Tag: History

Trans in Ancient Greek & Roman Theatre

| May 13, 2019 | Reply

The theater of the ancients of Greece and Rome was different in several ways from theater today. At that time all of the actors onstage were male, no matter if the the character being portrayed was male or female. This type of casting was present up to the first century BC when female actors began to appear. Former TGForum contributor Hebe Dotson wrote about the presence of crossdressing and transgender characters and themes in Greek and Roman plays back in 1998. We bring her article back as today’s Retro Rerun.

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Dina’s Diner – May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019 | Reply

Today Dina Amberle takes a variety of tasty ingredients and whips up a satisfying soufflé that is sure to sell well at the Diner. It features one part, how the Jewish community is changing to deal with gender fluid b-mitzvahs. The she stirs in some gender changing that crosses the borderline. Adds a soupçon of male Filipinos walking in high heels and stirs in a few female spies. Then she garnishes with a bit about the true gender of a Revolutionary War hero, giving you another scrumptious repast available only at Dina’s Diner.

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Historical Perspective on Diva’s Closure

| Apr 8, 2019 | Reply

Ms Bob Davis digs into the history of the recently closed transgender friendly San Francisco nightclub, Divas. It was a favorite spot for members of the transgender community to hang out, take in some drag performances and mingle with other segments of the greater queer community. From it’s beginning in one spot to the fight with local residents to move to a much larger venue nearby Ms. Bob dishes the history of Divas.

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From the Archives: Halloween 1996 — NYC, SF

| Mar 11, 2019 | Reply

Back in 1996 TGForum ran a bi-coastal pictorial feature on Halloween in New York City and San Francisco. Editor Cindy Martin did the photo layout of pictures shot in NYC by photographer Dana B. and photos from San Francisco taken by Jamie Faye Fenton. We bring you those photos again so you can enjoy the costumes and the lovely ladies back in the day.

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Lavern Cummings, The Sophisticate of Song

| Mar 4, 2019 | Reply

Classic female impersonator Paul Lavern Cummings passed away in Las Vegas, Nevada in March of 2018 after being severely injured in an auto accident. Back in 1999 TGForum ran an interview with Cummings that was conducted by TGF contributor Ken Spaulding. Since it’s been almost a year since Cummings’ death we dip back into the TGForum Archives and bring you that 1999 interview.

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I Almost Made a Mistake

| Feb 25, 2019 | Reply

Suzzie gives a transgender history lesson that features Roberta Cowell and April Ashely. She tells their stories and explains how she relates to them. They were contemporaries who took the path to gender transition. Suzzie also contemplated making that move but then she turned away from GRS and made a deal with a cisgender woman. Read her tale of three transgender women and see if you think Suzzie came out ahead.

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Obituary: Alison Laing

| Jan 28, 2019 | 3 Replies

After a long battle with cancer, Alison Laing, a founding member of The Renaissance Education Association, Inc., board member and then executive director of IFGE, director of Fantasia Fair, author, and wine expert, passed away peacefully on January 22, 2019 at the Elizabethtown Masonic Village in Pennsylvania. She was surrounded by loved ones. Dallas Denny worked with Alison’s daughter to write this obituary. Many thanks to Dallas.

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Remembering Alison Laing

| Jan 28, 2019 | Reply

Dallas Denny met Alison Laing at a gender conference in 1991. That meeting turned into the decades long friendship of two transgender activists. In this post Dallas brings you some photos of Alison at work and play and she writes about her memories of those times.

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Review: Merissa Sherrill Lynn: Her History as She Wrote It

| Jan 14, 2019 | 2 Replies

In the past few years a lot has been said about “missing emails.” Today we have a Page Pundit Review by Sophie Lynn about a book that has been made out of the decidedly not missing emails of Merissa Cheryl Lynn. Ms. Lynn was one of the pioneers in the trans movement back in the late ’80s and ’90s. She passed away in 2017. She founded the “Tiffany Club” near Boston, and eventually formed the International Foundation for Gender Education. Around 2008 and 2009 she wrote a lot of emails to a friend about her history in the movement. That friend has compiled those emails into the book Sophie reviews today.

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Retro Review: The Man in The Red Velvet Dress

| Jan 14, 2019 | Reply

In 1996 JoAnn Roberts, one of our founders, reviewed a book titled The Man in The Red Velvet Dress. It was written by Justine Sahnjay under the name J.J. Allen. The book stirred controversy for a few things. Prime among the complaints was a broad definition of what made a crossdresser: “. . .any person who wears clothing of the opposite sex.” JoAnn found that objectionable along with a couple of other points but overall she felt. . . well, you’ll have to read her review and see.

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A Special Cut of the David de Alba Documentary

| Dec 31, 2018 | Reply

A few months ago David de Alba sat down in front of a camera and talked about his life as a female impersonator. The filmmakers sent David a link to a rough cut of all the footage that was shot that day in his home in Las Vegas. Now you can view the interview right here on TGForum. A must for David de Alba fans.

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Retro Rerun: Crossdressing in Mad Magazine

| Dec 17, 2018 | Reply

Brittany’s Cartoon Corner was a regular feature on TGForum on the 1990s. Brittany scoured the comic book world for examples of crossdressing and any hint of a transgender character. Today we bring you two of her columns married together into one article on crossdressing humor in Mad Magazine. These appeared in September and November of 1997.

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Retro Rerun: The TGSF Cotillion 1999 Pictorial

| Dec 3, 2018 | Reply

We dig into the TGForum 20th century archives and present one of Cindy Martin’s outstanding pictorials from those golden days of yesteryear. Set the Wayback Machine for 1999, San Francisco USA. Prepare yourself for Cindy’s pictorial collages of the year’s big event, the Transgender San Francisco Cotillion.

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Far Different Times

| Nov 5, 2018 | Reply

Lou Reed sang in Sweet Jane, “Jack is in his corset, Jane is in her vest, And me, honey, I’m in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Huh. Riding a Stutz Bear Cat, Jim, Ya know, those were different times.” And times were different for LGBTQ people before and during World War II. Jack could only wear his corset in the privacy of his home. There was no internet to let people know they weren’t alone. Even into the 1960s and ’70s the difference was evident. And there were no “trigger” words, PC designations, and little understanding of those who were different. Susan Grant lived through it and writes about what it was like.

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(Transgender?) History Lesson

| Oct 29, 2018 | Reply

Back in 1997 Shirley Bassey sang a song called History Repeating. That’s the subject of Sophie Lynne’s post today. Not the song but the idea that if you wait long enough what has happened once will happen again. We don’t mind when the things that happen are nice and pleasant, but there are many examples of things that are evil and diabolical. With the current state of transgender rights Sophie is afraid that history may indeed be repeating.

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An Interview with David de Alba — en español!

| Sep 24, 2018 | Reply

There are dozens of interviews with The Cuban Legend, David de Alba that have been conducted in English. David’s cousin Mario Jimenez came to visit David in Las Vegas and conducted the following interview in Spanish.

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Ed Wood and More ‘50s Drag in Cinema

| Sep 3, 2018 | 2 Replies

Years ago on TGForum Laurie Sheril did a series of articles on drag in the cinema. She started back in the days of silent film and worked her way forward in time to the ’90s. Today we dip into the TGForum Archives and pull out her article on characters dressing in drag in the post war ear. First she talks about the angora sweater loving fetishist Ed Wood then goes on to write about Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis and other who dressed up in ’50s films. Learn more in this Retro Rerun from the Archives.

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Drag in Cinema — The War Years

| Aug 6, 2018 | 1 Reply

Years ago on TGForum Laurie Sheril did a series of articles on drag in the cinema. She started back in the days of silent film and worked her way forward in time. Today we dip into the TGForum Archives and pull out her article on characters dressing in drag during World War II. From college boys in chorus girl outfits to Jimmy Durante doing a French Apache dance in drag, Laurie covers the plentiful drag to be found in those films. Learn more in this Retro Rerun from the Archives.

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Finocchio’s, Howard Huges, and Pussy Kat

| Jun 18, 2018 | Reply

Susan Grant is one of the lucky ones who got to patronize the legendary Finocchio’s nightclub in San Francisco back in 1958 when men were men and and men were women onstage. She visited the club while she was in the Navy and Finocchio’s was on the Navy’s “Off Limits” list. That only made her want to check it out more. She returned to visit the club 30 years later and found that it no longer the same experience. Today she writes about the club and passes on a juicy bit of information on what may have happened after Howard Hughes visited Finicchio’s.

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Drag in the Cinema, The Early Years of Sound

| May 14, 2018 | Reply

In the 1990s TGForum had an expert on drag in movies who wrote a series of articles for us. Laurie Sheril was her name and she covered the instances of movie crossdressing through the different historical periods of film-making. We’re bringing her series out of the archives as a Retro Rerun beginning with her article on drag in the early years of the talkies.

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Me, Mona, and Leo

| Apr 23, 2018 | Reply

Every few years the theory pops up again that the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Mona Lisa was actually da Vinci in drag. If not actually da Vinci some claim it was one of his male models decked out in feminine attire. Either way the only supporting evidence is thin. Susan Grant thinks that she may have a deeper insight on the subject. Today she explores it thoroughly and all she asks is that you pay attention to the hands, not that mysterious smile.

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Early Media Impressions of TGs — Footprints From The Past

| Apr 9, 2018 | Reply

Today we dig into the past for a Retro Rerun from the 1990s archives of TGForum that takes you much further into the past. Journey now with contributor Andee W to Victorian London when there were magazines that published letters from readers. Letters that discuss the same subjects that you can find in internet chat rooms today. Men would write in and extoll the virtues of dressing in female garb. Or they would write about being forced into a corset and skirts. Andee W dug up several letters from those magazines and presented them to TGF readers in a feature called Footprints From The Past.

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What/Who Really Started the LGBT Movement?

| Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

Before there was a word describing people who are drawn to the clothing and behavior of the opposite sex the only places they could go to indulge their need was the shady, often illegal homosexual bars. The transgender people back in the day would find refuge in places like the Stonewall Inn in New York City. But the problem with going to those bars was that since they were most often illegal the police would show up, arrest everyone and shut the place down. Then one night LGBT people came out of the shadows to say “enough!” Susan Grant takes a look at the Stonewall Riot.

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Classic Female Impersonator Lavern Cummings Passes Away

| Mar 26, 2018 | 1 Reply

Paul Lavern Cummings, a contemporary female impersonation performer of David de Alba’s, passed away in Las Vegas, Nevada last week as the result of an auto accident. He was born on August 17, 1927. David de Alba wrote the following tribute before Paul/Lavern passed away and Paul/Lavern picked the photos we present above. For more […]

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Liz — A CD Inspiration and Con-Artist

| Feb 26, 2018 | Reply

It’s a story that seems like a crossdressing fantasy but it really happened. A con man who was living as a woman started a bogus automobile company in California while he was on the run from charges of counterfeiting and bail jumping. He was so confidant of his female identity that she risked the public eye to head the bogus car company and court investors. Even though she wasn’t that convincingly female. It all happened back in the 1970s. Guest contributor Susan Grant tells you all the details of this amazing story.

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The Road Not Taken: Part lll The Way It Was

| Jan 8, 2018 | Reply

Linda Jensen is writing a series about her first foray into the TG world. With acknowledgement to the poet, Robert Frost, she has called it The Road Not Taken. Why? After a short time immersed in that world LindaI veered off the path that leads many to gender re-assignment and a life different than they could have expected if they had remained living a male life. While Linda was on that road it became a trip she will never forget. Today’s post sets the scene talking about what it was like for trans women in Toronto in the ’60s.

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