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  • 04 Dec 2017
    For most of the six-billion people who occupy this planet few things in our ever evolving lives are completely static, completely unchanging and rigid. Hardly ever do we give second thought to the things we believe are static and cannot change, but are we correct in assuming that anything in our life is permanent? The relation of gender (our mental constructions of being male or female [or perhaps even neither[or both bi-gender]) to sex (the anatomy of our bodies) can be such a thing. Although throughout our life the world around us, that which is immediate and that which is distant, ebbs like tides, ever-changing, we know so well that some things – such as our bodies – will always remain familiar. We may move between jobs, between cities or nations, even friends come and go, but we do not fear ever waking to find ourselves in a new body, with a new sex, or even with a new sense of gender. This though is only what we think is true. There are some people though, unmentioned, often unseen or forgotten, perceived as alien: like strangers in a strange world 'normal' people who  feel incapable of relating to the intersex, the transsexual, drag queens and drag kings, even cross dressers deconstruct that which we may feel can never be questioned: how our perception of sex and gender seem to be linked; if I feel male then I am male and if I am male then I must feel male. Yet the truth is that our physical sex, and the more personal gender, are capable of becoming disjointed with one another. It is through the individuals previously mentioned though where we may find that which we felt so sure of before, our bodies, may in fact be no more immalleable than our dress styles. For it is from these people and out of their stories that we should recognize the often unseen truth behind sex and gender: that both are neither static, but are rather dynamic identities that are not only capable of change but capable of remodeling over-and-over throughout all of our lives.   You get home at the end of a long day at work. You come inside, scoff down some food, and decide its time to hit the hay. You head to the bathroom and as you brush those pearly whites, you stare into the mirror and see somebody staring right back at you., sometimes that person is an exact replica of you; a backwards version of that good lookin’ self you remember. Other times though, you see some stranger staring right back. This person doesn’t look like you at all. This person looks too thick, too thin, you see a pudgy stomach where you once imagined washboard abs, you see blemishes, the wrong hair color, the wrong eye color, the wrong image, the wrong person. Now imagine that every single time you looked into that mirror the wrong person was staring back. You just could not find a way to relate to that reflection. For individuals who were born with an intersexed condition, this is exactly how we as transsexuals can feel every single day. Our Society is based on two binaries. First is the sex binary that inevitably leads to a gender binary. It leads us to believe that there are two sexes, male and female which relate to the body and these sexes must adhere to their assumed genders, man or woman. Men act masculine and women act feminine. Almost every aspect of our culture has been separated to fit into either category. Things are either masculine or feminine and the system usually discourages people from mixing gender roles. For the majority of the population, we except this system and believe that bodies can only come in two forms and these forms follow their norms. What that majority doesn’t realize is that there is the possibility to be neither male nor female or both male and female or somewhere in between. One of these categories of people that do not fall into the categories of the sex binary those who are born intersexed. Immediately after birth, we are categorized as either male or female. But there is a large percentage (1 in 2000) whose biological sex cannot be classified. These individuals are known as intersexed (Wilchins, 72). Chromosomal and hormonal irregularities can cause a new born to have atypical, and usually ambiguous, genitalia and gonads. For many years, surgical procedures have been performed soon after birth in order to build a less ambiguous looking genitalia allowing for easier classification. The doctors would usually assign a sex as quickly as possible. More often than not, the child was assigned to be a female because it is an easier procedure (Beck). Once the aesthetics of the genitalia have been normalized, the parents would then raise their child as a female. The problem with this is that often the child will have a hormonal imbalance and genitalia that does not function fully causing for much confusion as the child reaches puberty and onward. Intersexed individuals are one of the many groups that suffer through our social construct of a sex and gender binary because they are forced into living a life as a sex and gender other than their own. They are forced to live a life identifying as either male or female because a third or forth or even fifth option is not available.
    957 Posted by Cristine Shye. BL. B/acc
  • 23 Mar 2018
    It was a holiday, The sun was shining, the day was hot, It was a rare bank holiday indeed. Harry the electrician rolled over in bed, looked at the clock, it was 9am, first day off from work for over 6 months. He gazed at the vacant side of the bed and was mildly suprised, It was empty!,, he pondered for a moment remembering the last day off he had had. A morning of rampant sex with his GF, followed by a sumptuous breakfast, more rampant sex, Lunch in the garden a crate of lager followed by more rampant sex. Truly a memorable occasion which carried on in the same theme for the rest of that day. Suddenly the bedroom door was thrown open, his GF stood there in the skimpiest of knickers, holding a breakfast tray, bucks fizz,eggs, bacon, sausage tomatoes, the full English. Pot of coffee toast and marmalade. Wow he thought to himself this is going to be another truly memorable day. His GF placed the tray down over his legs, leant forward and kissed him leading him to believe that this was going to be one hell of a day. She backed off, saying with a lavicous smile ''Eat your breakfast, your going to need your strength'' As he tucked in, she enquired as to his intentions for the day, Smirking he replied ''I'm at your disposal for the whole day Oh lovely one, use me as you will'' ''Oh great, brilliant'' she says, adding ''You can put the new light fittings up in the bathroom, lounge and hallway'' It was like being hit by a truck, Harry lay there stunned at this vicious onslaught. He started recovering, reaching out to pull at her knickers, ''No! don't even go there'' she says your not wasting another bank holiday, those lights have been hanging round since the last day you had off'' Pushing the tray to one side, breakfast now forgotten, Harry says, ''Jesus Christ, its a bank holiday, do you realy think I am going to spend the first day off I have had in six months, doing something I am forced to do every day, to pay for your sexy underwear and not reap the benefeits'' She says, ''AND'' Harry says, ''sod this, I'm off to the snooker hall, I'll have lunch with my mates down the pub'' It was a balmy night as Harry staggered up to the front door, spending some considerable time trying to align his key with the lock that kept moving in the gentle evening breeze. Finally falling through the front door, fumbling for the light switch, suddenly, the hallway was flooded with a new luminance that he had not seen before, gazing up, he noted the new light fittings. resplendant in their new envioroment. Suddendly the need to relieve himself of the beer he had poured down his neck during the last 10 hours, he headed for the bathroom, pulled the cord and was amazed at such brilliance he had not encountered there before. Contemplating his willy and trying to pee in the right place, he pondered this miracle. Yes you guessed the new light fittings had magically installed themselves. Finally in a better frame of mind, he had lurid thoughts now of a night of drunken debauchery, innocently thinking that everything was now allright with the world. On opening the bedroom door, the first thing he saw was his lovely GF lay stark naked on the bed, dozing, a sweet happy smile on her face, as he gazed around he noticed the skimpy knickers and other feminine items of apparel strewn round the bedroom, then he noticed his GF was actually tied to the bed. WOW he thought to himself, this is great. He gently kissed her lips, she moaned, he nuzzled her breast with his lips, he gently carressed her belly button with his tongue, then kissed her knees, at this moment she awoke, ''Saying if it had of been a pub you bastard you would'nt have gone past it'' recoiling in shock, Harry in a fuddled confused moment, to difuse the situation asked ''I see you put up the new lights'' she replied ''ME! put up the lights, what are you some bloody idiot, The woman next door, her bother came to fix her lights, so I asked him to pop round and do ours'' ''What says Harry, how much did that king cost?' She through clenched teeth and with a look that could melt concrete she said ''nothing, I gave him the choice, Rampant perverted, sex or a roast dinner'' Harry said ''ooh good I am a bit peckish, what did you cook, any left over''? She says ''COOK! BLOODY COOK! YOU DO NOT THINK I WAS GOING TO SPEND THE ONE DAY OFF I HAVE HAD IN OVER A YEAR DOING SOMETHING I DO EVERY BLOODY DAY, DO YOU''? 
    840 Posted by Cristine Shye. BL. B/acc
  • 07 Dec 2017
    Many anomalies such as AIS  (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) can arise causing inconsistent development between the various elements by which we know ourselves to be either a man or a women. Among the larger group embracing all these varieties, there is a small subgroup of individuals who experience gender varience The personal experience of this state is sometimes known as gender dysphoria (dysphoria means ‘unhappiness’). The impact of genetic and/or hormonal factors on their fetal development appears to cause parts of the brain to develop in a way which is inconsistent with their genitalia, gonads and, usually, with their chromosomes. This may give rise to another, rather different, example of XY women, that is, individuals whose visible physical sex appears to be that of a man, but whose brain has some female characteristics and whose gender identification is, therefore, that of a woman. Or, conversely, gender variance may occur the other way round. An individual having XX chromosomes and the visible physical sex of a female, may have some male brain characteristics and therefore, identify as a man. So the issue of one's gender identification, whether as a man or as a woman, or even neither (or both which occurs only rarely), is rooted in the brain, and is regarded by the individuals concerned, and is demonstrated by research, to be largely determined pre-birth and more or less stable thereafter.   Transexualism   Thus the experience of extreme gender variance is increasingly understood in scientific and medical disciplines as having a biological origin. The current medical viewpoint, based on the most up-to-date scientific research, is that this condition, which in its extreme manifestation is known as transexualism is strongly associated with unusual neurodevelopment of the brain at the fetal stage. Small areas of the brain are known to be distinctly different between males and females in the population generally. In those experiencing severe gender variance, some of these areas have been shown to develop in opposition to other sex characteristics and are, therefore, incongruent with the visible sex appearance.   Gender Variant Children   Very rarely, children may express this incongruence between gender identity and the genital sex, but their discomfort is not always easy to identify. Symptoms of unease with the assigned gender role and the visible sex appearance are often only apparent to the individuals concerned and may not be understood even by them. If these children are unable to articulate their unease, their discomfort may grow through adolescence and into adulthood, as their families and society, in ignorance of their underlying gender identity, relentlessly reinforce gender roles in accordance with their physical appearance alone. However, some children are able to express a strong cross-sex identification, and sometimes insist on living in the opposite role. In particular, the increasing disgust with the development of secondary sex characteristics experienced by young people during puberty may be taken as a strong indication that the condition will persist into adulthood as transsexualism. Therefore, in carefully screened individuals, hormone blocking treatment may be given, before pubertal changes become apparent, so that these young people have more time to decide in which gender role they can achieve lasting personal comfort. There is no evidence that raising children in contradiction to their visible sex characteristics causes gender variance, nor can the condition be overridden by raising children in strict accordance with a gender role that is consistent with their visible sex. Those who are not treated in adolescence may continue to struggle to conform; they may embark on relationships, marriages and parenthood in an attempt to lead ‘normal’ lives by suppressing their core gender identity. Ultimately, however, they may be unable to continue with the charade of presenting themselves as something they know they are not. The artificiality of their situation drives individuals to seek treatment to minimise the mismatch between the brain and the bodily appearance. They experience an overwhelming need to be complete, whole people and to live in accordance with their internal reality. Until this is achieved, the personal discomfort is such that it leads to great unhappiness and sometimes to suicidal feelings.   I have been meaning to consolidate and review a rather juvenile thesis I wrote aged 16 after being told I might have a condition called Reifenstein's syndrome, a form of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) at the age of 15.   Apart from having a penchant for dressing up in my sister’s clothes from an early age, I started noticing I was developing excess breast tissue at the age of about 14 - not the sort of breast tissue of a pre pubescent youth. More a soft feminine plumpness. AIS is not necessarily cognizant with gender dysphoria. After being taken to see numerous gender counselors, psychiatrists and gene specialists, finally one knew of someone else that was a specialist in AIS and Reifensteins syndrome, who referred me to the Gene clinic at Addenbrooks hospital in Cambridge. This is a rare condition, that in most cases, general GP’s and even gender therapists are unfamiliar with. Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), also referred to as androgen resistance syndrome, is a set of disorders of sex development caused by mutations of the gene encoding the androgen receptor The set of resulting disorders varies according to the structure and sensitivity of the abnormal receptor. Most forms of AIS involve a variable degree of undervirilization and/or infertility in XY persons of any gender. A person with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) has a female external appearance despite a 46XY karyotype and undescended testes, a condition once called "testicular feminization" a phrase now considered both derogatory and inaccurate. Since 1990, major scientific advances have greatly expanded medical understanding and management of the molecular mechanisms of the clinical features of AIS. Importantly, advocacy groups for this and other intersex conditions have increased public awareness and spurred acceptance and understanding of the variable nature of gender identity. The value of accurate and scientifically detailed information for patients is now emphasized, with physicians no longer automatically recommending traditional surgical corrections, with elective options now viewed as a possible but no longer necessary intervention for ambiguous conditions. The incidence of complete AIS is about in 1 in 20,000. The incidence of lesser degrees of androgen resistance is unknown. It's been suggested by various authorities that it could be either more common or less common than complete AIS. Evidence suggests many cases of unexplained male infertility may be due to a mild degree of androgen resistance. Because the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome gives rise to misleading between the genetic and the phenotypic gender, the convention is to designate a 46,XX individual as a genotypic female, and an 46,XY as a genotypic male. According to this convention, a person with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is a phenotypic female with a chromosomal genotype The Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome has been linked to mutations in AR, the gene for the human Androgen Receptor, located at Xq11-12 (i.e. on the X chromosome). Thus, it is an X-linked recessive trait, causing minimal or no effects in 46,XX people. Most individuals born with AIS have inherited their single X chromosome with its defective gene from their mother and may have siblings with the same disorder. Generally, inherited mutations effect siblings similarly, though different syndromes may occasionally manifest from the same mutation (carrier testing is now available for relatives at risk when a diagnosis of AIS is made in a family member). Over 100 AR mutations causing various forms of AIS have been recorded. The milder forms of AIS (4 and 5 in the list below) are caused by a simple missense mutation with a single codon/single amino acid difference, while complete and almost complete forms result from mutations that have a greater effect on the shape and structure of the protein. About one third of cases of AIS are new mutations rather than familial. A single case of CAIS attributed to an abnormality of the AF-1 coactivator (rather than AR itself) has been reported. Understanding the effects of androgen insensitivity begins with an understanding of the normal effects of testosterone in male and female development. The principal mammalian androgens are testosterone and its more potent metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The androgen receptor (AR) is a large protein of at least 910 amino acids. Each molecule consists of a portion which binds the androgen, a zinc finger portion that binds to DNA in steroid sensitive areas of nuclear chromatin, and an area that controls transcription. Testosterone diffuses from circulating blood into the cytoplasm of a target cell. Some is metabolized to estradiol, some reduced to DHT, and some remains as testosterone (T). Both T and DHT can bind and activate the androgen receptor, though DHT does so with more potent and prolonged effect. As DHT (or T) binds to the receptor, a portion of the protein is cleaved. The AR-DHT combination dimerizes by combining with a second AR-DHT, both are phosphorylated, and the entire complex moves into the cell nucleus and binds to androgen response elements on the promoter region of androgen-sensitive target genes. The transcription effect is amplified or inhibited by coactivators or corepressors. Although testosterone can be produced directly and indirectly from ovaries and adrenals later in life, the primary source of testosterone in early fetal life is the testes, and it plays a major role in human sexual differentiation. Before birth, testosterone induces the primary sex characteristics of males. At puberty, testosterone is primarily responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of males. The most common cause of AIS are point mutations in the androgen receptor gene resulting in a defective receptor protein which is unable to bind hormone or bind to DNA. Prenatal effects of testosterone in 46,XY fetusIn a normal fetus with a 46XY Because the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome gives rise to misleading between the genetic and the phenotypic gender, the convention is to designate a 46,XX individual as a genotypic female, and an 46,XY as a genotypic male. According to this convention, a person with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is a phenotypic female with a chromosomal genotype of 46,XY. karyotype, the presence of the SRY gene induces testes to form on the genital ridges in the fetal abdomen a few weeks after conception. By 6 weeks of gestation, genital anatomies of XY and XX fetuses are still indistinguishable, consisting of a tiny underdeveloped button of tissue able to become a phallus, and a urogenital midline opening flanked by folds of skin able to become either labia or a scrotum. By the 7th week, fetal testes begin to produce testosterone and release it into the blood. Directly and as DHT, testosterone acts on the skin and tissues of the genital area and by 12 weeks of gestation, has produced a recognizable male, with a growing penis with a urethral opening at the tip, and a perineum fused and thinned into a scrotum, ready for the testes. Evidence suggests that this "remodeling" of the genitalia can only occur during this period of fetal life; if not complete by about 13 weeks, no amount of testosterone later will move the urethral opening or close the opening of the vagina. For the remainder of gestation, the principal known effect of testosterone and DHT is continued growth of the penis and internal wolffian derivatives (part of prostate, epididymis, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens). Early postnatal effects of testosterone in 46,XY infant’s Testosterone levels are low at birth but rise within weeks, remaining at normal male pubertal levels for about 2 months before declining to the low, barely detectable childhood levels. The biological function of this rise is unknown. Animal research suggests a contribution to brain differentiation. Pubertal effects of testosterone in 46,XY children At puberty, many of the early physical changes in both sexes are androgenic (adult-type body odor, increased oiliness of skin and hair, acne, pubic hair, axillary hair, fine upper lip and sideburn hair). As puberty progresses, later secondary sex characteristics in males are nearly entirely due to androgens (continued growth of the penis, maturation of spermatogenic tissue and fertility, beard, deeper voice, masculine jaw and musculature, body hair, heavier bones). In males, the major pubertal changes attributable to estradiol are growth acceleration, epiphyseal closure, termination of growth, and (if it occurs) gynecomastia.Variations produced by androgen insensitivity. Although many distinct mutations have been discovered, the spectrum of clinical manifestations has been divided into six phenotypes, which roughly correspond to increasing amounts of androgen effect due to increasing tissue responsiveness. It should be emphasized that some affected persons will have features that fall between the phenotypes described. 1. Complete AIS (CAIS): completely female body except no uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries; testes in the abdomen; minimal androgenic (pubic or axillary) hair at puberty. 2. Partial or incomplete AIS (PAIS): male or female body, with slightly virilized genitalia or micropenis; testes in the abdomen; sparse to normal androgenic hair; mild to partial(MAIS) 3. Reifenstein syndrome: obviously ambiguous genitalia; small testes may be in abdomen or scrotum; sparse to normal androgenic hair; gynecomastia at puberty. 4. Infertile male syndrome: normal male genitalia internally and externally; normal male body or possible female androgyny, normal virilization and androgenic hair; reduced sperm production; reduced fertility or infertility. 5. Undervirilized fertile male syndrome: male internal and external genitalia with micropenis; testes in scrotum; normal androgenic hair; sperm count and fertility normal or reduced. 6. X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy: normal or nearly normal male body and fertility; exaggerated adolescent gynecomastia; adult onset degenerative muscle disease. SYMPTOMS OF CAIS If a 46,XY fetus cannot respond to testosterone or DHT, only the non-androgenic aspects of male development begin to take place: formation of testes, production of testosterone and anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) by the testes, and suppression of müllerian ducts. The testes usually remain in the abdomen, or occasionally move into the inguinal canals but can go no further because there is no scrotum. AMH prevents the uterus and upper vagina from forming. The testes make male amounts of testosterone and DHT but no androgenic sexual differentiation occurs. Most of the prostate and other internal male genital ducts fail to form because of lack of testosterone action. A shallow vagina forms, surrounded by a normally-formed labia. Phallic tissue remains small and becomes a clitoris. At birth, a child with CAIS appears to be a typical girl, with no reason to suspect an incongruous karyotype and testosterone level, or lack of uterus. Childhood growth is normal and the karyotypic incongruity remains unsuspected unless an inguinal lump is discovered to be a testis during surgical repair of an inguinal hernia, appendectomy, or other coincidental surgery. Puberty tends to begin slightly later than the average for girls. As the hypothalamus and pituitary signal the testes to produce testosterone, amounts more often associated with boys begin to appear in the blood. Some of the testosterone is converted into estradiol, which begins to induce normal breast development. Normal reshaping of the pelvis and redistribution of body fat occurs as in other girls. Little or no pubic hair or other androgenic hair appears, sometimes a source of worry or shame. Acne is rare. As menarche typically occurs about two years after breast development begins, no one usually worries about lack of menstrual periods until a girl reaches 14 or 15 years of age. At that point, an astute physician may suspect the diagnosis just from the breast/hair discrepancy. Diagnosis of complete AIS is confirmed by discovering an adult male testosterone level, 46,XY karotype, and a shallow vagina with no cervix or uterus. Hormone measurements in pubertal girls and women with CAIS and PAIS are similar, and are characterized by total testosterone levels in the upper male rather than female range, estradiol levels mildly elevated above the female range, mildly elevated LH levels, normal FSH levels, sex hormone binding globulin levels in the female range, and possibly mild elevation of AMH. DHT levels are in the normal male range in CAIS but reportedly in the lower male range in PAIS. Interpretation of hormone levels in infancy is more complex and cannot be as easily summarized for this article. Androgen receptor testing has become available commercially but is rarely needed for diagnosis of CAIS and PAIS but more so for MAIS when ambiguity is more likely. To all intents and purposes, visibly at birth having normal genitalia I was perceived as a male. I received my test results from the Gene Clinic at Addenbrooks hospital in Cambridge 3 days after my 16th birthday, which I mentioned in my contribution to the then running article ''coming out'' in an earlier edition of the Tribune. I have recently been invited back to Addenbrooks to take part in DNA gene testing relating to my original gender dysphoria as recent studies indicate there might be links relating to what generally is considered a mental abnormality, and might in some cases actually be related to an abnormality in the make up of one’s DNA. © Cristine J Shye
    761 Posted by Cristine Shye. BL. B/acc
  • 04 Dec 2017
    Oh lord, Please give me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change. The tenacity and courage to change the things I cannot accept Give me the guile and fortitude to conceal succesfully the bodies of the people I killed today for pissing me off. Keep me mindful wonderrous god,, not to tread on the toes attached to the arses i might have to kiss tomorow. Should I be tempted, remind me that a man is like mascara, first sign of emnotion and it runs. But fill me with cheer that life is not always an uphill struggle, sometimes we choose the slippery downwards slope and end up back  in the shit we were striving to get out of in the first place. Make me always aware that it take 42 muscles to frown add another 14 arguing, when realy all it needs is 4, to extend an arm, clench a fist and wack the bombastic biggots in the mouth for winding me up. And most important, please confirm that, a profile, saying, guy, looking for convincing tranny, they must be very discreet, can't accommodate, limited travel, your place, = lying married cheating toad AND remember we are all in the same boat,   we might be on different decks, but if the boat sinks, WE ALL get stuffed
    760 Posted by Cristine Shye. BL. B/acc
Member's Blogs 373 views Oct 01, 2018
Topic: For everyones interest

I have posted this in the UK law forum in documents etc, because it has reference to birth certs. but think it would be interesting to everyone so have posted it here for general interest. 

Well I threatened to come up with some interesting facts. 

Legislation and Legal Judgements Impacting Trans People 
Sexual Offences Act 1967 

This Act decriminalised homosexuality – though actually resulted in an increase in convictions for homosexuality. This was because it allowed sex between consenting adult men over the age of 21 only provided nobody else was in the same building – therefore two men taking a room in a hotel. living in shared accomodation, flat share or tower blocks were often reported, and subsequently raided and arrested. Since transsexual women were treated as male until after surgery – even if they were living and presenting as female -- many were arrested under this law, as homosexual men. 

Corbett v Corbett 1970 

In 1970, April Ashley’s divorce made matters worse. Until then, post-surgery trans women had been able to change their birth certificates unofficially, to reflect their acquired gender. However, in the court case annulling her marriage to Arthur Corbett (Corbett v Corbett ), Justice Ormrod determined that trans people could not ever change sex, and therefore even after full gender reassignment, trans people remained legally in their birth gender. This made them unable to marry, and inhumanely treated in all legal matters, including imprisonment. 

Goodwin v. UK and I v UK (2002) 
The European Court of Human Rights held that the UK government’s failure to alter the birth certificates of transsexual people or to allow them to marry in their new gender role was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. This led directly to new legislation to once again clarify and restrict the extent of the judgement.

Eventually this lead to the creation of the UK Gender Recognition Act. 

  Lynn Barber 
Published: 121AM BST 02 Jul 2006 

Almost half a century after changing sex, April Ashley is now, officially, a woman, thanks to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. She claims that John Prescott helped her with the paperwork - she knew him from when they both worked at a hotel in Wales and shared a bedroom, but back then she was a boy. 

She also claims to have had an affair with Grayson Perry, the Turner-prizewinning potter, and a one-night stand with Michael Hutchence, the INXS singer who gave her much pleasure with his "enormous whanger". These are the new cherries on the April Ashley cake - she must have sold her story at least a dozen times - but it is still an amazing cake. 

Born George Jamieson, the fourth of six children, in 1935, she was brought up in a Liverpool slum. Her father was lovable but drunk and mainly absent. Her mother was a "twisted" woman who liked to hold George by his feet and bang his head on the floor. From the age of three, George used to pray that he'd wake up a girl. At 15, he ran away to join the merchant navy. 

His break came in Paris where he was hired by the transvestite club Le Carrousel as "Toni April". By now, she was dressing as a woman full-time and taking hormones. "I was exquisite," she writes, "with slim shoulders and wonderful legs and incredible skin," as the photographs in the book attest. 

If only she could have coped with sex, she says, she could have been a great courtesan. But there was what she called "une petite inconvenance" and she longed to have it removed. Transvestites, she writes, are happy if they can "pass" as women, but for transsexuals like her "a vagina wasn't just a fancy, it was a need ". 

By 25, she'd saved enough to go to Dr Burou's clinic in Casablanca. He told her he'd done the operation only nine times: it was still experimental. But it worked (though I strongly advise skipping the chapter that describes it). She moved to London with a new identity, April Ashley, and a new career, fashion model, though the bookings dried up the minute she was outed by the Sunday People in 1961. 

Since then, she has had to live by being brazen - she was always "a sex-change first, and anything else second". She sought respectability by marrying a minor aristocrat, the Hon Arthur Corbett, son of Lord Rowallan the Chief Scout, but lost it in 1970 when he sought an annulment on the grounds that he was "a deviate" and she was a man. The judge agreed, and his ruling set back the cause of transsexual legal recognition for a generation. 

After the annulment, she worked for a while greeting customers at a fashionable Chelsea restaurant but had to give up when she had a heart attack: she was drinking more than 30 dry martinis a night. (She never had any interest in drugs, except when she was very young and ate the wicks from Benzedrine inhalers to stay awake, but says she has been "drinking for England" for most of her adult life.) 

She washed up in Hay-on-Wye where Richard Booth, "the king of Hay", appointed her Duchess, but she was so broke she lived on cabbage and baked beans. She was forced to apply for benefits and was sent on retraining courses to learn employable skills but, luckily, a Hay widower left her his house. She sold it and moved to New York then California, where she ended up working as a charity mugger for Greenpeace. Today, she lives in the south of France - though this book suggests that money must be tight again. 

The First Lady is full of good anecdotes and incidental delights. I am glad to know that Lionel Bart had a loo that played Food, Glorious Food when flushed, and I cherish her beautician's remark that, "Miss Ashley, if you think you've got hairy legs you should see Elizabeth Taylor's shoulders." 

But most of all I admire Ashley's courage. Her life has gone through appalling vicissitudes but she shows no self-pity. On the contrary, she learned to cope with loneliness as a child and "In the end, it rescues you. It prepared me for my life, enabled me to fight my corner on my own." If the British public has a better understanding of transsexualism now, it is thanks to April Ashley and her oft-told life story. 

Lili Elbe 
1886 - 1931

Lili Elbe, born Einar Wegener in 1886, began part time transition while living with her life long companion Gerda Wegener in the 'teens, and had surgery and full time transition in early 1930. Her marriage to Gerda was invalidated by the King of Denmark in October of 1930. 

Outed in the press, she may have faked her death in 1931, or may have really died months after her fifth operation, an operation that she hoped would allow her to have intercourse with the man to whom she was engaged to be married... Her story is told in frank and loving terms in her book, Man Into Woman, edited by Niels Hoyer, 1933. 

Both Lili and her partner, and legal wife before her surgery, Gerda Wegener, were well known painters and illustrators. But Gerda had far better commercial success and is still recognized today as one of the leading Art Deco artists of the early twentieth century.

Lili was one of Gerda's favorite models, wearing women's high fashion or nude. As a fashion designer in Paris, Gerda was influential in setting fashion trends. It is amusing to consider that the 1920's small breasted feminine ideal may have been influenced by Lili's figure. 

Mary Frith alias Moll Cutpurse 1584-1659 

MARY FRITH, otherwise called Moll Cutpurse, a 17th century term for pickpocket was a notorious underworld figure who robbed travellers on Hounslow Heath, including Oliver Cromwell's associate, General Fairfax, for which she was sent to England's most notorious prison, Newgate Gaol. 

In the attire of a man, she plied her trade as Britain's first 'highwayman', as well as a fence and petty thief. Moll became the subject of a play written within her lifetime, The Roaring Girl by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker. 

"She was a very tomrig or hoyden, and delighted only in boys' play and pastime, not minding or companying with the girls. Many a bang and blow this hoyting procured her, but she was not so to be tamed, or taken off from her rude inclinations. She could not endure that sedentary life of sewing or stitching; a sampler was as grievous to her as a winding sheet; and on her needle, bodkin and thimble she could not think quietly, wishing them changed into sword and dagger for a bout at cudgels. Her headgear and handkerchief (or what the fashion of those times was for girls to be dressed in) were alike tedious to her, she wearing them as handsomely as a dog would a doublet, She would fight with boys, and courageously beat them; run, jump, leap or hop with any of her contrary sex, or recreate herself with any other play whatsoever." 

Moll lived to be 75, and her last request was to be buried face down, in order to be rebellious even after death.

Magnus Hirschfeld 1868-1935 
A German sexologist in the early 20th Century, and himself a transvestite, Hirschfeld was the first man to systematically describe and work with transvestites and transsexuals both terms that he coined in his books in 1910 and 1923 respectively. 

Until Hirschfeld trans people had largely been considered homosexual and often treated that way. However in Berlin at the beginning of the nineteenth century there was a strong political campaign to decriminalise homosexuality and it was felt that "men dressed as women" was damaging their campaign. Labeling transvestites as different from Homosexual was considered an essential political move. That same argument still often finds favour amongst some gay activists. 

There had been an attempt by Havelock Ellis another sexologist to introduce term 'Eonism' after the Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont, following the lead of renowned sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebbing who had used the names of the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, well-known models of sexual behaviour, to describe 'sadism' and 'masochism'. However the term transvestism was preferred though is tending to give way to a generic term of transgenderism today. 

Hirschfeld considered transvestite and transsexual persons to be a form of intersex. Working with surgeons in Berlin through his "Institute for Sexual Science" (Institut füer Sexualwissenschaft) he established and operated the world's first, modern medical, gender clinic. One of Hirschfeld's clients was Lili Elbe. The Institute was founded in 1919 and targeted and closed down by the Nazis in 1933 who burned all the contents of it's famous library. Thousands of homosexual men and transsexual women were subsequently sent to concentration camps and the few who survived were re-imprisoned by the allies after the liberation. 

Hirschfeld was an openly gay man who visited the gay and transgender bars and nightclubs of Berlin. His nickname in the gay community was "Aunt Magnesia." The rise of the Nazis forced him, as an openly gay jew, to leave Germany in 1930, never to return. He died in Paris in 1935. 

Hirschfeld and Harry Benjamin met in 1907, when Benjamin was still a medical student and later when Benjamin arranged for him to visit America on a speaking tour. Thus, Magnus Hirschfeld really deserves the appellation of "The Father of modern Transsexualism."

The 3rd Earl of Southampton 1573 - 1627 - Henry Wriothesley 

Henry Wriothesley was a great friend and patron of William Shakespeare. How great the friendship is debatable, but almost half of Shakespeare's sonnets were dedicated to "WH" - strongly believed to be Henry Wriothesley. 

Just a few years ago a painting (shown bottom right), in the possession of the decendents of 3rd Earl of Southampton and believed to be an unknown female member of the family, was revealed to be more likely a painting of the Earl him self, as a woman. Judge for youself from pictures here. 

Is it possible that the Earl was a Transvestite or Transsexual and there may have been a relationship of some kind. There is no doubt that Shakespeare spent a great deal of time staying with Henry Wriothesley when in London for the Globe Theatre productions, and then there are the sonnets. One hundred and twenty-six are addressed to a young man known as the Fair Lord and believed to convey far more than friendship. 

This is Shakespeare's Sonnet Number 20 - dedicated to WH - which leaves no doubt. 

A woman's face with natures own hand painted 
Hast though the master-mistress of my passion; 
A woman's gentle heart, but not aquainted 
With shifting change, as is false woman's fashion; 
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling 
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth 
A man in hue all hues in his controlling 
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth. 
And for a woman wert though first created; 
Till Nature, as she wrought thee,fell a-doting, 
And by addition me of thee defeated, 
While adding one thing to my purpose nothing. 
But since she pick'd thee out for women's pleasure, 
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

Harry Benjamin 1885-1986 

Originally a German national, Harry Benjamin emigrated to the U.S. just before the first world war in 1913. The medical standards and ethics body that governs treatment of transsexuals today is named after Dr. Benjamin: The "Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association". 

Harry Benjamin did much to develop medical treatment of transsexuality and related TG issues in the United States & Canada, bringing the German knowledge to North America in the early to mid 20th Century. 

Benjamin was on good terms with Magnus Hirschfeld the famous German sexologist who coined the terms "Transvestite" and "Transsexual," and Alfred Kinsey, the famous American sexologist, and agreed with Hirschfeld that transsexuals were a form of neurological intersex. 

In 1966, Benjamin published the seminal book, The Transsexual Phenomena. It is unfortunate that he followed the lamentable practice of the first half of the century of using gender pronouns consistent with sex assignment at birth even after transition. 

Benjamin was a gerontologist, considered an expert on life extension, as well as an endocrinologist and sexologist. Considering that he lived to be 100 years old, the claim may be valid. 

Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont 1728 - 1810 

Lawyer, diplomat, confidential envoy to Louis XI, and one of the finest swordsman in Europe, Charles Genevieve Louise Auguste Andre Timothee de Beaumont is best remembered for concurring with a 1777 court verdict that he had been masquerading and he was actually a women. After his death this was found to be untrue. 

In 1966, the UK's largest Transgender support organisation the Beaumont Society was set up naming itself after him. 

London gossip of the 1770s would have it that the Chevalier had assumed the disguise of a women as a member of the French Embassy and Secret Service in Russia from 1757 to 1760. This was unfounded. Later exiled during a period of French court intrigue, heavy betting in London regarding the question of his sex prompted a court case for which, in July 1777, the Court of King's Bench recorded its verdict that the Chevalier was a women. 

He was permitted to return to France and receive a pension with the condition that "she resumed the garments of her sex" and never appear in any part of the kingdom except in garments befitting a female. The Chevalier, who was also a Freemason (the illustration was produced as a jest on Freemasonry), after accepting this condition, never again attempted to enter a Masonic lodge.

Billy Tipton 1914 1989 

A minor, but well respected, jazz musician and travelling entertainer before settling down as an entertainment agent, Billy Tipton was born female but from the age of 19 lived as a man, marrying five women, adopting and fathering three boys. His first wife knew of his transgender status... the rest did not, after his death people still refused to accept it. 

Tipton died in 1989 and was 'outed' by the coroner. Soon after, non-transgender people speculated as to why a "woman" would live fifty-six years as a man, not telling even his wife and kids! The notion that he was transgender did not often enter their thoughts. 

Diane Wood Middlebrook has written a well researched book, Suits Me, on Mr. Tipton's life and times... unfortunately, she is unable to acknowledge Tipton as a transgender man, taking great pains to 'prove' that this was a woman who needed to present as a man in order to survive... and failing miserably. 

Middlebrook argues that Tipton was trapped by his success at passing as a man, but Tipton had many opportunities to step back from his life as a man, and refused to his dying day. Many of Tipton's friends, his ex-wives, and his children, now knowing full well that he was female bodied, insist that he was a man in the psychological and spiritual sense. His friends speak for him... now that he can not speak for himself. 

Sylvia Rivera 1952 - 2002 

Silvia Rivera literally led the charge at the Stonewall Inn, New York City, on the night of 27th of June, 1969, the night that a riot at the bar, touched off the open radicalization of the Gay Liberation Movement fighting back against police harassment directed at the most visible members of the community. 

Rivera spent most of her life at the forefront of both transgender and gay activism, tirelessly advocating and demonstrating for LGBT rights, inclusive social policies and struggling against transphobia. 

In 1970 Rivera formed a group called S.T.A.R. - Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries - to fight for the civil rights of transgender people, and provide them with social services support. The S.T.A.R. House lasted for two years until her crack habit caused her to lose the house. It was the first institution of its kind in New York City, and inspired the creation of future shelters for homeless street queens. 

In 2000, she reformed S.T.A.R. pressuring the Human Rights Campaign to be more inclusive of transgender people. Even when hospitalized with liver cancer, Rivera never stopped working for the civil rights of transgender people and several hours before she passed away on February 19, 2002 she was meeting with LGBT community leaders.

1927-1989 Christine Jorgesen 

Christine Jorgensen is undoubtedly the most famous transsexual figure in the 20th Century. Her very public life after her 1952 transition and surgery was a model for other transsexuals for decades. 

She was a tireless lecturer on the subject of transsexuality, pleading for understanding from a public that all too often wanted to see transsexuals as freaks or perverts. Although she considered herself primarily a photographer, she toured as a stage actress and singer. Ms. Jorgensen's poise, charm, and wit won the hearts of millions. 

Christine Jorgensen once appeared on the Dick Cavett talk show. He insulted her by asking about the status of her romantic life with her "wife" and she walked off the show! Since she was the only guest scheduled, Cavett spent the rest of that show talking about how he had not meant to offend her. 
Christine Jorgensen died in 1989, tragically of cancer, at the age of only 62

Stephen Whittle 1955 - Present day 

Stephen Whittle is probably the most famous of Britain's Trans Men and certainly the most influencial. Professor of Equalities Law in the School of Law at Manchester Metropolitan University and co-ordinator of the United Kingdom's FTM Network, he is best known as founder and vice-president of TransActivist organisation Press for Change and his work and a activist on behalf of the trans community since the age of twenty, in 1975. 

Stephen and his wife Sarah Rutherford have four children by artificial insemination but were unable to marry legally in the UK due to the infamous Corbet V Corbet Judgement in 1970. This led to significant legal efforts by him to become the children's legal father and considerable legal and political work leading to the successful passage of the Gender Recognition Act in 2004. 

Following the passing of the Act in October 2004, Stephen and Sarah legally married on June 18, 2005 the first legal marriage in the UK of a transsexual person and their opposite gender partner. 

In 2002 Stephen was awarded the Human Rights Award by the Civil Rights group Liberty and in the Queen's New Year's honours list in 2005 was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to gender issues.


Cristine Jennifer Shye B.acc. BL (GS Admin) Tongue out

Don't get angry 
when others are talking behind your back... because they're just proving
that your life is obviously more interesting than theirs.

Cristine Shye. 1983 - present day.

  A woman I respect not only for just being herself but also for all of the time and effort she puts into teaching some of us things that we would otherwise no nothing about.  A woman who devotes herself to this website when she has absolutely no real need to but does so because she cares and still finds the time to study for her future.  Over the years I have learned things from her I did not know and I thank her for that with all of my heart.

 Cristine you deserve the recognition     Julia Ford xxXxx

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