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!

28 February 2024

Patricio Manuel (1985 - ) boxer

Manuel was raised by a single mother in Santa Monica, California, and was five times the women’s national amateur boxing champion, and also competed in the 2012 Women’s US Olympic Trials until forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury. 

“I’ve never really felt any sort of relation to being a girl or a woman or really being female. I would identify myself as a boy or a man in my head even if I didn’t say it out loud to other people.”

He began hormone therapy in 2013, and had top surgery in Salt Lake City in 2014.

“I don’t really think of it as difficult because it’s been so fun. People may think it’s been difficult but it’s also given me these amazing experiences. I feel like I’m more in control of self-identifying as a man the way I want because I’m able to actually consciously construct it as opposed to it having been enforced on me since birth.”

He had to leave his longtime gym and trainer of nine years because the gym was church affiliated and insisted that he keep his story quiet – which he could not do. However he became a coach at a LGBTQ center in Long Beach.

He lost a year recovering after surgery, and then waited three more months before being officially declared eligible to box as a man. USA Boxing now make no mention that he once fought as a woman, but his story is no secret given his championship wins. And because his name is only one letter different from his dead name.

His first fight in the amateur male division was in May 2016 – which he won.

In September 2018 the California State Athletic Commission gave him a professional boxing license – making him the first trans man in the world to be so approved. He won his first bout as a pro boxer in December 2018. A fight was arranged in 2019, but Manuel had to withdraw because of a hip injury. And then there was COVID. But there was also uneasiness that a trans man was not only fighting but winning against a cis man. Manuel’s coach, Victor Valenzuela, commented: 

“a lot of the guys and coaches didn’t want to fight him. They think they have nothing to gain by it: Win, and you beat somebody that was a female. Lose, you got beat by somebody that was a woman.”

His next pro fight was in March 2023 – again a win. And again in June 2023. Although he was finding it difficult to find opponents.

In December 2023 the World Boxing Council floated the idea of a separate league for trans boxers.

 “The WBC completely rejects any boxing activity between people born male against born female, regardless of their current sexuality; so the creation of a Committee to create a competition manual was approved with the possibility of having a transgender league welcoming those who wish to participate in our sport.”

Unsurprisingly, Manuel demurred. 

“It is heartbreaking to me to have the WBC, a leader in my sport, argue that I don't have a place in the ring as a man.

Given the WBC’s stated values of sportsmanship, diversity and respect (via their philanthropic arm WBC Cares), I trust this intended new policy was made with the best of intentions to be inclusive of transgender boxers. 

Yet, in reality, the WBC is inherently dehumanizing transgender people by implying that trans men aren’t men and trans women aren’t women. 

This rhetoric flies in the face of both existing policies at the highest level of governing bodies in the world of sports and my own lived experience.”

A trans league is almost impossible because of lack of numbers alone. The WBC’s position rests on a report that has never been shared publicly, and that remains contested among neurologists and medical experts.

  • Jim Buzinski. “ 'Proud, butch lesbian' aims to make U.S. Olympic women's boxing team ”. Outsports, Feb 14, 2012. Online.
  • Kylie Krabbe. “Pat Manuel Poised to Blaze Trail as Transgender Amateur, then Pro”. The Ring, Dec 3, 2015. Online.
  • Karleigh Webb. “Trans boxer Patricio Manuel wins first match in four years, improves to 2-0”. Outsports, Mar 22, 2023. Online.
  • Patrick Djordjevic. “Transgender male boxer Patricio Manuel picks up a THIRD straight victory to continue his unbeaten record... 11 years after competing in the women's U.S. Olympic trials”. Daily Mail, 23 June 2023. Online.
  • Ben Wyatt. “Trans Boxers Are Stepping Into the Ring. Will the Sport Let Them Stay?”. Rolling Stone, Sep 23, 2023. Online.


26 February 2024

David Martin (1946 – 1984) burglar.

Original version: December 2009

David Martin was born in Paddington, London, and was educated at the Finsbury Park comprehensive school. He was trained as a motor mechanic. However he also started stealing things. By 1968 he was in a borstal serving time for 30 cases of theft. There he studied electronics, to better understand alarm systems. He managed to spring a lock, and escaped. In 1972 he was on remand for more burglaries. In the prison van he picked the lock of his cubicle, and then did the same for the other prisoners. In 1973 he was in Brixton Prison. He and 20 others hijacked a dustcart and used it to ram the prison gates. Martin was one of the few to actually get outside, but was apprehended hailing a taxi. In 1974 and 1975 he made near attempts to escape from Parkhurst Prison and then Gartree.

Martin was also gender fluid switching genders socially and also to case premises or to commit crimes.

In 1982 he had decided to get into the then expanding businesses of video (VHS) piracy and also pornography. To get the required equipment he burgled film recording and processing firms in London and took what he needed. On other times he broke in with a master tape of a recent Hollywood film, and used the equipment to make multiple copies. Later that year he used his knowledge of alarm systems to break into the gunsmiths Thomas Bland & Sons in Covent Garden and took 24 handguns, ammunition and holsters. A few weeks later he and others stole £25,000 in the City of London where he shot a security guard in the leg. One of the security guards said that he thought one of the gang was a woman dressed in motorcycle clothing. A week after that he shot a police constable in the leg when challenged in a film processing firm in Marylebone. 

The police spoke to their informants and were given the name David Martin. A gun dealer came forth about an attempt by a David Martin who wanted to sell guns, and who had left an address in Crawford Place, Marylebone. For several days armed undercover officers watched Martin’s flat wondering why there was no sign of him. Only then did they realise that the tall blonde woman who came and went was, in fact, Martin. An informant explained to them that Martin was a transvestite. They were waiting for Martin on the seventh floor when she stepped out of the lift. This became a fracas, Martin’s gun was knocked away but she pulled out a second gun, and a detective constable fired. Martin was hit in the back of the neck. Martin was taken to hospital where the bullet was removed, and then held in remand at Brixton Prison. On Christmas Eve 1982 Martin was taken to Marlborough Street Magistrates Court (now the Courthouse Hotel) and charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, theft of guns and other offences. He was then taken to the court cells to await the prison van for the return journey. However his lock-picking skills served him well. He made his way to a skylight, and then over the nearby roofs to the London Palladium theatre. A service door was open, and Martin walked out through the foyer and into the Christmas crowds.

Martin’s (major) girlfriend was the 25-year-old Sue Stephens. They raided her flat in West Hampstead, but to no avail. They put her under surveillance and listened to her phone.

A yellow Mini.

Stephen Waldorf, a 26-year-old film editor, vaguely resembled the male David Martin. His sister’s boyfriend, Lester Purdy, was acquainted with Stephens. Waldorf and the boyfriend picked up Stephens in a yellow Mini. With the police following, the Mini got stuck in traffic in Kensington. Armed police surrounded the car and opened fire. Waldorf fell out of the car door face down and was shot again. Only when they turned him over, did the police realize that it was the wrong man. The other man in the car fled in terror, but later went to the police.

Waldorf had suffered five bullet wounds—which damaged his abdomen and liver—as well as a fractured skull and injuries to one hand caused by pistol whipping. Stephens was grazed by a bullet. Both were taken to St Stephen's Hospital. Within an hour, a senior officer at Scotland Yard issued a public apology and promised an immediate investigation by the Metropolitan Police's Complaints Investigation Bureau (CIB). Waldorf went into full cardiac arrest, but doctors managed to restart his heart. He was in hospital for six weeks. When he regained consciousness, a senior Met officer visited him to apologise.

Stephens had been grazed by a bullet, was paid £10,000 for her story by the Daily Mail, but was also charged with receiving stolen property. Out on bail she worked with the Flying Squad. Martin phoned and they arranged to meet “at the last place we met”, which was a restaurant in Heath Street, Hampstead. Many police were waiting, but Martin fled down an emergency spiral staircase at Hampstead Underground Station, then the length of a stationary train, jumped from the drivers’ cab and onto the rails. Station staff immediately switched off the electricity. Some police followed while others waited at the two adjacent stations. They caught him at Belsize Park station – he had no gun with him.

His trial was at the Old Bailey, September 1983. He refused to plead to any of the charges, and the judge ruled that a plea of not guilty be entered. The trial ended 11 October and Martin was sentenced to 25 years. He vowed that he would escape or die! 

Waldorf eventually made a full recovery. He sued the police, who did not contest the case, and was awarded £150,000 in an out-of-court settlement early in 1984. Stephens also sued the Met and was awarded £10,000, but she, Purdy and one other were sentenced to six and nine months respectively for receiving stolen goods after police found property including £15,000 of security equipment, body armour and holsters and medical equipment.

Three officers were suspended; two were charged with attempted murder. They were tried at the Old Bailey in October 1983, pled that they had a genuine, albeit mistaken, fear for their lives, and were acquitted of all charges. They were returned to duty, though their firearms authorisations were withdrawn.

Martin was sent to Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight, where he met celebrity prisoners such as the gay serial killer Dennis Nilson. Sue Stephens stopped answering his letters, and refused to visit him. 

He succeeded in killing himself 13 March 1984.

The police regulations regarding guns were tightened.

The story was filmed as a television movie in 1994 with Rupert Graves as Martin. 

*Not the Scottish, nor the English, nor the Nebraska politician, nor the poet, nor the Governor of New South Wales, nor the musician, nor the gymnast, nor any of the footballers, nor the Texas axe-murderer, nor the Ottawa humourist, nor the casting director, nor the Dr Who scriptwriter, nor the CBC news correspondent, nor the sociologist/priest, nor the jazz pianist, nor the chef, etc. Nor the author of Rewriting Gender?: You, Your Family, Transgenderism and the Gospel, 2018.

  • Nick Davies & Stephen Cook. “Yard apologises for shooting”. The Guardian, 17 January 1983. 
  • Pat Clarke. “The gunman who like to dress aa a woman”. Daily Post, October 12, 1983: 3.
  • Roger Beam. “Two faces of the transvestite gunman” and “Waldorf: ‘Shot five times and pistol whipped’. Model’s brush with death”. Daily Mirror, October 13, 1983: 1,7.
  • Ian Henry. “Six Month’s Jail for ‘Infatuated’ Sue Stephens’. Daily Telegraph, 22 November 1983.
  • “David Martin, the transvestite burglar who became Britain's most wanted...”. UPI, 14 March 1984. Online.
  • “David Martin: No prison will hold me!” Real-Life Crimes … and how they were solved, 38, 1 Jan 1993. archive
  • Paul Greengrass (scr & dir). Open Fire. With Jim Carter as DCS Young, Rupert Graves as David Martin and Eddie Izzard as Rich. UK London Weekend Television 105 mins 1994. IMDB YouTube.
  • Duncan Campbell. The Underworld. Penguin Books, 1996: 160-2.
  • James Morton. Gangland Soho. Piatkus, 2008: 6.
  • Dick Kirby. “London police opening fire: 1983 to now”. The History Press. Online.
  • Dick Kirby. The Wrong Man: The Shooting of Stephen Waldorf and the Hunt for David Martin. The History Press, 2016. 



There is no indication that Martin ever went to any of the trans support groups available in London in the late 1970s-early 1980s: The London TV/TS Group, the Beaumont Society or SHAFT. 

Real-Life Crimes includes the paragraph: “One detective who dealt with him said: He turned to homosexuality in prison. He liked the idea of being in drag, but he was such a chameleon, so good at disguise, that he found a brilliant device to help him in crime, too.” Kirby mentions “an acquaintance who was a homosexual lorry driver. Apparently, he and Martin had shared an interest in yoga, wholefoods and the occult while the driver was waiting for a sex-change operation.” Real-Life Crimes says that they were dating. Other writers claim that Martin had an affair in prison with Dennis Nilson. 

I see only a heterosexual cross-dresser. In the early 1980s many still confused trans and being gay.

This is the arial view (from Google maps) of the block containing the Magistrates Court and the London Palladium.  To get from one to the other across the roofs seems quite feasable.

21 February 2024

Peggy Deauville (1899 -? ) performer

 Tom’s father, Benjamin Davies, was the minister at Caersalem Baptist Chapel in the coal-ming village of Abergwynfi, Naeth Port Talbot, South Wales, and was a prominent figure in the local temperance movement. However by age eleven, young Tom was drinking beer with a next-door neighbour. He was also transvesting. 

“I was awfully interested in ladies clothes, and always dressing up as a woman, before I left school really. So now, and if my sisters had anything new, a hat, a coat, or a dress … I wasn’t happy until I tried it on.” 

He avoided the cricket and football that the boys played, and preferred hopscotch and skipping with the girls.

At age 14 he left school and found work in the drapery department of Glyncorrwg Co-operative Stores where he enjoyed working with fabrics and fashion. After war was declared in August 1914, Tom saw a newspaper advertisement for performers to join the army entertainment corps. He was auditioned in London and accepted. After several months at the dancing school run by John Tiller (famed for the Tiller Girls) – his natural singing voice was good enough to be professional – he was assigned to a YMCA-funded concert party led by the actress and suffragette Lena Ashwell, which performed in France close to the Western Front doing as many as forty concerts in a fortnight. Tom found Ashwell’s format too serious for his taste and wanted something less formal and where he could talk to the audience.  He transferred to other troups. He worked in Dieppe, Deauville and Paris. He also performed in the hospital on Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, the first hospital from the front line where many of the patients were badly injured soldiers, some groaning in pain. The act was basically what would be found in any music hall with risqué songs. Tom performed en femme

“I’d come out in this beautiful sequin gown you know, and then I used to take my gown off, and I had sequin briefs and a sequin bra, and I was naked then but for my tights.  And I had these two big ostrich feather fans, and I had learned to manipulate them … they wouldn’t see anything, and I could hear them saying, Jock, how would you like her in the bunk tonight …. There were many who wouldn’t believe I was male, you know, because I was so dainty.” 

By now Tom’s nom d’étage was Peggy Deauville.

After the Armistice Peggy stayed on in Paris, working in the Folies Bergères for five years and the Casino de Paris for two. The act featured impersonations of well-known women of the period such as the nurse Edith Cavell, Jane Renoir and the actress Gaby Deslys. The French press was fascinated in that Peggy was a woman off-stage also, and as such she travelled around France. 

Tom/Peggy worked in Germany for a while, and after returning to Britain worked with Bud Flanagan - a fellow performer from the war years - at the Victoria Palace and the London Palladium, and then four years in Malta with the John Bull Music Hall Company.

By 1939 Tom was back in south Wales and working again at the Glyncorrwg Co-operative. However with the outbreak of the next war, he returned to army revue shows.

After 1945 Peggy mainly performed at British Legion and working men’s clubs. Peggy assisted Roger Baker with his research for Baker’s 1968 book, and performed in the London show associated with the book.

Tom remained a regular church-goer, and never drank on Sundays.

  • Roger Baker. Drag: A History of Female Impersonation on the Stage. A Triton Book, 1968: 173.
  • Cliff John. “What a Man is Peggy Deauville”. Neath Guardian, 29 January 1970:7.
  • Roger Baker, Peter Burton & Richard Smith. Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts. Cassell, 1994: 191-2.
  • Daryl Leeworthy. A Little Gay History of Wales. University of Wales Press, 2019: 24-7.

All quotes from Leeworthy.

New York's Radio City Rockettes were an offshoot from the Tiller Girls.

19 February 2024

Michael Cimino (1939 – 2016) film director and author

Cimino grew up in Long Island, New York. He was educated in private schools and then attended first Michigan State University and then Yale. At the latter he took a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in 1961 and an MFA in 1963. He was also in the US Army reserve where he did a month of medical training. 

He found work in New York City with a small company that made documentary and industrial films, and from there progressed into making commercials. He then attempted scriptwriting, and created Thunderbolt and Lightfoot which was at first about outlaws in Ireland, but he was persuaded to revise it as a contemporary heist movie set in the US. It was shown to Clint Eastwood, who wanted to direct it himself, but Cimino insisted. Eastwood also asked him to revise the John Milius script for the Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force. Then Eastwood let him direct Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, although Eastwood was in charge. (The film includes a scene where Jeff Bridges’ character is in drag to distract a security guard and deactivate the alarms). Cimino also worked on the revision of the script for Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales in 1976.

Cimino’s next film as director was Deer Hunter. It had started as a spec script called The Man Who Came to Play, about going to Las Vegas to play Russian Routlette. Cimino was hired to develop the script so that it could be filmed. He in turn hired Deric Washburn to do most of the writing, to be completed within a month. It became a script about steel workers in Pennsylvania sent to Vietnam, and tortured by Russian Roulette (despite there being no record of the Viet Cong ever using such methods). The original protagonist was split into three characters. On completion Washburn was fired, and his name taken off the script, although it was restored in a Writers’ Guild arbitration. The resulting film went over budget and over schedule and cost $15 million. However it grossed $49 million, was nominated for nine Academy Awards and took five.

Cimino then made Heaven’s Gate for United Artists. It was filmed in Montana, budgeted as $12 million but cost $44 million and on release in 1980 grossed less than $4 million. The original version was over 5 hours, but the main cinema release was cut to 2½ hours. It was said that Heaven’s Gate caused the collapse of United Artists, and ended the run of director-auteur films that had typified 1970s Hollywood – however there were other factors such as management infighting.

Most of the projects that Cimino was involved in for the next few years never got as far as filming. However he did then direct another four films – albeit without the freedom that he had earlier: Year of the Dragon, 1985; The Sicilian, 1987; Desperate Hours, 1990; The Sunchaser, 1996. 

Cimono still had a vision and kept writing sceenplays – but they were no longer filmed. One of these was adapted into a novel, Big Jane, set in 1951, about a butch woman who travels by motorcycle across the US and ends up in a women’s brigade in the Korean War. It was translated and published in France in 2001, but never published in English. He was honoured for this in 2001 at Deauville Film Festival with a Prix littéraire. This was followed by the autobiographical Conversations en miroir, which again was published only in France.

Eastwood and Cimino in 2015

Cimino had became a recluse in his house in Beverly Hills, rarely seeing anybody. He lost weight and his face changed – the latter was assumed to be because of cosmetic surgery. There were rumours that Cimino had been seen presenting as female, of an application to the directors’ union for a name change to ‘Michelle Cimono’. Journalists and others actually asked him to his face if he were transitioning. Cimino denied being trans and suggested confusion with Gene Simmons of the band Kiss who lived next door. Cimono’s previous personality had been solemn, abrasive and without any humour. Now, especially at appearances in Europe, Cimono was charming. This was helped by the discovery of the original four-hour version of Heaven’s Gate, the DVD rerelease on Criterion of a director’s cut by Cimono, and the re-evaluation of the film as a masterwork. He was feted at film festivals across Europe. 

Since the early 1990s Valerie Driscoll had owned and run Hair To Wear Wigs in Torrance, a suburb close to the Los Angeles airport. Among other trades she had been a cosmetologist, a masseuse, a commodities trader and a dominatrix at S&M parties.  She contributed to the Cross-Talk newsletter for trans persons with articles on hair and makeup, and also advised her customers re cross-dressing.  She described one of her customers who used the name Nikki as “sweet, soft, and particularly naïve”.  Nikki claimed to be “a caregiver to an elderly couple in Beverly Hills and lived in their guesthouse”. Slowly they developed a friendship and talked.  Meeting with biographer Charles Elton may years later, Driscoll said: “We each knew things that helped each other. I think she grew to like me due to my strength and independence as a woman. I was drawn to her softness, sweetness, and uncharacteristic naivety.”  She felt that she gave Nikki the confidence to change.   “As time passed, I began to notice subtle changes to her face, and soon his masculine features softened. I don’t know at what point he decided he was done with being a guy. I just don’t know. Michael became Nikki.”  Valerie gave up her shop in 1996, and moved  to Yucca Valley in the Mohave Desert, where she ran a massage and spa business.  Nikki and Valerie continued their relationship by telephone, and sometimes would meet halfway at a hotel.  But the makeover magic worked less well as Nikki aged.  Nikki stopped calling so often.  Valerie missed her, and as she had Nikki's cellphone number she was able to find out that Nikki was Michael Cimino.  She mentioned to Nikki that she knew who he was, and then their relationship was strained, and then it was over.

Cimino died alone at home at the age of 77. Forest Lawn cemetery set up an online memorial page.  Three women in the film world added tributes, as did Valerie Driscoll whose comment was: 

"Every day I think I’ll hear his unmistakable voice on the other end of the phone. We had become friends through my retail business in Torrance over 12 years ago and I must say that he became my BEST friend. I love him so much and miss his intelligence and humor.” 

 This led to Charles Elton, the biographer discovering her existence.

  • Michael Cimino. Conversations en miroir.  Gallimard, 2004.
  • Steven Bach. The Final Cut: Dream and Disaster in the Making of "Heaven's Gate". William Morrow, 1985
  • Steve Garbarino. “Michael Cimino’s Final Cut”. Vanity Fair, March 2002. Online.
  • Charles Elton. Cimino: The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate and the Price of a Vision.  Abrams Press, 2022.
  • Bret Easton Ellis. “How Hollywood destroyed Michael Cimino”.  com.  Online.
  • Richard Brody. “A New Biography of Michael Cimino Is as Fascinating and Melancholy as the Filmmaker Himself”.  New Yorker,  May 22, 2022.  Online.
  • Juan Sanguino translated by Xanthe Holloway. “The tragic life of Michael Cimino Hollywood’s most notorious failure”. El Pais, Jun 14,2022. Online.

EN.Wikipedia    IMDB    

Here is a list of movies that made a big lossHeaven’s Gate is only moderate in this list.

05 February 2024

Bernard Norman Barwin (1939 - ) doctor serving trans persons

Barwin was raised in South Africa by parents of Russian and Lithuanian descent. He and his wife left in 1962 after the Sharpeville massacre:

“We were just so much opposed to the whole concept of apartheid. In fact the thing that made us finally leave was when Sharpeville happened. I was in university, and I saw literally hundreds of people lining up to fight against the blacks. I felt, ‘Gee: this is not a country I want to bring my children up in. Maybe I can make a better contribution from outside.” (quoted in Kennedy, 1993)

He completed his medical education at Queen’s University Belfast, where he also did a PhD in women’s medicine. He worked there in the Department of Physiology. The Barwins had four children, became involved with the Alliance Party which sought to unite Ulster’s Protestants and Catholics, and sheltered women from the Republic of Ireland who – those days – were not able to get fertility treatment at home. In 1969 he took over the fledgling fertility clinic. He initiated freezing of human sperm after working with veterinarians who had been doing it for cattle for some time.

However after a bomb went off near their children’s school, the Barwins decided to leave.

In 1973 the Barwins and their children emigrated to Canada, and he was hired by the Ottawa General Hospital to manage the High Risk Pregnancy Clinic and to co-direct its fertility clinic. He set up the hospital’s sperm bank (with donations by medical students), and the first sexual health clinics in Ottawa’s high schools. He was noted as a pro-choice advocate, and supportive to same-sex couples wanting children. Many heterosexual couples specifically thanked Dr Barwin in birth announcements in the Ottawa Citizen.

He was known for his experience in reconstructive surgery on children with incomplete genitals. In 1976 he was called to the hospital’s emergency ward to help with a desperate trans woman who had cut off her male genitals. After a long talk with her that persuaded him that she really was transsexual, he proceeded to construct a vagina for her using skin from the inner thigh. He did another five transgender operations over the next six years. He quickly became a go-to doctor noted for providing counselling, hormone therapy and gender surgery for trans persons. 

He was Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Ottawa. He was also one of the founding members of Fertility Self-Help Group, which later became the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada. He also founded Canadians for Choice and was President from 2004. He was on the board of the International Society for the Advancement of Contraception and the Bereaved Families of Ontario. He was a gynecology consultant at Ottawa’s Royal hospital and the Childrens’ Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He was the President of the Canadian Fertility Society, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and Planned Parenthood Ottawa.  In addition he was active in the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation.

The hiring had come with an understanding that, as is standard for immigrant physicians, he would, within three years, take and pass the gynecology certification exam administered by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 

He presented a paper, “Vaginoplasty – A simple approach to vaginal agenesis” at the Proceedings of Symposium on the Human Vagina and Health Disease, Wayne State University, Oct 28-30, 1976.

Four years later he contributed a chapter, “The Surgical Treatment of Transexuality”, to Erwin Koranyi’s 1980 book Transsexuality in the Male.

Also that year, one of the trans women whom he operated on was in the news re being cut off welfare, but being a known transsexual was not able to find work either. In 1979 a letter from Dr Barwin had fixed the situation, but in 1980, the letter was rejected.

He did take the required Canadian exam, but failed – perhaps because he was too busy to prepare. This despite being voted the best clinical professor at the University of Ottawa medical school in 1976 and 1977. He was also FRCOG (Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) and FACOG (Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). Lacking the required qualification, Barwin left Ottawa General Hospital in 1984 to set up his own clinic, but he no longer had gynecological privileges at area hospitals – not only was he no longer able to do vaginoplasties, he was not allowed to deliver babies either.

In 1995 a female couple sued Barwin in that their child had been born from the wrong sperm. They settled out of court.

In 1997 Barwin was named to the Order of Canada for having a "profound impact on both the biological and psycho-social aspects of women's reproductive health”.

A fitness enthusiast, Barwin ran in the Boston Marathon in 2000 – however there was no record of his passing through the multiple checkpoints, and he was officially disqualified. Again a year later in the National Capital Marathon in Ottawa he did not complete the second lap, but rejoined the race one kilometre before the finish. The full-page account of this in the Ottawa Citizen brought in letters supporting the doctor. “We should laud, not lash, Dr, Barwin”.

The GLBTQ Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Carleton University was the organizer for 2008’s Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), and Dr Barwin was one of the speakers. The trans support group Gender Mosaic celebrated its 20th anniversary and gave out three plaques – one of which was to Dr Barwin for continued work with and support for the trans community. Carleton University, Ottawa, awarded Barwin a honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 2009.

In 2010 two trans women filed suit against Ontario re non-funding of laser hair removal, voice therapy and breast augmentation. Dr Barwin provided an expert report letter supporting the plaintiffs, and attached a copy of his 1980 chapter in Erwin Koranyi’s book, Transsexuality in the Male

In 2013 Barwin admitted to professional misconduct re three clients inseminated with the wrong sperm. He agreed to permanently end his fertility practice – he was now 73. He also formally resigned his appointment to the Order of Canada. 

He closed his transgender practice in August 2014, and retired.

Two years later a paternity test confirmed that Barwin is the biological father of one of the children of one of his patients. The child’s DNA was used to link Barwin to 10 other cases. In 2016 a class action lawsuit was started that involved 150 of his former patients. Barwin’s medical licence was revoked in 2019. The class action resulted in 2021 with a settlement of $13.375 million.

Publications by Norman Barwin

  • B N Barwin. “Cervical Mucus Glucose Content in the Assessment of Ovulation”. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 140, 9, 1971. 
  • B N Barwin, D M Brennan & T A McCalden. “The Effect of Oestradiol-17- β and Progesterone on the Contractile Behaviour of Ureteric Muscle”. In Dublin Journal of Medical Science, 142, 1, 1973.
  • B N Barwin. “Intrauterine Insemination of Husband’s Semen”. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 36,1, 1974
  • B N Barwin. “Vaginoplasty – A simple approach to vaginal agenesis”. In Proceedings of Symposium on the Human Vagina and Health Disease, Wayne State University, Oct 28-30, 1976.
  • B Norman Barwin, Anthony Dempsey & Gilles D Hurteau. “Graphic Monitoring of Labour”. Obstetric and Gynecolic Survey, 32,7,1977.
  • B Norman Barwin, Sheena Tuttle & Elaine Jolly. “The Intrauterine Contraceptive Device”. Obstretrical & Gynecological Survey, 33,8, 1978.
  • Roberto Narbaitz, George Tolnai, Elaine Jolly, Norman Barwin, David McKay. “Ultrastructural Studies on Testicular Biopsies from Eighteen Cases of Hypospermatogenesis”. Fertility and Sterility, 30,6, 1978.
  • B Norman Barwin. “Psychological Factors: Counseling and Motivation of the Contraceptive Patient”. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstretrics, 16,6, 1979.
  • Norman B Barwin. “The Surgical Treatment of Transexuality”. In Erwin Koranyi. Transsexuality in the Male. Charles C Thomas Publisher, 1980.
  • B N Barwin & S Belisle (eds). Adolescent Gynecology and Sexuality. Masson, 1982. Papers presented a meeting of the Canadian Fertility Society.
  • B Norman Barwin. “Transmission of Ureaplasma urealyticum by artificial insemination by donor”. Fertility and Sterility, 41,2,1984.
  • M C Devlin & B N Barwin. “Barrier contraception”. Advances in Contraception, 5, 1989.
  • S L Douma, C Husband, M E O’Donnell, B N Barwin & A K Woodend. “Estrogen-related Mood Disorders: Reproductive Life Cycle Factors”. Advances in Nursing Science, 28, 4, 2005.

Other publications

  • Pauline O’Connor. “Welfare won’t buy sex change ‘excuses’ “. The Ottawa Journal, Jul 15, 1980.
  • Cathy Nobelman. “PMS: Local doctor helps women waging war with their bodies”. The Ottawa Citizen, August 16, 1991.
  • Janice Kennedy. “Doctor in Demand”. The Ottawa Citizen, Jan 25, 1993. Online.
  • Shelley Page. “Dr. B and the Women”. The Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 2001.
  • Glan McGregor. “Prominent MD caught cheating in marathons”. The Ottawa Citizen, Nov 16, 2002.
  • “We should laud, not lash, Dr. Barwin”. The Ottawa Citizen, Nov 20, 2002.
  • Rosie Dimanno. “Wrong-sperm doctor Barwin took shortcuts in career and races, too: DiManno”. Toronto Star, February 4, 2013. Online.
  • Bradley Turcotte. “Trans community supports Dr Barwin: Doctor who mixed up sperm an invaluable resource, trans Ottawans say”. Xtra, February 7, 2013. Online.
  • Brodeur v. Ontario (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care). 2010. Online.
  • Alison Motluk. “Fertility doctor used own DNA, suit claims”. The Globe and Mail, Nov 2, 2016.
  • Elizabeth Payne. “Timeline: A look at the story of Dr.Norman Barwin”. Ottawa Citizen, May 03, 2018. Online.
  • “$13.375 Million Settlement in Norman Barwin Class Action”. Nelligan Law, December 6th, 2021. Online.
  • Juanne Nancarrow Clarke. “Dr. Norman Barwin: The Story of Mixed-Up Sperm”. In When Medicine Goes Awry: Case Studies in Medically Caused Suffering and Death. University of Toronto Press 2022.



The Wikipedia article says not a single word about Barwin’s work with and for trans persons, and does not list his publications.

Shelley Page in her April 2001 article for the Ottawa Citizen says that she asked for Barwin’s CV. “When the 26 pages were printed, it included 30 chapters in books and 79 journal articles he had written, 181 lectures he’d delivered”. Such a list I was unable to find. Above I do list the ones that I found.

30 January 2024

the person who rejected the White Goddess

In 1948 Faber and Faber published an adventurous book by Robert Graves, poet and mythologist: The White Goddess: A historical grammar of poetic myth. Graves had been working on the book since 1944. The book, although perplexing to many readers, quickly became one of the the century’s classics of creative mythology.

The Faber and Faber director, one T.S. Eliot wrote a blurb for the first edition: “This is a prodigious, monstrous, stupefying, indescribable book; the outcome of vast reading and curious researches into strange territories of folk-lore, religion and magic”.

In February 1957, Graves gave a lecture in New York in which He said:

“I offered The White Goddess in turn to the only publishers I knew who claimed to be personally concerned with poetry and mythology.

The first regretted that he could not recommend this unusual book to his partners, because of the expense. He died of heart failure within the month.

The second wrote very discourteously, to the effect that he could not make either head or tail of the book, and could not believe it would interest anyone. He died too, soon afterwards.

But the third, who was T. S. Eliot, wrote that it must be published at all costs. So he did publish it, and not only got his money back, but pretty soon
was rewarded with the Order of Merit, the Nobel Prize of Literature, and a smash hit on Broadway. 

Very well. Call these coincidences. But I beg you not to laugh, unless you can explain just why the second publisher should have dressed himself up in a woman's panties and bra one afternoon, and hanged himself from a tree in his garden. (Unfortunately, the brief report in Time did not specify the sort of tree.) Was that a blind act of God, or was it a calculated act of Goddess? I leave the answer to you; all I know is that it seemed to me natural enough in its horrid way.”

This was generally dismissed by biographers as Graves perhaps spinning some magical promotion for the book. 

However Graves scholar Grevel Lindop who also wrote a book on Charles Williams (who was an Inkling along with J RR Tolkein and C S Lewis, and also an editor at Oxford University Press) noticed that Williams’ unexpected death in 1945 would fit as that of the first publisher. He died during an emergency operation for stomach complaint 15 May 1945 – the operation presumably having caused heart failure. 

This was just ten months after he had declined Graves’ book: “thrilling description of the way the poetic mind works, and very valuable on that account…I do very profoundly regret that we can’t do it. I have said all this here, and pressed it as far as I can”.

Lindop was intrigued and wondered if the second editor could also be discovered. He considered that Graves may have confused Time and the New York Times. He asked a friend to search the New York Times archives. 

The following was found in the 20 July 1946 edition:


IRVINGTON ON HUDSON NY July 19—Alexander J. Blanton, 45 years old, a vice president of Macmillan Company, publishers, was found this afternoon hanging from a tree behind his home on Riverview Road here. Dr Amos O. Squire, Westchester medical examiner, listed the death as a "suicide while mentally disturbed."

Lindop used another personal connection who had a son who is an attorney to file a Freedom of Information request to obtain the medical examiner’s report re Blanton’s death.

This did confirm that Blanton was dressed, not in ‘panties and bra’, but fully dressed in his wife’s clothes.

Lindop and his associates thought to consult the New York Times, but missed the account in the New York Daily News.

  • “Publishing executive found dead”. New York Times, July 19, 1946.
  • “Hangs Himself in Wife’s Garb”. New York Daily News, Jul 20, 1946.
  • Grevel Lindop. “The White Goddess: Sources, Contexts, Meaning”. In Ian Firla & Grevel Lindop. Graves and the Godess: Essays on Robert Graves’s The White Goddess. Associated University Presses, 2003: 35-8.
  • David Holzer. “Vengeance of The White Goddess?”., 2024.. Online.

If we allow the idea that the White Goddess may have smited the two editors for impiety, then - as gods often do - she mis-aimed in that it was Charles Williams' boss who had rejected the book.

Blanton seems to be on the trans spectrum with the misfortune of having lived slighty too soon.  Seven years later Christine Jorgensen was in the news; a few years after that Virginia Prince had started organizing.  If Blanton had been 20 years younger there would have been the options of  socializing in meetings in New York organized by Susanna Valenti or Siobhan Fredericks.

I wonder if Blanton ever met Donald Wollheim who became an editor at Avon Books in the mid-1940s.

18 January 2024

Martine O'Leary - gay liberation activist.

Original: May 2011.

Martine was a member of Leeds Gay Liberation Front and also of the International Marxist Group. In 1974 she was active at the Third Gay Marxist Conference in Leeds and also at the First National TV.TS Conference sponsered by Leeds GLF.

She was mentioned in The Guardian report on the Conference where she was described as
"a radical drag queen at Leeds, says that he buys old dresses from Oxfam shops, wears neither make-up nor substitute breasts, and tries to shake people out of their preconception of what a man is, a woman is, or more important, what he is."

At the conference those in attendence divided into separate discussion groups, but before they dispersed, two documents were handed to each delegate:  "Competition" by Martine O'Leary and "Attitudes to homosexuality" by N S Love (about the Beaument Society's exclusion of gay persons).  It was considered that the content of these documents was so thought provoking and so excellently set down that as time did not permit the use of them as 'Discussion Topics', they should be reproduced in their entirity in the Conference report.

O'Leary in her document wrote:

" The only way in which our society can cope with us is by treating us as products - as entertainers, as drag contest entrants. It has been frequently enough observed that once a transvestite has got past the stage of only being dressed at home and wants to go public, then practically the only possible outlet is some form of participation in a commercialised scene. This, ultimately, is disastrous. I do not say it is disastrous because I am opposed to commercialism. I say it is so precisely because the commercial situation frustrates and inhibits the essence of transvestism. The transvestite pushes out her feelings, and her public situation promptly pushes them back. In the ensuing conflict, humanity starts to flow away."


"Transsexuals, who by their very nature, are forced to break the magic circle of commercialism, find their lives full of harassment and difficulties. It is important to understand that those attacks are defences of the economic system and that defending the economic system entails such attacks.  Transvestites, on this understanding, face the appalling dilemma of 'Shall I stay in the trap or shall I sink in society's hate?' " 

O'Leary also published a 16-page pamphlet that was originally a paper for the London School of Economics Gay Culture Society the same year entitled, Gay Liberation, reformism and revolution.  It is mainly a call to reclaim the revolutionary impetus of GLF which was already in 1974 being replaced by reformist groups such as Gay News and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality(CHE):
"We have to reclalm our movement from the reformists. A large critically aware Gay Movement has to come in to being out of the shambles that is GLF. This aim needs to be energetically pursued both within the existing groups and outside them.  The sort of GLF needed must have a firm social base founded perhaps on discos and so forth.  Most importantly women must play a central, indeed a determining role.  Transvestism and transsexualsm are very much part of the issue whether we like to face up to it or not, and much heightening of consciousness over that could profitably be done."
*not the Montréal choreographer.
  • Michael Parkin. "Mixed Feelings". The Guardian, 4 March 1994. Reprinted as Appendix F(i) of Conference Report: First national TV/TS Conference, Leeds, 1974: 36
  • Conference Report: First national TV/TS Conference. Leeds 1974.  Online.
  • Martine O'Leary. "Competition" included in Conference Report: First national TV/TS Conference:26-8.
  • Martine O'Leary. Gay Liberation, reformism and revolution. LSE-Gay Culture Society. Isophile Pamphlets, 16pp 1974. Online.
  • Richard Ekins & Dave King. The Transgender Phenomenon. London: Thousand Oaks; California: Sage. 2006: 3.
  • Charles Smith.  The Evolution of the Gay Male Public Sphere in England and Wales, 1967-c.1983. PhD Thesis, Loughborough University, 2014: 154. Online.
  • Rob M. "Gay Marxist". Splits and Fusions, July 21, 2023.  Online.

A forgotten pioneer.  I wonder what happened to her?

Gina Chua (1960 - ) journalist

Chua was born in Singapore, educated in the Philippines, did a bachelors’s degree in mathematics at the Universityof Chicago and a master’s in journalism at Columbia University in New York. Chua worked at the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation and the Straits Times, was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in Manila and Hanoi, and later served as editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal Asia and the South China Morning Post. Chua served as a senior editor for The Wall Street Journal in New York, and began working for Reuters in 2011, where Chua introduced new tools and built top-class data and graphics teams.

After earlier confiding in her boss and a few others, she transitioned, at age 60, in late 2020 while working at home during the Covid lockdown. She informed her colleagues by email, and Reuters changed her profile photo and gender on their website. Chua changed her English name from Reginald to Gina, but left her Chinese name, which she chooses to keep private, unchanged.

Following new reports about her transition, Chua has been getting emails from parents about their trans children, about themselves, and from colleagues themselves thinking about transition.

She was appointed executive editor of Reuters in April 2021, a newly created role. A year later she left Reuters to become the executive editor of Semafor, a new media startup.

In December 2023 she wrote:

If 2023 is anything to go by, 2024 will see a continued wave of attacks on trans people, driven by politicians who believe they can weaponize our existence as a wedge issue to electoral success and victory in the “culture wars.”

And if 2023 is anything to go by, I predict 2024 will continue to see many mainstream news organizations unwittingly and unquestioningly accept and adopt those right-wing frames and talking points in their coverage, contributing to falling public support for trans rights, and more broadly for LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized communities.

I hope desperately that I’m wrong. But I fear I’ll be right.”

  • “Reuters appoints Gina Chua as executive editor”. Reuters, 21 April 2021. Online.
  • Jillian Eugenios. “At the helm at Reuters, this trans executive says she's finally living in the light”. NBC News, June 1, 2020. Online.
  • Katie Robertson. “A Top Editor Becomes Her ‘True Self’ “. New York Times, June 4, 2021. Online.
  • Juwan Holmes. “Reuters’ Gina Chua is hoping to stage a future where trans people flourish in media”. LGBTG Nation, July 21, 2021. Online.

Singapore LGBT encyclopedia Wiki     EN.Wikipedia     Thomson Reuters    LinkedIn

  Muck Rack    Twitter   

11 January 2024

Stella Angel (1870 - ?) tailoress

This is the same person that I wrote about as a Patient of Austin Flint in August 2023.

The 1890s were a difficult time to be a trans woman. The first books on ‘transvestism’ would not be published until 1910 (Hirschfeld) and 1928 (Ellis). Nor were there any mutual support groups - although the secretive Cercle Hermaphroditos is said to have started in New York in 1895. There is no mention that Stella Angel met any other trans person, although the press several times compared her to the trouser-wearing Mary Walker.  And of course external estrogens were not available until over 40 years later.

She was arrested several times in various cities simply for being herself. The stories that she gave to authorities and to doctors vary and some are obviously falsifications – which is understandable for a person in her situation. 

She also gave different names: Mary Cullen, Miss Logan, Stella Angel, Estelle/a Angel, Estelle Date, Estelle Culton, Estelle Lawrence, Stella Lawrence, Viola Estella Angell. In addition she claimed that she had performed on stage as Violet Dell or Violet Deacon. Moreover, when arrested she was pressed for her male name, and gave variously Thomas Cullen (her actual birth name), Reginald Culton, Cullin or Cullon, Theodore Lawrence or Laurence.

I will most often refer to her as Cullen or Stella.


Special thanks to Ashley Sinnis and Walter Delong whose research in family and provincial records in Nova Scotia and in online newspaper files I am greatly indebted to for this account.


Thomas Cullen and his wife Mary née Turnbull of Little Habour, Pictou County, later of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, had 13 children. The child they had in 1870, they named after the father. The child had eight sisters and was frequently dressed by them in girl’s attire – to the extent that wearing men’s clothes came to feel awkward. He was also bullied at school as a sissy, even though dressed as male.

In November 1893, young Thomas visited Halifax – in male attire – and was hassled by members of the public on suspicion that he was female and the police had to intervene.

The next May, that person was again in Halifax, this time as Mary Cullen, and she was able to open a music shop. She attracted the attention of various young men, including a ‘city clubman’ who paid her rent for several weeks. However by August it had come out that her sex was maybe not as assumed, and the police became involved. Mary Cullen admitted that she had moved around the Maritimes the previous two years. She had attracted the romantic attentions of a police officer in St John, New Brunswick, and had worked as a servant girl or nurse in other towns in Nova Scotia.

Cullen acquired counsel, a Mr Bulmer, who instructed her to strike any doctor or officer who dared to inspect her body, and was asserting the right to dress as she pleased “as long as he does not shock public morality”. The counsel cited law that there was no code of dress, and that if there were “the bicycle girls on our streets can be arrested”.

Some of the young men who had expressed interest in Mary Cullen urged a cessation of the investigation, and Cullen was be sent away quietly, perhaps to Boston.

According to her later testimony, Cullen arrived in Boston 2 October that year. She enquired at police headquarters if there were any law re how to dress, and again was informed that if there were women cyclists would be stopped. Again she was popular with young men. She found lodging and work in a tailoring shop in Boston’s Back Bay as Miss Logan where she sewed coats. There was no problem at work, but a man at a neighboring business got it into his mind that she was a man after she winked back at him, and insisted that a patrolman escort her to a police station. There she was touched and bullied until she confessed to being a man, and was then taken to police headquarters. She explained that she was from Nova Scotia, and that if in men’s clothing she was hooted at and taken to be a woman. However there was no charge on which she could be held and she was allowed to leave.

On ruturning to work he was immediated dismissed for going away with a strange man, and leaving a coat half finished.  When she returned to her lodgings, the police story had preceded her and she was evicted.

In court Dec 1894, Boston
The stress of that arrest was followed by a period of sickness.  In December, on the advice of a fellow lodger, Stella entered the Temporary Home for Women, a Florence Mission, on Shawmut Avenue. She stayed four nights and was given three pounds of bread, one pound of beef and one pound of butter – to the value of 35 cents. This led to her being charged with intent to cheat and defraud in that the mission was for women only. She gave her profession as ‘tailoress”. It was put to her that she was really Reginald Cullen. She explained her position: “If I dress up in man’s garb, I am liable to arrest; if I assume a woman’s my chances are no better. I cannot see what I am to do.” The judge asserted that the case was one of fraud in taking a donation from a charity that was for women only. Bail was set at $200, which Cullen did not have. She was passed to the State Board of Lunacy and Charity for three days, then to have her hair cut short, be furnished with male clothing and sent back to Nova Scotia.

In May 1895 Cullen was on a train from Halifax to New York, but got off in Lowell, Massachusetts. She found lodging for the night, but suspicions as to her sex were roused, and the police put her in a cell for the next night. In court the day after it was established that there was no complaint against the accused, and she was sent on her way.

O’Dell’s Employment Agency in Manhattan placed Cullen, under the name of Estelle Lawrence, as a chambermaid in a hotel in the resort town of Mountaindale, Sullivan County. New York. References were supplied to the effect that Estelle had been a lady’s maid for three years to a fashionable mistress, Mrs Henry Paul, in Boston’s Back Bay or maybe Newton Heights. This went well, but Estelle found Mountaindale a dull place and went back to New York.

Estelle took to loitering in the Rambles in New York’s Central Park, flirting with any men who passed – even lifting her skirt. This attracted the attention of a park policeman who noted the unladylike nature of her behavior and arrested her. She was arrested and sent to the Mount Sinai hospital for an opinion on her sex. She then gave the name of Reginald Coulton, and repeated the claim that she had given to the O’Dell’s Employment Agency of being a lady’s maid in Boston. She also claimed to be from Ohio.

Photograph in Flint's paper
She was sent to Bellevue hospital and placed in what would later be called the Psychopathic Ward, where she was compelled to wear masculine clothes. Austin Flint, the noted Professor Emeritus of Physiology visited Bellevue and examined her. He found a scanty beard, the manner of “a silly girl”, a feminine voice and a good singing voice. He noted her disinterest in sex with either men or women. Flint returned the next day intending to make a laryngoscopic examination, but found that she had been discharged and sent to her home “in the West”. 

Stella was arrested in Columbus, Ohio, where, in the police jail, she was examined by Dr Schueller, who noted that her ‘parts’ were ‘covered with condylomata’ (warts). Again she was released.

In May 1896 Cullen travelled from Columbus to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was again arrested, gave a male name of Theodore Laurence and spent five days in jail.

Stella was briefly in Philadelphia, and then returned to New York City, where she was presumably destitute, for – despite her conviction for fraud in Boston – she applied to a New York Florence Mission giving her name as Viola Estella Angell. She was examined by Dr Charles W Allen, formerly genito-urinary surgeon to the City Hospital. He decided “that the applicant was not a suitable subject for the mission; but, being destitute and friendless, and seemingly desirous of having the question of sex definitely settled, he was taken to Dr. Sherman's sanatorium”, which was in Yonkers. There he and a Dr Grandin saw her together “in consultation“, and a number of physicians who it was thought would be interested were invited to be present and take part in the subsequent examination”.

He later presented a paper on his inspection of her. His summary of her life prior to his meeting her is at variance with the account given above. His version states:

“In Boston he was engaged for a long time as a machine operator with a large number of girls in a factory, until, casually meeting in the streets one day a man from his native town, he was denounced as a man masquerading in female attire, and was placed under arrest. He states, however, that after he had told his story to the police, despite an examination made by the matron of the prison, he was released and went to Philadelphia, where he was employed as a female domestic and associated with women.” 

There is no mention of Stella being charged with fraud, of her arrest in New York and examination by Dr Flint, or of the arrest and examination by Dr Schueller in Columbus. Nor of the warts.

In his account:

“Fearing that he was to be compelled to put on male attire before leaving the sanatorium, he absented himself in the night, leaving behind a note, in which he promised at the earliest opportunity again to resume men's clothing and get along in the world as best he can”.

In March 1897 Dr Allen presented the case to a medical meeting, and wrote up an account for the Journal of Cutaneous and Genito-Urinary Diseases. Two months later Medical Record contained a longer account.

After that, it appears, that Stella managed to stay out of the press.

Dr Flint wrote up his 1895 examination of her for the New York Medical Journal in December 1911 but made no mention of C W Allen’s 1897 paper.

  • “Neither Man nor Woman”. Halifax Herald, 24 Aug 1894:6.
  • “Cullen as a Woman: He was so much of a success that he got all the young men in love with him”. Boston Daily Globe, August 24, 1894: 2.
  • “He used paint. Man in Woman’s Dress Puzzled Police. Objected to being searched and at last confessed sex. Worked Beside women in a tailor’s shop. None suspected identity but neighbor caught on. Culton says he has toyed with the affections of many”. Boston Daily Globe, Oct 24, 1894.
  • “Mr. or Miss? Man in woman’s dress works havoc as Station 4”. Boston Post, Oct 25, 1894.
  • “May wear what he chooses: But Reginald Culton must not masquerade for fraud”. Boston Herald, Dec 11, 1894.
  • "Mary Walker's Rival: An effeminate Nova Scotian Masquerades as a woman".  Montreal Daily Herald, October 27, 1894:5.  Online.
  • “Broke Hearts. Reginald Culton had a gay time. Had many devoted lovers while dressed as a woman. Boston policeman and doctor among them. Looked like a charming girl of 20. Received rich presents from susceptible youths”. Boston Daily Globe, Dec 11, 1894.
  • “No garb for him: As man or woman Stella gets arrested”. Boston Post, Dec 11, 1894.
  • “Stella Angel”. National Police Gazette, Jan 12, 1895 : 7.
  • “A man in skirts. Masquerades as a Woman with little success. Bluffs women but lands in the station house. How he fared in court – his antics”. Lowell Sun, May 4, 1895:1.
  • “Years in masquerade. Man arrested in New York City for wearing dresses. Had worked as a lady’s maid”. Waterbury Evening Democrat, Aug 10, 1895. Online.
  • “Reginald Culton’s woe: Magistrate Simms sends to the workhouse the man to whom no attire is proof against arrest”. New York Herald, Aug 11, 1895.
  • “Was flirting: and dressed as a woman when taken in by a heartless copper”. Saint-Paul Daily Globe, Aug 12, 1895:3.
  • “In woman’s attire: Nova Scotia arrested in New York”. Halifax Evening News, Aug 14, 1895.
  • “Stella, the new woman. Lawrence again arrested on masquerading charge. Pittsburg Officials puzzles when he told then the old story. ‘Sissy,’ as he was called in school, claimed a home in Boston”. Boston Sunday Globe, May 10, 1896: 1.
  • “In woman’s attire. This Montaindale maid turned out to be a man. Brought up as a girl – served three years as a lady’s maid, but his ex was not suspected”. Sullivan county Record, Aug 16, 1895.
  • “This man a mystery. He masqueraded as a woman and was arrested in Pittsburg. His strange story”. Philadelphia Inquirer, May 10, 1896.
  • “Theodore’s woe. Once more arrested while in female attire. Said his name was Stella. Told same old story of life-long misery. Arrested several times”. Boston Post, May 11, 1896:16.
  • C W Allen. “A case of Psycho-sexual Hermaphroditism”. Journal of Cutaneous and Genito-Urinary Diseases, March 9,1897 :235, Online.
  • C W Allen. “Report of a Case of Psycho-Sexual Hermaphroditism”. Medical Record, 51,9, May 8, 1897. Online.
  • Elizabeth Reis. Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009: 63-6.

Reis summarises the account in Medical Record, but nothing at all about Flint’s paper.


  • Austin Flint. “A Case of Sexual Inversion, Probably with Complete Sexual Anaesthesia,” New York Medical Journal, 94, 23, December 2, 1911: 1111.
  • Edward Podolsky. “Transvestism” in Encyclopedia Of Aberrations - A Psychiatric Handbook. Philosophical Library, 1953: 531. Revised as “Introduction” to Transvestism Today: The Phenomena of Men Who Dress as Women. Epic Publishing Co Ltd, 1960: 12.
  • George Chauncy. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, , and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. Basic Books, 1994: 98.
  • Leila J Rupp. A desired past : a short history of same-sex love in America. The University of Chicago Press, 1999: 82-4.

Podolsky, Chauncy and Rupp mention Flint’s paper, but say nothing about either of Allen’s papers.


Stella’s lawyer in Halifax in 1893, a Mr Bulmer, was likely John Thomas Bulmer (1845-1901) a lawyer, librarian and social reformer who started as a Conservative, but later advocated for prohibition, female suffrage, equal pay and a fairer distribution of wealth; and successfully fought against the exclusion of black children from Halifax public schools and mentored James Robinson Johnston, the first black lawyer in Nova Scotia. Dictionary of Canadian Biography


Knowing of her arrests in 1894 and 1895, we can be sure that Stella’s claim of being a lady’s maid to Mrs Henry Paul (apparently a real person) was not true. In addition, either she equivocated or the journalists fumbled – in either case Boston’s Back Bay is right down town while Newton is a suburb to the west of the city.

In several news articles the male name is given as Reginald Culton rather than Cullen. Culton and Cullen are different names, and different families, although I am informed by Ashley that later there was intermarriage between the two.

While it seems that Stella was actually born in 1870, she often claimed 1874.

I presume that Dr Schueller gave Stella an ointment for the warts as they are not mentioned by Dr Allen.

Stella claimed that she left Mountaindale as it was ‘dull’. There is another possibility. Some male guests regard chambermaids as fair game, and so it is quite possible that Stella left before a persistent guest revealed her sex.

Columbus, Ohio passed a municipal law against cross-dressing in 1848. Was Stella arrested there under that law?

Halifax, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia – unlike many US municipalities - did not have local laws against cross-dressing.