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31 August 2007

John Ronald Brown -- surgeon

John Brown was born in 1922, the son of a Mormon physician. He was drafted in the Second World War, and sent by the army to medical school. He graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine in August 1947. After twenty years as a general practitioner, he took a program in plastic surgery at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, but failed the oral.

In 1977 the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance revoked his 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.

Brown worked and successively lost permission to practice in Hawaii, Alaska and St Lucia. He then returned to southern California and began an underground practice operating in Tijuana. Most of his patients were trans women who could not afford the going rate in the US (this was before the option of surgery in Thailand was available),

In 1986 a Penthouse Forum piece reported his offering surgical lengthening of penises. 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. 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 spending 19 months in jail for practicing medicine without a license.

After he got out, he restarted in Tijuana, but this time also lived in Mexico. In 1999 he removed the healthy leg of an apotemnophiliac who desired to have it removed. The man 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. He was tried and convicted of malice murder, which means that the defendant does something that is dangerous to human life, knowing it is dangerous to human life and does it anyway.  ++He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

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

He did over 600 mtf sex-change operations over 25 years. Some of his ex-patients are still delighted with his work. Others are not. His fees were considerable lower than those of other surgeons.

The most famous of his patients was Angela Douglas, who had the operation in 1977.

Muderpedia     Wikipedia  

Ex-doctor who served time faces murder charge

The San Diego Union-Tribune
May 23, 1998, Saturday
Bill Callahan

A former San Diego County doctor who served a prison term for bungling a sex-change operation now is charged with murdering a New York man who died of gangrene after his leg was amputated.

John Ronald Brown was ordered held without bail yesterday in a case that has investigators fanning out across the country and Mexico, looking for facts in the grotesque death and clues as to whether others may have been mutilated. “The horror stories coming out about this man’s botched operations are shocking,” said Deputy District Attorney Stacy Running, who added that additional charges may be filed.

Brown, 75, has a lengthy history of medical improprieties that grew out of his specializing in the shadow society of transsexuals and a growing demand for sex-change operations in the early 1970s. Brown’s California medical license was yanked in 1977, and he was sentenced to three years in prison in 1990 for illegally practicing medicine by performing a sex-change operation on a 30-year-old Orange County man. At Brown’s sentencing, the judge said the victim suffered significant injuries that caused pain and suffering.
Yesterday, prosecutors accused Brown of again illegally wielding a scalpel, this time out of his ground-floor unit in a San Ysidro apartment building. Bloody towels, sheets and mattresses as well as anesthetizing drugs were seized from the apartment by National City police Tuesday after they arrested Brown on suspicion of killing Philip Bondy, 79.

Prosecutor Running said police also found “records of hundreds of patients,” as well as graphic videotapes of Brown performing sex-change operations. A search of Brown’s mail found correspondence addressed to “Ronald Brown M.D.” Bondy’s body was found by police May 11 in Room 609 of the Holiday Inn on National City Boulevard. The Medical Examiner’s Office said Bondy died of gangrene from a recently amputated leg. Running told a San Diego Municipal Court judge that Bondy apparently flew to San Diego from New York on May 7 and was operated on by Brown at an undisclosed location two days later.
Investigators are still puzzled over why a man who lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side would come to San Diego and undergo such an operation, Running said after the hearing.

Brown took Bondy to the Holiday Inn after the operation “and gave him no postoperative care other than a few painkillers,” the prosecutor said.

Investigators said Bondy telephoned a friend in New York City, a psychologist whose name has not been released, and asked him to come out to San Diego. The psychologist, investigators said, was told by Bondy that one of his legs had been amputated after a traffic accident in Tijuana. The psychologist flew to San Diego, checked into a room at the Holiday Inn and called police when he found Bondy dead in bed the morning of May 11, investigators said. In Bondy’s room, police found two receipts, each for $5,000 and signed by a John Brown, for surgery and hospital expenses, Running said.

“We think the defendant is an incredibly dangerous individual to the citizens of both the United States and Mexico,” Running told Judge Lillian Lim in her successful request to have Brown held without bail.
Brown apparently had resumed his practice of performing sex-change operations in Mexico and returning the patients to his home in the United States for further treatment, Running said. She said Mexican authorities are cooperating in a widening investigation that includes interviews with former clients of Brown across the country.

Brown’s pale skin contrasted with his blue County Jail uniform, and he appeared frail during his court appearance. He made no comment; his not guilty plea was entered by his court-appointed lawyer.
Running said Brown apparently recruited clients through a Web page on the Internet and advertisements in gay publications. “His clientele is, shall we say, of a different bent, mostly men who want to become women,” the prosecutor said. “Normally there’s a six- or seven- year wait for a legitimate operation, but he would have them fly out and do it over the weekend.”

Several people dressed in female attire appeared at Brown’s 1990 sentencing in San Diego Superior Court in a show of support for his handling of their transformations. Brown’s lawyer then described him “as a leader in transsexual surgery . . . who had perfected a technique of gender reassignment surgery.”
Brown grew up in Arizona and Utah and earned a medical degree in 1947 from the University of Utah. He received surgical residency training at medical centers in Los Angeles, New Jersey and New York City, according to medical records.

    20 August 2007

    Whatever Happened to .... Liz Hodgkinson

    Liz Hodgkinson (? - ) was raised in Cambridgeshire, and read English at Durham University. After a very short stint teaching, she became a freelance reporter/columnist first in North-East England, and then in Fleet Street.

    She is divorced from science writer Neville Hodgkinson, with whom she had two sons who have also become writers.

    In the late 1980s, possibly as part of a personal crisis, she published a controversial book on celibacy as a solution to personal problems, and followed it with Bodyshock, which is probably still the best journalism book on transsexuality.

    In researching that book she discovered the personal papers including an unpublished autobiography by the world’s first female-to-male transsexual, Michael Dillon. In addition to including him in Bodyshock, she wrote a full-length biography of him. Her collection and biography of course are a major source of Pagan Kennedy’s more recent biography of Michael Dillon, which gives her only the most cursory credit. Her biography is the partial basis of a play by Phil Kingston, Dr Dillon and Georgia, that was presented in Dublin in 2006, and the film rights to the biography have recently been sold.

    Liz has written over 54 books. She previously specialized in books about health. Her 1995 book on snoring was controversial in that it closely resembled a very similar book by Derek Lipman.

    In recent years has concentrated on books about property.

    Strangely her website does not even mention Bodyshock.

    • Liz Hodgkinson. Sex is Not Compulsory. London: Columbus Books 1986.
    • Liz Hodgkinson. Bodyshock: The Truth About Changing Sex. London: Columbus Books 1987.
    • Liz Hodgkinson. Michael née Laura. Columbus Books. 1989
    • Liz Hodgkinson. Two Girls on the Street. Unpublished autobiography.

    I feel some affection for Bodyshock in that it was the book that I choose to give to my parents to read to give them some idea about my own transition. I might well choose the same book today.

    I feel that Pagan Kennedy's The First Man-Made Man is something of a rip-off as Michael nee Laura exists, albeit out-of-print. Why did not Hodgkinson and her publisher re-issue it to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the Kennedy book.

    And why is Hodgkinson mute on the existence of Bodyshock on her website. She should be proud of the book.

    10 August 2007

    The Honourable Arthur Cameron Corbett

    Arthur Cameron Corbett (1919 – 1993) was educated at Eton and Balliol. He acquitted himself fairly well in the war, rising to the rank of Captain, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre; his father was Chief Scout of the British Empire 1945-59 and governor of Tasmania, 1959-63; his uncle was Jo Grimmond, leader of the Liberal Party 1956-67. The family money came from Brown & Polson's Corn flour.

    From childhood he had been a closet transvestite. As an adult he went to male brothels and paid the boys to dress him, and also dressed for some family events. He networked in the underground transy scene, and had seen Toni April, a star performer at the renowned Le Carrousel in Paris. He used his contact with Louise Lawrence to get in in touch with April Ashley, as Toni was known since becoming a woman, courtesy of Dr Burou in Casablanca.

    April had become a fashionable model whose gender secret was open, but not widely known. In 1962 she obtained a small part in the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby film, The Road to Hong Kong, the last of the franchise, and this attracted more media attention. She was outed in the press, and her biography was published in The News of the World - an event that had enormous impact on the next generation of transgender Britons. April's modelling career came to a sudden halt, and she received an enormous mailbag of enquiries. The next year Arthur Corbett married April in Gibraltar, which makes her Lady Corbett.

    However the marriage was a failure, and they spent very little time together. In 1969 he applied for an annullment. Divorce by mutual consent had not been previously possible, but was allowed for in the new Divorce Reform Act of 1969 which would come into effect in 1971. However he did not wish to pay alimony. He applied for an annulment on the grounds that Ashley was not a woman. The case was tried by Justice Ormrod, the only UK judge to also be qualified as a doctor. Ormrod granted Arthur Corbett’s prayer for an annullment, however he also ruled that a person born male is legally male in perpetuity. Corbett v Corbett became case law in the UK and in Australia. The correcting of birth certificates for intersex and transgender persons ceased, and such persons lost the legal right to be treated as their new gender – in particular to marry a person of the now opposite gender.

    This situation continued in the UK until the Gender Recognition Act of 2004.

    April rallied and opened a restaurant just round the corner from Harrods, that was an immediate sensation, and continued to run it for five years until she had a heart attack. Then she retreated to the book-shop town of Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh border,

    In 1977 Corbett became the 3rd Baron Rowallan when his father died.

    April's first autobiography, written by Duncan Fallowell, was published in 1982.

    In 1993, when Ashley heard that Arthur was dying, she went to his bedside at his home in Spain. He said that she was the only one that he had ever loved, and admitted that he had cheated her.

    April's second autobiography, written by Douglas Thompson, was published in 2006, but was pulped when Duncan Fallowell pointed out that it was largely a copy of the earlier book. However somes copies are available on the second-hand market.

    Corbett was, of course, a spoilt rich kid, a self-indulgent upper-class twit, who cared not what trauma he imposed on his wives, April included, and cared not that he had messed up the lives of tens of thousands of others.

    However the real villain was Lord Justice Ormrod, MD, who apparently was much respected in the legal field. However this was a classic case of the law being an ass. It was quite possible to grant Arthur Corbett's petition without impacting not only on every other trans person in Britain, but also every intersex person. The ruling by Ormrod details personal medical facts that are irrelevant. The central issue was that Corbett knew perfectly well what April had been. There was no deceit on her part. This is not even discussed by him. Instead he concentrates on her medical history. He even wrote to Dr Burou for medical details. This is prurient.

    08 August 2007

    Paula Grossman (1919 - 2003) music teacher

    ++updated 15/4/11, 7/8/16.

    Paul Monroe Grossman was born in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up in New Jersey,  graduated with an A.B. in 1941 from the University of Newark (now called Rutgers), and spent the Second World War in the U.S. Army.  He then went to Columbia University where he earned an M.A. and a Professional Diploma in Music Education (S.M.E.) in 1947. In 1949 he married Ruth Keshen, and he spent the next 21 years as a music teacher in public schools in North Dakota, Montana, upstate New York and in 1957 he finally returned to New Jersey to teach at Cedar Hill Elementary School in in the town of Basking Ridge (map).

    In 1971 Paul became Paula, and was suspended as a teacher. She sued, and lost. She fought the dismissal to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. However since she had been declared to be 'disabled', she eventually won a disability pension. She did stay in the same small town, and was well known as a transsexual. During the years of litigation, she became something of a celebrity, appeared on television, the guest of Johnny Carson and David Frost. She gave lectures all over the eastern United States. She supplemented her income playing as a musician in night clubs.

    When it was over, she wrote A Handbook for Transsexuals, which is long out of print.

    She was never allowed to teach in a school again. She stayed with her wife until she died in 2003.


    Here is a summary of Paula's book:
    • 'A transsexual has his sex changed to correct a medical condition which will kill him if he doesn't. And for absolutely no other reason whatsoever.'
    • Transvestites never should; the naturally small and feminine should not either.
    • If you cannot stand the agony, then do the change.
    • Stand up for yourself; don't be shunted aside as an outcast.
    • 'Don't let non-transsexuals formulate rules for you.'
    • If you want to keep the same job, fight for it.
    • If you want to stay with your wife and children, then do so.
    • Don't bother with electrolysis: 'Thousands of extra dollars and a couple of years of suffering is a lot of money and extra pain for the usually inaffluent transsexual to absorb. A few extra minutes a day [to shave] isn't all that ghastly.'
    • Don't be persuaded to live a year in the guise of a woman - you probably won't be able to get a job in your field.
    • Don't be persuaded to move to another town and throw away your career. Stay and fight. Work out in advance whether you can keep your job. If you cannot, figure out what you can do instead.
    • Find a good lawyer. For your name change. For a will. For a spouse's consent to the operation - needed if you do not divorce. For litigation especially in fighting to keep your job.
    • Choose the right doctor. Do not go to a psychiatrist expecting any kind of cure. Avoid bigoted and insensitive doctors.
    • Don't let other transsexuals down by being a 'slob' e.g. by becoming a stripper.
    Grossman's case against her employer, Grossman v. Bernards Township Board of Education, became caselaw in the US and is frequently cited result in transsexual employment law discussions. Drs Charles Ihlenfeld and Robert Laidlaw testified on behalf of Grossman, and Dr Charles Socarides on behalf of the schoolboard.  It was ruled that she was not discriminated against as a woman, and therefore the dismissal was legal.

    In Janice Raymond's diatribe of hatred, The Transsexual Empire, there is a mention of Paula Grossman. She is quoted via a newspaper article gushing about having one's hair done, cosmetics and clothes. It is typical of Raymond's sloppy research that she did not find Paula's Book. This is probably just as well.

    In 2007, one of her ex-pupils wrote a sympathetic article for the St Petersburg Times.

    ++In 2016,  Meryl Streep revealed that she had been one of Paula's students.