This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc.

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14 January 2018

Karla Avelar (1978 - ) activist

Avelar was born  in Chalatenango Department, in the north of El Salvador, just before the Civil War,. From an early age, despite being dressed as a boy, she came across as a girl, and most in the neighbourhood called her Karla rather than Carlos.

By the age of 10 she had been raped twice by one cousin, and another would shoot at her, and said that he would kill her as there were only machos in the family. She left without money.

In the capital, San Salvador, she spent the first six months sleeping in the bus station or on the street, begging and finding whatever to eat in the trash. She was taken in by a woman who made her work hard at domestic chores. She was raped by the woman’s son. One of her chores was to buy tortillas, but the tortillería was in a neighbourhood run by the Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) gang.They decided to gang rape her. After 15 men, she seized an opportunity and was able to escape.

Homeless again she met a trans woman, Diana, who showed her how to survive by sex work. The more established trans whores resented newcomers. They bullied her, they called her la machorra (the dyke) because of her short hair, and they stole her money, until she learned to fight back.

While the civil war raged, the capital was comparatively peaceful. Over 80,000 were killed in the country, the vast majority by the forces of the US-backed Junta. In 1992 the UN brought the two sides together and enforced peace accords. However criminal gangs such as MS-13, reinforced by members deported from the US, tightened control.

Many – including prostitutes – emigrated to the US if they could. The term transgeneros was not yet in use. One of the terms used for trans women was locas (literally: crazy women).

There was a serial killer in San Salvador who would drive by and shoot at trans women. He became named Matalocas. It was said that he had an artificial leg. One night in 1992, 14-year-old Karla was in a john’s car giving head when she realized that he had an artificial leg. He hit her with his gun, but she was able to grab the wheel and forced a crash. She grabbed his gun as she escaped the car and threw it away. However he had a second gun and shot her nine times.

She went into a long coma, but the hospital doctors saved her. They also informed her that she was HIV+. Officials could not find her next of kin while she was unconscious, so a television station broadcast her picture, and her grandmother came to sit with her in the hospital.

Karla was the first of Matalocas’ victims to survive and who could identity him. The police had retrieved the gun which was registered. Further the man, a high-ranking military official, went to reclaim his firearm. However he was never charged with anything.

Karla was approached by William Hernández who had just founded an LGBT rights group, Entre Amigos. Karla was willing to go public. She and Entre Amigos held a press conference and gave the real name of Matalocas. The only result was that they received death threats.

After recovery, Karla returned to sex work. She and Paty Hernández organized a trans-rights group, El Nombre de la Rosa. Those working as prostitutes gave a portion of their earnings – almost like a union. At first the government refused to register the group as a non-profit, saying that its aims were “contrary to morality”.

In 1996 Karla was working near the national monument, Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo, when three gay men taunted her and another trans woman. They removed their belts as if to whip her and she stabbed one of them as the other trans woman fled. She alone was arrested, and sent to the notorious Sensuntepeque prison where she was gang-raped on the first day.

While the prison had a Sector 2 for gay and trans prisoners, the gang inmates were free to come and go in Sector 2 as they pleased. They treated Karla and the others as personal slaves for housekeeping tasks and for sex. She was also tortured by the guards.

The first pride march was in 1997 – this was followed by a new wave of violence. Trans women were vanishing. Between the late 1990s and 2003, the number of adult trans women known to Entre Amigos and El Nombre de la Rosa dropped from around 200 to 40. Some emigrated (mainly to the US), some died of AIDS, other were murdered.

Karla was released in 2000, suffering from being HIV+, and having lost a lot of weight. Even so, she went back to sex work. In 2006 she started antiretroviral therapy, but was shot five times for refusing to pay ‘rent’ while working on gang turf. She survived the shooting and also being stabbed twice in the back by the same gang the next year.

Karla’s friend Diane was killed, also in 2007, by her lover, a police officer. El Nombre de la Rosa had evolved into ASPIDH-Arcoiris, but Karla was not welcome, having been too pushy before. She started a new group, COMCAVIS Trans. At first it was funded by sex workers' contributions, but Karla taught herself how to do paperwork to incorporate the organization, and how to do Excel accounting. It got a USAID grant in 2011.

In 2010 COMCAVIS filed a first complaint against Sensuntepeque prison, and then others in 2011 and 2014. They won the trans inmates the right to wear female clothing, and then a partition was put up to separate Section 2, the same year that gang members were removed to a separate prison. Then condoms were made available. Karla visits the prison regularly to speak up for the trans inmates.

Tania Vásquez, a trans activist was murdered in 2013, and no one was ever arrested. Karla filed a complaint. The Attorney’s General Office responded with the threat to arrest Karla, a search warrant and a confiscation of the technical equipment of COMCAVIS TRANS.

However that year, Karla became the first trans woman to appear before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and to denounce the State of El Salvador for discrimination and hate crimes. Paty Hernández, emigrated in 2014 after 20 years of activism. In 2015, Karla participated in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, which submitted an alternative report, which resulted in the first UN recommendation to the state of El Salvador on LGBTI matters.

Karla frequently travels abroad to speak for trans rights to international bodies. Now about to turn 40, she is one of only a few trans women in El Salvador over 35. She is constantly receiving death threats, and has had to move seven times in the last two years. In 2017 she was announced as a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, quickly followed by extortion attempts to seize whatever prize money she might get.


In a country where soldiers and death squads working for the junta killed 70,000 people, where serial killers go free, criminal gangs have impunity and young women are regularly raped on the street, an organization to protect trans women is refused registration on the grounds that it is  “contrary to morality”.

10 January 2018

Paula Williams (1951 - ) evangelical preacher

Despite feeling from childhood that he was really a girl, Paul Williams followed his father and became an evangelical preacher. He married a minister’s daughter and they had three children. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastor Care.

From 1979, Williams worked with The Orchard Group, formerly ‘Go-Ye’ Chapel Mission, Inc, founded in 1948. Orchard Group ‘planted’ churches, providing financial support until the church could be financially independent. One of the rules of the Orchard Group was that LGBT persons could not preach. Williams became chairman in 1989.

He was also editor-at-large and a weekly columnist with Christian Standard magazine; head-writer and on-air host of the Worship Television Network, and a teaching pastor at two mega-churches.  Williams wrote a series of devotional books called Windows of Worship as well as the book Laughter, Tears, and In-Between.

In late 2012 Williams informed his son, Jonathan, a preacher in a newly planted church in New York, that he wanted to live as a woman. When Williams told the Orchard Group a few months later, they demanded an immediate resignation. Also she was no longer permitted to preach.

“In 21 states, you can’t be fired for being trans, but in all 50 states religious organizations have an exemption.”
Some mainline Protestant churches are more LGBTQ-affirming, but she didn’t connect with their liturgy or atmosphere. She stopped going to church. In 2015 she found an evangelical church that is about 30% LGBTQ.
“It’s a church full of people who have been wounded by evangelicals, and the fact that there’s still a church at all is probably a little bit of a surprise.”
Paula is still married to her wife, and they share a Christian counselling practice. Jonathan has been moving his New York church to an LGBT-affirming stance – which allows LGBT persons to preach.

*Not Paul Williams the composer, nor the boxer.

One would have wished that while chairman of the Orchard Group, Paula had nudged it a little bit in a pro-LGBT direction.

08 January 2018

Donna Perry (1952 - ) convicted of murder

From 1975 to 1998 at least 26 prostitutes in Spokane, Washington State – population 200,000 - were murdered by shooting, apparently by a trick who had sex with them first. Their bodies were dumped in rural locations.

Douglas Perry of Spokane had a history of being arrested. In 1974 he was arrested for second degree assault. In 1979 he was found guilty of a dangerous weapons violation. In 1986 he was arrested for second degree assault. In 1987 he was found guilty of reckless endangerment with a firearm. In 1988 he was found guilty of assault.

Later in 1988 Perry was arrested by Federal Agents for possession of a pipe bomb. A search of his home discovered 22 handguns (including .22 handguns), 27 rifles and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Thus he became a convicted felon.

In 1989 Perry was arrested in Spokane for soliciting sex from prostitutes.

Three sex workers, Nickie Lowe, Kathy Brisbois and Yolanda Sapp, were murdered in February and March 1990. All three were shot with a .22 caliber gun, and their nude or partially nude bodies were found in or near the Spokane River. At the time investigators considered the three deaths to be part of the longer string of prostitute murders.

In 1994 Perry was again arrested for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, including a .22 handgun and a couple of .22 rifles. As a convicted felon Perry was prohibited from possessing firearms.

Perry was in prison in Oregon from January 1995 to October 1997. Other inmates later reported that he talked about taking prostitutes home, and talked in such a way that they thought that he was involved in the prostitute murders.

In December 1998, a prostitute who had serviced Perry at home, reported to the police that she saw a lot of guns, knives and a cross-bow. She identified his car and police officers stopped and searched it. They found attorney papers that said that Perry had “a gender psychosis disorder where he does not like females”, and other papers explaining gender transition.

Robert L Yates (also born 1952) was arrested in 2000, initially for one murder, but was then tied by DNA evidence to 12 more. He was convicted and sentenced to 408 years in prison. However Yates had been in the US Army, was stationed in Germany in February-March 1990, and so could not have murdered Nickie Lowe, Kathy Brisbois and Yolanda Sapp. The three murders were reassigned as cold cases.

Also in 2000 Perry became Donna and flew to Thailand for correction surgery.

In 2001, Yates was charged and convicted of two more murders of women. For this he was sentenced to death.

Perry said too much in 2007-8 when talking to an agent of the Department of Social and Health Services. She talked of shooting people, and said: “I knew I was going to end up dead or in prison again if I didn’t do something. I got gelded just like a horse and got my life back under control.”

In 2009 matter found under Ms Brisbois’ left middle fingernail was submitted for DNA analysis. A full male profile was developed and entered into the DNA Indexing System.

In 2012 Perry was again arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. A search of her home recovered more firearms. She was sentenced to 18 months and placed in a Federal Prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She boasted to her female cell-mate that she was a contract killer who had killed nine prostitutes. “He told me … becoming a woman was a disguise to take the heat off of him, that an elderly lady with mental illness would never get caught.” She also claimed to have killed two others after returning from Thailand.

A check on Parry’s DNA revealed a match to that taken from Ms Brisbois’ fingernail. A further match was found with DNA found on the blanket wrapped around Yolanda Sapp’s body, and a fingerprint match to Nickie Lowe’s purse etc. which had been recovered from a dumpster. A further search of Perry’s home found a box containing panties – but in a size too small to be her own.

In an interview in November that year Donna said: 'Douglas didn't stop, Donna stopped it,' 'I'm not going to admit I killed anybody, I didn't. Donna has killed nobody.' And 'I don't know if Doug did or not, it was 20 years ago and I have no idea whether he did or did not.' She also said that a sex change is a “permanent way to control any violence” – that it results in “a very great downturn in violence”.

In July 2017, Perry was found guilty and sentenced to three life sentences without parole.

Yates is still on Death Row. He has contested his death sentence on the ground that he “suffers from a severe paraphilic disorder” (that is necrophilia).

*not the Playboy Playmate of November 1994.

Two serial killers operating at the same time!     However this book says that London, Ontario, with almost 400,000 people, had six serial killers operating at the same time.  

I think that Perry was right in exploring lower testosterone levels as a way of becoming less violent.  However if she were not trans she would simply have had herself gelded. 

Of course a gender change does not confer absolution for crimes already committed.


29 December 2017

Trans in sports 2017

Aaron Stewart , 33, US soldier injured in Kuwait in 2015, who won eight medals including two golds Invictus as a woman at previous Invictus Games, competed at this year’s Invictus Games, Toronto as a man.

Alex Hahn, New Brunswick, played football at St. Thomas University in Fredericton last year, but now has dropped out to transition.

Chloe Psyche Anderson, 24, California, gave up on volleyball

Christina Ginther, 44, Minnesota, never played US football before, rejected by the Vixen team management despite a good try-out, but now accepted on Minnesota Machine .

Hannah Mouncey, 26, Australia, who previously represented Australia in men’s handball, denied a position in Women’s football.

Jacob Roy, 20, at University of New Brunswick in Saint John, dropped sports to transition.

Laurel Hubbard, NZ, 39, who previously held junior male weightlifting records, transitioned in 2012, won three women’s records in 2017, and will represent NZ.

Mark Beggs, 18, Texas, wrestling, obliged by state law to compete against girls, and won girls’ state title.

Pat Cordova-Goff, 17, California, accepted on girls’ softball team after passing of California’s A.B. 1266 law.

Pat Manuel, US boxer, reached Olympic Trials as a female boxer, transitioned 2013-4, 2016 approved by USA Boxing to fight as a man, now ready to fight at age 32.

Savannah Burton, actress from Newfoudland, competed for the 3rd time at the WDBF Dodgeball World Championships

Tia Thompson, 32, Hawai’i approved after three years by USA Volleyball to play in women’s division.

Tiffany Abreu, Brazil, who has 2 MVP awards for playing in men’s volleyball before transition in 2012. In 2017 she was authorized to play in women’s teams. Early 2017 played in a second divison team in Italy. Now signed a contract with Volei Bauru, in the Superliga.

Vanessa Sites, 31, Pennsylvania, roller derby player tried for Team USA