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LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Six 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.
Here Are Links To The Our Many Other LGBT People Of History Series
- LGBT People Of History Collection
Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.
- LGBT People of History 21 - Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo (1905 – 1990) was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Sweden. She became a star of the silver screen, always beautifully lit and mysterious. She is consistently voted into the top five of movie actresses.
- LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Two Gladys Bentley
Born on August 12th 1907 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Gladys Bentley was the daughter of George L. Bentley and his wife, Mary Mote. At 16 Gladys left Philadelphia for New York where she became a part of the Harlem Renaissance, where she began perfo
- LGBT People of History 23 - Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith (1897 – 1937) was probably the most influential female blues singer of her generation. Her influence stretched into the second half of the twentieth century inspiring groups such as the Rolling Stones. She was nicknamed the ‘Empress of t
- LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Four Ma Rainey
Gertrude Pridgett was born on April 26th 1886 in Columbus, Georgia USA into a large family. Gertrude began performing between the ages of 12 and 14 under the name of Madame Gertrude Pridgett. She would later become Ma Rainey. Her date of birth is...
- LGBT People of History 25 - Lili Elbe
Lili Elbe (1882 - 1931) was one of the first people to undergo male to female sex reassignment surgery. She was born as a male probably in 1882 in Denmark and was given the name Einar Mogens Wegener.