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!

04 June 2023

The Cameron siblings: Bobbi and Loren

Marjorie (1922-1995)

One cannot mention the trans siblings, Loren and Bobbi, without also mentioning their remarkable aunt, Marjorie Cameron (sometimes just Cameron). She was in the US Navy during WWII as aide to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Afterwards she joined occult circles in Los Angeles, and became muse and later spouse to Jack Parsons, rocket scientist and thelemite magickian. In 1946 she, Parsons and L Ron Hubbard undertook the “Babalon Working” to create a magical child. They knew several science fiction writers. After Jack’s death in an explosion, she became known as an artist and acted in some films, most notably as the Scarlet Woman in Kenneth Anger’s Inaugeration of the Pleasure Dome (1954).

  • Spencer Kansa. Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron. Mandrake, 2014.

  • Michael William West. “Marjorie Cameron (1922-1995)” in Sex Magicians: The Lives and Spiritual Practices. Destiny Books, 2021.

  • Alice Troughton (dir). “Jack Parsons: The Devil and the Divine” with Josh Bowman as Parsons and Alicia Witt as Cameron. S2.E6 of Lore, US Amazon 40 mins 2018.

IMDB







Bobbi (1953 - )

We have already discussed Marjorie’s niece, Bobbi, who was in the Cockettes and starred in Elevator Girls in Bondage, 1972 and The Holy Mountain, 1973 and Star Trek.

GVWW IMDB






Loren (1959- 2022)

Marjorie’s nephew and Bobbi’s brother, Loren became a photographer and trans activist. He is best known for his book Body Alchemy, 1996, which documents the process of trans male transition, including his own.

While cis photographers such as Christer Strömholm, Andy Warhol, Walter Rutter, Brassaï, Mariette Pathy Allen had been taking pictures of trans persons as far back as the 1930s, Loren was the first trans photographer to be so recognized.

His work was also exhibited in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

He died by suicide at age 63 after a period of poor health.

  • Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits. Cleis Press, 1996.

  • Man Tool: The Nuts and Bolts of Female-to-Male Surgery. Zero eBooks, 2001.

  • Cuerpos Fotografiados. 2 volumes. Taller Experimental Cuerpos Pintados, 2003.

  • “Finding love as a transman”. Advocate, December 18 2006. Online.

  • Loren Rex Cameron papers, 1961-2008. Cornell. Online.

Other:

  • Dani Hefferman. “Transgender Photographer Loren Cameron Speaks At University Student Event”. GLAAD, September 27, 2012. Online.

  • Penelope Green. “Loren Cameron, 63, Dies; His Camera Brought Transgender Men to Light”. New York Times, April 20, 2023. Online.

EN.Wikipedia IMDB

28 May 2023

Doctors and some Trans Siblings in the 1970s

The idea that trans-ness runs in families never quite goes away. All permutations actually happen. One trans person with otherwise cis-straight siblings; a trans person with a gay/lesbian sibling; a trans person with a trans parent; two or more trans siblings in one family.

On-line I find a claim of 39% concordance for trans-ness among monozygotic (identical) twins and zero concordance among dizygotic (non-identical) twins and non twins. Some take the 39% to indicate genetic determinism - but contrarywise the other 61% seems to indicate that something else - epigenetics, different parenting, free-will, self fashioning - trumps the genetics.

Not until the 21st century were there studies surveying a few hundred trans persons with their siblings (twins or non-twins). Even so one can assert that there are enough trans persons that all permutations will occur.

It is an historical artifact that in the 1970s, doctors were writing up single-family examples for professional journals and the journals accepted them without saying anything about control groups, statistical significance or such.

In two of the cases below the authors accept Robert Stoller’s paradigm that transsexuality happens to beautiful baby boys, where the mother (previously a tomboy) extends physical contact by several years, and the father is mainly absent. They then shape their single case study to fit the theory.




A surgeon and a psychologist from Hammersmith Hospital, London and a psychiatrist from the University of Manchester reported on two Chinese siblings, 25 and 23, the 4th and 5th of seven children raised in Singapore. The two, unlike their other siblings, were raised for eight years by the maternal grandmother. The elder worked as a chemist until migrating to England - she then socially transitioned and worked as a hairdresser, model and dancer. The younger after social transition in England worked as a hotel receptionist, hairdresser, and manicurist. Both sisters had somehow had penectomies and bilateral orchidectomies, and estrogen therapy before coming to Hammersmith hospital where they were examined and accepted for treatment. Vaginoplasties were done. Both were pleased with the results.

  • B D Hore, R V Nicolle & J S Calman. “Male Transsexualism: Two Cases in a Single Family”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2, 4, 1973.


Stoller and Baker, both psychiatrists, reported on two trans women, 19 and 17, in the same Spanish-American family. They had already had estrogen therapy. As per the Stoller paradigm, both were regarded as beautiful babies, the mother continued a close physical relationship as they grew up, and the father, in the military, was usually away elsewhere. The elder, referred to as ‘N’ was living with a boyfriend of two years. The younger, referred to as ‘T’ was already employed as a woman.

The authors hypothesize an etiology: “At any rate, in no other family seen in our program in which there is a very feminine boy has there been more than one son beautiful at birth; we wonder then if it is the beauty which sets off the process with parents in whom this potential exists. In all of those families with more than one son, only one-the beautiful one-was reported as very close to his mother, and that one always was the feminine one. This present family, then, conforms to the hypothesis.”

It is not stated whether the two sisters were able to obtain completion surgery.

  • Robert Stoller & Howard Baker. “Two Male Transsexuals in One Family”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2,4, 1973.


In 1974 three doctors and a social worker at the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute, Columbia, South Carolina, wrote up an account for a psychiatry journal of three siblings, spaced five years apart who each transitioned to female. The four authors contrasted how the mother, with two absent husbands in a row, had taught them to cook, clean house, do laundry, market, and otherwise function in the stereotypical housewife’s role, but then when she discovered that the two elder children - having become adults - were living full time as female and had boyfriends, she strongly disapproved as this was ‘an act against God’. The four authors regard the family as fitting Stoller’s model in that the mother had dressed male and worked in the fields of the family farm until an early marriage at age 14. While the two elder sisters were examined and interviewed they were not offered the desired surgeries. The youngest was unavailable for interview because of parental objections.

Dr Biber mentioned in interviews that he did the operation for three ‘brothers’ from Georgia. This could be the same three.

  • Robert Sabalis, Allen Frances, Susan Appenzeller & Willie Mosely. “The Three Sisters: Transsexual Male Siblings”. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131, 2, August 1974.






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

  • Milton Diamond. "Transsexuality Among Twins: Identity Concordance, Transition, Rearing, and Orientation". University of Hawai'i, May 2013. Online.
  • Chris Gardner. "How Common Are Transgender Siblings Like the Wachowskis?". The Hollywood Reporter, March 11, 2016. Online.
  • Kashmira Gander. "Scientists Have Carried Out the Biggest Ever Study on Transgender Children—Here's What They Found". Newsweek, 11/18/19. Online.
  • Georgios Karamanis et al. "Gender dysphoria in twins: a register-based population study". Nature, 04 August 2022. Online.

22 May 2023

Barry Farber (1930-2020) radio host

Turnabout #7 Summer 1966 p32, Siobhan Fredericks wrote: 

“the subject of transvestism in general and TURNABOUT Magazine in particular received a good deal of welcome publicity this July when the publisher of TURNABOUT was interviewed by Barry Farber on his The Barry Farber Show on WOR RKO General radio. The ninety-minute program was aired "live" in fourteen of the United States and broadcast via syndicated tape in outlets in thirty other states. …

The Farber interview was arranged by Lyle Stuart, publisher of A YEAR AMONG THE GIRLS - reviewed in TURNABOUT #6 . Farber had done his homework well. He'd read the book thoroughly and familiarized himself with TURNABOUT in advance of the broadcast. He was so favorably impressed with both the book and this magazine that he expanded the originally scheduled forty-five minute interview to a full ninety minutes.

Farber proved to be a fine interviewer, open-minded and most understanding, and we were able to get the subject matter onto a fairly sophisticated level from the start. The first half of the program involved only the two of us; the second forty-five minute segment brought in Dr. Tom Levin, assistant professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical College, who aimed some intelligent, if long-winded, questions at me.

This was the first time a radio discussion of TVism reached a national audience, but it was actually the second time TVism had been aired on radio, for in January 1965 I participated in a panel discussion on New York's listener-sponsored station, WBAI- FM, with such eminent persons as Dr. Wardell Pomeroy, co-author of the Kinsey reports and presently doing research on transsexualism with the Harry Benjamin Foundation.”

In Transvestia #51, June 1968, Virginia Prince wrote: 

“Monday evening I did the Barry Farber show on WOR which turned out pretty well. Not as well as I would have liked because Barry used up a good deal of time on irrelevant matters and there is never enough time anyway. I did learn that his show is syndicated to about 15 other cities too so we got some extra coverage that way.”

Turnabout #10 p25: 

“In March of 1975, Mr. Farber again dared to beard the smug lion of sacro-sanct normalcy, by having a whole section of his program devoted to the various aspects of Transvestism. Interestingly enough, this subject followed immediately after a discussion, by a Deputy Police Chief from the Times Square area, of the problems of prostitution and other illegal sexual activities in mid-town New York.

For the second discussion of transvestism, the panel included a psychiatrist who specialized in transvestite and trans-sexual cases, a trans-sexual, the wife of a transvestite, a transvestite, and the proprietor of a TV boutique in mid-town Manhattan. That group would seem to be able to cover all bases in discussing the subject which concerns us.”

So who was Barry Farber?

Farber was born in Baltimore and raised in North Carolina. He had a knack for languages, and, to varying extents, picked up 25 of them, and published a book, How to Learn Any Language. He attended the Zagreb Peace Conference, 1951 in Yugoslavia, and the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki. As a newspaper reporter in 1956, Farber was invited by the US Air Force to cover the airlift of Hungarian refugees from the uprising in Hungary that year. By 1960 he had his first talk show; in 1962 he had an evening talk show on radio station WOR in New York, and in 1967 he became an all-night host, also on WOR.

His first wife was Norwegian, and for some years he was an advocate for Norwegian-style social democracy, and at that time supported the US Democrat Party. However in 1970 he ran for the the U.S. House of Representatives in New York City's 19th district as the candidate of the Republican and Liberal parties, and in 1977 he ran for New York City Mayor for the Conservative Party - in both cases receiving only a small percentage of the votes.

Despite his turn to the right, he - like Lyle Stuart - believed in free speech, and, in addition to transvestites, had featured in the 1960s Frank Kameny the pioneer gay activist, and Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan in 1969. And, August 22, 1972, the day that John Wojtowicz did what came to be called the Dog Day Afternoon bank robbery, he was phoned in the bank by journalist Arthur Bell, who later that evening went on Farber’s program to discuss what he knew.

Farber remained active in broadcasting until May 5, 2020, the day before his 90th birthday. On the 6th he died at home.

Books by Barry Farber

  • Making People Talk: You Can Turn Every Conversation into a Magic Moment (William Morrow & Co: 1987)

  • How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own (Carol Publishing Corporation: 1991)

  • How to Not Make the Same Mistake Once (Barricade Books: 1999)

  • Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books: 2012)

14 May 2023

Ludwig Viktor von Habsburg (1842-1919) Archduke

Franz Karl von Habsburg, Archduke, had four sons: Frans Joseph (1830-1916) Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary for 68 years; Maximilian (1832-1867) who became Emperor of Mexico in 1864, and was executed by firing squad when the monarchy was abolished three years later; Karl Ludwig (1833-1896) who died of typhoid after drinking contaminated water from the River Jordan, and whose son, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in 1914 in the Bosnian colony, triggering the Great War; and Ludwig Viktor.


Ludwig Viktor was differently inclined. He was much younger than his three brothers, and called ‘Luziwuzi’ – a nickname that he kept into adulthood. After coming of age, he initially submitted to a military command, but then withdrew into a private life as an art patron. He spent the winters in his newly-built Viennese city palace on Schwarzenbergplatz, and the summers at Schloss Kleßheim near Salzburg. He was fairly open about his preference for male sex partners, took advantage of events to publicly transvest, and declined family pressures to marry for dynastic reasons – although this was not discussed in the censored press. As a member of the royal family he was not subject to the criminalisation of same-sex activity that applied to the rest of the male population. 



Ludwig & Ludwig
In 1904 there was an incident at the Centralbad, Vienna's largest and finest bathhouse, where Ludwig was a frequent visitor. Maybe he made an unwanted pass. He was slapped or punched by an athletic young man, and he demanded the man’s arrest. However the police, after listening to witnesses, released the man. Ludwig’s brother, the emperor, was outraged, banned him from Vienna, forced him to resign his patronages, and reassigned his Vienna staff elsewhere. From then on he mainly lived at the Schloss Kleßheim. Ludwig was no longer permitted to wear military uniform, his servants were denied their accustomed purple and silver livery and the wheels of the Archduke’s carriage were now black instead of gold.

In 1915 Ludwig was declared insane, and placed under supervision. Towards the end he was confined to a suite of three rooms, watched over by nuns. He died age 76. The art collection he had assembled was auctioned off at the Dorotheum in Vienna and his name was removed from the court annals. 


In 1923, Adolf Brand, the leader of Berlin’s masculinist gay movement, published an essay by a writer using the name Max Reversi, which in effect outed Ludwig to the general public. This was one of the first gay publications to name a recently-living person rather than long-dead Greeks. Reversi names Franz Ferdinand von Habsburg – who was assassinated at Sarajevo in August 1914 – as Ludwig’s nemesis. Franz had hurried to tell the Emperor after the bathhouse incident in 1904, and later set a honey trap with a comely coachman – which led to Ludwig’s being compelled into psychiatric treatment.

  • Max Reversi. Erzherzog Ludwig Viktor von Österreich: Eine philosophische Studie. Adolf Brand/Der Eigene, 1923.
  • Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller. Mann für Mann : biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte von Freundesliebe und mannmännlicher Sexualität im deutschen Sprachraum. Hamburg: MännerschwarmSkript, 1998: under “Ludwig Victor von Habsburg”.
  • Hanne Egghardt. Habsburgs schräge Erzherzöge. Kremayr und Scheriau, 2008. Chp 3.
  • Marlene Eilers Koenig. “ Archduke Ludwig Viktor banished for ’mysterious escapade’ ”. Royal Musings, March 3, 2010. Online.
  • James J Conway. ”Ludwig-Viktor-Gasse”. Strange Flowers, May 15, 2012. Online. May 15, 2012. Online.
  • Ingeborg Fiegl. ”Archduke Ludwig Viktor: Bon Vivant and Art Collector”. Dorotheum, 14 May 2021. Online.
  • Stephen O’Donnell. “Baby brother - Archduke Ludwig Viktor of Austria”. Gods and foolish grandeur, April 30, 2023. Online.

DE.Wikipedia    Habsburger.net      Gay Influence 

 European Royal History      World of the Habsburgs

08 May 2023

Donald A Wollheim/Darrell G Raynor - Part II

 Continued from Part I

In 1963, Susanna and Marie sold their resort property as it was unprofitable. In early 1964 they bought another 150 acre property with a large house, again in the Catskills, close to Hunter, New York. This became Casa Susanna, and like the Chevalier D’Eon Resort was frequented by the transvestite crowd. Susanna and her guests would go, dressed, to drive-in movies and to friendly neighbours. Some transvestite visitors even went into the village of Hunter for shopping, where, if nothing else, they were noted for being overdressed.

Wollheim became a regular at Casa Susanna and used the name Donna or Doris. He did not drive and so Elsie chauffeured him. The daughter Betsy was sent to summer camp every year for two months for 8 years to avoid awkward questions. In 1964 he announced that he was going out for Halloween as his sister, and spent five hours in the bathroom getting ready – even at age 12 Betsy realized that this was odd.

Siobhan Fredericks in New York, who had quit Virginia Prince’s FPE, started a competing magazine, Turnabout, of which the first issue came out June 1963. It made fun of the many femme* words that Prince had coined, and attracted cross-dressers who were critical of Prince and her ideas. Fredericks also started a support group in her home, to which Harry Benjamin sent some of his patients, including Renée Richards. Wollheim joined the editorial staff, and wrote articles for Turnabout using the pseudonym ‘D. Rhodes’.

In Issue #1 D. Rhodes contributed “How to write a TV story”. It mocked the genre but assumed that ‘TV story’ = forced femininity. He also reviewed the Nan Gilbert booklets – four had been published at that date. He wrote that such ‘petticoat-punishment’ was ‘calculated to grip the fantasies of most transvestites’. He also contributed ‘Turntable’, an assemblage of bits and pieces from newspapers to the early issues.

In Issue #3 he wrote “Overs and Unders” in which he proposes two kinds of male heterosexual transvestites, of both of which he says: “Virtually all recorded cases of transvestism begin as fetishism which demands not only visual or tactile contact with the fetish object but also the actual wearing of it”. The ‘Overs’ first fixate on shoes, the ‘Unders’ first fixate on under garments. “ … the Over is not greatly concerned with his physical surroundings, especially in his living quarters. The dainty details of feminine life hold no great fascination for him and he is likely to be indifferent to any feminine touches in his surroundings. The Under is more likely to be sensitive to suggestions of femininity all about him, such as color and texture. He is quite often more retiring as an individual and not as bold or aggressive as the Over.” … “It is possible that the Over's career interests tend toward the mechanical arts, the applied sciences, artisan skills, or manual labor. The Under is more likely to be the intellectual worker, the creative artist, the practitioner of one of the more abstract professions, or a worker in some area which would follow

logically from his original preoccupation with the unseen as a basis for his imagination. Getting in somewhat deeper, it occurs to me that Overs tend toward the schizoid personality pattern, to include in their ranks the dual-personality types of TV, and to trend more toward homosexuality and transsexualism. On the other hand, the Unders tend toward the manic-depressive pattern, more often become sado-masochistic and melancholic, perhaps even suicidal.”

In Issue #4 he wrote a fantasy of “the year that transvestism caught on” and how the fashion dictated clothing for men and women was reversed.

In Issue #5 Dr Hugo Beigel provided a short article restating the professional opinion that transvestism was not intersex, was a personality disorder and therapy was available. Siobhan Fredericks replied. Shelagh Niles, who often wrote for Transvestia, replied to Rhodes’ article on “Overs and Unders”, partly agreeing, partly adjusting. The same issue contained a short TV fiction by David Grinnell, a pseudonym that Wollheim had previously used for Destination Saturn and Edge of Time.

In 1965, editor Wollheim arranged for Ace Books to publish Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings. He believed that the copyright was invalid because the Houghton Mifflin edition had been bound using pages printed in Britain for the hardcover edition there. By US copyright law the text was therefore public domain in the US. The Ace edition was the first US paperback edition of Tolkien's work. However Ballantine Books soon after published an authorized paperback edition with some minor revisions to renew the copyright, and this became the preferred edition for Tolkien fans. 

A Year among the Girls, Wollheim’s memoir of his exploration of the transvestite scene, was published in 1966 by the adventurous publisher Lyle Stuart. Wollheim was of course practised with using pseudonyms, and the book was published as by Darrell G Raynor, but not as by D. Rhodes which would have connected the book to his articles in Turnabout. The book was reprinted as a Lancer paperback in 1968.


Presumably Virginia Prince was not pleased with the book as it sympathized with those who had split from her organizing. Sheila Niles, presumably with Prince’s agreement, reviewed the book in Transvestia, #38.

“In this autobiographical account, the author makes a very serious effort to explore and explain the TV world as he saw it from March 1962 to March 1963. He is an excellent observer and a skilled writer, and it is unfortunate that his viewpoint (more fetishist than TV by his own account) is such as to make his interpretations miss the mark. The good public image of the TV, so carefully built up in the text, is almost completely destroyed by the last chapter - where the author suddenly loses his objectivity and becomes both petulant and spiteful.”

Turnabout #6, Winter 1966, contains D Rhodes’ essay “A random factor in transvestism”, a follow-up to his “Overs and Unders” in Issue #3. After feedback from readers, and reported variations: “One individual would say that he believes himself to be an Under but that he has already adopted and mastered many of the techniques of the Over. On the other hand, an Over will be found to show an interest in the fantasies and preferences of the Under, such as frilly nightgowns and an emphasis on the color pink.” He discusses the impact of a random factor: “The random factor we find here is the measure of closeness to the conscious mind of the thought that life would be better if one had been of the opposite sex … in the Over, this thought is much closer to the surface of the mind, is often quite clearly a conscious desire, and the drive is exerted toward attempting to achieve the impossible”. 

In the same issue, Siobhan Fredericks reviewed A Year Among the Girls, and was very positive:

“This reviewer can say without reservation that this book is the most important study of transvestism to have been published in many years. And in terms of its potential for increasing public understanding of the transvestite's milieu, it is the single most important work ever published. In fast-moving reportorial style, the book presents a sympathetic -- but nonetheless analytical -- “inside” view of the TV phenomenon in terms which the average non-TV reader can readily comprehend and accept.

The author, who happens to be a member of the staff of this magazine, charts out his personal experiences during a single year -- June 1963 to June 1964 [sic] -- in which he first “came out of the closet" and made contact with the TV community so well known to the readers of TURNABOUT and TRANSVESTIA. The events which took place and the personalities which he encountered are thoroughly detailed, as are the effects which these individuals and events had on his own life.

The most amazing thing about A YEAR AMONG THE GIRLS is the accuracy of the author's reportage."

In Turnabout Issue #7, Summer 1966, D Rhodes contributed “In the literature of Transvestism”. He restricts his survey to “literature written especially for transvestically-inclined readers -- and not stories where some-one or other, in order to advance the plot, finds it necessary to don feminine clothing. Such stories are really not TV literature, although it may have some entertainment value for TVs”. He starts with the legendary Miss High Heels, and mainly sticks to forced femininity tales. Ironically he ignores the then newly published I Want What I Want by Geoff Brown, which is positively reviewed elsewhere in the same issue.

In the same issue Siobhan Fredericks wrote about the reception of AYAG:

“DISSENSION IN THE RANKS

One can't help but be amused at the antic behavior of our FPE [Virginia Prince’s term Full Personality Expression – a term used for her national group which had absorbed the Hose and Heel Club] friends and note the way it varies from the official party line as handed down from the Valhallan heights by the male sorority's house organ and fountainhead, TRANSVESTIA. It's refreshing to observe that FPE's attempts to standardize TVism fail so dismally despite stern manifestos and dogmatic directives from on high. Dissension appears rampant among FPEers, and we applaud the rebels for hanging onto their individuality and common sense.

A case in point is the review of Darrell Raynor's A YEAR AMONG THE GIRLS which appeared in a recent TRANSVESTIA, ostensibly authored by FPE Field Commissioner Sheila Niles, who intended to bestow the kiss of death on the book — a book which we lesser mortals view as the greatest thing to happen to TVism since someone thought of cross-dressing. Said Commissar Niles of the book: ‘It's petulant and spiteful.’"

This followed by positive but anonymous quotes from various FPE office holders.

In 1968 Gail’s male persona met and started dating the film star Joan Bennett, and thus disengaged from the transvestite scene.

Also that year, A A Wyn, the owner of Ace Books died, and the company was purchased by a consortium headed by a bank, that had almost no publishing experience. The bills and the authors were not paid, and Wollheim spent most of the time reacting to this rather than publishing books – so he left in 1971. Donald and Elsie founded DAW Books (from his initials). DAW Books was the first mass market specialist science fiction and fantasy fiction publishing house. Most of the writers whom he had developed at Ace went with him to DAW. DAW books were distributed by New American Library. However the NAL objected to Thomas Burnett Swann's How Are the Mighty Fallen, 1974, because of its foregrounding of the Biblical Jonathan and David as gay lovers. (reviews). Wollheim had to fight vigorously to get it released.

Betsy became an associate editor of DAW Books in 1975, and took over the management in 1985.

Donald died in 1990; in 1994 Elsie facing surgery told their daughter everything about her father’s secretive cross-dressing, showing her the AYAG book and boxes of photographs.

Elsie died in 1996

Betsy sold DAW Books in 2022, but continues to work there.

In 2022 Betsy spoke movingly and at length about her father’s cross-dressing and Elsie’s support in the documentary Casa Susanna.

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

digitaltransgenderarchive.net does not have Turnabout #8 and #9 which probably have contributions from D Rhodes – but I was unable to consult them. #10, “back in circulation again after so long, - six years, almost”, does not mention either D Rhodes or Siobhan Fredericks, and consists mainly of a long rambling (27 pages) anonymous essay. From then on it is a rather different publication.

The best survey of trans literature is of course Peter Farrer’s In Female Disguise, Karn Publications, 1992, which includes excepts from books by authors from Thomas Mallory to Walter Scott to Mark Twain to Conan Doyle. It is a pity that Wollheim never did a survey of trans science fiction – which he presumably could well have done. Back at the end of the previous century there was a long list on the internet of trans SF. I think that I found it on alt.transgendered. What did happen to that?

AYAG:16 Raynor describes himself as “the father of teenagers”. However only one, Betsy, is mentioned in anything that I read, and she, being born in 1951, was not yet teenaged.

The Unders and Overs dichotomy probably has a place in the pre-history of AGP/HSTS. I wonder if either Freund or Blanchard ever read the proposal and thought that they could do better.

While Wollheim did publish William Burroughs and did go to bat for the gay content in Thomas Burnett Swann's How Are the Mighty Fallen, he does blot his copybook with a few queer-phobic comments – although not as badly as say Betty Cowell :

p22 Before the first meeting with Prince, Wollheim notes that Prince is not: “the kind of person I have always bristled at, resented, disliked in the same way that any normal man tends to bristle at the flagrant faggot.”

p30 On first meeting Prince (male persona), Wollheim notes: “I had looked for evidence of effeminacy, and had not found much”.

p47 On first meeting Gail, Wollheim notes: “His voice was deep and masculine. No Faggot this.”



Shelagh or Sheila Niles? She herself equivocated.

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

Bibliography

The Donald Wollheim bibliography as SF writer and as SF editor is enormous, and cannot be repeated here. The items below refer to his life and to his involvement with transvesting.

For his professional bibliography see ISFDB and SFE.

The Biography of Donald Wollheim (not mentioning Darrell Raynor):

  • Sam Moskowitz. The Immortal Storm. Hyperion Press, 1974.
  • Damon Knight. The Futurians. John Day, 1977.
  • Charles Platt. “Donald A Wollheim” in Dream Makers Volume II: The Uncommon Men and Women Who Write Science Fiction. Berkley Books, 1983.

Fancyclopedia EN,Wikipedia IMDB Library of Congress

By and about Darrell Raynor and D Rhodes:

  • D Rhodes. “How to write a TV Story”, “Turntable”, “The Gilbert Booklets”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 1, June 1963: 7-9, 26-7, 28-9. Online.
  • D Rhodes. “Turntable”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 2, October 1963. Online.
  • D Rhodes. “Overs and Unders”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 3, 1964. Online.
  • D Rhodes. “Full Circle”, “Turntable”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 4, 1964. Online.
  • Hugo Beigel. “The Myth of the Latent Femininity in the Male”; Shelagh Niles. “Dear Abbé” (On Overs and Under); David Grinnell. “The Hook”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 5, 1965. Online.
  • Darrell G Raynor. A Year Among the Girls. Lyle Stuart,1966, Lancer Books, 1968.
  • Sheila Niles. “Review of A Year among the Girls”. Transvestia, 38, April 1966. Online.
  • D Rhodes. “A Random Factor in Transvestism”; Siobhan Fredericks. “Books … A Year Among the Girls”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 6, Winter 1966. Online.
  • D Rhodes. “On the Literature of Transvestism”; Siobhan Fredericks. “Dissension in the Ranks”. Turnabout: A Magazine of Transvestism, 7, Summer 1966: 18-19. Online.
  • Katherine Cummings. Katherine’s Diary: The Story of a Transsexual. Beaujon Press, Revised edition, 1993: 135-7, 144, 151, 195, 224.
  • Dallas Denny. “Heteropocrisy: The Myth of the Heterosexual Male Crossdresser”. Chrysalis: The journal of Transgressive Gender, 2,3,1996: 23-30. Online.
  • Sébastien Lifshitz (dir & scr). Casa Susanna. France/US, 97 mins 2022. Online. Betsy Wollheim talks about her father at 12:50-21:30, 55:59-57:41, 1:10:20-1:17:12.
  • Mark Asch. “Casa Susanna (TIFF 2022)”. Screen Slate, September 12th Online.
  • James Kleinmann. “ DOC NYC 2022 Film Review: Casa Susanna ★★★ 1/2 ”. The Queer Review, November 11, 2022. Online.

There is No mention of Darrell Raynor in:

  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • Robert S. Hill. ‘As a man I exist; as a woman I live’: Heterosexual Transvestism and the Contours of Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America. PhD Dissertation. University of Michigan. 2007.
  • Peter Farrer. Cross Dressing since the War: Selections from Justice Weekly 1955-1972. Karn Publications, 2011.

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

The copyright on A Year Among the Girls was held by Lyle Stuart – perhaps to protect Wollheim’s identity.

Other books published by Lyle Stuart:

  • The Secret Life of Walter Winchell(1953)
  • Fidel Castro. History Will Absolve Me,
  • Edward SagarinThe Anatomy of Dirty Words. 1962.
  • Penelope Ashe (Mike McGrady et al). Naked Came the Stranger.
  • William Powell, The Anarchist Cookbook, 1970 (how to make bombs)
  • Patricia Morgan as told to Paul Hoffman. The Man-Maid Doll.Lyle Stuart, Inc 1973.
  • The Turner Diaries, 1997. (a reissue of the white-supremacist dystopian novel, with an introduction disagreeing with the attitude of the novel, but advocating freedom of the press and opposing censorship)

06 May 2023

Donald A Wollheim/Darrell G Raynor (1914-1990) science fiction writer and editor, trans memoirist - Part 1

(writing as Darrell Raynor, Wollheim invariably used male pronouns for other transvestites, and this will be taken as his choice of pronoun)

(All page references to A Year Among the Girls (AYAG) are to the 1968 Lancer Book edition)

A life-long New Yorker, Donald Wollheim discovered science fiction at the age of 13 in 1927 with Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing. In 1934 his first story was published in Gernsback’s Wonder Stories, and as per Gernsback’s usual practice he was not paid. He found other unpaid authors and they sued.

In 1936 he organized what was later deemed to be the first science fiction convention when a New York group met with a Philadelphia group in the latter city. In 1937 he founded the Fantasy Amateur Press Association; in 1938 he was a co-founder of the Futurians, a Marxist-influenced SF fan group that included many who would later become well-known SF writers. Over the next couple of decades Wollheim became a moderately successful SF author (sometimes using pseudonyms: Allen Zweig, David Grinnell, Millard Verne Gordon, Martin Pearson), but more significantly as an editor and publisher. In 1943, after a long courtship, he married fellow Futurian Elsie Balter.

From 1947 he was an editor at the pioneering paperback publisher Avon Books. In 1951 the Wollheims had a daughter, Elizabeth or Betsy. A year later Donald joined the new publisher Ace Books as an editor. Among the writers who debuted at Ace were Philip K. Dick, Samuel R. Delany, Leigh Brackett, Ursula K. Le Guin and John Brunner. He published William S. Burroughs’ Junkie, and reprinted Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tales of Tarzan and of Mars, and brought out the paperback version of Frank Herbert’s Dune.

By the end of the 1950s he was at the top of his trade, was flying back and forth across the US, and his father had a stroke and became his son’s responsibility.

“… deep down, I hated him. This was a concealed hatred, as such things usually are, but it was a deep, thoroughly entrenched part of my whole social attitude. [AYAG: 16-17]

He continued:

“I have a theory that most tranvestites are father haters; that most homosexuals are mother haters. I do not equate transvestism with homosexuality for this reason.” [AYAG:17]

By December 1961 Wollheim was building to a nervous break-down:

“Underneath, in the springs of my subconscious, new forces were thrusting through. I felt the sap of my masculinity rising to higher pitches than ever before. I became intensely aware of women, more so than ever was normal to me before. My sexual fantasies began to shape themselves into sharper forms, more violent. More vivid.

I thought about transvestism. I became actively curious about it. Were there really such people? What were they like? Did they see things as I did?

There is a literature of transvestism, but it is limited, rare, and not very satisfactory. There are nasty little stores on Main Street in Los Angeles and 42nd Street in New York that sometimes have little booklets that touch on the subject. …

I think that the nervous breakdown became extreme in December. It grew more manifest in January. In that month, two things occurred. I saw a copy of a real transvestite magazine in a store in New York, and a curious Canadian newspaper found its way into my hands.”

[AYAG: 17-18]

He tells us that:

“The fantasy generally took the form of imagining myself being forced to such clothing as punishment for some imaginary misdemeanor. That was how my mind got around the shame of desire. … transvestism was a buried stream throughout the greater part of my life. A few hasty experiments now and then when opportunity coincided with lust.” [AYAG:15]

He had also discovered, in certain bookstores on 42nd St, a few illustrated booklets featuring petticoat punishment created by a writer generally referred to as Nan Gilbert. In 1960 Gilbert had had his mail stopped and was fined $500. Wollheim nevertheless contacted Gilbert, and they corresponded for some time.

In March 1962 Wollheim, in Los Angeles on business, having previously corresponded, met first Virginia Prince in his hotel room, and then was invited to dinner with Virginia and wife Doreen. He was chauffeured to the Prince’s home by Robert Stevens/Barbara Ellen, previously the manager of a radio station back east, who was also a business associate of Prince (AYAG: chp 1-4). After an interesting evening, it was suggested that in New York Darrell should contact Gail and Susanna who were listed in Transvestia. He also bought the complete back file of Transvestia.

Back home, the first task was to tell Mrs Wollheim. This was done in stages and accomplished after 10 days, and a few days after that they went shopping together on 5th Avenue for feminine nightwear. 

Darrell also wrote letters to Gail and to Susanna. The former had to go via Prince/Transvestia in Los Angeles, and therefore took longer to get a response. Susanna had published contact details in Transvestia, and could be contacted directly. A letter from Susanna arrived quickly, but an actual meeting – for one reason or another – took several months. It was early April, two weeks later, before a letter arrived from Gail, but it gave a phone number, and Wollheim was able to visit the next evening, had a heart-to-heart chat and was given gossip about New York transvestites.

Nan Gilbert – who had been active among transvestites at an earlier date, and had also been a business man – gave advice not to contact persons such as Gail and Susanna, in that they were frustrated persons who would be disappointing. On the other hand, Wollheim and Gail met a few times for lunch. In May Gail’s move to an apartment in Greenwich Village was complete and Wollheim attended a small party where Gail was the only person in female clothing. Gilbert was mentioned, and known by those who were present. Later when Wollheim sent regards to Gilbert from ‘Alice from Canada’, a reference to one in attendance, Gilbert became curt, and the correspondence was soon discontinued.

Wollheim had business in the Pacific northwest, and wrote to Annette, in Idaho, who had been the cover girl on Transvestia #5, and was duly welcomed. Annette, an engineer and mechanic, lived outside the city, oscillated openly with a wife, two children and a mother, and openly transvested with friends and neighbors and even members of the city council.

The social functions at Gail’s were on most evenings. Wollheim met more of Gail’s acquaintances, and heard tell of Siobhan, who was doing a science PhD, was editor of a science journal and was one of the most successful transvestites in the city.

On the 4th July, Mrs Wollheim also attended the soiree at Gail’s. This was the first time that they met ‘Fiona from New Zealand’ (actually Katherine Cummings from Australia). A few weeks later the Wollheims visited ‘Fiona’ in Toronto where she was taking a librarian studies degree.

In September, after having been stood up twice by Susanna, and not until then met her, Wollheim phoned to ascertain that she was at home and went straight round. They talked and got on, and Wollheim agreed to attend the Halloween weekend meeting at the Chevalier D’Eon cottage that Susanna and wife owned in upstate New York, the second year that Virginia Prince was to attend – coming all the way from Los Angeles.

Come Halloween, the Wollheims drove up on the Saturday morning. For the first time Wollheim appeared in female dress – for the after-dinner party. Most of the persons that he had met at Gail’s were there as was Virginia Prince, and ‘Fiona’ from Toronto and her flat mate. And psychologists Hugo Beigel and Wardell Pomeroy – who did not cross-dress. Harry Benjamin had also been invited but did not arrive. The Wollheims invited Annette and Virginia and their wives to visit in New York the next day.

In December Wollheim and wife attended a party at Susanna’s New York apartment.

In the early months of 1963, Wollheim, being a professional writer and editor, began to consider putting his feelings and experiences of the past year onto paper, especially as the near mental-breakdown of the year before had passed as he had accepted what he really was, and something like normality had been recovered. As preparation for the writing, he intended to attend a meeting of Virginia’s Hose and Heels Club while in Los Angeles. He had heard that Barbara Ellen, Prince’s business partner was on the out, as was Evelyn, another close associate. Wollheim wrote to Prince asking to attend the Club meeting, but it took three weeks before an answer came, and the answer took umbrage with a piece of doggerel that Wollheim had innocently sent when requesting that any photographs of him not be published. Wollheim had also been corresponding with Barbara-Jean, vice president of the Hose and Heels Club. Prince forbad attendance at the meeting, but did agree to meet with him, but only on the condition that he not contact Barbara Ellen, Evelyn or Barbara Jean.

The first night in Los Angeles, Wollheim went to dinner with Prince and wife, and afterwards back to Prince’s home where he heard Prince’s side of the dispute, which he initially accepted. However two days later he was having second thoughts and phoned Barbara Jean, which led to dinner and an invitation to a party on Friday night where he met all three of the ex-communicants. Evelyn invited Wollheim to breakfast on Sunday morning before his flight home. Prince had also proposed Sunday morning breakfast, but then cancelled it after hearing that Wollheim had attended the party.


Continued in Part II.

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

“copy of a real transvestite magazine in a store in New York, and a curious Canadian newspaper found its way into my hands”. December 1961. The magazine was of course Transvestia, and the Canadian newspaper Justice Weekly. Peter Farrer published an excellent book on the latter in 2011: Cross Dressing since the War: Selections from Justice Weekly 1955-1972.

30 April 2023

Marlene Parker (1930 - ) hairdresser, actor

Parker was born as Siegfried Speck in Dresden in December 1930, in the last years of the Weimar Republic. Speck’s mother being a deaf mute, the baby was placed in an orphanage until adopted in 1937. The adoptive parents were very strict. At age 10 Speck had to join the Deutsches Jungvolk, and at age 14 the Hitler Youth. 

13-15 February 1945 was the Allied bombing and the resulting firestorm of Dresden which killed up to 35,000. Speck’s family lived outside the city and survived. 

Speck trained as a hairdresser, and found work in a fashionable salon in East Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse. In the days before the Berlin Wall, East Berliners could attend parties in West Berlin, and there Speck met Felix, his first boyfriend, also an Ossi, and later they escaped to West Germany. They settled in Hamburg, where Speck was a successful hairdresser.

A job on a cruise ship took Speck to Los Angeles. There was work hairdressing at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and acting in plays at L.A’s German Club, which led to an uncredited part in the 1959 remake of The Blue Angel. The same year, billed as Seigfried Speck, there was a part as a U-Boat crew member in episode 17 of the the first season of One Step Beyond. After that Speck became John Siegfried, and was in the 1962 biopic Hitler with Richard Basehart in the title role – Siegdfried played a gay SA officer killed in the 1934 Night of the Long Knives. Siegfried was in several television programs throughout the 1960s, often being cast as a German, and was again a ‘German Officer’ in the 1973 film, Trader Horn. One of Siegfried’s lovers was Rock Hudson.

However Siegfried was not happy living as male: the urge to be her true self was building and could no longer be denied. 

“I was really getting bigger in the industry. But deep inside I was very, very unhappy. I used to get these attacks, like a panic attack....I wouldn't be alive. I was close to suicide....When you get into this change, you lose a lot of friends.”. 

She completed transitioned in 1978 taking the name Marlene Parker. Afterward she did stand-up comedy and had a cable TV show. She became friends with the younger trans actress Candid Cayne.

  • Sharon Knolle. ”Inside Trans Pioneer Marlene Parker’s Journey From Nazi Germany to Hollywood – and Beyond”. The Wrap, January 6, 2023. Online.
  • Sharon Knolle. “Trans Pioneer Marlene Parker Portraits (Exclusive Photos)”. The Wrap, January 6, 2023. Online.

IMDB

28 April 2023

US Post Office, censorship, sex and gender - Comstockery

First published March 2013.

Most countries use their postal systems to censor correspondence and publications.   This is in addition to censorship though the court system.  The usual excuse is that of security, but once censorship is in place it often extends to sex and gender topics.   And of course this censorship means that somebody at the post office opens your parcels to check inside.

Anthony Comstock
This article is just about the US.

1872.  Post Office Act, §148 made it illegal to send any obscene or disloyal materials

1873.  The Comstock Law.  An amendment to the Post Office Act of 1872 made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials “or any drug or medicine, or any article whatever, for the prevention of conception, or for causing unlawful abortion, or shall advertise the same for sale, or shall write or print, or cause to be written or printed, any card, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind, stating when, where, how, or of whom, or by what means, any of the articles in this section…can be purchased or obtained, or shall manufacture, draw, or print, or in any wise make any of such articles”.  The law was named after Anthony Comstock who became postal inspector,  He was also head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.  He prohibited the sending of anatomy books to medical students.  Comstock bragged in 1913, two years before his death, that he had been responsible for the criminal conviction of enough people to fill a 61-coach passenger train -- over 3,600 people.  He was responsible for the destruction of 160 tons of literature and pictures.


1876. A pamphlet by Edward Bliss Foote, inventor of the rubber diaphragm, was the first US publication on birth control to run afoul of the Comstock law. Foote was fined $3,000 for publishing his pamphlet, Confidential Pamphlet for the Married; Words in Pearl for Married People Only.  Birth control information went underground: even in medical textbooks, contraception was unmentionable.

1895. The English playwright, George Bernard Shaw wrote an editorial for the New York Times making fun of Comstock's rules, and mocked them as 'Comstockery'.

1897.  Henry Addis and Abner J. Pope, publishers of a Portland, Oregon anarchist newspaper, Firebrand were arrested and their paper closed for sending an allegedly obscene poem by Walt Whitman through the mail.

1901.  Lois Waisbrooker of Home, Washington (an anarchist colony) was fined $100 for The Awful Fate of a Fallen Woman.  The postmistress for Home, was also charged for mailing it, but was acquitted.

1902Discontent: Mother of Progress also printed in Home, Washington, an article written by James W. Adams defending free love and criticizing formal monogamous marriage as hypocritical. Federal officials charged the editor, James E. Larkin, the printer, Charles L. Govan, and Adams with mailing obscene literature.   However the judge deemed the article to be, though radical, not obscene.

1903.  Home, Washington, being ‘a settlement of avowed anarchists and free lovers, the members of which society on numerous instances, with the apparent sanction of the entire community, have abused the privileges of the post office establishment and department’ lost its post office and did not get it back until 1958, but even then was not allowed its traditional name.


1911.  A report by the Chicago Vice Commission, headed by Dean Summer of the Episcopal Church, was banned from the mails.

1915.  Architect William Sanger was charged under the New York law against disseminating contraceptive information.  Anthony Comstock, at the height of his power, appointed by President Wilson as the International Purity Congress delegate in San Francisco, testified at his trial. Sanger died shortly after on September 21st.

1916. Ricardo Flores Magón, anarchist and Latino activist, arrested on charges of defamation and sending indecent materials through the mail. He was sent to USP Leavenworth. In 1922, he died in his cell, maybe murdered by a guard.

1918. Sanger’s wife, Margaret similarly charged.  On appeal, her conviction was reversed on the grounds that contraceptive devices could legally be promoted for the cure and prevention of disease.

1920.  The US Post Office seized and burned four issues  of The Little Review, edited by Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, that contained excerpts from James Joyce’s Ulysses. The next year, they were tried and found guilty of obscenity, fined $100 and forced to discontinue serializing the book.

1921.  William Hays appointed new Postmaster General.  He was quoted in The New York Times:  “It is no part of the primary business of the Post Office Department to act as censor of the press. This should not and will not be”.  Mary Ware Dennett met with Hays who implied that he would recommend to congress that contraceptive information be removed from the definition of what is obscene.

1922.  William Hays quit as Postmaster General without keeping his promise to Mary Ware Dennett.  He became president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America.

Mademoiselle de Maupin by Théophile Gautier, a tale of a cross-dressing woman,was cleared of obscenity in the 1922 case Halsey v. New York.

Mary Ware Dennett’s pamphlet, The Sex Side of Life-An Explanation for Young People, after having been in circulation over four years, was declared unmailable as obscenity.

1927.  The Post Office and the Customs Bureau issued a list of 739 books and pamphlets to be banned by department officials. The arbitrary list included many foreign books that had been published in the US in English for years without prosecution. “Other volumes were passed in the English version and excluded in the French or Italian; or excluded in Spanish while being passed in French or Italian.”  However the list was withdrawn in 1930 after pressure from a New Mexico Senator.

H.L. Mencken, editor of The American Mercury was arrested for selling obscene literature. His April contained “Hatrack”, a chapter from an upcoming book about a prostitute by Herbert Asbury, and “The New View of Sex”, an editorial essay by George Jean Nathan. Mencken was tried and acquitted two days later. The day after the trial and after all the April issues were mailed to subscribers, the Solicitor of the U.S. Postal Service Department, Horace J. Donnelly, decreed the issue obscene and unmailable.

1928.  Mary Ware Dennett was fined $300, for distributing her pamphlet. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), appealed her conviction and won a reversal, in which the judge ruled that the pamphlet's main purpose was to "promote understanding".

1929.  Radclyffe Hall’s pioneering trans man novel, The Well of Loneliness, was published in the US after already having been banned in the UK. It was seized in New York.  This was successfully challenged in court.

1930. Ex-Postmaster General, William Hays, introduced the Motion Picture Production Code, known as the Hays Code, which removed most adult representation of sex and gender for the next few decades.

1932.  Margaret Sanger arranged for a shipment of diaphragms to be mailed from Japan to a sympathetic doctor in New York City. When U.S. customs confiscated the package as illegal contraceptive devices, Sanger helped file a lawsuit. In 1936, a federal appeals court ruled in United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries that the federal government could not interfere with doctors providing contraception to their patients.

1933. The Nudist was banned even though genitals were airbrushed.  The US Supreme Court disagreed.

1935.  Ban on contraceptives declared unconstitutional.

1938.  A Catholic Group, The National Office for Decent Literature, was founded with a list of topics including homosexuality and transvestism that were to be proscribed. To avoid trouble most publishers and editors engaged in self censorship, and avoided such topics.

1953.  The August issue of ONE Magazine, a homophile publication, was confiscated by the Los Angeles postmaster.  However the Federal Solicitor General determined in 3 weeks that the issue was not obscene, and the confiscated copies were returned.

1954.  ONE Magazine October issue was seized because of “Sappho Remembered”, an advertisement for a Swiss magazine, Der Kreis “with beautiful photos”, and a poem about homosexuality in England.

1957Samuel Roth’s American Aphrodite, containing literary erotica and nude photography was convicted.   The Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

Attorney Eric Jilber refused help from the ACLU, and lost ONE’s case in the Court of Appeal.  The three judges deemed the issue “morally depraved and debasing”

520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl, being imported from a printer in London, were seized by US Customs.  Then the manager of City Lights Bookstore and publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, were tried for publishing and selling the book. The ACLU  supported the defendants and nine literary experts testified on the book’s behalf.  It was acquitted on appeal.

1958. The US supreme Court ruled, re One Magazine, in its first ever case involving homosexuality, that the Post Office was discriminating and denying equal protection.  Hence homosexual content is not obscene simply because it is homosexual.

1959. The US publisher of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover won his case and its appeal against the US Post Office’s censorship.

1960. Nan Gilbert in New England, a publisher of petticoat-punishment fantasies, had his mail stopped and was fined $500.

1961. H Lynn Womack, gay erotica publisher, successfully sued the post office for confiscating Grecian Guild magazine.

Susanna Valenti was summoned by postal officials. Two of her correspondents had been charged with mailing obscene materials, and Susanna’s name had come up. Tito, her male persona, pleaded respectability and denounced the obscenities.

Virginia Prince was actually arrested re personal correspondence to another transvestite, thought to be a woman, who was already under investigation. Prince pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to sending obscene material through the mail. With a five-year probationary sentence, he was liable to be imprisoned if caught cross-dressed in public. However his lawyer persuaded the court to include educating the public about cross-dressing as part of the probation order.

1963.  Sanford Aday & Wallace de Ortega Maxey, mail-order erotica publishers, both of the homophile Mattachine Society, indicted on 18 counts of Interstate Transportation of Obscene Material, convicted of 5.  Of the 8 books named, only Sex Life of a Cop was found obscene. They were fined $25,000 each and sentenced to 25 years in prison (although the conviction was reversed by the US Supreme Court a few years later).  There is now a Sanford Aday collection at California State University, Fresno.

1965. The U.S. Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut struck down one of the remaining contraception Comstock laws in Connecticut and Massachusetts. However, Griswold only applied to marital relationships.

1972. Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) extended its holding to unmarried persons as well.

1973.  Abortion became legal under privacy laws

1996.  The Comstock Act was revived into Title V of the Telecommunications Act.

2023.  Mifepristone, an abortion pill was subject to litigation, and the never-repealed Comstock laws were cited to ban its mailings.  If the right wing succeed in banning mailings of  mifepristone, will viagra, the drugs used by gay men and hormones for trans persons be likewise banned?

  • Darrell Raynor. A Year Among the Girls. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1966. New York: Lancer Books, 1968: 74.
  • Lori Klatt Maurice.  Stamping Out Indecency: The Postal Way. March 8, 2004.   Online
  • Richard F Docter. “Battles with the Postal Authorities”.  Chp 12 in From Man to Woman: The Transgender Journey of Virginia Prince. Docter Press, 2004: 109-112.
  • Jed Birmingham. “Obscenity and the Post Office”.  Reality Studio, 18 May 2006.  Online.
  • Lillian Faderman & Stuart Timmons. Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. New York: Basic Books, 2006: 116-120.
  • Susan Stryker.  Transgender History. Berkeley: Seal Press.  2008: 52-3.
  • Stephen J Gertz.  ““Sex Life of a Cop” Chows Down Big Donuts at Paperbacks Show for Record $”.  Seattle PI, 2010/03/22.  Online.
  • Tanya Lewis. "This 19th-Century Obscenity Law Is Still Restricting People's Reproductive Rights". Scientific American, April 28, 2023.
EN.Wikipedia(Postal_censorshipComstock_laws)