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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!