This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1200 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the page. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

30 June 2007

What will happen to to ... Sandy-Jo Battista

++Updated June 2011

Sandy-Jo Battista was born David Megarry Jr in Massachusetts in 1962. He had a rough childhood. He had a rare hormonal imbalance, 21-hyperplasia Syndrome, which led to rejection by his mother. He also witnessed his father kill his mother. He was taken in by a female relative who abused him. At the age of 21 he apparently raped a 10-year-old girl. However I cannot find anything online that describes this in any detail. Was it real forcible rape? Was it statutory but consensual? Was it mainly a misunderstanding? The various mentions online say nothing between these options. Nor do they say anything that would imply that Megarry was a predatory pedophile.

Megarry was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He completed the 18 years back at the beginning of this decade. But just because you have completed your sentence does not mean that you are released. He was transferred to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the sexually dangerous in Bridgewater for an indefinite civil commitment.

While in prison he started to transition, and is now known as Sandy-Jo Battista. She has requested castration and has offered to pay for her own sex change. How, after 24 years in prison, she could afford to pay - is something else not explained in the media. But surely this is a reasonable offer. As a post-op woman, she would be unable to repeat her crime. There is much evidence that post-ops fit better into society and are less likely to commit crimes. Surely any penologist interested in reducing recidivism would go for the offer.

One is of course amazed at the incredible antagonism in the US to prisoners having a sex change. In the case of Michelle Kosilek (born 1949, also Massachusetts, in for wife murder) the Corrections Department paid over $52,000 for so-called expert testimony that she does not need a sex change. So much for the argument that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections cannot afford to pay for such operations.

A few hundred kilometres north, in Canada, the Human Rights Tribunal ruled in 2000 that Corrections Canada was discriminatory in placing transwomen among a male population and that the absolute ban on sex changes was unwarranted. This decision was upheld in Federal Court, and the plaintiff, Synthia Kavanagh (born 1962, in for killing her lover, a fellow transy-hooker) was operated on later that year, and then transferred to a women's prison.

A naughty thought occurs. I will follow this through as a thought experiment. Is Sandy-Jo a "real" transsexual? Usually "real" is an inauthentic distinction. A "real" transsexual is one who goes through with it, through all the hassles, the job losses, the cost, and the lowered status. One proves one is real by doing it. However incarceration changes the game. For Sandy-Jo, although not for Michelle Kosilek or for Synthia Kavanagh, it is a way to get out of prison. I am not being critical. She has has served a complete sentence and more. Good luck to her if it works. The famous example of a prisoner faking a disease to get out was Ernest Schleyer, the crooked CEO of Guinness PLC, who was sentenced to 5 years, who developed symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and was released after 10 months, and, lo and behold, recovered completely from the symptoms, and went on to a successful career as a business consultant. However Sandy-Jo cannot be playing this game for, as she certainly knows, the sex-change operation is irreversible. It is possible that she is a mild transgender, a person who - if not in prison - would explore drag, but would never commit to a sex-change. Given a stark choice: incarceration for life, or live as a woman, which would you choose? I put the question to my husband, who is no way transgender, and he had no difficulty in choosing the sex change.

Follow-up:

Between 2005 and 2011 Battista applied to the courts as a pro se litigant in  response to the Massachusetts Department of Correction's decision to block her prescription for GID treatment.  That treatment, which included hormone medication, had been unanimously approved by the DOC’s own contracted medical providers.  In May 2011 the US Court of Appeals ruled in her favor.


Shortly afterwards, a blogger using the moniker GallusMag wrote a libelous article accusing this author of saying that the victim was 'asking for it'.  As a feminist and a human being, I never defend child or adult rape.  Nor did I even suggest that Megarry should not have served a prison sentence. However I still do not know the facts in the Megarry case. GallusMag's account is very different from those that were appended here as comments, some of which were from persons who say that they knew Megarry.  However let us assume that GallusMag does have the facts right.  28 years so far for a single rape is totally out of proportion.  Serial killers have been released after serving shorter terms than that. 

However the most intriguing aspect is that GallusMag is is so emphatic that a convicted rapist must--at whatever cost, be it a large multiple of the cost of a sex change operation--that the rapist must be prevented from giving up the testosterone and the penis that are required for rape.  Is GallusMag totally mad?

18 June 2007

Whatever happened to ... Teri Toye

This article revised, March 2009.


1984. Just three years after Caroline Cossey (Tula) was outed when she came to attention by being a 'Bond girl' in For Your Eyes Only, and as a consequence lost most of her modelling contracts. Just three years after 1981, in New York, the new fashion sensation was the openly transgender Teri Toye, who had moved to New York from Iowa to study fashion. She was offered modeling work, especially for the cult fashion designer Stephen Sprouse, but also for Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier. Her success allowed Lauren Foster, whose career had wobbled after she was outed, to spring back. 

There is a Teri Toye doll by Greer Lankton's husband, Paul Monroe. Teri was maid of honor at Greer's wedding.





















However after three years, Teri split the scene. She returned to her native Iowa where she works in historic preservation and real estate.

10 June 2007

Crossing Sexual Boundaries


Crossing Sexual Boundaries: Transgender Journeys, Uncharted Paths. Edited by J. Ari Kane-Demaios and Vern L. Bullough. Prometheus Books 365 pp 2005.


The book consists of two poems, an introduction with a bibliography co-signed by the two editors, 20 autobiographical essays, two brief accounts of genital reconstruction surgery, two typology diagrams, a second bibliography and a glossary.

What is the name of the first editor? On the title page it is given as J. Ari Kane-Demaios. However the Introduction refers to an Ariadne Kane who is presumably the same as the Ariadne Maria Kane given as the name of the author of the second essay. Readers with external knowledge may know that these are all one person. However this is not clarified for readers not already in the loop. Furthermore, in the essay by Christopher Barrett (#6) he pays for counselling from a Dr Ari Kane (p 97), presumably yet again the same person. In addition the two accounts of surgery are by Ariadne Kane and the two typologies are by J. Ari Kane-Demaios. This is surely quite confusing for any readers with no acquaintance with the person. At the very least an editorial note on this issue would have been sensible.

In contradistinction to standard academic practice, the two editors append their doctorates to their names on the title page, and again on the surgical accounts and the typologies. The same courtesy is not extended to the authors of the autobiographical essays, some of whom do in fact have higher degrees, and one of whom, Esben Benestad, is an MD and has important publications in sexology and psychology.

The introduction signed by both editors, would actually seem to be by Vern Bullough alone, and is a condensation of his Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. This assumption also explains why there are two bibliographies, the one at the end of the book being Kane’s.

Both Kane and Bullough are admitted followers of Virginia Prince. Bullough’s Cross Dressing, Sex and Gender has been criticized for giving too much emphasis to Prince and ignoring other transgender activists. This new book repeats this by having 10 – far too many - of the 20 essays by organizers of Princian-style groups. Prince herself, and the groups that she founded, have been criticized for excluding gays, transsexuals, drag performers and all female-to-male transgenders. They also promoted a middle-class respectability at odds with the less conformist models of transgenderism, and apparently also to working class and ethnic minority transgenders. Sex workers in particular were not welcome. In addition, the questioning of sex roles by feminism, the gay movement, and gender theory is pretty well non-existent. And there is an indifference to what happens outside the US. Bullough’s introduction fails to mention anything at all outside the US after Jorgensen comes back from Denmark. The Princian groups have relaxed two of their restrictions: transsexuals are now permitted, as are female-to-male persons.

The selection is this book reflects this exclusivity quite closely. Of the 20 essays, one is by a Norwegian, but 19 by US persons. Only two are by female-to-males. This gender bias is reflected in the cover illustration of a male sifting through a hourglass to become female. 19 (including the 2 FTMs) of the persons are gynephilic (sexually oriented to females), and one, who after an early gynephilic marriage, takes a secretive male lover. There are no androphilic persons (sexually oriented to males) as such. All 20 persons have middle-class occupations (doctor, professor, teacher, nurse, financial advisor, own business etc). No-one works in Wal-Mart, or a factory or drives a taxi (although a couple have been through rough periods when they could not get work). No-one is on welfare, and no-one is a criminal, no-one is a sex-worker, and no-one has been murdered. No-one is black, or Latina or Asian. No-one is an immigrant. No-one works in a drag show, or gets off on gender transgressivity – although one writer, Christine Hochberg, is in that generally-ignored category, the heterosexual drag queen. No-one is a butch female or female-masculinist. All write reasonably well. Thus we can say that the sample is strongly atypical, both of the general population and of transgender persons.

Kane, who, like an old-time female-impersonator, prefers to be addressed by male pronouns, in his own autobiographical essay says that when he first went to a transy group, the organizer reassured him: “She added that many of the members came from middle-class environments, had respectable jobs, and were married in the traditional sense.” (p49). And so are most of the persons here.

Many of the writers are pushing the definition of same-sex marriages by becoming legally female while still married to woman. Do any of them relate this to the debate in the US re same-sex marriages, or to the concept of being gender queer? Helen Boyd and Phyllis Frye do, but not the others.

The two female-to-male persons are the only ones to become ‘heterosexual’ in their new genders. None of the male-to-females do. This is the greatest distortion in the book. There is no shortage of such persons, and yet the editors of this book were unable to find even one.

Worse still, this book could be taken as a companion to Michael Bailey’s hateful The Man who would be Queen. By excluding what Bailey tendentiously refers to as ‘homosexual transsexuals’, this book – consciously or not – endorses his viewpoint by presenting only transgenders who fit his concept of ‘autogynephiles’ – that is oriented to women, professional, respectable etc. See my article on Autogynephilia.

This said, I would like to commend some of the essay writers for having produced good, readable, succinct, interesting autobiographies, but they are betrayed by the editors and their biased selection.

I would refer prospective readers instead to Finding the Real Me edited by Tracie O’Keefe and Katrina Fox, and Genderqueer edited by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell and Riki Wilchins, both of which present a much more representative sample of transgender lives.
----------------------------
This review was rejected by Amazon.

07 June 2007

The greatest artist of the 20th century

One of the most colourful figures in the scene around transgender persons is the Marquis of Pubol, Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí Domènech, best known as Savador Dalí. The artist and filmmaker.

His 1929 film with Louis Buñuel, Un Chien Andalou, contains a character described as a 'hermaphrodite'.

He offered to do a painting of April Ashley as Hermaphroditos but she did not want to immortalized in her half-way status.

From the 1960s he was and remained a friend and mentor of Amanda Lear, and rumours say that he paid for her operation with Dr Burou in Casablanca in 1963. She lived with him and his wife for many years. Some say that her name = ‘a man’ + ‘dali’ or "L’amant Dali”.

In 1965 Mario Montez the New York underground film female impersonator made his iconic Andy Warhol film, Screen test Number 2. the one where he confronted about his gender and admits that he is a man, but he does so, he says, only because he is a woman. Savador Dalí was present and is in the film.



In the late 1970s he trained Manuela Trasobares Haro (who had transitioned at the age of 15) as an artist.

Also in the 1970s he was a friend of International Chrysis, the New York drag celebrity, most famous for her role in Sidney Lumet's 1990 film Q & A. He appears in the 1992 documentary film about her life, Split: William to Chrysis: Portrait of a Drag Queen.


In the late 1970s, Dalí was close to the Brazilian 'trans diva', Yeda Brown. He introduced her to musicians and the press called her ‘the muse of Dalí’.


04 June 2007

Angela Douglas (1943 - 2007) musician, activist

See also: A History of TAO.



Unlike some of the persons whom I have featured in this series, Angela Douglas had, before her recent death, been recently posting on the web, and has a new CD out. The last item may surprise those who have read the account of Angela Douglas either on Kay Brown's now defunct Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex History site, or in Joanne Meyerowitz: How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, neither of which mentions her musical career.

As an exercise, I am going to write a sketch of Douglas taking facts only from Brown and Mayerowitz, and then again from Douglas' web postings. The two versions are radically different.

Brown and Mayerowitz version:
Born: Carl Czinki. A hippie and aspiring rock musician who came out as transgender in 1969. She became the radical transy leader in Transsexual Action Organization (TAO)--the major US transgender group other than Reed Erickson's EEF at that time-- in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, and then in Florida. She emphasized the importance of working with both Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation groups. She deplored the medical model and pathologization of transgenderism, and called on the American Psychiatric Association to remove transsexuality from its list of mental disorders. She was antagonistic to the Erickson Education Foundation which she found patronizing and too close to the medical establishment. Satire that Douglas wrote about the exclusion of transies from the lesbian community was recycled misleadingly and out of context by Janice Raymond in The Transsexual Empire, and also by Catherine Millots in Horsex. She later won a lottery prize, obtained surgery, and moved back to Florida.



The contentious writing quoted in Raymond and Millots was originally published in Sister Aug-Sep 1977, p7. As quoted by Raymond p xvii it goes: "Free from the chains of menstruation and child-bearing, transsexual women are obviously far superior to Gennys in many ways .... Genetic women are becoming quite obsolete, which is obvious, and the future belongs to transsexual women. We know this and, and perhaps some of you suspect it. All you have left is your 'ability' to bear children, and in a world which will groan to feed 6 billion by the year 2000, that's a negative asset."


From Douglas's own postings we get a certainly different slant:
Born: Douglas Carl Czinki in Detroit in 1943 to Hungarian immigrants. Raised on US Air Force bases. He completed his education in Tokyo where he was in his first rock band. Served in the US Air Force. In the late 1960s, using the name Doug Delain, he briefly played guitar with Arthur Lee and Love, with Euphoria and then with Warren Zevon. He had a cameo as a pot smoker and did art work for the 1967 film The Trip. Provided his home for a Jimi Hendrix television special. His Cuban wife left him in 1967. Began transition in 1969. She ran TAO which had over 1000 members in 5 countries. She was frequently attacked, and was beaten unconscious 6 times. She dismisses the idea that the letter sent to Sister was satire, and has made comments that are homophobic, misogynist and anti-feminist. She has been an FBI informant since 1972. She had surgery courtesy of John Brown in 1977, which left her mutilated. She helped to get him arrested. She dissolved TAO in 1978. Douglas has lived as a man since 1982, homeless and celibate, except for two years after winning a lottery in 1991. The money ran out when he had a stroke. He also has diabetes. In 1998 he returned to performing as a man, Last Drop Douglas, and and issued a solo CD, Cosmo Alley, in 2003.
Emails and postings consulted:

Douglas Carl Czinki to Kay Brown- no date - included on Brown's site.
A.L. Douglas posting on Sympathy on Milli Vanilli Jul 7, 2000.
Angela Lynn Douglas posting on dev.greenspun.com November 10, 2002.
Angela Douglas 2 postings on "Transsexuals allowed in Olympics" Amorous Propensities May 21, 2004 and October 21, 2004.
A.L. posting on band family tree.com 5/28/2005.
Tanglehead posting on Messageboard for Love Fans 16/11/2005.
Angela Douglas posting on Arthur Lee Tribute June 27, 2006.
Angela Douglas (Tanglehead) posting on Yellow Swordfish>>Arthur Lee and Love 2006-08-26.
Angela Douglas posting on the Cindi Lauper web page. 14 March 2007.
Tanglehead posting on ufowatch no date.


Angela Douglas died in 2007.

    Here is an obituary by Mark Hinson in the Tallahassee Democrat on August 24, 2007. It is no longer available on the original site:

    Angela's ashes: Farewell to a wild pen pal

    LET'S GO BLOG WILD: My mail box is a lot emptier now that self-described "notorious transsexual," rock musician, lottery-winner, lottery-squanderer and prolific letter-writer Angela Douglas has died.
    Douglas, who lived in Sneads in Jackson County, died of complications from heart trouble earlier this month. She was 64. As she said in one of her last communiqués: "I am 64 and Paul McCartney doesn't care."
    In the above photo are Stuttering John, left, from "The Howard Stern Show" and, right, Angela Douglas. The picture was taken in Panama City Beach, circa 2000.

    When I was a young reporter in the '80s, Douglas used to phone me in the newsroom of the Tallahassee Democrat and launch into wild, rambling monologues that were part performance art and part paranoid fantasy. She was always convinced someone had stolen her life story.
    When "Top Gun" became a monster box-office smash in 1986, Douglas wanted to sue Tom Cruise for pilfering her self-published autobiography "Triple Jeopardy" from 1982. (I don't remember many trannies flying fighter jets in that pic, unless Goose wasn't telling us something, do you?) Famous musicians such as Warren Zevon, she claimed, had stolen her songs without payment.
    Mostly, I just let her vent. As I learned long ago in bartending class, you let the customer talk while you just wipe the bar with a rag and keep saying, "Yep, I know what you mean."
    Getting flaky phone calls in a newsroom is nothing new. For a few months, a caller identifying himself as God would phone up to predict the day's weather. And, you know, most of the time he was more accurate than the professional meteorologists we paid to do the same job. (God says it's going to be hot this weekend, by the way.)
    I was prepared to write Angela off as just another kook. But then I did a little research and found out she really had worked on the fringes of the music and movies industries in Los Angeles during the '60s and early '70s. She'd worked with Arthur Lee before he formed Love and really did know Zevon (in his starving-artist days). Jimi Hendrix may or may not have recorded one promo at her home in L.A. That house was also used as a set for Roger Corman's 1967 acid-dropping classic "The Trip" with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

    Douglas started life as Carl Czinki - and played guitar under the name Doug Delain in the L.A. band called Euphoria - but decided to switch sexes in 1969. The transformation was complete by 1977, when Douglas had become an outspoken writer/journalist for the transgender community. This is the same time period she became convinced television and movie producers were stealing her life story.
    I have no idea how or why Douglas ended up in rural Jackson County in the late '80s.She settled in dinky Grand Ridge near Sneads and lived in impoverished conditions. This made her very bitter and she often lashed out at gays and blacks when she called me with another rant.
    When her phone calls from pay phones suddenly stopped, they were replaced by a stream of letters. I still have stacks of the things. Some are coherent, some are funny, some are hand-scrawled screeds that are impossible to read.
    Then, in the summer of 1991, Douglas had a rare stroke of good fortune. She won $232,567 in the Fantasy Five lottery game. After taxes, the lottery cut her a check for $186,000.
    In a newsletter published by the lottery, Douglas crowed that she was going to buy an electric guitar, a used red Corvette, tell everyone in Grand Ridge to kiss her you-know-what and move to Key West.
    And that is exactly what she did.
    A few months later, she was back in Jackson County living in poverty. Again. She'd found plenty of friends in Key West who were more than happy to help her spend her free money.

    Occasionally, I'd get good news from Douglas. In 1997, she wrote a twisted little novelty song called "Andrew Cunanan" and it end up on Dr. Demento's nationally syndicated radio show. (She also penned parody tunes with titles such as "Ghost Eunuchs in the Sky.") In 2003, she released a CD called "Cosmo Alley" under the name Last Drop Douglas. She even played a few live shows at festivals around North Florida and drove to Panama City to meet Stuttering John from Howard Stern's radio show. Douglas both loved and hated Howard Stern.

    Most of the Douglas letters, however, were depressing. Naturally, the FBI was after her. She railed against doctors (many of whom I knew personally in Marianna) who were allegedly conspiring against her by denying her treatment. Her surgery from the '60s and '70s had left her with many medical complications, which she discussed at length and I won't repeat. It wasn't pretty, I'll tell you that. I hope sexual-reassingment surgery has gotten a little better since the '60s.

    Earlier this year, Douglas sent me a tape she'd recorded while she was in the hospital. It starts with the chilling intro: "This Angela Douglas and I am dying." The rest of the message is classic Douglas - nutty accusations, bold claims, too much personal information about her medical conditions, crazy tales of her musical past. All classic Angela.
    As I listened to the tape, it suddenly dawned on me: "Hey, her life story really would make for an interesting movie or play. Wonder why anyone hasn't done it before?"
    -----
    PS The British actress Angela Douglas, whose first fame was in several Carry On films, is a different person.

    PPS Kay Brown's page includes stories, "probably apocryphal" she says, about Douglas as a transactivist at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and at the Stonewall riot in 1969. These do seem implausible, and in writing the above, I have ignored them.

      There was a British branch of TAO. Amazingly Stephen Whittle was involved in it. For details see p192-3 of Ekins & King The Transgender Phenomenon, 2006.

      I certainly agree that someone should write a book about Angela Douglas and TAO.
    , 2006.

    I certainly agree that someone should write a book about Angela Douglas and TAO.