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Essays on trans, intersex, cis and other persons and topics from a trans perspective.......All human life is here.

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    IAAF ruled that there to be no no restrictions on trans men in men's activities; surgery no longer required for trans women, but must demonstrate that testosterone level below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least one year.

    Kristen Worley, cyclist, successfully challenged rule against artificial testosterone as her body does not produce natural female level.

    Lauren Jeska, more former English Women’s Fell Running Champion 2010, 2011, 2012, British Champion 2012, stabbed Ralph Knibbs, head of human resources at UK Athletics, and 2 colleagues, apparently under fear of losing titles after being outed – this despite it being well-known in the fell-running community that Jeska was trans.

    Lola Ryan, who rowed for Canada in the Pan American Games in the 1960s, is now teaching dance and theatre at the University of Ottawa.

    Amelia Gapin on cover of Women’s Running.

    Chris Mosier on US duathlon team, and in Nike advert, and featured in ESPN magazine .

    Joanna Harper, runner and medical physicist, advisor to IOC, summarizes arguments re do trans women athletes have an edge. More    more

    Caster Semenya became the first person to win all three of the 400m, 800m, and 1500m titles at the South African National Championships. On 16 July, she set a new national record for 800 metres of 1:55:33. The IAAF announced that Semenya was shortlisted for women's 2016 World Athlete of the Year.

    Harrison Browne, National Women’s Hockey League player, has come out as trans.

    Nattaphon Wangyot, competed in Alaska State Championships.

    Ben Christiason, runner, Iowa, on high school men’s track team.

    Schuyler Bailar, Harvard swimmer, on men’s team.

    Jillian Bearden, cyclist, won women’s Tour de Tucson on first attempt. The Tour de Tucson featured 5 members of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA)/ Trans National Women’s Cycling Team– the first trans women team to be recognized by the IOC. One of whom, Anna Lisk completed the circuit is less time than when she was male 9 years earlier.

    Mason Johnson, Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, will delay transition, and continue playing for women’s rugby team.

    Catherine McGregor played in Women’s Big Bash Cricket League.

    Rio Olympics

    IAAF rules re maximum testosterone levels of 10 nanomoles per litre, apply for all female contestants. This rule is challenged and may lapse in 2017. Some cis women exceed this amount. “The IAAF said more than 30 female athletes had so far been caught up by the hyperandgrogenism regulation and that four had already undergone surgery and other treatments in order to lower their testosterone levels to what the IAAF said would qualify them as women. … it is not coincidence that all of the athletes who have so far been caught up in this issue are brown women from developing countries. Globe and Mail

    Despite the supposed advantages that trans women have over cis women, they totally failed to qualify despite being permitted to do so. A few known or rumoured intersex (hyperandgrogenism) women did qualify, but only one won a medal.

    María José Martínez-Patiño, CAIS, who was excluded from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after a sex chromatin test: “It’d be easy to believe because of the difficulties of that past that I would be opposed to any rules. That’s not the case. That would not be fair, not be ethical. I understand the positions of other people. I am in favor of rules.” She testified in favor of the IAAF’s upper limits before the arbitration court.

    Opening ceremony hosted by model Lea T.

    Caster Semenya won the gold medal in the women's 800 metres with a time of 1:55.28.

    Dutee Chand, permitted to run under revised IAAF rules, but eliminated in first heat (50th out of 64).

    Nothando Vilakazi, on South African women's football team, accused on social media of being a man.

    It was reported in the Mail on Sunday that there were two unnamed trans women who have competed in a European championship, and were on the verge of being selected for the UK Olympics athletics team. “But worryingly for British sports fans, they have revealed they are so fearful of being exposed and ridiculed under the Olympic spotlight, they would ‘probably drop back’ if they found themselves in a medal-winning position”. If they were selected, it was not confirmed, nor were they outed. The story was based on statements by Delia Johnson, a diversity consultant for Trans In Sport, Northamptonshire Police and England Netball.

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  • 12/17/16--12:18: 2016 Obituaries

  • Dianne Boileau (1930 -2014) secretary, first surgical transsexual in Canada, first patient at Clarke Institute Gender Clinic.

    Michael Seghers (1932 – 2014) sex-change surgeon, Brussels. Over 1600 mtf and some ftm operations.

    Janine Roberts (1942 – 2016) journalist, author, TV producer, wicca priestess, bane of diamond companies, campaigner for aboriginal rights. WorldCat     IMDB

    Stephanie Anne Booth (1946 – 2016) business woman, owner of Transformation shops, and trans-friendly hotels in North Wales. Killed in a tractor accident.

    Lady Chablis (1957 – 2016) performer mainly in Savannah, Georgia. IMDB     EN.Wikipedia

    Pete Burns (1959 – 2016) androgynous feminised but non-transition performer. Cardiac arrest. IMDB

    Alexis Arquette (1969 – 2016) actor, cabaret performer, cartoonist. Part of the Arquette acting dynasty. Complications from AIDS. EN.Wikipedia      IMDB

    Alina María Hernández/Cachita (1970 – 2016) Cuban television actress. EN.Wikipedia     Latin Times

    Giovanni Arrivoli (1974 – 2016) café owner and Camorristi, Melito di Napoli, Campania. Executed mafia-style. Daily Mail      Friends of Ours

    Jonah Berele (1988 – 2016) Chicago. Foster parent to boy with special needs. Accidental death in lake. DNAinfo 

    Raina Aliev (1991 – 2016) Chechen living in Dagestan. Had sex confirmation surgery in Moscow, married boyfriend a month later, and murdered on father’s purman a few days later. Daily Mail    Pink News

    Alisha (1992 – 2016) trans activist, Peshawar, Pakistan, shot eight times, hospital staff left her untreated using excuse of not knowing whether to put her in a male or a female ward. Daily Mail    Dunya News 
    Alisha on right

    Hande Kader (1992 – 2016) trans activist, Istanbul. Last seen entering a client's car; body found burned in a forest. BBC

    ++Lily Jayne Summers (199? - 2016) final year student selected as Welsh Labour candidate for council election.  Pink News


    Transrespect’s Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) reports 295 killings of trans and gender-diverse people between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. PDF

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    Bernard Talmud (later Talmey) was raised in Poland and Germany and graduated in medicine at the University of Munich in 1892, as did his brother Max Talmey (1868 – 1941) two years later. Max acted as doctor to the Einstein family, and Max mentored the young Albert Einstein, lending him various science books. Bernard and Max emigrated to the United States in 1894. Bernard became a gynecologist at the Yorkville Hospital, New York City. Max became a ophthalmologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City,

    In 1906 Bernard Talmey published Woman; A Treatise on the Normal and Pathological Emotions of Feminine Love, wherein he investigated whether the degree or the intensity of the amatory emotions is different in men and women, by investigating its pathologies: “If it can be shown that the same pathological entities of the sex-instinct are found in men and women, the inference is justified that the normal emotions are also the same or similar in both sexes”.

    In 1910, he published Genesis; A Manual for the Instruction of Children in Matters Sexual, for the Use of Parents, Teachers, Physicians and Ministers, where he discussed the evolution of sex in plant and animal.

    In 1912 Neurasthenia Sexualis; a Treatise on Sexual Impotence in Men and in Women; For Physicians and Students of Medicine, he discussed the anatomy and physiology of the male organs of generation. The chapter on pathology dealt only with impotence.

    By 1913 Talmey had collected five transvestites whom he regarded as patients, and presented a paper, first to the New York Society of Medical Jurisprudence in December 1913, and then published the next year in the New York Medical Journal.

    1. The first patient was S, whom we now know to be Otto Spengler
    2. The second was then 62. He had been frequently dressed as a girl by his mother, until at age 15 this was forbidden by his father. He left and went west where he worked in construction, became a sheriff and a justice of the peace, and still retained a passion for female attire. He is featured in the opening pages of chapter 2 of Peter Boag’s Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past
    3. The third, known as Blanche/Harold had, through tantrums, managed to stay in female attire until age 18. Blanche was then 32, and always wore female underwear, and at home always dressed female. 
    4. The fourth was a retired female impersonator, “Prof M.”, then 62, who had also been dressed by his mother in girls’ clothes. He lived in Dayton, Ohio, and in April 1905 was arrested for cross-dressing, and at other times had been threatened with mob violence. “A number of years previously he was strong sexually and fond of the opposite sex. Nowadays he cares more for his own sex.“ 
    5. The fifth was an artist who hoped to abandon dressing in female clothing after his then forthcoming marriage.

    Talmey’s major work is Love, a Treatise on the Science of Sex-Attraction: For the Use of Physicians and Students of Medical Jurisprudence published in 1915.  We will examine this in detail in Part II.


    Talmey commented on Prof M.:  “This case throws a certain light upon the psyche of the woman impersonators.  They do not become effeminate through the long habit of masquerading — that would be confounding cause and effect—but their innate anomaly leads them to choose impersonating as a profession. A normal man would hardly select such a profession as his life work”. 

    Boag refers to Patient 2 as ‘M’.   This is confusing as Talmey refers to Patient 4 as “M”.  

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    Continued from Part I.

    Bernard Talmey’s major work is Love, a Treatise on the Science of Sex-Attraction: For the Use of Physicians and Students of Medical Jurisprudence published in 1915.

    We will start with an overview of the book, and then look closely at each section where examples of gender variant persons are given.

    This book recapitulates the three previous books which discussed the evolution of sex, the anatomy of sex, the physiology of sex, the psychology of sex.

    Then we get to Part VI, “Pathology of Sexuality”. This contains four chapters based on Krafft-Ebing’s classification:

    i) Paradoxia (Sexual desires in the old, in infants, causes of early masturbation);
    ii) Anaesthesia (partial or total absence of sexual feeling);
    iii) Hyperaesthesia (abnormal intensity of the sexual desire and impulse), 1) Mixoscopy, 2) Erotomania, 3) Satyriasis, 4) Nymphomania 5) Masturbation, 6) Incest;

    iv) Paraesthesia. This is subdivided:

    A) Heterosexuality divided into Masochism, Sadism, Fetishism, Exhibitionism;
    B) Homosexuality divided into
    a) Perversity (not congenital) subdivided into 1) out of lust, 2) as a profession, 3) through necessity 4) out of fear;
    b) Perversion subdivided into 1) psychical hermaphrodism 2) strict homosexuality 3) effemination or viraginity 4) transvestism;
    C) Bestiality.

    We will examine the sections where persons, who would today be regarded as trans, appear.

    iv) Paraesthesia, B) Homosexuality:

    The modern reader may be somewhat confused by Talmey’s depiction:

    “The perversion of homosexuality has, as a rule, the force of a congenital phenomen and is characterized by precocity. … The child shows its anomaly in its tastes, sentiments, and occupations. The boy avoids the company of other boys. He shuns their games and plays. He is found playing with dolls, ribbons, miniature housekeeping, etc., in company with girls. He is more particular about his dress, in fact, he loves to be dressed like a girl as long as possible. He likes to occupy himself with girls' work, such as knitting, sewing or crochet-work. The homosexual girl is found in the haunts of boys and competes with them in their games. She neglects her dress and assumes and affects boyish manners. She is in pursuit of boys' sports. She plays with horses, balls and arms. She gives manifestations of courage and bravado, is noisy and loves vagabondage. … The perverted man has a profound longing for female clothes. He takes the greatest pleasure in the sight of female attire. He tries to dress as a woman at every opportunity. He likes to frequent masquerade balls where he can dress up as a woman and dance with women. In short, the patient has all the feelings and longings of a woman. The inverted woman, on the other hand, likes to imitate male fashions in general attire and in dressing her hair. It gives her the greatest satisfaction if she is able to dress herself entirely in men's attire and disguise her identity. She further prefers the occupations of men and loves at every occasion to play a man's role. When at a ball she likes to dance with women, and when in a hotel, she loves to discuss politics with men. In short, she feels herself a man.”

    iv) Paraesthesia, B) Homosexuality, 1) psychical hermaphrodism,
    Talmey uses this term for persons who can have sex with either men or women, what we would call bisexuality, without any other suggestion of gender variance.

    iv) Paraesthesia, B) Homosexuality, 3) Effemination or Viraginity with psychical perversion only.
    Talmey’s description:
    “In the third degree of homosexuality, the so-called effemination or viraginity, where the entire mental existence is altered, the man of this type resembles in his mental qualities a woman,  ‘anima muliebris in corpore virile inclusa’. But his body is still that of a perfect man. The woman, on the other hand, resembles in her mental qualities a man, while her bodily characteristics remain still feminine.”
    ‘anima muliebris in corpore virile inclusa’ is of course Karl Ulrichs’ expression meaning a female soul in a male body.

    The first example is:
    “very fond of perfumes, likes to powder and paint himself and to pencil his eye-brows. He is very curious, vain, and loves to gossip”.
    The second:
    “In the homosexual acts he always plays the passive role. He is effeminate in his character, sensitive, easily moved to tears, and is greatly embarrassed and silent in men's company; while among women he feels himself perfectly at home. He feels himself a perfect woman.”
    Talmey’s first FTM example cites Havelock Ellis citing an 1883 paper by PM Wise, and we can identity the person as Joseph Lobdell :
     “When she was deserted by her husband, she began to follow her predilection for masculine avocations. She donned male attire and became a trapper and hunter. She considered herself a man in all that the name applies. After many reverses she entered an almshouse and here she became attached to a young woman. When the attachment became mutual, both left the institution for the woods to commence life instar mariti maritaeque. They lived in this relation until the patient had a maniacal attack that resulted in her committal to an asylum.”

    iv) Paraesthesia, B) Homosexuality, 3) Effemination or Viraginity with bodily perversion.
    This is Talmey’s only MTF example:
     “His habitus is entirely feminine. The body is slight and non-muscular. The shoulders are narrow, the pelvis broad, the hands and feet decidedly small. The form is rounded with an abundant development of adipose tissue. He has few hairs on beard and mustache. His complexion is fine. His voice is feminine, he speaks in falsetto voice. His gait is rocking, womanly. He wears his hair quite long. Since childhood he was actuated by the desire to put on female attire. He always wore female undergarments, such as shirts, drawers, corsets, etc. He generally wears bracelets on his arms. Whenever he can, he dresses up like a woman and takes long walks upon the streets in such costumes. Through his love for feminine attire he came in contact with several transvestites who form a kind of club in this city. But the latter who abhor homosexual practices soon discovered his motive for the desire of feminine attire and avoided his company. In his reveries, dreams and acts the patient always plays the pathicus. For some reason or other, unknown to the author, the patient committed suicide.“
    He then gives FTM examples taken from Krafft-Ebing.
    “Her connubial duties were first painful and, later on, loathsome to her. She never experienced sensual pleasure, yet she became the mother of six children. Her husband began at that time to practise onanism (coitus interruptus). At the age of thirty-six she had an apoplectic stroke. From this time on she felt that a great change has taken place in her. She was mortified at being a woman. Her menstruation ceased. Her feminine features assumed a masculine expression. Her breasts disappeared. The pelvis became smaller and narrower, the bones more massive, the skin rougher and harder. Her voice grew deeper and quite masculine. Her feminine gait disappeared. She could not wear a veil. Even the odor emanating from her person changed. She could no longer act the part of a woman, and assumed more and more the character of a man. She complained of having strange feelings in her abdomen. She could no longer feel her muliebria. The vaginal orifice seemed to close and the region of her genitals seemed to be enlarged. She had the sensation of possessing a penis and a scrotum. At the same time she began to show symptoms of the male voluptas.”
    Talmey finished this section with the well-known cases of Murray Hall, New York politician and Nicholas de Raylan, assistant to the Russian consul in Chicago.

    iv) Paraesthesia, B) Homosexuality, 4) Transvestism.

    Talmey compares transvestism to homosexuality.
    “In the degrees of effemination and viraginity, cross-dressing is a prominent symptom. The homosexual pathicus has naturally the impulsive desire to dress like a woman, and vice versa, the Lesbian woman longs to dress like a man. Still, cross-dressing is a pathological entity by itself. Homosexuality is a morbid sex state of gross somatic experiences. … Transvestism, on the other hand, is a sexo-esthetic inversion of pure artistic imitation. Hence it occurs mostly in artists and in men of letters. … Transvestism is more in harmony with the basal esthetic demands. The patient harbors exalted ideas and is striving to secure artistic enjoyment in the appreciation of the beautiful. The attraction is in the mind and has nothing to do with the sex-organs.” He then discusses the same five examples as in his 1913 paper. Talmay concludes the section with his explanation of transvestism: “The longings for cross-dressing in our cases may be best explained, that the feminine strain, normally found in every male, exists here in a greatly exaggerated form. Every normal woman attributes an exaggerated value to clothes and, Narcissus-like, is more or less enamored with the female body.* The same exaggerated value to female clothes is attributed by the male transvestites. The female transvestite, on the other hand, thinks of clothes more or less as men do. Yet, the male strain in her, being a morbid phenomenon, dressing is of more importance to her than it is to the normal man.”
    In the associated footnote he gives his explanation of female sexuality:
    “The female body has a sexually stimulating effect upon woman. The pride of the female, says Weininger (Sex and Character, p. 201), is something quite peculiar to herself, something foreign even to the most handsome man, an obsession of her own body, a pleasure which displays itself even in the least handsome girl, by admiring herself in the mirror, by stroking herself and by playing with her own hair, but which comes to its full measure only in the effect that her body has on man. Woman desires to feel that she is admired physically. The normal woman regards her body as made for the stimulation of the man's sensations. This complex emotion forms the initial stage of her own pleasure. The female body has hence a greater exciting effect upon women than the male body has upon men. Female nudity produces a greater impression upon her than the male body ever does. … The same emotions are evoked in woman at the sight of female clothes. Woman takes it for granted that her clothes, just as her body, have an erotic effect upon the male. Hence female clothes awaken in women a complex emotion akin to the sight of the female body. Woman becomes sexually excited by her own clothes. For this reason clothes are to woman of the greatest importance. The desire for beautiful clothes is an irradiation of the sex instinct. The purpose of dress is the attraction through covering. For the parts covered are rendered more conspicuous.”
    • Bernard Simon Talmey. Woman; A Treatise on the Normal and Pathological Emotions of Feminine Love. New York: The Stanley Press Corporation, 1906.
    • Bernard Simon Talmey. Genesis; A Manual for the Instruction of Children in Matters Sexual, for the Use of Parents, Teachers, Physicians and Ministers. New York: The Practitioners' Pub. Co, 1910.
    • Bernard Simon Talmey. Neurasthenia Sexualis; a Treatise on Sexual Impotence in Men and in Women; For Physicians and Students of Medicine. New York: The Practitioners ́publishing co, 1912.
    • B.S. Talmey. “Transvestism: A Contribution to the study of the Psychology of Sex”. New York Medical Journal, 99, 1914: 362-8. Partially reprinted in Jonathan Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac. Harper & Row. 1983: 344-8.
    • Bernard Simon Talmey. Love, a Treatise on the Science of Sex-Attraction: For the Use of Physicians and Students of Medical Jurisprudence. New York: Practitioners' Pub. Co, 1915. Online at:
    • C. J. Bulliet. Venus Castina: Famous Female Impersonators Celestial and Human. New York: Covici 308 pp 1928. New York: Bonanza Books. 1956: 8-11.
    • Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Warner Books Edition 1977/PDF: 51/23,29.
    • Bram Dijkstra. Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Siècle Culture. Oxford University Press, 1986: 69, 77, 101, 116, 153, 224, 249, 261, 297. 304, 356.
    • Bram Dijkstra. Evil Sisters: The Threat of Female Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Culture. OWL Book, 1998: 201-2, 210-11.
    • Peter Boag. Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011: 59-63, 73.

    Note Talmey’s distinction between Perversity and Perversion. The latter is congenital and imperative. The former is situational and can be terminated: e.g. prison homosexuality or ‘gay for pay’.

    Talmey cites and quotes the sexologists, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Albert Moll, Havelock Ellis but never Magnus Hirschfeld.

    In turn, Talmey is never cited or quoted by George Henry, also of New York, who wrote on gay and trans persons in the 1940s. Talmey and Henry are certainly the major US writers on the topic in the first half of the 20th century. There is only a one-line mention of Talmey, and none at all of Henry, in Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon. Later sexologists ignore both Talmey and Henry. Of the three best known histories of transgender in the US, each of which has time to discuss German antecedents, Joanne Meyerowitz ignores Talmey completely and has two lines about Henry, and Susan Stryker and Genny Beemyn ignore them both.

    Note that 47 years before Virginia Prince founded the Hose and Heel Club in 1960, there was a club for heterosexual transvestites in New York where androphilic transvestites were not welcome. Talmey seems to anticipate Prince etc by discussing gay transvestites separately in the Homosexuality section – although Prof M does appear in the Tranvestite section.

    Note that 30 years before Louise Lawrence’s pioneering networking in the 1940s, Otto Spengler was doing something similar.

    The story of the person, who gave birth to six children and then at 36 had an apoplectic stroke and started changing into a man, sounds odd and we would want to know more (but neither chromosomal nor hormonal analysis was available in Krafft-Ebing’s time), but see also Peter Stirling who gave birth and then changed spontaneously.

    When Talmey was writing the concept of ‘Invert’ was strong. Thus he assumes that all gay men and lesbians are to some degree transvestic. Similarly in Germany, Hirschfeld regarded both gays and transvestites as ‘sexual intermediaries’. Hirschfeld however was strongly opposed by masculine gay men who were in no way effeminate.

    Bulliet, published in 1928, writes: “Dr. Bernard S. Talmey, of New York, … names the impulse ‘transvestism’”. Successful words have many parents.

    “Transvestism, on the other hand, is a sexo-esthetic inversion of pure artistic imitation. Hence it occurs mostly in artists and in men of letters.” -- yeah, right. This is an opinion much harder to hold in the 21st century.

    As I said, Talmey’s work on gender variance is almost universally ignored.  If you google his name you will find a lot of books etc that take quotes, often out of context, from his first book, Woman; A Treatise on the Normal and Pathological Emotions of Feminine Love.  I have included Bram Dijkstra’s books in the bibliography as probably the best of such books.  

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    Transgender lexicons:
    Virginia Prince
    Raven Usher
    Chris Bartlett
    Jack Molay
    Raphael Carter
    We looked at Raphael once before. Zir Angel’s Dictionary is well worth revisiting for the obscure and arcane words revived. Here we will look at some of the words and how they have fared in the years since 1996.

    Arenotelicon. Presumably from Arreno (Attic Greek for male) and Telicon (Greek for distance or achievement). The word is found in a Renaissance book, the Physiologus where it is used to describe hyenas who were then believed to change sex each year. Carter suggests that the word would apply well to the Gethenians in Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. The word means distancing oneself from maleness, but what would be distancing oneself from femaleness: Thelyotelicon? Arenotelicon has been picked up in SF gaming. Elder Scrolls: Arenotelicon? “Pretty easy: ‘a creature that alternates between male and female’. Why not just ‘phase-shifting tranny’? Well, because sometimes the old words are best, as they ring with implied importance and are all long and spooky-looking.”

    Arenotelicon is also sometimes just as a hyena/wolf type monster without any sex-changing – in this usage it was the inspiration for the film Brotherhood of the Wolf.

    Baeddel. An old English term for a trans woman. Urban Dictionary says that it is a derogatory term, but any term from that period would have been. Is it connected to our modern word ‘bad’? Some have reclaimed the term for themselves. Some of those who did that have acquired a bad reputation for online aggression, especially against trans men. However not all.

    Epicene. From the Greek epi + koinos (common). So by usage: what is common to both genders. Non-binary pronouns are epicene pronouns. Carter comments: “This word has taken on a variety figurative meanings over the centuries (Ben Jonson used it to mean something like 'effeminate'); still, more than any other word I know of, it emphasizes what is common to both sexes. Its Greek root means 'common,' and it shows up in descriptions of garments that either sex can wear, or places both sexes dwell ('Epicene...Convents, wherein Monks and Nuns lived together.' -- Fuller, c.1661).” Zir offers a meditation on why zir prefers ‘epicine’ to describe zirself, rather than androgyne or any other term. A position that I find to be quite coherent.

    However. Yes, most definitions support Carter’s usage. However let us look at a couple of usages: Evelyn Waugh in Brideshead Revisited: “He was magically beautiful, with that epicene quality which in extreme youth sings aloud for love and withers at the first cold wind.” Graham Greene in The Confidential Agent: “The little room swung clearly back – the boot cupboard and the epicene girls in black silk stockings and the masculine chairs.” (These two examples from Tom McMorrow in Having Fun with Words of Wit and Wisdom). Then there is the usage, not in the novel The Silence of the Lambs, but is its exegesis, of describing Hannibal Lecter as epicene. Camille Paglia in Sexual Personae, using ‘epicoene’, the 16th century spelling, gives the examples of George Villiers, Byron, Elvis Presley and Michelangelo’s statue, Giuliani de’ Medici. Molly Haskell, in her From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment if Women in the Movies, uses ‘epicene’ to describe the screen personae of Oliver Hardy and Clifton Webb. What is this other ‘epicene’ that is not some type of gender variance? Most dictionaries avoid it, strangely – given their remit to reflect usage. Let us look at The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, where the definition starts with “Etymologically, epicene has had overtones of effeminacy, even decadence”. Such of course is Lecter. Let us also note the following word in the Columbia: epicurean “a person who has a well-developed taste for and an enjoyment of good food and drink”. Even more so is Lecter. It is almost as if there has been a seepage of meaning between two words adjacent in a dictionary.

    Salmacian. A term proposed by Raphael for male-to-intersex and female-to-intersex transsexuals. Salmacis was the other person conjoined with Hermaphroditus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The definition has been revised by some to “people who wish to have a mixed genital set” in that intersex is not a condition that can be acquired by surgery. The Intersex Glossary proposes ‘bigenital’ as “a less common and potentially more controversial synonym”. The same source defines Salmacian: “A dyadic person who wishes to transition to a sexually neutral or ambiguous state. Some see salmacianism as fetishistic, arguing that it conceptualises intersex as one set of sexual organs universal to all intersex people, or that salmacians are co-opting the intersex experience. Salmacians themselves simply see themselves as being happier with some form of non-normative genital configuration, androgynous body shape, etc., and it is the author’s opinion that their wishes for transition should be respected.” The best known surgical Salmacian would seem to be Les Nichols, although there is no statement that he identified with the word.

    Scat/ Scatta. Like baeddel, of ango-saxon provenence. Ælfric, c.1000 is quoted; “Hermafroditus, waepenwifestre, uel scratta, uel baeddel”. The differences between each are not explicated.

    Wiktionary gives scatta as a form of the Italian scattare, to be released – which is appropriate in that most trans persons experience release in transition. Urban Dictionary defines it as a ‘bitch fight’.

    Waepenwifestre. According to the Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, Weapenlic meant unruly or male. In modern English, ‘weapon’ has narrowed to a tool for killing or harming others, and so ‘Waepenwifestre’ for trans is extremely unlikely to catch on.

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    Originally from Missouri, where his first social musical experiences were at roller-discos, Terre moved to New York at the end of the 1980s to study fine art, and became a DJ immersed in the queer house scene.

    Terre became a resident at the trans hangout Sallys II. Sallys was a

    “site of education, where people could share information about their transitioning experiences. There were times when you really learned things on a political level, on a social level – that’s what’s interesting. Music is usually one of the least interesting things about clubs. (quoted in Hutchinson)”
    “I was identifying as Transgendered at that point. Before that I had identified as Queer in sexual terms. If I had to identify, I’d identify as Transgendered rather than male but yeah, back in the Nineties, by the time I was at Sally’s, I was identifying as Transgendered. The scene at Sally’s was dominated by Transsexuals. For a person like myself, who is not interested in surgery or hormone therapy, there was a lot of pressure to dress and look a certain style that I just couldn’t. So, I don’t think most of the people at Sally’s even knew that I was Transgendered-identified at that time. (quoted in Petros)“
    Terre was fired from Sallys and other trans clubs for refusing to play music that was in the charts, particularly “wailing diva stuff”. By 1994 Terre was known as a composer in the ambient/ computer synthesis field, and established her own Comatinse label. By 1998 she was also releasing music as DJ Sprinkles.

    The first DJ Sprinkles single, ‘Sloppy 42nds’ was subtitled “A Tribute to the 42nd Street transsexual clubs destroyed by Walt Disney’s buyout of Times Square”.

    In interview with Carlos Pozo, Terre explained:
    “Anti-essentialist transgenderism is about an appropriation and recontextualization of cultural signifiers around gender. Anti-essentialist refers to an outlook that does not believe in an inherent "essence" or content, as opposed to an essentialist transgendered outlook that one is "trapped" in the wrong body, etc. I think computer synthesis is also very much about appropriation and recontextualization, drawing from external audio sources and materials much like quotations in a book. There is no essentialist core of creativity, or sense of originality - but there can be an awareness of difference and change. So from my experience, transgenderism and computer synthesis definitely have resonations between them. When you ask about fetishization, are you asking about people fetishizing or tokenizing my music as "Queer" above any other contents? I haven't really seen that happen.
    I like to think when I talk about Queer issues in my projects they arise in a complex way that doesn't reduce easily. Queer sensibility, as opposed to Lesbian and Gay sensibility, is also about anti-essentialist appropriation (the appropriation of a derogatory term to reference a notion of one's sexuality being inextricably tied to a larger social condition) and notions of pan-sexual diversity, not rigid Heterosexual vs. Homosexual binarisms. To be honest, I'm not sure how much of that gets across to people who equate Queer with Gay, but I haven't really sensed any problems with negative over-simplification. All of these ideas are simultaneously about processes of identification and processes of transition between points of identification, so that inability to solidify an essentialist identity can lead to misrepresentation or offending those with essentialist outlooks, but you can't worry about that or it will socially paralyze you.”
    Terre moved to San Francisco and then to Japan, where she released material under the K-S.H.E. alias. On the Routes Not Roots album, one track, ”Saki-Chan”, incorporates a monologue from a Japanese transsexual, and in “Stand-Up” Thaemlitz tells how she was beaten senseless by Latino queens in New York. Terre has become an established figure in the Japanese house scene, and many of her releases are Japan-only.

    In 2004 she recorded Trans-Sister Radio for radio. Her 2012 album Soulnessless is the “world’s longest album in history”, a 29-hour piano solo split into five cantos. It was released on an SD card, and comes with a 150-page commentary.

    Her debut mix CD, 2013, “Where Dancefloors Stand Still”, protested Japan’s restrictive fuzoku law (prohibiting dancing in clubs beyond 1am).
    “It seems that the queer factor of today’s house events is really low,” she says. “If you’re in the US and it’s a straight, white club then it’s just a fucking nightmare. These events are the celebration grounds for heteronormativity. There is a historic connection between queerness and deep house, and also things like transgenderism and vogue, that, to me, was really important – and it’s utterly absent.” It’s not just about the music having broader appeal, either: “It has to do with this cultural shift away from the necessity to actually have clubs function as safe spaces for different types of sexual enactment. (quoted in Hutchinson)”
    Carlos Pozo asked: “Is Terre Thaemlitz your real [sic] name?” And got the answer: “Yes, the family name was a little mangled by US immigration several generations back (it was originally Thamlitz). As for the spelling of my first name (pronounced "Terry"), I think my parents were trying to name me after St. Teresa of the Roses, but they didn't want to spell it "Terri" because that's for GIRLS, and they didn't want to spell it "Terry" because that refers to St. Terence, or something weird like that. This whole gender-ambiguity thing goes way back! It's made for lots of free tampon mailings over the years.”

    Terre suggests to Kate Hutchinson that “if pronouns really have to be used, Terre is ‘she’ and Sprinkles is ‘he’”.    EN.Wikipedia    Discogs     Factmag

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    SC, a "faithful" reader, has pointed out a passing reference in

    Simone de Beauvoir (ed. Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir): A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren. The New Press, 1998: 379.

    On 15 Octobre 1950, de Beauvoir wrote:

    'It is an average village...on the banks of the Loire...she was upset to discover that the landlady and her cook, were two lesbians. I saw pictures of them: aged, huge, full-breasted, full-buttocked women; strange to think of anything like love between them...they told there were three couples of peasant women, oldish women all clad in black and church going, who lived the same way. One is married, lot of children, and goes every week to the next town to meet her true love. Then, there is in this village a married father of three children who is the head of the village orchestra and likes just one thing: dressing as a woman. His wife is as bald as an egg, wears scarf on her naked skull and dresses in a nondescriptive way. But he takes care of himself lovingly. He has long hair, paints his face and lips, wears a silken open shirt, pants, but high-heeled woman's shoes and silken stockings. They say his buttocks and breast are fake. Yet, they accept him; it is no fault of him, they say, his grand-father was lame, his father had a hunched-back, so it is and hereditary disease. He never sleeps with boys, just dresses like a woman. He is a tailor and sews daintily all day long...village where they can accept anything from a native.'

    See also The Railwayman's Wife, incidentally discovered in a village in Gloucestershire in the 1960s.

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    The Society for Classical Studies (previously the American Philological Association) held its 2017 meeting in Toronto 5-8 January. On Sunday, the last day, there was a session, [Tr]an[s]tiquity. Which looked at trans and intersex in the ancient world. The session was chaired by Walter Penrose, author of the new book, Postcolonial Amazons: Female Masculinity and Courage in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit Literature (US$95),and Thomas Sapsford.

    The introduction gave a quick summary of North American trans history mentioning the Cercle Hermaphroditis at Paresis Hall in 1890s New York, Virginia Prince, Leslie Feinberg and Rupert Raj.

    The first paper “An Intersex Manifesto: Naming the Non-Binary Constructions of the Ancient World” (abstract) was by Chris Mowat from the University of Newcastle who criticized the still ongoing practice in Classical discourse of using the term ‘hermaphrodite’ although it has largely been dropped in other areas of discourse, replaced by intersex, and more contentiously Disorders of Sexual Development. He cites 1990s writers such as Alice Dreger and Cheryl Chase (but does not mention that she is more latterly known as Bo Laurent). Should modern terminology be used, “transposed into ancient constructions” or should classicists stick to the terms used in ancient Greece and Rome: ἑρμαφρόδιτος/ hermaphroditus and ἀνδρόγυνος/androgynous? Mowat also discusses using ‘intersex’ for mythical/art persons such as “The Sleeping Hermaphrodite” in the Louvre, and a wall painting in Pompeii. He proposes that Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE) “constructs intersexuality as a medical condition” when he wrote: “It was assumed, however, by those who were privy to the strange secret that she was a hermaphroditos, and as to her past life with her husband, since natural intercourse did not fit their theory, she was thought to have consorted with him as male to male”. This is compared to later writers such as the Elder Pliny, a century later, who commented that such persons were previously considered prodigia (monsters) but were now considered deliciae (sexual pets). Mowat concludes: “this paper is not to argue that ‘intersexuality’ and its derivatives are perfect terminology – and their own shortcomings will be analysed – but to posit the idea that they can and do create a more nuanced understanding of non-binary bodies in the ancient world”.

    The second paper by Rachel Hart at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was titled: “(N)either Men (n)or Women? The Failure of Western Binary Systems”(abstract), but was actually mainly about the Enareës, the shamans among the Scythians, Iranian nomads who roamed from the Black Sea to central Asia. Hart cites only old articles on Enareës as Shamans (Meuli 1935, Ballabriga 1986, Asheri 1977) but nothing from the large library on shamanism or two-spirit. What she does is a close reading and comparison of the mentions of the Enareës in Herodotus (5th century BCE) and Hippocrates (a generation later), and concludes “It is more likely that the Enareës would self-identify as intersex or perhaps even transgender individuals”. She admits that “this terminology is anachronistic” and turns for a less-rigid gender system, not to two-spirit studies but to gender in the Rabbinic tradition. Her rational for this is: “I do not apply the rabbinic analogue arbitrarily: Herodotus notes that the Enareës were originally a group of Scythian men who defiled a temple at Askalon, located in Palestine”.

    The third paper was by Jennifer Weintritt of Yale University, titled “Textual and Sexual Hybridity: Gender in Catullus 63” (abstract). Catullus’ poem is about the godling Attis and his/her celebration of the rites of Cybele (which includes castration and taking female dress). While the original manuscripts use male endings describing Attis, several editors have revised them as female endings: e.g. excitum, ipse become excitam, ipsa; tenerum, ille become teneram, illa etc. A key line is 54: “ego … earum omnia adirem furibunda latibula”, àwhich could mean either “that I should approach all of their hiding-places as a frenzied woman” or “that I should approach all of their frenzied hiding-places”. Weintritt comments: “Surprisingly, earlier discussions, for all their well-researched arguments, have underappreciated that the phrase occurs in a purpose clause: if furibunda is determined to agree with ego, then Attis may have come to Phrygia with transgender intentions”. Line 63 “ego mulier, ego adolescens, ego ephebus, ego puer”à “I have been a woman, a young man, an ephebe, a boy”. Remarkably some editors altered ‘puer’ to ‘puber’ (adult male) which breaks the age order.

    The fourth paper was by Kelly Shannon of the University of Alabama, titled “Life After Transition: Spontaneous sex change and its aftermath in ancient literature” (abstract) There are a good handful of ancient accounts of supposed women who spontaneously change into men. Similar stories are recorded in the early-modern period (see Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex, 1990), and in Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, 1886, and the most prominent 20th century account is that of Peter Stirling. Shannon discussed six examples who had varying consequences. They either became successful men or were put on trial and even, in one case, burned alive, but the gender binary stands firm.

    The fifth paper was by Barbara Blythe of Wheaton College, titled “Gender Ambiguity and Cult Practice in the Roman Novel” (abstract). She demonstrates that Roman novels differ from Greek novels in that the male protagonist is depicted as effeminate. In Petronius’ Satyrica theprotagonist Encolpius often takes a passive role in sexual encounters (many of which involve beatings and bondage), including one with a cinaedus during a ritual for the god Priapus. At various points in the narrative we hear that he wears makeup, ornate hairstyles and wigs, and effeminate Greek slippers. Twice he is mistaken for a male prostitute. At one point he contemplates severing his penis while reciting a poem in Sotadeans (132.8), a meter associated with cinaedi. (This novel was filmed by Fellini in 1969 adding extra gender variant episodes.) In Apuleius’ Metamorphoses Lucius is likewise dominated, sexually or otherwise, by almost every female character he meets. When he accepts Isis as his saviour goddess, he submits yet again to a powerful female figure. His vow of sexual abstinence and shaved head do not feminize him per se, yet they signal his willingness to compromise his youthful virility in order to please his new mistress. Apuleius seems to imply that the reader should view Lucius alongside the galli who are often taken as transgender.

    The sixth paper was by Anna Peterson of Pennsylvania State University, titled “Dio’s First Tarsian Oration and the Rhetoric of Gender-Indeterminacy” (abstract). Dio Chrysostom also called Dio of Prusa, lived in the late 1st century CE. He left about 80 orations. A couple of these were delivered in Tarsus (whence Saul/Paul of the Christian testament is said to come from). While speaking in analogies, Dio harangues against “a mysterious fault that he refuses to name, despite the threat he says it poses to the reputation of the city”. Scholars debate what this ‘fault’ was. Peterson comments: an “unmistakable rhetorical cue comes at the speech’s conclusion, where Dio turns his attention to the Tarsians’ treatment of their bodies. Assuming the role of doctor, Dio diagnoses his audience’s decline into effeminate behavior as the result of excessive depilation, sarcastically quipping in the final line of the speech: ‘if it were possible to borrow from women other attributes, then we should be supremely happy, not defective beings (ἐνδεεῖς), but whole and natural ἀνδρόγυνοι (androgynoi)’ ” . Peterson expands: “ I explore how the uncertainty caused by Dio’s refusal to speak in specifics brings into relief, reflects on, and ultimately stages the gender-indeterminancy inherent to the term androgynos. Dio’s speech, as I suggest, reaffirms through its vitriol the idealized masculine identity of the time, even as the confusion it inspires in its audience mimics the indeterminate nature of its concluding image.”

    A friend with very good Latin read this and commented on Catullus’ poem: “Furibunda means ‘frenzied’ or ‘mad’ and is used of people prophetically inspired. Therefore it cannot describe the hiding-places, and must agree with ego. However, this may not be a purpose clause, but a result clause; Attis regrets these consequences.”

    While Virginia Prince, Leslie Feinberg and Rupert Raj were mentioned in the introduction, nobody at all like any of them is discussed in any of the papers.

    Weintritt, discussing Attis and Cybele, does not mention that there is a Cybele Maetreum run by trans women in upstate New York.

    The paper by Shannon is the only one to name actual persons who probably did live at the time.
    The paper by Blythe on novels is not, of course, about gender variant persons, but about heteronormativity and panic about departing from it.

    Peterson does not mention Saul/Paul of Tarsus. Let us turn to p61 of Donald Akenson’s Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus, 2000: “ ‘Saulos’ despite its Hebrew origins, had a slang meaning in demotic Greek that would have been impossible for the apostle to live with. ‘Saulos’ meant ‘slut-arsed’ and referred to the swinging gait of prostitutes. Given his adamant condemnation of homosexuality, one can hardly expect the apostle to accept a name that would liken him to the mincing posteriors of rent boys and queens. His dignity could take the word play that would come from Paulos – little guy, short-stuff, things like that – but Saulos, never.” Dio and Saul/Paul were roughly the same generation. So how come, no-one, New Testament scholars, Dio scholars, ancient sexuality scholars, has put Dio’s oration to the Tarsians and the sex-implied name of the most famous Tarsian in juxtaposition?

    Who are the most famous trans persons in antiquity? Many would say Sporus and Elagabalus. They were not mentioned in this session.

    Pioneering work on trans in the ancient world was done by Werner Krenkel, professor of classics and philology at Rostok University. He wrote a paper, “Transvestismus in der Antike”, 1990 which was included in a collection of his work, Naturalia non turpia. Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece and Rome. Schriften zur antiken Kultur- und Sexualwissenschaft, 2006. Nobody seems to mention it any more. Here is a review of the book.

    There is a new book, to be released in February, called TransAntiquity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World, edited by Domitilla Campanile, Filippo Carlà-Uhink & Margherita Facella (US$140).

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    Why the wait of four months before release?    Does this give time for the new regime to reverse it?

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    J.W. was born in Brooklyn, NY, and, after the parents died, was raised by a guardian in Pennsylvania. J.W. had pierced ears by age 14. J.W. could sing soprano well, but could not whistle, and was said to throw a stone like a girl.

    J.W had only a little education, and could read English only moderately. However J.W. was free from religious belief of any kind, and was quite accepting of her sexuality “he sees no immorality in it”. From age 16, J.W. sought male paramours. Later, using the trade name Loop-the-Loop (from the ride at Coney Island) J.W. became a 'fairy' and a sex worker in Brooklyn, and on the Bowery in Manhattan. While the police would arrest any perceived male in full or partial female clothing, “Fifty cents or a dollar will buy off any cop, and that from dark to daylight. We all do it.”

    From 1903 J.W. used eight bottles of a preparation that had been recomended as a depilatory, but had in fact caused leg and arm hair to grow back more luxuriously.

    In 1906 J.W was sent for examination to Dr R.W. Shufeldt, previously of the US Army Major Medical Corps. Shufeldt found J.W. to be typically and distinctly male: 130 lbs, 5’8”, “his features are seen to be coarse and of a criminal cast”, free of any syphilitic disease, but of “very marked uncleanliness”.

    J.W assured Dr Shufeldt stoutly that she had never had congress with a woman, “having a powerful aversion for anything of the kind”. J.W.’s husband, a musician came along for the July appointment, smartly dressed in his uniform. The husband laughed at J.W.’s claim of having been pregnant a few years before, and stated that J.W. though “honest in other respects, was a most outrageous liar”. Dr Shufeldt: “I found him to be one of the most skilful pickpockets that had ever come under my observation, and that is admitting a good deal”. J.W. boasted to Shufeldt of satisfying “as many as Forty men in twentyfour hours”.
    • R W Shufeldt. “Biography of a Passive Pederast”. American Journal of Urology and Sexology, 13, 1917: 451-60. Online
    • George Chauncey. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Makings of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. Basic Books, 1994: 68-9, 84, 87, 96.
    • Mack Friedman. Strapped for Cash: A History of American Hustler Culture. Alyson Books, 2003: 29, 34-5.

    Shufeldt describes J.W. as a “passive pederast”. By pre-WWI usage this has no necessary implication of sex with younger persons.  The street term at that time was "fairy".

    The middle-class doctor refers several times to J.W.’s non-conformity to middle-class notions of hygiene (although J.W. knew enough to not become infected with syphilis or other sexual diseases) but we should remember that at that time slum tenements were not equipped with either toilets or bathrooms.

    While Shufeldt agreed that J.W. had more than usual arm and leg air (whether or not it resulted form a supposed dipilitary) it is not obvious in the nude photograph that Shufeldt also included.

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    From 1899 to 1923 Magnus Hirschfeld was editor of the  Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen.   In 1901, volume 3, he published "Vom Weibmann auf der Bühne" (Women-man on the stage), by Dr W.S.*, a study of 15 Damenimitatoren (female impersonators).   They are referred to by a series of double initials: A.A.,  B.B., etc.    The 8th is therefore H.H.  We have no no other name for her.

    According to H.H.'s own account, his parents died when he was young.  He left school and Germany, and worked his way to the US as a ship's boy.

    In New York he became a musician, a flautist, but was unable to find a  place in a men’s orchestra. However, presenting as female, H.H. was engaged by a women’s band and chorus (Damenkapelle). She travelled for several years with this band as a flute player, without being read.

    Eventually, H.H. left this post, but she felt so natural in female clothes that she continued so. She worked in succession as a chambermaid, a soda-seller, a waitress, and a buffet-maid.  She then joined a circus, and advanced quickly from an extra to performing as an equestrian acrobat.  A fall from the horse, which stretched a tendon, put an end to this. However she then became a female musical clown in the circus, and later formed a singing group with other women, in which she sang the second voice.

    In later life, back in Germany H.H. worked as a Damenimitator.

    Dr W.S. commented that H.H. was  "A very strong character, when dressed as a man he was almost tough.  Not at all sweet or affective. Dressed as a woman, as he now preferred on the street, he was graceful, amiable, and so confident that one would hardly believe his story."

    • Dr. med. W.S.  "Vom Weibmann auf der Bühne".  Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen, 3, 1901: 313-325.  Online.
    • Vern L. Bullough & Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. University of Philadelphia Press 1993:  223n16,

    The Bulloughs - who claim 'no author' for the article although it clearly says 'Dr. med. W. S.', further propose that Hirschfeld "was probably also the author of the article, since it was his custom to write articles without attribution for the journal".  

    Modern readers would want to know how H.H. managed to pass, at close quarters with a travelling band, without electrolysis and without female hormones.   Dr W.S. shows no interest in this aspect.
    Possible she was one of the lucky few like Rachel Harlow or April Ashley who appear female even before attempting transition.

    I hope that H.H. getting a job only in a female band does not imply lower standards in female orchestras.   Just as likely is that as an immigrant, H.H. was not accepted by the male musician unions.

    Would a cis male disguise as female in this way to get a job and keep up the disguise day and night (when travelling) for several years?   While such a situation is a common trope in fiction, and also in cross-dreaming, I am not able to find a real-life example of such,   However if H.H. were trans she would be delighted with the opportunity. 

    There is a passing resemblance to the plot of Some Like It Hot, 1959, but that was 70 years later.  

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    “The story’s told/ With facts and lies”. Leonard Cohen. Nevermind– theme song to True Detective.

    This is a new series analysing repeated untruths, canards, lies and misinformation with regard to trans history.

    Tim Armstrong in his Modernism, Technology, and the Body: A Cultural Study, 1998, page 167, writes of Magnus Hirschfeld “Himself homosexual (Like Haire) and transvestite, he was less dogmatic than Krafft-Ebing had been”. Of course Armstrong gives no citation or quote to support this.

    Where does this canard come from, that Hirschfeld was trans. Yes, he was gay. We know of his two lovers, Karl Giese and Li Shiu Tong. But there is actually no gossip dating to Hirschfeld’s lifetime that suggests that he was trans. Christopher Isherwood lived in Hirschfeld’s institute and has no such gossip in his autobiography Christopher and his Kind: A Memoir, 1929-1939, published 1976.  And of course if there had been any such rumours, the Nazis would have delighted in repeating them.

    Can we find this idea in a book or author that should know? There is Vern Bullough. Only a few months apart Bullough published two books that discuss Hirschfeld and crossdressing: Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993: 207-213, and Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research, Basic Books, 1994: 62-75. Given the vagaries of publishing we cannot know which was written first. In Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender, Bullough starts his 6-page essay with “A physician, Hirschfeld was a self-avowed homosexual and reformer of sex laws, as well as a pioneer in the study of sexuality”. In Science in the Bedroom, Bullough starts his 14-page essay with “Undoubtedly influenced by his own homosexuality and transvestism ….”.  Again there is no footnote or any other citation for the claim that Hirschfeld was trans.

    So did Bullough add the claim that Hircshfeld was trans in Science in the Bedroom, or did he have second thoughts and remove it in Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender? Nobody seems to have discussed this issue.

    The other source is Find a Grave. Its Magnus Hirschfeld page says: “As a Jew living in a historically anti-Semitic country, and as a gay man and transvestite living at a time when homosexuality was still believed to be a form of mental illness, he knew the importance of being organized and having a voice …”. Of its nature, Find a Grave does not do citations.

    Then of course there is the fact of Hirschfeld’s bushy moustache. Which is always there – not shaved off and grown back.   Now Edward D Wood had a trick at parties of disappearing and reappearing en femme, sometimes even shaving off his moustache to do so, but Hirschfeld's was a much more significant growth, and there is no record of it ever not being there.

    Here is a photograph from Ralf Dose. Magnus Hirschfeld: The Origins of the Gay Liberation Movement, 2014. Review  

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    Keith Caputo grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Mother OD’ed at age 20. Father was a drug dealer, in and out of prison, a tattoo artist, and able to rebuild old cars.

    Caputo was mainly raised by his paternal grandparents, and was experimenting with female clothes from age eight or so. The teenage Caputo took classical piano lessons, but then, at the urging of a cousin started singing with garage bands. By age 18 Caputo was going out as her female self, to New York nightclubs such as Escuelita.

    While in college Caputo sang with the heavy metal group, Life of Agony, and was on their 1993 album, River Runs Red. After the third album in 1997, Caputo controversially left.

     “People started to resent me because I quit the band at the height of our — we were about to explode on radio. … I was different by nature, and it really wasn’t my style to be sleeping with a million different girls. I’ve experimented with some drugs, but I wasn’t really like seriously addicted to any substance, you know?”(Petros)
    Caputo had girlfriends, was usually faithful, but also experimented with men.
    A new group, Absolute Bloom lasted only a year.

    Caputo’s father was released from jail for good behaviour in 2002, and died that same night after taking drugs. He was 56.

    Caputo worked with the Brazilian band Freakx which had broken up a decade earlier. They put out an album in 2003. The same year Caputo did a reunion with the original Life of Agony, and formed a new band which recorded as Live Monsters. Caputo also put out solo albums.

    In July 2011 at age 39, Caputo announced transition, and started female hormones.

    “There is no right or wrong way of how to express your human nature. It was odd growing up identifying as a woman. My subconscious sex is female, living in a male body — it was difficult. It was confusing. It was depressing.” (Petros)
    She continued to perform with Life of Agony, and her first solo album as Mina was As Much Truth as One Can Bear.

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    Rodney Arsenault was raised in a trailer park in Beamesville, Ontario, where he identified with beautiful women. He gained two masters degrees and became an instructor in acting at Toronto’s York University.

    Arsenault started having plastic surgery during holiday breaks and reading weeks, and became Nina. At a staff Christmas party, a grad student proclaimed:

    “Aren’t you victimizing yourself by constructing your new identity out of the oppressive misogynistic values that you were socialized with as a male?”
    Nina conceded the point, but embraced the image anyway.

    Early on, Nina dated Eric Newman, the future Luka Magnotta, who later became a porn actor, and had plastic surgery such that when he was a contestant on COVERguy on OUTtv and Nina was a judge, she failed to recognise him.

    In 2003, she had a small part in the film Soldier’s Girl.

    In 2005, Nina’s talent agent was Eugene Pichler, who was also advocating against funding for transgender surgery at the same time.

    After nine years, 60 cosmetic surgeries and $160,000, financed mainly from working in the actual sex trade, working as a cyber-whore, and writing a ‘t-girl’ column in Fab magazine, Nina was chosen for one of eight Unstoppable awards, that year’s theme in the 2007 Toronto Pride Gala.

    Sky Gilbert, drag queen and playwright, wrote a play, Ladylike, around her persona, and it opened in November 2007. In 2010, she starred in the solo piece, I Was Barbie. In 2012, Nina’s play in seven monologues,  The Silicone Diaries, was professionally produced. She has also done performance pieces in art galleries.

    In May 2012, Luka Magnotta murdered Lín Jùn, 林俊, a student at Concordia University, posted videos of the crime online and physically posted body parts to politicians and to schools. He fled to Paris and Berlin, but was arrested, returned to Canada, tried and sentenced to life in prison. His earlier relationship with Nina attracted press attention.

    Later that year, the book TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work, a series of essays on her work, was published.

    In 2013, while on a flight to Edmonton with fellow performer Lexi Sanfino, a flight attendant asked for makeup advice “because you used to be guys, right?” In response, Sanfino decided to strut topless down the aisle. She was arrested when the plane landed, and Nina who filmed the arrest was also arrested, but released without charges. They were addressed as male based on the ‘M’ in their passports, and Nina was questioned about whether she had had genital surgery. They pointed out that it was not illegal for a legal male to remove his top. Lexi was charged with causing a disturbance.

    In 2015, Nina appeared at TEDxToronto.

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    Part I: origins
    Part II: infamy
    Part III: aftermath

    James Barker was a prosperous businessman in Oldham, Lancashire. His son Thomas (1857 – 1918) became an architect in Brighton, Sussex. In 1887 he wed the 18-year-old Lillias Hill (1868 – 1923), the fourth daughter of a country parson, and a distant relative of Olave Baden-Powell.

    James Barker died in 1889, and Thomas, coming into his inheritance, abandoned his career and with his wife moved to the parish of St Clement, Jersey. Their daughter Lillias Irma Valerie Barker was born in 1895.

    The family moved back to England in 1899, and settled in Bramley, Surrey, where a son, Thomas Leslie was born later that year. Later they moved to nearby Milford.

    As it developed, it was Valerie who grew up with a love of dogs, horses, sports and pranks. Mr Barker, disappointed with his son, taught his daughter fencing, cricket and boxing. After attending two schools for young ladies, as a finishing, she was sent to a convent school at Graty, Silly near Brussels. Both at the convent school, and back home, Valerie would dress male whenever she could. At age 19, Valerie had her formal coming out ball.

    During the First World War she was a nurse, an ambulance driver and then a horse trainer. Particularly the last position entitled her to dress in khaki breeches, tunic, cap and riding boots. At the end of the war she was working with horses at an estate in Kent, where she met the recuperating Harold Arkell-Smith, an Australian who had been successively promoted from private to lieutenant and awarded three medals. They were married in April 1918. - however the marriage lasted only six weeks, although they never did divorce.

    In August using her married name, Mrs L I Valerie Smith enrolled in the newly established Women’s Royal Air Force. The WRAF was considered to have the smartest uniform of all the women’s services and it made no concessions at all to femininity. The women in the WRAF liked to refer to each other with male nicknames. Valerie Smith worked as a driver and was paid 38/- a week.

    Thomas Barker died in October, age 63. His widow went to live in London with their son. The WRAF was disbanded after the Armistice. Valerie found work in a tea-shop in Warminster.

    There she met another Australian, Ernest Pearce Crouch. He also was separated from his wife. Crouch was offered a job in the Paris office of The Times, and Valerie having agreed to join him, he applied for his wife, Valerie Pearce Crouch to be added to his passport. They lived in Paris just over a year. Valerie continued her preference for masculine attire, and they had a baby son. However The Times had falling sales, and Ernest was made redundant. They rented a house in Hook, in the London borough of Kingston, not far from where Valerie’s brother was living. However Ernest was unable to find work, and a daughter was born in June 1921. Neither child was ever registered.

    The Pearce Crouches became tenant farmers at an estate outside Littlehampton, West Sussex, intending to also run it as a guest house. Valerie, as usual wore men’s clothing to do farm work, including a collar and tie, and was even spotted in a dinner suit. Ernest took to drink, and sometimes violence.

    Valerie was developing a friendship with Elfrida Haward who worked in her father's chemist shop in Littlehampton.

    Lillias Barker had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for six years, and died in September 1923, age 55. She left her daughter an annuity of £9 a month for life.

    After an assault that put her in hospital for a few days, Valerie threatened legal action if Ernest did not leave. She agreed that he could take their daughter.

    She sold off what she could of the farm’s assets. After purchasing some new men’s clothes, she bicycled to the next railway station, not Littlehampton, where she would be recognised. She then took the train to Brighton, and a taxi to the Grand Hotel, where a reservation for Sir Victor Barker DSO was waiting.


    The Grand hotel in Brighton in 1923 was one of the finest in England.   It was one of the first, outside London, to have lifts, electric lights and external fire escapes.

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    Part I: origins: daughter, wife, mother
    Part II: husband, actor, manager
    Part III: trial & infamy
    Part IV: aftermath

    Sir Victor Barker DSO settled in at the Grand Hotel, Brighton. He visited a gentleman’s outfitters and purchased two or three suits, including a dress suit for evening wear, shirts, collars ties, etc. The asset sales from the farm and the sale of his mother’s jewellery, and his small annuity would carry him for the time being. His three-year-old son was cared for elsewhere in Brighton. He participated in tennis, swimming and horse riding with the other hotel residents.

    Elfrida Haward arrived on the second day. Barker had explained:

    “I told Miss Haward that I was not what she thought I was; I told her that I was a man who had been injured in the war; that I was really a man acting as woman for family reasons. I made some excuse about it being my mother’s wish, and she believed it.”
    The son was explained as with a first wife who had died, and the daughter was of Peace Crouch and his wife from whom he was now separated. Barker did concede though that
    “I think that she had some doubt as to my being a baronet. I explained that I had dropped the title while living on my farm, but had assumed it again in the hope that it might help me get a job. I don’t think she swallowed this tale, though she never said much.”
    Elfrida would later claim that she did not know that he was a woman until the trial and she understood that Victor could not have 'normal relations' because of an abdominal wound received during the war.

    However Victor's previous persona, Mrs Peace-Crouch, had patronized the shop. Victor Barker was able to convince Elfrida's father that he had lived much of his life as a woman because his mother had always wanted a girl and had taken advantage of the death of the father to impose this whim. However he had also been an army Colonel, had served with the British Expeditionary Force in France, and had been awarded a DSO.

    However, once this tale was digested, a new problem arose. The young man – albeit supposedly a woman – had spent a night with Elfrida in her bedroom. To avoid scandal they must marry. For Elfrida, this was a good match: a tradesman’s daughter and a knighted military man. However her parents, while permitting the marriage did not care for Sir Victor. They cancelled their plans to settle a sum of money on Elfrida at marriage.

    Because the parents did not care to wait through the customary reading of banns on three consecutive Sundays, Victor applied for a marriage license. To do this he had to produce both their birth certificates, and make a sworn affidavit that
    “he believeth that there is no impediment of any kindred or alliance or of any other lawful cause, or any suit commenced in any Ecclesiastical Court to bar of hinder the proceeding of the said Matrimony according to the Tenor of such licence”.
    The impediment of alliance was not mentioned, nor was his biological sex; and a forged birth certificate was produced. Victor and Elfrida were married 14 November 1923 at St Peter’s, the parish church of Brighton. The ceremony was performed by the curate as the vicar collapsed and died while running for a bus that very morning.

    From a meeting at the Grand Hotel, Barker became involved in the Brighton Repertory Company where he was paid 10/- a week. However his lifestyle required more. He opened an antiques and second hand furniture shop in Andover, Hampshire. He also bought a .32 Webley pistol and obtained a certificate for it. He sang in the Andover choir and played with the local cricket club. However he did not know much about antiques, they left town owing £457 to a fellow officer.

    Barker did have some success as an actor. Using the stage name of Ivor Gauntlet, he obtained parts in touring productions playing against famous actresses such as Mrs Patrick Campbell and Dolores. However his voice broke down after the strain of singing in a low register.

    And Ivor Gauntlet soon had creditors. A tailor in Birmingham was claiming £40/13/-. An actor was public and easy to trace. Victor Barker resorted to paid employment: farm manager (3 months), kennel manager (1 month) and labourer in a brick works where he contracted chicken pox. Elfrida nursed him back to health.

    However by this time she had had enough and went back to her parents, and working in the chemist shop. Barker took rooms in Soho.

    the boxer
    Either because of a misdelivered letter, or on the suggestion of a fellow resident, in late 1926 Barker came into contact with Colonel Henry Rippon Seymour, the leader of the National Fascisti, a splinter group from the British Fascists. He became the live-in secretary of the group and gained the flat above their offices at 5a Hogarth Road, Earls Court. At that time the National Fascisti had a membership of less than 400.

    Barker was in his element. He often wore his medals (actually those of Pearce-Crough), gave fencing and boxing lessons to the young recruits, and advised them of the folly of getting mixed up with women. On 8 March 1927 a small group of fascisti, mainly from the Croydon branch, dissatisfied with Seymour’s usurpation of leadership, burst into the offices. Seymour grabbed his sword, and the Webley pistol from the drawer of the desk and threatened to shoot the first man.

    The police arrived. They took possession of the pistol. Seymour appeared at the West London Police Court the next day and pleaded guilty to common assault and possessing a firearm. However the magistrate directed that the second plea be withdrawn when it was clarified that the gun was Barker’s. It was a Webley pistol, but not the same one as on Barker’s certificate from Andover. He was charged with “uttering a forged firearm certificate”.

    At the trial in July Barker presented with his eyes swathed. His counsel explained that ‘temporary blindness owing to war wounds’ had flared up. He was found not guilty and discharged.

    His firearms certificate was cancelled; he quit the National Fascisti; the Public Prosecution Office wrote to the War Office to ascertain Colonel Barker’s war record; they discovered rumours from Andover about a woman masquerading as a man. However the Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the rumours about a woman, and did not proceed.

    Also in July 1927, Tom Barker died of tuberculosis, age 28. He left £1,000 to his sister Valerie. This enabled Barker, and a second Mrs Barker, to rent an expensive flat (£295 per annum) in Mayfair, and employed a valet. His son came to visit regularly, but the current Mrs Barker was always sent away on these occasions.

    Barker often held dinner parties for officers whom he had met while in the National Fascisti. From this grew the idea of a fellowship for the British survivors of the Battle of Mons, August 1914. The inaugural dinner was held in Barker’s flat 17 December 1927 with fourteen veterans. However the events proved so successful, that they had to be moved to a hotel.

    This was done in association with Colonel Neave, who in fact had been present at Valerie's wedding to Harold Arkell-Smith, but who was completely convinced by Colonel Barker's knowledge of military manoeuvres. Some thought that Barker looked a bit odd, but when he talked about his experiences in the war, he was completely convincing.

    With of the success of the Mons dinners, Barker felt that he could run a restaurant. In February 1928, he found one to lease just off Charing Cross Rd, and renamed it Mascot Café. The Daily Sketch received an anonymous tipoff that Colonel Barker was really a woman, and sent a reporter. Twice he engaged Barker in conversation, but was unable to fault his manhood.

    However the café did not thrive. He owed a considerable sum in back-rent and the landlady was losing patience. He surrendered the café, moved to cheaper accommodation and found a job as reception clerk at the Regent Palace Hotel.


    Rose Collis' biography of Barker, the most reliable source, definitely states that the two guns were Webleys.   However the EN.Wikipedia on the National Fascisti insists it was a colt,   It does not cite Collis at all, but relies on Martin Pugh's Hurrah For The Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars, 2006, but this merely says 'revolver'.  (Pugh, for some reason refuses to be polite, and uses female pronouns throughout). This EN.Wikipedia article summarizes Barker's involvement:  "In 1927 a leading member was "Colonel Victor Barker", who was actually a cross-dresser by the name Valerie Arkell-Smith. Her fellow National Fascisti members did not know she was a woman and treated her as a man and she became secretary to Rippon-Seymour as well as training members in the boxing and fencing clubs." This of course distorts the issue and misses the point.

    Surely Seymour could have pleaded self-defence.   

    The EN.Wikipedia page on English Fascists includes Valerie Arkell-Smith but not Victor Barker.  

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    Part I: origins: daughter, wife, mother
    Part II: husband, actor, manager
    Part III: the trial
    Part IV: reactions, and afterwards

    Victor Barker did not pay much attention to an obscenity trial that took place in November 1928, that of John Radcliff Hall’s novel, The Well of Loneliness, whose protagonist was a masculine woman. With much brouhaha the book was banned.

    A bankruptcy notice and receiving order addressed to Barker was delivered to the Mascot Café, but Barker had left and did not go back. Hence he did not know that he was required to be present for a public hearing on 24 January 1929. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued, Barker’s presence at the Regent Palace Hotel was discovered, and he was there arrested. He was taken to Brixton Prison, where like all new prisoners he was medically examined. He was told to put his clothes back on and was quickly transferred to Holloway women’s prison.

    It took a week before the first newspaper article about him appeared in The Times. This was quickly followed by articles in The Daily Herald and The Evening News. Government departments paid attention. The War Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions exchanged files.

    Barker’s lawyers raised the issue that a person arrested as a man was being held in a women’s prison – which appeared to be unlawful. In addition they made application in the bankruptcy court that all information in connection with the bankruptcy had now been supplied and thus the offence had been purged. Barker’s immediate release was ordered.

    However Holloway insisted that no woman would leave dressed as a man. This despite the fact that they had no women’s clothing that would match Barker, especially in girth. A special purchase was made, and the next day Barker was handed a coat, skirt, blouse, silk stockings and a large hat. A large crowd of reporters and onlookers awaited, but Barker was allowed to leave by the staff entrance at the back.

    By now the police had tracked down Valerie’s second husband, Ernest Pearce Crouch, who had spent the last six years working sometimes in France, sometimes in England. He politely declined to give a statement.

    Elfrida Haward (Barker) however was talking to the police, and to the press.

    In the same weekend, 10 March 1929 both Mr and Mrs Barker published their respective accounts in the press. Victor’s story was in the Sunday Dispatch, illustrated with photographs of both Valerie and Victor.

    “A man seems to have a better and easier time. There is, I am certain, more opportunity for a man in the world than a woman – that is why I became a man. I believe that, similarly placed, I would do much the same again. I do not mean that I would deliberately do those things which I now realize were wrong, but they were done in foolishness and not with any wrong intent.” 

    Elfida’s account was in the Sunday Express.

     “It could not have been more of a shock to any woman in the world than it was to me to find myself utterly deluded, utterly alone in experience, in a position that made my name known to every man and woman in the country.” 
    The Director of Public Prosecutions was considering whether they could charge Barker under the Army Act for impersonating an officer and wearing medals that had not been awarded to him. Instead they settled for charging him with “wilful and corrupt perjury in an affidavit” re his bankruptcy “in which affidavit she swore that she was truly named Leslie Ivor Victor Gauntlett Bligh Barker”.

    Wisely or not, Barker turned up for the hearing on 27 March in female clothing including a large hat and a large feather boa, so that he could hide his face.

    Barker’s lawyer made the obvious point that there was no law against a woman dressing as a man, and in the affidavit Barker had used the name by which ‘she’ had been known for some time, and thus that was the name given. This was allowed in English law. The magistrate agreed.

    However the prosecution than asked the magistrate to hear evidence and commit the defendant for trial on a different issue. In violation of the Perjury Act, 1911, the defendant had “knowingly and wilfully caused a false statement to be entered in a register of marriage”. The doctor from Brixton prison and Elfrida were called as witnesses. A copy of the marriage certificate was produced. Barker’s lawyer attempted the argument that “as two persons of the same sex could not marry there has been no marriage, and therefore no offence”. The magistrate was not having that.

    The perjury in an affidavit charge was dropped, but Barker was formally charged with the second offence re the marriage register. £50 bail was granted, and the trial was set for 24 April at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey).

    The judge was to be Sir Ernest Wild, KC, Conservative MP, Freemason, Recorder of London, who had been a strong supporter of the failed attempt in 1921 to criminalise “any act of gross indecency between female persons”, and who was firmly opposed to female jurors, especially in cases where the defendants were homosexual. The Prosecutor would be the same one Barker had faced in 1927 on a false firearms certificate charge.

    On the day of the trial there was large queue for the public gallery. Victor Barker appeared dressed as his true self, but was summoned under the name of Lillias Irma Valerie Arkell-Smith. The prosecutor admitted, with some embarrassment, that the defendant had been prosecuted in this same court as a man two years previously. He made the comment
     “If she wanted to marry another woman she could have gone through a ceremony in a registry office. There is no justification for her abusing the Church to go through this ceremony”. 
    And then:
    “Your Lordship will appreciate how important it is that marriage registers should not be falsified. That is an aspect of the case which is of considerable gravity”.

    Elfrida was the main witness. Despite admitting that she first met the defendant as Mrs Pearce Crouch, she claimed that she did not truly know Barker as a woman until she saw it in the newspapers. Barker's lawyer in summing up concentrated on Barker’s need to earn a male wage, and once having taken that step she had to keep it up or lose the employment. He did not defend the point about a false statement being entered in a register of marriage.

    Sentencing was delayed until the next day when Recorder Wild commented:
    “Without expressing any view as to the truth or falsity of Miss Haward’s evidence, I am assuming in your favour that Miss Haward must have known before the alleged marriage that you were a woman”. He concluded: “I have considered and carefully pondered on everything which can be said in your favour, and the result at which I have arrived is this. You are an unprincipled, mendacious and unscrupulous adventuress. You have, in the case before me, profaned the House of God, you have outraged the decencies of Nature, and you have broken the law of man. You have falsified a marriage register and set an evil example which, were you to go unpunished, others might follow. So grave in the eye of the law is the offence which you have committed that the maximum penalty for it is seven years’ penal servitude. In all the circumstances of this case, showing all the leniency that I can, I pass on you a sentence of nine months’ imprisonment in the second division.” 

    The police considered action against Ernest Pearce Crouch who had made a false declaration in applying for Valerie Arkell Smith to be added to his passport; however they decided not to pursue the issue.

    In Holloway prison, it was found that they had no uniform large enough to fit the new inmate known as Valerie Arkell Smith who weighed 16st 8 lb (105kg). It took a fortnight for the uniform to be ready, most of which Arkell Smith spent in the prison hospital. In the regular prison he was dismayed by the sanitation, by the food and by the non-recognition of class. The required work was tedious.

    While Barker was in jail, Violet Morris, in Paris, also a masculine woman who always wore male clothing, sued the women's sporting authorities for rejecting her.   She insisted that she was not at all like Barker in that she did not attempt to pass as male.

    Overall Arkell Smith was regarded as of good behaviour, and was release 15 December 1929. By now his weight was down to just above 13 st (82.5 kg).

    Not only was there no law against a woman dressing as a man, there was no specific law against any cross-dressing. This had been established in the trial of Fanny and Stella in 1870. Those persons arrested while transvesting were charged with ‘disturbing the peace’, ‘mischief’ etc.

    Women’s fashions during the 1920s approached very close to transvestity. Barker, of course, had gone much further than making a fashion statement.

    The second Mrs Barker seems to have quietly disappeared.  Only the Sunday People speculated about her: "'Col. Barker's' Red-Haired 'Wife' Vanishes: She Was 'His' Second".  Front page, 10
    March 1929.   Despite a detailed series of articles on Barker, The People strangely carried no account of the actual trial.

    The prosecutor made the comment “If she wanted to marry another woman she could have gone through a ceremony in a registry office”. Now this is odd in that such a ceremony, for gay men, lesbians or a couple containing a trans person, in a registry office would not be legal until the government introduced civil unions in 2004. Even after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 such a ceremony is still not allowed in an Anglican church.

    Barker’s lawyer focused on the practical aspect of men getting jobs more easily and earning more. The issue of Barker being a congenital invert (to use the language of the time) did not come up, and as we will see in Part IV, this led to misunderstandings.

    The three trials, that of The Well of Loneliness, of Victor Barker and of Violet Morris, marked the end of the 1920s acceptance of female masculinity.    The 1930s would be very different.

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    Part I: origins: daughter, wife, mother
    Part II: husband, actor, manager
    Part III: the trial
    Part IV: reactions, and afterwards


    John Radclyffe Hall, in the doldrums after her novel, The Well of Loneliness, had been found obscene and banned in November 1928, and who partially cross-dressed herself but never really tried to pass as a man, wrote: 'I would like to see [Colonel Barker] drawn and quartered. A mad pervert of the most undesirable type'. Radclyffe Hall considered herself an invert and Barker a pervert, but despite what was said at Barker’s trial about passing as male to earn a wage, it was Barker, not Radcliffe Hall who lived full-time as male.

    The novelist DH Lawrence wrote a pamphlet, A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover, later in 1929. This was to explain his novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover, and cited Elfrida’s belief that she was “married normally and happily to a real husband” as an example of the profound ignorance about sex in 1920s England.

    The sports star, Violet Morris, in Paris, rejected by the French women's sporting authorities for her practice of wearing male clothing and who had just had her breasts removed, sued for reinstatement. She insisted that she was not at all like Barker in that she did not attempt to pass as male.

    William Hilton, a timber haulier’s carter in Evesham, Worcestershire expressed great indignation about the Colonel Barker case. However he had recently quit his job after his best workmate had died under the wheels of the horse-drawn wagon he was driving. His health declined and when he was admitted to the infirmary with enteric fever, he was transferred to the women’s ward.

    The farm that had been run by the Peace Crouches had since been acquired by Lady Evelyn and Colonel Guinness. Their son Bryan became engaged to Diana Mitford. Diana and her sisters had pored over the Colonel Barker story and she was thrilled to visit the scene of the crime. However she quickly learned that any mention of Barker was taboo by the dictat of Lady Evelyn. (The marriage of Bryan and Diana lasted three years; her second marriage of 42 years was to Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.)


    On release Victor continued to live as a man. He still had his £9 a month annuity, but that was mainly taken by his son’s boarding school fees. Barker became John Hill.

    He worked six months at a furniture store in Tottenham Court Road, and then became a car salesman, but was twice recognised by female customers who had read of his trials in the newspapers. He worked a little as an extra in films at Elstree studios.

    In the summer of 1932 he was in Shanklin, a seaside resort on the Isle of Wight working as an assistant to a fortune teller and also to a diver who went off the end of the pier in an asbestos suit, soaked in petrol and set alight.

    In 1934 he was working as a kennelman for 15/- a week in Henfield, West Sussex. On 18 August he found a forgotten purse in the village’s only phone box. On 27 September he was charged, as John Hill, for theft by finding. However his legal name as Valerie Arkell Smith was revealed to the court, which enabled his lawyer to explain his odd behaviour as a fear of being found not to be a man. The jury understood and returned a verdict of not guilty.

    John Hill spent the rest of 1934 and 1935 as an assistant chef at two large hotels in Cornwall and Devon. For a few months he was a manservant to a South African millionaire. Then he was servant to a Mrs Adrian Scott, who administered a charity and received 400-500 letters a day from around the world enclosing contributions. There were piles of money in every room. Despite the piles, Hill took five one-pound notes from Mrs Scott’s handbag. A police detective-sergeant came round. Hill unbuttoned his waistcoat to be searched. The detective-sergeant noticed that he was “full in the chest” and realised that he was Victor Barker.

    Hill then confessed, and was taken to Marlborough Street Police Court. He was remanded for a week which he spent in the hospital ward at Holloway prison. Although he pleaded guilty the detective-sergeant recounted that Hill was also Barker and also Arkell Smith etc. Hill was fined twenty shillings, and ordered to pay back the five pounds within a month.

    This brought Hill/Barker to the attention of Luke Gannon, an impresario in the popular seaside resort of Blackpool.

    Gannon’s previous star attraction had been the ex-Revd Harold Davidson, defrocked for immoral conduct with young women.

    In 1937 Hill again became Colonel Barker, 'The most famous intersexual character of our time'. The set arranged by Gannon on the Golden Mile at Blackpool allowed viewers who had paid two pence to look down upon two beds separated by a belisha beacon and traffic lights permanently on red; Barker in one bed, his wife in the other.

    Colonel Barker in Blackpool

    At the boarding house where he stayed, Barker gave the name Jeffrey Norton. The wife from the exhibit, Eva, shared his bed.

    After the ex-Revd Davidson’s unfortunate demise in July 1937 (the lion, with whom he shared his act in Skegness, mauled him) his wife sold her story in several parts to The Leader, a weekly publication. As she finished, The Leader started “Colonel Barker, the Man-Woman who Hoaxed the World”, which purported to be Barker’s soon-to-be-published autobiography, although no such book ever appeared.

    With the coming of war in September 1939, and subsequently identify cards and then ration cards, Jeffrey Norton and his wife Eva were registered in those names. Jeffrey was working on the switchboard of a local hospital. At the suggestion of the police, he, like many men of his age, joined the Home Guard ("Dad’s Army").

    Victor’s son had joined the Grenadier Guards in 1938, and after earning his commission had transferred to the RAF to be trained as a pilot. Mr and Mrs Norton moved back into London, and Jeffrey worked at a factory making Hurricane fighter planes, but he found that his legs could not take the long hours standing at the factory bench. He left and became a night porter at an expensive apartment building in Grosvenor Square.

    Victor’s son, now a fighter pilot, announced his marriage, to be held in a church. The father was understandably nervous about signing the marriage register, even as a witness, as the groom’s father would normally be expected to do. So he pretended to have got into the wrong train, and arrived late.

    By 1944 the son was a bomber pilot flying over Germany. Jeffrey volunteered to be a driver of an ‘incident lorry’ – to go out during air-raids and mark any signs of bomb damage with red lamps. One night, while driving near Regent’s Park, an explosion blew him out of his lorry, but he survived.

    However his son died in the daylight bombing of German garrisons in France after the D-Day invasion.

    In 1948, Geoffrey and Eva Norton (he had changed to the other spelling of his name) moved to Kessingland, Suffolk. They kept to themselves. In 1956 Geoffrey’s health deteriorated, and the village doctor had him admitted to Lowestoft Hospital, 4 miles (6 km) away. Initially in the men’s ward, he was quickly moved to the women’s, and then to a private room, although he was not asked to pay for the private room. Eva came regularly, even though the journey required two buses. She pushed him around in a wheelchair.

    Despite the National Health Service being up and running, and therefore having no medical bills, Geoffrey Norton was still in need of money, and his solicitor acted as an agent and arranged for Barker’s life story to be sold to Empire News and Chronicle. It appeared19 February till 15 April 1956. Barker, again writing as Valerie Arkell-Smith, insisted that there was nothing ‘perverted’ in the life that he had chosen.

    He had “suffered no ‘tendency’ to become a ‘man’ … I have undergone no physical operation to turn me from woman into man, and physically I am, as I started out in life to be, 100 per cent woman. But so long have I lived as a man, that I have come to think as one, behave as one, and be accepted as one.” This was all done for the sake of his boy. “I ask for no pity or sympathy. You may feel that I do not deserve it anyway and maybe you are right.” 

    The story was not picked up by the local press in Suffolk, but the nurses at the hospital read it with interest. The Empire News and Chronicles sent the novelist Ursula Bloom to interview Barker at home as by this time he had been discharged.

    He was not diagnosed while in hospital but over the next few years it became obvious that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease as did his mother. Barker was in hospital again in 1957, and in 1958 Eva was admitted, and died in hospital. A neighbour took on the task of looking after Geoffrey, assisted by the district nurse.

    He sank into a coma and died in February 1960. He was buried in the grounds of the parish church, in an unmarked grave. He was 64.

    The definitive account is, of course, that by Rose Collis, which I have largely followed. An excellent book.

    Barker lived in many places. If you consult the EN.Wikipedia page for each you will find that in none of them is he listed among the notable residents.

    Barker’s account in the Empire News and Chronicle was April 1956, two years before the press brouhaha about Michael Dillon, but two years after Betty Cowell’s autobiography. Most newspaper readers would not then know of female-to-male surgery, but Barker still feels a need to deny it.

    Barker claimed at the 1929 trial that he lived as a man for the better wages and for his son, and claimed in his 1956 newspaper autobiography that he was 100% woman.   However he never reverted to living as female, not after his son died in the skies over France, not when he was no longer earning more than a woman would.   His existential need was to be male.

    There is no record that Victor Barker ever met Joe Carstairs or any other trans man.   The term was not then in use, of course.   The most common term between the wars was 'female husband'.   Collis gives episodes about other female husbands who were featured in the press, and one assumes that Barker read about them.   There is good discussion in Alison Oram's Her Husband was a Woman! about how the newspapers at that time fitted such tales into standard patterns (although Oram refers to Barker only as 'she' and 'her').

    *Not the novelist.
    • Valerie Arkell-Smith. “The Man-Woman – My Story” Sunday Dispatch, 10 March 1929.
    • Elfrida Barker. “My Story: By the Man-Woman’s Wife: Mrs Barker Reveals the Truth”. Sunday Express, 10 March 1929.
    • Valerie Arkell-Smith. “Colonel Barker, the Man-Woman who Hoaxed the World”. The Leader, 11 September 1937.
    • Valerie Arkell-Smith. “I Posed as a Man for 30 Years! My Amazing Masquerade – a wife confesses”. Empire News and Chronicle,19 February 1956
    • Valerie Arkell-Smith. “I posed as a man for 30 years”. Empire News and Chronicle 19 February 1956.
    • Julie Wheelwright. Amazons and Military Maids: Women who Dressed as Men in the Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness. Pandora 1989: 1-5,10,11,70,157,165.
    • Julie Wheelwright. “’Colonel’ Barker: A Case Study in the Contradictions of Fascism”. In Tony Kushner & Kenneth Lunn. The Politics of Marginality: Race, the Radical Right, and Minorities in Twentieth-Century Britain. Riutledge, 1990: 40-8.
    • James Vernon. “’For Some Queer Reason’: The Trails and Tribulations of Colonel Barker’s Masquerade in Interwar Britain”. Signs 26, 1 Autumn 2000: 37-62.
    • Rose Collis. Colonel Barker's monstrous regiment: a tale of female husbandry. Virago, 2001.
    • Laura L. Doan. Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture. Columbia University Press, 2001: 82-94.
    • Alison Oram & Annmarie Turnbull. The Lesbian History Sourcebook: Love and Sex Between Women in Britain from 1780–1970. Routledge, 2001: 15, 38-43.
    • Judith Halberstam. Female Masculinity. Duke Univ. Press, 2006: 91-5.
    • Martin Pugh. Hurrah For The Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars. 2006: 54-5. 69.
    • Alison Oram. Her Husband was a Woman!: Women's gender-crossing in modern British popular culture. Routledge, 2007: 2-3, 63-7, 76-7, 124-5, 150.
    • Lyndsy Spence. Mrs Guinness: The Rise and Fall of Diana Mitford, the Thirties Socialite. The History Press, 2015: 54.

    WomenOfBrighton     EN.Wikipedia    Aangirfan

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    • Harold Gillies (1882 – 1960) from Dunedin, New Zealand. Organized and performed plastic surgery for Allied troops in WWI and WWII. Performed pioneering transgender surgery on Michael Dillon and Betty Cowell. GVWW.
    • Patrick Clarkson (1911 – 1969) from Christchurch, New Zealand, appointed to Guys Hospital, London. Performed corrective surgery on Georgina Somerset in 1957. GVWW.
    • John Money (1921 – 2006) moved to Johns Hopkins in the US, did pioneering work with intersex persons, co-founder of Gender Identity Clinic, his treatment of David Reimer became a scandal.   Biography   EN.Wikipedia
    • Russell Reid (1943 - ) trained at Otago University, became a consultant at Charing Cross Hospital Gender Identity Clinic. Eased the path of hundreds of trans person. GVWWEN.Wikipedia
    • Peter Walker (1942 - ) NZ’s only sex-change surgeon did 61 transgender operations. GVWW   Newsarticle

    1. Peter Stratford (? - 1929) writer, Sufi, moved to US in 1904. GVWW
    2. Matene (190? - ?) Maori trapeze artist GVWW
    3. John Thorp (1927 - ) British physicist immigrant. Book   Smashwords   

    4. Noel McKay (193? - 2004) menswear retailer, performer in Auckland GVWW
    5. Carmen Rupe (1935 – 2011) Nagti Maniopoto Maori, performer in Sydney, mayoral candidate in Wellington. GVWW   
    6. Richard O'Brien (1942 - ) playwright, actor, musician, author of Rocky Horror Show. GVWWEN.Wikipedia.  
    7. Jacquie Grant (1943 - ) Australian in NZ, sailor, nightclub owner, councillor, foster mother. GVWW    
    8. Liz Roberts (1943 - ) couturier, 1969 surgery. Book   
    9. Joanne Proctor (1947 – 2011) from Kaikoura, crane driver, HBS activist. GVWW  
    10. Racheal McGonigal (1955 - ) farmer, businessman, sex worker. GVWW   
    11. Georgina Beyer (1957 - ) Māori mayor of Carterton, Labour MP, actress. GVWW    EN.Wikipedia  
    12. Gareth Farr (1968 - ) musician, performer. GVWW   EN.Wikipedia  
    13. Ramon Te Wake (1976 - ) Māori musician and broadcaster. GVWW   EN.Wikipedia  

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    In 1897, Camille Bertin, “of independent means” arrived in Juan-les-Pins, on the Côte d'Azur between Nice and Cannes. He was accompanied by Hilda Scott, his fiancée, whom he had met in London. Hilda came from Cambuslang, a suburb of Glasgow.

    In due course they married, and within six years of marriage they had three daughters. They were noted for their entertaining, although it was noted that they only ever invited women.

    They had almost 40 years of conjugal bliss, until Madame Bertin died in 1936. Her husband died 11 months later. The suddenness of his death resulted in a judicial enquiry, during which documents lodged with the family lawyer revealed that Camille was female-born – which was a surprise to the three daughters. The estate was left to the daughters, on the condition that they did not marry.

    • “’Darby and Joan’ Who Were Not: Two Women ‘Wedded’ for Foty Years: Death Reveals Their Secret”. News of the World, 25 March 1937. Reprinted in George Ives (ed Paul Sieveking). Man Bites Man: The Scrapbook of an Edwardian Eccentric. Penguin Books, 1981: 126.
    • The Sunday People, 28 March 1937:9.
    • Rose Collis. Colonel Barker's monstrous regiment: a tale of female husbandry. Virago, 2001: 204-5. 
    • Alison Oram. Her Husband was a Woman!: Women's gender-crossing in modern British popular culture. Routledge, 2007: 92-3.

    ‘Camille’ is, of course, a unisex name in France.

    Apparently, in French law, restrictions on marriage and procreation are regarded as against public policy, and therefor the three daughters were not so bound.

    It is in Juan-les-Pins, a mere 20 years later, that a second Le Carrousel was opened, and Toni April (April Ashley) and Bambi were seen in all the best places.

    It is not unusual that at the end of a long and loving marriage, that the second partner passes on only a few months after the first.

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