Category Archives: History

Added to Transas City: Female Mimics Magazine


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.

Zelma Rawlston, Drag King from the 1800’s

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.

Click this link to visit the new Zelma Rawlston page on Transas City. 

A 247-Year-Old Addition to Transas City: The Chevalier D’Eon

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!

The Updates are Starting: A Very Special Christine

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.

High-resolution version.

You can find more Christine Jorgensen photographs and media on our Christine Jorgensen page.

November 2017 Trans Talk on KKFI

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.

October 2017 Trans Talk on KKFI

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.

September 2017 Trans Talk on KKFI

Renaissance lesbians.

We will have a full studio for this month’s Trans Talk edition of The Tenth Voice. We’re going to begin by talking to two members of the Equal Trans Support Group, about their group and their creative fundraising efforts at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. Next, we’ll talk with the assistant director of the UMKC LGBTQIA Programs and Services Office of Student Involvement about the services that they provide to LGBTQIA persons on campus. Finally, we have representatives of the Kansas City Bear Mafia joining us to discuss the bear community and to introduce us to their organization.

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, September 24th 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.

NEW: Transgender and Non-Conforming Performers from Le Carrousel, Paris

Like San Francisco’s Finnochio’s, or the Jewel Box Lounge of Kansas City, Le Carrousel is one of those landmarks in transgender history which are in some ways at least as important as Compton’s Cafeteria or the Stonewall Inn. The club opened as a cabaret in 1926 and from about 1936 onward the club became known for its female impersonators, which actually included a growing percentage of transgender women and gender non-conforming men and women. The club became most famous for its transgender cabaret in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and was the stage and home to many notable transgender persons from history, such as April Ashley, Coccinelle, Sone Teal, Capuchine, Bambi, Kiki Moustic, and scores of others, including some transgender men.

Featured at the link below is a rare original program from Le Carrousel, which I purchased from a seller in Paris. The program is more of a retrospective covering multiple years, and it appears to contain photographs dating from 1959-1965. I have scanned every one of the 36 pages of this program in very high resolution (half a gigabyte in total!). As far as I can tell these images are not still in copyright, and I have placed no watermarks nor altered them in any way. Please download and save these as you see fit, to help preserve our transgender heritage.

See the giant collection of scans from Le Carrousel, Paris at this link.

Coccinelle Posing by Sacre Coeur, Paris

A new addition to Transas City: the following image of famous transgender actress and political activist Coccinelle is from a photograph I bought from France. I have scanned it in high-resolution for the benefit of the transgender community. Please click on the small-sized photograph below to access the full-sized version. It shows Coccinelle posed in front of the Sacre Coeur in Paris, which stands very near Le Carrousel (where she performed for many years).

Enjoy!

Coccinelle in front of Sacre Coeur, Paris.

A Bonus 6th Day of Christine


OK, I have a final photograph of Christine Jorgensen to add to this series. It’s one you’ve seen before, but frequent reader Sabrina Ellis was gracious enough to apply some mad photo editing skills to my original (which had light reflections in it, as the poster was behind glass) and created a much cleaner version for you to see and download.

So thank you very much, Sabrina, and everyone watch out as I release two groundbreaking bits of rare history soon!

Click on the image below for a link to a high-resolution version.
Christine Jorgensen at the Silver Slipper

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 5)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

This is the final photograph of this series. I estimate it to be circa 1957-1962. It is autographed, and says “To Nat – so nice meeting you. Good luck with your newspaper – Christine Jorgensen.” There is no caption nor date on the reverse. I wish it was a better photograph (it’s not in great condition), but nonetheless I get a thrill of owning something that Christine herself touched.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen Autographed Photograph

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 4)

This post is a day late because I ran into problems with the day jobs (I had to give a midterm exam to my students and it literally took all the time I had that day, along with everything else). I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

The following photograph is labeled October 10, 1953, and has no caption. However, I can tell you that the photo depicts Christine on a trip to Havana, Cuba, and the reverse of the photograph has notations in Spanish and a development stamp of “Havana.” Here she is striking a more formal pose next to a Silvertone radio and a statuette of an elephant – both items very clearly screaming mid-century design. Sadly, I have no other context for the exact scene in this photograph.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen In Cuba, 1953

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 3)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

The following photograph is labeled October 10, 1953, and has no caption. However, I can tell you that the photo depicts Christine on a trip to Havana, Cuba, and the reverse of the photograph has notations in Spanish and a development stamp of “Havana.” She is striking a casual pose and reading a Spanish film magazine. Sadly, I have no other context for the exact scene in this photograph.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen In Cuba, 1953

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 2)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m posting one new photo a day this week, and each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work.

The following photograph is labeled October 10, 1953, and has no caption. However, I can tell you that the photo depicts Christine on a trip to Havana, Cuba, and the reverse of the photograph has notations in Spanish and a development stamp of “Havana.” I found it amusing that her shopping bag is “Bacardi,” and proclaims that it is “The World’s Finest Rum.” Sadly, I have no other context for the exact scene in this photograph.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen In Cuba, 1953

Five Days of Christine – March, 2017 (Day 1)

I recently acquired a set of five original photographs of Christine Jorgensen, the first “mass media” transgender woman in the world. Four of the photos date from 1953, and one which is autographed by her from between 1957-1962.

I’m going to post one new photo a day this week. Each photo can be found on the Christine Jorgensen page here, and if you click on the photos here and on her page, you can download a very high-resolution version of the work. As always, I never watermark, limit the resolution, or deliberately try to pervert the images, like many other transgender history sites.

Soon after Christine arrived back in America, she was given a very prestigious award by the Scandinavian Societies of Greater New York, where she was made “Woman of the Year.”

The following photograph is labeled March 7, 1953, and has a caption on the reverse which reads in part:

Christine named “Woman of the Year” New York……….. Golden-haired Christine Jorgensen, the former GI transformed into a beautiful woman by Copenhagen (Denmark) surgeons and physicians, is shown this evening as she received the Scandinavian Societies of Greater New York “Woman of the Year” award from the Society’s chairman, Harry Berglind, at the 20th annual concert and ball. Attired attractively in a white evening gown with all the trimmings, Christine made her first public appearance as a woman tonight.

You can click on the photo below to download or view a very high-resolution image.

Christine Jorgensen and at the Scandinavian Societies of New York Ball