Friday, February 22, 2008

Trans Timeline

I’ve been putting together a Trans History Timeline for my Transgender Lives class. The idea was to give them an idea of the events that lead up to the modern Transgender Movement (such as it is).

* 1910 Magnus Hirschfeld coins “transvestite” (& "transsexual" in 1923)
* 1919 Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Research given housing
* 1930 Lili Elbe undergoes five surgeries, the fifth of which kills her in 1931
* 1933 Institute for Sexual Research burned by Nazis
* 1939 – 1945 WWII
* 1945 Michael Dillon has first FTM surgeries
* 1951 Roberta Cowell transitions in the UK
* 1952 Christine Jorgensen headline, “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Bombshell”
* 1959 Virginia Prince starts Transvestia
* 1961 VP starts Heels & Hose (12 crossdressers!)
* 1964 Reed Erickson founds the Erickson Institute
* 1966 Harry Benjamin publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon
* 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria Riots, SF
* 1969 Ist Gender Symposia (becomes HBIGDA)
* 1969 Stonewall, NYC
* 1973 First Introduction of ENDA (US)
* 1975 Fantasia Fair starts in Provincetown, founded by Ariadne Kane
* 1976 Tri-Ess formed
* 1976 Crossdressing becomes legal in SF
* 1977 HBIGDA becomes an org
* 1979 Sandy Stone leaves Olivia Records due to attacks in Janice Raymond’s The Transsexual Empire
* 1980 Crossdressing becomes legal in Houston, TX (due to Phyllis Frye’s efforts)
* 1986 FTM Int’l started by Lou Sullivan
* 1987 IFGE formed
* 1990 AEGIS started by Dallas Denny
* 1993 Mosaic web browser
* 1994 Death of Brandon Teena / Netscape web browser
* 1995 “All FTM Conference of the Americas” organized by Jamison Green & Jason Cromwell (with grant from Dallas Denny)

I was teaching Jamison Green’s Becoming a Visible Man at the time, which is why it ends where it does, but I’ve been adding to it since, & will continue to do so.


Babylon Sister said...

You might wish to (or may already have, for all I know) look at:

I think many transsexual women would find the description of Lili Elbe's life & history at the transhistory site preferable. It's probably worth noting that Ms. Elbe wasn't the first person to receive treatment in that setting (Dorchen was, I believe).

Several other sites (Lynn Conway's amoung them) include some of this history along with a historical perspective beyond the 20th century. This would include earlier surgical interventions. Transgender and transsexual people have of course been in all cultures and times of history. Timothy Taylor's Prehistory of Sex has some interesting speculation on early hormone therapy in the ancient world.

Zagaria has some great historical/biographical information on her site.

helen_boyd said...

rewritten somewhat as suggested, BS.

MonicaH said...

When you get to it:

2000 - Jane Fee becomes the first openly transgender person to attend the Democratic National Convention.
2003 - Formation of the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA).
2004 - First Transgender Veterans March to the Wall and the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.
2004 - Seven openly transgender people attend the Democratic National Convention.

glenda said...

Helen, you've left out the the very important work of Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, done with the help of California Assembly speaker Willie Brown in the mid-70's, here's a URL with her mini-biography and an excerpt from it:

Mary Elizabeth's involvement in the transsexual community began in 1975 while visiting a Los Angeles-based transsexual rap group moderated at the time by San Diego's own Arlene Lafferty. She listened to its members sharing the problems they were encountering in establishing new identities. In classic form she said, "If you can't change your records because of the law, then change the law!" This was a task many thought impossible. "I believe the process will work for those willing to make it work," she said at the time. Many people thought the idea was crazy and couldn't be done. Even her father, a retired city council member, told her to forget it. But she went ahead anyway, determined to prove that the system can work.

She leased a Savin word processor and began a letter-writing campaign aimed at changing the law. With the sponsorship of Willie Brown, and significant support of the Gray Panthers, AB 385 (W. Brown-1977) became the law that everyone said could never be. For thousands of post-operative transsexuals in California the road to a consistent identity became a reality. AB 385 which permitted the State Department of Health to issue new birth certificates to post-operative transsexuals became effective on January 1, 1978.

Shortly thereafter, State Senator Paul Carpenter along with twenty-two co-sponsors introduced emergency legislation SB-2200 to prohibit Medi-Cal from funding sex reassignment surgery and related services. Mary Elizabeth argued the unconstitutionality of the bill before the state Legislature and his bill was defeated. Today, although it is extraordinarily difficult, Medi-Cal will pay for sex reassignment surgery.

In 1978, she wrote "Legal Aspects of Transsexualism," an important early document on the subject of transsexualism which is still referenced today. She was behind the creation of the ACLU of Southern California Transsexual Rights Committee, the first such committee in the history of the ACLU impacting existing laws and regulations on both state and federal levels.

helen_boyd said...

thank you, all! I stopped at 1995 because I figure everything after isn't quite "history" yet (though I think it's just as important to keep track of these events).

More more more. I think as a community we all need to know this stuff.

MamaR said...

You left out a very important man, who was transexual, and all the work he did. Had it continued without him we would have seen the transexual community and their rights already cemented.
You can learn more about Reed at

Diane said...

You might also add to the founding date of IFGE the name of the founder Merrissa Sherrill Lynn. As one who was involved with both Tiffany Club and IFGE during that period, I can attest to the fact that MSL's vision was the driving force in founding what has become a primary organization for transgender issues.

Jenny Boylan said...

I would add:

1974: Jan Morris publishes "Connundrum," the first trans memoir to reach a "mainstream" (a.k.a. straight, non-trans) audience.

1977: Renee Richards reaches the finals of the U.S. open in women's doubles, tennis.

helen_boyd said...

MamaR, you might want to read the entry for 1964 again.

Ar'lene said...

Actually Joanna Clark aka Sister Mary Elizabeth had help with the AB 385 with eight of us as a team including Jude Patton, Shirley Bushnell and myself (Ar'lene) among four others working to make aware and place into the California State Legislature hands the letters and material for Willie Brown. Thanks to them AB 385 passed in 1977.