Please join us today on “Trans Talk,” 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio at 1:00 pm central. You can also tune into kkfi.org to listen in via live streaming audio from anywhere with an internet connection. Today Sandra Meade will interview two young transgender children and their families, along with a local transgender therapist, Scott Fieker, to help answer questions about treatment for young transgender children. We will open with the LGBT news this week courtesy of Luke Harness, and close with the community calendar read by yours truly.
This is not brand-new news, dear readers, as I try to investigate the news significantly now before just reblogging it and throwing links out. However, I have as of yet been unable to get a copy of the original text in which Pope Francis’ comments appear, to view them completely in context.
Because context does matter, and in some cases an argument could be made as a “devil’s advocate” or rhetorical position. However, in this case I have still found no credible evidence that this news isn’t prima facie correct.
Pope Francis appears to have indeed cast transgender persons as disruptive and destructive influences in this world, even to the point of being a threat to the faithful. The pontiff does not appear to delve into the scientific basis of transgender persons, nor does he address the many problems with classical interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. Rather, the statements appear to be somewhat cavalierly thrown out as appeals from authority.
In the book Francis calls us “Herods,” and puts us in the context with “nuclear weapons.”
But he then says that every historical period has “Herods” that “destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation.”
“Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” he continues. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”
“With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator,” the pope says. “The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate.”
“God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth,” Francis says. “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”
These comments come after some lesser-publicized ones which he characterized “gender theory” as “ideological colonization.” (Certainly something the Catholic Church as never, ever, engaged in…right.)
Recounting the story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor, Francis said to receive the money, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught gender theory.
“This is the ideological colonization,” the pope said. “It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure.”
“It is not new, this,” he continued. “The same was done by the dictators of the last century. They came with their own doctrine — think of the Balilla [youth groups of Fascist Italy], think of the Hitler Youth.”
I have to say that I am highly disappointed, but not surprised. I’ve studied the history of the Catholic Church, and despite the cheering evidence of greater tolerance from this pontiff, change in the Church – real and lasting change – only comes about over decades, centuries even. I’m not willing to write Francis off by any means, but I think we all need to remember that he is but a single Pope, and unless he is speaking ex cathedra, his statements are not automatically judged “infallible.”
Karyl Norman was born George Francis Peduzzi (June 13, 1897 – July 23, 1947), and was an American female impersonator who was popular in vaudeville, nightclubs and on Broadway in the 1920s. Karyl was known for his elaborate gowns, mostly made by his mother with whom he traveled. He made his New York City debut as a female impersonator in May 1919 and was an immediate success. He specialized in Southern songs, and was known for his quick changes of clothes and gender. One critic wrote: “Not only does this impersonator wear his feminine toggery in tiptop shape, but has a voice that fools ‘em at the start. Then to a lower register he descends – a lusty masculine voice….”. He wrote many of his own songs, including “Nobody Lied (When They Said That I Cried Over You)”, “Beside a Babbling Brook”, and “I’m Through (Shedding Tears Over You)”.
In later years Karyl performed at the famous San Francisco club “Finocchio’s,” along with many other crossdressing and transsexual women. he died at the young age of 50.
I’ve added many old photographs of transgender and crossdressing women to the Transas City archive lately, and continue to add them. I thought as a random update I’d show you these two photographs, and give a little history of them.
The main photograph above is a mug shot of Neville McQuade (age 18) and Lewis Stanley Keith (age 19), at the North Sydney Australia Police Station, early June 1942. Arrested for “being idle and disorderly persons, having insufficient means of support, and with having goods in their possession believed to be stolen,” they were almost certainly transgender prostitutes. They served one week in jail, a surprisingly lenient sentence.
This second photograph is a very rare one showing the second Atomic Age transsexual woman, Charlotte McLeod, at work as the receptionist at an all-night beauty counter, circa late 1954/early 1955. Unlike Christine Jorgensen, Charlotte McLeod did not receive the fame and attention which she desired, and after a short attempt at a show business career, disappeared into relative obscurity.
LaVerne Cummings was a stage performer as a “female impersonator” who performed for decades at the legendary Finnochio’s nightclub in San Francisco. Born Paul Cummings, she was noted for having a beautiful split-singing voice, capable of singing in a soprano or tenor when needed. She was also noted for her luscious blonde hair, sometimes being the only crossdressing performer who wasn’t wearing a wig on stage. Her career ended in 1982 when she lost her singing voice, and she (as of the writing of this article) retired to west Las Vegas.
I have a few photographs of LaVerne at the link below.
Coccinelle (French for “ladybug”) was born in Paris under the name of Jacques Charles Dufresnoy on August 23, 1931. Having known she was transgender since a very early age, she lived as a boy through her teen years, working a few odd jobs here and there and fighting gender dysphoria. She eventually decided to start transition, and made her debut as a transgender showgirl in 1953 at Chez Madame Arthur. She later performed Le Carrousel de Paris, where she worked with an array of crossdressers and transsexual women (including April Ashley).
In 1958 she underwent her sex reassignment surgery in Casablanca, under the care of the famous Dr. Georges Burou. She returned to the stage and to greater fame, and the first transsexual woman to become a “star” in France. She released several albums of songs, and later wrote several autobiographical works focusing on her life on the stage and her transition. Her first marriage was the first transsexual union to be officially acknowledged by the government of France, establishing transgender persons’ legal right to marry.
Coccinelle was a tireless advocate and activist for transgender persons, and even though she could have gone “stealth” due to her classic cisgender female appearance, she refused to hide who she was. She founded a transgender support and advocacy organization named “Devenir Femme” (To Become Woman), and helped establish the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity. Sadly, this glowing light of transgender triumph was taken from us on October 8, 2006.
The piece of history which I am highlighting is a lengthy interview, with photographs, that Coccinelle gave to Confidential magazine for their September, 1962 issue. I have scanned the entire article and placed it here for the purpose of preserving out history. It’s a good read, so please download it and store it somewhere safe.
After her surgery made the world news on December 1, 1952, Christine Jorgensen inarguably entered the history books as the first of the “Atomic Age” transsexual women. But the second Atomic Age transsexual woman is unknown by many in the community. Her name was Charlotte McLeod.
Soon after her transition McLeod that said she was working on an autobiography, but she soon ceased mentioning it. No complete autobiography was known to be published, but in 1956, McLeod sold what she had developed for an autobiography to the men’s magazine Mr. This autobiographical article was so rare I did not even confirm it existed until nearly 3 years into my research into transgender history, and through a series of serendipitous events I was able to find an original copy in very good condition.
In keeping with the scholarly and historical preservation goals of Transas City, this short autobiography of Charlotte McLeod is offered to the world free of charge for download in high-resolution. My checking of its copyright status indicates to me that it falls in the public domain, as it was published prior to 1964, but the copyright was not renewed after that date. I do not demand attribution nor any consideration, but I’d like to ask that out of fairness you reference myself, Una Nowling, as the provider of it.
I encourage you to download and save this document somewhere safe, so this important piece of the history of our people will not be lost again.
Dear readers, I don’t actually throw around the word “evil” very often. Or at least I try my best to avoid such. But I swear to you, some days it’s almost as if the bigots, fundamentalist religious zealots, and other Hamburglars of human rights are deliberately trolling me.
Such is the case with Florida State Representative and future Nobel prize-winner Frank Artiles, a Republican who has introduced a bathroom policing bill to:
“…restrict single-sex public facilities — including restrooms in restaurants, theaters, workplaces, and schools — to people of the corresponding “biological sex, either male or female, at birth.” Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.”
Furthermore, this budding 21st-century Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as saying:
“People are not forced to go the restroom. They choose to go to the restroom.”
When asked about how this bill would impact transgender persons, Artiles pontificated thusly:
“While I understand there are transgender people who want to use bathrooms however they want to feel, that is irrelevant to me,” Artiles explained. He said gender identity was “subjective” and the birth sex of a transgender person is the only factor that should dictate which restroom they use.
Transgender persons aside, Artiles apparently has never heard of intersex persons, medically documented over centuries of medical science and civilization. Then again, in his defense he’s probably been focused upon the more pressing problems of “why do secular humanists insist that the earth circles the sun” and “the war on Good Friday.”
The popular notion of Thailand, even among most transgender persons, is that it’s a country where transgender persons enjoy significant freedom and acceptance. The reality is that the transgender persons of Thailand have existed for a long time under a “benevolent enforcement” government attitude. Meaning that even though transgender persons do not have explicit protections in Thailand, they have been given some measure of protection via tradition. However, from the article:
For worse, the kathoey identity is widely stigmatized. There’s a reason so many “ladyboys” do sex work—they are often excluded from ‘upper class’ professions, rejected by their families, and marginalized. Many Thai believe that being a kathoey is karmic retribution for bad deeds in a past life. Western discourses of medicalization have contributed to third-gender people being seen as sick or disordered. More broadly, Wong of the APTN told The Daily Beast, “transgender people still face daily challenges (use of public facilities, employment, school) largely due to not having legislation on gender recognition of transgender people.”
But relying upon the good will of the smiling policeman on the corner is rarely a secure human rights strategy. Therefore, it’s quite important to take note that Thailand is proposing explicit protections for gender identity and gender expression in its new constitution. What’s more, third-gender persons would be protected as well.
In short, it’s another major advance for our people in a country where such an advance is sorely needed.
What bothers me, dear readers, is not so much the anti-transgender vehemence of some of the supporters of these bills, such as that of Toilet Policewoman Kim Ransom, pictured above. No, what bothers me more is that for the last several years Colorado has seen a strong pushback against treating transgender persons with dignity and respect. In this article which I’ve linked, the authors discuss three different bills introduced by arch-religious-conservatives, all of which could remove rights from transgender citizens of the state.
The Transgender Newsbank is a collection of more than 400 newspaper and magazine articles from 1911-1994, organized by year and date. I have spent 3 months finding and formatting these articles for easy viewing, in addition to typing write-ups about them and linking to other topical pages. The Transgender Newsbank is the largest effort of its kind on the Internet that I can find which is freely available, and like all Transas City features is uncluttered by advertisements.
While a Transgender Newsbank may be unexciting to some, it will form the basis of an online historical library to help researchers, scholars, and anyone who is simply interested in the history of our people.
I love intersex persons, because they demonstrate to us by their existence how diverse life can be, and how wonderfully varied nature is. I know some intersex persons are bitter about their condition, and I would be the last one to place my values on top of theirs, but I truly believe intersex persons are remarkable humans, and they fight battles with their gender identity and body morphology which are at least as major as we transgender persons do.
This article which I have linked is an example of a miracle of sorts. Hayley Haynes was born with a Y chromosome, meaning by many definitions of the word she was “male.” Yet she also was born with a nearly complete set of “female parts,” save a womb and ovaries, due to having complete androgen insensitivity (CAIS). However, after several examinations her doctors discovered that she had a small womb, which they encouraged to grow by hormone treatment. Thanks to the donation of an anonymous egg and in-vitro fertilization, and after a struggle with the UK’s National Health Service refusing to pay for treatment, she was able to give birth to healthy twin girls.
This is an uncommon case, in that Hayley was further along her development than many CAIS women. But we can simply hope that as medicine advances more intersex persons will have options open to them to live the life they want to, and must live.
I recently purchased at auction three original photographs of the legendary Christine Jorgensen, the first transsexual woman of the “Atomic Age.” Two of the photographs are from before she returned to the United States, and the third is undoubtedly the most beautiful photograph of her which I have ever seen, showing her posing on the deck of the ill-fated Andrea Doria. All three photographs, and others, may be found on my Christine Jorgensen page.
As usual, I also have included links to the full-size 600dpi scans, for your viewing and use.