By 1969, alongside the questioning of authority, resentment of war and youthful unrest that had been happening with the "hippie" movement, the frustrations of non-heteronormative communities was coming to a boil. The flashpoint would finally be a series of attempted arrests stemming from a law that required people to wear at least three articles of clothing pertaining to their biological gender (a law which still exists on the books in some States, today). While periods of unrest were common in San Francisco, where the Compton's riot and a few others took place, New York was far less accustomed to what would take place at a gay establishment that June. But ironically, as quickly as their unified strength would empower the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, they would soon fall into division, with the more-visible gender-transgressive people particularily left on the outside.
1969 -- Sylvia Rivera (2 July 1951-19 February 2002) throws a bottle at New York City cops harassing patrons at Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969; friend Marsha P. Johnson (1945 - July 6, 1992 -- Johnson is one of the many we remember during the Transgender Day of Remembrance) and several others join in. The Stonewall Rebellion touches off the gay and lesbian liberation movements (in other re-tellings, Johnson throws the first projectile). A founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, by 1974, those organizations would abandon Rivera, seeing transgender people as being an embarrassment and a political liability to the gay rights cause. By the 1990s, political gay and lesbian groups would denounce Rivera's contribution, even denying at one point that she was present during the Stonewall Riots. Rivera gradually fell into alcoholism, and it wouldn't be until the turn of the millennium that she would reemerge as a public figure.
1969 also saw the first Gender Symposium, which would develop into the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA). In 2006, the organization would change its name to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
1970 -- Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson form STAR, the first transgender activist organization, which later included a safe-house (at times -- in the beginning, it depended on when they were able to find an abandoned trailer). STAR is often shut out from funding by other GLBT organizations, including those that Rivera helped to found, and consequently, Rivera and Johnson would continually return to sex trade work in order to pay for both their living expenses and the ongoing operation of the organization and safe house -- food, electricity, etc.
Virginia Prince, of Tri-Ess, coins the word "transgender," albeit with a limited definition to describe her crossdressing. Prince's brand of "transgender" initially consciously excluded transsexuals (i.e. anyone taking hormones or desiring surgery), anyone of the female-to-male variety and androphiles (crossdressers who were attracted to men). It would later evolve into an all-inclusive term.
April Corbett's (neé Ashley; alternate link) marriage is annulled and she is declared to be legally still a man, in spite of a legal sex reassignment, leaving United Kingdom post-operative transsexuals in legal limbo, unable to marry as either sex, until 2004. Similar occurrences take place in various U.S. states, creating a picture in which marriage and spousal benefits would remain contestable in the courts, in the absence of legalized same-sex marriage.
Andy Warhol protege and transwoman Holly Woodlawn debuts in the movie Trash. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be petitioned by fans to nominate her for an Oscar, but the AMPAS ultimately chose not to. Woodlawn would appear in a few more films and then disappear from sight, but not before being immortalized in the Lou Reed song, "Walk on the Wild Side."
After initial rejection by founder Betty Friedan (who referred to lesbians as "the lavender menace"), the National Organization for Women (NOW) expands policy to include lesbian rights. Embrace of transgender issues does not come until circa 2003, and then only gradually adopts trans-friendly policies (the situation is much better today). As NOW represents much of the core of the feminist movement, feminism as a whole is still somewhat resistant to accepting transwomen as "women," even after surgery is performed, but conversely has tended to eject transmen, right from the moment of beginning transition.
1970s (specific year debated) -- Metoidioplasty is developed for female-to-male transsexuals. Phalloplasty had existed previously, but Metoidioplasty was seen as a more affordable option, with better results in sensation. (Transmen who are interested in the different types of surgery but not able to find out from other FTMs are advised to check out Loren Cameron's book Body Alchemy which profiles different types... phalloplasty appearance has improved somewhat since that book, but it is otherwise an excellent reference)
1972 -- John Money (with Anke Ehrhardt) publishes "Man & Woman, Boy & Girl: Gender Identity from Conception to Maturity." He would go on to publish several more books asserting that gender is learned, and not genetically predetermined. This theory is seized upon by the feminist movement as evidence that women are socialized to be passive against their true natures, and this later becomes a wedge between lesbian feminists and transsexual women. In many of his writings of this time, Money cites his famous "John/Joan case", which he touts as being a socialization of a boy whose penis had been lost in a circumcision accident, to be raised successfully as a girl. "John/Joan," however, is David Reimer, who is not settling into his reassigned gender as "Brenda" as well as Money believes.
As a consequence of many of Money's writings, paediatricians mistakenly take up the practice of gender assignment at birth. This is most often determined by the length of the penile / clitoral tissue: if it is smaller than a certain length, the child's tissue is "trimmed" (in fact, mostly excised) and they are assigned to be raised as a girl. This policy continued up to the turn of the millennium, and is a major factor in the origins of many intersex children.
Jamie Farr's crossdressing character, Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger, debuts on the CBS television show M*A*S*H - the first transgender-related character to appear regularly on TV. Although Klinger was said to crossdress only as an attempt to be given a discharge from the Army, it is the first moment of particular visibility that deviates from comedians' sporadic use of crossdressing for comedic purposes (popularized by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the movie "Some Like It Hot" as well as by comedians ranging from Milton Berle to Jerry Lewis to Monty Python's Flying Circus), and develops into sympathetic characterization.
1973 -- Folk singer and accomplished activist Beth Elliott, aka "Mustang Sally," becomes vice-president of the Daughters of Bilitis. Soon afterward, she is "outed" as a transsexual, and hounded out of the organization by transphobic lesbian seperatists. At the West Coast Lesbian Conference held in Los Angeles later that year, the controversy would continue as lesbians protest the fact that Elliott is scheduled to perform at the meeting. She would mostly abandon activism until 1983.
This division continues, as Sylvia Rivera is followed at a Gay Pride Rally by Jean O'Leary, who denounces transwomen as female impersonators profiting from the derision and oppression of women.
Homosexuality is delisted from the medical community's standard DSM, declaring that it is no longer a mental disorder (and never was). Transgenderism, however, remains listed as a mental disability, termed "gender dysphoria," to this day.
The earliest version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is introduced as voting legislation. It is not transgender-inclusive at this time, and does not pass.
The stage musical, The Rocky Horror Show debuts in London. Jim Sharman and Richard O'Brien would later translate it to film as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which would become a true cult phenomenon. The theme, "don't dream it, be it" becomes a rallying cry for many transsexuals as well as many libertarians of all stripes.
Australian showgirl-turned-actress Carlotta (known for her performances in the long-running 1963 Les Girls cabaret, in which she was a founding member) debuts in the soap opera Number 96 playing Robyn Ross, a transgender showgirl. When the character's (and actress') identity is revealed, she is quickly written out of the show due to viewer response. Carlotta later becomes the inspiration for the movie, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
1974 -- Jan Morris publishes Conundrum, the story of her quest for personal identity, and one of the earliest autobiographies to shed light on the transsexual dilemma.
The Tennis Star
1976 -- Reneé Richards (August 19, 1934 - present) is "outed" and barred from competition when she attempts to enter a womens' tennis tournament (the U.S. Open). Her subsequent legal battle establishes that transsexuals are fully, legally recognized in their new identity after SRS, in the United States. Her story would be told in the book and movie, Second Serve, but Richards would later decide that she regretted her transition due to the resulting public harassment.
Jonathan Ned Katz publishes Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. and the connection between Jonathan Gilbert's "H" and Dr. Alan Hart, but asserts Hart as a lesbian, effectively stealing transgender history.
The City of San Francisco clears away antiquated laws about clothing and gender, to make crossdressing legal.
1977 -- Sandy Stone is "outed" while working for Olivia Records, the first womens' music record label, as a recording engineer. Lesbian activists threaten a boycott of Olivia products and concerts, forcing the company to ask for Stone's resignation. Angela Douglas writes a satirical letter to Sister as a protest of the transphobia in the lesbian community in general, and the attacks on Sandy Stone in particular.
1978 -- San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by disgruntled former supervisor Dan White. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician to be elected to office (1977), and his legacy left a lasting impression on the GLBT community.
Quashing the Lavender Revolution
1979 -- Janice Raymond publishes The Transsexual Empire, a semi-scholarly transphobic attack. In the book, she cites Andrea Douglas' letter out of context as an example of transsexual mysogyny, and casts Sandy Stone's involvement in Olivia Records as "divisive" and "patriarchal." (Stone would reply to these accusations in her book, The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto.) She championed the idea that gender is purely a matter of "sex role socialization" (an opinion that coincided very much with John Money's, despite her open attacks on him), writing "... All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves. However, the transsexually constructed lesbian feminnist violates women's sexuality and spirit as well.... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive."
Johns Hopkins Medical Center closes its Gender Clinic, under the recommendation of new curator, Paul McHugh, John Money's successor and an opponent to both Money's idea of gender as being learned, and Money's support of transsexuals' need to transition. Over the next two decades, many of the other Gender Clinics across North America would follow suit. The closure was justified by pointing to a 1979 report ("Sex Reassignment: Follow-up," published in Archives of General Psychiatry 36, no. 9) by Jon Meyer and Donna Reter that claimed to show "no objective improvement" following male-to-female GRS surgery. This report was later widely questioned and eventually found to be contrived and possibly fraudulent, but the damage had been done.
Musician and synthesized music pioneer Wendy Carlos transitions and goes public.
Gays, lesbians and transsexuals, who were previously condemned to death in Iran, are given a new fate under law: they are forced to undergo SRS surgery to "correct" the inclination. Transsexuals are still held with a great deal of derision in Iran, and are encouraged to keep silent about their past.
"John/Joan" Becomes "John" Again
1980 -- David Reimer (as "Brenda") learns at the age of 15 from his parents that he had been born a boy, and decides to re-establish a male identity. This process would take until 1997, and involve testosterone injections, a double-mastectomy and two phalloplasty surgeries.
Joanna Clark, aka Sister Mary Elizabeth, an Episcopal Nun, organizes the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee.
Paul Walker organizes the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association to promote standards of care for transsexual and transgender clients. He also founds the Janus Information Facility, continuing the work of Erickson Educational Foundation. Later, he would fall ill, and Joanna Clark and Jude Patton would co-found J2CP Information Services to continue this legacy.
1981 -- Model, actress and Bond Girl Caroline Cossey ("Tula") is "outed" by the British press. She would later become the first post-operative transsexual to pose for Playboy. By 1988, she would be struggling with the European Court of Human Rights to recognize her as a female -- she would win in June 1989, but the court would overturn their decision a year later. Recognition would not come until The Gender Recognition Act 2004.
1982 -- Boy George (George Alan O'Dowd) and Culture Club emerge on the pop charts with the song, "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" His crossdressing image is not totally new (androgyny had been played with by the likes of David Bowie, Steve Tyler and Aerosmith, Hall and Oates, Elton John...), but had certainly never been taken to the same extreme. By 1986, however, the disintegration of his relationship with drummer Jon Moss and drug problems would hamstring him and Culture Club would be disbanded. Despite some resurgences (he had a hit with the Roy Orbison song for the movie The Crying Game, for example).
1983 -- Jessica Lange wins the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Tootsie, a Sydney Pollack movie in which Dustin Hoffman plays an actor who takes on a female persona in order to secure work in a soap opera. Hoffman and Pollack are also nominated in the Best Actor and Best Director categories but do not win the Oscar. Although not a portrayal of the transgender community, the movie is the first gender-transgressive one to be recognized with such an honor. Lange also later appears in the transgender positive made-for-TV movie, Normal. Later recognition for transgender-related film works include a win for Hilary Swank (Oscars, 2000, Boys Don't Cry, Best Actress), a Golden Globe win for Best Picture (Ma Vie En Rose), and nominations for Jaye Davidson (Oscars, 1993, The Crying Game, Best Supporting Actor; Neil Jordan won the Oscar for his screenplay but lost the Directorial nomination), Felicity Huffman (Oscars, 2006, Transamerica, Best Actress; Golden Globe win for same category), and Edouard Molinaro (Oscars, 1980, La Cage Aux Folles, Best Director).
1984 -- The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) is founded, becoming the first major transgender organization to welcome both transsexual and crossdressing members, along with dual inclusion in its magazine, Tapestry (later, Transgender Tapestry Journal).
Heavy Metal band Twisted Sister brings gender-bending to the fore in a different music genre, although glam rock had been somewhat previously popularized by Aerosmith and KISS in the 1970s. Censorship contributes to the failure of their follow-up album, and front man Dee Snider spends two years heavily occupied with the music industry fight against the PMRC music labelling movement.
The Folsom Street Fair is organized as a continuing show of resistence to San Francisco's redevelopment plans, which would drive poorer working-class folks from the area. It would become a counterculture mecca, attracting the gay, leather and transgender communities. Originally entitled "Megahood," it draws some inspiration from George Orwell's novel, "1984."
Mid-1980s -- Bugis Street, in the city-state of Singapore, is renovated, bringing to an end its reputation as a gathering place for transsexual women. It had been a major tourist attraction for this reason since the 1950s, being particularly popular with American G.I.s. During the "disco" era, it would be nicknamed "Boogie Street."
Futanari, a genre of Japanese comics featuring characters with both male and female sex organs (which is technically impossible), develops during this time, growing out of manga and often being highly pornographic.
1985 -- A pink granite monument is unveiled at the site of the Neuengamme concentration camp dedicated to the homosexual victims of Naziism. To some, it stands as a memorial to all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals killed in the Holocaust, as the Nazis did not distinguish between them.
1986 -- Lou Sullivan founds FTM International.
1987 -- Albertan k.d. lang makes her musical debut. lang, whose image is very much a gender-challenging form of androgyny, exemplifies the dichotomy within the lesbian community regarding female-to-male transsexuals: so long as one does not step beyond the "butch" limit to actually transition to male, they are accepted and even applauded, but those who transition are deemed "traitors." lang herself is out as a lesbian, but does not identify as being transgender.
Autogynephilia and The Clarke Institute
1989 -- Billy Tipton, a well-respected jazz musician, bleeds to death from an ulcer, rather than seek medical help. He is discovered to be biologically female, after presenting as a man since 1933.
Ray Blanchard proposes the theory of autogynephilia, which he defined as "a man's paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman." This theory catches on with some writers of the time, even transgender advocate Dr. Anne Lawrence, but is never quite accepted by the medical community as a whole, as it has many gaps in study (and logic), and widely conflicts with the accepted model of gender identity disorder. By the turn of the millennium, it would be mostly dropped in favor of more biological studies of transgenderism, with one exception. Adherent J. Michael Bailey would take up this torch in the 2003 book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, which would be repeatedly discredited, and yet still lend him enough credibility to be mistaken as an authority.
Blanchard is also the head of the Clinical Sexology Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH, also known as the Clarke Institute) in Toronto, which would become notoriously resistant to signing off on GRS surgery approval. Eventually, GRS funding is dropped by Ontario Health, as a means to strip the institute of its "gatekeeper" powers and treatment that many allege to contravene the recommended treatment in the DSM-IV. In a sub-department, Dr. Kenneth Zucker also later draws fire for treating transgender children using much the same methods of "ex-gay" therapists.
RuPaul first appears in the B52s video "Love Shack," and goes on to become a drag queen of worldwide notoriety.
1990 -- The term "two-spirit" originates in Winnipeg, Canada, during the third annual intertribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference. It comes from the Ojibwa words niizh manidoowag (two-spirits). It is chosen as a means to distance Native/First Nations people from non-Natives, as well as from the words "berdache" and "gay" -- previously, there were a myriad of words used, different depending on tribe. The phrase "two-spirit" is used to denote all third-gendered or gender variant peoples, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons, effeminate males (regardless of orientation), masculine females (likewise), and androgynous folk -- but the intersexed are held in particularily high regard, and thought to be beings of potentially great power and blessing. The older term of "berdache" had been French in origin, and is derived from Arabic and Eastern words meaning "kept boy" or "male prostitute." "Berdache" was used by explorers to explain to Western cultures how many Native traditions held a special reverence for two-spirit peoples to the earliest time, especially the Lakota, Ojibwa, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Mojave, Navajo and Cree tribes (others, such as the Comanche, Eyak, Iroquois and many Apache bands did not often recognize the existence of two-spirits) -- but the term "berdache" was almost always used by Europeans in a derogatory context. Two-spirit peoples were thought to have both male and female persons living within the same body, and a two-spirited child's gender would be determined at puberty, based on their inclination toward masculine or feminine activities. In the last century, modern Christianity had "evangelized," indoctrinated and destroyed many Native traditions, and two-spirit people are only now just re-emerging from homophobic stigmas.
1991 -- Jonathan Demme's film, The Silence of the Lambs -- based on a novel by Thomas Harris -- debuts and creates an uproar when the film's end-story villain exhibits stereotypical gay and transgender habits, intertwined with his homicidal behaviours... creating associations of psychopathy with transsexualism.
1992 -- Nancy Jean Burkholter is ejected from the Michigan Womyn's Festival by transphobic festival organizers. The festival's policy is that the particularity of "womyn-born-womyn (WBW) experience comes from being born and raised in a female body. The following year, Camp Trans would be set up outside the entrance to the gate in protest of this policy -- and continued three years following.
1993 -- Cheryl Chase founds the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA).
"March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation" organizers include bisexuals, but refuse to include transgender in the name of the march, despite months of work to try to get inclusion.
Brandon Teena is raped and later murdered by members of his circle of friends, when they discover his female genitalia. The story is later retold with an Oscar-winning performance in the movie, Boys Don't Cry.
Anthony Summers publishes Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, in which the rumor that Hoover was a transvestite is finally put into print. In the book, a Mrs. Susan Rosenstiel alleged that in 1958 she and her husband met Hoover and McCarthy lawyer Roy Cohn, both in drag. Several writers since have strongly discredited Mrs. Rosenstiel, and it is most likely that Hoover's crossdressing is merely an urban legend. He may have been gay, however, as some (possibly circumstantial) information about he and right-hand man Clyde Tolson is more creditable.
Also in 1993, trans activists working for many years with gay and lesbian activists successfully pass an anti-discrimination law in the State of Minnesota, protecting transsexual and transgender people along with gays and lesbians. This is the first instance of inclusion in the U.S. despite the number of human rights motions since the 1970s to protect rights based on sexual orientation.
1994 -- Transgender activists protest exclusion from Stonewall25 celebrations and The Gay Games in New York City. The Gay Games later rescinds rules that require "documented completion of sex change" before allowing transgender individuals to compete.
Assotto Saint (Yves Lubin), a Haitian gay and trans poet and author of color dies of HIV-related illness. The pioneering author and publisher had penned several influential works, and was on the verge of completing two anthologies by the time of his death.
Several cities on the west coast of the U.S. pass anti-discrimination statues protecting transsexual and transgender people.
Hijras in India are given the right to vote. Within 5 years, a hijra will be elected as a Member of Parliament (Shabnam "Mausi" Bano, in 1998). Hijras are third-gender persons, usually male or intersex in origin, and living as female. Estimates range between 50,000 and 5,000,000 hijras currently living in the Indian subcontinent alone. Although early English writings and several contemporary ones refer to them as eunuchs, not all undergo castration. Hijras are limited by caste, must train under a teacher, and are considered low class. Violence against hijras is common, and the authorities continue to be slow to do anything about the problem.
Mid-1990s -- Prominent and respected lesbian writer, activist and therapist Pat (now Patrick) Califia comes out as a transman, and begins his transition to male. The lesbian community largely rejects Califia as a consequence, although there are pockets that still show support. Regardless, Califia's writings still strike a chord with many of the (sometimes-called) "alternative lifestyle" communities, from lesbian to leather.
1995 -- Transsexual activists protest Oregon's Right to Privacy (now known as "Right to Pride") political action committee to cease using Alan Hart's old name as an award given out to lesbian activists. Over the following years, some of his legacy would be regained by the transgender community, and his preferred male name would regain recognition.
Tyra Hunter dies following a traffic accident in Washington, D.C. Her injuries should have been minor, but when the responding EMT team (a crew of D.C. firefighters) arrives on the scene, cut away her clothing and discover her genitalia, they then withdraw medical care, uttering epithets and taunting her as she bleeds. When she is finally taken to D.C. General Hospital, she is also given inadequate care and dies from blood loss. In 1998, a jury awards Tyra's mother $2,873,000 after finding the District of Columbia (via both the EMTs and Hospital) guilty of negligence and malpractice. Several activist groups form, in her memory, including the Transgender Youth Resources and Advocacy (TYRA) initiative.
Georgina Beyer becomes New Zealand's (and the World's) first transsexual Mayor in Carterton, where she remained until 2000 (see 1999 entry).
The Triangle Program opens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, designed for GLBT students at risk of dropping out or committing suicide because of homophobia in regular schools.
As the GLB and T communities began to enjoy their newfound freedoms, there was a lot of self-differentiation that took place. Each community wished to distinguish themselves from other communities, sometimes at those other communities' expense. Transgender people were not the only ones adversely affected. The lesbian community went through a period in the politically-correct 1980s of ejecting lesbians who fit the "butch" and "femme" paradigms, because they were seen as creating "bad stereotypes" of that community as well (although this still has some root in the expression of gender). Most tragic of this was that it was often those "butch / femme" lesbians who had been first to "come out" and become involved with their community. But while many of these divisions would sow resentments and infighting, they would eventually become recognized as growing pains as the various communities redefined their new place in the world, and those divisions would gradually start to be overcome.
Partial Bibliography: Much of this had been compiled over time, and not all the sources have been recorded. Some online sources have been involved as well, although I search for more corroboration in these cases.
Bullough, Vern: Homosexuality: A History From Ancient Greece to Gay Liberation
Califia, Patrick: Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism
Colapinto, John: As Nature Made Him: The Story of a Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl
Currah, Paisley; Richard M. Juang and Shannon Price Minter: Transgender Rights
Feinberg, Leslie: TransGender Warriors
Fletcher, Lynne Yamaguchi: The First Gay Pope (and other records)
Kessler, Suzanne; and McKenna, Wendy: Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach
Rudacille, Deborah: The Riddle of Gender
Walker, Barbara: various works
Williams, Walter: The Spirit and the Flesh
Transgender History: A 6 Part Series
Don't miss the other five parts of this series.