How Far We Have Come!

 I have mentioned before some of the amazing research and work "Zagria" does on her blog "A Gender Variance Who's Who".
Here's more of her work which illustrates how far we have come as a transgendered culture.

In most trans histories Virginia Prince and such people tend to be shunted into a separate section.  The gay transvestites, with the notable exception of Stonewall seem to disappear altogether.  As we saw with Susanna Valenti, the reality was that some of the same individuals who attend FPE meetings, would also go to gay bars and the drag balls.  This article is a summary of the various activities in New York City in the 1960s.

Unlike in California and elsewhere in the US, neither cross-dressing nor being homosexual (as opposed to homosexual acts) as such were criminal in New York.  However the New York police regarded homosexuals as morally depraved and arrested persons assumed to be such on whatever grounds that they could.  In particular they used entrapment, and raided clubs and bars and arrested those found within.  By 1966 the NYPD was arresting over 100 men every week on charges of 'homosexual solicitation' -- mainly resulting from entrapment.  The wave of decriminalization of homosexuality that spread across Europe, East and West, and to Canada never reached the US.  In 1953 then President Eisenhower signed a government order adding 'sexual perversion' as a reason for investigation and dismissal.  Police and military records were shared with private employers.  Thousands were dismissed from their jobs with no recourse.  No known 'sexual pervert' could gain or retain a professional license.  Cross-dressing was taken as evidence of homosexuality even when the person was married. The police had an informal rule that you should be wearing at least three items 'appropriate to your sex'.  The New York State Liquor Authority had its own laws: homosexuals and transvestites were decreed to be 'lewd and dissolute' and their presence in a bar made it disorderly and subject to closure.  Because no gay bar could be legal, the mafia ran most of them, not caring about licenses, bribing the police and blackmailing the customers.  The very harshness of the penalties led to many judges being unwilling to sentence gays, lesbians and transsexuals, and giving a fine or probation instead.  However the possibility of getting the wrong judge stifled expression and inhibited lives.


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