Category Archives: Quotes and History

A Quote to Be Thankful for

“Now, the boys and girls up in marketing all know that advertisements and commercials don’t sell products. Advertisements and commercials sell what? Sex and gender! That’s right! And sex and gender sell what? The products? Very good! Sex, because it’s sex. And once you’ve had great sex, well, you’re going to want some more. And if you’ve never had great sex, you’ll buy anything hoping to get some. But gender—that’s another can of worms. That’s a different kettle of fish. That’s another pea in a different pod. Simply put, once you buy gender, you’ll buy anything in order to keep it. You’ll buy anything. So—the boys and girls up in marketing have come up with the ultimate marketing strategy. We’re not going to sell you any products tonight, no we’re going to sell you gender. And you want to buy it.

You want to buy gender because you want to relieve the nagging feeling that you’re not quite a man, not quite a woman.”

Doc Grinder speaking in the play Hidden: a Gender by Kate Bornstein, from Gender Outlaw, page 173.

Trans Lives Matter in San Francisco in the 1960s

“The Central City Anti-Poverty Program Office opened that fall as a result of the Tenderloin neighborhood organizing campaign. This multiservice agency included an office for the police community-relations officer to the homophile community, a police sergeant by the name of Elliott Blackstone. One afternoon shortly after the agency opened, a transgender neighborhood resident named Louise Ergestrasse came into Blackstone’s office, threw a copy of Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon on his desk, and demanded that Blackstone do something for ‘her people.’ Blackstone was willing to be educated on the matter, and he soon took a leading role in changing police treatment of transgender people.”

From Transgender History by Susan Stryker, page 75.

Quote of the Day

“What frightened me most about the possibility of skin grafts was not my potential appearance, but rather the symbolism—my obviously stitched-together face being interpreted by others as a metaphor for the fakeness of my entire body, my gender. Whenever I shared this thought with cissexual friends, they always responded the same way, telling me that it was nonsense, that cancer-related skin grafts have nothing to do with transsexuality. And while that may be true in a logical sort of way, it seemed to me to be particularly convenient for them to say. Unlike them, I didn’t have the privilege of having my body viewed as inherently natural and congruent. My body is always betraying me, whether it was the male body that used to feel completely alien to me, or my current female state, which others view as inherently unnatural and illegitimate.”

from Excluded by Julie Serano, page 41.

Quote of the Day

“Humiliation is a whip of the defenders of gender. Humiliation is sanctioned at virtually every level of the culture: people can laugh at a transgendered person; but when there’s no fear of being humiliated for one’s portrayal of gender, there’s less opportunity of the culture to exert control.”

from Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, page 88.

Magnus Hirschfeld, Dangerous Man – a bit of history

“Adolf Hitler personally denounced Hirschfeld, who was a socialist as well as a homosexual as ‘the most dangerous Jew in Germany.'”

Who was this dangerous man?

Magnus Hirschfeld was a sexologist in the early 20th century. He was also “a pioneering advocate for transgender people. As early as 1910 he had written The Transvestites, the first book-length treatment of transgender phenomenon. He worked with the Berlin police department to end the harassment and targeting for arrest of transgender people. Transgender people worked on the staff of the Institute for Sexual Science (albeit as receptionists and maids), and some were part of Hirschfeld’s social circle as well, including Dora Richter. Richter underwent the first documented male-to-female genital transformation surgery in 1931, arranged on her behalf by Hirschfeld himself. Hirschfeld was the linchpin, and his institute the hub, of the international network of transgender people and progressive medical experts who set the stage for the post-World War II transgender movement.”

He probably did not invent the word, transvestite, however. You can read more about the origin of the word here.

Hirschfeld left Germany and “in 1933, fascist vigilantes ransacked and destroyed Hirschfeld’s Institute in Berlin.” Hirschfeld settled on the French Riviera.

Quotes from Transgender History by Susan Stryker, page 39.