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25 April 2021

The first US Trans Women up to 1966

1966, the date of Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon, and the start of surgeries at John Hopkins and other university clinics is of course the obvious cut-off point.

As in the British list, the criteria for inclusion here are either surgery or living full-time and often both. 



Frances Carrick social transition 1903.

Georgia Black social transition in 1921, and continued so until her death in 1951.

Elsie Marks, the Cobra woman who did a snake act, social transition in the 1920s, was married and lived so until her death in 1946 after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

Carla van Crist social transition 1920s, surgery in Berlin 1929-30.

Mary Baker social transition in 1927, and worked as a waitress, laundress, chorine, nurse. She was also married. However in 1937 she was arrested for making "improper advances" on an undercover policeman in Brooklyn.

193?. Dr Stanley, Chief Surgeon of the California State Prison, St. Quentin, while examining an apparently male prisoner, he discovered that the prisoner had been surgically transformed into a woman.

Clarabelle, the queen of Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, lived full-time as female in the 1930s. Her story has been lost. She was succeeded by Wilhemena and then Carioca (who later died on an operating table in Calexico) of whom we know even less.

Josephine Montgomery social transition in the 1930s. This went well until she was arrested and convicted of strong-arm robbery in 1950. (Bullough p567)

A woman, who had been born with the name William Richeson, had been married for six years before being outed in 1937. Her husband was completely surprised. (Bullough p567)

Adele Best. Vern Bullough tells us “ Mrs. Adele Best lived as a woman for 54 years with no one the wiser, including apparently, at least according to her own testimony, her three husbands”, but gives no dates. (p567)

Barbara Wilcox had social transition before 1941, surgery 1956

Louise Lawrence social transition 1944.

Hedy Jo Star social transition 1945, surgery 1962.

Caren Ecker social transition 1940s, surgery 1953

Pussy Katt surgery 1945 in Mexico.

Sally Barry had social transition in the 1940s, surgery 1953-8.

Carla Sawyer social transition 1949, surgery 1957?

Christine Jorgensen surgery 1951-2 and 1969, social transition 1952

Charlotte McLeod - surgery and social transition 1953

Dixie MacLane social transition 1953, surgery 1955.

Janet surgery 1953 (Benjamin p137)

Tamara Rees social transition 1952, surgery 1955 in the Netherlands.

Annette Dolan social transition 195?, surgery 1954.

Patricia Morgan social transition mid 1950s, surgery in 1961 with Elmer Belt.

Gayle Sherman sociually transition 1956, surgery late 1960s?

Clara Miller surgery and social transition 1957

The person previously called William O’Connell - surgery 1960 (Benjamin p74-81)

Beverly-Barbara social transition 1958, surgery 1968.

Betty social transition 1961, surgery 1962.

Paula Neilsen surgery 1963.

Abby Sinclair surgery 1963 in Casablanca.

Judy Bowden social transition 1965, surgery 1971.

Harriet/Ava surgery 1965 in Europe, later became a wife. (Benjamin p83)

The unnamed actor whose photograph is in Benjamin’s book. Surgery before 1966.

Phyllis Avon Wilson social transition 1960s, surgery 1966 (the first at Johns Hopkins)

  • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Warner Book, 1966, 1977.
  • Vern Bullough. “Transsexualiism in History”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 4,5, 1975.
  • Leslie Feinberg. Trans Gender Warriors.Beacon Press, 1996.
  • Roberta Perkins. “Famous Trannies” Polare 13, September 2015.


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And some more whom I missed:

Sophia Gibons social transition by 1860, and continued to her death in 1885.

Mrs Noonan, previously Mrs Clifford and then Mrs Nash - social transition before 1868, and continued through three husbands to her death in 1878.

Peggy Yule social transition at age 15 in 1875, and continued to her death in 1965.

Elizabeth Berger social transition at age 9, and continued until outed at age 57 in 1931.

Frances Anderson social transition before 1890, and continued until death in 1928.

Lucy Hicks Anderson social transition as a child in the 1890s, and continued until death in 1954, despite being outed in the 1940s.

Mrs Cox social transition circa 1950, outed and charged in 1958.

Désirée social transition and marriage in 1960s, murdered by her husband.



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