railways, and appointed Richard Beeching to recommend such closures which amounted to 55% of stations and 30% of track.

It was an open secret that Marples engaged prostitutes, however he was not involved in the Profumo Scandal of 1963 wherein the Secretary of State for War was found to be sharing a mistress with a Soviet naval attaché. A senior judge, Tom Denning was appointed to report on the scandal, and also investigated rumours about other ministers.

His investigation was close to its conclusion when on 9 July a woman using the name Mrs Ann Bailey, but sometimes Mrs Smith, came forward. She explained that she was a full-time prostitute and had for a long time been paid by Marples. She described how he bought women’s clothes and wore them when he met her. She described his further tastes of which, she said, ‘whipping was the least sickening’.  Their meetings often took place at Marples' home at 33 Eccleston Square, (map) previously inhabited by Winston Churchill and close to Victoria Station, and Mrs Bailey was able to give a detailed description of the interior of the house. She further testified that even after their relationship ended, a series of ‘annoying, obscene and filthy’ letters signed by the Minister with the initial E were sent to her, describing services and practices he still required.

It was felt that this very much exposed Marples to a risk of blackmail. It was also felt that Bailey had been encouraged to approach the Denning inquiry by a national newspaper so that once her evidence was authenticated and published in Denning’s report, the newspaper would be clear to pay her and publish the story. Denning arranged a meeting in his office of Marples and Bailey. He acknowledged that he knew her, and they shook hands.

On 14 August there was a crisis meeting of Denning with Prime Minister Macmillan - but they did not mention the Marples situation.  Macmillan hinted at a curious compromise, suggesting to Denning that it might be ‘appropriate at a later stage to write confidentially to the Prime Minister drawing his attention to suspicions of discreditable conduct on the part of Ministers in their private lives’.

The slightly expurgated Denning Report was published in September 1963, and very unusually for a judicial report was a best seller.  A few weeks later Macmillan was hospitalised with prostate cancer, and he used this as an excuse to resign.  He was replaced by Alec Douglas Hume who took the Conservative Party to defeat in the election of October 1964.

Marples was not a minister in the next Conservative Government, that of Edward Heath, 1970-4, and he retired at the 1974 general election. Later that year he became a life peer as Baron Marples of Wallesey.

However his business activities were catching up with him. The tenants of a block of flats he owned in Putney were demanding that he repair serious structural faults; he was being sued for £145,000 by the Bankers Trust merchant bank; Inland Revenue was demanding that he pay nearly 30 years of back taxes on his residence in Eccleston Square; and that he pay capital gains tax on other properties.

In early 1975 he fled to Monte Carlo, and the Treasury froze his assets in Britain. In November 1977 he made a payment of £7,600 to the British government and was able to return.  He spent his final years in France, and died in hospital in Monte Carlo in July 1978 age 70.

In 1994 as per standard practice the official archives relating to the Macmillan government were released, but without the archives relating to the Denning Report.  The then Prime Minister John Major questioned this and was invited to read them.  He then agreed that they remain closed to the public until 2048.

In 2020 Denis Bedoya/Tom Mangold obtained access to the diaries of Thomas Critchley, Denning’s secretary. On this basis they were able to reveal the evidence of Mrs Bailey.  They conclude that she was paid off with an amount equal to what she could expect from a major newspaper for the story.
 “Such a deal would have involved taxpayers’ money buying off a prostitute to keep her quiet to save the government of the day. I calculate that the amount would have been equivalent today to about £250,000. Now that really would have been a scandal.”

  • Richard Davenport-Hines. An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo. William Collins, 2013: 20-2, 328-9.
  • Martin Rosenbaum. “Profumo scandal evidence still secret in 'cover-up' “. BBC News, 1 february 2020. Online.
  • Tom Mangold. “How the official report into the Christine Keeler affair covered up a FAR more sensational sex scandal... and Tory Minister Ernest Marples' kinky antics made Profumo look like a choirboy!”. The Daily Mail, 25 January 2020. Online.
  • Denis Bedoya. “How report into the Christine Keeler affair covered up a FAR more sensational sex scandal”. Infosurhoy, January 25, 2020. Online.


The reports by Mangold and Bedoya are word-for-word identical including the use of the first person.

09 February 2020

Glen or Glenda but not Virginia Prince

First a reminder of previous postings.

Virginia Prince

Part 1 – Youth and First marriage
Part II – Second Marriage
Part III – Femmiphilic activist
Part IV – Full-time Living
Part V – Transgenderist dowager
Jargon terms and general comments

Edward D Wood

Edward D. Wood, Jr (1924 - 1978) film-maker, pornographer

I commented in the latter: "Ed was active in heterosexual transvestite groups in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s. So was Virginia Prince. But neither appears in the books about the other."

I also wrote in Virginia Prince Part 1, re the initial contacting of Los Angeles transvestites in 1952-3: "However there were cross-dressers who were not invited such as fellow Angeleno and heterosexual Edward D. Wood, Angeleno Sascha Brastoff, José Sarria who was starting to organize fellow drag queens in San Francisco, and the majority of female impersonators, such as those who performed at Finocchio's in San Francisco. Nor was the invitation extended to female cross-dressers."

Prince was heavy on pseudo-respectability, and Wood was not 'respectable'.

Glen or Glenda not inspired by Prince

In 1953 the divorced Arnold Lowman (Prince's male persona) was in the newspapers attempting to modify his visiting rights and reduce his alimony, and was again named in the press as a transvestite and his father threatened to disown him. This was at the same time that Christine Jorgensen was in the news after returning from Denmark, and it was announced that Bela Lugosi’s next film would be called Transvestite. The director, Edward D Wood, announced that the film, which was eventually called Glen or Glenda, would have no relation to the transvestite divorce story then in the Los Angeles newspapers.


In 2011 Michael Franklin at the University of Minnesota in his PhD thesis, Spectacles in Transit: Reading Cinematic Productions of Biopower and Transgender Embodiment, includes a footnote 35 on p28 which refers to Rudolph Grey, Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Ed D. Wood, Jr. 1995 p39-40, and makes a dramatic comment: "Incidentally, this oral history biography contains a photograph of Ed Wood standing in a group of people on the set of Glen or Glenda with Virginia Prince, whom the photo caption describes as an 'unnamed transvestite.' ”

That is it. No reasoning is given for this identification.  No reference to a mention in Transvestia magazine, to a comment by someone who would know or anything else.

Laura Horak, "Tracing the History of Trans and Gender Variant Filmmakers", Transmedia, Spectator, 37,2,Fall 2017,  has a endnote 47.  "See photo of Prince on the set of Glen or Glenda in Grey, Nightmare of Ecstasy, 39-40", and uncritically cites Franklin.

Here is the photograph in  Nightmare of Ecstasy on p41 (not 39-40).   Ed Wood is second from the right standing, and the 'unnamed transvestite' at the right.

Here is 'unnamed' next to a photograph of Virginia Prince a few years earlier (1948).

Hypothesis not confirmed!!!