My place to post research about trans culture & history

Christine Jorgensen: Transgender Woman August 21, 2011

Christine Jorgensen was a famous transsexual woman who preferred to be referred to as being a transgender woman:




Newsday article reprinted in the Winnipeg Free Press, 1979

The article reads:

As a young man, Jorgensen experienced strong emotional attachments to two male friends, but she says those feelings were never expressed. She admits now that she wasn’t entirely candid in the book. She did have “a couple” of homosexual experiences before she went to Europe to seek a medical solution to her problem, but they only reinforced the feeling that she wanted to relate to men as a woman, not as another man. “If you understand trans-genders,” she says, (the word she prefers to transsexuals), “then you understand that gender doesn’t have to do with bed partners, it has to do with identity.”


The article goes on:

Many of her friends are gay, she says. She knows other trans-genders but none are within her circle of intimates.



Christine Jorgensen states the following:

I am a transgender because gender refers to who you are as a human.


The Leader-Post Regina reprint of mass-media article, Wed., Dec. 18, 1985

  1. […] to transsexual people (1, 2). The 1970s closed out by the transsexual woman, Christine Jorgensen, publicly rejecting the term “transsexual” in favor of the term “transgender” because she felt the “sexual” in “transsexual” confused the issue she was dealing with. In […]

  2. jayla says:

    ill accept that.but using it as an umbrella term is taking it out of the original authors intended use.much like ‘transpeople’ link before. using it as all inclusive to describe what are clearly different forms of existence, which is stated, is merely for the ease of the ignorant. in that all they see is “other”. also something i can see useful,but currently it is not allowing for discussion of differing needs and ability threw out the… what are now ‘subgroups’. relegating post-op transexuals (or in jorgensons own words,the true transgender) to be confined, by and to, the highest abilitys of the fetishist.

    • Cristan says:

      t.but using it as an umbrella term is taking it out of the original authors intended use.much like ‘transpeople’ link before.

      Gha!!! Seriously… didn’t I just get through whining to you about how frustrating it is to have folks constantly make these assertions? LOL!

      I’ve not asserted anywhere that she’s using the term in the exact way that folks are using the term 30+ years later. Rather, I’m tracking the etiology of trans jargon… something that hasn’t been done very well if I’m able to turn up things like this that (apparently) nobody knew about.

      If anything, this helps to explain why so many transsexuals began using this term. Mix Jorgensen’s push to reject “transsexual” in favor of “transgender” (which began in earnest back in the 1970s) with the fact that non-transsexuals were also using this term to explain their experiences for decades, it makes for a much more reasoned (and less hyperbolic, more mundane) explanation than all of the unsourced internet memes floating around about colonization, conspiracies and Borgs. Remember, the term “transgender” was being used as an umbrella term in print as early as 1974.

  3. […] Stoller’s concern over the use of “sex” in terms associated with her experience saying in 1985, “I am a transgender because gender refers to who you are as a human.” In 1982, a news […]

  4. […] No, Ashley Love wants YOU to turn YOUR back on all of that proud history. Love wants to blight out the radical voices of transsexuals like Carol Riddell who, in a 1972 speech said that transsexuals and transvestites should join “with other sexually persecuted minorities, particularly homosexuals, in confrontation with the police, the legal profession, the psychiatrists, the capitalist nuclear family, the capitalist gender roles… ”  She wants you to pretend that the 1974 “First National TV.TS Conference” didn’t take place because that conference used “transgender” as an umbrella term. She doesn’t want you to not know that iconic transsexual leaders like Christine Jorgensen publicly identified herself as being transgender. […]

  5. […] [9]: Williams, C. L. (2012). Christine Jorgensen: Transgender Woman. Retrieved April 21, 2012 […]

  6. […] , p 25) Note also that this sentiment seems to be seems to be echoed by Christine Jorgensen in 1979, 1985 and […]

  7. […] Here’s a 1974 UK usage of transgender (and trans people) in its modern umbrella sense and here’s a 1974 American usage of transgender in an umbrella sense. Here’s another 1974 usage of transgender referencing transsexuals.  Also, here’s a 1973 usage of “transies” used as an umbrella term. Oh, and here’s a 1977 usage of “transpeople” used in its modern umbrella sense. Here’s Christine Jorgensen self-identifying as being transgender in 1979. […]

  8. […] In 1974, doctors were using the term to describe they type of surgery transsexuals have and by the late 1970s, the term was being used by Christine Jorgensen to describe herself because “… gender […]

  9. […] 1979: Trans-gender = Transsexual […]

  10. […] we currently take transsexual to mean: a Harry Benjamin Type 6 True Transsexual. That same year, Christine Jorgensen publicly rejected transsexual in favor of transgender, noting – in the same way that the 1965 usage notes […]

  11. Kim Schicklang says:

    I am a transsexual woman, cause body-parts who differ from the birth sex do not have to do anything with gender at all. It seems that there’s still a big brainwash-industry in the US who wants us to believe, that sexual variations do not exist. But: They exist… believe it or not.

  12. […] beyond merely changing clothes. This understanding of gender resonates with a popular remark by transsexual pioneer Christine Jorgensen, who said in 1979, “If you understand trans-genders,” (the word she prefers to transsexuals), […]

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