I’ve posted a detailed summary and review of two works by Gore Vidal from more than 40 years ago: Myra Breckinridge (1968) and its sequel, Myron (1974). Transgender historians may be interested in reading my reviews, but to summarize for anyone who is not that interested, both books are transphobic, exploitive, ignorant, and sometimes disgusting pieces of crap that should be gathered together in one place and sunk to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. The only purpose served by the books is as a warning of how even highly educated progressives can be giant tools when it comes to trying to give us the basic human right of dignity, let alone trying to understand us.
I’ve added a little bit of new history to Transas City this last week. A new page featuring transgender pioneer Sir Lady Java has been posted, and the first four scans on the page are from my private collection of transgender history (as always, please copy/steal the scans I make of my historical items, so everyone can keep our history safe).
Sir Lady Java has had many roles in our transgender history, and she is remembered as being an openly transgender exotic dancer, comedian, singer, actress, and civil rights activist. She is likely most famous for fighting Los Angeles’ anti-crossdressing law, known as “Rule No. 9,” which for decades was used by the police to harass, intimidate, and imprison transgender and crossdressing persons.
Please take a minute to view a few of the images I have collected, and read a little about her history.
We’ve added a new page on Transas City to highlight a very small part of the history and accomplishments of Joanna Clark, who we interviewed on Trans Talk in November 2017. Ms. Clark is in some ways the founder of the current fight for transgender military service, and she was a major activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the 1990’s.
On her page you can listen to a 1-hour interview we had with Ms. Clark, see a couple of old photographs of her (including a high-resolution scan of one I bought recently), and read a newspaper article from 1977 about her fight for recognition and equality.
Female Mimics International magazine was a later evolution than Female Mimics magazine, and as such (at least among the issues from the 1980’s that are hosted here), it focuses on drag and crossdressing culture, with some transgender-focused topics. These magazines have a much more prurient and exploitative bent than earlier magazines. Nonetheless, the magazine is quite interesting for its coverage of crossdressing-related events of the 1980’s, which often were a refuge for the transgender community at the time, as well as the larger LGB community.
I have 53 issues of the magazine featured on this page. Please note before clicking, some of the covers (not to mention the interiors of the magazines) are not work-safe.
Every now and then I find a truly unique piece of transgender history that I have never seen nor even heard of existing anywhere else. This is a highly unusual item, and if you have any interest in transgender history please take a minute to view it.
Today I am featuring a new addition – a full-page article from the French Le Regiment, from Thursday, May 23, 1918. Le Regiment was advertised at this time as a “humorous magazine for the troops,” along the lines of a much more amusing Stars and Stripes.
On page 5 of the magazine there is a stunning full-page portrayal of either a transgender woman or a gender non-conforming person, who is not named but said to be a US sailor (and indeed, appears in uniform). They’re shown in three photographs, two presenting as a woman, and one in their male naval dress.
I have a very high-resolution scan of the page available for you to view and download – and remember, as with all historical resources on Transas City, feel free to download and share the resources. I never watermark, put logos on, or try to keep people from downloading them. This is our history, and I will not monetize our history to make a profit off of our community.
Transgender, alternate gender, and non-binary gender studies is an incredibly broad and diverse field of study, which sometimes can be overwhelming even to someone who is honestly interested in the subject. And while it can be tempting to lump together anyone who is not cisgender binary as being “transgender,” that broad umbrella term can also hide the incredible depth and breadth that exists within a specific culture. This can be especially troubling when we are trying to learn from an ancient culture which has been subjugated and nearly destroyed by a conquering culture of invaders – such as the Native American two-spirit people.
We are very happy today to have two representatives of Native American two-spirit culture with us in the studio today, Bry Smiley and Reggie Black Elk, who will give us some enlightenment on their people and their culture, and who will talk about a premier event they are holding at the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, called the Two-Spirit Pow-Wow.
Join us at 1pm Central today on 90.1FM KKFI, streaming on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phones.
Female Mimics magazine has evolved over its publication. When the first issue was released in 1963, the magazine covered transgender, crossdressers, and gender non-conforming persons from a standpoint that I would describe as somewhat admiring, somewhat intrigued, and somewhat fetishization. The early issues are peppered with stars from transgender history, such as Christine Jorgensen, Bambi, Shalimar, and Coccinelle. Also featured are clubs and venues where transgender persons may be found, such as Chez Madame Arthur and the Jewel Box Revue. Click here for a quick link to the collection.
The magazine is most interesting to me because it highlighted many transgender persons and clubs that I had never even heard of in passing, which has given me new avenues for research and cataloging. A task which will never end. But also note that magazines such as these gave hope to thousands of closeted transgender persons, who could read and live vicariously through the photos and stories contained within their pages. They also provided guides for where isolated and lonely transgender persons could meet others just like themselves.
In later issues the magazine turns to more of a fetishist bent, but I’ve still decided to host all the ones I have copies of. I own no paper copies of these except for the premiere issue, which I hope to scan in very high resolution soon. The rest of these came from the Digital Transgender Archive, of which Transas City is a part.
As I’ve been updating the site with more of my archival materials (I still have less than a third posted so far), I’ve had to also make some necessary changes in the site.
When the site first started in 2012, there was a dearth of transgender information available locally to our community on how to transition legally in Kansas and Missouri. To help folks out with the legal aspects of transition, I consulted a local attorney and received information from transgender persons who had gone through the transition process, including my own experiences in Kansas, and I created the Kansas and Missouri transition pages. Which helped numerous people over the years.
Unfortunately, time passed and the information on the site became stale. I sought out legal help again from 3 different attorneys who frequently work with transgender persons in the KCMO area, and all three refused to help me in any way. Even when I asked for just general guidelines and how-to’s, they either said they didn’t want to get involved, or in one case said “why should I post information on your site that will make me lose business, Una?” I guess I have to credit her mercenary honesty.
I made a second effort this last fall to get updated information, but was unable to find a single attorney or paralegal willing to donate even a couple of hours of time to help me. While several persons who had gone through the process recently were kind enough to offer their help, what I needed was a more authoritative legal guideline that was more generic.
Thus, in the interest of only providing accurate information, I have been forced to remove the pages.
There will be continued reorganization and updating of the site in the coming months, which will move the focus more towards community history, science, social, and ethnic resources for us. The site receives between 300-800 hits every day from humans (meaning, non-bots or web crawlers), and can top 10,000 in a day when a newsworthy article is posted. Clearly the information here is valued by some, and I’m going to continue to focus on my strengths.
Please note too that if you have an idea for something to host on the site, please contact me at email@example.com. Also, if you have any sort of trans-focused event you want publicized, send that to us and not only can we post about it here, but we can tell folks about it on the radio for free.
I’ve added two photos of a new addition to Transas City: Zelma Rawlston, who played the role of a “swell young man” in many plays and productions. Her image in male dress caught the imagination of audiences in the 1890’s-1910’s, and she appeared on music sheets, playbills, and in many magazines and newspapers. One of the photos, showing her in 1897, is an original document that I acquired and which has now entered the Transas City collection.
Based upon historical evidence it’s most likely that Zelma was gender non-conforming, rather than being transgender. But as we know, gender non-conformity is a vital part of the overall transgender awareness and experience throughout society, and many gender non-conforming persons are valued and cherished for their bravery via their public presence.
Several weeks ago I posted photos from the incredibly rare book from 1771 that I purchased in England. The book featured a unique story about the Chevalier D’Eon, a famous transgender person who lived from 1728-1810, and and how they underwent an examination by a jury of noblewomen to “prove” whether their physical sex was male or female. I’ll provide a spoiler and say that the result was “epicene,” which means “having characteristics of both sexes, or being of indeterminate sex.”
The Chevalier D’Eon and their incredible story has influenced transgender research and history even into the mid-20th century, with the Chevalier even being mentioned during the recent production of Casa Valentina.
I’ve finally made the high-resolution scans available; it took more time than I thought because scanning a 247-year-old book without breaking the spine is tricky. I have a page set up now with a brief introduction, the frontispiece of the book, the woodcut of the Chevalier, and the two pages of text scanned in high resolution. As usual, there are no watermarks, no alterations, and no copyrights. Please download and take these images to keep them safe!
Hello everyone, the updates are returning. I’ve been very ill for some time, but I’ve also been steadily ferreting out and collecting rare transgender history to share with you all. I have several items scanned and processed to share with you all, but I’m going to kick off this series with a very special photograph of Christine Jorgensen. It’s one of my favorites, despite the poor condition of the photograph in the lower left-hand corner. I like this photograph because it’s autographed, she’s happy, and it’s not a press photograph or reprint – this is an actual private photograph she took with “Frank,” whom I have not been able to identify. The signature reads “To Frank – Thank you for letting me join your Harem. Christine.” Please click on the link below the image to see the high-resolution scan.
You can find more Christine Jorgensen photographs and media on our Christine Jorgensen page.
We have a very artistic episode of this month’s Trans Talk Edition of the Tenth Voice! We’re going to kick off the program with a special on the opera “As One.” Composed by Laura Kaminsky, with a libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, As One is a coming-of-age story about a transgender woman, and inspired by the real-life transition of Ms. Reed herself. Laura, Mark, and Kimberly will be joining us by phone, and in the studio with us is Linda Brand, the Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, which will be presenting the opera.
After the break we will be joined here live in the studio by the Transfinity KC Transgender Chorus, who are going to sing and play some music and help us share some holiday cheer with us all. We’ll talk to them about their 2017 performance year, and their plans for the upcoming 2018 season.
We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, December 23rd at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.
On this month’s Trans Talk Edition of the Tenth Voice we’re going to have a special interview with a woman who is part of living transgender history. You’ve heard all about the issue of transgender troops in the military, well our guest, Joanna Clark, is the grandmother of that issue. After a long career in the Navy she was ousted from the service in the 70’s and then enlisted in the Army as an openly transgender woman in 1976. She was discharged again and took on the military, suing and winning in court. She went on to fight for transgender rights in the 70’s and 80’s, being instrumental in the fight to change gender markers on birth certificates and drivers licenses in California. She then started and ran the AEGIS online bulletin board, which became the largest HIV/AIDS information database in the world, for which she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, November 25th at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.
On the October Trans Talk edition of The Tenth Voice, we will open the show by listening to an interview that Fiona and I conducted with the directors and one of the cast of the local production of Casa Valentina. This is a play exploring the struggle for acceptance by cross-dressing men in the 1960’s, which is based upon a real event in the history of gender non-conformity. Then we are going to talk to a special guest in the studio with us today, a transgender woman of color who has faced many terrible obstacles in her life journey, leading to her entering sex work and being the victim of violence right here in Kansas City. She has a powerful story that I believe will speak to all of us.
We will have Una’s News Rant, a round up of some of the LGBT news this week, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, October 28th at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.
The Unicorn Theatre is producing a new play called HIR by Taylor Mac (a recent MacArthur Genius award recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist). One of the characters in HIR is a young transgender man, and Director of Development Ian Crawford is looking to fight the phenomenon of “transface” by casting a transgender man in the role of a transgender man.
Folks who are interested can reach out to his email at firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Crawford says that he is happy to e-mail back and forth with anyone interested and answer questions, send them the play to read, or grab coffee to talk it over if they like. In the coming weeks they will set up a time to see people and have them audition (read through some scenes with other actors etc.) He would like to know how much, if any, acting experience they might have, but they understand due to discrimination most folks will not have much or any, and they will work with whoever they cast to make them comfortable and prepared for this. It’s reportedly a pretty large role, and they will be working with some great professional actors in town, so it could be a lot of work and a great learning experience too!
Once again, for further information, contact Ian Crawford at email@example.com