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LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Six Christine Jorgensen

Updated on April 3, 2012
Christine Jorgensen
Christine Jorgensen | Source
The Front Cover Of Christine Jorgensen Reveals 1958
The Front Cover Of Christine Jorgensen Reveals 1958 | Source
Christine Jorgensen
Christine Jorgensen | Source

Christine Jorgensen

Born May 30th 1926 as George William Jorgensen Junior to George William Jorgensen Senior and Florence Hansen in the Bronx, New York.

Christine graduated from the Christopher Columbus High School in 1945 and was later drafted in to the American Army. After leaving the army she learned of the possibility of having sex reassignment surgery. After she had extensively researched the topic with her friend Doctor Joseph Angelo, Christine began to take the female hormone known as Ethinyl Estradiol.

Christine had intended to go to Sweden for the surgery but she went Copenhagen first to visit some relatives where she met Doctor Christian Hamburger who was an endocrinologist and specialist in rehabilitative hormonal therapy. Remaining in Denmark she began hormonal replacement therapy and eventually underwent a series of surgeries under Doctor Hamburger.

Several years later she underwent a vaginoplasty. The procedure had become available in the United States and was performed by her friend Doctor Joseph Angelo and a medical advisor, Harry Benjamin.

Christine chose her name in memory of her friend in Denmark, Doctor Christian Hamburger. She became a spokesperson for Transsexual and Transgender people. In 1951 the media got hold of the story about Christine and it became a sensation - the media did make a false claim stating that Christine was the first to undergo the surgery. This was later proven false due to there having been two others who had undergone the surgery previously. Both “Lil Elbe” and “Dorchen” underwent the procedures in Germany between the years of 1930 and 1931 in the Institute of Sexual Wissenchaft under the direction of Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin.

When Jorgensen returned to New York in February 1953, she became an overnight celebrity. After her surgery Christine announced that she planned to marry John Traub, who was a labour-union statistician. Unfortunately the engagement was called off. However In 1959, she announced her engagement to Howard J. Knox, who was a typist, in Massapequa, New York. Sadly the couple was unable to obtain a marriage license because Christine’s birth certificate still listed her as male.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Christine toured many university campuses to speak about her life and experiences. She became known for her directness and polished wit. She even demanded an apology from Spiro T. Agnew, the then US Vice President after he made a nasty comment toward another politician calling them "the Christine Jorgensen of the Republican Party".

Christine said in 1989 that she had given the sexual revolution "a good swift kick in the pants". Sadly Christine died of bladder and lung cancer four weeks short of her 63rd birthday.

She will always be remembered as a pioneer for Transsexual and Transgender rights and a legend in her own right.

Callum & Ian

With Thanks to Wikipedia.

LGBT People Of History Archive
LGBT People Of History Archive | Source
Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo | Source
Gladys Bentley
Gladys Bentley | Source
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith | Source
Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey | Source
Lili Elbe before sex reassignment surgery
Lili Elbe before sex reassignment surgery | Source

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    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks Ian she really was a pioneer and I am so proud and happy that I got to write about her x :)

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      This is so interesting, Callum - a genuine pioneer!