Category: trans history

[Image Description: Jazz musician Billy Tipton, a white man with dark hair slicked back, smiling and playing the piano.]

“I think he probably never told us because he was afraid we might have rejected him. I could have accepted it. He did a helluva good job with us. That’s what mattered. He was my dad.” – Scott Tipton

A complete master list of our articles from 2016 to 2018.

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Queer Mythology in the Philippines

There is a long history of acceptance for queer people in the Philippines, dating all the way back to pre-Spanish colonization and conversion to Catholicism. In Filipino mythology, there was always a queer presence. 

Prior to colonization, the Philippines was a polytheistic nation. Deities differed between tribes and regions, and the myths included here were handed down generation after generation through oral tradition. (Read full article)

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Question: Do you have any articles on genderfluid people? I searched through a couple likely tags and articles on your blog and website, but couldn't really find much, figured I should double check. Also, thank you *so much* for running this project. It means so much to me and a lot of other people to have our history, to know we *have* history, especially without having to track it down ourselves. Thank you.

Hi there! 

Unfortunately, we don’t have any articles on genderfluid folks. However, that’s definitely not due to lack of interest! We have covered nonbinary folks like King Kristina.

It’s definitely something on our to-do list along with aromantic folks. There are some really rad genderfluid folks making history right now though! Drag queens like Jinkx Monsoon, Violet Chacki, and Eureka O’Hara, actors like Kelly Mantle, Cara Delevigne, and Nico Tortorella, and folks like Janei Kroczaleski, who was previously a powerlifter!

We love hearing what y’all are interested in seeing from us, so please share if you know any genderfluid folks (or folks who may have considered themselves genderfluid given the language) from the past! Or even better, submit an article proposal.

Heyyy, queeristorians! Hope you're well! Wondering if there are any future plans for any more aromantic or possibly aromantic historical figures? Also, what's your (whoever answers this) favorite fact that you've learned through your research here? Thanks for all your good work! 😀

Hi there!

It’s definitely on our list! We’ve had people suggest Florence Nightingale, Nikolai Tesla, and Queen Elizabeth the First of England, so there are definitely some options to explore.

Oooh, my favorite fact. Well, I began my research before I joined this project, but I was able to continue that research and write about Eleanor Rykener who is one of my favorite people. I’ve read so many papers about her, and I’ve been over her court transcript too many times to count. I’m (slowly but surely) working on my Latin so I can try to read the original transcript. In the simplest modern terms, she’s a bisexual trans woman and sex worker from the 14th century. I love her a lot. You can read our article about her here.

Just a quick addition from Laura, my current favourite fact is about Everret George Klippert, the last man in Canada to be convicted for homosexuality.  And he was found while the police were  investigating an arson attempt.

Klippert was taken into custody, and though he was cleared of any involvement in the fire, he immediately confessed to multiple sexual relationships with men. “He couldn’t stop confessing. I think that you’d have to hold your hand over Everret’s mouth to stop him from blabbing,” gay rights lawyer and activist Douglas Elliot said.

And apparently according to another lawyer 80% of the things used against him in court came from his own mouth. 

(You can learn more about him and other Canadian Queers by become a patron)

I see a lot more gay/bi history than trans history, and i know it can get grey, but do you know any older trans history, with more uplifting than sad tales if you can. Thank you!

Hi there!

Yeah, it can be hard to come by trans history, and it’s super frustrating! Fortunately, there are more and more queer historians and academics working to research and share trans history. We’ve written a few articles about trans folks ourselves! I’ve listed them here from oldest to most recent and noted the ones with happy endings. Enjoy!

Elagabalus, the Empress

Eleanor Rykener

Kristina, Kind of Sweden*

Albert D.J. Cashier

Osh-Tisch, the Warrior*

Alan L. Hart, Part 1 & 2

Victor Barker

Sir Ewan Forbes, the Doctor*

Billy Tipton and the Question of Gender*

Almost Forgotten Voices: The Transvestite Magazine of Weimar Berlin

Jeanette Schmid*


Dawn Langley Hall*

Marsha P. Johnson, Pride

Chrystos* (Note: Still Alive)

Maryam Khatoon Molkara, a Woman Who Changed her Country*

Lou Sullivan

Anderson Bigode Herzer, the Poet

Rita Hester, the Beginning of the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Rituparno Ghosh: Exploring the LGBT Community in India

Dwayne Jones and the Dangers of Tragedy Tourism

The Early 20th-Century ID Cards That Kept Trans People Safe From Harassment:


Katharina T., a resident of Berlin in the early 20th century, had a deep voice and masculine appearance, and preferred to wear men’s clothing
at home and in public. In 1908, they—there’s no record of which pronoun
Katharina preferred—went to visit the sexual reformer and “sexologist”
Magnus Hirschfeld, to apply for official documentation that would allow them to wear men’s clothing in public: a “transvestite pass.”

Perhaps dozens of these passes were
granted by German police between 1909 and 1933, the year Adolf Hitler
became chancellor. The term “transvestitism” at that time encompassed
people of all gender identities, from those who occasionally wore men’s
or women’s clothes on weekends, to those who today might well identify
instead as transgender, a term that was not in common usage at the time.
Cross-dressing individuals were vulnerable to arbitrary decisions of
the police, usually according to how well they “passed.” While it wasn’t
illegal to cross-dress, per se, the practice often led to charges of
being a “public nuisance,” which could mean six weeks’ imprisonment or a
fine of 150 marks—and police were “often keen to exercise their
extensive regulatory powers,” writes historian Kate Caplan in “The Administration of Gender Identity in Nazi Germany,” a 2011 paper in History Workshop Journal.


Hirschfeld examined Katharina, quizzed
them on their life and sexual history, and then wrote a report to the
police supporting the application. In it, he argued that Katharina’s
preference for men’s clothing corresponded to their inner self. If they
couldn’t wear them, their well-being and even survival would be
jeopardized. In time, they did receive a pass, though for unknown
“formal legal reasons,” a further request to adopt a male name was not
granted. This, writes Katie Sutton, a scholar of German history and gender studies at Australian National University, in German Studies Review,
is the first known example of someone seeking such a pass. By 1912,
probably as a result of Hirschfeld’s pressure on the police, the pass
became a specific permit in what would become the Weimar Republic.*
(That they remained hand-written suggests that few were issued.)

Hirschfeld was one of a few doctors in
the city who helped people with minority sexual identities. Meanwhile,
other people became increasingly aware of the issues they faced. A 1906
German newspaper report, quoted in Robert Beachy’s Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity,
tells the story of a person who was assigned female at birth**, but
only appeared “unsuspicious” if allowed to wear men’s clothing. The
paper chastises city officials: “There are men with the faces of women,
and women with the faces of men. If necessary, police officials need to
be schooled by Dr. Hirschfeld. Such mistrust as in this case should not
be based on ignorance.” This was typical of a certain segment of Weimar
society, Beachy says. “You can sort of see that there was, at least in
some quarters, a liberal tolerance that was clearly visible.”


Hirschfeld was stocky and mustachioed, a pacifist, anti-imperialist Jew.
He was also likely gay, with two younger lovers—Tao Li Shiu and Karl
Giese—though he generally wrote about “homosexuals” at a remove. By the
time he saw Katharina, he had been writing about complex sexual
identities for well over a decade. After qualifying as a doctor,
Hirschfeld began to work specifically on minority sexual identities, and
published a selection of books on gender and sexuality, including, in
1910, The Transvestites. In 1919, he started the Institute of Sex Research,
a nonprofit foundation that provided services from marriage counseling
to STI treatment to early attempts at hormone therapy. Backed by
anonymous wealthy benefactors, the Institute treated rich and poor
alike, and sought “advancement of scientific research into all aspects
of sexual life and of sex education.”

(continued here)

hi i was wondering if you had a list of articles specifically about trans men/people we would today consider trans men? i run a blog for trans guys and its unfortunately more difficult to find things on transgender men

Hi there! We have a few articles about trans men and folks who may have been trans men.

Lou Sullivan, an American gay trans author and activist, founder of FTM International, and founding member of the GLBT Historical Society. He was a major proponent for removing heterosexuality from the requirements for SRS.

Billy Tipton, an American Jazz musician born in the early 20th century. 

Alan L. Hart (Part 1 & Part 2), an American physician, writer, and tuberculosis researcher. He revolutionized TB detection and helped implement screening programs.

Albert D.J. Cashier, an Irish immigrant who fought for the Union during the American Civil War

Anderson Bigode Herzer, a young Brazilian writer and poet

Sir Ewan Forbes, 11th Baronet, a Scottish nobleman and doctor. Forbes was also intersex. He lived a mostly quiet life with his wife.

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[ID: A black and white photo fo Jeanette Schmid, a white German woman with big, short hair. She has long eyelashes and she smiles slightly at the camera.]

Jeanette Schmid, the Whistler

(Content Warning: discussion of Nazis and the Holocaust)

We have covered a number of different professions throughout this project: writers, activists, actors, business owners, singers. There is more than enough proof that queer people can (and will) fill any role. So when we approach the subject of this article we aren’t confused by the fact a queer person held the role; we are surprised that this is a role that is held at all. Jeanette Schmid began as a female impersonator and ended up as a professional whistler. (Read Full Article)

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