Tag Archives: christine jorgensen

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

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.

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

History: A new Christine Jorgensen 3-Fer on Transas City

Jorgensen_Christine_1960_08_17_post

I recently purchased a large number of original wire photos, books, magazines, and other memorabilia from transgender history, and I will be posting them as I process them. As always, I include a link to the high-resolution scans, because our history is too important to be a “squirrel” and hoard away these things, out of the fear that someone might copy the works. Go ahead and copy and download all you want – if you want to give me a shout-out for credit, cool, but otherwise just keep these images safe so our past, what little of it still remains, shall never be forgotten.

Now to the photos: being a celebrity upon her arrival into the United States, Jorgensen was able to meet many famous and semi-famous personages for the first few years after her transition. The photograph below is from March 22, 1953, and shows her hobnobbing with comedian Milton Berle. Berle at the time was the host of NBC’s Texaco Star Theater. If you click on the photograph below, you can download a high-resolution scan of this original photograph.

Christine Jorgensen and Milton Berle

This next photograph is a little bit of a mystery. It’s often reported as being from 1958, but the earliest time-stamp on the reverse of the photograph is “20 Jan 1954.” No description tells me the name of the gentleman standing behind her. You can click on the photo below to download a high-resolution scan.

Christine Jorgensen

This final photograph for this update is a wonderful photograph which I’ve never before seen on the web, so naturally I bid on it and bought it. It shows Christine Jorgensen on the beach in a white Chevrolet Impala convertible, having what looks to be a wonderful time. It’s dated August 17, 1960, and the writing on the rear of the photograph says: “Ex-GI Dazzles Male Audiences in Cabaret. CHRISTINE JORGENSEN TO BE A BRIDE. Evidence of success – Christine drives off to the beach.” Click on the photograph below to download a high-resolution version.

Christine Jorgensen

These and many more photographs and other Christine Jorgensen information can be found on the Transas City Christine Jorgensen site.

Two New Historic Photographs, and Thoughts on Transgender Stereotypes

Rees_Tamara_with_Vacuum
I’ve recently purchased two more original archival photographs for Transas City’s research division, and you can see one of them as the lead image of this post. The photograph shows Tamara Rees, the third “Atomic Age” transsexual woman, in a stereotypical domestic setting (for more information and photographs about Rees, including a copy of her incredibly rare autobiography which we were able to obtain, please visit our Tamara Rees page). The other photograph follows, and shows Rees both before and after her gender transition.

Rees_Tamara_Before_After

Tamara Rees, from Army paratrooper to housewife.

At first blush the vacuuming photograph looks quite silly and pointless – why on earth, when she has gone through so much in her gender transition, did the press think it was newsworthy to portray her vacuuming her floor? To a 21st-century eye, this photograph smacks of silliness at best, and a rigid bowing to paternalistic stereotypes at worst. But because we study history, and do not go by first impressions only, we can tell some of the back-story behind the lead photograph.

Jorgensen_Andrea_DoriaChristine Jorgensen, in a typical “starlet” pose on the deck of the Andrea Doria.

When Christine Jorgensen entered the public eye on December 1, 1952 as the first of the Atomic Age transsexual women, she was heralded as a wonder by many reporters; a triumph of Western science. And when the blonde-haired and svelte Jorgensen landed in New York in February of the following year, she was greeted by a nova of flashbulbs and untold levels of publicity. Most of the publicity was positive, albeit there were some detractors and naysayers. Jorgensen continued to maintain this image of a starlet, impeccable in dress, poise, and manners; with that bright smile and great figure through almost all of her career.

McLeod_Charlotte_1954_05_12_MCharlotte McLeod with her father.

Charlotte McLeod was the second of the Atomic Age transsexual women, and she immediately discovered that being the “second” in something is not nearly as exciting as being the first. McLeod returned to the United States fully expecting the Jorgensen treatment, and instead ran into a crowd of reporters who were much more skeptical, with one of them even having an altercation with her which dumped her to the floor of a hotel. McLeod was pretty, but she was not the smiling, socially-conscious blonde beauty that Jorgensen was. McLeod was a quiet and reserved person, who shunned the press and did not react with grace and poise when confronted about her gender identity. At the same time, McLeod resented her second-place status bitterly, and has been quoted in several historical documents in our Transgender Newsbank stating just that.

So then Tamara Rees arrived on the scene, and the public was starting to wonder: OK, Jorgensen was an interesting case, but now…where is science leading us? Boys becoming girls; where does it end? Instead of gender transition being a once-in-a-billion thing, it now is showing up regularly in the news. Every dad and mom in America had to start wondering, as they looked at their little boy playing with the gender-typical trains, guns, and baseballs – is he going to be wearing a dress some day? It’s at this time in history that the backlash against transsexual women begins to foment.

Rees_Tamara_1954Tamara Rees in an unflattering pose.

It did not help that Rees was also much less able to “pass” than Jorgensen or McLeod. Being of a larger frame and not having the dazzling looks of Jorgensen, or the petite darkness of McLeod, Rees was much more of an average transsexual woman. She did not turn heads, despite her being much more amenable to the press and publicity than McLeod. She was not nearly as polished in her speech as Jorgensen, and fumbled through the couple of interviews which I’ve seen of her. Like McLeod before her, Rees also resented Jorgensen, and again we have quotes of Rees lashing out at her “rival.”

Rees tried very hard to present herself as a typical American woman, and thus she appeared in several photographs showing her doing stereotypical female activities – such as vacuuming the floor in a dress and heels. This is similar to the photographs found in the autobiography of British transsexual woman Roberta Cowell (q.v.), which featured her playing the piano at home, cooking, shopping, etc. All to try to create a better image for herself and to portray an air of “just another woman; nothing to see here…”

Cowell_Roberta_CookingRoberta Cowell in a stereotypical setting.

At that era in history, transsexual women were required to be strongly gender binary. Remember, there were perhaps less than 5 surgeons in the world performing sexual reassignment surgery (the exact number is not known), and each of them and their associated psychiatrists demanded that a transsexual woman be rigidly gender-binary in their thoughts and feelings, or else surgery would be disallowed. Recall that even the late, great Dr. Harry Benjamin denied Renee Richards estrogen in the late 1960’s because she expressed that she was lesbian.

Richards_2Renee Richards – denied estrogen for insufficient heteronormativity.

Now yes, in truth to the best of my research it appears that Jorgensen, McLeod, and Rees were in fact all strongly gender-binary transsexual women. But if they hadn’t been, they would have still had to go through the same theater – Jorgensen flashing her legs, McLeod dressed in a fur stole, and Rees running her Eureka. It would have been a matter of survival – doing anything, absolutely anything, so you can have your body aligned with your brain.

New to the Archives: An Original Photo of Coffee with Christine

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen, the first of the American “Atomic Age” transsexual women, is one of the most famous transsexual women in history. Born George Jorgensen, she suffered through gender dysphoria until her 20’s, when she traveled to Denmark and had the first of the modern sexual reassignment surgeries performed upon her by Dr. Christian Hamburger (Christine often said she chose her feminine name as a tribute to her surgeon.) I have a page with a collection of photographs and other material at this link, and recently I’ve purchased an original photograph dated March 30, 1953, to add to the collection.

The photograph shows Jorgensen relaxing with coffee at her parents home, possibly from early that March. Jorgensen had many advantages in her life, namely that being the “first” gave her tremendous publicity and uniqueness. One of the biggest advantages which she had was the support and love of her family, which as we all know, can make or break a transition process. She did experience her share of discrimination, as she writes in her autobiography, but overall her life turned out pretty well for her.

You can download a high-resolution scan of it at this link here.

Three Original Photographs Added to Our Christine Jorgensen Page

Jorgensen_Christine_1954_10_26_Andrea_Doria_sm

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.

Tracking Transgender: The Historical Truth

Bloodhound_from_1915

If you ever wanted to read a 5,000-word essay on how the word “transgender” was developed and acquired its general meaning nowadays, this well-researched article appears to be a great piece of history and trans education. Peppered with photos, a video, and quotations, I wish I had had the time to write it.

Tracking Transgender: The Historical Truth | Ehipassiko.