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 - especially in the year-end summaries (see links in right sidebar.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc.

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 page. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

29 May 2011

Martine O'Leary (193? - ) gay activist.

Martine was a radical drag queen at Leeds in the early 1970s. She was mentioned in The Guardian report on The First National TV.TS Conference in 1974 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."
She also published a 16-page pamphlet that was published by the London School of Economics Gay Culture Society the same year entitled, Gay Liberation, reformism and revolution.

*Not the Montréal choreographer.
  • M. Parkin. "Mixed Feelings". The Guardian, 4 March 1994. Reprinted as Appendix F(i) of The First National TV.TS Conference Report, Leeds, 1974: 36
  • Martine O'Leary. Gay Liberation, reformism and revolution. LSE-Gay Culture Society. Isophile Pamphlets, 16pp 1974.
  • Richard Ekins & Dave King. The Transgender Phenomenon. London: Thousand Oaks; California: Sage. 2006: 3
____________________________________________________________

A forgotten pioneer.  I wonder what happened to her?

27 May 2011

Brian Viglione (1979–) drummer.

Brian Viglione was raised in New Hampshire. His father gave him a set of drums at age 5. At nine, a cousin said that he looked like a girl, and it made him feel good. At age 11 his father took him to see The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, which became a major inspiration. At 14 he discovered The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

His parents were tentatively encouraging about his cross-dressing but warned him to be cautious. He went in drag to his 8th grade dance, and the other kids thought that he was cool.

From age 16 Brian started gigging with various bands in New England, and in 1999 moved to Boston where he played punk on both drums and bass guitar.

He met singer-pianist Amanda Palmer at Halloween, 2000 in Boston, they clicked, and became The Dresden Dolls, but not lovers, putting the band first. They mix cabaret and rock and both dress on stage. They toured with Nine Inch Nails, and Brian played on the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts I-IV.

He also gives drum lessons and played with many up-coming band, including Brooklyn's punk orchestra, The World/Inferno Friendship Society.
  EN.Wikipedia.

25 May 2011

Yanni Kin (1960 - ) writer


Sylvie was born in Saint-Quentin, Aisne, France, and emigrated to Québec with her  parents at age 12. They settled in Montmagny, Chaudière – Appalaches.

Sylvie had the impression of living with a second person, Sylvain, in the same body. She was 14 years a Jehovah's Witness, and the church was scandalized by one whom they took to be a lesbian.

After transition Yanni has worked at various jobs, most recently as a dental lab technician. At age 42 he quit to concentrate solely on writing, and published his autobiography: Regarde-moi, maman! He has organized a collective of 55 authors from across Québec to raise funds for the homeless.

23 May 2011

Catherine Jones (1944 - 2011) artist.

Jeffrey Jones was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1966, he married Louise Alexander, whom he met at Georgia State College, and they had a daughter. Jones did the covers for over 150 books, and is especially known for the ones that he did for Ace science fiction paperbacks.

Jeffrey and Vaughn Bodé did transvestity together in the early 1970s.

 Jeffrey had a comic strip, 'Idyll' in National Lampoon, 1972-5. He also painted fine art. From 1975-9 he was part of the artists’ group, The Studio, which lasted only just over three years but has had a lasting impact. He had a strip 'I'm Age' in Heavy Metal, in the early 1980s.

Jones was known for his lyrical linework and ethereal paintings, and the artist Frank Frazetta said that he was "the world's greatest living painter".  In 1986 he won the World Fantasy Award for best artist.

After decades of denial sustained by drugs, Jones transitioned as Catherine in the late 1990s.

In 2001 she had a nervous breakdown and lost her home and workspace. Aided by friends she was able get through and start painting again. However her health declined again. And she died of complications from emphysema and bronchitis, aged 67.

*Not the artist Katherine Jones.
 EN.Wikipedia


19 May 2011

Albert D.J. Cashier, (1844 - 1915) soldier, laborer.

Jennie Hodgers was born in Clogherhead, County Louth. Hodgers emigrated to the US as a male stowaway.

As Albert Cashier he enlisted in the US Civil War with the 95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1862 at age 18. The regiment was involved in almost 40 battles, including the siege at Vicksburg Mississippi where they suffered heavy casualties. Cashier was once captured by Confederate forces but managed to escape and return to his regiment.

He settled in Saunemin. Illinois in 1869. He worked as a farmhand, church janitor, cemetery worker and lamplighter. He voted in elections. He applied for a military pension in 1890 but, as he refused the required medical examination, it was not granted.

One neighboring family discovered Cashier's body sex when he was ill, but maintained the confidence. A second application for a three-fourths disability pension in 1907 with the complicity of his doctor was approved. He was awarded $12 a month. In 1910 he was hit by his employer's car which broke his leg. The doctor discovered his sex but remained quiet.

A year later Cashier became seriously ill, and was taken to the Soldier and Sailor's home in Quincy, Illinois, where the doctors agreed to respect his chosen gender. However he became increasingly mentally disturbed by 1914 and was transferred to the State hospital where he was coerced into wearing women's clothes and his condition deteriorated rapidly. His story was leaked to the press and reprinted across the US.

He died six months later.

His tombstone was in the name of Albert Cashier. His executor spent nine years tracing his identity back to Jennie, and was still unable to find any heirs. His estate of $416 was given to the county. In the 1970s a second headstone was added giving both his names.
  • Julie Wheelwright. Amazons and Military Maids: Women who dressed as men in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Pandora 1989: 140-1,146-7.
  • Gerhard P Clausius. “The Little Soldier of the 95th: Albert D.J. Cashier” Illinois State Historical Society. 51,1958.
  • Richard Hall. Patriots in Disguise: Women Warriors of the Civil War. Marlowe & Company, 1994: 20-6.
  • Stephanie Stevens. "Remembering the Civil War Veteran Albert D.J. Cashier". TransAdvocate, May 25th, 2009. http://transadvocate.com/autumnsandeen.
  • Lon P. Dawson. Also Known As Albert D.J. Cashier: The Jennie Hodgers Story, or How One Young Irish Girl Joined the Union Army During the Civil War. Compass Rose, nd.
  • “Albert Cashier”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Cashier.

17 May 2011

Izumo no Okuni 出雲の阿国 (1572 – ?1613) performer.

Okuni as a samurai
Okuni's father was a blacksmith at the Grand Shrine of Izumi, and other family members served. Okuni was known for her acting and dancing skills and was sent, as was the custom, to Kyoto to solicit contributions.

She became known for her performance of the Nambusu, originally a sacred dance from 10th-century Pure Land Buddhism but by then a folk dance and as Okuni performed it, a dance of sexual suggestion. She also did skits about lovers and about prostitutes. She began to draw large crowds. She was summoned back to the Shrine but did not obey.


Statue of Okuni erected in 2002 on the banks of the Kamo
By 1603 she was performing in the dry riverbed of the Kamo River and organized female outcasts including prostitutes. She taught them acting, dancing and singing and to play both male and female roles. She herself was best known for playing samurai and Christian priests. It was to her troupe that the term kabuki カブク (= leaning, slanted, shocking) was first applied. She even appeared before the Imperial Court.

She retired and disappeared around 1610.

In 1629 the Shogunate forbad women from performing using the excuse of morality. A new kabuki using young men in both male and female roles arose quickly but was in turn banned because of suggestions of prostitution. A third kabuki performed by older men only was left, and has continued to the present time.

15 May 2011

Camille Paglia (1947 - ) academic, media pundit.

Camille Paglia is the elder daughter of Italian Immigrants to the US. Her father eventually became professor of Romance Languages at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York. Camille was a tomboy who enjoyed dressing as male, and considered for a while that she had been born the wrong sex.  She read Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, while still in high school. She graduated with a BA from Binghamton University in 1968, where she wrote her final thesis on Emily Dickinson.

She did a PhD at Yale 1968-72 where she was openly lesbian, and was mentored by Harold Bloom. Paglia taught at Bennington College, Vermont from 1972. One of her students was Judith Butler.

In 1973 Carolyn Heilbrun issued her tepid Towards a Recognition of Androgyny. Paglia, then an unknown, reviewed it anonymously in the Yale Review:
"Heilbrun's book is so poorly researched that it may disgrace the subject in the eyes of serious scholars".
She defended her thesis, Sexual Personae: The Androgyne in Literature and Art, in December 1974.

She fell out with her colleagues at Bennington College. After a standoff with the administration, she accepted a settlement and resigned in 1979. She supported herself with part-time positions, and some journalism. She completed the book version of Sexual Personae, but could not get it published. In 1984, she was hired to teach humanities by the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, which merged in 1987 with the Philadelphia College of Art to become the University of the Arts.

In 1990 Sexual Personae was published by Yale University Press. In it she analyzes Western art in terms of the contrast between Dionysos and Apollo, an approach that had been pioneered by Friedrich Nietzsche. Unlike Nietzsche she contrasts masculine, phallic sky religion with feminine, chthonic, earth religion, and portrays culture as a struggle between the two. She find paganism undefeated by Judeo-Christianity, androgyny, sadism and the aggressive Western eye in both classical art and pop culture. Against the feminism of the 1980s she stresses the biological basis of gender differences. She identifies 23 sexual personae which she labels:
Amazon, androgyne of manners, android, beautiful boy, court hermaphrodite, dandy, Decadent aesthete, drag queen, Epicoene, Gorgon, Great Mother, Khepera, lesbian, male heroine, manufactured object, Mercurius, Pythoness, Teiresias, transsexual, twin, vampire, Venus Barbata, virago.
All 23 are androgynous in different ways. The power of androgyny comes through in three key concepts:


Charisma, the radiance produced by the interaction of male and female elements in a gifted personality. The charismatic woman has a masculine force and severity. The charismatic man has an entrancing female beauty. Both are hot and cold, glowing with presexual self-love (p521);

Psychoiconicism, the literary phenomenon where a dominant androgyne so dominates a text that both the plot and other characters lose fictive energy and fade into the background. She specifies the examples of Geraldine in Coleridge's poem 'Christabel'; Rosalind in Shakespeare's As You Like It; Virginia Woolf's Orlando; Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights; Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray. Wuthering Heights and Orlando in particular weaken in their second half once the authors Sexual Metathesis, expressed in a fascination with the central character, is completed and there remains a struggle to complete the plot (p345 );

Sexual Metathesis, the special erotic thrill produced by a change in gender. Several of the literary examples disguise a gay relationship, but the public evasion is no more than a small part. 'An ampler spiritual economy is at work. Sexual metathesis is a metaphysical advance, an expansion of identity through a mentally prolonged erotic sensation’ (p350,455).

All this of course refers to the androgyny inherent in our culture. She says very little about real-life trans persons. The major statement is on p368:
"We are still untangling the legal and and moral problems caused by the invention of a new sex, the transsexual, produced by chemical and surgical manipulations of the body. The transsexual is a technological androgyne whom we are happy to call 'she' out of the courtesy owed to all inspired makers of fiction. Close to transsexual is my favorite technological androgyne, Luciana Avedon, formerly the Princess Pignatelli, who radically resculpted face and body in her quest for beauty."
The book drew strong criticisms, both pro and con. Sexual Personae was nominated for a National Book Award and after being released as a paperback became a best-seller. She said that a second volume focused on popular culture had also been written, but the book has never appeared.

Two years later she released Sex, Art and American Culture: Essays which contains her critical review of Marjorie Garber's Vested Interests, and "Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the Wolf" in which she tackles Foucault, Halperin and their ilk for their ignorance of earlier theorists and their ignorance of culture in general. This essay was much discussed even by classical historians.  She expresses enthusiasm for drag queens:
"I sensed then, and now know for certain, that Madonna, like me, is drawn to drag queens for their daring, flamboyant insight into sex roles, which they see far more clearly and historically than do our endlessly complaining feminists. (p9) ... The castrated, tranvestite priests of Cybele, honored in disco-like rites of orgiastic dance, survive in today's glamourous, flamboyant drag queens. (p23) ...The drag queen has emerged in America in the Nineties as a symbol of our sexual crisis.  A pagan priest whose ancestry is in the ancient cults of the Great Mother, the drag queen defies victim-centered feminism by asserting the dominance of woman in the universe. (p99) ...You know, I'm really happy there wasn't all this talk about sex changes back then, since I probably would have gotten this fantasy that I was a man born in a woman's body, and I think that I might very well have become obsessed with the idea of a sex change, which would have been a terrible mistake.... I've acclimatised myself to to my sex role -- thanks to gay men and drag queens!  Drag queens have influenced me enormously.  Their analysis of the mythology of male and female  and the theater of gender and so on, I've absolutely taken into myself.  (p256)"
She became a media celebrity known for her disagreements with other feminists and media pundits. Because she would not conform to the left-wing party lines, she was dismissed as a conservative, but regards herself as a libertarian Democrat, with pro-choice positions on abortion, pornography, euthanasia etc.

Her first movie was Female Misbehavior, 1992, where she is profiled along with Annie Sprinkle and trans man Max Valerio. In It's Pat, 1994, a street gang have a battered copy of Sexual Personae and accuse Pat of being an androgyne, which s/he is. Paglia has appeared in 38 films, usually playing herself. In 2001 she recorded a commentary track for the DVD of Basic Instinct. She wrote regular columns for Interview Magazine and Salon.

She was partnered with Allison Maddex 1993-2007 and legally adopted Maddex' son.

In 2009 (although the segment was not released until May 2011), in an interview with Xtra, Paglia confirmed the suspicion that she does not really understand what transsexuality is by opposing Chaz Bono's decision about himself, by referring to him as 'she' and 'Chastity', and repeating that when she was young that she was convinced that she was the wrong gender and if it were allowed that she might have done the same.
 _________________________________________________________________________________

Sexual Personae is enormously better than Towards a Recognition of Androgyny.  There is probably an eternal dialectic between transsexuality and androgyny, as there is between gender identity and sexual orientation, and Sexual Personae is still the best book about androgyny. 

Sexual Personae also has a rare enthusiasm not usually found in books on literature, that sends you to read the original texts.  I at least dug out the poems and stories that she discusses to either read them for the first time, or to re-read them.

It was a bit naughty of Xtra in May 2011 to put up the clip of Paglia talking about Bono without mentioning that it had been filmed two years previously.

13 May 2011

Jahna Erica Steele (1958 – 2008) showgirl.

John Matheny was raised in San Antonio, Texas. She transitioned to Jahna in her early 20s, and, as Jahanau Reis, was crowned Miss Gay USA 1980.

She became an entertainer in Las Vegas. She was a member of the Crazy Girls topless revue at the Riviera. She was "Sexiest Showgirl on The Strip" in 1991, "Entertainer of the Year, 1992" and "Most Beautiful Showgirl, 1993".

She was outed in 1992 by the television show, A Current Affair, which had started out to do a piece on Crazy Girls. Jahna was then fired, even though the producer and most of her co-workers had known before.

She sang in nightclubs and appeared on television, and had a part in one episode of NYPD Blue in 1995, and hosted the transsexual pageant film Transtasia, 2006.

She also returned to school and was certified in non-profit management. Her last job was as warm-up announcer at ‘La Cage’, the drag show at the Riviera. She was writing an autobiography, Always a Lady, when she died of an accidental drug overdose.
EN.Wikipedia.

11 May 2011

Edward Hamblar (1828–?) ships joiner.

Hamblar, a ship’s joiner, was outed as a transvestite in October 1889 when two men detained him in Bromley Street, Whitechapel (map) on suspicion of being Jack the Ripper. Hamblar was in a black jacket and print dress with a bustle, and a hat and veil.

A crowd estimated at some 600 quickly gathered, and the police had to rescue him.

In the subsequent court appearance, he was told that he did not make an attractive woman, was bound over to the sum of £10 and told to keep the peace for six months.
__________________________________________________________________________________

He probably earned little more than £1 a week at that time and so £10 was a considerable fine.

    09 May 2011

    Belinda Joelle Smith (1949 – 1994) soldier, correctional officer.

    William Smith served 14 years in the US army. Later he was a correctional officer in Jacksonville, Florida.

    He was fired in 1985 for dressing female off the job, and discussing his proposed operation.

    In 1991, Belinda, now post-operative, and with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the city but lost on the ground that, as a known transsexual, she would not be able to command the respect of co-workers and inmates.

    However, on appeal the next year, the ruling went in her favor in that ‘transsexualism’ is a handicap under the Florida Human Rights Act. She was awarded reinstatement, back pay and legal costs.

    She died in a freak boating accident off the Florida coast.

    07 May 2011

    Shelley Ball (1953–) sex worker, inmate.

    William Ross Ball was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia. He grew up in a life of violence, heroin addiction and prostitution. In 1977, as Shelley, she was working as a prostitute in Edmonton, Alberta.
    "I wanted to be a woman since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember".
    She stabbed a trick 17 times, was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Unusually, the judge also recommended a sex-change operation.  The chief of medical services for the federal corrections service approved the operation in that Ball would be molested in a male prison, and that the operation would likely decrease his violent tendencies.

    This was the first such surgery for a convict in Canada, and is in marked contrast to how all other trans prisoners were treated until Synthia Kavanagh won her appeal in 2000.

    Ball, who already had breasts, but was 6'2'' (1.88 m) and 162 lb. (73 kg) did time in three different male institutions, and had no trouble. "In Prince Albert (Saskatchewan), I think I went out with nine different guys while I was there. I had more husbands than Zsa Zsa Gabor."

    Shelley had partial (no vaginoplasty) genital reassignment surgery in 1980 and was then transferred to Kingston Penitentiary for Women. She was treated badly by the other women inmates, and attempted suicide several times. However she had an affair with an inmate and decided, after a lifetime of having sex with men, that she was a lesbian.

    Let out on a short pass she made an unauthorized trip to Vancouver to see her mother, but the mother was too drunk to recognize her, which prompted Shelley to go back on heroin. Both the trip and the heroin led to the parole board revoking her privileges, and her hoped-for release in 1990 did not happen. She was in the news again in 1998, still in Kingston Penitentiary, when she attempted to slash her own throat.

    *Not the Canadian football player.
    • Peter O'Neil. "Sex-change operation proves less than blessing". The Vancouver Sun, Aug 5, 1989: B3.
    • Holly Horwood. "A female 'eunuch's' cry for help". The Province, Jan 29, 1995: A2.
    • "Inmate slashes throat". Kingston Whig Standard, Sep 29, 1998: 3.

    05 May 2011

    Enid Gerling (1919 - 2010) lawyer.

    Enid Gerling was a member of the New York State Bar from 1952.

    In 1963 she persuaded cop-killer Thomas Trantino to give himself up.

    In the mid 1960s she was one of two lawyers, for the New York Mattachine Society, who would handle cases for desperate gays arrested for soliciting. However Mattachine came to see her as being in collusion with the cops, and took her name off their referral list. She came screaming into the Mattachine office, vowing that she would have it closed down if she were not put back on the referral list, although she never did.

    On the other hand she did get many entrapped gay men off, and was famous for her colorful language that she used against the cops in court. Duberman quotes a comment that she dressed like a drag queen in heels and a wig, and it was rumored that she slept with several judges. She was said to postpone a case if the sitting judge was not one of her lovers. Duberman says that he and many other gay men at that time always carried her phone number when they were cruising. She was the house lawyer for The Stonewall Tavern, and often when customers were arrested, she had them released almost immediately. She represented some of those who were arrested at the Stonewall riot. However Craig Rodwell, owner of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop is quoted by Duberman as saying that Gerling was only a money-grabbing ambulance chaser. 

    Gerling was also Patricia's Morgan's lawyer.

    In the late 1970s, several politically connected pedophiles were avoiding prosecution because of their connections. They were represented by Enid, but she told the police that they were on the right track and should not give up.

    As late as 1990 Gerling was the counsel for 14 gay men arrested on drug charges at the Ninth Circle in the West Village.

    Enid died at age 91.
    • Patricia Morgan as told to Paul Hoffman. The Man-Maid Doll. Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart, Inc 1973: 83,86.
    • Martin B Duberman. Stonewall. New York: Dutton, 1993. New York: Plume, 1994: 116-7, 219, 289n21.
    • David Carter. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution. New York: St Martin’s Press. 2004: 83.
    • Gerlad Tomlinson. Murdered in Jersey. Rutgers University Press, 1994: 109
    • Duncan Osborne. "Cops Nab 14 in Drug Raid at Gay Bar". Outweek, Oct 24, 1990: 13. 
    • Martin Duberman. About Time: Exploring the Gay Past. A Meridian Book, 1986,1991: 425,427n1
    • James M. Rothstein. "Pedophilia and the Criminal Exploitation of Children Part 1". Disgusted With the System. Sept 19, 2007. http://disgustedwiththesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/pedophillia-and-criminal-exploitation.html.
      ____________________________________________________________________________

      These are just bits and pieces that I was able to find.  Somebody should write a biography of Enid Gerling.

    03 May 2011

    Louis Girardin (1754 – 1794) housewife, ship’s steward.

    Marie-Louise Victoire Girardin was born in Versailles, France, daughter of a former royal gardener turned wine merchant. In 1776 she married a café owner: in 1778 their 11-month-old son died; in 1781 her husband died. Soon after the revolution, she gave birth to an illegitimate child, and fled in disgrace.

    She disguised as male, and went to Brest where as Louis Girardin he was able to find a post as a steward on the ship La Recherche. As a steward, Girardin had a small separate cabin and was not required to have a medical examination.

    La Recherche sailed to and explored what are now Tasmania, Western Australia and New Caledonia. The expedition fell apart in the Dutch East Indies on receipt of news that the French king had been executed.

    The shipmates apparently suspected that Girardin was not a man, but he maintained his gender with determination, even fighting a duel with an assistant-pilot. There is evidence that he was involved with a young ensign. They both died of dysentery, only one day apart.

    image
    The ship’s surgeon revealed that Louis was female-bodied.

    01 May 2011

    Felicity Chandelle (1905 – 2008) pilot.

    ++Oct 2012.  Updated to included the phone call to Harry Benjamin.

    John Miller, by the age of ten, was hanging around the Curtiss Flying School at Mineola, on Long Island, where he encountered Ruth Law, the third US woman to get a flying license, who let him sit in her cockpit. Miller studied mechanical engineering and graduated from Pratt Institute of Technology in 1927.

    By 1931 he had seven years of flying experience and was the first individual to buy a PCA-2 autogyro, which could perform nearly vertical descents. Miller beat Amelia Earhart by being the first to fly one across the US, and unlike her, returned it in one piece, although she got the press attention.

    Miller was a captain flying for United Airlines, and also flew loops and rolls at airshows across the country. At the 1932 Cleveland Air Races Show Al Wilson crashed and died after being caught in Miller's updraft. This is documented in the film Pylon Dusters. He did the stunt flying for the film Ladies Crave Excitement, 1935.

    In 1937 Wallace Kellett of Kellett Autogiro Company persuaded Miller to undertake a flight test program for his world's first wingless autogiro. Miller broke his neck when an autogyro disintegrated around him. Nevertheless he completed the testing program, and the Kellet KD-1 Autogyro became the first wingless aircraft to obtain official certification in the US.

    Kellet's was purely a manufacturing company, but Miller found employment with Eastern Airlines which ran the autogiro mail operation for publicity purposes. During the Second World War, Miller was the lead test flyer for the Grumman J2f Duck which was both a plane and a boat.

    He married, and he and his wife had a daughter. Apart from a couple of childhood incidents, John did not start cross-dressing until 1960, when as Felicity, she met other cross dressers through Transvestia magazine. "There was absolutely no sexual impulse, just the love of the clothes and the pleasure of being a different person, in public. Never did any CDing in private. Underclothing held little interest for me." Then she took up the practice enthusiastically. She was 6'2" (1.88m), but naturally assumed that she passed, although others observed that she was usually read. She developed a reasonable contralto voice, quite different from her masculine baritone. She always tried on dresses in the shop. It is told how she went up to a policeman in Times Square pretending to be from Texas, and got him to take her photograph.

    In March 1964 Felicity, recently widowed, was arrested in New York near her home by an officer of the West 128th Precinct for a violation of Section 887, Subdivision 7 of the New York Code of Criminal Procedure which designates as a vagrant any person who 'having his face painted, discolored, covered, or concealed, or being otherwise disguised in a manner calculated to prevent his being identified, appears on a road, lot, wood, or enclosure'. The law dates back to the 1840s when farmers were disguising as 'Indians' to harass Dutch landowners in the Anti-Rent Movement. Despite having no criminal intent John Miller was sentenced to two days, suspended. This resulted in losing her job with Eastern Airlines after 25 years, because such behavior ‘signaled homosexuality’, even though an Eastern Airlines manager actually phoned Harry Benjamin and was reassured that that the conviction in no way impacted on Miller's competence as a pilot.

    Virginia Prince and Siobhan Fredericks championed her case and raised over $1,200 to finance an appeal. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief as amicus curiae, and the New York Times carried a sympathetic story. The appeal hearing was denied, by the New York appeal court and by the US Supreme Court.

    photo by  Mariette Pathy Allen
    At age 60 Miller started his own helicopter air charter service. He sold that business in 1971. He served seven terms as president of the United Flying Octogenarians (UFOs). He continued to give lectures about flying, and attended numerous airshows and conventions. He was awarded the annual Sikorsky Award for his part in the evolution of the helicopter, and received a Certificate of Honor from the National Aeronautic Association for his contributions to aviation. He was given a honorary fellowship in the Society of Test Pilots, for having promoted the moral obligation of the test pilot to the safety of the aerospace world.

    In 1990 Felicity and other cross-dressers were featured in a series of photographs by Mariette Pathy Allen.

    Felicity lived till the age of 102 and John kept flying until 2006. He was required to have a co-pilot in his later years, but in effect flew alone with a passenger.

    *Not the John Miller, pilot hero in the Falklands War, nor the artist, nor the musician, nor the crime reporter.
    • Nick Grinde (dir). Ladies Crave Excitement. Scr: Wellyn Totman & Scott Darling, with Norman Foster & Evalyn Knapp. Stunt flying by John Miller. US 73 mins 1935.
    • Lawrence O’Kane. “A TRANSVESTITE GETS LEGAL HELP: Civil Liberties Union Argues Wearing Garb of Opposite Sex Is Not Criminal MISUSE OF LAW CHARGED Group Notes 1845 Statute Was Applied to Persons Disguised as Indians”. New York Times, Oct 13, 1964: 45.
    • David Lee Pagari. "Of Transvestites and Other Epicenes". The Realist, 57, March 1965:24. www.ep.tc/realist/57/24.html.
    • 145--John Miller, petr., v. New York. Petition for writ of cert. to the New York Court of Appeals denied. “Proceedings Monday and Yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court.” New York Times. Oct. 13, 1965. p. 71.
    • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. New York: Julian Press, 1966. New York: Warner Books Edition 1977: 167-8.
    • Darrell Raynor. A Year Among the Girls. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1966. New York: Lancer Books, 1968: 50-1.
    • Mariette Pathy Allen. Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them. New York: Dutton, 1989:.
    • Helen Boyd. “Five Questions With … Felicity”. en|Gender: helen boyd’s journal of gender & trans issues. www.myhusbandbetty.com/?p=489.
    • Robert S. Hill. ‘As a man I exist; as a woman I live’: Heterosexual Transvestism and the Contours of Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America. PhD Dissertation. University of Michigan. 2007: 323-7. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/57615/2/rshill_3.pdf.
    • Kate Cummings. Katherine's Diary- the Story of a Transsexual. William Heinemann Australia 1992. Revised and updated 2008: 132, 147, 148, 151.
    • "John M. Miller: Barnstormer, Pioneer and Timeless Voice. Gyroplanepassion. www.gyroplanepassion.com/John_Miller.html.
    • "Captain John Miller: Test Pilot of the Autogiro and the Grumman J2F Duck". HistoryNet, June 12, 2006. www.historynet.com/captain-john-miller-test-pilot-of-the-autogiro-and-the-grumman-j2f-duck.htm.
    • "Autogiro pilot John M. Miller (1905-2008) has passed away". Rotary Wing Forum, 6-23-2008. www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17223.
    • “John McDonald Miller”.  Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register, 2008.  www.dmairfield.org/people/miller_jm/index.htm
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    The HistoryNet article does not mention the 1964 trial and says that Miller left Eastern Airlines because of age-60-mandatory retirement.  However I have gone with the version in Robert Hill that he was fired for “homosexuality”.

    It was also Eastern Airlines that fired Karen Ulane in 1981.

    Most people no longer know what an autogyro is.  Here is a video showing John Miller flying an autogyro for the US Mail service: