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!

23 June 2020

Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

The post-Stonewall activist organizations:

While QLF and STAR were run by trans women, trans women also played significant roles in GLF and GAA. 

Queens Liberation Front (QLF)
StreetTransvestite Action Revolutionaries. (also Part III of Sylvia Rivera)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - New York
Gay Activists Alliance (GAA)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

See also The Five Years Following Stonewall - A New York Timeline

GLF London was founded in the basement of the London School of Economics in October 1970 inspired by what Bob Mellors had seen happen in New York. All-London meetings were held at All Saints Hall in Powis Square, Notting Hill. The newspaper put out was Come Together, named for a song on the Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

At first there was no drag, but slowly a significant minority started wearing frocks for the dances. This extended to street theatre, notably the Miss Trial demo outside the Old Bailey in support of the women who were on trial for disrupting the Miss World contest.  Then GLF disrupted the 1971 Christian Festival of Light. Some GLF queens wore drag because it felt right, some for fun and some for political reasons. Some were living in communal squats and in poverty in Brixton and in Notting Hill, and wore drag all day every day – and became known as Radical Feminists.

They aligned themselves with lesbians against the masculine gay men who were dominating the GLF meetings. When the women finally split from GLF in February 1972, the Rad Fems began to dominate at the All-London meetings, which was a bit intimidating for newcomers. However the RadFems also demonstrated against the launch of the feminist magazine Spare Rib, which allowed The Sunday Times to run an article on the irony of feminist men telling women how they should behave. The fledgling Gay News used this to disassociate from what they referred to as 'fascists in frocks'. The initial issues of Gay News were hostile to GLF in general and even more so to the queens.

Separate from the RadFems and political drag was the GLF Transvestite, Transsexual and Drag Queen Group which started meeting in late 1971 run by Rachel Pollack and Roz Kaveney which formed a trans presence at the GLF meetings. They collectively wrote a manifesto which was published in Come Together, 11, the Lesbian Issue.

Separately from that, Bob Mellors befriended the eccentric trans woman Charlotte Bach, who wasn’t a member, and Bobbie MacKenzie, who was.

The official first gay pride march in London was the Carnival Parade on 1 July 1972. However a few days earlier, GLF had been allocated a time-slot with the Boilermakers Union to picket the US Embassy about what they were doing to Vietnam. Only the Radfems turned up, a band was playing, and a few started a waltz. The US school band packed up in a fit of pique. The queens sauntered off and ended up at Piccadilly Circus. The police asked where they, the queens and the rent boys, intended to go, and said they would escort the march which went via Oxford Street to Hyde Park.

As the all-London meetings declined, they were replaced by separate GLFs in different parts of London. Some of these put on dances which became welcoming places for those who wished to explore their gender expression.

By late 1973 the all-London meetings were almost over. Some of the surviving RadFems took over the anarchist Agitprop bookshop/commune at 248 Bethnal Green Road which they renamed Bethnal Rouge. In 1974 two buildings in Railton Road, Brixton were squatted and became the South London Gay Community Centre.


  • Jeffrey Weeks. “The Gay Liberation front, 1970-72” in Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present. Quartet Books, 1977.
  • Aubrey Walter (ed). Come Together: The Years of Gay Liberation, 1970-73. London: Gay Men's Press, 1980.
  • Bob Mellors. We Are All Androgynous Yellow. Another-Orbit Press, 1980.
  • Kris Kirk with photographs by Ed Heath. Men In Frocks. London: Gay Men's Press 1984: 95-107. Review.
  • Lisa Power. No Bath but Plenty of Bubbles: An Oral History of the Gay Liberation Front 1970-73. Cassell, 1995.
  • Stuart Feather. Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens. Zero Books, 2015.
-----------

None of this is found at all in Christine Burns' Trans Britain.  Review

21 June 2020

Gay Activists Association (GAA)

​The post-Stonewall activist organizations:

While QLF and STAR were run by trans women, trans women also played significant roles in GLF and GAA. 

Queens Liberation Front (QLF)
StreetTransvestite Action Revolutionaries. (also Part III of Sylvia Rivera)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - New York
Gay Activists Alliance (GAA)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

See also The Five Years Following Stonewall - A New York Timeline

----

The GAA was founded in New York City on December 1969 by dissident members of the Gay Liberation Front  who did not approve of the donation of $500 to the Black Panthers. The GAA were prepared to work within the political system, their meetings adhered to Robert’s Rules of Order and they had a constitution.

Sylvia Rivera and Bebe Scarpi first met at an early GAA meeting, however many of the members were initially uncomfortable with Sylvia.

GAA applied for incorporation to the New York State Division of Corporations and State Records.  However they were rejected on the grounds that the name was not a fit name for a New York corporation because of the connotation in which the word "gay" was being used, and that the corporation was being formed to violate the anti-sodomy laws of New York. It took five years to win the right to incorporate under that name.

Initially GAA met at the Church of the Holy Apostles, 9th Avenue at 28th Street. The GAA preamble included “The Right to Our Own Bodies”:
This is the right to treat and express our bodies as we will, to nurture, display and embellish them solely in the manner we ourselves  determine independent of any external control whatsoever.
In March 1970 the GAA organized protests following the police raid on the Snake Pit gay bar, and this led to the first Christopher Street Liberation Day.

Sylvia, right, collecting signatures.
GAA had started a petition to get the reluctant Carol Greitzer, representing Greenwich Village on the New York City Council, to introduce a bill for gay rights. In April 1970,  Sylvia, liking the idea, started soliciting signatures right on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues where she did her usual sex hustling – and was arrested on the 15th while doing so. This was GAA’s first arrest. Sylvia recounted her adventures at GAA. This was heard by Arthur Bell, who wrote a story for Gay Power, and made Sylvia a celebrity. When her case came to court the public gallery was filled with activists from GAA and GLF. Gay attorney Hal Weiner volunteered his services, and GAA picked up the other legal fees. After several appearances, Sylvia’s court case was thrown out when the arresting officer failed to show.

Sylvia wrote to Gay Power newspaper:
I want to tell you a little about a new gay group. The Gay Activists  Alliance. I really want to talk to my sister queens. So girls, pay me a little mind.
Well, girls, many of us were waiting for a group like GAA. I knew many of us when we used to talk about the day we could get together with other gays and be heard and ask for our freedom and our rights.
GAA collected over 6,000 signatures, but Greitzer refused to accept the petition.  Sylvia was part of the 35-person delegation that GAA sent to confront Greitzer on the issue - to no avail.

In August-September 1970 GAA/ Christopher Street Liberation Day booked the basement of Weinstein Hall, a New York University residence building, for fundraising dances. On the eve of the third dance, to be held 21 August, the administration attempted to cancel the rest. Although the two remaining dances were held, the situation escalated and the Hall was occupied. Sylvia, Marsha and Bubbles were present – and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries was born.

In March 1971 there was a Conference of Gay Liberation held at Rutgers University in New Jersey with forums on sadism, masochism, and leather; bisexuality; and transvestism. Speakers from S.T.A.R., Queens Liberation Front and GAA addressed the inaugural event on transvestism.

GAA headquarters was moved to the Firehouse at 99 Wooster St in May 1971. It offered weekly dances, with a sound system as good as in the best nightclubs; film nights curated by film historian Vito Russo; and of course political organizing.

GAA and STAR marched together from the Firehouse to Wards Island State Hospital where Marsha Johnson was then confined.

John Wojtowicz, who had become well-known in gay circles after his marriage to trans woman Liz Eden,  was a GAA member, although mainly for social activities, rarely for political events.

In July just after Mafioso Mike Umbers had evicted the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) from one of his houses, Arthur Bell wrote about his influence in the gay bar scene in The Village Voice, and shortly afterwards GAA organized a protest campaign outside Umbers’ major gay bar, Christopher’s End, at 180 Christopher Street.  Wojtowicz was out of favor as it became known that he was associated with Umbers - he turned up at the demonstration holding a sign supporting Umbers, and apparently had passed on information about GAA's plans.

GAA succeeded, after lobbying and protesting, in getting the New York City Council's General Welfare committee to discuss the problems faced by gays and transvestites in late 1971. GAA equivocated and for a while agreed to the removal of transvestite protections. However it ultimately endorsed them. STAR and QLF also gave evidence.

The GAA Street Theatre Subcommittee included trans activists and supported trans expression.

GAA published the Gay Activist newspaper until 1980.

The Wooster St Firehouse was burned down by arsonists in October 1974 – perhaps by the Mafia to eliminate the competition. The Chief Fire Marshall reported that the fire, soon after 3 am had been set in at least six places on the upper floors.

The GAA was disbanded in 1981.

  • Eric Holm.  "Dog Day Afternoon, Dog day aftertaste".  Jump Cut, 10-11. 1976:3-4.  Online.
  • Martin Duberman. Stonewall. A Plume Book, 1993: 230-4,
  • David Carter. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. St Martin’s Griffin, 2004: 233-8, 248-9.
  •  Stephen L Cohen. The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York “An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail”. Routledge, 2008: 37-40. 107-111, 136-7
  • Lillian Faderman.  The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. Simon & Shuster, 2015:.214-7
  • Phillip Crawford Jr.  The Mafia and the Gays.  2015: 34. 37.
     EN.Wikipedia
-----------------

It is now well known that Carter made no mention of Sylvia Rivera in that overall the evidence is that she was not at the Stonewall riots.  But why is there no mention in his book of her arrest re the Carol Greitzer petition, and her subsequent trial attended by both GLF and GAA?  He does otherwise write about the petition.  He is also silent about QLF and STAR, but not about GLF and GAA.

Faderman, who places Sylvia at the riots in a fleeting role, also ignores the arrest and trial.

I follow Cohen who discusses it in detail.

I was going to link to the EN.Wikipedia page for Carol Greitzer.   However all it says about her refusal of the petition and her general stonewalling on gay rights is "Following the nearby Stonewall Riots that had occurred months earlier, Greitzer met twice with members of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) in May 1970".   I was appalled by this whitewashing and am not linking. 

19 June 2020

Gay Liberation Front (GLF) – New York

The post-Stonewall activist organizations:

While QLF and STAR were run by trans women, trans women also played significant roles in GLF and GAA. 

Queens Liberation Front (QLF)
StreetTransvestite Action Revolutionaries. (also Part III of Sylvia Rivera)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - New York
Gay Activists Alliance (GAA)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

See also The Five Years Following Stonewall - A New York Timeline

----


After the Stonewall Riots, radicalized gays and lesbians attempted to work with the Mattachine Society of New York but the MSNY urged a tempering of demands and the avoidance of further uprisings. On 9 July 1969 a meeting was called by Mattachine-New York, and almost a hundred attended, and a majority voted for a march. The march planning committee felt that it needed a name, and Gay Liberation Front was suggested: in homage to the Vietnamese Liberation Front which was fighting US imperialism and the Algerian Front de libération nationale, which had gained independence a few years earlier.

The GLF met again a week later independently of Mattachine, and decided on a march and protest one month after the riots. The ad placed in The Village Voice said that the march on 27 July was co-sponsored by Mattachine and the Daughters of Bilitis, but at the march 2000 appeared and it was clear that Mattachine and DoB were no longer in charge.

The GLF that emerged was what today would be called intersectional. It denounced racism and the US invasion of Vietnam, and allied itself with third-world struggles and the Black Panther party. They spoke out against capitalism and the nuclear family, psychiatry, organized religion and mafia-run gay bars. And also against lookism, role-playing and objectification in the gay culture. And the homophobia and sexism in the New Left. Meetings were based on consensus and the chair was rotated. This was sometimes chaotic, and some debates continued for weeks.

Their manifesto:
“Gay Liberation Front is a revolutionary homosexual group of men and women formed with the realization that complete sexual liberation for all people cannot come about unless existing social institutions are abolished. We reject society’s attempt to impose sexual roles and definitions of our nature. We are stepping outside these roles and simplistic myths. We are going to be who we are.”
By December, some members had become dissident, and a donation to the Black Panthers was considered too much. They broke away and founded the Gay Activists Association.

Consciousness-Raising groups in GLF were organized. One cell published the newspaper, Come Out! – Zazu Nova was a contributor; another organized dances.

Bob Kohler became prominent in GLF. He lived close to the Stonewall Inn and befriended and helped the street queens who congregated in the park across from the Stonewall. He would sit and talk to them, give clothing or change, and sometimes pay for a room in a cheap hotel. He knew their problems. He spoke up for them in GLF meetings, despite opposition. At different times he brought along various queens, including Bambi L’Amour and Zazu Nova (who is cited by David Carter as being in the vanguard at the Stonewall riots). He had brought Boom Boom Santiago to an early meeting. “Here are the people that you’re supposed to be helping. Meanwhile they’re starving, they’re dying, they have no clothes, they have no food. They’re the ones who started the goddamn [Stonewall] riot”. Kohler’s appeal was actually met with hostility.

Only Sylvia Rivera had the staying power. Kohler was on the committee that organized GLF dances. He put Sylvia on door duty, where, even though often stoned, she fiercely collected and guarded the money.  However the queen known as Orphan Annie volunteered to distribute GLF leaflets in Greenwich Village, and gave one to lovers Arthur Evans and Arthur Bell – which led to them coming into the group.

There was an ongoing problem with homophobia within the Black Panthers. They had been confronted on this issue by GLF at a rally at New Haven on 1 May 1970. Shortly afterwards Panther Huey Newton published an admonishment that militant blacks should acknowledge their insecurities about homosexuality. The GLF was invited to send a delegation to a Panther convention in Philadelphia, and Sylvia was chosen as part of the delegation. Huey even remembered her from a demonstration in New York.

By this time GLF women were becoming impatient with the sexism of the men, and many of them left and founded Lavender Menace, which had a different fight after being excluded from the First and Second Congress to Unite Women.

New York GLF folded in 1971.

  • Martin Duberman. Stonewall. A Plume Book, 1993: 188-9, 219-32, 235-9, 246-53,
  • David Carter. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. St Martin’s Griffin, 2004: 213-232, 241-3.
  • Stephen L Cohen. The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York “An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail”. Routledge, 2008:
  • Lillian Faderman. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. Simon & Shuster, 2015: 194-201, 210-3, 228-232, 265, 343, 589.

14 June 2020

Queens Liberation Front (QLF)

The post-Stonewall activist organizations:

While QLF and STAR were run by trans women, trans women also played significant roles in GLF and GAA. 

Queens Liberation Front (QLF)
StreetTransvestite Action Revolutionaries. (also Part III of Sylvia Rivera)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - New York
Gay Activists Alliance (GAA)
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - London

See also The Five Years Following Stonewall - A New York Timeline



The Queens Liberation Front was the major New York social and activist group for trans persons in the 1970s. It was founded in 1970 by the future Barbara De Lamere (using her stage name of Bunny Eisenhower – she was a member of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company), Lee Brewster (who later ran Lee’s Mardi Gras transvestite boutique), Bebe Scarpinato (a teacher), Vicky West (artist) and Chris Moore (a Jewel Box Revue performer).

Vicky, Chris and Lee met as members of the New York branch of the homophile Mattachine Society. Lee had been organizing drag balls as fund raisers for Mattachine, but had become dispirited given the Mattachine’s disinterest in drag and trans issues. Following the Stonewall riots in June 1969, it was time for a specifically trans group. Bebe joined soon afterwards.

Initially the group was called just Queens, and issued a prospectus declaring two goals.
1. RIGHT TO CONGREGATE;
In New York the license for a drag ball or rather dance permit stated that men dressed in the female attire were not to be permitted on the premises of said dance.
2. RIGHT TO DRESS AS WE SEE FIT …………………………………
We feel that the wearing of a particular article of clothing doesn't make one a criminal. We hope to get a ruling adopting the law presently used in the state of Hawaii. It has been interpreted to mean that one may wear the clothing of the opposite sex as long as he does not deceive others. If one wears a button stating that one is a male it takes away all criminal aspects of cross-dressing.

Shortly afterwards the name was changed to Queens Liberation Front.

The QLF participated in and contributed financially to the first Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in June 1970 - the world's first gay pride march. They were advised by the parade committee that the police might arrest them if they were in drag. However as their raison d’etre was to change the law on that very issue, this was the best time to start doing so. As it went, the police were friendly and no-one was arrested.

Shortly afterwards they published the first issue of their magazine Drag, a magazine of Transvestism, which would run for over 10 years, reach a circulation of over 3,500, and was much more political than Female Mimics, Transvestia or the by then defunct Turnabout. The first edition opened with a call to arms:
“Each day, as I'm propagandizing the plight of the drag queen, I run into the attitude that drag or as the heterosexual transvites call it, dressing, will never be legalized here in the United States. Even the transvestite and drag queen, himself feels that way. What they don't realize is, that this was the exact attitude towards the legalization of homosexuality, 15 years ago. Today, with the legalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults in England, it is now a possible dream here in the States.
We are in our infancy, in gaining acceptance in that department. We hope to gain a lot from our homosexual brothers, who have unashamedly paved the way for us. Now, heterosexual, homosexual, part-time or full-time drag queen, it's time for us to come down off our 'queenly’ throne and go out amongst the 'common' people and let them know that we're really people, with very REAL feelings.
WE WANT OUR RIGHTS GIVEN US AS CITIZENS OF THESE UNITED STATES AND REFUSE TO BE MADE CRIMINALS ANY LONGER!
We ve got a long way to go, baby, until it's a possible dream for us; but we have to start sometime and somewhere.' Now is the time, as most attitudes are being challenged and we're getting onto the bandwagon and hope to have all of you jump on it with us. . … we're coming out! …' Fighting ..

Of course, the same issue also contained a discussion about the difference between ‘drag queen’ and ‘transvestite”; the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade; John Hansen, the cis-het actor who played Christine Jorgensen in the film about her; the drag queen picket of the opening of John Osborne’s play, A Patriot for Me, on Broadway; photos of queens; and cartoons.

Vicky was the art director, and drew the cover pictures. Lee had been the initial editor, but as he became bored, Bebe took over. Linda Lee became the West Coast Editor.

In the mid-1960s, the New York State Liquor Authority had it in for bars that catered to gays and/or trans persons. A victory had been won on appeal by the Julius Restaurant, 159 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village, in 1966-7 with a ruling that having its licence suspended for serving homosexuals violated equal protection rights in the state and Federal constitutions. However problems remained as noted by Mattachine and Stonewall lawyer, Enid Gerling. Under city ordinances a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be cross-dressed, was present. In addition, Section 250.15 of the 1965 Anti-Mask: New York Penal Law (which is still in effect) criminalizes "the wearing of mask or disguises by three or more persons in a public place” however it is permitted “when it occurs in connection with a masquerade party or like entertainment if … permission is first obtained from the police or other appropriate agency.” However the application for the license specifically stated that “males dressed in female attire” were not to be admitted.  The QLF  and its lawyers pressed the city authorities on the matter. They also reminded them of a declaration by Mattachine a few years earlier:
“Drag queens and transvestites assume, quite rightly, that they will be welcome at any function given by a homosexual organization. Even if we wanted to exclude them, as the law says we should, we wouldn’t know how to. Most drag queens and transvestites, when they choose to mimic women, do it so well that it is impossible to know their genital sex without making a physical examination. Obviously, we cannot ask every apparent female who attends our parties to submit to a check of their genitalia.”
The ordinance that the bar be closed, and the anti-drag clause on the masquerade application were both struck. Furthermore the words "homosexuals, lesbians, or persons pretending to be ..." were also removed, thus decriminalising gay clubs and parties.

This was announced in Issue 6 of Drag Magazine. (Online) The first goal from the 1969 prospectus, the Right to Congregate, was declared achieved.

Lee Brewster announced that the 30 October 1970 QLF Halloween Ball was therefore the first ‘legal’ drag ball in New York.

Lee appeared at a Gay Activists Alliance meeting 18 November 1971, to complain that ‘straight homosexuals’ were willing to drop transvestites in their lobbying to outlaw discrimination in the hiring of homosexuals by city agencies. QLF testified before the New York City Council's General Welfare committee. The Gay Activist reported:
" 'Bebe' Scarpi, a transvestite in male attire, gave testimony on the minority group, he pointed out that transvestites used the men's room because they 'd been warned they would be subject to arrest if they entered the ladies room. And even transvestites had to heed the call of nature. Bebe, a student at Queens College, gave what amounted to a short course on the lifestyle and problems of transvestites with such charm, ready wit and intelligence, that even the Councilmen appeared beguiled. … Chairman Sharison seemed unable to comprehend that some transvestites were heterosexual. He wanted to know whether Bebe believed transvestites would be protected by Intro 475. 'Only as a homosexual, not as a transvestite', Bebe explained, and perhaps the councilman would care to enact legislation protecting the transvestite." (Quoted in Cohen p 150)
In 1973 the committee was still blocked in its attempt to pass a bill to ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing and public accommodation. To get it passed, an amendment was proposed that nothing in the definition of sexual orientation “shall be construed to bear upon the standards of attire or dress code". Bebe, as QLF director, was put in the uncomfortable position of submitting to this wording or seeing the bill fail.

For the Christopher Street Liberation Day in June 1973, Bebe went to the 82 Club and got the showgirls, in full regalia to march behind an 82 Club banner. QLF and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) were adjacent in the march. Sylvia Rivera’s impassioned speech for Gay Power was followed by Jean O’Leary of Lesbian Feminist Liberation who asserted biological sex, and that Sylvia was “a genital male”. She read a statement on behalf of 100 women that read, in part,
"We support the right of every person to dress in the way that she or he wishes. But we are opposed to the exploitation of women by men for entertainment or profit."
She was booed, and MC, Vito Russo, the film historian, asked the crowd to let her continue. Lee Brewster jumped onstage and responded,
"You go to bars because of what drag queens did for you, and these bitches tell us to quit being ourselves!”
The situation was calmed only when performer Bette Midler took to the stage and sang.

                                                               ---

The balls arranged by Lee and QLF were held at the Diplomat hotel on West 43rd Street and became so fashionable that the final one, in 1973, was attended by the real Jacqueline Susann, Carol Channing and Shirley MacLaine.

By 1980 Drag Magazine was including explicate photographs.

Lee Brewster continued his business Lee’s Mardi Gras, the largest retail concern in the US aimed at trans and drag persons. The business continued for over 30 years at various locations around Manhattan. It carried a large stock of clothes, prosthetics and books. In addition to individual clients, the shop supplied costumes for Broadway, television and movies, in particular To Wong Foo and The Birdcage.

Brewster continued to answer to ‘Mr’ in the style of old-time drag performers. He died in 2000 age 57 after a battle with cancer.

The thespian referred to as Bunny Eisenhower, who had previously been in a long-term gay relationship, gave up acting for a heterosexual marriage, but afterwards she completed transition in 1982 as Barbara de Lamere, and continued as an LGBT activist into the 1990s.

Chris Moore was a constant at QLF parties, but after a few years she was diagnosed with cancer. She was able to fight it for over five years. Lee Brewster put on a special ball for Chris so that she could perform and be the star, and Vicky drew her for the cover of Drag Magazine 3.11. She died in 1975.

Vicki West continued to work as a man in the art department at the publisher Henry N Abrams rising to be Executive Art Director. She contributed to Morris Louis: The Complete Paintings, The Art of Walt Disney, Windows at Tiffany’s, The History of Modern Art, Impressionism. She became a friend of photographer Mariette Pathy Allen and is featured in Allen’s 1989 book, Transformations. Vicky retired in 2000, died in 2005 age 70 and is interred at the US Military's Arlington National Cemetery.

Bebe Scarpinato worked as a school teacher and principal. She was also a stripper, and later worked at Lee’s Mardi Gras. She died in 2019, age 68. In addition to being director of the Queens Liberation Front (QLF), she was on the founding board of the National Gay Task Force and was active in planning the fourth Christopher Street Liberation Day, and was active in Gay Activists Alliance and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries.


  • “Hail to Queens”. New York Mattachine Times. Nov 1970, 1,2,. Reprinted in Marc Stein (ed). The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History. New York University Press, 2019: 240.
  • “Transvestite and Transsexual Liberation”. Gay Dealer, Dec 1970, 9. Reprinted in Marc Stein (ed). The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History. New York University Press, 2019: 212.
  • Guy Charles. “Intro 475 Controversy: Won’t Be Sacrificial Lambs, Drags Vow” The Advocate, 22 Dec. 1971, 12. Reprinted in Marc Stein (ed). The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History. New York University Press, 2019: 212: 260.
  • Arthur David Kahn. The Many Faces of Gay: Activists Who Are Changing the Nation. Praeger, 1997: 3, 15-20, 266-9.
  • Holly Brubach. Girlfriend: Men, Women, and Drag. Random House, 1999: 133-8.
  • Jack Nichols. “Lee Brewster Dies at 57: Pioneering Transvestite Activist”. Gay Today. 2000. Online.
  • Douglas Martin. “Lee Brewster, 57, Style Guru For World's Cross-Dressers”. New York Times May, 24, 2000. Online.
  • Stephen L. Cohen. The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York: An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail. Routledge, 2007: 9, 91, 94, 95-6, 142-5, 149, 150-2, 160, 246n28, 254n251,
  • JD Doyle. “Lee Brewster’s Mardi Gras Ball Ball 1972”. Queer Music Heritage. Online.
  • Marc Stein. Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Routledge, 2012: 83, 87, 103, 113.
  • Marc Stein (ed). The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History. New York University Press, 2019: 5, 187, 212-3, 240-2, 260, 296, 328n13.

------------------------

There is no apostrophe on Queens Liberation Front, presumably because it was initially simply called Queens. There is no connotation of or reference to the New York borough called Queens – which also has no apostrophe.

Some books about Stonewall and its effects make no mention at all of the Queens Liberation Front: Stonewall (Duberman), Stonewall (Carter), In Search of Stonewall (Schneider – review), The Stonewall Reader (Bauman – review – This book totally ignores several other New York trans activists in addition to QLF, but finds room for Virginia Prince, from Los Angeles, to discuss being divorced by wife no 1, and marrying wife no 2).

There are two significantly different accounts of the Julius Bar court actions:

a) Duberman’s Stonewall p114-116, presents it as a Mattachine initiative. Three members tried several bars on 21 April 1966, announcing that they were homosexual and requesting alcoholic drinks. Several bars served them anyway, but the barman at Julius did not. Mattachine then filed a complaint with the State Liquor Authority (SLA), and announced that they would pay Julius’ legal fees. The SLA quickly announced that it would take no action, but the case was picked up by the Commission on Human Rights, and in 1967 an Appellate court ruled in their favor.

b) Crawford’s The Mafia and the Gays, p27-9, says otherwise. The Julius had been subjected to a NYPD visit 11 November 1965 with an officer reporting in very stereotyped and derogatory terms that a homosexual crowd frequented the bar. This resulted in a suspension of the Julius' liquor license on 1 April 1966. The bar management contested this as requiring them to violate equal protection rights in the constitution. The 1967 decision was an agreement with the argument put forth by the Julius management – which incidentally had supported the Mattachine ‘sip-in’ 21 April 1966.

10 June 2020

Some more unknowns

See also:   A miscellany of Unknowns
                  Transgender Surgery III: Untruths and Unknowns               

Dana Rivers, School Teacher, Trans Activist

In November 2016, an Oakland female couple, 56 and 57, and their 19-year-old son, died after being stabbed and shot. Their garage was set on fire. Rivers was arrested outside, covered in blood. She was charged with murder, arson and possession of metal knuckles. GVWW.

That was 3 and a half years ago. I still cannot find anything in the press explaining what happened. Justice delayed is justice denied, whether Rivers is guilty or otherwise. There should have been a trial by now. There should be explanations.

Masha Bast, lawyer, political activist

I wrote about Masha in July 2015. GVWW. She is a Russian lawyer who supported political and trans activists, and then transitioned. I described her as a hero.

But since then what has happened?  Googling brings up a few more recent articles from Russia that are abusive about her, but nothing else. What has happened to her?

Peter Fries, New York Plastic Surgeon (sometimes spelt Friess)

GVWW      Fries offered facial work and breast implants for transsexuals. His last nurse was Robyn Arnold, who was the last girlfriend of Diane Delia, and was charged with Delia's murder.

Diane Delia died 7 October 1981. Fries died a few days later.

Happenstance? Coincidence? Something else?

Did Harry Benjamin take US citizenship, and if so when?

When I wrote my biography of Benjamin I was unable to find any evidence that he actually took US Citizenship, and thus no statement of when: 1914, 1919, 1933, 1941, 1946 ??

While it is generally assumed that he did, there is no clear statement to that effect.

The only claim is by Susan Stryker on p25 of The Transgender Studies Reader: “Benjamin immigrated to the United States prior to World War I and became a US citizen”. No source is given. The statement would imply that he was a US citizen by August 1914. However this is certainly not true. Benjamin was a member of the Prussian Guard, and sort-of made an attempt to return to Germany to serve therein. Also he had been in the US on a work assignment - not as an immigrant. The war forced him to stay in New York.