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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.


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