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15 April 2017

Recurring Untruths: Edward Hyde, Governor of New York & New Jersey - Part I

“The story’s told/ With facts and lies”. Leonard Cohen.

A series of untruths, canards, lies and misinformation that are repeated with regard to trans history.
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We are interested in Edward Hyde, also known as Lord Cornbury, and after his father's death in 1709 as the 3rd Earl Clarendon, in that he is repeatedly said to have been a transvestite. However there is considerable difficulty in tracing the claims back to actual 18th century accounts.



There is a portrait, which is said to be of Edward  Hyde in female attire, that can be viewed in the collection of the New York Historical Society.





























Some examples of the claims:


Agnes Strickland. Lives of the Queens of England, 12 vols, 1840-8:
“Among other apish tricks, Lord Cornbury, the ‘half-witted son’ of ‘Henry, Earl of Clarenden’ is said to have held his state levees at New York, and received the principal Colonists dressed up in complete female court costume, because truly he represented the person of a female sovereign, his cousin-german queen Anne.”
Peter Ackroyd. Dressing Up: Transvestism and Drag: The History of an Obsession. 1979: 84-6.
“Edward Hyde, for example, cross-dressed while he was Governor of New York and New Jersey (1702-1708). He bore a remarkable resemblance to his cousin, Queen Anne, and was fond of walking through the streets of New York dressed in clothing similar to hers.”
Richard Davenport-Hines. Sex, Death and Punishment: Attitudes to sex and sexuality in Britain since the Renaissance, 1990: 74.
“According to Glenbervie, Clarendon ‘was a clever man’ whose ‘great insanity’ was showing himself in women’s clothes. When New Yorkers complained that he opened their legislative assembly dressed as a woman, he retorted, ‘You are very stupid not to see the propriety of it. In this place and particularly on this occasion I represent a woman (Queen Anne) and ought in all respects to represent her as faithfully as I can.’ Effeminacy and male transvestism were not clearly distinguished at this time, and there was no evidence that Clarendon was a molly. He was undeniably, though, a man who felt false when he dressed and behaved as men were expected to do.
Roger Baker. Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts. 1994: 99
“In 1702, the newly-crowned Queen Anne made her cousin, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, the Governor of New York and New Jersey, a post that he held for six years. To the astonishment and bewilderment of both his colleagues and the general population he persistently dressed as a woman. This was not private or closet transvestism but assertively public. He opened the Assembly in women’s clothes, government business had to be delayed until he had completed his lengthy toilette, he would stroll through the streets in his skirts and dozens of people gawked at him every day.”
Wayne Dynes “Transvestism (Cross-Dressing)” in Wayne Dynes (ed) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. 1990: 1313.
“In North America Edward Hyde. Lord Cornbury, who was governor of New York and New Jersey from 1702 to 1708 was a heterosexual transvestite”.
Henry Moscow. The Book of New York Firsts, 1995:
“Cornbury’s behaviour seemed odder still when he began dressing in his wife’s gowns and, berouged and bepowdered, flounced daily along the parapets of the fort he commanded, while his sentries smirked. On occasion he sallied along Broadway, where at least once he was arrested and hauled back to the fort; one night, when a patrolling watchman investigated the presence of an apparent prostitute stumbling about the fort, the ‘prostitute’ – Cornbury leaped at him, giggling, and pulled his ears.”
Lawrence M Salinger (ed). Encyclopedia of White-Collar & Corporate Crime, 2004: 409.
“In the simplest of terms, Hyde was a drunkard and an unabashed transvestite, with a penchant for addressing the New York Assembly while wearing his wife’s clothes.”
Gloria Brame. “The Governor Who Wore a Dress”. Bilerico, September 01, 2011. Online.
“One of the remarkable characters I discovered while doing some transgender history research for my book was Lord Cornbury. …. .Cornbury is reported to have opened the 1702 New York Assembly clad in a hooped gown and an elaborate headdress and carrying a fan, imitative of the style of Queen Anne. … It is also said that in August 1707, when his wife Lady Cornbury died, His High Mightiness (as he preferred to be called) attended the funeral again dressed as a woman. It was shortly after this that mounting complaints from colonists prompted the Queen to remove Cornbury from office.”


Who was the historical Edward Hyde

(mainly taken from chapter 2 of Patricia U Bonomi's The Lord Cornbury Scandal, 1998)

Edward Hyde (1661 - 1723) was born into a family with strong links to the Stuart dynasty. His grandfather, also called Edward Hyde, had been a faithful servant to Charles Stuart the younger during his exile under the Commonwealth. When Charles Stuart became King as Charles II in 1660, he appointed Hyde as Lord High Chancellor, Baron Hyndon and then Earl of Clarendon. As a courtesy the eldest sons of the Earls Clarendon were to be Viscount Cornbury. Hyde’s eldest daughter, Anne, married James, the younger brother of Charles II, and gave birth to two future queens, Mary and Anne, before dying at age 34. Hyde, morally inflexible, refused to recognise the main mistress of Charles in 1667, and was impeached and exiled to France, where he died in 1674. His eldest son, Henry then became the 2nd Earl of Clarendon. Thus the Cornbury title went to his son, the younger Edward Hyde. Henry was appointed Lord Privy Seal and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. His first wife had died age 22 of smallpox, a few months after Edward’s birth. Edward attended Oxford University at age 13, and completed his education at l’Académie de Calvin in Geneva. In 1683, he became Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons. When the Catholic James Stuart became king as James II in 1685, there was an uprising, Monmouth’s Rebellion, objecting to a Catholic monarch, led by James’ illegitimate half-brother, the Duke of Monmouth. Hyde commanded his troops in the repression of the rebellion and was promoted to full Colonel. The same year he also became a Tory Member of Parliament. In 1688, against his father’s wishes, he married Katherine O’Brian. By then Henry Hyde and his brother Laurence had been dismissed from office because they would not convert to Catholicism. Later in 1688 Mary Stuart’s husband, William of Orange, invited by MPs of both parties, invaded to save Britain for Protestantism – The Glorious Revolution . Edward Hyde was one of the first commanders to take his men over to William’s side. Despite this he fell out of favour with William, and had his regiment taken from him. He remained out of favour until 1701 when William appointed him as Governor of New York, to which was added the post of Governor of New Jersey in 1702 when Anne became Queen. Hyde acquitted himself well in negotiations with French Canada and with the Iroquois Nations, but was resented by some for running the two colonies in the interests of the monarch. Katherine died in 1706: of their seven children, three then still survived. Henry the 2nd Earl died in 1709, and Edward returned in 1710 as the 3rd Earl. He was appointed to the Privy Council and named first commissioner of the Admiralty. He was also sent as ambassador to George, Prince of Hanover, Anne’s chosen successor. Hyde died in 1723, having outlived all his children. He was interred in the family crypt in Westminster Abbey.

Bonomi p31


Namesakes 


* Edward Hyde was not the cricketer (1881-1941), the royalist priest (1607-1659), the 1st Earl Clarendon (this was Edward Hyde’s grandfather); the governor of North Carolina (1667-1712), and certainly not the alternate persona to Dr Jekyll in RL Stevenson’s novella.

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In Part II we will consider the actual evidence. That, we will find, is at variance with the claims quoted above.



06 April 2017

Bambi L’Amour, activist

When 15-year-old Sylvia Rivera was arrested and sent to New York’s Rikers Island prison in 1966, she was in the gay-reserved section where she met a good-looking black queen. They threw shade at each other, and then became firm friends.

Bambi was a natural beauty, unable to be taken as a man, even if she tried. She had been given the name Bambi because of her large eyes. She was almost never seen without a bottle and a bag. Once, in male garb, she was attacked on the subway “for being a dyke”.

After the Weinstein Hall occupation in August 1970, Bambi, along with Sylvia Rivera, Marsha Johnson, Bebe Scarpi, Bubbles Rose Lee, was a founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). She would often be with Sylvia when they zapped gay or student organizations.

She was part of the commune at the mafia-owned 213 East Second Street. Her method of pan-handling was rather dramatic: she would stand in the street to stop traffic, and then bang on car windows to demand change.

Her age is not specified in any of the accounts, nor what happened to her after 1971.

  • Martin B Duberman. Stonewall. Dutton, c1993. Plume, 1994: 123-4, 192, 252, 254.
  • David Carter. Stonewall : the riots that sparked the gay revolution. St. Martin's Press 2004: 56. New York: Griffin 2005.
  • Stephan L. Cohen. The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York: "An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail". Routledge, 2008: 91, 104-5, 106, 122, 127, 128, 132, 147.
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Was Bambi at the Stonewall riots?  Duberman p192 has a very brief mention that she was, but as part of Sylvia's perception of what was happening at Stonewall,    That is in the most dubious part of his book, as others maintain that Sylvia was not in fact there.   Therefore, we don't know if Bambi was there.   Maybe.   

28 March 2017

Sally’s Hideaway and Sally’s II - nightclub

In the mid 1980s, after the coming of AIDS, the masculist gay sex bars in New York, the Anvil, The Mineshaft, the Toilet, went out of business, either voluntarily or under pressure from the city. The Anvil had in its early days featured Felipe Rose who dressed as a Native American (he was Lakota on his father’s side) and was later recruited for the Village People disco group. The Anvil also put on drag shows. It closed in November 1985, and Conrad, its manager, moved to Blues, a nightclub at 264 W 43rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Blues was popular with those working in the sex trade around Times Square. This did not work out, and late 1986 – the year that Harry Benjamin died – the nightclub was re-opened as Sally’s Hideaway, managed by two femme queens: Sally Maggio and Jesse Torres, the hostess manager.

Sally and Jesse had worked in the early 1970s at the trans/gay 220 Club, at 220 West Houston Street, where Lou Reed drank and was presumed to have named his album and track, Sally Can’t Dance, after the manager (although it was photographs of his trans lover, Rachel, which appeared on the inner sleeve). Sally and Jesse then worked at the Greenwich Pub, at 8th Avenue and 13th Street, which attracted gay trans and their admirers.

Sally’s Hideaway put on go-go boy contests, male stripping and drag shows – some by transsexuals. Trans entertainers such as Dorian Corey, Jayne County, Angie Xtravaganza performed.  The customers were a mix of pre-op transsexuals, drag queens, cross-dressers, transvestites, chasers, male strippers and all kinds of hustlers.

Monica Mugler outside Sally's II
There was a serious fire in 1992. Sally moved the club a few doors away to 252 West 43rd Street, which was attached to the Carter Hotel. It was now known as Sally’s II, or simply Sally’s. The bar was circular, two flights up from the street, and there was also a small lounge, up another flight of stairs at the side of the bar. Behind the bar there was a wall of doors permanently closed until one day Sally discovered the unused theatre of the Carter Hotel, only another set of doors away from the hotel lobby. Sally’s II expanded into this space and used the stage. Drag pageants and drag balls were held, usually hosted by or in homage to the ballroom legends of the day: Octavia St. Laurent, Pepper LaBeija, Avis Pendavis. Paris Dupree’s “Paris is Burning” ball was held here in 1992, and the subsequent 1990 film included opening and ending sequences shot outside Sally’s, and strongly featured Dorian Corey and Angie Xtravaganza.

Grace
There was also the Amazing, Electrifying Grace, lip synch performer and comedienne, who had started in the Anvil, and when that closed she emceed and performed at Greenwich Pub for Sally Maggio, and then at Midtown 43 where she did a Sunday Night drag revue. Midtown 43 closed in 1989, by which time Grace was also working at Sally’s. After the fire and the move she was given a steady gig emceeing Sunday and sometimes Monday night. At Midtown 43 Grace had had a following among the butch queens of the ball house crowd, but these did not feel at home in Sally’s.

Trans musician Terre Thaemlitz dj’d there in the early 1990s, until fired for refusing to play the music that was in the charts. The Transy House people, Rusty Mae Moore, Chelsea Goodwin, Julia Murray, Sylvia Rivera, Kristiana Th’mas, went as a group and were regarded as a ‘house’ in the Paris is Burning sense. Self-described tranny-chaser Jonathan Ames was also found there, and the club is featured in his bildungsroman and the subsequent film, The Extra Man.

Sally Maggio died in October 1993. Jesse Torres continued the club, although Mayor Rudolph
Jesse
Giuliani
, real estate interests and the Walt Disney Corporation were changing the character of the Time Square area. Jesse died, unexpectedly, in September 1996 while attending the Miss Continental Pageant in Chicago. Giselle, a long-time Sally’s barmaid, took over, but business was waning. After a series of police busts, Sally’s closed in November 1997.
  • Lou Reed. Sally Can't Dance. RCA Records, 1974.
  • Jennie Livingstone (dir). Paris is Burning. With Dorian Corey, Paris Dupree, Pepper Labeija. US 71 mins 1990.
  • Jonathan Ames, The Extra Man. Scribner, 1999: 91-9, 107-110, 144-5, 157-9, 209-210.
  • Brian Lantelme. “Sally’s Hideaway”. LadyLike, 46, 2001: 17-21. Online
  • Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini (dirs) The Extra Man. Scr: Robert Pulcini & Jonathan Ames, based on the novel by Jonathan Ames, with Paul Dana as Louis Ives and Gisele Alicea as Miss Pepper. US 108 mins 2010.
  • Jeremy Reed. Waiting for the Man: The life and Career of Lou Reed. Overlook Books, 2015: 82.
www.sallys-hideaway.com  
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The one and only account of Sally's is at www.sallys-hideaway,com, The author is identified only by email address as Brian Lantelme, which explains why the Ladylike, 46, 2001 account is virtually the same.   However Lantelme does not mention Lou Reed, Jonathan Ames, Terre Thaemlitz  or Rusty Rae Moore.

There is no mention at all of Sally's in Julian Fleisher's The Drag Queens of New York, 1996.  There is no mention at all of Sally's in Laurence Senelick' The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre, 2000,

I would have liked more information about the Amazing, Electrifying Grace, and her transfer from the Anvil to Midtown 43 to Sally's.   Was her act the same, or did it change to reflect the audience?

The Anvil was, in effect, a gentleman's club: women, cis or trans were not usually admitted as customers, although it is said that  Lee Radziwill, sister to Jackie Onassis, frequented the place in male drag.



23 March 2017

Recurring untruths: Marsha P Johnson’s birthday


“The story’s told/ With facts and lies”. Leonard Cohen.

A new series of untruths, canards, lies and misinformation that are repeated with regard to trans history.

_________________________________


 
We know how this canard started.

Martin Duberman. Stonewall :190-2.
“Sylvia Rivera had been invited to Marsha P. Johnson’s party on the night of June 27, but she decided not to go. … No, she was not going to Marsha’s party. She would stay home. … But then the phone rang and her buddy Tammy Novak – who sounded more stoned than usual – insisted that Sylvia and Gary join her later that night at Stonewall. Sylvia hesitated. If she was going out at all … she would go to Washington Square [bar]. She had never been crazy about Stonewall. …. But Tammy absolutely refused to take no for an answer and so Sylvia, moaning theatrically, gave in. …. Rumor had it that Marsha Johnson, disgusted at the no-shows for her party, was also headed downtown to Stonewall, determined to dance somewhere. Sylvia expansively decided that she did like Stonewall after all …. When the cops came barrelling through the front door.”

Note that Duberman says Marsha’s party – not birthday party!


This altered somewhat in the retelling.

Here is part of the IMDB summary of the plot of the recent film, Happy Birthday, Marsha! :
“It's a hot summer day in June, 1969. Marsha throws herself a birthday party and dreams of performing at a club in town, but no one shows up. Sylvia, Marsha's best friend, distraught from an unsuccessful introduction between her lover and her family, gets so stoned she forgets about the party. After encountering a series of micro-aggressions from street harassment to tense encounters with the police that day, Marsha and Sylvia eventually meet at the Stonewall Inn to finally celebrate Marsha's birth. When the police arrive to raid the bar, Marsha and Sylvia are the first to fight back.”

Happy Birthday, Marsha! is of course a lot more trans positive than Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall that came out a few month’s earlier.

However, there are two problems:

A) Was Sylvia Rivera even at Stonewall on the first night of the riots? David Carter in his Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution, 2004, does not even mention Sylvia. Very annoyingly he does not give any reason in the book for Sylvia being missing. However he was interviewed by Gay.Today on this very question and answered:
"Yes, I am afraid that I could only conclude that Sylvia's account of her being there on the first night was a fabrication. Randy Wicker told me that Marsha P. Johnson, his roommate, told him that Sylvia was not at the Stonewall Inn at the outbreak of the riots as she had fallen asleep in Bryant Park after taking heroin. (Marsha had gone up to Bryant Park, found her asleep, and woke her up to tell her about the riots.) Playwright and early gay activist Doric Wilson also independently told me that Marsha Johnson had told him that Sylvia was not at the Stonewall Riots.”
B) The consensus is that Marsha Johnson’s birthday was 24 August 1945. It could well be that she proposed a party on 27 June, but it was not a birthday party!

The following sites say that her birthday was 24 August: EN.Wikipedia,   IMDB,   Sexual History Tour,   Revolvy,   Making Gay History,   Black Revolutionary Theatre Workshop,


On the other hand, some sites seem to have worked backwards and assumed Marsha’s birthday from the date of the Stonewall riot (they also for some reason add one year to her age):

The Radical Notion says: “Marsha P. Johnson was born on June 27, 1944”.

Transgender Equality says: “Disappointed that no one had shown up for a party to celebrate her 25th
birthday, Marsha P. Johnson headed to the Stonewall Inn on the evening of June 27, 1969”.



Femmes Fatales at Penn State University says: “Marsha P. Johnson was celebrating her 25t
h birthday at Stonewall during the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969 when the police began a raid of Stonewall”.






20 March 2017

Mary Baker (1911 - ? ) chorine, housewife


At age 16 William Richeson became Mary Baker and found work as a chorus girl in New York theatre.

She later worked as nurse, waitress and chambermaid. In 1931 she married.

In 1937 she was outed, much to the surprise of her husband.

  • “Posed Ten Years as Woman, Danced in Chorus, ‘Married’ “. The Daily Mail, 12 October 1937, reprinted in George Ives (ed Paul Sieveking). Man Bites Man: The Scrapbook of an Edwardian Eccentric. Penguin Books, 1981: 128.

17 March 2017

Lauren Jeska (1974 - ) fell runner

Jeska, originally from Lancashire, studied physics at Oxford University, and then gender studies at Leeds University. She transitioned in 2000.


Jeska took up fell running, and was the women’s 2010, 2011 and 2012 English champion, and won the British Championship in 2012. She became a familiar winner. It was an open secret among the runners that Lauren was trans, and she had told some officials.

In 2015 she was told that she would not be able to compete and her racing results would be declared null and void as she hadn't provided blood samples to prove her testosterone levels had lowered significantly, and following this UK Athletics was considering a review into her status as female. All athletes were required to take a blood test but Jeska took exception to this and feared being unable to compete. As a result she risked having her championship results declared void.

She twice asked for NHS psychiatric help, but was not referred to a specialist.

Jeska drove more than 100 miles from her home in Machynlleth, Powys, Wales, to the British Athletic headquarters in Perry Barr, Birmingham. She was carrying three knives, including a 13cm kitchen knife. She asked to speak to Ralph Knibbs, UK Athletics human resources and welfare manager (and former rugby player). She walked up to him and stabbed him several times. Two other men who intervened were also injured. This was capturd on CCTV. The presence of a former Royal Navy paramedic helped to stabilise Knibbs. Although he suffered a stroke during the attack, resulting in partial sight-loss.

Jeska plead guilty at a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court in September 2016. After delays waiting for psychiatric reports, Jeska was jailed in March 2017 for 18 years, and an extended licence of five years to be served after release.
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The newspaper accounts leave much unexplained. Did Jeska merely study at Oxford and Leeds, or did she have a degree (or 2)? What did she do for a living? In a small town in Powys, one would expect a physics graduate to be a teacher, but Machynlleth is only a short distance from the university town of Aberystwyth.

Why, 15 years after surgery, would a trans woman decline a blood test? Yes it would reveal that she had XY chromosomes, but that was admitted. Her testosterone level should be well below the required level.


There was no way that her attack on Mr Knibbs was going to solve the problem