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1915: Trans-sexed February 10, 2012

The Evening Record – Feb 9, 1915

Lived Six Years in Trans-Sexed Attire: Girl Buried in Her “First Black Suit”

(United Press) Chicago, Feb. 9. — Ida Weinstein, 26 years old, was buried yesterday in the first dress to clothe her body in six years. As “Ben Rosenstein” and the “husband” of Pauline Rosenstein with whom he lived for six  years. Ida died in a pitifully furnished, small bedroom in the rear of the second floor of No. 2146 Ogden Avenue, the victim of tuberculosis. Her last gasping request to her “wife” and to her “wife’s” mother was that she be buried “in her first black suit.”

Pauline Rosenstein is 26. She weepingly told the details of her life as Ida’s “wife,” whose real sex was not known here even by the wife’s mother, until the undertaker took charge of the remains.

“Ida came to this country seven years ago. Her brother-in-law, Sam Cohen, sent her over. We met and became fast friends in New York, where we roomed together at the New York Jewish Shelter house.

Reading Marx and Tolstoi suggested that Ida adopt a male role. “We were paid terribly for working in a store. We could really live if one received a man’s wages.  Ida was robust and strong. I wanted to be a man also; we still could have lived together. But Ida said that I was too frail. She refused to hear of it. She insisted upon my being her “wife” in the eyes of the world.

“Ida clipped her hair and got a job as a packer. We were very happy. For a while we worked in Detroit. We then moved to Cleveland where we lived as Mr. and Mrs. Ben Cohen, and later came to Chicago. It was here that Ida’s health began to fail. I wanted then to play the man, but Ida would not hear of it. She said that she was lonely and was afraid she would die when I was away from her. Now I do not know what to do. I have lost my dearest friend.”

For some time “Ben Rosenstein’s” name had been carried on the books of the Jewish Aids Society.


  1. Misha Balch says:

    Wow! An amazing account!

  2. […] or we can take a more reasoned approach. For instance, since “trans-sexed” originally appeared in print to refer to transgenderists, would it not be absurd for non-transsexual transgender people to […]

  3. […] a few years. They’ll, of course, ignore that the first use of a transsexual word was used to reference  crossdressers. They’ll ignore the demonstrable fact that because “transsexual” was later […]

  4. […] just a few years. They’ll, of course, ignore that the first use of a transsexual word was used to reference  crossdressers in 1915. They’ll ignore the demonstrable fact that “transsexual” was changed (around 1980) […]

  5. […] now that I found the term “trans-sexed” in newsprint used to describe trans folk in 1915 – years before Hirschfeld used his German version of the term? If we move the coinage date […]

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