This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.)

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

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!

31 October 2016

Transgender lexicons: Chris Bartlett

Transgender lexicons:
Chris Bartlett


  • Chris Bartlett. What does ‘queer’ mean anyway? The Quick and Dirty Guide to LGBTQIA+ Vocabulary. Create Space and Kindle, 2016.
Chris Bartlett is a heterosexual cis man in Colorado with a degree in business studies. He has written a series of ‘quick and dirty guides’ on a number of different subjects, mainly US elections but also BrExit, “Leaving America”, Olympic disasters – and this guide for LGBTQIA+ allies. Amazon Page

He intends this book to enable non-LGBTQIA+ persons to understand queer persons by means of simple definitions, a few case studies and a timeline. Amazon contains several 4 and 5-star reviews to the effect that he has succeeded in this endeavour. To that extent, good luck to him. This review, however, is not of the book from that perspective, but from a trans perspective.

He does not explain who his informants are, but they seem to be a group that embraces non-binary and gender queer, and are probably young in that there is little awareness of changes in usage over time. In a way, what he is attempting is probably so difficult, skating as it does on terminological fashion that is constantly changing, that to do completely successfully would be impossible.  

Chapter 1 – What is LGBTQIA+

He starts with:
“Most readers have probably heard or seen the acronym LGBT and are aware it stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (although they may mistakenly believe the “T” is for “Transexual," a word that is considered offensive).”
So we already have a problem. Many of us, here, are in fact transsexuals or post-transsexuals. I certainly find it offensive for an outsider to tell me that the word is offensive.

A few pages later he tells repeats and expands:
“Some may assume that this ‘T’ stands for ‘Transsexual,’ but that term is used with decreasing frequency and is considered offensive. Still others may think that this ‘T’ has something to do with ‘Transvestitism,’ but that is incorrect — and a topic for a completely different book.”
This does not stop him from bringing in show-biz transvestites: Lily Savage, RuPaul and Freddie Mercury. There is no discussion about whether ‘drag’ and ‘tranvestism’ are the same or different.

Chapter 2 - Transgender and Intersex

Bartlett makes the standard distinction between the two, but does not mention that many of the pioneer generation of trans women such as Roberta Betty Cowell made dubious claims to be intersex. The one and only intersex person mentioned is Georgia Ziadie whom Bartlett refers to only by her marriage title, Lady Colin Campbell. This is an odd choice in that Ziadie is not involved in the movement for intersex rights, and there are those who think that her intersex status is similar to that of Betty Cowell.

A major event in the history of intersex was the abandonment of the word ‘hermaphrodite’ and its replacement by ‘intersex’. A major problem was the distinction between ‘true hermaphrodite’ and ‘pseudo-hermaphrodite’ with the implication that the latter were somehow not ‘true’. Therefore I was disappointed to see Barlett uncritically using ‘true gonadal intersex’ which brings back the old problem. This from a man who thinks that ‘transsexual’ is offensive.

Many intersex persons have objected to the term ‘disorders of sex development’ finding it offensive, and it has not been accepted by most intersex activist groups. Bartlett does not even mention this controversy, but does use the term in passing without even putting it in quotes.

He moves on to transgender. [gender dysphoria]  ”is becoming a regularly used term in medicine and popular culture."  He seem to be unaware that the term "gender dysphoria" was introduced by Norman Fisk in 1973 because 'transsexual' had lost its medical connotations, and he wished to re-pathologize the condition.  That is why many of us avoid it.

Chapter 3 - Gender Fluidity and Nonconformity

This is the chapter where Bartlett seems to be most at home.
[Gender] “is a social construct and is not determined solely by sex but rather as a how a culture has reacted to sexual differences” and “due to the socio-political imbalance between sexes, women's gender has been constructed by men, or as a man’s ideal image of women”.
He lists six gender-neutral pronouns, but not my preferred ‘ae’. He gives elementary sentences on how to use such pronouns, but again remember the specified audience.

Chapter 4 – Tackling Judgment and Prejudice

Bartlett gives quite adequate definitions of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, internalized homophobia, and discusses their social impact. He then gives a list of offensive words.
“Language plays a big part in this process. The following words and phrases have historically been used to isolate and hurt members of the LGBTQIA + community. There was some hesitation to include in this text language which has so often been used to demean members of the LGBTQIA + community. Ultimately it was deemed responsible to include this section because this book is directed towards well meaning people who have no desire to disparage others. The author encourages readers to use the below knowledge to be an advocate for the correct usage (or non-usage) of this vocabulary.”
His list of offensive words includes ‘transexual’, ‘tranny’ and ‘she-male’. The first of these was expected from the comments made in Chapter 1. As usual, ‘tranny’ but no mention of ‘transy’. Nor is there a mention that ‘tranny’ was quit acceptable until only a few years ago.

Chapter 5 – Relationships in Which Only One Person is Transgender

Bartlett discusses both married persons who transition, and a transitioned trans man who needs to tell his lover of his past. This chapter is quite well done.

Chapter 6 – Gender Identity, Sexuality and Popular Culture.

This chapter is mainly a time-line of events from 1930 to 2015.

Despite that most of the discussion above has been trans, intersex and non-binary, most items in the time–line are gay male and bi male. There are no lesbian entries, and no trans-male entries. The trans entries are Lili Elbe (with the usual misinformation), Stonewall (but without the trans persons), Holly Woodlawn in Trash, and “Walk on the Wild Side”, David Bowie in a dress, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Boy George, the group Queen, Lily Savage, RuPaul, Caitlyn Jenner, Jaden Smith.

The Australian soap opera Number 96 is mentioned for its first gay character, but that Carlotta was in it in 1973 as the first trans playing trans is not mentioned.

Showbiz transvestites Lily Savage and Rupaul are included, but showbiz transsexuals Christine Jorgensen, April Ashley, Coccinelle, Carlotta, Tula, Claudia Charriez, are not.

My Conclusion:

‘transsexual’ is not an offensive term

29 October 2016

Jill Monro (1951 – 1982) porn star

Terri, originally called Teddy, was a Brooklynite of Italian descent. Her father died when she was young, and her mother practically raised her as a girl. As a teenager, Terri had a rhinoplasty and her chin reshaped, electrolysis, took female hormones and silicon enhancements. She trained and was licensed as a cosmetologist.

In March 1976 Terri and a friend hired a car, and then she and the driver, David Rice, exchanged numbers, and they started dating after she broke up with her previous boyfriend. Rice accepted that she was a bit different from other women.
“I am, believe it or not, a fairly straight kind of dude – I mean, I’m not, and never have been, gay. But then, I don’t think Jill was ever a man – she was just born with the wrong kind of equipment. I fell in love with her and together we sailed through the series of operations that would make us a ‘legitimate’ couple.”
David took out a loan for her to have further breast enhancement, and another loan a year later in July 1977 for sexual correction. The pain killers she took after the surgery added to the downers that she was already taking.

After surgery Terri caught David reading Cheri magazine, and felt that she was more beautiful than the model. They took some polaroids and sent them in. Cheri magazine invited them to come in, and a shoot was arranged. Terri took the name Jill Monro from Farrah Fawcett’s character in Charlie’s Angels. David had to write a monthy column sometimes under Jill’s name, and sometimes as Dave Zele.

Terri was quite open about her sexual past, and her appearance in the magazine was an eight-page
article, “The Gal With The Man Made Muff – The Incredible Saga of Jill Monro”.
“Most people didn’t believe that she was born male.  Everybody thought that Cheri magazine was just doing a huge publicity stunt for the numbers, for circulation, for money… whatever you want to call it.”
Jill and David were introduced to Mark Stevens (1943-1989) who was established as a heterosexual adult-film actor despite being mainly gay. Annie Sprinkle refers to him as ‘straight for pay’. Mark and Jill threw theme parties at different clubs in Manhattan. Jill was in several adult films between 1978 and 1982. Late in 1978 Jill had a supposed marriage with Marc Stevens at a Greenwich Village disco. This became an eight-page spread in Cheri magazine.

In 1979 Jill and a female friend went to the nude beach at Rockaway Beach, and were busted for public lewdness. A good lawyer got them off, and the incident was turned into an article for Cheri magazine.

David became a photographer, and did rock music tours, sometimes did the camera work on Jill’s films, and was also her manager.

After a management shake-up at Cheri, David and Jill went over to High Society magazine. By this time she had progressed from cocaine on to heroin. This led to her and David living apart. She got less and less work as a model, and began turning tricks and ran ads in Screw and the Village Voice.

The drugs led to a decline and Terri died at age 31.
  • David Zele (David Rice). “The Gal With The Man Made Muff – The Incredible Saga of Jill Monro”. Cheri magazine, March 1978.
  • Hazel Gravy. “Jill Monro’s Surgeon Tells: How To Become A Woman”. Cheri magazine, May 1978.
  • Dan Zele (David Rice) “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Tits: The Story of Jill Monro”. Cheri magazine, July 1978.
  • Jill Monro & Jane Compton. “Beach Blanket Bust-O”. Cheri magazine, February 1979.
  • “The Wedding of the Decade”. Cheri Magazine, April 1979.
  • George Petros interviews Annie Sprinkle. “Has a hands-on fetish for Trans guys”. The New Transsexuals, 2012. www.georgepetros.com/writings/tnt/Annie-Sprinkle.htm.
  • Interview with David Rice. “Who was Jill Monro?: The Story of New York’s First Transsexual Porn Star:. The Rialto Report, 16 March 2014. www.therialtoreport.com/2014/03/16/who-was-jill-monro-the-story-of-new-yorks-first-transsexual-porn-star/
IMDB

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Some of the dates don’t jive. IMDB lists Jill in the film White Fire, as 1976, before she met David Rice, before correction surgery and before she chose the name.

Jill’s movie period was 1978-82. Compare to Sulka’s prime years 1980-3. Jill was different from other trans porn stars in being post-op before getting into adult movies.

26 October 2016

Another 4 trans persons with a more famous kin


See also  6 trans persons with a more famous kin


Monica Jay was born in Berlin, but lived in London most of her life. She ran a Montessori nursery school. She and her husband had three children, but after a divorce she took in lodgers. Later she had an affair with her tenant, Gerald/ine Tilson, a manager in an electronics firm, who was a transvestite who introduced her to the trans subculture. She wrote up the experience as Geraldine: For the Love of a Transvestite, 1986, and it was later turned into a film Just Like a Woman, which turned Geraldine into an American. Monica became a phone counsellor for the Beaumont Trust, and for the Transvestite/Transsexual Support Group. Amazon   TGTapestry   IMDB   EN.Wikipedia Monica also presented a paper, “Women and their widely differing reactions to their cross dressing partners” at the 1990 Gendys Conference.

Linda Nichols, from Boston, of Greek and French descent, was a lesbian separatist, but also a femme with long hair who wore sexy dresses. Nichols joined the US Army at age 29, and became butch, cut her hair to a crew cut and started wearing male clothing. He then started taking hormones and decided in a full change to Les Nichols. Les had surgery from Dr Biber in 1989, but insisted that he not lose any sensitivity at all, so Biber left his vagina intact. Later that year he met Annie Sprinkle at a New York FTM party organized by Johnny Science. They flirted but waited two weeks for his penis to finish healing. They became lovers and a film of their love-making was made by Johnny Science. Hustler   IMDB
 
Robyn Deane, Richmond, Virginia, was, pre-transition, a husband and father to three, and brother-in-law to Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia 2010-14, a right-winger opposed to gay marriage etc. Deane and McDonnel had, met when they were 22 and began dating sisters from a large Northern Virginia family.   Washington Post 
 
Jack Strano, webpage, a trans butch musician, San Francisco, the life partner of Shar Renour, who is author of The Femme’s Guide to the Universe    SFGate .

23 October 2016

René Goupil (1903 – 1973) transformiste

René Goupil started out as a window-dresser, and then, from 1932, became a minor music-hall performer in Paris.

Late in 1933, he became director of the cabaret Le Fiacre, rue Notre-Dame de Lorette, where he also performed as clown and prankster, and evolved his act as a transformiste (female impersonator), a dame act featuring a character called Odette, and then O’dett.

A year later, he bought the theatre L'Abbaye de Thélème, place Pigalle, and turned it into a cabaret which he called 'La noce (The wedding)'. Goupil’s act mocked celebrities, and featured an old woman taking pratfalls, losing her glasses etc. O’dett became one of France’s best known transformistes. Mistinguett, friend of showbiz transvestites, was also a friend of O’dett.

O'dett and Charpini
Goupil was as out as a gay performer could be in the 1930s. In 1936, he recorded Le Tsoin-tsoin. The song was a play on the name of the town Bouffémont, in the Val d'Oise. The song kept returning to lines ending in the nonsense term tsoin-tsoin: “Il passe ses journées entières à Bouffémont - tsoin-tsoin” “Son seul plaisir dans la vie, c'est Bouffémont-tsoin-tsoin”. (See below.)

O’dett was in the 1937 French film, Cinderella. In 1938, Goupil renamed l’Abbaye de Theleme as 'Chez O’dett '. Edith Piaf performed here after the murder of her manager and mentor, Louis Leplée.

In January 1940, O'dett appeared as the star of a review at ABC, where he mocked Adolf Hitler as crazy. With the German occupation a few months later he prudently withdrew to the Zone libre of southern France, and when the Germans took over that in November 1942 he moved to Monte Carlo even though it was occupied by the Italians.

He returned to Paris after the Liberation, and by 1948 was performing again. In the 1960s he became an antiques dealer.
  • Martin Pénet.  “L'expression homosexuelle dans les chansons françaises de l'entre-deux-guerres : entre dérision et ambiguïté”. Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine 4, 53-5, 2006: 106-127. Online.
  • Luc Sante. The Other Paris. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015:134.
FR.Wikipedia      DuTempsdesCerise
______________________________________________

Bouffémont is a homonym of ‘bouffé mon’. ‘bouffé’ is to eat extravagantly, perhaps excessively; ‘mon’ is ‘my’; and ‘tsoin tsoin’ is nonsense like ‘dong’.  YouTube

‘Bouffémont-tsoin-tsoin’ thereby becomes ‘ to eat and eat my dong’ - a suggestion of fellatio.

There does not seem to be any connection between ‘bouffé’ and the English restaurant word ‘buffet’ which is actually derived from a French word for side table.

O’dett never became a performer at Madame Arthur which opened in 1945, although he was only 42 at the time. As was the style between the wars, O’dett’s act was more what we would call cod drag or dame drag rather than glamour drag, although probably no more so than that of Floridor or Maslova, the original Madame Arthur stars.  And remember that across the channel, England's most popular female impersonator was Old Mother Riley.   Madame Arthur and then Le Carrousel was altered dramatically in 1951 when Coccinelle arrived. We should remember that Coccinelle was born in 1931: she was 28 years younger than O’dett. A new generation was arriving.

21 October 2016

Nicky Kiranant (1983 - ) air hostess

Chaiya was the seventh child in an impoverished farming family in Lampang, Thailand. Chaiya was observed as effeminate and admired the local kathoeys but was warned that parents of kathoeys lose face. Chaiya helped plough the rice fields and looked after the water buffalo.

At age 15 Chaiya had an ID card, and moved to Bangkok. There he initially lived with his sister. He befriended kathoeys, took an evening class and found work in a travel agency, where he worked on a tour bus.

Chaiya took courses at Chandrakasem Rajabhat University, and entered and won the Miss Le Flore ladyboy beauty contest. From university Chaiya was able to get work as a flight attendant with PB Air, even though he had never been on an airplane before. Passengers commented about a female being allowed to wear the male uniform, and one wrote to the airline complimenting them on their open-mindedness. Chaiya was then requested to wear the female uniform.

This went well, and Chaiya started to dress female in her private life as well. She consulted doctors, and, for the first time, took female hormones. She obtained approval from the executive of the airline, and the operation was performed 31 December 2005. Although there were problems with internal bleeding and closure, they were dealt with.

She asked the airline executive for permission to enter the 2006 Miss Tiffany Universe contest held in Pattaya. They not only agreed: they sponsored her. She was featured in the media as a promising candidate, and became known as Nicky. The airline was complimented for its open-mindedness. She phoned her parents, and they came around to acceptance.

Like all other sao oraphet song in Thailand, Nicky still has a male ID card. This has prevented her from obtaining jobs at other airlines after PB Air went out of business in 2009.

Despite her media celebrity, Nicky was initially stealth with her boyfriend.

Nicky has since been employed by PC Air, which has also employed three other kathoey air stewardesses including the 2007 Miss Tiffany Universe winner, Thanyarat Jiraphatpakorn.
_____________________________________________________

Nicky’s account in the Aldous/ Sereemongkonpol Ladyboy anthology does not name PB Air, and neither EN.Wikipedia nor TH.Wikipedia on PB.Air mention their sponsorship of Nicky.

The story of PB Air requesting that Chaiya wear the female uniform is in her own account in the Aldous/ Sereemongkonpol Ladyboy anthology, but is not repeated in the Bangkok Today or the Samui Holiday accounts.

15 October 2016

2 photographs from The Other Paris

The Other Paris by Luc Sante, 2015 is a recent book that tells many interesting anecdotes about Paris, but has very little to say about its trans traditions.   Homosexuality is stuck in as the last part of the chapter on prostitution, and trans only passingly within that.

However it does contains two photographs of interest.

Note: the word 'pederast' was used in French without necessarily implying intergenerational relationships.



12 October 2016

Transgender Lexicons: Raven Usher

Transgender lexicons:
Raven Usher


  •  Raven Usher. North American Lexicon of Transgender Terms. GLB Publishers 2006.
Raven Usher (1982 – ) is a writer and transgender activist in Boise, Idaho. She was editor of Diversity magazine. She has a wife and three children. She explains: “I put this together during the time I was flexing my activist muscles”.
 

Why “North American”?

Presumably to avoid getting into European and Asian terminology, although there are entries for “Katoey” (“trans-variant people as the third sex. Originated in Thailand”) and “Ladyboy” (“Very young male to female pre-op TS. Term originated in Thailand”).

But on the other hand terms that reflect North America are missing. There are no Mexican terms such as “Muxhes”, “transformista”, “maricón” or “Los 41”. Likewise there are no terms from Quebec such as “travelo” or “travestie”, nor any from the New York Ball scene such as “realness” or “throwing shade”.

There is only one aboriginal term, the Lakota term “winkte”, but she does not tell us that it is Lakota. There are entries for “two-spirit” and ‘berdache’, but Usher does not seem to know that following the First Nation/American Native convention in Winnipeg in 1990, “two-spirit” replaced ‘berdache’ because it was offensive. She actually claims that ‘berdache’ is “Originally a Native American term”, when it fact it is derived from a Persian word for a boy-prostitute that was imposed by Europeans ignorant of the two-spirit traditions.
 

Words that have since gone out of fashion

None of the definitions acknowledge that word usages change over time, and this is most apparent in “tranny” which Usher simply defines as: “abbreviation – ‘transgender’ See also: t-gurl”. Of course the term had not yet been demonized in 2006, but should not the definition stress that even more than transgender, “tranny” is a bringing together of transsexual, transvestite and drag. The variant form “transy” is not mentioned at all, and the now fashionable variant “trans” is not said to be a variant of ‘tranny’. In fact ‘trans’ is defined as “abbreviation - A gender variant person”. Is this different, if so, how?

Usher also uses 'transgendered', but then most of us did back in 2006.
 

Sexual orientation

Usher has an entry for “sexual orientation”: “The sex a person is sexually attracted to. Sexual orientation is not a factor in determining transgenderism.” There are also entries for “heterosexual”, “homosexual”, “bi-sexual”, “straight”,  "gay", “fag”, “asexual”. Some might say that these are not needed if they are not a factor. However most importantly e.g “heterosexual” is defined as “a person who is sexually attracted only to people of the opposite sex”.

But we are dealing with trans persons - which sex is opposite?  An apparent gay man will usually become a heterosexual woman after transition. So is Usher doing as Blanchard and others do (to great annoyance) and defining sexual orientation with respect to birth gender whether it is changed or not. This issue is ignored, and the words “androphilic” and “gynephilic” that many of us use to get around the problem are not in the lexicon at all.
 

Cis and drag

The various ‘cis’ terms, although they have been around since the 1990s, are not included, and “genetic boy”, “genetic girl” are used despite the objections that have been raised against them. Usher is emphatic that drag queens and drag kings are not transgender, but offers no other term for the many trans women and a few trans men who went though drag performance and later completed a full transition.
 

Femmophile and fetish

There is an entry for “femmophile”: “A heterosexual male with a strong love of the feminine but may or may not be transgendered. See also: trans-variant”. Is this Virginia Prince’s ‘femmiphilic”? Why the spelling change? Of Prince’s jargon terms only “second self” is in the lexicon, but not ‘male woman’, ‘dual personality’ ‘girl within’, ‘whole girl fetishist”. So why a slight variation on one Princian term?   Or to take a different approach, if the term is not Princian, why are gay transvestites not allowed to be femmophilic.

There is also no mention at all of autogynephila. The closest approach is fetish: “aka ‘sexual fetish’ A person who wears particular pieces of clothing of the a gender other than their own for sexual gratification. Fetishes are not transgendered”.
 

Pronouns

The only non-binary pronouns given are ze/hir. For some reason Usher refers to ze/hir as "Spivakian" without explaining what that is. I had to look it up: however Spivak’s proposed pronouns are e/eir.  Ze/hir is more associated with Leslie Feinberg.
 

Conclusions

The final entry in the lexicon is: “50% rule: Statistic that states, '50% of all transsexuals will die by their early thirties. A small number die from violence, disease or other common causes. Most commit suicide.' ” No citation is given for this claim. Even if it were true, it would be necessary to explain that those who commit suicide do so because of transphobia. This entry like this without citation and explanation should not be in a lexicon.

There is an ideology in this lexicon.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it should be admitted in an introductory essay.

The lexicon is available on Kindle for less than $1.

 The Inland Revenue Service Library has acquired a printed copy.  I wonder what they make of it?
 
Amazon    Blog

09 October 2016

The Rudy-Donald drag show.

I have featured this clip before, but it has a topical resonance again.