Essays on trans, intersex, cis and other persons and topics from a trans perspective. This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1200 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.
While Stonewall was an iconic event for both the trans and the gay movements, the perspectives of the two movements are quite different. This is shown in the two books here, which, although both of much merit, do mainly reflect the gay perspective, but not the trans.
• Richard Schneider Jr (ed). In Search of Stonewall: The Riots at 50, The Gay & Lesbian Review at 25, Best Essays 1994-2018. 245 pp G&LR Books, 2019.
The Gay & Lesbian Review is a bi-monthly magazine out of Boston that publishes much that is worth reading. I read most issues. Unlike most gay/lesbian organizations and publications from the 1990s, the G&LR never renamed itself as the LGBTQ Review. Writing from a trans perspective, it is right that they did not do so, as while it publishes occasional pieces about trans issues, they are usually from a gay and/or lesbian perspective. Many of the issues that a trans reader would look for have not been tackled, so the magazine name is appropriate.
The book contains various essays previously published in the 25 years of G&LR, with new essays by Martin Duberman, Lillian Faderman and Andrew Holleran, and an introduction by editor Richard Schneider. The book itself is supplemented by the May-June 2019 issue Stonewall Special.
Schneider writes: ”If nothing else, it is a marker in historical time with a clearly defined ‘before’ and ‘after.’ But to imply that Stonewall interrupted the flow of history, singlehandedly resetting the LGBT calendar, is to pile a lot of responsibility onto a single event or era. Still, something happened, and it happened quite rapidly and even magically after the riots, so in this sense the search for Stonewall can also be a desire to reconnect with the overpowering energy and excitement of this period.”
From this he includes essays about before and after Stonewall, and about elsewhere in the US, although not in Canada nor in Europe. No one discusses the wave of partial decriminalizations of homosexuality that had swept Europe in the 1960s: 1961 Czechoslovakia, Hungary, 1963 Israel, 1967 England & Wales, 1968 East Germany and Bulgaria, 1969 Canada and West Germany. In the US, only Illinois and Connecticut followed. The question of whether the fact that the US had fallen behind other countries contributed to the Stonewall events is not discussed.
Nor are there any essays in the book about how movies, theatre and novels partly prepared the way. In the few years leading up Stonewall, there were plays by Jackie Curtis, John Vaccaro and Charles Ludlam, films by Andy Milligan, Avery Willard, Jack Smith and Paul Morrissey - not to mention Boys in the Band and Myra Breckinridge. This dificiency is addressed in the May-June issue with a review by Andrew Holleran of Kembrew Mcleod’s The Downtown Pop Underground.
Martin Duberman, in his introduction to Part 1, says:
“A prominent theory about the corrupt Sixth Precinct's uncharacteristic failure to alert Stonewall's Mafia owners to the imminent raid ascribes it to the owners' tardiness in the making their usual payoff. An opposing theory emphasizes instead that the Precinct's new commanding officer was sending a message that henceforth the payoffs had to be higher-or, argues yet another theory, that he was determined to abolish them altogether. And so it goes.”
Surely there should be mention of the theory presented in David Carter’s book that Ed Murphy was running, from Stonewall, a blackmail racket against gay employees in the financial services and that stolen bonds were turning up in Europe. Having noted that, I also noticed that none of the writers mention Police Inspector Seymour Pine who was in charge of the Stonewall Raid, and also of the raid on the Snake Pit the following March. Nor are any of the mafia persons mentioned: not Eddy Murphy (who, in addition to working from the Stonewall later founded the Christopher Street Festival committee), nor Michael Umbers, landlord of STAR House, nor Matty Ianiello who co-ordinated the Stonewall for the mafia, and would in 1974 be behind the opening of the Gilded Grape - a new bar for trans women.
There were four activist groups in New York that emerged in the wake of Stonewall: Gay Liberation Front (GLF), Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and the Queens’ Liberation Front (QLF). There is significant mention of the first two. There is a passing mention of the third, and nothing at all about the fourth. The mention of STAR names Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson, and Duberman’s Introduction concedes that she may actually not have been at Stonewall. But that is all. Not a word about Tammy Novak. Joe Tish, Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Lee Brewster, Bebe Scarpinato, Jayne County, Allyson Allante, Bubbles Rose Lee, Bunny Eisenhower, Kim Christie, International Chrysis, Siobhan Fredericks, etc. The only trans woman featured is Major Griffen-Gracy, usually referred to as Miss Major. Griffen-Gracy is not mentioned in either Duberman’s or Carter’s book on Stonewall, and did not particiapte in GLF, GAA, STAR or QLF. So to choose her as the one and only trans woman to feature is a very odd choice.
I seem to be mainly listing what the book is not. Much of it is well-worth reading, but do not expect coverage of the trans content of the Stonewall event.
• Jason Baumann (ed). The Stonewall Reader. 316 pp. The New York Public Library & Penguin Books, 2019.
This book is a collection of pertinent documents from the New York Public Library donated by many gay and trans New Yorkers, and as such is invaluable to gay and trans historians. Some of the interviews were previously published in Eric Marcus’ Making Gay History, 1992.
Like the G&LR book, this does before, during and after Stonewall, and spreads out to other cities across the US, but is also totally disinterested in Canada and Europe.
There is much more trans content: Masha P Johnson (twice), Sylvia Rivera, Holly Woodlawn, Jayne County, and again Major Griffin-Gracy. So the four best known trans women in New Yorks activism and the arts, and Griffin-Gracy who was not in STAR or QLF or in any films, but all the others listed above are again ignored, and in particular there is nothing on the Queens’ Liberation people. The trans bits are all in the “during” section, with nothing in the “after section” except for the second Masha P Johnson piece which is about STAR. The “before’ section includes an excerpt from John Rechy’s City of Night, but not the section about Miss Destiny.
There also is an entry from Transvestia in which Virginia Prince discussed being divorced by wife number 1 and marrying wife number 2 – which is rather out of sync with the rest of the book. Prince was not a gay-libber in any sense. Not that I want to wall off the FPE-TriEss people from the rest of the trans movement, but surely - to take a sample from Transvestia - something by Susanna Valenti would be much more suitable, or perhaps an excerpt from Darrell Raynor’s A Year Among the Girls. Both Susanna and Darrell were, of course, New Yorkers.
This leads to the question: having included material from Transvestia, a Los Angeles trans newsletter, why is there nothing from the New York trans magazines and newsletters: nothing from Turnabout, nothing from Female Mimics, and most importantly, nothing from Drag, A Magazine of Transvestism (which featured writings by Lee Brewster and Bebe Scarpinato and was by far the most radical of the trans periodicals).
None of the trans historians are mentioned or quoted (not even yours truly). I published a before and after Stonewall, New York trans timeline last month. The story from a trans perspective is significantly different than that from a gay perspective. We need to know gay perspective and read their books, but unfortunately, the gay editors are not paying much attention to the trans perspective.
In the 14 months following Stonewall there were two other major gay riots in response to police raids: in January 1970 at the Snake Pit, and in August 1970 at the Haven. I have not found any notice of trans participation at either of these. And yet, and yet, there are still writers who wish to diminish the trans participation at Stonewall. We claim only one out of three, and there are those re-write of history to take away even that !!
The wave of radicalism initiated by Stonewall was pretty much spent after the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day, and the retirement of Sylvia Rivera from activism, and shortly afterwards the death of Candy Darling. I have include 1974 below to show the beginnings of the next phase: Rachel Humphreys, The New York Dolls at the changed 82 Club, Ajita Wilson, the Gilded Grape nightclub. Jean Hoff was introduced to Harry Benjamin.
March 8: Seymour Pine, who had led the raid on The Stonewall nine months previously, led a raid on the Snake Pit, a gay-run, non-mafia bar. The police arrested 167 persons and took them to the 6th Precinct Station House. Argentinian immigrant Diego Vinales, afraid of deportation, jumped from the second floor, and was impaled on the iron fence. He survived but word was that he was dead. The Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front organized a quick response and 500 marched from Christopher Park to the precinct station. Mattachine New York organized legal defenses and almost all charges were dismissed. Future NY mayor Edward Koch accused NYPD Commissioner Howard Leary of resuming raids and harassments against gays. Both Leary and Pine were reassigned to the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
Leo Wollman flew up to Toronto for the release of Dianna Boileau's autobiography. He rather dominated the event and predicted that transsexual women would be able to become pregnant within 10 years. At this time he claimed 110 sex change patients with only one case of regret. He estimated 5 male-to-females for each female-to-male.
Rupert Raj, then 18, visited New York for an appointment with Charles Ihlenfeld, and was given a prescription for testosterone.
In her last column for Transvestia, January 1970, Susanna Valenti wrote about the support from family and friends, and her ability to pass. She said nothing about her relationship with her wife Marie, or what Marie thought about what she was doing.
Chris Thompson, a dancer, black, gay, trans and asthmatic, sought treatment for asthma at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, but was locked in the psychiatric wing, and ridiculed by the staff for her gender deviance. Arthur Bell and Sylvia Rivera discovered her and were able to publish an interview in Gay Flames.
Richard Raskin/Renee Richards abandoned transition and remarried. They had a son in 1972.
Bebe Scarpinato became active in the Gay Activist Alliance, where she met Sylvia Rivera. Sylvia felt that GAA was not radical enough, but never actually left the organization. It was Bebe who ensured that Sylvia's dues were paid up.
GAA had started a petition to get the reluctant Carol Greitzer of New York City Council representing Greenwich Village to introduce a bill for gay rights. Sylvia Rivera liked the idea and starting soliciting signatures right on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues where she did her usual sex hustling.
15 April: there was an anti-war demonstration down the street, and cops, actually the Tactical Patrol Force, told Sylvia to move. This escalated and she was arrested and had to pay $50 bail. She recounted her adventures at GAA. This was heard by Arthur Bell, who wrote a story for Gay Power, and made Sylvia a celebrity. When her case came to court the public gallery was filled with activists from GAA and GLF. Gay attorney Hal Weiner volunteered his services, and GAA picked up the legal fees. It was also her first meeting with Bob Kohler.
In GLF Bob Kohler often spoke up for the queens, despite opposition. At different times he brought along various queens, including Bambi L’Amour and Zazu Nova, but only Sylvia had the staying power. Kohler was on the committee that organized GLF dances. He put Sylvia on door duty, where, even though often stoned, she fiercely collected and guarded the money.
Eddie Dame found a bisexual woman who was accepting of his cross-dressing. They married in 1970. She gave up the Communist Party for him; he gave up the Ridiculous Theatrical Company for her.
Vicky West had returned from Los Angeles, and decided that she was more interested in art than in engineering. While still a student, Dirk (her male persona) was hired by publisher Henry N. Abrams, Inc. where he continued to work until retirement. At this time Dirk was living with a woman, but also investigated the homophile Mattachine Society. Here Vicky met Lee Brewster, Eddie Dame and also Chris Moore, the Jewel Box Revue performer.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that the Mattachine Society were disinterested in drag queens and other trans persons, so Lee Brewster and Eddie - using his thespian name of Bunny Eisenhower – and also Vicky and Chris and Bebe founded the Queens Liberation Front.
The Queens Liberation Front campaigned and hired lawyers to de-criminalize cross-dressing in New York, which was achieved in 1971. Previously, under city ordinances a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be cross-dressed, was present.
Furthermore the words "homosexuals, lesbians, or persons pretending to be ..." were also struck, thus decriminalizing gay clubs and parties. In addition, the still extant 1965 Anti-Mask: New York Penal Law criminalizing "the wearing of mask or disguises by three or more persons in a public place" was found inapplicable to those in drag.
Ex-sailor Deborah Hartin (1933-2005) had became a patient of Leo Wollman, and then had surgery from Dr Burou in Casablanca.
April 16: Deborah was granted a divorce from her wife whom she had not seen since 1957. The mother retained custody of their daughter. The case attracted press attention as it was one of the first divorce cases where one party had transitioned. Hartin’s name change to Deborah Hartin was also granted – despite that being the name of the daughter.
Harry Benjamin received a letter from Angela Douglas then in Los Angeles: "As I progress as a transsexual, I find myself more attuned to Women's Liberation, in particular, the demands and ideas of gay women".
After Angela’s father, Czinki senior, was murdered in Maryland, she visited New York as part of investigating her father's death, where she met with Zelda Suplee of the Erickson Educational Foundation, and passed on a leaflet for a demonstration in Sheridan Square for 'transvestite and transexual liberation'. However only Suplee and one organizer turned up.
The New York State Government issued an order that all employees in the financial industry be fingerprinted. This resulted in a fair number of matches with the police records of old arrests for homosexual activities, and many old and trusted employees were fired because bonding companies would not insure known homosexuals. This confirmed to the gay employees that if the situation came up, they should give in to blackmail rather than tell their employers - the same problem that was behind the Stonewall raid.
After the Stonewall riots, the mafia had attempted to appease the gay community by setting up gay businessmen as fronts, and by hiring gay bartenders and managers. They even joined in the gay pride celebrations, and accused the police of homophobia if a bar was raided. Not that this was an easy union. Robert Wood was the gay owner of the nightclub Salvation in Sheridan Square who was murdered in February because he was not happy to hand over his profits to the mob.
June 28: The 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, the first anniversary of Stonewall. The first Pride parade. A march up Sixth Avenue to Central Park's Sheep Meadow for Gay-In. Assembly at Sheridan Square, 12-1. There was an attempt to exclude the drag queens, but Sylvia and Bebe led the parade repeatedly chanting a spelling of GAY POWER along the 60 blocks of the march.
There was an increase in police harassment after the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, particularly during the last three weeks of August. In one week alone over 300 hundred queers were arrested in the Times Square area.
Despite this and despite several appearances, Sylvia’s court case was thrown out 28 August when the arresting officer failed to show.
August 29: in response to the increased harassment, GLF, GAA, Radicals Lesbians and other women’s groups and organized a demonstration. About 250 people met near Times Square and marched down to Greenwich Village. While this was happening, the police were raiding The Haven, an alcohol-free gay after-hours club at 1 Sheridan Square. The demonstration met the raid and a battle ensued. A record shop was looted; eight were injured and fifteen were arrested.
August-September: the Gay Activist Alliance and then the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee had booked the basement of Weinstein Hall, a New York University residence building for fundraising dances. On the eve of the third dance, to be held 21 August, the administration attempted to cancel the rest. Although the two remaining dances were held, the situation escalated and the Hall was occupied. Bob Kohler told Sylvia and brought her along. She was pleased to see Marsha Johnson and Bubbles Rose Lee. They discovered a matron’s bathroom, and Sylvia and others from the street were able to clean up. Disparate gay types bonded: street people, middle-class, those used to passing for straight, students, Latinos, black, white. The lesbians and the transvestites got on. Sylvia said: “I never knew lesbians like you. The only lesbians I knew were street dykes. But you’re all really nice”. One replied: “I feel the same way about you, Sylvia. I’ve never known any drag queens before”. “Transvestites” said Sylvia. “Transvestites”. It was here that the idea of a home for street people evolved. At first it was called Street Transvestites for Gay Power. On the Thursday night, the NYU students had been invited to meet the protesters. Sylvia ran uptown to the GAA meeting and implored more GAA persons to attend. Most GAA members did not seem to care, but a few came, one of whom was Bebe Scarpi. A further dance was planned for Friday 25 September. However the administration called the New York City Tactical Police Squad, which gave the occupiers 10 seconds to vacate the Hall.
After the demonstration following the eviction from Weinstein Hall, Bubbles, Sylvia, Marsha, Bebe Scarpi, Bambi L’Amour, Andorra and others continued with what became Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) which attempted to provide shelter, food and legal support for street queens.
Their first home was a trailer truck seemingly abandoned in a Greenwich Village outdoor parking area. This was a step up from sleeping in doorways, and a couple of dozen young street transvestites moved in. One morning Sylvia and Marsha were returning with groceries, and found the trailer starting to move. Most of the queens were woken by the noise and movement and quickly jumped out, although one, stoned, was half-way to California when she woke up.
Bubbles knew a Mafia person, well-known in the Village, Michael Umbers, manager of the gay bar, Christopher’s End, operator of various callboy and porno operations and also a friend of future Dog Day Afternoon bank robber, John Wojtowicz. Bubbles spoke to him and for a small deposit the STAR commune was able to move into 213 East 2nd Street in November. There was no electricity or plumbing, not even the boiler worked, nor did the toilets. However with help they got the building working and it became STAR House, the first communal shelter that explicitly served street transvestites. Sylvia: “We had a S.T.A.R. House—a place for all of us to sleep. It was only four rooms, and the landlord had turned the electricity off. So we lived there by candle light, a floating bunch of 15 to 25 queens, cramped in those rooms with all our wardrobes.” Several of them hustled. Others liberated food from the supermarket. Neighbors left their kids for baby sitting. Expenses were supplemented by dances and a bake sale.
Sylvia continued her concern with the incarcerated. In 1970 over 4,000 boys were held in Riker’s Island, mainly because they could not afford bail. S.T.A.R. publicized what happened when transvestites were arrested, often several times: long waits in remand, beatings by guards, rape, attempted suicide. Street transvestites on the outside joined the Gay Community Prison Committee, organized protests, interviewed prisoners and attempted to provide legal aid.
While GLF had openly supported The Black Panthers, had helped them with bail money etc, there was a constant problem with the Panthers’ homophobia. They had been confronted on this issue by GLF at a rally at New Haven on 1 May 1970. Shortly afterwards Panther Huey Newton published an admonishment that militant blacks should acknowledge their insecurities about homosexuality. The GLF was invited to send a delegation a Panther convention in Philadelphia, and Sylvia was chosen as part of the delegation. Huey even remembered her from a demonstration in New York.
In late 1971, GAA succeeded, after lobbying and protesting, in getting the New York City Council's General Welfare committee to discuss the problem’s faced by gays and transvestites. GAA equivocated and for a while agreed to removal of transvestite protections. However it ultimately endorsed them. Lee Brewster, Bebe, and Sylvia argued that transvestites “were being used as scapegoats by the gay movement” seeking to explain its failure to get the asked-for protections. Sylvia, usually an extemporaneous speaker, her face bruised after a confrontation with police at a recent demonstration, wore a conservative dress and her hair in a bun, and read in muted fashion, a statement based on STAR’s platform.
After her starring role in The Queen, and at the Cannes Film Festival, Harlow, now known as Rachel Harlow, had a few other minor film roles. Especially in Philadelphia, she became a night-life personality. Bar owner Stanley Rosenbleeth opened Harlow's in the Old City area in 1970, with Rachel as hostess. The place was an immediate sensation. A short time later, a second Harlow's was opened in Atlantic City. There were also interviews, endorsements, modeling jobs and television appearances.
Yugoslav film director Dusan Makavjev filmed scenes with Jackie Curtis that were to be incorporated in his WR: Mysteries of the Organism.
Jack Doroshow/Flawless Sabrina was a special advisor on film Myra Breckinridge. Candy Darling and Rachel Harlow had petitioned for the role but it went to Raquel Welch, a cis actress.
Jackie Curtis’ play Femme Fatale, with Patti Smith, Jayne County and Penny Arcade.
Jackie Curtis’ play Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit with Holly Woodlawn.
Arthur Bell & Sylvia Rivera. “Chris: Gay Prisoner in Bellevue”. Gay Flames, Nov 14, 1970: 1,2,7.
Paul Morrissey (dir). Trash, with Joe Dallesandro & Holly Woodlawn. US 110 mins 1970.
Win Chamberlain (dir). Brand X with Taylor Mead & Candy Darling. US 87 mins 1970.
Richard Green, Ivar Lovaas and George Rekers headed the “Feminine Boy Project”, funded by NIMH to at least $1.5 million. In retrospect the project was criticized for its valuation of gender conformity, and it attempts to get boys to conform. Although mainly located at UCLA in Los Angeles, work was also done at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the Roosevelt Institute in New York City, The Fuller Theological Seminary and the Logos Research Institute.
Roberto Granato, urologist, age 46, an immigrant from Argentina started doing vaginoplasties and phalloplasties. He did about 800 before retiring in 1985.
Dr David Wesser taught and practiced surgery in the New York area, usually at the Yonkers Professional Hospital. He also had an office at east 86th St and Park Avenue. His first transsexual patients were those who had had surgery elsewhere, and corrections were needed.
Dr Benito Rish was named to the advisory board of Reed Erickson’s Erickson Education Foundation, and was subsequently on the list of surgeons sympathetic to transsexuals issued by EEF.
March: A Conference of Gay Liberation was held at Rutgers University in New Jersey, with forums on sadism, masochism, and leather; bisexuality; and transvestism. Speakers from STAR, Queens Liberation Front and GAA addressed the inaugural event on transvestism.
Psychoanalyst Ethel Person was introduced to Harry Benjamin and Charles Ihlenfeld. She spent time in their office interviewing patients. Person and her colleague Lionel Ovesey also sought confirmation for their work by visiting pornography shops and reading trans publications.
Ed/Edna, 60, a retired tugboat captain had become the superintendent of a rental building. He fell in love with Clair, one of his tenants, a completed transsexual. He detransitioned to become her lover, and was devastated when she left him for a truck driver. To cope with the resulting depression, Edna restarted hormones and dressing full-time. Again he rented to a completed trans woman, Janet. Again he reverted to male, and became her lover. After Ed’s original wife died, he married Janet, and lived happily with her until she also died ten years later. He was then 85.
Edna subscribed to Transvestia magazine, and through that discovered transvestite social groups. Edna introduced Person to these socials: “it was at these events that I gained some of my deeper insights into the subjective meaning to transvestites of their participation in that world”.
One of the transsexuals included in the Person-Ovesey study was Elizabeth (194? - 2014) – author of the Notes from the T Side blog. She wrote
Harry Benjamin “in 1970 -71 asked me to talk to a Dr. Ethel Person as part of a study and I agreed although I am inherently distrustful of shrinks but I found her pleasant and quite nice and we became friendly. When the study was published I was stunned to be honest. ... We talked about our..
It is now 50 years since the Stonewall riots. They became a pivotal event for both trans and gays. There are a number of commemorative books out this year, but all from the gay perspective. My June 2011 account is one of only a very few from a trans perspective.
What I am doing here is putting Stonewall in context. What else what was going on in New York by and/or for trans people in the surrounding years? I start with 1966 because that is the year of Benjamin's influential book, and continue to 1973 and the contentious pride march when Sylvia Rivera was badly treated.
The four years leading to Stonewall The four years following Stonewall The trans geography of New York 1966-74
The decision by the New York Bureau of Records to omit a sex designation from amended birth certificates for transsexuals was tested legally but unsuccessfully in Matter of Anonymous v. Weiner,
Harry Benjamin referred Phyllis Wilson to the new clinic at Johns Hopkins.
Sylvia Rivera was hustling as a woman. She used a gun on a trick who was beating her. He later had her arrested and charged. Ray appeared in court as a clean-cut young man and was acquitted.
Marsha Johnson, 22, from Hoboken and Elizabeth, New Jersey, moved to Manhattan. Sometimes she worked as a waitress, but usually she worked the streets.
Spring 1966: the new New York City mayor, John Lindsay, had announced a crackdown on pornography and prostitution. Sylvia, at her usual spot on 9th Avenue and 44th Street was one of many caught in the sweep. Sylvia was put in the gay section in Rikers Island prison. It was here that she started doing heroin. She also met Bambi L’Amour.
After release Sylvia tried female hormones for a while: then stopped.
“I don’t want to be a woman. I just want to be me. … I like pretending. I like to have the role. I like to dress up and pretend, and let the world think about what I am. Is he, or isn’t he?”
The noted photographer Walter Rutter came and took a series of photographs at Susanna Valenti's transvestite resort Casa Susanna in upstate New York.
Later that year Phyllis Wilson had become a dancer in New York. Oct 4 a gossip column in the New York Daily News carried the item about her:
“Making the rounds of the Manhattan clubs these nights is a stunning girl who admits she was male less than a year ago and that she underwent a sex change operation at, of all places, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore”.
Johns Hopkins made a tactical decision and gave an exclusive to The New York Times, which ran the story on the front page on Nov 21. A press conference was called on the same day, where Edgerton and several colleagues announced at a press conference the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic under the chairmanship of plastic surgeon John Hoopes. They announced that they had already operated on 10 patients, all of whom were happy with the outcome. Three were already married, and three more were engaged.
A black trans girl (born 1948) previously in the New Jersey foster care system, expressed the kinds of statement that a trans girl normally would, and for that was committed to a psychiatric institution.
Holly Woodlawn went to John Hopkins for the operation, but she was denied it in that she had not been in the program for at least a year. She went on a shopping spree instead with the money that her boyfriend had provided for the operation.
Kim Christy and her friend Billy, who was becoming known as International Chrysis and entering pageants and performing, shared a tiny apartment in the area that later became New York's SoHo. They met sex magazine pioneer and editor of Exotiquemagazine, Lenny Burtman who arranged photo-shoots and other favors. She got to know New York female impersonators such as Tammy Novak, and performed at Club 82 as a stripper and as a showgirl.
· Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press, 1966. With a bibliography and appendix by Richard Green. A close reading. The seminal work that defines the field for decades to come.
The Harry Benjamin Foundation presented eight separate papers at a meeting at the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences on January 16, 1967, mainly considering etiology based on pre and post examinations of Benjamin's patients. Robert Stoller, Richard Green, Herbert Kupperman, Wardell Pomeroy, John Money, Ruth Doorbar, Leo Wollman and Henry Guze presented papers, based on their work with the HBF.
Harry Benjamin and Reed Erickson had been having disputes, sometimes quite petty, about how the money was spent. In the spring of 1967 the EEF grant to the HBF was reduced to $1,200, and in the fall – after the promised three years expired-- stopped entirely. Shortly afterwards, the Erickson Educational Foundation asked Benjamin to vacate the office that it was subsidizing.
Over 700 desperate transsexuals wrote and implored the doctors at the Johns Hopkins Clinic to help them. However the Clinic would approve for surgery only those whom they unanimously deemed to be ‘good candidates’. They often chose to err on the side of wait-and-see, recommending therapy rather than progressing a patient on to surgery.
Dr Edgerton adopted and adapted Burou's penile inversion method of vaginoplasty.
April: Mauricio Archibald, en femme, having been to a masquerade party, was on a New York subway platform waiting for a train. A police officer charged him as being a vagrant in violation of subdivision 7 of section 887 which forbids a disguise "in a manner calculated to conceal his being identified". He was tried and convicted. See also Felicity Chandelle, who had been convicted under the same law three years earlier. Neither Virginia Prince nor Siobhan Fredericks arranged help as they had done for Felicity.
September: Section 105 of chapter 681 of the Laws of 1967, which chapter repealed section 887 came into effect as of September 1, 1967, "provided that the newly enacted sections were not to apply or govern the prosecution for any offense committed prior to the effective date of the act".
One-year-old Bruce Reimer from Manitoba was brought to see Dr Money after losing his penis in a botched circumcision, and was surgically reassigned to female as Brenda, and continued annual visits for almost 10 years, until Brenda began to refuse, and started to change back to male as David.
Phyllis Wilson’s marriage in Baltimore was reported in Jet Magazine.
Ray Rivera (Sylvia) was called to the draft board. She proclaimed “I know I like men. I know I like to wear dresses. But I don’t know what any problem is”, was rejected and was still able to get a lift home.
Eddie Dame, a cross-dresser since early childhood, was best man when his lover of four years married a women (Eddie and the lover had sex the night before and continued to do so occasionally until 1982 when the lover was seriously ill). Eddie then went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and bought a full set of female clothing. Back in New York Eddie started going out dressed female.
Flawless Sabrina/Jack Doroshow had organized 46 Nationals Pageants a year from 1959-1967, including the annual Miss Philadelphia contest held at the Hotel Philadelphia (now demolished) at Broad and Vine Stree, which was won in 1967 by the 19-year-old Rachel Harlow.
Flawless Sabrina held the Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant. Miss Philadelphia (Rachel Harlow) was the winner; Mis Manhatten (Crystal Labeija) staged a tantrum. Kim Christy and International Chrysis were in the chorus line. Minette and Mario Montez performed songs. Dorian Corey, Jackie Curtis, Andy Warhol and Terry Southern were also present.
Wayne County (the future Jayne) arrived in New York for the first time, and survived by meeting people in the Stonewall Inn. However he returned to Atlanta come September as could not afford a winter coat.
Valerie Solanas, masculine woman and room-mate of Candy Darling, wrote the SCUM Manifesto Scum stood for Society for Cutting up Men. She commented on male transvestites:
“Women, in other words, don't have penis envy; men have pussy envy. When the male accepts his passivity, defines himself as a woman (males as well as females think men are women and women are men), and becomes a transvestite he loses his desire to screw (or to do anything else, for that matter; he fulfills himself as a drag queen) and gets his dick chopped off. He then achieves a continuous diffuse sexual feeling from `being a woman'. Screwing is, for a man, a defense against his desire to be female.”
Pudgy Roberts was a New York female impersonator most famous in the late 1960s. He also wrote two novels, an how-to book, and edited a monthly magazine, The Great Female Mimics.
· Andy Milligan (dir) Compass Rose, with Minette. US 73 mins 1967.
· Jackie Curtis play: Glamour, Glory and Gold. Performed by Candy Darling and Robert De Niro.
· Bob Clarke (dir). She-Man. With Hans Crystal and Dorian Wayne. US 68 mins 1967. Bad transvestites blackmail men into feminization.
· The Rolling Stones in the song “Citadel” on Their Satanic Majesties Request: “Candy and Taffy, hope we both are well/Please come see me in the citadel”
Leo Wollman was on the WBI Boston television channel with Virginia Prince.
Renée Richards met with John Money at Johns Hopkins, but at the end was told that Johns Hopkins was not accepting any more transsexual patients at that time.
Dr Stanley Biber, in Colorado, contacted the Johns Hopkins Clinic for advice on how to do gender corrective surgery. He was supplied with diagrams based on Dr Burou’s penile inversion method.
The most prominent patient in the Gender Identity Clinic was writer Dawn Langley Hall who had surgery in 1968, married an African-American the next year, and publicly announced the birth of a daughter in 1971 (a claim that the Gender Identity Clinic said was “definitely impossible”).
Lee Brewster, from West Virginia, who had been fired from the FBI finger-printing section because of suspicions that he might be gay, had arrived in New York, and started organizing drag balls as fund raisers for the Mattachine Society.
Eddie Dames joined Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and had a part in When Queens Collide. The troupe gave him the name Bunny Eisenhower.
Wayne County met photographer Leee Childers and they shared a coldwater walkup. Later Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn moved in.
June 3. Valerie Solanas, shot Andy Warhol three times. He was pronounced clinically dead. The doctors managed to revive him and operated for 5 1/2 hours, removing his spleen. Warhol was in critical condition but survived.
At approximately 8:00 pm, Valerie walked up to a traffic cop near Times Square and surrendered. She was arrested and later taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric examination.
A photograph of Kimand Chrysisappeared in Female Mimics.
Schlesinger’s new lover, photographer Michael Childers -- an old friend of Morrisey -- negotiated for a bunch of Factory regulars to be in the film’s party scene. They each got $25 a day, but were left sitting around and became very bored, and only a few of them appeared very briefly in the film. Schlesinger’s film was the first notable Hollywood film to tell of hustlers and the underground countercultural life. Warhol, still in hospital, spoke on the phone to Morrissey, and admitted jealousy that his material was being stolen. They had made a film, My Hustler, in 1965. Warhol suggested the Morrissey make a similar film, and have it out before Schlesinger’s, and use whoever had not been sent to Midnight Cowboy. This Morrissey did. He shot the film, Flesh, over six weekends, and for less than four thousand dollars (compared to $3 million for Midnight Cowboy). He again used Joe Delasandro, as a hustler called Joe, and he included two trans actresses who had not been in the bunch sent to Midnight Cowboy: Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling. During their short scene, they sit reading Hollywood magazine, commenting on the articles while Joe gets a blow job. The film opened at the New Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre in the last week of September 1968 and played there for seven months before moving to the 55th Street Playhouse in May, 1969. At the Garrick, its average gross was $2,000 per week, making $10,000-12,000 during the first six weeks.
A troupe of street queens, with varying membership sometimes camped out in the parkette opposite the Stonewall tavern. It was a tough life. One drugged-out queen fell asleep on a rooftop and came close to death with third-degree sun burn; ‘cross-eyed Cynthia’ (?=Wanda) died when she was pushed out of a window of the St George Hotel in Brooklyn; another, Sylvia (not Rivera) jumped off its roof; Dusty ‘ugly as sin, never out of drag, very funny, big mouth’ who was careless about the term she used to refer to an African-American and was stabbed to death.
Sandy, a Yale-educated lawyer, was 6'5" (1.96m). He liked to say that he was five foot 17 inches. He was a regular in both Virginia Prince's FPE organization in New York, where he rarely wore female clothing, but did show photographs of himself so dressed. He was also part of the local bondage community. His lover was the drag performer Tobi Marsh.
David Wilde, who had been a focal point for FPE members in Manhattan, met Joan Bennett (1910-90), the film star and member of the New York acting dynasty, at a party. When she met David she was appearing in the occult soap opera, Dark Shadows, 1966-71. They would date for ten years. When David told her about his female persona, Gail, she was initially dismayed, but afterwards she was unperturbed. David knew Harry Benjamin and asked him to talk to her about cross-dressing.
Susanna Valenti responded in her column to Prince’s recent appearance on the Alan Burke television show. Burke pushed the line that a transvestite taking hormones and considering surgery was close to being a transsexual. Prince replied that she would not have the operation for anything. Susanna commented: “Such a statement marks the boundary between the TV and the TS. The TV rejects the thought of surgery. He enjoys living the two sides of the human coin.” However she estimated that she personally knew a dozen transvestites who had had surgery. “I met them all before the sex change, and some of them, at first, did not know they were TS’s, they only knew that they enjoyed dressing and would feel much happier as girls than in their male role.” However she believed that many who did think themselves as transsexuals were mistaken. She also criticized transsexuals as a group as not being able to pass: “Very few of the TS’s I know have learned to move and gesture with that suppleness that is exclusively female”. Later she continued: “Society insists upon females behaving like ladies—and this is where our TS and pseudo TS friends fail in a most regrettable way. I am thinking right now of several instances whereby people continue to ‘read’ a TS as being a man even AFTER the..
Salmonson started life as Amos, being born in Seattle to parents on the carny circuit, father a fire eater and mother a sword swallower. Amos was seven when, with an elder sister, they were abandoned and put in the foster system.
Salmonson started submitting stories to pulp magazines from the age of 10, although without initial success. At 12 Salmonson ran away and was able to survive in the burgeoning hippy scene of the mid 1960s. Salmonson’s father was rediscovered, and his new wife, a Thai Buddhist nun, became a teacher of Buddhism to the teenager.
By the age of 22, Salmonson was able to get published. A few years later, while one of the editors of The Literary Magazine of Fantasy and Terror which served as a forum for issues of feminism, Salmonson transitioned and was able to discuss her changes in its pages.
Jessica Amanda Salmonson has specialized as a writer and anthologist in stories with female protagonists, and in feminist science fiction. She has also used the names Patrick Lean and Josiah Kerr and Paghat the Ratgirl.
She is a prolific author. For the most comprehensive list of her works see her page in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
Jessica Amanda Salmonson. The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Present Era. Paragon House, 1991;Anchor Doubleday, 1992.
Jessica Amanda Salmonson & Jules Remedios Faye. Wisewomen & boggy-boos : a dictionary of lesbian fairy lore. Banned Books. ii, 105 pp1992.
John Clute. “Salmonson, Jessica Amanda”. In John Clute and John Grant (ed) The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Orbit. St Martin’s Press, 1997.
Walter Winston was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His family, like many other African Americans, moved north to Chicago for a better life. In the 1920s Winston took the name of a Hollywood Star and as Gloria Swanson won several prizes in Chicago’s drag balls.
In 1928 the Sepia Gloria Swanson (as she was billed) was hostess at the Book Store in the city’s Bronzeville, a speakeasy with a mainly black clientele which became popular as it was known that she was a permanent fixture. Her theme song was fats Waller’s “Squeeze Me”, which she rewrote to make it raunchier. She was also known for her version of Sophie Tucker’s “Some of these days”. She moved to the nearby Pleasure Inn on East 31 St, and white thrill seekers also started to come. She then opened her own club on East 35th St. She literally entertained all night: the audience was so enthralled that the sun was up when they left. As such she was a major figure in the new Pansy Craze. Noted in her audiences were the composer William C Handy and boxer Jack Johnson.
Swanson had already performed in New York in 1932, and in summer 1933, on the eve of the end of Prohibition, Gloria moved uptown to Harlem, and quickly became the headliner at the black-owned popular Theatrical Grill on 134th Street. She sang bawdy parodies, and danced a little, and was always well-dressed in evening gowns. She was noted for her rendition at the Harlem Opera House of “I’m a Big Fat Mama With the Meat shaking on my Bones”. A year later Swanson was starring with Gladys Bentley at the newly opened Ubangi Club. She also performed with major jazz performers such as Fletcher Henderson.
She was a creature of the night, breakfasting in the evening and dining at dawn. She wore mainly evening gowns, was rarely in street clothing, and almost never in male attire. She was plump, jolly and bawdy, and also a good cook. She was completely accepted by the underworld and bohemian types who came to her club. Apart from those in the know, many of her clients never suspected that she was not a woman.
This lasted until Fiorello La Guardia became mayor of New York in 1934 and as part of his reforms had the police stamp out the pansy subculture. One-by-one they picked off the queer nightclubs. The Ubangi, almost the last to survive, closed in April 1937.
Swanson returned briefly to Chicago in 1934, and then performed in Baltimore and Philadelphia 1935-6, and then returned to Harlem as a headline act. However she was forced into male attire offstage, and as such, Gloria's admirers failed to recognize her.
She also became ill, and had to withdraw from public life altogether. After several hospitalizations for heart conditions starting in 1936, the Sepia Gloria Swanson died in 1940 at age 33. Over 200 attended the funeral.
“ ‘Gloria Swanson’ Buried in Harlem: Entertainer Won Fame as a Female Impersonator”. Chicago Defender, May 3, 1940.
George Chauncey. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. Basic Books 1994: 251.
Richard Bruce Nugent edited by Thomas Wirth. Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugen. Duke University Press. 2002: 221-2.
Chad Heap. Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940. The University of Chicago Press, 2009: 91-4, 233, 245, 256, 266-7, 270, 324-5n70.
David Freeland. Automats, Taxi dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure. New York University Press, 2009: 160.
St Sukie de la Croix. Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago before Stonewall. The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012: 143-5.
Jim Elledge. The Boys of Fairy Town: Sodomites, Female Impersonators, Third Sexers, Pansies, Queers, and Sex Morons in Chicago’s First Century, Chicago Review Press, 2018: 143-4, 155.
James F Wilson. Bulldaggers, Pansies, and Chocolate Babies: Performance, Race and Sexuality in the Harlem Renaissance. University of Michigan Press, 2010: 194-5.
Sometimes we get only a snapshot of a person, and never find out what happened to them later. Here are two trans woman surviving as performers, who are incidentally mentioned in books on other topics. This is all that we have of them.
Loretta Zotto (193? - ?)
During the filming of Trouble Along the Way,1953, about a failing Catholic college that employs a has-been sports coach (John Wayne) trying to regain his lost wife and daughter, director MichaelCurtiz (who made Casablanca and Mildred Pierce)was noticed spending time with Loretta Zotto, an extra on the cast. Zotto was tall, beautiful, well-endowed and was compared to film-star Jane Russell.
One night Judy Garland, Peter Lawford and Merv Griffin (who had an uncredited voice part in the film) went to the West Hollywood club, Tabu. Judy said: “I hear there's a drag queen there who does Judy Garland better than I do”.
They sat through three ho-hum acts, and then the star, billed as Stormy Weather, came on and performed “The Trolley Song” from Meet Me in St Louis, 1944 and “Over the Rainbow”. Judy graciously conceded that Stormy sang “Over the Rainbow” better than she did. Merv recognized Stormy, instantly, as Loretta Zotto from the film set, and Peter scored a date with her, and reported back to the other two on Stormy’s actual genital sex.
Merv blew his chances of a better, bigger part in Michael Curtiz’s next film by telling him that they knew.
Darwin Porter. Merv Griffin: A life in the Closet. Blood Moon, 2009: 213-4.
Ruth Brown (194? - )
Ruth had a troubled career, divided between church gospel, drag bars and jail. She took the name of the well-known rhythm and blues singer, Ruth Brown, and was even presented in a night-club as if she were the Ruth Brown (several cis women also were so presented in other nightclubs).
In 1976 Marion Williams, the gospel and blues singer, appearing at New York’s Town Hall encouraged the audience to sing along, but they were unable to match her range. It was Ruth who stepped down from the balcony and sang a duet with Marion.
A few years later, when Anthony Heilbut had produced Marion’s album I’ve Come So Far, a group of critics and fans were invited to hear her sing. Among them were a group of what were taken to be church ladies, but were not. Among them was Ruth who led the ladies in holy dance.
Heilbut then got to know Ruth. In the late 1980s, he accepted her invitation to hear her sing Sally’s Hideaway. He describes her act:
“She was indeed a powerhouse, a combination of Wilson Picket and Little Richard, but better than either. She sang a typical soul repertory, including songs that predated her audience.”
· William G Hawkeswood. One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem. University of California Press,1996 :86.
· Chip Deffaa. Blue Rhythms: Six Lives in Rhythm and Blues. University of Illinois Press,1996: 263n9.
· Anthony Heilbut. The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Aretha Franklin, the Rise of the Soap Opera, Children of the Gospel Church, and Other Meditations. Alfred A Knopf, 2012: 22-5, 30, 34-5, 48, 70, 109.
"If I Can't Sell It, I'll Sit On It" (Ruth Brown) - drag performance - YouTube
John Campbell and his younger sister Marie, possibly from Govan, on the Clyde, were orphaned in 1861. Marie had worn male clothing due to ‘bad usage’ as a child. John died two years later when Marie was 13. He advised her to take his name and his clothes as such would ‘probably enable her the better to make her way in the world’.
In 1869 in Kirknewton, east of Edinburgh, the person now called "John Campbell" married Mary Ann, pregnant and already the mother of two.
Some months later, in May 1870, John deserted his family. He found work in Renfrew, adjacent to Govan, east of Glasgow, at the forge of a local shipbuilding company, Henderson, Coulborn & Co. He lodged with a family and became well-liked for his willingness to help in the home. He began a relationship with a local woman, Kate, and took her on romantic trips to Edinburgh.
There was a smallpox epidemic 1870-2 in the Glasgow area. John attended his landlady when she fell ill. When the doctor called, he insisted that John needed to be admitted to the infirmary. John agreed only if he were to remain fully clothed. The doctor pressed, his suspicions aroused, and John admitted that he was Marie Campbell. In Kirknewton, parish authorities had sought Mary Ann’s husband. She had admitted that her husband was a woman, but as her children were not John’s her character was questioned and her claim dismissed. On hearing the news from Renfrew, it was decided that Mary Ann and a Will Waddel, a witness to the marriage, should accompany the Inspector of the Poor to Renfrew. John, on seeing Will exclaimed: “Is that you Will Waddel; how’s the wife and bairns?”.
John was charged with contravening the Registration Act. Shortly afterwards, John disappeared.
He emigrated to New York, where he gave his name as Murray Hamilton Hall. The name of his first wife in New York is not documented. She complained about his flirtations and womanizing, and disappeared mysteriously after a few years.
Hall soon married again, on Christmas Eve to Celia Lowe, in the Presbyterian Church in Lower 6th Ave, and they became US citizens together, 20 October 1875. They adopted a daughter, Imelda, but also known as Millie. Celia, also, complained of his womanizing. Murray ran an employment agency for domestic servants, and also became involved with the Tammany politicians, where he was a member of the General Committee, and was a personal friend of New York State Senator Barney Martin.
Murray was known as a man about town. Although slight and with a rather squeaky voice, he came across as very masculine, and drank and fought within the city political in-crowd. He always wore baggy, rather too large, clothes, and an overcoat even in summer.
Celia died in 1898.
In the US Census of June 1900, Hall listed himself as male, age 60 and that he had immigrated in 1846 from Scotland. His daughter was listed as Millie, age 20 from Maine.
Murray Hall suffered cancer of the left breast for many years but avoided medical attention – he said that his declining health resulted from having been knocked down by a bicycle on Fifth Avenue. He purchased a considerable library of medical and surgery books, which he used towards self-treatment and to avoid disclosure. Finally, on his deathbed, he allowed his doctor to examine him closely.
On 19 January the body was buried at night in an unmarked $12 grave at MountOlivet Cemetery, by his adopted daughter, Imelda. For the first time since he was 13, the body was dressed in woman’s clothes.
The inquest was held on the 28th. Two days of testimony were taken from his doctor and from Imelda. Imelda continued to refer to her father as ‘he’, and when nudged by the coroner to say ‘she’, She replied: “No … he was always a man to me, and I shall never think of him as a woman”. The all-male jury took just seven minutes to find that Hall had died of natural causes, and was a lady.
Alternate stories of Hall’s life were soon in circulation: that he was John Anderson, born Mary, from Ireland; that he had been born Elizabeth Hall in the lower west side of Manhattan; that he had worked the California gold fields in the 1840s.
· “ ’A Woman Married To A Woman’: Shock Revelations and Intrigue In Victorian Scotland”. A History of Working-Class Marriage, September 30, 2014. Online. The accounts of John Campbell.”
· “Woman Long Posed as Man”. New York Times. Jan 18, 1901. Online at: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5031. · “Known as a Man for Sixty Years, She died a Woman: Astounding Life History of Murray Hall, the Sixth Avenue Employment Agent”. New York Evening World, Jan 18, 1901. Online. · “Murray Hall Fooled Many Shrewd Men”. New York Times. Jan 19 1901. http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/magic/news/hall.html. · “Story of ‘Murray Hall’ told by her adopted daughter: Woman who Masqueraded as a Man for More than Forty Years was Buried Yesterday – Other Similar Cases in History”. The St Louis Republic, Jan 20 1901. Online. · “The Murray Hall Case: Possible Solution of New York’s Strange Mystery: The Story of an Old Nurse”. Goldboro Weekly Argus, Feb 14, 1901. Online. · Havelock Ellis. Sexual Inversion. In Studies In The Psychology Of Sex. Random House. 1936: 246-7. · Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. Avon, 1978: 353-361. · Karen Abbott, “The Mystery of Murray Hall,” July 21, 2011, Smithsonian.com, Online. · Lydia Nelson. “Reanimating Archiving/Archival Corporealities: Deploying ‘Big Ears’ on De Reigeur Mortis Intervention”. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 1, 2, Summer 2014: 132-159.
The first wife in New York is not named. There is no reason to assume that she was Kate from Renfrew, but no reason to rule that out either.
Imelda replied “No … he was always a man to me, and I shall never think of him as a woman”, but only 9 days before had buried him in female clothes. His sex-gender disparity had come as a shock to her, and she had not had time to think it through.
Imelda ("Story of ‘Murray Hall’ told by her adopted daughter") remembered that her adoptive parents were married on Christmas Eve in the Presbyterian Church in Lower 6th Ave, but was not sure which year. As a variant, Lydia Nelson has a footnote, #55, that they “ were married on Dec. 24, 1872 at the Church of the Strangers on Mercer Street. As of 1901, 'the record [was] on file at the bureau of vital statistics,' according to the Salt Lake Herald, January 27, 1901: 12”. If this is so, the marriage to the first wife in New York was a matter of months, not years.
Thank you to Lydia Nelson for discovering the naturalization certificate and the census return of the Halls and including them in her article. She also worked out where Murray’s unmarked grave is.
Most writers about Murray Hall take their facts from Havelock Ellis, Hall was not mentioned in the original 1897 edition of Havelock Ellis’ Sexual Inversion (obviously), but he was added in the 1915 edition. Ellis states of Hall:
“Her real name was Mary Anderson, and she was born in Govan, in Scotland. Early left an orphan, on the death of her only brother she put on his clothes and went to Edinburgh, working as a man. Her secret was discovered during an illness, and she finally went to America.”
He cites the Weekly Scotsman, February 9, 1901 (which unfortunately is not available online).
This is supported by “The Murray Hall Case: Possible Solution of New York’s Strange Mystery: The Story of an Old Nurse”, cited above in which Mrs Canning, a nurse previously with the Edinburgh Hospital, tells of Mary Anderson whose brother John died and she took his identity. He went to Govan and there married. After infidelities and a separation, the wife disclosed that John was a woman, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. John went to Duddison close to Edinburgh (no such place – did she mean Duddingston?). Suspected of having smallpox, John was taken into the Edinburgh hospital, and his body discrepancy discovered. He was arrested on the outstanding warrant. Edinburgh Hospital had two sections: Hamilton Hall and Murray Hall. Hence John’s name in New York: Murray Hamilton Hall. I assume that Canning means the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, established 1729. However I cannot find confirmation that it had two halls of that name – Google fails to find them, nor are they mentioned in Helen Dingwall’s A History of Scottish Medicine.
John Campbell and John Anderson seem to be two variants of the same tale:
ü Born Mary or Maria ü Elder brother John who dies ü Takes John’s name and clothes ü Ellis has John go to Edinburgh; Campbell went to Kirknewton, east of Edinburgh ü Wife abandoned, she tells that he is a woman and a warrant is issued ü Works in Renfrew or Govan which are only 2 miles apart ü John is taken ill in the smallpox epidemic, and his body discovered to be discrepant.
These parallels are almost convincing. Do we have a claim from 1901 that John Campbell and Murray Hall are the same? Again Lydia Nelson delivers (p139): “According to Sir Henry Littlejohn, Edinburgh, Scotland’s Medical Officer of Health, Hall (alias John Campbell) was born an orphan in Govan, Scotland; she wore her dead brother’s clothes to gain employment. (‘Masqueraded in Glasgow,’ Washington Post, January 29, 1901: 1)”. Littlejohn was Edinburgh’s Medical Officer of Health. He was also one of the two men who inspired Conan Doyle when he created Sherlock Holmes.
On the other hand when Murray Hall was registered in the 1900 census he claimed to be 60 (born 1840) and had arrived in the US in 1846 (aged 6).
William Muirhead-Allwood was educated at the Wellington independent school in Somerset, and was trained at the prestigious St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School. Muirhead-Allwood became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, has private consulting rooms at Wimpole Street, and specialised in hip-replacement surgery.
Muirhead-Allwood married a nurse in 1983, they had two sons, and lived in Haringey, north London. She knew of the Sarah persona, which she considered to be simply cross-dressing, but when Sarah announced an intention to transition, she insisted on a separation.
In 1996, the Sunday Mirror was preparing a story about Sarah’s transition, so she went public about her transition rather than be outed by the tabloid press:
"For years l have called myself Sarah, and that is how many of my friends know me.”
In general medical colleagues were supportive, however the medical committee of the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers temporarily withdrew her admitting privileges. However they were reinstated in December 1996.
Dr Muirhead-Allwood retired from the NHS, aged 65 in 2012. She continues in private practice.
She has had many celebrity patients.
• Tracy Schaverien & David Rowe. “You can call me ma'am; Queen Mum's Hip Op Surgeon And His Sex Change Secret: She never knew top doctor was growing breasts.”. Sunday Mirror, 31 March 1996. Free Library.
Kay Brown moved to California, started teaching classes at the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco and publishing the online TransHistory site, and in the Transsexual News Telegraph.
Anne Lawrence, while working as an anesthesiologist, allegedly performed an unauthorized vaginal inspection on an unconscious Ethiopian patient and was forced to resign.
Oregon Legislature responded to Buckwalter and Kotula decisions in 1996 by amending the state law to state that "an employer may not be found to have engaged in an unlawful employment practice solely because the employer fails to provide reasonable accommodation to a person with a disability arising out of transsexualism”. This was better than the original proposals.
Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas & Sabine Lang (eds). Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality and Spirituality. University of Illinois Press, 1997. Jacobs was at the University of Washington, Thomas is a Navajo activist and health worker. The first major anthology on Two-Spirit with Native input.
Margaret Deirdre O’Hartigan. Our Bodies, Your Lies: The Lesbian Colonization of Transsexualism. 1997.
Dean Kotula. “Building a Male Body”. Transgender Tapestry, 79, Summer 1997. An early version of the photographic section of The Phallus Palace, 2002. Online.
1998A prostitute, who had serviced Douglas Perry at home, reported to the police that she saw a lot of guns, knives and a cross-bow. She identified his car and police officers stopped and searched it. They found attorney papers that said that Perry had “a gender psychosis disorder where he does not like females”, and other papers explaining gender transition.
Babette Ellsworth made an arrangement with one of her students, Ross Eliot, food and board in exchange for chauffeuring and other assistances. Bills and other mail arrived addressed to Albert Ellsworth. "My professor smiled mischievously when I asked about this. Albert? Oh, he was my husband. Some people suspected I had him murdered. This suggestion made her laugh.”
After success in the Lori Buckwalter case, Joanna McNamara became active in the Oregon Gay/Lesbian Law Association, the US National Lesbian and Gay Law Association and the US Transgender Law Conference: the latter two where she worked with Phyllis Frye and they were allowed to put the case to the US Federal Government that trans persons should be covered under Title VII, Sex Discrimination Protection. She was also active in the Metropolitan Community Church. However as a known transsexual she was unable to find employment, and committed suicide at age 48.
Anne Lawrence put up a web site containing a lot of resources for transsexuals, including comparative material on the vaginoplasty of different surgeons. Through the web site she collected several hundred narratives via her website from 'autogynephilic transsexuals'. This collection continued until 2011.
Reid Vanderburgh gained a BA in Psychology at Portland State University.
Benton County passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This appears to be the first law in Oregon which makes it illegal to discriminate against transgender people.
A subcommittee of the Oregon Health Services Commission took evidence from five Portland transsexuals before deciding to organize a task force to determine if sex-change operations are effective in treating gender-identity disorders. Rachel Koteles said health commission staff members have exaggerated the possibility that Oregon would be flooded by transsexuals seeking surgery if the procedures were approved. Margaret O'Hartigan said: "Before surgery, I was surviving through prostitution and welfare and made repeated suicide attempts. Since obtaining surgery, I've supported myself as a typist and secretary and have never attempted suicide again."; Vincent Irelan, who was born blind, said he would take advantage of state-financed sex-change operations "in an instant" if they were available – he needs removal of his breasts in that binding is aggravating a medical condition; Olivia Jaquay had paid for surgery herself but needed one more minor operation. 1999Right to Pride dissolved in 1999, but the Portland Right to Pride Dinner was taken over by Basic Rights Oregon, which called it the “Hart Dinner”, but they still could not let go of the female pronouns.
Margaret O’Hartigan opposed the Portland Lesbian Community Project extending its services to trans women whom Margaret referred to as ‘men’, and cited Janice Raymond as part of her argument. This article was later reprinted by the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter during the dispute that arouse when they rejected Kimberly Nixon as a counsellor.
Margaret Deirdre O'Hartigan. "Post-Modernism Harms Women". Off Our Backs. 29, 1, 1999: 6-13.
Margaret Deirdre O'Hartigan. "Postmodernism Marches on: Women's Space Under Continued Attack". Off Our Backs. 29, 8, 1999: 9.
Brian Booth. The Life and Career of Alberta Lucille/Dr. Alan L. Hart with Collected Early Writings. Lewis & Clark College, 1999.
Jason Cromwell. Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities. University of Illinois Press, 1999. Review by Dallas Denny.
2000Douglas Perry became Donna and flew to Thailand for correction surgery.
Pre-transition Rebekah Brewis in Oregon sentenced to 5 years for burglary and threatening the homeholder.
63-year old Seattle resident Robyn Walters had surgery with Dr Meltzer.
The Portland City Council voted unanimously to add “gender identity” to the city's 1991 civil rights ordinance which already banned employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation. 2001Anne Lawrence studied for a Ph.D from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality at San Francisco, which she received in 2001. Michael Bailey was one of her thesis advisors. She followed that with an MA in Clinical Psychology at the Washington School of Professional Psychology.
Reid Vanderburgh gained an M.A. in Counseling Psychology (specialization Transpersonal Psychology) from John F. Kennedy University's Graduate School for Holistic Studies . The thesis topic was Gender Dissonance: A New Paradigm, 2002Barbara Dayton died, aged 76.
Babette Ellsworth was contacted by the long lost Rosalyn, who came to visit her sister-father. While she was there, Babette died of a massive heart attack while entering a bus for a student tour that she was to lead. She was 74.
Christine Beatty came to Portland for surgery with Dr Meltzer. She was accepted despite her HIV status.
In 2002, Eastmoreland Hospital was purchased by Symphony Healthcare, a for-profit hospital company founded in Nashville Tennessee in late 2001. Dr Toby Meltzer received a certified letter advising that he would not be allowed to perform any type of gender transition surgery after July 2002 (this was extended to December 2002), and that his patients must leave the hospital after three days. Meltzer asked around Oregon, at hospital after hospital, but was unable to get the hospital privileges that he required. A former patient, a doctor, suggested Scottsdale, Arizona, and in 2003 Meltzer, his wife and three children, and four members of his office staff, relocated there.
Dean Kotula (ed). The Phallus Palace: Female to Male Transsexuals. Alyson Books, 2002. Contains an interview with Toby Meltzer and Margaret O’Hartigan’s account of the struggle for Alan Hart’s legacy.
2003Laura Calvo testified in an Oregon legislative hearing for a bill that would ban discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time an openly transgender person testified for an Oregon civil rights bill that covers gender identity.
Anne Lawrence published the results of a survey of 232 MtF transsexuals who had undergone SRS with surgeon Toby Meltzer during the period 1994–2000 (Lawrence, 2003). “I observed that about 86% of respondents had experienced one or more episodes of autogynephilic arousal before undergoing SRS and 49% had experienced hundreds of episodes or more. Two years later, in a second article based on data from the same survey, I reported that 89% of the respondents classiﬁed as nonhomosexual on the basis of their sexual partnership history reported one or more experiences of autogynephilic arousal before undergoing SRS, vs. 40% in the small number of respondents classiﬁed as homosexual (Lawrence, 2005); there was evidence that some of these supposedly homosexual participants had misreported their partnership histories and were actually nonhomosexual.”
Skippy LaRue, Garden of Allah alumna, died age 82. In later years Skippy lived in a mobile home in south Everett, north of Seattle, and worked at a gay bathhouse in Seattle, where he was known as Seattle’s oldest female impersonator. He kept in touch with others, and when Don Paulson was researching his book on the Garden of Allah, Skippy acted as a major resource.
A A Lawrence. “Factors associated with satisfaction or regret following male-to-female sex reassignment surgery”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 2003: 299–315.
Peter Boag. Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest. University of California Press, 2003.
Gary L. Atkins. Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging. University of Washington Press, 2003.
2004Portland resident, Susan Faludi, was contacted by her father after a quarter century of non-communication. Her father had become Stephanie. She went to Budapest where Stephanie was then living, and finally wrote a book about rediscovering her father.
Melanie Myers, ex-commercial-printing salesman in Portland, had surgery from Dr Kunaporn in Phuket, Thailand. She then opened a guest-house there for trans women especially those who had surgery at Kunaporn’s clinic, where Stephanie Faludi was a guest.
Asa Wright, Klamath-Modoc, started Partland Two-Spirit Group with 20 people. 2005Marc LeJeune, worked at Outside In as a social worker during his transition
A A Lawrence. “Sexuality before and after male-to-female sex reassignment surgery”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 2005: 147–166.
2006TransActive Gender Center founded by transgender pioneer activist Jenn Burleton. Jenn remains the organization’s Executive Director. 2007Donna Perry said too much in 2007-8 when talking to an agent of the Department of Social and Health Services. She talked of shooting people, and said: “I knew I was going to end up dead or in prison again if I didn’t do something. I got gelded just like a horse and got my life back under control.”
Rebekah Brewis castrated self, and transferred to psychiatric ward at Oregon State Hospital.
Michael/Megan Wallent, manager at Microsoft who had worked on Outlook and Windows, took paternity leave and returned to announce that was trans. She took six weeks leave and returned to a different division.
Alexander James Adams, Oregon based musician, after a 25 year career and 10 albums, transitioned to male. He continued playing in the same venues.
Imperial Court System Coronation Ball in Seattle, on Feb. 17, José Sarria formally handed leadership to Nicole Murray Ramirez, and she assumed the title “Queen Mother of the Americas”.
The State of Oregon enacted the Oregon Equality Act which bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and some other areas.
Reid Vanderburgh. Transition and Beyond: Observations on Gender Identity. Q Press, 2007.
The Formans contacted the FBI and showed the evidence that Barbara Dayton was DB Cooper, but never heard back from the FBI.
Pat & Ron Forman. The Legend of D. B. Cooper - Death by Natural Causes. Lulu, 2008.
2009The National Geographic cable channel broadcast a special on the DB Cooper case in July 2009. They filmed material re Barbara Dayton, interviewed the Formans and hired a female pilot to wear a wig and fly a Cessna 140. However all Dayton material was pulled when sent to senior management: "executives at National Geographic cited three reasons for pulling the Dayton footage: one, Barb Dayton’s sex-change was too controversial; two, the story line was too complex for a one-hour broadcast; and three, the FBI did not consider Dayton to be a credible suspect".
Rev David Weekly, inspired by Japanese-Americans in Oregon congregations who told their stories of internment during World War II and the healing they had experienced, and following months of preparation, David told his story as a trans man in a sermon on August 30, 2009. The congregation responded with resounding support. He became one of the only openly transgender clergy serving in The United Methodist Church. Following this event Rev. Weekley appeared on ABC News, CBS Early News and several radio programs. 2010Rhiannon G O'Dannabhain, who had had surgery with Dr Meltzer in 2001, won in court against the US tax authorities to the effect that the cost of transgender surgery was tax deductible.
October: Lynn Edward Benton, a cop in Gladstone, south of Portland, had been transitioning to male and married Debbie Higbee. He was not called as a witness at the Neil Beagley trial, despite being the first cop to the death scene. He was also passed over when the police chief retired. 2011Darcelle was grand marshal of the Portland Rose Festival's Starlight Parade and received the city's Spirit of Portland Award.
Colin Wolf becomes the third openly-trans therapist in Portland, opening his practice Queerapy.
May: Lynn Benton offered $2000 to a friend and her son to kill his wife. They shot, beat and then strangled her. Debbie had opposed his further progress to male, and he had beaten her. If she reported this it would damage his career. The mother said too much and was arrested. The son was arrested and imprisoned for sex with underage girls and said too much in prison.
Benton was first placed on administrative leave, but then fired in December when pornography was found on his laptop, and because of the 1993 marriage which was considered a sham. He became a Greyhound Bus driver.
Rebekah Brewis released. Sued the Oregon prison system for failing to treat her for gender identity disorder.
Walter Cole & Sharon Knorr. Just Call Me Darcelle: A Memoir. CreateSpace, 2011.
Peter Boag. Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past. University of California Press, 2011.
David Weekly. In From the Wilderness: Sherman, (She-r-man) (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2011).
2012Donna Perry was again arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. A search of her home recovered more firearms. She was sentenced to 18 months and placed in a Federal Prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She boasted to her female cell-mate that she was a contract killer who had killed nine prostitutes. “He told me … becoming a woman was a disguise to take the heat off of him, that an elderly lady with mental illness would never get caught.” She also claimed to have killed two others after returning from Thailand. A check on Parry’s DNA revealed a match to that taken from Ms Brisbois’ fingernail. A further match was found with DNA found on the blanket wrapped around Yolanda Sapp’s body, and a fingerprint match to Nickie Lowe’s purse etc. which had been recovered from a dumpster. A further search of Perry’s home found a box containing panties – but in a size too small to be her own. In an interview in November that year Donna said: 'Douglas didn't stop, Donna stopped it,' 'I'm not going to admit I killed anybody, I didn't. Donna has killed nobody.' And 'I don't know if Doug did or not, it was 20 years ago and I have no idea whether he did or did not.' She also said that a sex change is a “permanent way to control any violence” – that it results in “a very great downturn in violence”.
Rev David Weekly was invited to preach Morningside United Methodist Church in Salem, Oregon, and talked about his life as a trans man. Later he left for Boston University School of Theology to do a doctorate.
In 2012, in Flagstaff, Arizona, while out shopping, musician Camilla Rose collapsed and woke up in hospital. Her lack of sight was now almost complete. She decided to move to Portland, Oregon for access to the Casey Eye Clinic, the city’s mass transit system and its strong music scene.
The Portland City Council voted unanimously to cover fully inclusive and medically necessary transition related health care for transgender city employees. Trans activist and Basic Rights Oregon Communications Manager Sasha Buchert is the major advocate for the new policy.
Oregon prohibits heath care providers from discriminating based on actual or perceived gender identity. This means that health insurance plans sold in Oregon can no longer deny care to transgender policy holder’s procedures which are provided to non-transgender (cisgender) policy holders. Transgender activist and (at that time) BRO Communications Manager Sasha..