She must have seen many changes since that day in 1952 when the headlines blared “GI Becomes Blonde Bombshell”, as have we all. Certainly, she, and we, saw the day pass when a specific ethnic ancestry was an SRS requirement, and we’re doubtlessly moving – albeit too slowly – towards the time when Black, Hispanic, or Native American ancestry is never an impediment. No doubt about it, we and Christine alike saw sex change operations become a routine medical procedure (though sometimes still mistakenly called experimental). She saw a whole school of scientific thought grow up around her personality; and a generation of TSs with surprisingly similar personalities and life histories undergoing sex changes. She also lived to see that school of thought shattered, and the basis for which she and so many others were granted SRS fall into disfavor.
Christine will be missed by many of us and remembered by us all for many reasons. One is a stance she once took on civil rights: “If a law can be created in Dade County Florida against homosexuals, then where will it stop?… You’re opening up the floodgate to discrimination against everybody.” Now that everyone has been caught off guard by new legislation that legalizes housing discrimination against the transgendered, Christine’s statement looks prophetic. Mostly, though, she’ll be remembered as a personality… Our celebrity. National TV and TS organizations accorded her superstar rank, with the status and prestige that went with it. She was constantly in demand at one lavish awards banquet after another, and surrounded by fans and autograph seekers. But there was more… a biography, a movie, plays, and a touring nightclub act. She lived in a busy, glamor-filled exciting world; where she was promoted that her lifestyle earned her “enough money, jewels and furs to live a comfortable life.”
Christine, you’ll be missed and remembered. You were the first. Regardless of what public image we have, you did make us public – and that was an important first step. In some ways, you made us possible. Now, you can pass the torch to a new generation of transsexuals just coming out – the first generation to truly come out. We’ll light it brighter than before. We’ll forego acquiring the jewelry and furs, though – they’d just get in the way of the unfinished work to be done. There’s a lot to do until we’re not second class citizens, but we’ll see it through to the end, never forgetting that you having lived opened some doors and smoothed the path a bit for whatever lies ahead.
Peace and rest to you, christine. You have earned it.