Trans History 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” and “transsexual”
  • 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.

One Reply to “Trans History Timeline”

  1. An interesting potted history there (if heavily biased towards the States). I’m surprised by the implication in a couple of the entries that crossdressing was illegal in parts of the US until very recently – that’s pretty messed up. I get the impression, though, that the path for women who’ve wanted to wear men’s clothing hasn’t been exactly smooth either; indeed, one little fact I always remind myself of whenever I’m tempted to wallow in self-pity over society’s intolerance of men who wear women’s clothing is that one of the main reasons Joan of Arc* was burnt at the stake was that she dressed as a man, so we aren’t the only ones who’ve suffered from the taboo against crossdressing. (Admittedly, she was executed way back in the 15th Century, but her story does at least make one question the popular and simplistic assumption that society is endlessly tolerant of women who dress and act like men, but not at all tolerant of the reverse situation.)

    On another topic relating to the above post, I have to marvel at the courage of VP and those 12 crossdressers who appeared in Heels & Hose (I’m assuming it was a publication of some sort). To have done something like that back then! Then again, that’s the only way change is affected, I suppose – by people being brave (and crazy) enough to flaunt taboos. And someone always has to be the first to do it, don’t they?

    *I suppose Joan of Arc could be considered another transgender life, although there’s no way of knowing, of course, exactly what her reasons were for doing what she did. In any case, I’ve long been interested in her, especially as she seems a rather peculiar mix of traditional masculinity and femininity: the first thing manifested in her attire and martial deeds, the second in her complete submission to God. Because of the latter thing, I’m not sure she could be considered some sort of prototype feminist.

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