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!

30 March 2021

Calenna Garbä (1972 - ) musician

Raised in Buenos Aires, Garbä had started a business career, and also had some musical training. At the age of 30, she moved to the seaside town of Mar de Plata, transitioned and became a mainly self-taught musician, with some influence from her musician father, and some private lessons, but no formal training.

She has become a composer of music that is sometimes described as like film music or light classical.

Calenna has received, among others, the Argentine “Estrella de Mar 2017” award for her summer concerts in the city of Mar del Plata. In 2017 she premiered a work performed by the Urban Queer Orchestra of New York.

  • Agustina Larrea. “La increíble historia de Calenna Garbä, la compositora y pianista trans argentina que fue reconocida por la ONU y dará una charla TED”. Infobae, 27 de Octubre de 2018. Online.
  • Milagros Chirinos. “Argentinian Pianist Calenna Garbä is Raising LGBTQ Awareness One Concert at a Time”. Human Rights Campaign, May 16, 2019. Online.

Buenos Aires Ciudad      LinkedIn

28 March 2021

Mariela Elcira Muñoz (1943 - 2017) tarot reader, mother of 23

The Muñoz family came from Lules in the northern Argentinian province of Tucumán, but moved to Quilmes, south of Buenos Aires where the father was able to get construction work.

By age 13 Muñoz declared her name to be Mariela, and was already taking care of her three brothers and the children of a neighbouring Italian couple. She endured teasing, bullying and a gang rape, but never backed down. Her father took her to psychiatrists and prostitutes, but finally accepted her and even considered mortgaging the house to pay for completion surgery.

Mariela and her mother
In her twenties Mariela was making a living as a tarot reader, and was already helping children and single mothers. The first child she took in was the son of a prostitute who could not take care of him. Next were three sisters abandoned by their mother. She found 16-year-old Yolanda in front of the train station. She had fled home with her baby when she was told to prostitute herself to feed the baby. Mariela invited Yolanda to live with her. 14-year-old Enrique arrived in Buenos Aires after fleeing from the brick kiln where he had worked since the age of 9. He was rescued by Mariela. Eventually she became mother to twenty-three children, and then 30 grandchildren. She was always honest with the children about her own condition and how she intended to become a woman.

She had completion surgery in Chile in 1981 with Dr Guillermo Mac Millan.

Mariela's worst year was 1993. A woman had given her three children. Later she repented and then without even talking to Mariela made a legal complaint. The judge convicted Mariela of kidnapping the children. Furthermore he sentenced her to a year in jail, suspended. This did lead to a discussion in the Argentinian media re trans women raising children. Dr Mac Millan spoke up in her support: 'Her attitude as a woman, her feeling as a mother, her noble readiness for adoption, which is one of the most sublime feelings in the world, they comfort me. It is the answer that we always seek in all the cases that we operate. '

The media coverage enabled Mariela, in May 1997 to became the first Argentinian to get her name and gender corrected on her national identity card. This was 15 years before Argentina’s Ley de Identidad de Género, 2012, which gave the same rights to trans persons in general.

Later that year she ran in the primaries to be a candidate for mayor of Quilmes. In 2003 she ran to be a provincial deputy for the Justicialista Party with the slogan 'A different woman'. In 2009 she ran as a candidate for provincial deputy for the Renewal Party,

In 2013 Mariela had a stroke. A judge awarded her and four other trans women "extraordinary and reparatory" subsidies for the discrimination to which the country, the law, and neglect had subjected them.

The French-Argentinian filmmaker Maria Audras made a film about Mariela’s life which won the best feature film award at the LGBTAQ Asterisk film festival, 2017. Audras had heard tell of Mariela from a friend in the 1990s. She went to Buenos Aires and phoned every Mariela Muñoz in Buenos Aires, and still did not find her in that she was in Quilmes. When they finally met, Audras was so impressed by the love expressed by Mariela’s children that she scrapped the fiction film she had in mind and made a documentary - which she worked on for three years. By this time Mariela had suffered three strikes and was dependent on the care of her children.

Mariela died age 73.

  • Maria Audras (dir & scr). Amor a paso de gigante, with Mariela Muñoz. Argentina 53 mins 2016.
  • “Murió Mariela Muñoz, la primera transexual en conquistar un DNI femenino”. Clarín, 07/05/2017. Online.
  • “Murió Mariela Muñoz, la primera madre trans de la Argentina”. Latfem, mayo 7, 2017. Online.
  • “La ‘gigante’ Mariela Muñoz, pionera transexual y madre de 17 hijos”. El País, 11 Nov 2017. Online.
  • Lucas Garabento. “La lucha, el dolor y las conquistas de Mariela Muñoz, la mujer trans que crió 23 hijos”. Infobae, 17 de Noviembre de 2018. Online.

ES.Wikipedia          IMDB

25 March 2021

Holden Madagame (1990 - ) opera tenor

 Madgame was raised in Michigan, trained as a mezzo soprano at the Michigan School of Music, and then moved to Berlin as a third of the world’s opera is in Germany. 

By 2013 Madgama knew that he had to transition. He researched what effect testosterone would have on a trained singing voice and found very little information, and what there was suggested that it would damage his career. But he had to do it anyway. A year after starting testosterone, he had top surgery in Bangkok. He rebuilt his repertoire, this time as a tenor. He applied to the Glynbourne Academy which offers courses for opera singers not on the standard track. They helped him to sort out a vocal technique, especially in mixing head and chest voice. 

Holden has become an accomplished tenor both as a soloist and in chorus. He continue to live in Germany and has sung with Passaggio Oper, Fulham Opera, Gerhart Hauptmann Theater in Görlitz, and the Brandenburgisches Konzertorchester.

  • Holden Madagame. “Holden Madagame: The trans opera singer who went from mezzo soprano
    to tenor”. The Independent,4 December 2017. Online.
  • Lara Moehlman. “Registering change: A trans opera singer’s risky decision to follow his dreams”. Michigan Radio, Mar 14, 2018. Online.
  • Michael Cooper. “Transgender Opera Singers Find Their Voices”. New York Times, July 11, 2019. Online.

22 March 2021

Barbara de Lamere previously known as Bunny Eisenhower

Several trans histories tell us that Bunny Eisenhower and Lee Brewster founded the Queens' Liberation Front in 1970, and that they worked with Sylvia Rivera. We know quite a lot about Lee Brewster, but who was Bunny?  Nobody seems to have dug into this question.     David Kaufman's Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam mentions her several times in that she was a minor actor in the plays considered in the book.   However Arthur David Kahn's The Many Faces of Gay contains a fairly detailed biography of Bunny.  This was published in 1997 and nobody seems to have noticed.  Kaufman has details that Kahn does not.   Putting them together we get the account below.

++ Original September 2015, revised March 2021 after being informed by her brother that "Esther" was really Enid Dame, the noted poet. 


Eddie Dame (1940 - )  began cross-dressing at age 3, but usually only when the parents were away. The family regarded him as effeminate, and called him 'Butch' to toughen him up. Cousins slapped him around, to the same end. By age 13 he had started drinking, as did most of the family. Eddie's sisters helped him with makeup, and Nellie, the elder, introduced him to her fiancé with the comment: "my brother wears my clothes". However the rest of the family played a game of denial.

Anticipating being drafted Eddie volunteered for the US Air Force in 1959, where he entered into a relationship with Larry. From 1963, the year that they completed service, to 1967, they lived as a couple in New York. Larry refused to escort Eddie when he was cross-dressed. In 1967 Larry, announcing that he wanted children, married a woman. Eddie was the best man, and Eddie and Larry had sex the night before, as they continued to do occasionally until 1982 when Larry was seriously ill. Eddie never heard from him again.

After the wedding, Eddie went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and bought a full set of female clothing. Back in New York Eddie started going out dressed female.

In 1968 he joined Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and had a part in When Queens Collide. The name Inez Bunny Eisenhower was first proposed for cis actress Regina Hirsch, without her approval, and both names were listed for her in the flyer for Jack Smith's film Big Hotel. However she settled on the nom d'etage of Lola Pashalinski by the time that she was in Bill Vehr's Whores of Babylon. By the time of the production of Ludlam's Turds in Hell, 1969 the name had been assigned to Eddie.

He took up with Esther Enid Jacobs, the daughter of Jewish radical labor activists in Pennsylvania.  She was active in a Communist anti-war group, had had lesbian affairs and was okay with his transvestity, however she felt that the group would not be, so she left the group. Enid was not accepted by the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, so Eddie gave up acting. Eddie's father died in 1970, and later Eddie and Enid were married in a Unitarian Church, a second marriage for both of them. His mother came, but was already drunk.

Bunny and activist Lee Brewster founded the Queens' Liberation Front in 1970. They campaigned successfully to de-criminalize cross-dressing in New York. Previously a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be cross-dressed, was present.
Enid & Bunny in 1973 gay parade.   p8 Drag Magazine 3.11

Eddie and Enid stayed married for seven years. When Eddie let his hair grow and grew a beard, Enid thought that his cross-dressing would stop, but he continued with a scarf to hide his beard. 

In 1977, Eddie got a position as a proof-reader in a law firm. The next year he and Enid divorced.

Eddie now considered the possibility of transition. A therapist provided a reference to an electrologist and an endocrinologist. She came out at work after speaking up when the supervisor made comments about transsexuals. Word spread though the firm, and as Eddie became increasingly androgynous, colleagues would stop by her office to see 'the company freak'. Outside Eddie was taken as a woman, but at work was still addressed as a man. She was unnerved by this, developed ulcers and thought of suicide. After a bad experience with a Catholic family values psychologist, Eddie was referred to a therapist who was positive and helpful. She gave up drinking at home and worked overtime to accumulate savings for the operation, which, as Barbara de Lamere, she achieved in 1982. 

Barbara was able to retain her job as a proof-reader. She became active in gay organizations. In 1990, the Gay Veterans Association was excluded from the Veterans Day Parade and Barbara joined the GVA. She became a member of the board and editor of the newsletter. In 1993 she was arrested while marching in the unofficial St Patrick's Day Parade with the Irish and Lesbian Gay Organization.
  • Jayne County & Rupert Smith. Man Enough to Be a Woman. London: Serpent's Tail, 1995: 64.
  • Arthur David Kahn. The Many Faces of Gay: Activists Who Are Changing the Nation. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1997: 3, 15-20, 266-9.
  • David Kaufman. Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2002: 95, 98, 107,119.
  • Susan Stryker. Transgender History. Seal Press, 2008: 87.   2nd edition, 2017:111. 

Enid Dame

Enid Dame become known as a poet, gained a PhD in English from Rutgers University in 1983, and taught there and at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Her third husband was the poet Donald Lev, but she retained her second husband's surname.  The two edited Home Planet News, a literary review.  Enid's poetry often expanded the Torah from a midrash and feminist perspective, for example by invoking the personae of Lilith and Eve. 

Enid died in December 2003.  The Academy of American Poets Prize bestows the Enid Dame Memorial Poetry Prize for the best poem by an undergraduate.
  • Burt Kimmelman.  "The Historical Imperative in Contemporary Jewish American Poetry: Enid Dame, Michael Heller, and Nikki Stiller".  Shofar:  An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 21,2, Fall 2002: 103-110. 
  • "Enid Sue Jacobs Dame".  Legacy, The New York Times, Jan 9, 2004.  Online.  
  • "Enid Dame (1940?- ) Jewish American". In Linda Cullum (ed).  Contemporary American Ethnic Poets: Lives: 91.  Greenwood, 2004.
  • "Honoring Enid Dame".  Friends of Rutgers English, Spring Summer 2005.  Online.  
  • Madeline Tiger & DeDe Jacobs-Komisar.  "How Enid Dame Led Us Beyond Paradigms".  Bridges, 16,1, Spring 2011: 200-7.  

Kahn refers to Enid as Esther, which I initially followed until corrected by her brother.  

The following is found on p98 of Kaufman's book:
 A flyer about the cast of a theatrical production by custom may take liberties with the truth.   Either way I could not see how to fit in the work in Chicago and Los Angeles between the marriages to Larry and to Enid.


In Stryker’s book the only mention is that “drag queen Lee Brewster and heterosexual transvestite Bunny Eisenhower” founded the Queens Liberation Front.  As you see above, to simply describe Eddie/Bunny/Barbara as a ‘heterosexual transvestite’ raises a lot of difficulties.  ++For the second edition of her book, Stryker could not be bothered to add the extra information about her transition.

WikipediaContemporary American Ethnic Poets: Lives, etc, etc totally ignore Enid's first two marriages and her being in a Communist group, simply describe Donald Lev as her husband, not as her third husband, and do not explain why her surname is 'Dame".  

12 March 2021

Anna Heming (1913 - 1981) sailor, retailer, pioneer

Heming, despite early feelings that she should be female, worked as a sailor, was tattooed and married in the 1940s, and had children.   

After an auto-orchiectomy Anna Heming had completion surgery in Switzerland in 1959.   She and her wife remained married, but eventually divorced in 1971.

Anna combined both stereotypical masculine and feminine occupations.   She made her own clothes, and built a house, brick by brick.  She set up an electrical and second-hand goods shop in Bristol.   She also made electronic organs (the musical kind), and was known for spending time and energy helping younger transsexuals.

After she retired, she suffered badly from depression, and took her own life at age 68.   As she had never had her birth certificate re-issued, she was listed as male on her death certificate.

· Liz Hodgkinson,. Bodyshock: the truth about changing sex. Columbus, 1987. Virgin 1991:121-3.


If not for the happenstance of Anna meeting Liz Hodgkinson, her story would have been lost.

Who did her surgery in Switzerland is not stated.   We should note that it was a year earlier than April Ashley's surgery in Casablanca.


09 March 2021

Some forgotten European gender impersonators 1890-1925

Stiv-Hall Bloch (187? - )

Stiv-Hall and four sisters, of whom the most famous was Jeanne Bloch, were collectively known as the troupe de la Scala. Only Stiv-Hall did gender impersonations in addition to singing and acting. Stiv-Hall was known for perfect impersonations of the major actresses of the day, especially Yvette Guilbert of whom he was more than once taken to be the original. It was proposed that Stiv-Hall make a phonograph record of imitations of the famous singers of the day, but that did not happen.

  • Oscar Paul Gilbert translated from French by J Lewis May, Men in Women's Guise. John Lane The Bodley Head Limited. 1926: 270-2.
  • Anthony Slide. Great Pretenders: A History of Female and Male Impersonation in the Performing Arts. Wallace-Homestead, 1986: 141
  • F Michael Moore. Drag!: Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen and Television. McFarland & Compamy, 1994: 71-2
  • Dutempsdescerisesauxfeuillesm, 2010: Chapitre XXXI. Online.

Geneanet       FR.Wikipedia(Jeanne Bloch)


Ernst Middendorf was a renowned Berlin performer. In December 1917 he was sentenced to one year and five months penal servitude for shoplifting “while disguised as a woman”. 

Despite this, his skill was used in a court trial in September 1922. The woman owner of a hotel was accused of letting her premises be used by persons of bad character. An elegantly attired young woman was called as a witness and questioned seriously and politely by the judge. When this was complete, the defence lawyer requested an acquittal.  “The witness is not a woman at all, but a man. If an astute court can’t tell the difference between a man and a woman, how can it expect my client to distinguish good characters from bad on sight”. The judge accepted this, and dismissed the case.

  • C J Bulliet. Venus Castina: Famous Female Impersonators Celestial and Human. Bonanza Books, 1928: 271.
  • F Michael Moore. Drag!: Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen and Television. McFarland & Compamy, 1994: 71.

Aranka Gyvengy

Performed female roles and minor parts in Budapest for 23 years before being outed.

  • Oscar Paul Gilbert translated from French by J Lewis May, Men in Women's Guise.John Lane The Bodley Head Limited. 1926: 270.
  • C J Bulliet. Venus Castina: Famous Female Impersonators Celestial and Human. Bonanza Books, 1928: 271.
  • F Michael Moore. Drag!: Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen and Television. McFarland & Compamy, 1994: 71.

Pepi Schmeer

A Viennese folk singer, a mustachioed man with a sonorous tenor voice, who was for many years accepted as he appeared, although it eventually came out that he was a ‘woman’, and his female name Josephine was disclosed. Schmerr had originally performed as a ballerina. After becoming a folk singer, Pepi lived as male full-time, on stage and off. It was said that he had a Transvestitenscheinen (police permission) to do so. At the turn of the century, Schmeer had a stroke while on stage, His fellow performers came to his aid, and he appeared a few more times, but his health was broken and he retired to a home for the aged.

  • Magnus Hirschfeld & Wissenschaftlich-Humanitäres Komitee. Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Homosexualität. 1899: 1242-4.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld translated by Michael A Lombardi-Nash. Transvestites: The Erotic Urge ro Cross-Dress. Prometheus Book, 199:346-7.