Category Archives: History

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

February 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


We have a special guest to kick our show off – Christine Burns will be joining us from the UK to discuss her decades-long work for transgender rights, as well as her work as a transgender historian. Ms Burns was instrumental in using the early internet for transgender advocacy, worked with the early political group Press for Change for transgender rights, and also helped craft the UK’s Gender Recognition Act of 2004 – for which she was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.)

We have two other special guests for the second half of our show – Grace Cox-Johnson and Johnalita White-Menscher will be joining us to talk about the first year of Transfinity KC, Kansas City’s transgender and allies chorus. We will discuss the performances of the chorus in its first year, and will talk tell us the plans for the upcoming year, as well as information on how you can join and make your voice heard.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

New Rare Photo of Christine Jorgensen Performing at the Silver Slipper, 1955

Christine Jorgensen and Friend
I’ve added a very rare photograph to the collection – I found this this one on the second floor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, in a photo gallery of scores of Las Vegas alumni. It was a very dramatic moment for me actually – I was going to a client reception hosted by my company as “out and proud” myself, when I exited the escalator and suddenly was face-to-face with this gorgeous photo print. I just stopped cold, and stared…and stared…I think it was nearly 5 minutes that I spent, just standing there looking into the past of my people. After the event, when I had had far too much to drink, apparently I spent some more time in front of the work, until hotel security asked me if I was alright, and helped me to a taxi.

The photo print is nearly 4 feet high, and has glorious detail, but sadly it is not very well-lit, and the photograph was spoiled by reflections from overhead lamps that I could not block out. I have a small version above, and a link to a much larger version right here.

There was a small silver plaque to the right of the photo, which said in full “December 9, 1955. Entertainer Christine Jorgensen performs on stage at the Silver Slipper.” And note this very important bit – they only refer to her as an “entertainer,” not “transgender woman” or anything else. I think that is really very incredible in a mundane, normal way.

More photos, media, and information about Jorgensen can be found on our Christine Jorgensen page.

New Historical Upload: Jorgensen, Johns Hopkins, and SRS in 1967

Christine Jorgensen Uncensored
I’m starting the processing of hundreds of archival transgender media, which I’m providing in high-resolution scans and with no watermarks. So let’s begin with this: in the April, 1967 edition of Uncensored magazine, we find an article which purports how Christine Jorgensen is doing in life as a woman, and reports on Johns Hopkins Hospital starting sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and establishing their Gender Identity Clinic. The article features several photographs from Christine Jorgensen’s past, but mainly focuses on the recent history of SRS (well, recent in 1967 anyhow), with some interesting facts and figures.

There is a quote from Jorgensen at the end of the article, referencing the Johns Hopkins programs, where she says: “I am glad I lived to see it happen. The biggest problem I have encountered since my operation is disbelief. Some people refer to me as ‘it.’ This is a smart-alec approach to a serious medical problem. I have received thousands of letters from people who don’t know where to turn. Now at least some of these poor souls have a place to go.”

You may read and download the entire article, scanned in high-resolution, either by going to the Transas City Christine Jorgensen page, or directly from this link here.

The First Transgender Exploitation Novel?

The_Lady_Was_a_Man_Cover

There were several transgender exploitation fictions which were published after Christine Jorgensen’s Atomic-Era story burst onto the scene. From 1953-1954 there were several short stories published in men’s magazines, and prior to Jorgensen’s coming out there were numerous stories featuring cross-dressing and intersex characters. But this work is probably the beginning of a genre of transgender exploitative fiction. Originally published under the title “Sex Gantlet[sic] to Murder,” this seedy crime novel was first printed in January, 1955, and probably written in late 1954. In 1958 it was republished, with a different and more provocative cover, under the title “The Lady Was a Man.”

I have published a complete review of this work, and verified that as it contains the blatant themes of anti-transgender misogyny, transgender panic, and transgender sexual exploitation, it likely is the first instance of a transgender exploitation novel.

You may read the review of the work at this link.

Three New Archival Photographs of Christine Jorgensen I’ve Purchased

Jorgensen_Christine_Press_Packet_Obverse_sm

In honor of my transgender history lecture today at the Transgender Institute of Kansas City, I have posted three new archival photographs of the first “Atomic Age” American transgender woman, Christine Jorgensen. One of them, which is her original press packet photograph (seen above), is kind of cool. They can be found on my Christine Jorgensen page in high-resolution scans, but the low-res versions are shown here.

Christine Jorgensen, hotel interview, December 11, 1952.

Jorgensen_Christine_1952_12_11_Denmark_Obverse_sm

Christine Jorgensen photo (obscured by Raquel Welch) from her trip to Rome in 1954.

Jorgensen_Christine_and_Welch_Raquel

Transgender History Lecture This Sunday in Kansas City (April 24, 2016)

Graphic_BannerHello everyone,

I’d be pleased if you would join me for an audiovisual journey (meaning, I have slides and videos) through transgender history. Presented in honor of the affiliation between the Transas City Project and the Transgender Institute of Kansas City, the lecture will be just over an hour and will encompass topics from the earliest eras of humankind to the 2010’s. The lecturer will be myself, who if you don’t know me is the founder of the Transas City Project and a transgender historian, as well as the hostess of “Trans Talk” on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio.

This presentation will be held at the Transgender Institute of Kansas City, 8080 Ward Parkway, Suite 400 (take the elevator to the 4th floor, turn left, and then another left), KCMO (see the map below). The lecture will begin promptly at 3:00 pm, and accounting for questions and answers from the audience will end about 4:30 pm.

Refreshments will be provided. There is no cost to attend, although donations will be accepted for transgender persons in need in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Location: The Transgender Institute, 8080 Ward Parkway, Suite 400, KCMO.
Time:         3:00 – 4:30 pm, Sunday, April 24th.

OBITUARY: Transgender Actress Holly Woodlawn (1946 – 2015)

Holly_Woodlawn
My friend Eve Golden, an author, actress, and New York socialite who writes celebrity obituaries, has sent me information on the passing of transgender actress Holly Woodlawn, and I’ve added some bits from research I’ve done.

Holly Woodlawn died of cancer today (December 6) in Los Angeles. Born in Puerto Rico, Woodlawn hit New York in the 1960’s and soon fell in with the crowd of admirers and protégés surrounding artist Andy Warhol. She, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis were among the first openly transgender actresses in the New York stage and film world (and all of them were named in Lou Reed’s hit, “Walk on the Wild Side.” Woodlawn appeared in the films Trash and Women in Revolt, and in low-budget films such as Night Owl and Heaven Wants Out. She also had roles in the somewhat more well-known Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and several cameo appearances on the award-winning Amazon series Transparent. In 1982, Holly was hired by the producers of Tootsie to coach Dustin Hoffman in his role. In recent years, Woodlawn worked in West Hollywood as a cabaret artist.

In 1991 she published a memoir titled A Low Life in High Heels, and in an interview in 2014 was quoted as saying “Aging is the best thing that could have happened to me…I have calmed down a gazillion compared to what I was younger. It is nice seeing all the kids around and thinking, ‘Oh God, if only they knew what is ahead of them!’ I hope they’re prepared! At least with me, it was never dull or boring.”

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