Category Archives: History

October 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI

This month on Trans Talk, we will first interview Parker Liu who will give us some breaking news on the The Kansas City Demonstration for Transgender Rights, which will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 27th, at the J.C. Nichols fountain at the east side of the Country Club Plaza. See this public link for more information. Una from this very Trans Talk program will be one of the speakers at the event, so make sure you plan on attending!

Then we will have live music in the studio from the group Evil Pillows, an all trans punk rock band formed right here in Kansas City! They are going to play some songs to help give us some courage and empowerment over the airwaves, and then talk about their band, their inspirations, and their music. Bonus points out there if you guess the origin of their name without looking it up! Find out more information about the band at their Bandcamp link right here!

We will have a take on the transgender news of the month, which is going to be some of the most important news we’ve ever reported upon on Trans Talk, and then finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, October 27th 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.

Film Review: The Triple Echo (1972)


On its face, The Triple Echo could be seen as a straightforward WW2 drama involving a crossdressing soldier who is attempting to escape the horrors of service. However, after viewing it twice I have come to the conclusion that the film touches on more than mere situational crossdressing or forced feminization, but actually includes a portrayal of gender transition from two standpoints – that of the soldier, and of his lover. The film is reviewed in full at the link below, and part of a series of early transgender film reviews I’ve been working on.

Film Review: The Triple Echo (1972)

Exclusive to Transas City – The Ted Karras Christine Jorgensen Collection


On January 5, 2018 I posted a scan of an autographed photograph of mine, showing Christine Jorgensen posing with an unknown gentleman named Frank. On August 3rd of 2018 I received mail from a gentleman named Richard Karras, who told me the following:

I found several photos of my father and a woman I believed to be Christine Jorgensen on a fishing boat in March 1954 in Florida. To see if it was really her I did a search and found the Transas City article on her and was surprised to see a photo from that same trip. It was the autographed photo with “Frank”. I thought you might be interested so I am attaching a quick snapshot of the photos.

And indeed he not only sent me snapshots, he worked hard to scan the box of photographs. As far as I know, these incredibly rare photographs of Christine Jorgensen have not been presented anywhere else online, and might never be found outside of Mr. Karras’ collection inherited from his father Ted.

Mr. Karras has sent me the scans to share freely and unaltered with the public for preserving an important piece of history, and thus you can find the entire collection of 13 unique photographs at this link, complete with high-resolution scans. And our many thanks to Mr. Karras and his father Ted!

September 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI


This month on Trans Talk, we will feature an interview with LGBT scholar and activist Brynn Tannehill. In addition to being a retired Lt. Commander in the US Navy and a researcher at a Washington think-tank, Brynn is a frequent author for many journals and news organizations, including the Huffington Post, the Advocate, USA Today, Salon, Slate, and The New Civil Rights Movement.

Recently Brynn has been analyzing the policies and politics of the Trump Administration, the Republican and Democratic Parties, and the political and social zeitgeist we inhabit in this very strange and somewhat terrifying landscape, and she will be joining us on Trans Talk to give her analysis and perspective on where we may be headed, and how bad things could be not just for my transgender siblings out there, but the LGBT community, women, and pretty much the whole doggone planet.

We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, September 22nd 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.

August 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI


This month on Trans Talk, we will feature an interview with Julia Rose Owens, a Kansas City transgender woman who is the sole proprietor of a business in a traditionally male-dominated industry. On our program Julia will talk about her life, her struggle, her hopes, and her fight. After speaking with Julia, we will feature an interview with K.J. Rawson, the Director of the Digital Transgender Archive, to talk about the project, it’s goals, their featured collections, and where it’s heading. Many listeners may not know it, but our very own local transgender history site, Transas City, is part of the Digital Transgender Archive.

We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, August 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.

Book Reviews – Myra Breckinridge and Myron

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.

Sir Lady Java, Transgender Woman of Color


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.

Sir Lady Java

Joanna Clark: Warrior Woman


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.

New Collection Added to Transas City – Female Mimics International

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.

Rare Transgender History from World War I


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.

You can find the photographs by this direct link.

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.