Rhymes with Sangria?

Over the weekend I discovered a fantastic resource – Zagria’s Gender Variant Biographies Blog. What remarkable work! I’ve been scanning the entries for the past year or so, and so far, this one about a photo subject of WeeGee’s is my favorite.

Do go check it out, & from here on in you’ll also find a link to it in my Trans Resources blogroll.

Helen Boyd

is the author of My Husband Betty and She's Not the Man I Married.


  1. Interesting resource, though the use of pronouns and other gender indicators seems in some cases not well considered. And the following statement is disconcerting (from the article about Vern Bollough): “They suppress the fact that he transitioned to male, and […] that he became a man to be a gay man, a role that he tragically embraced to the point of dying of Aids.” Are some people not yet past the point of thinking that HIV/AIDS is a gay men’s disease?

  2. I’ve been reading it for a while. I left a comment asking if they’d cross post and never heard back. It’s a wealth of knowledge….

  3. It is a wonderful resource, particularly the photographs, and the links to complete online versions of obscure trans-related publications (like female impersonator magazines from the 1950’s).

    But I’d definitely take a lot of the non-primary source aspects of it with a large grain of salt. I agree that the attack on Vern Bullough is a bit excessive (although I suppose she has a point that his books, including that last anthology he edited that you contributed, seemed not to focus nearly as much on androphilic trans women as they did on gynephilic trans women.)

    And some of it is just silly. Like the list of “transgendered elected officials” that, apparently seriously, includes Rudy Giuliani. Or the reference to Arthur Balfour, the British Prime Minister, as having been intersexed, which I’ve been able to find no other source for and which I might be more likely to credit if she hadn’t incorrectly given his name as “Alfred” Balfour! Or the flat stetement that Albert Dekker was transgendered, when, who knows?

    Etc. So I’d suggest using it as an entry point for accessing primary materials, but not necessarily believing all the “editorial” aspects.


  4. Also, it’s always hard to know whether women who lived as men in the 19th century, like Murray Hall, the Tammany politician, did so because they were transgendered, and/or because they were lesbian, and/or because they wanted to access opportunities that were denied to them as women. Especially when we don’t have any indication of how they thought of themselves. So, although it’s certainly possible,and even likely, that people like Murray Hall were trans, it seems to me that it’s a mistake to assert that without any equivocation at all.

  5. Thank you Helen for the link to zagria.blogspot.com.

    I am a little bemused that people are posting comments on my site here, but have posted posted them on by blog. I have answered them on my blog.


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