Tag Archives: Trans History

Gay History – August 1888: Lifelong Transman Discovered As Patient At Fort Madison, Iowa Prison Hospital

In August of 1888. a column in the nineteenth-century journal The Medical Standard included a roundup of items submitted by doctors from the then 38 states, several territories and a number of Canadian provinces.

More of a “This and That” column without having much real basis in actual medicine. Many of the notices were nothing more than gossip: the practice of a “voodoo doctor” in Georgia,  a “magnetic healer” in Kentucky “who is is ‘curing’  hysterical females in great numbers at Bowling Green.” (Women were commonly diagnosed with “hysteria” in the nineteenth century for being sexually repressed and and frigid because of the “moral code” of its time.  Barbarically its cure was sometimes a hysterectomy.)

Among those notices was this case from Iowa:

A case of sexual perversion has been discovered in the Ft. Madison penitentiary. A woman from her early youth had dressed in male attire, was universally regarded as a man, married and lived with a woman as a husband. She was recently arrested for horse-stealing and sent to the penitentiary; in the hospital of which her sex was discovered.

No other information can be found about this person.

The Ft. Madison penitentiary was established in 1839, seven years before Iowa’s statehood. The old facility, expanded several times over the years, is still in use today as the Iowa State Penitentiary, making it the oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi.

Gay History Month – October 5: Truman Capote, Miss Peggy Lee, and Robert Mapplethorpe Banned In Cincinnati

Gay/LGBT History Month - October 5th: Truman Capote, Peggy Lee and Robert Mapplethorpe Banned In Cincinnati

The Moment by Robert Mapplethorpe

On October 5th…..

1726 – Diplomat, spy and solider Chevalier d’Eon who lived his first 49 years as, and her last 33 years as a women is born in born in Tonnerre Brugandy, France.   From 1777, d’Éon claimed to be anatomically a woman, and dressed as such.  It was not until doctors examined the body after d’Éon’s death discovered that he was anatomically male.

1840 – John Addington Symonds, one of the earliest scholars of gay and lesbian issues is born. Symonds assisted Havelock Ellis in the writing of “Sexual Inversion”.  Although he married and had a family, Symonds was an early advocate of “male love”and referred to it as l’amour de l’impossible (love of the impossible).

1961 – The movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s written by Truman Capote and adapted for the screen by George Axelrod opens in theaters.

Capote’s unorthodox views on sex and gender, modern critics have excavated the original novella and movies subtle references to the alternative sexual identities and practices of the text’s male characters, suggesting that Capote intended Breakfast at Tiffany’s as an exploration of the powerful and loving relationships that often exist between straight women and gay men.

1967 – Ethel Merman makes a guest appearance as “Lola Lasagne” on Batman. One of the worst villains ever to appear in the  television series.

1969 – Peggy Lee’s camp classic Is That All There Is? enters the top-40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and gay men have been singing it ever since.

1969 The Washington Blade publishes its first issue. At that time it was called The Gay Blade and actually wrote articles that contained hard hitting journalism and gay activism unlike today.

1987 – The city commission of Traverse City, Michigan voted unanimously to repeal a law banning the sale of condoms in city limits.

1990 – Dennis Barrie, director of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, was acquitted of obscenity charges after displaying a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit.

 This was the first criminal trial of an art museum arising from the contents of an exhibition.  The group Citizens for Community Values an affiliate of the anti-gay hate group the American Family Associated who also has ties to the Family Research Council organized the protest against Mapplethorpe’s exhibit. The CCV is still active in the Cincinnati area today and boasts itself as being a proud affiliate of the the Family Research Council and the American Family Association. 

Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis who arrested Barrie declared the photos to be “smut.” “This was beyond pornography,” Leis told the Enquirer in March 2015. “When you put a fist up a person’s rectum, what do you call that? That is not art.

Oh yes. Yes it is.

1998 – The US Congress killed an amendment by Rep Frank Riggs (R-CA) which would have barred San Francisco from spending federal housing money to implement its domestic partner ordinance.

 

Trans Gone Wild: Trans Activist Attack Iconic Documentary “Paris Is Burning” 25 Years Late

Paris is burning

 

Paris Is Burning is a 1990 ground breaking documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicleed the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. The film is considered to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and many  critics have praised it as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America as well as much needed documentation of LGBT history.

That is until now.

Now 25 years later a planned screening of PHB on June 26th  in Brooklyn has prompted arts organization BRIC  to re-think the showing because some Tans Queer POC now find it exploitative .

A change.org petition titled Cancel Celebrate Brooklyn/BRIC’s screening of Paris is Burning & End the Exploitation of the Ballroom Community and TQPOC! reads in part:

While Jennie Livingston and Mirimax [sic] profited immensely off of this anthropological foray into the lives of low-income TQPOC ballroom members, through years of lies and dishonesty, Livingston was able to use people for the sake of her own fame and has been living off of their stories ever since. In the meantime, most of the original cast has been murdered or has died in poverty. This is exploitation of a vulnerable population who trusted Jennie to do right by them.

…Jennie Livingston, YOU NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS AND BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE COMMUNITIES YOU’VE HARMED WITH THIS DOCUMENTARY. You need to:

– Apologize to the affected parties listed

– Use the platform that you’ve gained through our stories to speak out against the atrocities that are killing us daily. Violence against trans women of color specifically, like the still unsolved murder of Venus Xtravaganza, is still rampant. Share your limelight with people and organizations doing work that benefits the communities in the film.

– Pay retribution to the survivors and communities of the people you exploited in Paris is Burning with all future proceeds.

Livingston, who was an NYU film student at the time PIB was made responds.

I’m grateful the conversations here encouraged me to deeply consider my relationships, both to surviving members of the Paris is Burning cast and to the TQPOC community at large. As we move forward towards the 25th anniversary of the film, I need to keep talking with the cast members themselves about how they feel about the film and its continued distribution. And if they’re interested, about how can the cast and I work together to benefit the community?

Last year Junior Labeija and I did a screening to raise money for the Ali Forney Center (which serves homeless queer youth). So many of the people in the film are gone: what are we empowered to do to continue their legacy and honor their memories, to benefit ballgoers, and to fight violence against trans and queer people of color?

PIB received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts when the organization was under fire for funding  “controversial artists” as  Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano.

Some of the most heavily featured performers attempted to sue in 1991 for a share of the film’s profits. Paris DuPree sought the largest settlement with $40 million for unauthorized use of her ball. . All dropped their claims after their attorneys confirmed that they had signed releases.

Now I am 100 percent for trans equality BUT this lazy activism of Trans Activists always default to in attacking anything inside the community rather than actually taking on the bigotry outside of it is beyond maddening and quite honestly does their cause more harm than good.

Hopefully one day they’ll realize that.

Watch out To Wong Foo With Love Always, Julie Newmar. You’re next.

#RealTalk