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 right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

21 November 2022

Ruminations on recent books

 Part 1: (auto) biographies

Part 2: others

Part 3: Ruminations


There were certainly a large number of autobiographies this year, although some were from 2021 - I having missed them last year.

I would be interested in finding out the sales numbers. Obviously the Chelsea Manning tome will sell well, but it is more than a simple transition story, she being one of the few heroes of modern times. However the standard transition - despite every one being unique - is a tale often told. In the biographies that I retell, I do not dawdle on the transition itself, but focus on the other things that the trans person did. Apart from the pioneers that is.

I recognise the therapeutic value of writing a memoir, but how many of us read them? Do the newly transitioning use them as guidebooks? When I transitioned the available autobiographies by April Ashley etc were about being a performer, a model etc. There were none about how to transition in computer work - although I knew some other computer persons in the local trans support group.

Shelli Renee Joye has self-published a 798 page transition journal. It is overpriced in some countries: CA$151.30/US$ 45.67/€121.75. While she has published 15 or so books at reasonable prices on tantric psychophysics and similar topics, her new memoir is missing from her Amazon author page, and also from https://shellijoye.net/books-published.

A growth area is memoirs by parents of trans kids. This is certainly a topic where parents need to learn from each other.

Jennifer Hopkin has self-published two short biographies - on Christine Jorgensen and Stormé DeLarverie. However as the subtitle on the former is ‘The first transgender woman you never heard about’, she is probably not aiming for readers of this encyclopedia.

If you want to read up on the teenage Roman emperor Elegabalus/Heliogabalus/Varius you might consider the new biography by the novelist and academic Harry Sidebottom. It is aimed at the general public and easy to read. However the claim in the Amazon blurb “the first biography of Heliogabalus in over half a century” is definitely wrong. Sidebottom himself cites two such: Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado’s The Emperor Elagabalus: Fact or Fiction?, 2014 and Martijn Icks’ The Crimes of Elagabalus, 2011, not to mention John Hay’s The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus, 2020.

Back in the previous century it was the practice of historians and biographers to leave out anything queer, or at best to allude to it vaguely. Fortunately that is largely over. However I still have two lacunae. I still have not found a book on Picasso that also discusses Anton Prinner; I have not found a book on Salvador Dalí that discusses his avocation as a serial trans fan - Amanda Lear is the most likely to be mentioned, but there were many others.

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