A Short History of Gender Dysphoria


Cinematograph_Cinema_Lordship_Lane_N17_1913 (1)Gender Dysphoria is often considered something new by society. When one gives him or herself time to do a bit of research, it seems that it is not quite such a new phenomenon.

Here are just a few of history’s moments where Gender difference played a role. Hopefully this bit of history will make you want to know more about what and who we are.

1503 BC HatshepsutIn Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut ascended to the throne, second Egyptian queen to rule after Sobekneferu of the 12Th Dynasty). She had donned male apparel and reigned until 1482 BC.Her daugther Neferure, also downed male apparel but did not live to be an adult.

After the death of Hatshepsut, her second husband attempted to erase all records of her and ruled as King Angola until 1653, he cross-dressed and led several successful military battles against the Portuguese.

700 BC King Ashurbanipal of Assyria spent lots of time in women’s’ clothing, something that was later used to overthrow him
203 BC
Galli (or eunuchs in Asia Minor) were the followers of Cybele in Phrygia. It was believed that a ‘madness’ occurred when the waters of the river Gallus were drunk which caused individuals to castrate themselves.
The first Eunuchs arrived in Rome when the Senate officially adopted Cybele as a state goddess in 203 BC. Until the first century, Roman citizens were prohibited from becoming Galli. Claudius lifted this ban.
30 BC Philo of Judea wrote about Gender Dysphoria.
37 to 68 Female_portrait_Louvre_Ma1269Emperor Nero is said to have sought a replacement for his wife that he murdered. Sporus, a young male ex-slave, resembled his late wife, so he had Sporus transformed into a woman and later married her.
577 King Henry III of France frequently cross dressed and doing so was referred to as her majesty by his courtiers. Even his male clothes were too feminine.
853 During 900 CE, John Anglicus was allegedly elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church. However, according to the story, he was Joan, a woman and gave birth in Rome. The church has no record of this.
1654 Christina_of_Sweden_by_Jacob_Ferdinand_VoetQueen Christina of Sweden gives up the throne and takes on a male name, “Count Dohna.”
 Early 1700s Molly houses,  are noted for the presence of crossdressing. The name originates as a combination of the female name Mary with the Latin “mollis,” meaning soft, effeminate.

Charlotte Clarke, the first openly lesbian and transgender person, comes out by publishing “A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Clarke (Youngest Daughter of Colley Cibber, Esq.).”

1769 Don Pedro Fages was 3Rd in command of the 1769-70 Spanish Portolà expedition, first European land exploration of what is now California. Fages, in his report, described the native Californians and he wrote about the presence of homosexuality in them. The English translation reads: “I have submitted real evidence that those Indian men who, both here and farther inland, are observed in the dress, clothing and character of women – there being two or three such in each village – pass as sodomites by profession…. They are called joyas, and are held in great esteem” (a modern wording would be Two-spirit people).
1777 V0007077EL Le Chevalier D'Éon, a man who passed as a woman. Stipple engFrench spy and diplomat Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée Éon de Beaumont, known as the Chevalier d’Eon is allowed to return to France under only one condition, that he live and dress as a woman. Previously in 1756, he had done so for many years to gain the confidences of Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Throughout his life, there would be ongoing speculation about the Chevalier’s gender, which is determined as male after his death (the opinion had been that she was female).
1831 George Sand who was born Amantine Dupin, publishes Rose et Blanche with Jules Sandeau. She took a male pen name under the pretence that it would be easier for her to become published. She also adopted male fashion, stating at different times that the sturdier clothes helped her move more freely and granted her access to areas that were off-limits to a woman.
1860 The doctor of Herculine Barbin discovers that she has a small penis. Barbin is declared legally male, becomes the subject of much scandal, moves to Paris and ultimately commits suicide in 1868.
1865 Dr. James Barry a British Army surgeon, dies and is discovered to be female. He had been passing as male since 1809 at least.
1910 Magnus_HirschfeldMagnus Hirshfeld wrote a monograph entitled, “Die Transvestiten: Eine Untersuchung ueber den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb mit umfangreichem casuistischem und historischem Material”, where he detailed the biographies of several gender variant individuals.
1918 Hirschfeld reported in “Sexuelle Zwischenstufen: Sexualpathologie” that the first incomplete sex-reassignment surgeries in female-to-male patients were performed in Berlin in 1912.
1920s Birth of the formal classification of what was considered gender nonconformity. Two person, legally males identifying as female in England underwent the first documented genital reassignment surgeries. This was with risk and judgment. The doctor decided to do so based on his concern that “the patients would self-mutilate their genitals, in a misguided attempt at creating their own vaginas”
1921 Gohrbandt from Berlin is the first private surgeon to practice early forms of GCS. Initial attempts were incomplete, comprised usually of the removal of the patient’s organs.Further improvements were developed in the years after this. Most notable, the 1st attempt at a vaginoplasty, using skin grafts from the legs/abdomens. It would take 20 years to have further advancements in this regards.
1930S A few occasional articles made there appearance through the 1930’s, about various transgender operations.
1930 Lili_Elbe_1926Lili Elbe (formerly Eniar Wegener), had GCS under Gohrbandt. She died of complications in the following year. She was heralded as the first transgendered woman.
1931 Reports place the first complete GCS in 1931 and was performed by Drs. Levy-Lenz and Felix Abraham under Hirschfeld’s recommendation. The patient, now known as Dorchen Richter, lived and worked as a housemaid in Hirschfeld’s institute for more than 10 years.
Nazi’s raided Hirschfeld’s Institute and in exile, he died two years later. Writings on sexology were burnt, sexologists were persecuted and Hirschfeld’s “World League of Sex Research” was thus disbanded.
Due to events in Europe, GCS was placed on a back burner and only a few would be performed in this decade.
Norway and Denmark clinics take over, by performing therapeutic castrations and penectomies.
1941 Stories appeared about Edward Richards, who became Barbara Ann Richards and later travelled overseas to have GCS.
1944-5 Britain’s Dr. Harold Gillies, performed some operations using flap surgery on Michael Dillon (formerly Laura), which was a crucial advancement for FTM surgery.
1947 Increased medical attention is given to people seeking GCS (considered then as ‘sexual transmutation’)
1949 Harry Benjamin starts providing HRT to transgenders. David O. Cauldwell wrote an article in 1949, called Psychopathia Transsexualis.
1952 Gender Dysphoria moves into the public eye. It starts when Christine Jorgensen had GCS surgery in 1952. It was performed in Copenhagen by Drs Paul Fough-Anderson and Erling Dahl-Iversen. On December 1 of that year, the New York Daily News writes about it in an article entitled : Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty!
1953 Dr. Harry Benjamin writes “Transvestism and “
1958 Ucla Drs. Robert Stoller, Harold Garfinkel and Alexander Rosen, performed feminization surgery on Agnes,  an intersex woman.
early 1960s The Gender Identity Research Clinic was founded  by Dr. Robert Stoller. With a primary goal  to “change the behaviors of ‘sissy boys’ and ‘tomboy’ girls”
1965 lynnLynn Conway invents “Dynamic Instruction Scheduling”, making possible the first true superscalar computer. For a long time, most computer engineers had no idea it had been invented all the way back in 1965 by her..
Harry Benjamin, published The Transsexual Phenomenon.
The Johns Hopkins Gender Clinic began providing surgical treatments for transgenders and announced its success via the New York Times.
Lynn Conway starts her second (and succesful) transition with the help of Dr. Harry Benjamin.
A change in the British laws allowed Dr. Phillip of the Charing Cross Hospital to begin performing SRS.
Lynn Conway becomes one of the very first transgendered woman to undergo HRT to change her secondary gender characteristics.
Any transgenders who were found by the International Olympic Committeewere removed and prevented to compete.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-II, published in 1968, included the diagnosis “sexual orientation disturbance [homosexuality]” which was then removed in 1972 in response to gay rights activism. It then went through many incorrect definitions, and was officially removed as a medical disorder in 1987.
Lynn Conway undergoes her GCS.
In a routine bar raid on the Stonewall Inn of Greenwich village,transgenders resist arrest, which ignites the LGBTQ rights movement.
Dr. Stanley BiberDr. Stanley Biber began performing GCS in America, working from drawings provided by the Johns Hopkins Clinic. Later in his career he and Dr. Marci Bowers would perform GCS and later upon retirement take over his practice. marci bowers
GCS was decriminalized by Germany.
1970s The number of private surgeons who perform GCS largely increases.
1970 A transgender marriage was annulled by Justice Ormrod and April Corbett was declared to be “legally still a man despite sex reassignment”
1972 the AMA officially sanctions GCS as a Gender Dysphoria treatment.
1973 Norman Fisk coins “Gender Dysphoria Syndrome”.
1974 British Journalist Jan Morris , publishes “Conundrum”, a personal account of her transition.
1976 renee richardsTrangendered tennis player, Renee Richards, was outed and barred from the sport.
Harry Benjamin established a team of specialists known today as the “World Professional Association of Transgender Health”
The BBC aires a televion series called “A Change of Sex,” which showes the transition process and the ignorance of psychologists on the subject.
The Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins closes in 1979.
The ISGE becomes the “Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association” and sets itself the goal to provide consistent standards for treatment of transgender issues and adopts a group of guidelines called The Standards of Care.
By the end of this decade, over 1,000 transgenders had undergone sexual reassignment surgery in the USA alone.
early 1980s
“Transexualism” is now an official disorder in the DSM-III and is changed to “gender identity disorder” in the DSM-IV.
The “MIND Conference” is held by Harry Benjamin to promote care standards in the treatment of transgenders.
1987 Harry Benjamin passed away. The DSM-III-R reclassified Gender Identity Disorders in 4 sub-types: ‘Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood,’ ‘Transsexualism,’ ‘Gender Identity Disorder of Adolescence or Adulthood,’ and ‘Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified’.
Christine Jorgensen passed away.
Billy Tipton, famous jazz musician died, and was revealed to be a woman.
early 1990s Many Transgender rights activist groups were formed.
1991 Jamison Green founded FTM International.
1992 LGBT activist group “Press For Change”, is born
The “Intersex Society of North America”is formed
Award-winning film “Boys Don’t Cry” was released
1995 Susan Larson founded Susan’s Place Transgender Resources
1998 Julie Hesmond halgh joined “Coronation Street” and became the 1st transgenderJulie Hesmondhalgh character 1998 on television. Hesmondhalgh known as Hayley Cropper on the ITV soap opera.
1999 Gender Dysphoria is now considered a medical condition, instead of a state of mind
early 2000s The UK adopt “The Gender Recognition Act” after a case of outing became an invasion of privacy
2002 Gwen Amber Rose is beaten and strangled in October 2002, which sparks worldwide outrage.
2006 Felicity Huffman received an Oscar nomination for the film “Transamerica.”Jacqueline Dufresnoy, died at age 75

Some source material and insightful reading :


About Author

I started hrt in 1997, went full time in 1998 and had gcs in 2014. My transition is now complete.

1 Comment

  1. One important example you forgot was Alan L. Hart, a trans man who was an author & a doctor, who lived from 1890 to 1962. Hart’s was the first documented transgender male transition in the United States

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