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.)

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!

26 October 2009

Howard W. Jones (1910 - ) gynecologist.

A native of Baltimore, Jones did an A.B. at Amherst College 1931, and an M.D. at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1935. In 1940 he married fellow gynecologist Georgeanna Seegar (1912 – 2005).

During the Second World War he was a chief surgeon under Generals Patton and Simpson during the invasion of Europe.


In 1948 he and Georgeanna became part-time faculty in the department of gynecology and obstetrics in the school of medicine at Johns Hopkins. In 1960 they left their private practice to become full-time faculty.

Their 1965 textbook with Edmund Novak went through several editions and in its time outsold all other such textbooks combined.

Howard did the ‘corrective’ surgery on John Money’s intersex infants, and in 1965 when Money started the Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he did the surgery on their transsexual patients starting with Phyllis Avon Wilson. The infant David Reimer was reassigned to female in 1967. Dawn Langley Hall had surgery in 1968, and maybe Kiira Treia in 1974. Howard also established the crytogenetics laboratory at Johns Hopkins when the field was in its infancy.

The Joneses retired from Johns Hopkins in 1978, actually just before the Gender Identity Clinic was closed, and were then appointed professors of obstetrics and gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where they established the first in vitro fertilization program in the United States.

The Jones were the only gynecologists from the US invited to advise the Catholic Pope on assisted reproduction.
  • Edmund R. Novak, Georgeanna Seegar Jones, and Howard Wilbur Jones. Textbook of Gynecology Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co, 1965.
  • Howard Wilbur Jones, and William Wallace Scott. Hermaphroditism, Genital Anomalies and Related Endocrine Disorders. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co, 1971.
  • Howard Wilbur Jones, and Charlotte Schrader. In Vitro Fertilization and Other Assisted Reproduction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, v. 541. New York, N.Y.: New York Academy of Sciences, 1988.
  • “The Howard W. Jones, Jr. Collection”. Medical Archives. 1999. www.medicalarchives.jhmi.edu/sgml/joneshw.html.
  • Howard Wilbur Jones, and Georgeanna Seegar Jones. War and Love: A Surgeon's Memoir of Battlefield Medicine During World War II with Letters to and from Home. Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2004.
  • www.jonesinstitute.org
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As Harold Benjamin became a sex-change doctor after the normal age of retirement, so the Jones started their career in in vitro fertilization also after retirement age.

23 October 2009

Dawn Langley Simmons (1922 – 2000) part 2: wife and mother.

Continued from Part 1.

After her two weddings, Mrs Simmons was now a pariah in Charleston. Much of this was a social freeze, but it also irrupted into catcalls, a crate set on fire, a dog poisoned.

She had spent a lot of money on the two weddings. She also bought John-Paul three or four fishing boats and three cars. The trove of art and antiques was being diminished.

The First Federal Savings and Loan, which held the mortgage on her house, announced that it would foreclose it she did not pay off the full loan immediately. This it did in April 1971, and the house was sold by public auction at a bargain price. They moved into a rented house in an unfashionable part of town.

John-Paul was having an affair with another woman, white-skinned but officially black, and made her pregnant. Her family said that she had enough children and her father made arrangements for Dawn to buy the baby. Dawn padded her stomach and phoned the Johns Hopkins Clinic to tell them that she was pregnant. Edgerton asked her to come in for a free examination, but she did not. The pregnant mother checked into hospital as Mrs John-Paul Simmons, and after the birth, 17 October 1971, her father gave the baby to Dawn. She phoned Edgerton again to announce that the baby had arrived.

With the original record of birth which listed Mrs John-Paul Simmons as the mother and her own papers in her married name, and the baby, Dawn registered the birth in Philadelphia while on a visit to her publishers. She called the child Natasha after the character in War and Peace. She was 49 at the time but claimed to be 34.

She also published her first autobiography, The Ballad of Dawn and John-Paul, the same year, in which she claimed to be a female intersex wrongly raised as a boy. The publisher changed the title to Man into Woman, which Dawn disliked.

John-Paul came and went as he chose. He had other lovers, and at least one other child. Dawn acquired bruises which she blamed on muggers and racists, but they seemed to happen only when John-Paul was around. She wrote to her husband:
My dear Johnny,
I am not upset with you as I know you were not yourself the other night. I have no money left. You know that and you destroyed all of my work when I couldn't give you $30 for your son. I shall never stop you from seeing Natasha as I love you and have always loved you. Nobody would love a man who has tried to kill them several times, gave them 45 stitches in their face, broke their nose, and cheekbone and ruined the eyesight in one eye. But I have never ever shut the door against you and you came back. You were the kindest man I ever knew before that woman ruined you with drink. I am eternally thankful to you for the most beautiful baby in Charleston. You don't have to live with us again Johnny; I don't think you can live with anybody.
In December 1973 she claimed that a masked white intruder threatened the baby, raped her and broke her arm. But she never reported this to the police.

She and Natasha fled to Catskill, New York, where she acquired a run-down historical house for a mere $200 binder. John-Paul Simmons left his other wife and child and followed. He took up sculpture and had some success. However he did drugs and drink and would go out in the snow barefoot. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, and delivered to the state mental hospital in Albany. He returned home several times, but committed minor thefts and assaults.

Dawn became an art teacher in a Catholic school and was reduced to writing for the National Enquirer. In 1981 she got an advance on her writing a biography of Margaret Rutherford, and moved with her daughter to nearby Hudson, New York. In 1982 she divorced Simmons, but continued to care for him.


In 1985, on a trip back to Charleston, she was an extra in the ABC/Warner Bros miniseries North and South.

Natasha in turn became a mother.

In 1995 Dawn published her third autobiography, Dawn, a Charleston Legend. Nigel Nicolson, the son of Vita and Harold, reviewed it positively in The Spectator:
“there is not a word of reproach for me in her book. Like everything else about Dinky, it is gallant, resilient and unfailingly generous”.
The publishers flew her to Charleston for book signings. Natasha and her children returned to Charleston that year, and Dawn followed two years later. As she aged, she suffered from Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis. She died at home at age 77.

John-Paul remained in hospital in Albany. He was not informed of her death until Edward Ball tracked him down.  He died in 2012.

Dawn Simmons had written three autobiographies, over 20 celebrity biographies, novels and children’s books.
________________________________________________________________________

In writing on Simmons, one has to choose: does one go with the story in Simmon’s three ( yes 3) autobiographies that she was really a girl mis-assigned at birth, and that Natasha was a child of her body, or does one go with Edward Ball with his thorough fact checking and interviewing of almost everybody who knew her?

Certainly we can see Dawn being economical with the truth: she deducts 15 years from her age; she claims that she was treated at the women’s clinic rather than the Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins University Hospital; that Isabel Whitney was a cousin; that she was raped and assaulted by a mafia thug hired by Albert Goldman (only in Jack Hitt’s later version); and that she was descended from Spanish nobility on her mother’s side.  She says nothing about a sex life before transition, but Ball is able to find gay men who had been with Gordon, and the 1959 novella is consistent with Gordon being a gay man at that time. If Gordon had been  intersex, the testimony of the Charleston gay men would be different, as would that of Dr Milton Edgerton.

Then there is the question of finances. Many people blur the facts of their own finances, but if Isabel Whitney did leave over $1 million (equivalent to over $7 million today) to Gordon, where did it all go? Why did Gordon need a mortgage to buy the house in Charleston? Yes, John-Paul wasted some of it on boats and cars. But what happened to the 40-room mansion in New York? Was it turned into apartments? Did Gordon or Dawn sell their interest? There is no discussion of moving back there after being driven out of Charleston. While Dawn talks of poverty, of selling antiques and jewellery for a pittance, of accepting charity and then getting on the food-stamps program, she then flies to London with Natasha, takes a taxi (not a bus or a train) from Heathrow to central London and stays at the Hotel Washington. The hotel is still going: it is in Mayfair, close to Park Lane and Green Park. Here is its web site and rates. Rooms today start at £325 a day. Quite a splashing out for someone on welfare. All for Love finishes mysteriously when she escapes welfare in Charleston by buying a historic house in the Catskills. Ball says that she got it for $200 down, but this still seems odd.

Their marriage was blessed in an Anglican church in England. This is, of course, the same Anglican Church which demanded an exception in the Gender Recognition Act, 2004, so that it could refuse to marry transsexuals.

I was quite impressed that the African Methodist Episcopal Church was so accepting of Dawn.   I hope that that is still true today.

What to my mind is Dawn’s first big achievement is that she was a working-class child who managed to become a well-known writer. She herself does not seem to be proud of that.  She drops hints to Jack Hitt that she was an unrecognized aristocrat and frequently drops the names of the rich and titled. On the other hand, she never even once mentions another transsexual, not even Christine Jorgensen or April Ashley. Did she get her UK birth certificate re-issued before Corbett v. Corbett stopped the process in 1969? She seems as lonely in her gender journey as was Agnes.

Re the Harley St gynaecologist.  There is a Elliot Elias Philipp who wrote Childlessness: its Causes and What to do About them, and co-authored Scientific Foundations of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 1970.

I bought my copy of The Peninsula of Lies through Amazon Marketplace. My copy is stamped Charleston County Library, S.C.

The anecdote with Carson McCullers is found in her biography by Virginia Carr.  Both Ball and Hitt repeat it with variations, without citing this source.  It seems that it was also repeated as gossip in Charleston.

There is an entry for Dawn in Wikipedia (here).  You may like to compare it with what is written here.  The authors of the entry accept her reduction of her age by 15 years, mention nothing about her pre-transition sex life, and refer to her as 'Simmons' (never Mrs Simmons) even before she met Mr Simmons, even when she was a child.

21 October 2009

Dawn Langley Simmons (1922- 2000) part 1: celebrity biographer, antiques dealer.

Gordon Kenneth Ticehurst was born to an unmarried teenager in the village of Heathfield, Sussex. He was raised by his grandmother. His mother subsequently married, and she and her husband were servants at Sissinghurst in Kent, the home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson. Gordon visited his mother at Sissinghurst where he was known as Dinky. In later life he would compare his own life to Orlando, the magic-sex-change novel written by Vita’s lover Virginia Woolf, and based on Vita.

At 17 he re-registered his birth with his mother’s husband listed as his father. He started using the name Gordon Langley Hall, Hall being his grandmother’s maiden name.

In 1946 Gordon did a year as a teacher on an Ojibwe reservation at Lake Nipigon in north-western Ontario. He returned to England and taught for two years in Croydon, and did some society journalism.

In 1950 he emigrated to the US and became society editor for The Nevada Daily Mail in Missouri. In 1952 he became a society columnist for the New York suburban Port Chester Daily Item. One evening he attended an art showing and took up with the artist Isabel Whitney (1878 – 1962), a descendant of Eli Whitney (1765 – 1825), the inventor of the cotton gin. Gordon moved into her 40-room mansion on West 10th Street and became her companion.

In 1955 he published Me Papoose Sitter based on his experiences with the Ojibwe. In 1957 his play about interracial same-sex love between soldiers, Saraband for a Saint, was performed in Harlem, and attracted celebrity attention. He also started a career as a celebrity biographer with books on US first ladies and British royalty, and through colleagues on the Villager newspaper was able to meet the actress Bette Davis (1908 – 1989).

In 1959 he wrote a never-published 150-page novella about a 40-year-old writer who picks up a 19-year-old man and makes him his secretary and lover. The young man eventually leaves, and later the older man strangles him and goes to death row.

In 1960 Gordon met the noted actress Margaret Rutherford (1892 – 1972), then 68. Rutherford and her husband Stringer Davis(1899 –1973) adopted Hall two years later, as they had done with three other adults.

As Isabel aged, she and Gordon decided to buy a pink stucco house in the gay area of Charleston, North South Carolina, but she died before they could move. Hall flew her body to Heathfield for burial, although she had never been there in life. Whitney left him an estate reportedly worth over $1 million.

Gordon renovated the house in Charleston, filled it with antiques, and became part of Charleston society. In 1963 the aging Carson McCullers visited Charleston and met Gordon at a party. She is reputed to have taken him aside and said to him: “You are really a little girl”.

Dawn and John-Paul
Not being married, Gordon did not really fit in with the Charleston gay scene, but he cruised the nearby bus station. At a time when Charleston white gay men rarely went with black men, Gordon was smitten when he met the 18-year-old John-Paul Simmons (1948 – 2012).

Hall first courted John-Paul as a man, but without success, and then as a woman. She persuaded John-Paul to start living in her house. By 1967 Hall had been accepted in the new Gender Clinic at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.  John-Paul went with her to the Clinic. Dr Milton Edgerton told her that the operation would be a mistake, but they would do it if she insisted.

John-Paul left her, but came back when she said that she would not have the operation, but then she had it anyway in 1968. She was one of the first to have surgery with Dr Howard Jones under the Johns Hopkins program. She changed her name to Dawn Pepita Langley Hall (Pepita was the grandmother of Vita Sackville-West).

John-Paul left her again, and again she pestered him to return. Dawn had to hire a lawyer to persuade the judge to issue a marriage license. On the license she claimed to be 31. South Carolina still had a law forbidding interracial marriage, but a similar law in Virginia had been struck down by the US Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia 1967). The engagement photograph was printed in the UK on the front page of the News of the World. The marriage was held in their home on 22 January 1969 presided over by a pastor from the Shiloh African Methodist Episcopal Church of which Dawn had recently become the sole white member.

Dawn with Margaret Rutherford
It was international news featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, the black weekly, Jet, and the tabloid, National Insider; the Japanese tabloid Shukan Shincho, and in the UK, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and the Sussex Express. The People paid her ₤3750 for a series on her life, and supported her claim to have been examined by a Harley Street surgeon (Dawn later said that this was Dr Elliot Phillip) who said that she had been wrongly sexed at birth and was capable of becoming pregnant. She was also on radio and television in the UK and Canada, but not in the US where her story was too hot.

Dawn’s mother died, and Mr and Mrs Simmons planned a visit to her grave. Margaret Rutherford enabled a blessing of their marriage in an Anglican church in Hastings, Kent.

Continued in Part 2.

20 October 2009

Luiza Bambine Moreira (1964 - ) model, performer.

Luís Roberto Gambine Moreira was born in Rio.

She started to live as female full time in her teens, and secretly took female hormones. She was exempted from Brazilian national service, after she reported in a dress, which led to her father, a senior army officer, disowning her for many years.

She became famous as a model and actress by the age of 20 using the stage name Roberta Close, and was the first pre-op to appear in Brazilian Playboy. After gender surgery at Charing Cross Hospital in London in 1989 she was featured in a Brazilian men's magazine and voted by readers ‘Most Beautiful Woman in Brazil’.

She tried to challenge Brazilian laws that prevent her from using a female name or listing her gender as female, but lost in the Supreme Court in 1997. In 1999 she was arrested for having a female passport.

She lives in Switzerland, where she married her manager, Roland Granacher in 1993.

In 1998 she published her autobiography in which she claims involvements with Eddie Murphy, Robert de Niro and many others.

Only in 2005 did she acquire female status in Brazil and a new birth certificate.

She has acted in five Brazilian films, mainly in the 1990s.

18 October 2009

Nicholas de Raylan (1873 - 1906) secretary, soldier.

Well educated and obviously a graduate of a Russian university, Nicholas de Raylan declared himself to be the son of a Russian admiral. He was the confidential secretary to the Russian Consul in Chicago.

He enlisted in the U.S. army during the Spanish-American war.

He married twice. The first wife obtained a divorce after ten years of marriage on the grounds of cruelty and misconduct with chorus girls.

His second wife was a chorus girl and brought a child from a previous marriage.

Suffering from tuberculosis, de Raylan went to Phoenix, Arizona hoping for a cure, but died there. The telegram that announced his death also declared him to be a woman. Both wives insisted that this must be nonsense.
  • Havelock Ellis. Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Vol 2, part 2. Sexual Inversion 3rd edition. NY: Random House. 1936:248.
  • Eugene de Savitsch. Homosexuality, Transvestism and Change of Sex. Springfield Ill: Charles C. Thomas 1958: 6-7.
  • Jonathan Katz. Gay American History: Lesbians And Gay Men In The U.S.A. New York: Crowell 1976. New York: A Discus Book.1978: 379-381. Online at www.outhistory.org/wiki/New_York_Times:_death_of_Nicolai_de_Raylan,_June_26,_1907.

17 October 2009

Miranda Ponsonby (1933 - ) soldier, farmer, nurse.

Rhodri Davies was raised in a house on Wimbledon Common. His father was a fighter pilot in the Great War, and reservist who died in the Second World War. His mother died in an air accident over Frankfurt in 1952.

He had sexual experiences at his boys' public school, where he gained respect by becoming the captain of the cricket XI.

After school he went to Africa to work on the family’s cattle farm, where he was also a big game hunter.
He did National service in the Life Guards, part of the Household Cavalry, and stayed for ten years rising to the rank of captain and serving in Egypt and Aden, where he was almost killed when his vehicle was blown up. He escorted the Queen, was in the guards at Whitehall, and played polo.

He then took over the family farm in Leicestershire. He met his wife, June, on a course for riding instructors. They had two sons.

After 30 years of marriage they divorced and his oldest son took over the farm. In 1994 Rhodri decided that it was time to become Miranda Ponsonby (Ponsonby being her mother's maiden name). She couldn’t be bothered with a real life test:
“I said bugger that to all that messing about. I saw this chap, a cosmetic surgeon, at a clinic in Huntingdon. I don't think he's practising any more. I asked him how much to skip all that bloody nonsense. He said £6,000. About a week later, I went up to some dreadful place called Rotherham. I hadn't ever dressed as a woman before. So I bought some women's clothes, put them in a suitcase, and drove up on a rainy, awful day. It was a horrifying operation. They managed to leave part of one of my testicles behind. Which was a bit careless. After a day, I decided to go home."
Miranda trained as a nurse at Guys Hospital, and is the oldest nurse ever to qualify in the National Health Service. She has now worked at the Kettering General Hospital for 10 years, and is currently in the coronary care unit.

She is quite open about her past. Her family, her regiment and the hunting set all cut her off. She claims that she is no happier now than she was before the operation. Her advice to those contemplating sex change surgery is "I would say don't do it. I am a very strong person and if you are not you will be destroyed by it”.

She published her autobiography in 2009.

14 October 2009

Thomas Szasz (1920 - 2012) psychiatry professor.

Thomas Szasz was born in Budapest. He earned  a degree in physics from the University of Cincinnati in 1941, and a medical degree from the same university in 1944. His residency was in psychiatry. He was professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York, and Professor Emeritus after retirement.


He is a prominent theorist in the anti-psychiatry movement and a critic of medicine as social control. His best known books are The Myth of Mental Illness, 1960, and The Manufacture of Madness, 1970.

Szasz has gained a reputation as a libertarian critic of psychiatric practice. He speaks against the coercive psychiatric practice which he calls 'the Therapeutic State', although many critics while not defending the abuses in mental hospitals, regard his attack as on a straw man. While his attack on the state's interference in addiction, suicide and homosexuality can easily be accepted, there is an enormous area of psychiatry which he does not discuss.

Sedgwick says: 'Phobics, depressives, manics, schizophrenics and anxiety neurotics - in short, the general run of psychiatric patients who, in addition to having 'life problems' do happen to feel distinctly unwell, rarely if ever enter Dr Szasz's casebook'.

Szasz’ solution of Contractual Psychotherapy is not available to those of limited means. Nor does he attack those of his colleagues who keep a patient in therapy for decades.

In 1969 he co-founded, with the Church of Scientology, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).

In 1973, the American Humanist Association named Szasz, Humanist of the Year.   Note that not even one GLBT person has been so named.

Szasz's attack on psychiatry's invention of homosexuality as a disease was congruent with the rise of gay activism in the 1970s leading to the removal of homosexuality from the DSM III in 1974.


However he has come out strongly against the right of people to change their sex. He refers to trans women as ‘he’ etc; compares the operation to clitorectomy: sees sex change as a fraud, accepts uncritically the study that justified the ending of surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, ignoring all the methodological problems that have been raised, but does not respect the decision made by the individual transsexual. He embraces Janice Raymond's pretence that sex changes are anti-feminist, and his review of her book is quoted on both its front and back pages. He has said “If a man cuts off his own penis psychiatrists call him a schizophrenic, but it he can persuade a surgeon to cut it off for him, then they call him a transsexual”.
_________________________________________________________________

Charlotte Goiar is a member of CCHR, and features a 90 minute CCHR video on her HBS home page.  I have yet to find any pro-transsexual or pro-HBS material from CCHR, the Church of Scientology or Thomas Szasz.

13 October 2009

Eugene de Savitsch (1902 - ?) doctor, sexologist.

De Savitsch was born in St Petersburg, the son of a prominent judge. In 1917, at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he fled to Japan.

Later he moved to the United States where he struggled against tuberculosis and poverty to become a doctor. After graduation from the University of Chicago, he studied at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Bunge Institute in Antwerp, from where he went to do field work on sleeping sickness in the Belgian Congo. Later he worked in Washington, D.C..

He published his autobiography at the age of 37.

His major work with transgender persons was his 1958, Homosexuality, Transvestism and Change of Sex, where he gives the details of Arlette Leber. He declares himself in favour of decriminalization of consensual sexual activity, but is more approving of transsexuality (described as inversion) than of homosexuality.

However he seemed to recognize sex changes as from male to female only. He commented on Nicholas de Raylan in his book, but as a lesbian transvestite, not as a female-to-male man.
  • “Adventurous Doctor”. Time. Jul 01, 1940. www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764154,00.html.
  • Eugene de Savitsch. In search of complications, an autobiography. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1940.
  • Eugene de Savitsch. Homosexuality, Transvestism and Change of Sex. Springfield Ill: Charles C. Thomas 1958.

12 October 2009

Arlette-Irène Leber (1912 - ?) the first gender surgery in Switzerland.

Arlette-Irène Leber (born Arnold-Lèon Leber) of La Chaux-de-Fonds was the first known surgical transsexual in Switzerland, and had a series of operations including vaginoplasty in in late 1941 and early 1942.

In 1944 a Cantonal Court approved her petition for a change of civic status to female, and explicitly rejected a caveat from one of Leber’s doctors that she be prohibited from marrying as a woman. The legal precedent of Margrith Businger was cited.

In 1956, her psychiatrist, Dr. Otto Riggenbach, evaluated her and concluded: ‘The operation, on the one part, combined with the permission of the authorities to change her civic status, on the other, has turned an unstable and unhappy individual into a useful and contented member of society’.

It is not known whar happened to Mme Leber after that.
  • Eugene de Savitsch. Homosexuality, Transvestism and Change of Sex. Springfield Ill: Charles C. Thomas 1958: Chp 10, 11.

11 October 2009

Margrith Businger (190? - ?) pioneer gender change.

While still pre-op (she had had an orchiectomy only), Margrith Businger applied to a Swiss Cantonal Court in 1930 for a change of legal gender, and her petition was accepted.

This became a legal precedent for Arlette Leber’s legal change in 1944.

It is not known what happened to Frau Businger after 1930.
  • Eugene de Savitsch. Homosexuality, Transvestism and Change of Sex. Springfield Ill: Charles C. Thomas 1958: Chp 10, 11.

07 October 2009

Bobby Marchan (1930 - 1999) singer, impersonator

Oscar Gibson was born in Youngstown, Ohio. As a teenager he was fascinated by local female impersonators, and starting doing comedy and singing in drag.

In 1953, he organized a troupe of female impersonators and they were booked at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans. Bobby Marchan, as he was now called, stayed and rented a room at the Dew Drop, where he started performing with Patsy Vidalia.

In 1954 he was emcee at the Club Tijuana where he first got a recording contract. In 1956 he was employed by Ace Records’ Johnny Vincent who did not realize that Bobby was not a woman until told two days later.

In 1957 he started to collaborate with Huey Smith and the Clowns. He was lead vocalist on Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu and the original version Sea Cruise.

In 1959 he left The Clowns and did a touring drag act. His biggest solo hit was There is Something on Your Mind in 1960 which was #1 on the R&B charts.

Later songs did not do so well, and he returned to being a female-impersonator-bandleader in the 1970s. In 1977 he was the emcee at the Club Alhambra in New Orleans, and later managed hip-hop acts.

He died after a battle with liver cancer.

03 October 2009

Lee Brewster (1943 - 2000) retailer, activist.

++revised October 2015 to incorparate material from Cohen's  The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York.

Lee was raised in the coal mining areas of West Virginia. As a young man he worked in finger-printing for the FBI, but was fired when it was suspected that he might be gay.

Lee Brewster with tiara and sign.  Cohen p143.
On moving to New York, he organized drag balls as fund raisers for the Mattachine Society. However they were disinterested in drag queens and other transies, so in 1970 he and thespian Bunny Eisenhower founded the Queens Liberation Front, and Brewster began publishing Drag, one of the more political transgender publications of the 1970s, which ran for 10 years.

++They campaigned and hired lawyers to de-criminalize cross-dressing in New York, which was achieved in 1971. Previously, under city ordinances a bar or club could be closed and patrons arrested, simply because a single person, deemed to be crossdressed, was present.  Furthermore the words "homosexuals, lesbians, or persons pretending to be ..." were also struck, thus decriminalizing gay clubs and parties.   In addition, the still extant 1965 Anti-Mask: New York Penal Law criminalizing "the wearing of mask or disguises by three or more persons in a public place" was found inapplicable to those in drag.


They organized with Sylvia Rivera.

The balls he organized continued until 1973 – the last one was attended by the real versions of Jacqueline Susann, Carol Channing and Shirley MacLaine.



Lee was the proprietor of the drag emporium Lee's Mardi Gras – in business for 30 years at various locations around Manhattan, carrying a large stock of clothes, prosthetics and books. In addition to individual clients, the shop supplied costumes for Broadway, television and movies, in particular To Wong Foo and The Birdcage.

In 1999  Lee donated his extensive library  to the Wollman Archives of Transgender History and Culture, curated by Rusty Rae Moore at Transy House.

He continued to answer to ‘Mr’ in the style of old-time drag performers.

Lee died after a battle with cancer.
 Matt & Andrej Koymasky    Queer Music Heritage    

02 October 2009

Martine Rothblatt (1954 - ) lawyer, broadcast executive, biotechnologist, transhumanist.

Martin Rothblatt was born in Chicago and raised in San Diego and Los Angeles. After travel in Europe, the middle East, Kenya and the Seychelles, he thought about world satellite communications and did a degree at UCLA in communication studies with a thesis on direct broadcast satellites.

He then did a combined law-MBA degree, also at UCLA, during which he published five articles on the law of satellite communications, and prepared a business plan for the Hughes Space and Communications Group on providing communications to Latin America. He worked in broadcasting and astronomy with regard to the Federal Communications Commission.

In 1982 he married an African-American woman and they had four children.

From 1986-90 he was the CEO of Geostar Corporation. In 1987, he was largely responsible for the new treaties re space-based spectrum allocations. In 1990 he created WorldSpace and Sirius Satellite Radio.

By 1993 she was transitioning, using the name Marla Aspen. She wrote for Transgender-Tapestry, and participated in the International Bill of Gender Rights adopted by the Second International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. In 1994, as Martine Rothblatt, she completed transition. In 1995 she published Apartheid of Sex, in which she argued that legal gender should be abolished, that unisex language should be used, and that persons should be free to change their sex as they please.

She also played a leading part in the International Bar Association’s project to develop a draft Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights. This was adopted by UNESCO in 1997, and by the UN General Assembly in 1998.

Her youngest daughter was diagnosed with life-threatening pulmonary hypertension. GlaxoSmithKline had a new drug for the disease but was not developing it because the market is too small. So Martine left WorldSpace and Sirius Satellite Radio in 1997 and founded United Theraputics, which purchased the development rights.

She also studied for a PhD in medical ethics at the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. This was gained in 2001 based on her dissertation on the conflict between private and public interests in xenotransplantation. This was published as Your Life or Mine, 2003. Also in 2003 she published Two Stars for Peace, which proposes that both Israel and Palestine become States in the USA.

She is active in transhumanism and technological immortality. She was also a founding member of the Order of Cosmic Engineers which seeks to build a techno-utopia.

She is featured in the film Stock Shock about what happened to the stock price of Sirius XM (as Sirius Satellite Radio became after a merger) after her departure. From a high of $9 a share it dropped to 5 cents in March 2009.
  • Martine Aliana Rothblatt. The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender. New York: Crown Publishers, 1995. 
  • Leslie Feinberg. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul. Beacon Press, 1996: 147.
  • Viviane K. Namaste. Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000: 124-130.
  • Zina Moukheiber. “Eight hard years after her daughter's lungs seized, Martine Rothblatt hopes a new drug can save her--and others”. Forbes Magazine. 01.07.02. www.forbes.com/forbes/2002/0107/138_print.html.
  • Martine Aliana Rothblatt. Your Life or Mine: How Geoethics Can Resolve the Conflict between Public and Private Interests in Xenotransplantation. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2004.
  • Martine Aliana Rothblatt. Two Stars for Peace: The Case for Using U.S. Statehood to Achieve Lasting Peace in the Middle East. New York: iUniverse, 2003.
  • Sandra Mohr (dir), Stock Shock. Scr: Liz Bolwell & Sandra Mohr. With Martine Rothblatt. US 72 mins 2009.
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