Christine Jorgensen


Christine Jorgensen was born May 30, 1926. When on December 2, 1952 the New York Times reported on her having undergone what was for that era an advanced medical transition in Denmark, she became the first transgender person to come to the attention of the American public.

When she returned to the U.S. in 1953, she was met by a media circus that ended any hope of her ever living quietly like any other woman. Some years later, she was engaged to a man, but they decided to end the relationship after the press got wind of it, and he became the object of bigoted attacks.

By all accounts she was polite and ladylike (in old clips such as the one here she reminds me a bit of Mary Astor in the Maltese Falcon) and was shocked that many Americans saw her as some sort of sex-obsessed demon and her transition as some extreme kink.

She simply wanted to be able to live as who she was.

By the way, that original newspaper piece from 1952? The video got some things wrong. She didn’t announce her transition. Someone working in the hospital in Denmark saw a chance to sell a sensational story to the press and outed her with no consideration about what that might do to Miss Jorgensen.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.