Pioneers Of The Transgender Movement
Pioneers Of The Transgender Movement
Calpernia Addams (Transgender Activist, Actress) gives expert video advice on: Who was Harry Benjamin?; Who was Christine Jorgensen?; Who was Billy Tipton? and more...
Who was Harry Benjamin?
Harry Benjamin was born German sexologist at the turn of the century, from the late 1800's to the early 1980's. He was working in Europe and talking to people like Magnus Hershfeld who did a lot of research and writing about gay people. Dr. Benjamin was very interested in gender issues as they related to medicine. He ended up moving to America where he spent the rest of his life and where his work with transgender community grew to be quite ground breaking and popular and pioneering, such that his standards of care were adopted as the generally accepted way of dealing with transgenderism medically.
Who was Christine Jorgensen?
Christine Jorgensen was a transsexual woman who was born in the 20's, and in the 50's she was living as a male and was a soldier in the war at the time and such, but she was trans, she felt that she needed to transition. At the time there had not been a public transition of her magnitude. There had been a few European people, like the artist Lily Elb and such, who did transition publicly, but the media had not developed to the point that it had when Christine transitioned. So, Christine Jorgensen was a trans woman who transitioned right at the point when the media had developed enough to cover that on a worldwide level. So she had one of the first majorly publicized sexual reassignment surgeries in Denmark and came back and became a huge celebrity in the United States based mostly on that fact.
Who was Billy Tipton?
Billy Tipton was a jazz musician born in the early 1900's and he was assigned female at birth and the world of jazz at the time, did not accept women very well. You know it was kind of a down and dirty musical scene. Lots of drugs, lots of dive bars ,and dangerous characters. So the only women who were really accepted in Jazz, were singers who were supposed to be very feminine, very an object of desire as well as a singer. Billy felt that he was a man and did not want to be a pretty girl jazz singer or anything. He wanted to be a man. So he started dressing and presenting himself as male. And he transitioned to being male as well as was possible with the technology of that time. And he lived his life as a male, he was married several times to women, and he died as male. It was only after his death that a medical examination revealed that his body was physically female. Then that got devoured by talk shows and such, unfortunately.
Who is Renee Richards?
Renee Richards was an ophthalmologist. She is an ophthalmologist and a well-known professional tennis player in transitions and she is very well-known because in 1977 the Supreme Court ruled in her favor that she should be a lot of played women's tennis others she was assigned male birth in she transition in female and she going to continue playing tennis that legal decision really put her in the spotlight and she was one of the best known trans women in 70's as a results of that she had a book called as a second serve which was made in twelve movie and where she was played in five minutes in a grave And that further Cathy seriate there and she was quite policing the grand breaking figure in seven days. She has since canal with a second book and she rebuild that she has a lot of regrets surrounding her transition so she's not someone's how gap as a figure how people turn to look up the transition right now because she does regrets she's will enter in transition but in 70's she was quite to face of the situation.
Who was Sylvia Rivera?
Sylvia Rivera was a trans activist who came up from the streets. She was a trans woman who had dealt with substance addiction, she dealt with issues of poverty with life on the streets, and coming out of that situation she had a real connection to and resonance with trans people who had been forced to the fringes of society, because we often lose our families, our jobs, our chance of education, so a lot of trans people do end up on the streets. A lot of trans people are self medicated with drugs at the time because of their great unhappiness, and Sylvia became a figure that they could look up to, that they could turn to and see as a role model because she pulled herself out of that and began to be very vocal in fighting for our rights legally, and also forcing the gay community to continue to include us, because some gay assimilationists found trans people a little too wild and crazy and exotic. They wanted straight people to love the gay community more and they thought the only way to do that would be to cut out the element that was a little more wild. So Sylvia tried to keep us at the table and keep that going, and she's since passed away but she was loved by a lot of people.
What is the National Transgender Day Of Remembrance?
The National Transgender Day Of Remembrance is a day that trans people especially have chosen to look back at all the trans people who were killed in the past year. We face violence on a statistically astronomical level. There are one or two trans women killed a month in the United States and if you consider how small out community is, that's a lot. If you think about living in a small town of a few thousand people and if one person a month was killed in that town every year, that would be outrageous. So In the National Transgender Day Of Remembrance, at the end of every year we look back on the people who were killed. It was started by Gwen Smith, she runs a website that catalogs all these women and it happens on the 20th of November every year. Gwen started it on that date to honor the murder of Rita Hesther who was a trans woman that was the final straw and Gwen just felt that it really needed to be paid attention to so she has put a lot of effort into getting that information out there and making sure that people listen to this ongoing tragedy.