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!

20 May 2017

John Ronald Brown: part II.

Continued from Part I.

John Ronald Brown was 69 when he got out of prison. After a period working as a taxi driver, he restarted his surgical practice in Tijuana, but this time also lived in Mexico for a while. He sometimes used the pseudonym of Juan Moreno, and as such had operating room privileges at Hospital Quintana in Playas de Tijuana, although he was not licensed to practice medicine in Mexico. By now he was favoring colon vaginoplasty. Patients would afterwards find that they smelt of rotting flesh. Many of these returned to Brown for revision (and extra billing); others ended up in emergency rooms.

Carrie, who had had vaginoplasty with a European surgeon in 1991, engaged Brown ln 1995 to enhance her labia so that she would be more in demand for nude modeling. He took a layer of skin from the inside of her mouth to sew onto her genitals. She was sent home without antibiotics or pain medicine, and it took three months to heal. A year later Brown came to her Los Angeles home to correct the results by injecting silicone.

Camille, previously an insurance underwriter, had vaginoplasty from Brown in 1997, and he punctured her rectum. Despite this she was sent home without medications or follow-up care. She then needed hospitalization for several days because of pain, complications and infections, and the recto-vaginal fistula continued to leak into her vagina. She became a stay-in, not able to go anywhere.

Mimi, who was also beautiful, was well pleased with her operation, and Brown featured her in a
promotional video.

He had an advertising brochure:
The prettiest pussies are John Brown pussies.
The happiest patients are John Brown patients.
Because . . .
1. Each has a sensitive clit.
2. All (99%) get orgasms.
3. Careful skin draping gives a natural appearance.
4. Men love the pretty pussies and the sexy response.
Gregg Furth was a Jungian analyst who had worked with John Money on a body-modification yearning for which John Money had coined a term: apotemnophilia (the desire to have a leg amputated). They published a paper on it in 1977.

Furth experienced the yearning himself, as did his older friend, Philip Bondy, a retired satellite engineer. They built up a collection of photographs, slides and videos of male amputees.

Furth came across a newspaper article about John Brown, and flew to San Diego. He found Brown quite open-minded about a would-be amputee’s right to choose. In February 1997, Furth returned for the operation, but it was cancelled after the assisting doctor in Tijuana refused to participate when he realized just what was to happen. In 1999 they tried again. However on arrival, Furth found that his desire to be amputated had disappeared. Bondy stepped in to take the operation in his place. However he died two days later of gangrene in a motel in California. Brown was arrested and tried by the San Diego authorities, even though the operation had been done in Tijuana. 

The medical receipts showed that Bondy had paid Brown to do the amputation. This mystified the San Diego police, until trans activist Dallas Denny phoned in and suggested that they read up on apotemnophilia. This was confirmed by a police search of Furth’s apartment in New York.

The charge against Brown was upgraded from manslaughter to malice murder in the second degree, which means that the defendant does something that is dangerous to human life, knowing it is dangerous to human life and does it anyway. To make that charge stick, the prosecution needed to demonstrate that Brown had a history of being reckless. The video tapes in Brown’s apartment helped, but they also needed to find transsexuals who would testify against him.

Christina had mortgaged her house to pay for surgeries, 10 altogether, by Brown. However the skin grafts inside her vagina were so thin that they tore during intercourse. Also Brown had removed her lower ribs to give a more feminine waist: she developed an abscess there as big as a basketball. Her nose job resulted in different sized nostrils, one turned up. Brown felt bad enough that he phoned to offer a $500 refund. Her mother told him that her son had committed suicide.

Before the trial, brown pleaded guilty to practicing medicine without a license, relating to seven sex-change operations.

Carrie and Camille testified for the prosecution. Patrice Baxter was a witness for the defense. Brown was found guilty in October 1999 and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, which he mainly served in Soledad State Prison.

Gregg Furth had met with Dr Robert Smith, a surgeon in Glasgow who had performed two elective amputations, but was then told to stop by his Hospital Trust. They wrote a book on the subject of apotemnophilia which came out in 2000.

Brown appealed in 2001, but unsuccessfully, his lawyer arguing that California was without
Brown in Soledad
jurisdiction to try him, and that the instructions on implied malice were inadequate.

For Camille, the pain got worse and worse until she died, shortly after Brown’s conviction.

Still in prison, aged 87, Brown died of health problems including pneumonia in 2010.


John Brown did over 600 mtf sex-change operations over 25 years. Some of his ex-patients are still delighted with his work. Many others are not. The motivation to trust your body to him was the apparent low price, but if you had complications, and returned for repair work, this lower price quickly disappeared.

Dallas Denny’s “The Tijuana experiencestarts with a quote from Canary Conn. This is unfair. Conn was operated on in Tijuana in 1972 but by Dr Barbosa (named as Dr Lopez in her book). Brown did not start doing sex-change surgery until 1973, and did not set up in Tijuana until 1982.

I like Wendy Davidson’s idea of a peer clinic run by trans persons. It would need to contract with surgeons who were consistently rather than only intermittently good.

Cutting off someone’s leg and leaving them to die is against the law in Mexico. In addition Brown was not licensed to practice medicine in Mexico. As the crime was committed there, they should have had the first shot at prosecution. For another example of US extraterritorial enforcement see Walter L. Williams.

The EN.Wikipedia article on Apotemniphilia does not even mention John Brown.

The Murderpedia article on John Brown says “Number of victims: 1”. Camille and Christina are known to have died as a result of Brown’s bad surgey, and there are certainly others not identified.

Nicole Spray put comments on this blog in 2010 hoping to contact other patients of John Brown. I hope that that worked out well.

There are two doctor characters in fiction who could be taken to be satires of John Brown – except that they predate his work as a surgeon:
1. Dr Montag who helps Myra Breckinrige come into being in Gore Vidal’s 1968 novel.
2. Dr Benway who recurs in William Burrough’s novels including Naked Lunch, 1959 and Nova Express, 1964. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Season 5, 2004, featured a surgeon called Benway who accidentally kills patients during back-alley transgender surgery.
  • Herb Caen. “Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery”. San Francisco Chronicle, 26 October 1973.
  • John Money, Russell Jobaris & Gregg Furth, "Apotemnophilia: Two cases of self demand amputation as a sexual preference". The Journal of Sex Research. 13 (2) 1977: 115–124.
  • “Transsexual Accepts Suit Settlement”. San Diego Union, March 2, 1979. Online.
  • Eric Nadler. “The Incredible Dick Doctor” Penthouse Forum, January 1986: 18-25.
  • Veronica Jean Brown. “He’s Back !”. Twenty Minutes, September 1989: 3-4. Online.
  • Dallas Denny. “The Tijuana experience”. Alicia’s TV Girl Talk, 4(9), 18, 1992. Online.
  • Bill Callahan. “Ex-doctor who served time faces murder charge”. The San Diego Union-Tribune. May 23, 1998.
  • Paul Ciotti. “Why Did He Cut Off That Man's Leg?: The Peculiar Practice of Dr. John Ronald Brown”. LA Weekly. Dec 15, 1999. Online.
  • Dallas Denny. “Tabletop” John Brown gets his. Transgender Forum, 1999. Online.
  • Michelle Williams. “Transsexuals Tell of Botched Surgeries by Former Doctor”. Associated Press, 29 September 1999. Online.
  • “People v. Brown”. Findlaw, August 02, 2001. Online.
  • Michelle Moore. “Butcher John Ronald Brown”., 2002.
  • Gregg Furth & Robert Smith. Apotemnophilia: Information, Questions, Answers, and Recommendations About Self-Demand Amputation. 1stBooks, 2000.
  • Chuck Whitlock. MediScams: How to Spot and Avoid Health Care Scams, Medical Frauds, and Quackery from the Local Physician to the Major Health Care Providers and Drug Manufacturers. Renaissance Books, 2001: chp1; 23-34.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2002: 234, 271-2.
  • Vern L Bullough. “Introduction”. In J. Ari Kane-Demaios and Vern L. Bullough (eds) Crossing Sexual Boundaries: Transgender Journeys, Uncharted Paths. Prometheus Books, 2005: 21-2.
  • Robin Marantz Henig. “At War With Their Bodies, They Seek to Sever Limbs”. The New York Times”, March 22, 2005. Online.
  • World's Worst Sex Change Surgeon, dir & scr: Jonah Weston, narrated by Mark Bazeley. UK Channel 4, 10 Apr 2007, 45 mins
  • Carol Anne Davis. Doctors Who Kill: Profiles of Lethal Medics. Allison & Busby, 2011. Chp 27.
  • Bianca London. “Transgender woman left disabled and horrifically disfigured by her plastic surgery addiction warns of dangers of 'quick fixes' and backstreet doctors”. The Daily Mail, 20 August 2013. Online.
  • Stephen. “John Ronald Brown: World’s Worst Sex Change Surgeon”. Stranger than Fiction, April 21, 2016. Online.

Murderpedia     Wikipedia

19 May 2017

John Ronald Brown (1922 - 2010) surgeon - Part I

 I wrote a shorter version of this in August 2007.   This version goes into more details, about his legal troubles, his patients etc.   

John Brown was born in 1922, the son of a Mormon physician. He grew up in Arizona and Utah. He was drafted in the Second World War, and, excelling on the General Classification Test, was sent by the army to medical school. He graduated from the University Of Utah School Of Medicine in August 1947. His first wife ran off with his best friend; his second died of cancer. After twenty years as a general practitioner, he took a program in plastic surgery at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, passed the written exam easily, but failed the oral.

From 1966-8 almost all transgender surgery in the US was done in university gender identity clinics. Georg Burou’s penile inversion technique that he pioneered in Casablanca was becoming better known, and in 1968 Stanley Biber, a doctor-surgeon at the Mount San Rafael hospital in Trinidad, a mining town in Colorado, who had had extensive surgical experience with the US Army during the Korean War, started doing vaginoplasties, using diagrams that he had obtained from Johns Hopkins Hospital based on Dr Burou’s technique.

February 2-4, 1973, saw the Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Gender Dysphoria Syndrome sponsored by the Divisions of Urology and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Stanford School of Medicine. Its principal architect and chairman was Donald R. Laub, M.D., Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. A highlight was the presentation of his techniques by Dr Georges Burou; John Brown also made a presentation, that was well received, doctors at that time not being aware of the idiosyncrasies of his practice. Vern Bullough: “the case of John Brown, who Zelda Suplee, my wife Bonnie, and myself at least halfway encouraged to do transsexual surgery, a recommendation we quickly regretted”.

John Brown set up business as a doctor-surgeon in San Francisco. His assistant was James Spence who had a criminal record but no medical training. Julie approached Brown and Spence about breast implants, and they, assuring her that she would be a ‘perfect woman’, talked her into a full operation. This was one of Brown’s first vaginoplasties; he was assisted by Spence. However unlike Dr Biber, Brown did not have surgical experience and he did not have operating room privileges. However he did network with trans activists.

Another trans woman, Wendy Davidson, who was attempting to organize peer clinics run by transsexuals, also worked with Brown for a while, as did Donna Colvin. Colvin later reported that he shot up valium before surgery, performed on kitchen tables and in hotel rooms. Brown also met with Angela Douglas, who later explained: “‘He wanted to help aid me and came up with several thousand dollars cash to help publish Mirage Magazine. In exchange, I promoted him considerably’.

In October Brown’s work was mentioned sarcastically in Herb Caen’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Journalist Paul Ciotti followed up and was invited to a dinner party where a pitch was made by James Spence to a group of urologists, proctologists and internists. Spence was hoping to establish what he projected to be the finest sex-change facility anywhere in the US. Dinner was served by several transsexuals, who were awaiting surgery. When asked how candidates would be selected for surgery, Spence replied: “It takes one to know one. We let other transsexuals make the decision. They can tell best when someone is a true transsexual — a woman trapped in a man’s body." His surgical method centered on using the glans penis to form a clitoris, and lining the vagina with scrotal skin. Ciotti says of Brown: “he came across as genial, knowledgeable and obviously quite proud of his technique. There was a certain naiveté (and even passivity) about him that struck me as surprising in a surgeon”.

However by January 1974 Brown and Spence were at odds.

In 1977 Brown performed vaginoplasty on Angela Douglas who paid around $600. She described him as one who "fed, housed, paid and helped hundreds, and gave free or nearly free surgery to at least two hundred of us". Another patient that year was Nicole Spray.

Later that year, the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance revoked Brown’s medical license for "gross negligence, incompetence and practicing unprofessional medicine in a manner which involved moral turpitude". This was partly based on his practice of doing vaginoplasty on an out-patient basis, not in a properly equipped surgical theater, and having patients work as medical assistants as part of their barter for their own surgery. He also misrepresented transgender surgery on insurance forms as "the congenital absence of a vagina". Despite this, the judge also filed a memorandum opinion that Brown was a pioneer making innovative contributions in transsexual surgery: perhaps a better resolution would be to include Brown in a medically recognized organization, with others selecting the patients and providing post-operative care.

In 1979 Julie sued, saying that the operation had left her neither male nor female. She sued for $7 million, but settled out-of-court for significantly less, but “enough for psychiatric care help for the rest of Julie’s life and a new operation”. Brown’s lawyer made the offer after psychiatrist Kathleen Unger testified that the patient would be a mental cripple for the rest of her life.

Brown worked and successively lost permission to practice in Hawaii, Alaska and St Lucia. In 1981, in St Lucia, he, then 59, contracted an arranged marriage to a 17-year-old, who did not speak English. He taught her the language, and they had two sons.

He then returned to southern California and began an underground practice operating in Tijuana. Tijuana was already a known destination for transsexual surgery. The most eminent surgeon was Jose Jesus Barbosa who worked with Harry Benjamin, and who was the surgeon for Canary Conn and Lynn Conway.

Most of Brown’s patients were trans women who could not afford Dr Biber or Dr Barbosa, or did not meet the requirements re time on hormones, psychiatrist’s referral etc. One patient at this time was Monique Allen, who had vaginoplasty at age 22, and came to Brown for enhancements. She would continue with various other doctors, and eventually had over 200 plastic surgeries.

Patrice Baxter, a cis woman, also had a surgery business in Tijuana. She met Brown, and became a long-time friend and business partner. She also went to Brown for a tummy-tuck, a face-lift and breast implants. Several of her friends and relatives were also operated on: her granddaughter had her ears fixed so that they did not stick out. Brown used Baxter’s home in Mexico for patient postoperative care. By this time he was charging $2,500 for a vaginoplasty – although many of his patients never paid. Baxter was quoted by Ciotti: “"He was brilliant, but he had no common sense. He would walk through plate-glass doors. He couldn’t balance his checkbook." Sometimes in the middle of a conversation he’d just pick up a magazine and begin to read. His bedside manner was no great shakes, either. "He tended to mumble. He didn’t hold your hand." But so what? She asks. "He wasn’t a general practitioner," he was a surgeon.

In 1985 a then-19-year-old had surgery that was so successful that her husband never guessed her past. She later became a manager for an airline. Ann, a traumatized Cambodian who had fled the Khmer Rouge was also pleased with her surgery and became a stripper in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.

On the other hand it was estimated that at least 70 of Brown’s transgender patients ended up with permanent colostomies. UC San Diego plastic-surgery professor Jack Fisher repaired 15 or so of Brown’s disasters: “"He’s a terrible, appalling technical surgeon. There’s just no other way to describe it. He doesn’t know how to make a straight incision. He doesn’t know how to hold a knife. He has no regard for limiting blood loss."

Brown started offering penis enlargements – he did this by cutting the suspensor ligament holding the penis root to the pubic bone. He ran advertisements in The Advocate, and in 1984 he held a seminar in San Francisco – entrance fee $25 per person. He was arrested for medical fraud. However it took four years to come to trial.

Meanwhile, in 1986 Penthouse Forum featured this as a cover story "The Incredible Dick Doctor”.  The article portrayed Brown as an inattentive driver who backed into other cars, and whose trousers fell down in the operating room. The television news magazine Inside Edition followed up with an investigative story on The Worst Doctor in America. Brown actually co-operated with the film crew.

Brown pleaded no contest to the fraud charges in 1989, was fined $1,000 and sentenced to four months in jail, but served only 30 days.

In transsexual circles Brown came to be known as 'Butcher Brown', but patients still came.

After the broadcast of the Inside Edition program, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation that led to Brown’s conviction in 1990, and a sentence of three years for practicing medicine without a license. Several trans woman, ex-patients, showed up to express support for previous work. His wife, the one from St Lucia, now divorced him, although they remained on good terms. He served 19 months.

Continued in Part II.

09 May 2017

Transgender lexicons: John Money 2: other words

Transgender lexicons:

Virginia Prince
Rose White
Raven Usher
Chris Bartlett
Jack Molay
Raphael Carter
John Money – part 1: gender and transexual

Other Words in Money’s Glossaries:

Man & Woman, Boy & Girl

Gynandromorphy: woman-man-shape. Thus, literally, the term means having some of the body morphology and measurements of an average woman, and some of an average man, or being at neither extreme.

Paraphilia/paraphiliac: a psychological condition of being obsessively responsive to, and dependent on an unusual or unacceptable stimulus in order to have a state of sexual arousal initiated or maintained.

The Man Who Invented Gender: “Although the Oxford English Dictionary records the first usage of paraphilia in 1925, it was largely Money who popularized the term among psychologists. Eventually, the word replaced perversions in psychiatric literature.“

Love and Love Sickness:

Allosex-avoidancy: a socially dictated constraint on personal disclosure to members of the other, but not one’s own, sex. It affects both behaviour (as in locker-room nudity, for example) and communication, as in sexual joking.

Androgynophilia: erotosexual pairing with a man and a woman serially or simultaneously by a member of either sex.

Andromimetic: a girl or woman being a person manifesting the features or qualities of a male in bodily appearance, dress and behaviour. There is no fixed vernacular synonym except, maybe, a bull dyke, that is a female homosexual who lives in the role of a man. She may request breast removal, but not genital surgery, and usually not hormones to masculinize the voice, beard and body hair.

Apotemnophilia: the condition of being dependent on being an amputee, or fantasying oneself as an amputee, in order to obtain erotic arousal.

(Comment: later, several other sexologists have either discussed or facilitated apotemnophilia. Russell Reid referred two such patients to a surgeon; Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence gave papers at the Third International Body Integrity Disorder Meeting in 2003 comparing apotemnophilia to Gender Identity Disorder; in 1999 Dr John Brown removed a leg from an apotemnophiliac who subsequently died: Brown was then imprisoned.)

Gynandromorphy: woman-man-shape. Thus, literally, the term means having some of the body morphology and measurements of an average woman, and some of an average man, or being at neither extreme.

Gynecomimetic: a boy or man being a person manifesting the features or qualities of a female in bodily appearance, dress and behaviour. Specifically, a drag queen, which is the vernacular term for a male homosexual who lives in the role of a woman. He retains his male genitals, even though he may take hormones to grow breasts.

Gynophila – Money’s spelling for gynephilia.

Sexosophy: the body of knowledge that comprises the philosophy, principles, and knowledge that people have about their own personally experienced erotic sexuality and that of other people, singly and collectively.

(Comment: as opposed to Sexology, the science of sex).

Other words used by John Money :

Abidance: continuing to remain, be sustained, or survive in the same condition or circumstances.

Ambisexual -- an alternate term for ‘bisexual’, first cited in the OED for 1938. Money claimed to have been one of the first to use the term, but later dismissed it as meaning nothing different from ‘bisexual’.

Autoagonistophilia: pleasure from being viewed while having sex.

(Other writers spell it Autagonistophilia. Presumably the term, or simply autagonist, could also be used for a kind of exhibitionist drag queen who is not able to simply transvest, but is insistent on being read; likewise the kind of transsexual who cannot simply be a woman, but demands that everyone be aware of her transition. Money does not get into a discussion of this.)

Biologically devout -- explaining sexuality and gender identity purely in terms of DNA, hormones etc.

(Comment: there should be a matching term for explaining sexuality and gender identity purely in terms of family, society, social construction, self fashioning etc – but what would that be?)

Biophilia – forms of sexual desire that lead to procreation. See also Normaphilia.

(Comment: the word is also used by Erich Fromm and then Edward O Wilson for the proposed human tendency to seek connections with other life forms. EN.Wikipedia)

Extraspective – the outward observation of things, the default way to observe, the opposite to Introspective. Normally this would not need a name, in that all life forms do it without knowing about introspection. However in Money’s “gender indentity/role (G_I/R” the two complement each other.

Fuckology – a synonym for sexology. Sometimes spelt with a ‘ph’. In 1996 Money presented a paper to the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and therapists which he titled: “Fuckology: The Science We Lack”. There is a 2015 anthology of papers: Fuckology: Critical Essays on John Money’s Diagnostic Concepts.

Homosexology/Heterosexology – a division of sexology by its two major orientations.

Indicatrons “In recognition of the fact that psychology’s units of raw data all serve to indicate something or other to the psychologist or scientist, they can all be categorized as indicatrons.

Katharma. A word to be preferred over ‘freak’. “A person whose social stigmata need to be cleansed by society so that he may become a rightful member of the human race.

Normaphilia – any form of sexual desire that is socially accepted.

Paleodigm: an ancient example or model of a concept, explanation, instruction idea or notion, preserved in the folk wisdom of mottos, maxims, proverbs, superstitions, incantations, rhymes, songs, fables, myths, parables, revered writings, sacred books, dramas, and visual emblems. Paleodigmatics is the organized body of knowledge of paleodigms.

Pedeiktophilia: penile exhibition.

(Comment: because this word starts with ‘ped’, many will take it as having something to do with pedophilia.)

Quim and swive: In neither the standard English vocabulary of literature and science, nor the vernacular vocabulary of uncensored speech, are there terms by which to distinguish what the woman does to the man, in the procreative act, from what the man does to the woman.

The two words, from olden English, best fit the need. Either can be noun or verb.

(Comment: Most online sites that define swive use it for either the male or the female action. Most sites give quim only as a noun, not as a verb.)

Sexual orientation -- Money pushed for this term rather than ‘sexual preference’ in that it is less judgemental and that attraction is not necessarily a matter of free will.

Spookological: “That which is not biological is occult, mystical or, to coin a term, spookological.”

Transvesticism – sometimes used instead of transvestism.

Ycleptance: namimg and being named.

08 May 2017

Transgender lexicons: John Money 1: gender and transexual

Transgender lexicons:

Virginia Prince
Rose White
Raven Usher
Chris Bartlett
Jack Molay
Raphael Carter
John Money

John Money coined a lot of words, and took other existing words and made them his own. Man & Woman, Boy & Girl: Differentiation and Dimorphism of Gender Identity from Conception to Maturity, 1972 (co-authored by Anke A. Ehrhardt) and Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference, and Pair Bonding, 1980 both contain extensive glossaries – 16 pages in the former, 17 in the latter, but actually do not contain most of his neologisms. More than that, the glossaries contain both words in general usage and Money’s coinings. Unfortunately, unlike Jack Molay, Money does not indicate his own coinings e.g with an *.

On the other hand Terry Goldie’s The Man Who Invented Gender: Engaging the Ideas of John Money, 2014, had Index entries for most of Money’s neologisms, and chapter 6 is “The Edge of the Alphabet: Neologisms”.

Goldie writes: “Money loved jargon and creating jargon. He seemed to have no idea in sexology for which he did not want to find a Latin or Greek word. “ (p148-9)

Money is, of course, most associated with the term gender, so let us start there.


Man & Woman, Boy & Girl:

gender identity: the sameness, unity, and persistence of one’s individuality as male or female (or ambivalent), in greater or lesser degree, especially as it is experienced in self-awareness and behaviour. Gender identity is the private experience of gender role, and gender role is the public expression of gender identity.

gender role: everything that a person says and does, to indicate to others or to the self the degree in which one is male or female or ambivalent. It includes but is not restricted to sexual arousal and response. Gender role is the public expression of gender identity, and gender identity is the private experience of gender role.

Love and Love Sickness: (8 years later)

gender: one’s personal, social and legal status as male or female or mixed, on the basis of somatic and behavioural criteria more inclusive than the genital criterion alone.

gender indentity/role (G_I/R): gender identity is the private experience of gender role, and gender role is public manifestation of gender identity. Gender identity is the sameness, unity, and persistence of one’s individuality as male, female, or ambivalent, in greater or lesser degree, especially as it is experienced in self-awareness and behaviour. Gender role is everything that a person says and does to indicate to others or to the self the degree that one is either male or female, or ambivalent; it includes but is not restricted to sexual arousal and response.

And 4 years after that:

In 1984, Money presented a paper “The Conceptual Neutering of Gender and the Criminalization of Sex”.* In it he surveys the changes in the use of the word during the 30 years since he had introduced it in 1955. ``As originally defined, gender role consists of both introspective and the extraspective manifestations of the concept. In general usage, the introspective manifestations soon became separately known as gender identity. The acronym, G-I/R, being singular, restores the unity of the concept. Without this unity, gender role has become a socially transmitted acquisition, divorced from the biology of sex and the brain.”

He notes that “people adopted the term and gave it their own definition”. The first change was to separate gender identity and gender role; the second was the separation of sex from gender as “heralded in the title of Stoller’s book, Sex and Gender (1968)”. He continues: “Many textbooks … now introduce the definition of gender by defining sex as a biological entity -- and as what one is born with. Gender is a social entity, which one acquires after birth, and gender role is the social casting or ordainment of gender. This is the strategy by which gender role has been neutered. It has become devoid of any connection with biology and reproduction. It is defined instead as the product of social history, with male and female roles having been more or less arbitrarily assigned on the basis of male superiority and female inferiority.”

Money also includes the rather odd observation:

“The discordancy that exists in the case of transsexualism is so complete that, in technical jargon, gender identity is sometimes used as an attribute of only the discordant cases. One effect of this usage has been that some theoreticians of homosexuality have been entrapped into attributing a male gender identity to all homosexuals, provided they do not repudiate their self-declared status as male. The qualifier is then added that the homosexual, despite a male identity, has a male object choice or sexual preference. This nomenclature is totally illogical in cases of gynemimetic homosexuals, or drag queens, who impersonate women in variable degrees on a full-time basis. It is more straightforward to attribute to homosexuals a gender identity that is homoerotic, and in its nonerotic components may or may not conform to the masculine stereotype.”
(Comment: Money’s concept of “gender indentity/role (G_I/R)” makes sense in terms of the work that he was doing in the mid-1950s with intersex persons with the same DNA/hormonal conditions who stayed with the gender of rearing, whichever it was. However once the concept of ‘gender’ was released to the wider world, other uses were found for the term. This was inevitable, as it would be for any word that is as useful as ‘gender’. Money is particularly insensitive to feminist usages of ‘gender’ as a social construction and as a system of oppression.

With all respect for Money’s role in enabling transgender surgery at Johns Hopkins, “gender indentity/role (G_I/R” ) renders null the dynamic behind transsexuality. As it consists of “both introspective and the extraspective manifestations” of gender such that they reinforce each other, he is talking of cis gender. In a trans person there is a discrepancy between gender (role) and gender identity, and the act of transition is to change one’s gender (role) to align it with one’s gender identity.)

A note on the word ‘transexual”.

‘transexual’ (one S) was coined by David Cauldwell. Harry Benjamin went with the two-S spelling, but Money retained Cauldwell’s one-S spelling. Article.

Riki Anne Wilchins and others proclaimed that they spelt the word with one S to avoid medical implications. I never understood that claim. One-S, two-S -- it was a choice between Cauldwell-Money on one side and Benjamin on the other. Both have medical implications. To avoid such one needs to say ‘transsexuality’ rather than ‘transsexualism’.

* “The Conceptual Neutering of Gender and the Criminalization of Sex” was first given 20 September 1984 as a lecture at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research, Cambridge. It was published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, 14, 1985: 279-290. It was reprinted as the penultimate chapter in John Money. Venuses Penuses: Sexology, Sexosophy and Exigency Theory, 1986.

Continued in part II

30 April 2017

Defenestration in Brooklyn

Duberman’s Stonewall book mentions the gay rights pioneer activist, Bob Kohler (1926-2007):
“Kohler would give the young queens clothing and change, or sometimes pay for a room in a local fleabag hotel; and when out walking his dog, he would sit on a park bench with them and listen to their troubles and dreams. He was able to hear their pain even as he chuckled at their antic. …
Yet for all their wit and style, Kohler never glamorized street queens as heroic deviants pushing against rigid gender categories, self-conscious pioneers of a boundary-free existence. He knew too much about the misery of their lives. He knew a drugged-out queen who fell asleep on a rooftop and lay in the sun so long that she ended up near death with a third-degree burn. He knew ‘cross-eyed Cynthia’, killed when she was pushed out of a window of the St George Hotel in Brooklyn – and another ‘Sylvia’, who jumped off its roof.”
Wallace Hamilton (1919-1983) had an apartment in Greenwich Village where he welcomed many gay persons. In his memoir, Christopher and Gay, he recounts meetings with ‘Wanda’.
“She had brought in the street, the night’s affairs, the reality of the city, and, with a kind of bizarre hyperbole, broke through the shells of private fantasy that had shut the city out. … Wanda was a queen of brash Auntie Mame femininity. Slight, dark-haired, with a chiselled face, she could wear ordinary male clothes and still come on as womanhood personified. She was a queen who didn’t need drag. …
I’d heard about Wanda’s death from someone on Christopher Street early one evening … The story was that he (sic) had fallen or been pushed out of the fifteenth floor of a hotel in Brooklyn. Since he had no identification on him, the body had lain unclaimed in the morgue for several days before any of his friends had been able to trace him down. He had no family in evidence, and was ready for Potter’s field.”

Is ‘Wanda’ the same person as ‘cross-eyed Cynthia’?

Both names seem to be pseudonyms. Hamilton’s account would date the death to 1971. The account in Duberman is placed in the book just before the Stonewall riots, and therefore suggests 1969, but actually the quoted section is a summary of Kohler’s list of street queens that he had known who met unfortunate deaths. Duberman interviewed Kohler many years later for his 1993 book. Thus Cynthia’s death could be in 1971.

Or perhaps more than one street queen was defenestrated from the St George Hotel!

What do we know about the St George Hotel in Brooklyn?

Here is an article on the hotel. It was built in stages between 1885 and 1929. It was once the largest
hotel in New York City. It contains the Clark Street subway entrance. It fell into disrepair. By the early 1970s homeless people and AIDS patients were being placed there by city agencies. In 1995 most of the interior was destroyed by a massive fire. Today most of it is student housing.

  • Wallace Hamilton. Christopher and Gay ; a Partisan's View of the Greenwich Village Homosexual Scene. Saturday Review Press, 1973: 8-9. 57-9 .
  • Martin Duberman. Stonewall. A Plume Book, 1994: 188-9.

24 April 2017

Recurring Untruths: Edward Hyde–Part II

The only detailed biography of Edward Hyde is:

  • Patricia U. Bonomi. The Lord Cornbury Scandal The Politics of Reputation in British America. The University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

She had earlier published articles that became part of the book: in The William and Mary Quarterly and in the Times literary Supplement.

What is the actual evidence, or what passes as such from the 18th century?


During Edward Hyde’s governorship, three colonists wrote letters that alleged that the governor did transvest.

Robert Livingstone returned to Albany County, New York in 1706 after three years in London. He wrote to the Treasury office the next year that he had heard such extraordinary stories
“that I durst not attempt to give your honour an account of them as not being possible to be believed … Tis said that he is wholly addicted to his pleasure … his dressing himself in womens Cloths Commonly [every] morning is so unaccountable that if hundreds of spectators did not dayly see him it would be incredible.” (p158)

Lewis Morris, a political nemesis of Hyde, wrote two letters of interest.

The first, dated from internal evidence to 1707:
“the Scandal of his life is … he rarely fails of being dresst in Women’s Cloaths every day, and almost half his time is spent that day, and seldome misses it on a Sacrament day, was in that Garb when his dead Lady was carried out of the Fort, and this not privately but in the face of the Sun and sight of the Town”.
And dated 9 February 1708:
“of whom I must say something which perhaps no boddy will think their while to tell, and that is his dressing publiqly on womans Cloaths Every day and putting a Stop to all publique business while he is pleasing himself with that peculiar but detestable maggot”. (p159-160)

Elias Neau, a catechist, writing just after Hyde’s public dispute with two Anglican ministers:
“My Lord Cornbury has and dos still make use of an unfortunate Custom of dressing himself in Womens Cloaths and of exposing himself in that Garb upon the Ramparts to the view of the public; in that dress he draws a World of Spectators about him and consequently as many Censures, especially for exposing himself un such a manner all the great Holy days and even in an hour or two after going to the Communion.” (p161)

The Painting

Who painted the portrait and when, exactly, is unknown. It was discovered in England, not in New York. It was found in the family collection of the Pakington family in Worcestershire ( a family not associated by either marriage or blood with the Hyde family).

After almost a century the rumours about Hyde had died down, and been forgotten. In 1796, the writer – and lover of gossip, Horace Walpole (himself given to occasional transvesting), and a fellow gossip, Gilly Williams visited Sylvester Douglas, Lord Glenbervie. They talked of the society beauty, Catherine Hyde (1701-1777), Duchess of Queensbury by marriage, the daughter of Henry Hyde, Edward’s cousin, who became the 4th Earl of Clarendon. From there the conversation drifted to Edward.

As Douglas recorded in his diary: Walpole repeated the rumour that Edward Hyde in New York had dressed to represent his queen. Williams added extra, otherwise unrecorded, and not repeated by later writers. His father
“told him that he had done business with him [Hyde] in woman’s clothes. He used to sit at the open window so dressed, to the great amusement of the neighbours. He employed always the most fashionable milliner, shoemaker, staymaker, etc. Mr Williams has seen a picture of him at Sir Herbert Packingington’s in Worcestershire, in a gown, stays, tucker, long ruffles, cap, etc.”

The very next year, 1796, a letter to an art cataloguer from the son of Lord Sandys of Worcestershire described one of the paintings as “The Second E. of Clarendeon in womens’ cloaths”. Edward Hyde was of course the 3rd Earl. His father Henry was the 2nd.

1795-6 was a time was transvesting was topical in that Charlotte D’Eon having returned to England, was living as female and giving exhibition fencing matches.

There was no further claim of a painting of any Earl of Clarendon transvesting until 1867 when the painting that we now know was publically displayed in an exhibition of national portraits at the South Kensington Museum (now known as the Victoria and Albert Museum). For the occasion, a label was attached. However it was not a usual art curator’s description, but a quotation (see Part I) from Agnes Strickland. Strickland, in her books, Lives of the Queens of England, had given only one source [also not repeated in later claims], a letter written in Hanover in 1714 by German diplomat Hans Caspar von Bothmer who was the Hanoverian representative at the court of Queen Anne. Bothmer supposedly repeated a rumour that Hyde, while in ‘the Indies” dressed to represent his queen. This letter is unknown other than for Strickland’s claim.

The New York Daily Tribune reported on the exhibition. It discussed the painting, and repeated the quote from Strickland. This was the first mention of the painting in New York or elsewhere in North America.

Is the painting of a man or a woman?

Bonomi quotes Robin Gibson of the National Portrait Gallery, the expert on the Hyde family paintings known as the Clarendon Collection. Of the painting that we are considering: “I feel certain that the so-called portrait of Lord Cornbury is a perfectly straightforward British provincial portrait of a rather plain woman circa 1710.
” The painting was unlikely to be done on the colonies. .. Although I do not think it would be possible to identify either the artist or the sitter of the portrait in question, it seems to me the sort of portrait which might have been painted of a well-to-do woman living well outside London society, perhaps in the north of England. It is not necessarily of a member of the aristocracy.”
Could it be a caricature of Hyde?
“Caricature portrait paintings (certainly in Britain at this date) are unknown to me and extremely rare at any time. Any caricature would have taken the form of an engraving or drawing.” (p19)

The painting in New York

The painting was put up for auction in 1952, and was then acquired by the New York Historical Society, where it is now on display.

Other paintings

Here is a portrait, probably of Edward Hyde, in 1681, when he was 19. Compare the faces. Does it look like the same person?

And here is a portrait of Henry Hyde, the future 2nd Earl of Clarendon, in 1643 when he was 4.  Could this have been the picture referred to by the son of Lord Sandys?


None of Livingstone, Morris and Neau say that they actually saw Hyde dressed in ‘womens Cloaths’. Nor do they name any person, of any rank who so saw. This despite the claim that Hyde had transvested before the full New York Assembly, and on the city ramparts.

In a court of law ‘evidence’ such as this would be dismissed as hearsay, and not admitted.

Incidentally not one of Livingstone, Morris and Neau is quoted by 20th century writers who tell of Edward Hyde.

The letters, sent to authorities in London, were not acted on. The claims were not consistent with other accounts, and as said, no witnesses were ever named or recorded. Hyde returned to England in 1710 and was appointed to the Privy Council and named first commissioner of the Admiralty. Even his kinship to the Queen would not have permitted this if he were regarded as scandalous.

Bonomi points out (p161) that other Governors in the same period were involved in scandals. Let us take the case of Francis Nicholson who was Governor of Virginia 1690-2, 1698-1705. The account in Encyclopedia Virginia is:
Meanwhile, his persistent and unsubtle courtship of the beautiful eighteen-year-old Lucy Burwell turned Nicholson into a laughingstock: In a speech to the House of Burgesses on September 22, 1701, Nicholson professed his admiration "for the Natives" of Virginia, "in particular but principally for One of them," but his marriage proposal to Burwell, daughter of the wealthy and influential Major Lewis Burwell of Gloucester County, was refused. The governor only made matters worse when he continued to publicly pursue Burwell even after she had become engaged to the equally privileged Edmund Berkeley II of Middlesex County.
Hearing rumors of Nicholson's political and personal missteps, authorities in London requested that a Virginian named Robert Quary investigate the various complaints against the governor. Although Quary's report was highly supportive of Nicholson and dismissive of his opponents, it did give the impression of being so biased toward the governor that it resulted in Nicholson becoming even less popular within the ranks of the colony's most influential residents, among them Robert Beverley II. In May 1703 six members of the governor's Council requested that the Crown remove the governor from office, asserting that he was a man of poor personal character, and thus was not an appropriate choice to serve as the monarch's representative in the colony. Following lengthy debates in London, the imperial authorities dismissed Nicholson from his governorship in April 1705, replacing him with Colonel Edward Nott.
Nothing like this happened to Edward Hyde.

It is well established that the terms ‘gay’ or ‘faggot’ are often used to put down men who are not at all gay. Here are some examples of politicians said to be trans when they were not at all so.

In 1988, Jonathan Falwell, son of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, put out a comic book showing the Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis in drag, (see Marjorie Garber. Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing & Cultural Anxiety, 1992: 54 – there is no longer anything on the web about this comic book).

Also 1988, a painting by a student, David Nelson, showed the recently deceased mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington, in female underwear. This caused a brouhahah, the painting was seized, and damaged before being returned. EN.Wikipedia.

In 2016, Alex Jones got a lot of mileage in the press when he claimed that Michelle Obama is a trans. Online.


It is unproved at best that Edward Hyde did as was said in the scurrilous rumours.

Certainly any claim that he did so made after 1998 that fails to discuss Bonomi’s book is deserving of no attention at all.

  • Cecil Adams. “Did New York once have a transvestite governor?”. The Straight Dope, January 25, 2002. Online.
  • Emily Ulrich. “Biography of Edward Hyde, earl of Cornbury, Governor of New York”. Alma Mater, Spring 2014. Online.


15 April 2017

Recurring Untruths: Edward Hyde, Governor of New York & New Jersey - Part I

“The story’s told/ With facts and lies”. Leonard Cohen.

A series of untruths, canards, lies and misinformation that are repeated with regard to trans history.
We are interested in Edward Hyde, also known as Lord Cornbury, and after his father's death in 1709 as the 3rd Earl Clarendon, in that he is repeatedly said to have been a transvestite. However there is considerable difficulty in tracing the claims back to actual 18th century accounts.

There is a portrait, which is said to be of Edward  Hyde in female attire, that can be viewed in the collection of the New York Historical Society.

Some examples of the claims:

Agnes Strickland. Lives of the Queens of England, 12 vols, 1840-8:
“Among other apish tricks, Lord Cornbury, the ‘half-witted son’ of ‘Henry, Earl of Clarenden’ is said to have held his state levees at New York, and received the principal Colonists dressed up in complete female court costume, because truly he represented the person of a female sovereign, his cousin-german queen Anne.”
Peter Ackroyd. Dressing Up: Transvestism and Drag: The History of an Obsession. 1979: 84-6.
“Edward Hyde, for example, cross-dressed while he was Governor of New York and New Jersey (1702-1708). He bore a remarkable resemblance to his cousin, Queen Anne, and was fond of walking through the streets of New York dressed in clothing similar to hers.”
Richard Davenport-Hines. Sex, Death and Punishment: Attitudes to sex and sexuality in Britain since the Renaissance, 1990: 74.
“According to Glenbervie, Clarendon ‘was a clever man’ whose ‘great insanity’ was showing himself in women’s clothes. When New Yorkers complained that he opened their legislative assembly dressed as a woman, he retorted, ‘You are very stupid not to see the propriety of it. In this place and particularly on this occasion I represent a woman (Queen Anne) and ought in all respects to represent her as faithfully as I can.’ Effeminacy and male transvestism were not clearly distinguished at this time, and there was no evidence that Clarendon was a molly. He was undeniably, though, a man who felt false when he dressed and behaved as men were expected to do.
Roger Baker. Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts. 1994: 99
“In 1702, the newly-crowned Queen Anne made her cousin, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, the Governor of New York and New Jersey, a post that he held for six years. To the astonishment and bewilderment of both his colleagues and the general population he persistently dressed as a woman. This was not private or closet transvestism but assertively public. He opened the Assembly in women’s clothes, government business had to be delayed until he had completed his lengthy toilette, he would stroll through the streets in his skirts and dozens of people gawked at him every day.”
Wayne Dynes “Transvestism (Cross-Dressing)” in Wayne Dynes (ed) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. 1990: 1313.
“In North America Edward Hyde. Lord Cornbury, who was governor of New York and New Jersey from 1702 to 1708 was a heterosexual transvestite”.
Henry Moscow. The Book of New York Firsts, 1995:
“Cornbury’s behaviour seemed odder still when he began dressing in his wife’s gowns and, berouged and bepowdered, flounced daily along the parapets of the fort he commanded, while his sentries smirked. On occasion he sallied along Broadway, where at least once he was arrested and hauled back to the fort; one night, when a patrolling watchman investigated the presence of an apparent prostitute stumbling about the fort, the ‘prostitute’ – Cornbury leaped at him, giggling, and pulled his ears.”
Lawrence M Salinger (ed). Encyclopedia of White-Collar & Corporate Crime, 2004: 409.
“In the simplest of terms, Hyde was a drunkard and an unabashed transvestite, with a penchant for addressing the New York Assembly while wearing his wife’s clothes.”
Gloria Brame. “The Governor Who Wore a Dress”. Bilerico, September 01, 2011. Online.
“One of the remarkable characters I discovered while doing some transgender history research for my book was Lord Cornbury. …. .Cornbury is reported to have opened the 1702 New York Assembly clad in a hooped gown and an elaborate headdress and carrying a fan, imitative of the style of Queen Anne. … It is also said that in August 1707, when his wife Lady Cornbury died, His High Mightiness (as he preferred to be called) attended the funeral again dressed as a woman. It was shortly after this that mounting complaints from colonists prompted the Queen to remove Cornbury from office.”

Who was the historical Edward Hyde

(mainly taken from chapter 2 of Patricia U Bonomi's The Lord Cornbury Scandal, 1998)

Edward Hyde (1661 - 1723) was born into a family with strong links to the Stuart dynasty. His grandfather, also called Edward Hyde, had been a faithful servant to Charles Stuart the younger during his exile under the Commonwealth. When Charles Stuart became King as Charles II in 1660, he appointed Hyde as Lord High Chancellor, Baron Hyndon and then Earl of Clarendon. As a courtesy the eldest sons of the Earls Clarendon were to be Viscount Cornbury. Hyde’s eldest daughter, Anne, married James, the younger brother of Charles II, and gave birth to two future queens, Mary and Anne, before dying at age 34. Hyde, morally inflexible, refused to recognise the main mistress of Charles in 1667, and was impeached and exiled to France, where he died in 1674. His eldest son, Henry then became the 2nd Earl of Clarendon. Thus the Cornbury title went to his son, the younger Edward Hyde. Henry was appointed Lord Privy Seal and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. His first wife had died age 22 of smallpox, a few months after Edward’s birth. Edward attended Oxford University at age 13, and completed his education at l’Académie de Calvin in Geneva. In 1683, he became Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons. When the Catholic James Stuart became king as James II in 1685, there was an uprising, Monmouth’s Rebellion, objecting to a Catholic monarch, led by James’ illegitimate half-brother, the Duke of Monmouth. Hyde commanded his troops in the repression of the rebellion and was promoted to full Colonel. The same year he also became a Tory Member of Parliament. In 1688, against his father’s wishes, he married Katherine O’Brian. By then Henry Hyde and his brother Laurence had been dismissed from office because they would not convert to Catholicism. Later in 1688 Mary Stuart’s husband, William of Orange, invited by MPs of both parties, invaded to save Britain for Protestantism – The Glorious Revolution . Edward Hyde was one of the first commanders to take his men over to William’s side. Despite this he fell out of favour with William, and had his regiment taken from him. He remained out of favour until 1701 when William appointed him as Governor of New York, to which was added the post of Governor of New Jersey in 1702 when Anne became Queen. Hyde acquitted himself well in negotiations with French Canada and with the Iroquois Nations, but was resented by some for running the two colonies in the interests of the monarch. Katherine died in 1706: of their seven children, three then still survived. Henry the 2nd Earl died in 1709, and Edward returned in 1710 as the 3rd Earl. He was appointed to the Privy Council and named first commissioner of the Admiralty. He was also sent as ambassador to George, Prince of Hanover, Anne’s chosen successor. Hyde died in 1723, having outlived all his children. He was interred in the family crypt in Westminster Abbey.

Bonomi p31


* Edward Hyde was not the cricketer (1881-1941), the royalist priest (1607-1659), the 1st Earl Clarendon (this was Edward Hyde’s grandfather); the governor of North Carolina (1667-1712), and certainly not the alternate persona to Dr Jekyll in RL Stevenson’s novella.


In Part II we will consider the actual evidence. That, we will find, is at variance with the claims quoted above.