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Miss J Willmott (Conference Secy.) 166 HYDE PARK RD LEEDS LS5 1AH
The idea which originated this conference was put forward by Colin Robertson in the course of a casual conversation with myself, June Willmott, the local representative of the Beaumont Society (a nationally known organisation dedicated to the work of securing better understanding of the phenomena of Transvestism and Transsexualism), whilst we sat in front of the fire in my living room on a chilly January evening.
Colin quite simply said "let's hold a conference for T.V.'s and T.S.'s, and for the Medical and Social workers who come into frequent contact with them. After a few moments of incredulity, I gathered that the remark had been made in all seriousness, and we began to discuss how, when and where such a Conference could be held. Colin was confident that the Leeds University Students' Union would co-operate to the extent of allowing us the use of the Union Debating Chamber, and any necessary ancillary premises or services within the University complex. As Colin is in fact a post graduate of the University, I left to him the major task of making the initial enquiries.
Within a few days, the necessary assurances were received, plus the infor- mation that the only 'free' week-end during which the Union Debating Chamber would be avialable, was that of March 16th/17th. It was decided to go ahead and book these dates. We now had the time and the place, so it was up to us to devise the means to hold the conference. The enormity of what we had undertaken to do gradually dawned upon us.
Successive fireside "Committee Meetings" between us gradually evolved a plan. I accepted designation as Conference Secretary, and with Colin's able assistance, we began first of all to plan who to invite. Gradually a list of individuals and organisations was evolved, from our own personal knowledge, and by diligent research in the local Reference Library, not forgetting the Yellow Pages of numerous telephone directories. the lists grew apace, but we fully realised that we had to try and reach the maximum number of interested, or potentially interested praties (from the Chief Constable of Leeds City police to the ministry of Social Security, from the top Psychiatric Consultants and Surgeons to the general Practitioner, and of course not forgetting those individuals who at some time had made headline news in the Press or on Radio or Television, for their involvement with our Conference theme). In any case, we thought it unlikely that the success rate of affirmative replies would be much above 40-50%, and so indeed it turned out.
The draft of a 'standard' letter of invitation was prepared, together with a number of special covering letters containing more detailed information, or requests for active participation, which were deemed necessary in a number of cases. A copy of the standard invitation, together with a typical covering letter, is set out in appendices 'A', 'B' and 'C' of this report.
Arrangements were made to have these printed by Caroline Scott, the producer of the Beaumont Society's bi-monthly Bulletin, and eventually 215 invitations were enveloped, addressed, and posted within the course of one week-end!
Obviously in addition to the 'Personal' invitations, some other forms of publicity would be needed. a draft for a small poster was prepared 'in the rough' and when its contents had been finally agreed, it was dispatched at somewhat short notice to our professional 'Commercial Art Department', Miss Audrey Farnsworth, to produce the artwork and arrange for printing. The
resultant posters were widely distributed and displayed, at Universities throughout the north and Midlands, and at the Leeds G.L.F. Bookshop. a large number were distributed to transvestites and transsexuals attending the Fahoy Dress Ball at Porchester Hall in London, held just a few weeks before the conference, by kind permission of the Organiser, Mr. Jean Fredericks.
Before the posters could be sent for printing, it was of course necessary to have some firm information about who wold be the prrincipal speakers at the Conference. Here again, 'pooled' information from various sources (Beaumont Society, Gay Liberation Front, and recent press coverage or books published) produced quite an impressive list of 'possibles'. All were approached, with differing degrees of success, owing to problems in getting to know correct up-to- date postal addresses in many instances, wit ha special invitation to take an active part. Gradually the replies began to trickle in, and now, at last, the Conference 'dream' began to turn into reality, we really could hold our Conference, and responsible and articulate people would actively support it.
Now came the task of planning the Conference content and timetable in detail. We wanted to build up a programme containing not only lectures and discussions, but also something in a lighter vein. It had already been decided that we would invite as many delegates as possible to come to Leeds on the Friday, in order that a prompt and reasonably early start to the main business of the Conference could be made on Saturday morning. The question was now how best to make use of the Friday evening for those delegates who had in fact reached Leeds on that day. as it was reasonable to assume that in the main, these would be delegates travelling from far afield, and who in many cases would not have met one another before,it was decided that a Reception and Coffee Evening would be a suitable curtain raiser to the main Conference Agenda.
Now came the first big hurdle to be surmounted. We would need to find a suitable hotel room where a Reception could be held, and, possibly even more difficult, we would need to find a range of hotels at verying price categories, at which delegates could be allocated Bed and Breakfast accomodation, within easy reach of the University. Obviously both the hotel where the reception was to be held, and those accommodating our Delegates, must be told the nature of the Conference, and the fact that many of the transvetites (and all the trans- sexuals) attending would wish to do so in the mode of dress appropriate to their chosen gender.
Fortunately, and I must confess, somewhat to my surprise, not one of the establishments which I approached with my request, turned us down or raised any objections. We were thus able, without difficulty, to book a suitable venue for the Friday 'Reception and Coffee Evening' (at The Guildford Hotel, in the City Centre, a well-known and well respected hotel used by many local clubs and societies, business enterprises, etc.), and we negotiated with four hotels in the university area for an allocation of some 30 bed and breakfast guests. Later it became necessary to make an approach to two more hotels, to accommodate the growing number of delegates, and here again, no problems were encountered.
In addition to the formal lectures, it was realised that Group Discussions, in which all delegates would be encouraged to take part, would provide the most valuable and worthwhile aspect of the Conference. The invitation letter to delegates asked for suggestions for suitable discussion topics, and from the many which were received, some of which quite understandably overlapped one another, a list containing some 15 topics was prepared, the intention being to select a number of these at Conference itself by a show of hands vote, the final number chosen for debate to be ruled by the number of groups of up to six persons which
could be formed. It was originally planned that these Conference Workshops should be held on the Saturday afternoon, and that the Group Leaders should present their findings on the Sunday morning, but over-running of previous items eventually meant postponing the Workshops until the Sunday morning.It was intended to follow the Workshop Reports with an Open Forum Question and answer session, but time ran out on us, and this latter had to be combined with the discussions on the contents of the Workshop Reports. This was rather unfortunate, as it meant that many of the Social Welfare workers and other professional people, who were unable to stay to take part in the Sunday session, missed this part of the proceedings.
Non-availability of the University Union Building on a Sunday morning meant that the final sessions had to be held at the Leeds polytechnic, where we secured the use of the Staff Common Room for the purpose. this proved an ideal choice, as it greatly eased the problem of providing a 'Do it yourself' mid-day snack meal, there being no Refectory meals Service on a Sunday.
Thought was also given to the possibility of including a Film Show as part of the Conference Programme, and it was soon established that suitable room and projection equipment could be provided for this purpose. Discussion then centred around the question of suitable films which might be available for hire. It was agreed that an ideal choice would be the full length feature film 'I Want What I Want' - the screen version of Geoff Brown's poignant novel about a would-be transsexual in contemporary surroundings, a film which had only a limited public showing in london and a few provincial towns. Unfortunately, all endeavours to trace a distributor having a copy of this film for hire, were abortive (though one has since been located, but the information came too late to be utiliased) and we had to hastily settle for an alternative, that of the American made film 'The Queen', which depicts the running of a "Drag Contest" in that country.
It was planned to show this film as the closing item of the Saturday after- noon Conference Session, then to finish the day off with a Disco-Dance and Social later in the evening, whic hwould be open not only to Conference Delegates and their friends, but also to all Leeds University and Polytechnic Students, for the Lipman Building (the Medical Student's Union Recreation Centre), and for the issue of a License Extension for the Bar. These matters were entrusted to the Leeds University Branch of the Gay Liberation Front, who had previous experience of organising Dances etc, at this venue, with considerable success. All arrange- ments were completed satisfactorily, and we are much indebted to them for the work done on our behalf.
Now that we virtually had all the ingredients, came the task of dovetailing all the items into a convenient timetable within the confines of the ohurs during which the various locations would be available to us. After much shuffling, re-shuffling and last minute alterations, a programme was produced, and a copy of it appears in Appendix D of this Report.
Our planning efforts were now turned towards the publicity angle. As the date of the Conference approached, a suitably worded Press Release (Appendix E) was sent to local and semi-national newspapers ('The Guardian', 'The Yorkshire Post', 'The Bradford Telegraph and Argus', 'The Huddersfield Examiner', 'The Hull Daily mail' and 'The Doncaster Evening Post'. Details of the Conference were also supplied to the Leeds City Information Bureaux at the Central Public Library and the Civic Hall. B.B.C. Radio Leeds, B.B.C. (North) Television Service and Yorkshire Television were also informed, in the hopes of some new coverage.
In the event only Radio Leeds took up the challenge, and I received an invi- tation to go along to their studios in Leeds to record a short talk about the aims and objectives of the Conference, a few days beforehand. Whilst I had broadcast from Radio Leeds on a previous occasion a programme about Transvestism and the beaumont Society, I felt that this new request was an even rgeater challenge. It was so essential that the correctmessage be got over - that this was a Conference seriously involved in the promotion of better understanding of transvestism and transsexualism, by the many Social Welfare and Medical workers who regularly come into contact wit hthese phenomena, and also by the general public. here was the chance, once, and hopefully for all, to dispel the Sunday Newspaper Scandal image which has dogged our steps for so long. I felt that I would be better able to project this serious image if I went to the studio 'en femme' - and this I did. I felt that I had butterflies the size of Concorde in my stomach as I walked into the merrion Centre Studios in the bright sunshine of a March morning, but once there, I was received with such firendly courtesy and total acceptance of my female role, that most of my fears evaporated. I had been asked to do the broadcast without a written script, just from notes; luckily I was able to work quite satisfactorily from these. The recording proved 'O.K.' and it was put out twice during the day before Conference opened, at morning and evening peak times.
Meanwhile, reaction came from the Press in the form of a visit from Michael Parkin, reported for 'The Guardian', who interviewed Colin and myself; in my case just as I was about to dish up the Sunday joint! Anyway, at least our Conference got a mention, and an extract from the article appears in Appendix F.
Whilst all this was going on, Colin had quietly and competently made all arrangements with the University Authorities for the use of the Refectory for lunch on the Saturday, and with members of the Gay Liberation Front to provide a Coffee Trolley Service, and the basic necessities to provided a 'Do It Yoruself' lunch on the Sunday.
Other fringe activities were also being planned, and these included the provision of a Bookstall, offering a wide range of literature on the subjects of transvestism and transsexualism, both in the form of books for sale and a number of free 'hand-outs'. A recently concluded deal with a local shoe shop had provided a large quantity of ladies' footwear at bargain prices, and a stall was set up at which these could be purchased, emphasis having been placed on securing stocks in the larger sizes, the idea proved quite popular.
One final attention to detail; we arranged with the R.A.C. for the display of their familiar blue and white road signs at strategic points, directing motor traffic to the 'T.V./T.S. Conference'. It would be interesting to know what the unenlightened portion of the population of Leeds made of the 'T.V./T.S. abbreviation! A detailed map of the University/Polytechnic area, showing the main Conference locations, hotels etc, was enclosed with every copy of the Conference programme sent to delegates, and an enlarged version of this map, prepared by our Art Department, was exhibited at the Guildford Hotel during the Friday Reception and also at the Union Debating Chamber.
Arrangements were made for photographic coverage of the Conference by 'T.V. Photographic', (130 Camaston Road, Derby), who had given their services on similar occasions in the past. A large display of work carried out by this undertaking at other locations, proved a major point of interest, when mounted at the rear ofthe Debating Chamber. In addition to producing a pictorial record of the Conference in session,many interesting 'shots' of individual delegates and groups were taken, thse are referred to in Appendix G.
Once it was known, from the replies to the original letter of invitation which delegates were definitely coming, copies of the detailed Conference Programme were posted off to them, and also to additional individuals or organi- sations whom we hoped, even at this late hour, to interest sufficiently for them to attend.
Thus, all too swiftly, the fateful date of Friday 15th March dawned. Soon we would know if all our plans could be translated into fact. Replies received from the invitations which had been sent out, and information from other sources, indicated a probable attendance in the region of 100. In actual fact, the maximum attenance at any one time, was 102 during the post-lunch session on the Saturday afternoon. At the Disco-Dance on the Saturday night, 185 persons paid for admission. Altogether a really worthwhile response to our efforts.
The planning of the Conference has purposely been described in some detail, as it is thought that this may well prove useful to anyone planning a future Conference on similar lines.
THE CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS
Friday 15th March 1974
The Reception and Coffee Evening held at the Guildford Hotel, Leeds, was attended by 52 delegates and friends or relatives. The function was held in a reserved room at the hotel; Bar and Coffee service was provided and every credit must be given to the waitress staff, who apparently unaware of the nature of the occasion, were confronted with a room of smartly turned out women, of whom 80% or more were men. it proved a very pleasant and enjoyable social occasion, and an ideal way for people to get to know one another, or to renew old acquaintances. A reporter from the 'Yorkshire Post', in fact non other than the Chief Features Editor himself, Geoffrey Winter: His eyewitness account of the evening, which appeared in the following day's paper, makes interesting reading, and is repro- duced in full in Appendix F.
Saturday 16th march 1974
The delegates began to assemble at the Leeds University Union Debating Chamber shortly after 10.0am. As always, a number of last minute tasks had to be tackled, even, for example, the removal or hiding of graffiti on the walls resulting from previous student activities, and whose content might be calculated to offend the ladies present! Conference opened some ten minutes after the advertised time of 10.15am, with an address of welcome by Miss June Willmott, the Conference Secretary:
"Welome to Leeds, and to this, the First National Conference for Trans- vestites and Transsexuals, to be held in Great Britain. Some of you I met last night at the Guildford Hotel, to those of you whom I have not previously met, I bid you warm welcome to this Conference.
I was at first tempted to describe this conference as a UNIQUE occasion but on thinking for a moment of the dictionary definition of unique, namely something that has not happened previously, and which is not likely to happen again, I thought better of it. Whilst this is undoubtedly the first occasion of its kind, I sincerely hope that it will not be the last.
Before going any further, I feel that it would be appropriate at this stage to pay tribute to all those who have helped to organise this Conference, and in particular to the Leeds G.L.F., and the Beaumont Society, without whose help it could never have taken place.
Interest in the subjects of Transvestism and Transsexualism has mushroomed considerably, the last few years in particular have shown an awakening interest by the Press, Radio and Television. I feel that this is in no small measure due to the work carried out by the Beaumont Society, the Transsexual Action Organisation and the T.V.S.G., in collaboration with the medical profession and the various Social Welfare Organisations, both professional and voluntary.
As I myself am a member of the Beaumont Society, in fact as some of you are probably aware, I am the local representative for the North of England, and as the major part of my experience has been through the medium of this Society, I hope that those representatives who are present here from other organisations working in this field, forgive me if I momentarily refer to my experiences within the Beaumont Society.
From a tiny group of Transvestites, meeting in semi-secrecy some six years ago, and facing as they thought, total rejection by the general public, and
possible cold shouldering by the established voluntary and professional social workers, and the medical profession, there has been some truly phenomenal prog- ress made. Over 800 individual Transvestites and Transsexuals have joined the Beaumont Society during that period, and many have been helped towards a happier and guilt free life among their own families, and indeed they have become aware that far from being an insuperable 'problem', transvestism and transsexualism can become pleasant and acceptable ways of life. This revolution has notcome about spontaneously, but results from the sheer hard work undertaken by the officials, and individual members of the Beaumont Society and other organisations to which I referred. This has occurred both as a result of the counselling work undertaken amongst members or potential members, and of their persistent lobbying of the Social Welfare organisations, and the Medical and Psychiatric professionsl. We have also been fortunate in eliciting sympathetic reporting of our activities in the responsible press and by both BBC and ITV.
I am delighted to see so many delegates from the Social Welfare organisations and the Medical professions, here today. I am also particularly pleased to see representatives from responsible bodies who represent the interests of other minority groups, grappling with other aspects of what is politely called 'sexual deviation'. A common awareness of what we, and they, are striving to achieve, can do nothing but good. The following are the titles of the organisations from which delegates have promised to attend.
|Nottingham Council of Social Services
|Nottingham Family Welfare Committee
|C.H.E.('FRIEND Counselling Service)
|Probation & Aftercare Service (Bradford & Leeds)
|Samaritans Hull & Leeds Branches)
|Transsexual Action Organisation (United Kingdom Branch)
|Institute for Sex Education & Research
|Leeds University (Department of Psychiatry)
|York University Chaplaincy
|Marriage Guidance Council (Bradford & Hull Branches)
Apologies for inability to attend, owing to other committments have been received from:-
|British Psychological Society
|Dr.John Handell, Gender Identity Clinic, London
|Chief Constable, Leeds city police
|Dr. Theo Schlicht, Consultant Psychiatrist, London
|Department of Employment (Leeds Office)
To those of you who are present, may I say how much we welcome the fact that you have come along to our Conference.
Let us not lose sight of the fact that a great deal of further study and research remains to be done, in order to achieve a better understanding of our conference subject. We hope, most fervently, that such better understanding may ultimately mean that the transvestite and the transsexual can walk freely abroad in Society, offending no-one, better udnerstood by some, and, we hope, tolerated by all. That then is the prime purpose of this Conference, to bring together both the individuals concerned, and those bodies who seek to help us achieve a better understanding, both they of us and we of ourselves.
I will take up no more of the limited time available to us, before i intro- duce our first speaker. But first of all, I would like to draw your attention
to an alteration to the printed programme, At very short notice, we have someone here today who can be classed as something of a celebrity. I refer to Miss Della Aleksander who recently produced and took a prominent part in BBC 2's 'Open Door' programme about transsexualism. I am pleased to say that Miss Aleksander is going to address the Conference this morning, at the close of the pre-lunch session.
And now it gives me very great pleasure to introduce our first speaker, Miss Margaret Williams. Miss Williams is the Public Relations Officer of the Beaumont Society, but today she is wearing her 'other hat', that of a researcher. I am sure that Margaret will not mind my saying this (at least I hope she won't) name- ly that she has spent a great many years studying in considerable depth, what makes transvestites and transsexuals 'tick' - and that in her case, a lifelong ambition to live her life in the gender role of her choice is now being made possible. It is hardly surprising that the subject matter of her talk is 'The Psychology of Transvestism and Transsexualism" "
A synopsis of Miss William's lecture is reproduced below. (Copies of the full text of her lecture, an extremely well thought out treatise deserving a study in depth, may be obtained free of charge from the author by writing to BM.Haser., London WC1V 6XX. Please enclose a large S.A.E.)
" Sex and Gender are defined in simple terms, and the transvestite and the transsexual are then defined as persons in whom the direction of gender and sexual motivation is partly or wholly inverted with respect to their genetic sex. Basic similarities wihtin a class is illustrated with reference to the hetero- sexual transvestite and it is suggested that the behaviour of this category may be explained by the conflict between normal and inverted gender motivations. The nature and behaviour of the transsexuals is described and it is concuded that transvestism and transsexualism are both symptoms of the same gender disorient- ation but with varying degrees of intensity.
Psychotherapy and aversion therapy as methods for 'normalising' the transvestite/transsexual are discussed and it is concluded that both tehcniques are ineffective at the present stage of knowledge.
Possible genetic or hormonal causes for the cross gender impulse have been proposed as well as the effect of post-natal rearing. It is considered that there is no firm evidence for one single cause but that the most likely explanation is the effect of childhood upbringing superimposed on a genetically favourable personality. Evidence as to the importance of postnatal environment is given in terms of the work of Dr.Money on hermaphroditic pairs and Dr.Stoller on young transseuxals. An hypothesis in which transsexual motivation may be considered as an unconcious attempt to identify with a childhood mother image is presented and discussed with reference to the conclusions of Dr.Stoller and the effect of natural hormones."
June then introduced the second speaker of the morning session:-
"Our second speaker this morning is Miss Julia Tonner, who is the United Kingdom representative of the U.S.A based Transsexual Action Organisation (TAO for short). Miss Tonner is no stranger to Leeds audiences, as only six weeks ago she addressed a meeting of the G.L.F at the Tradews Hall, describing her experiences of living and working as a woman. Having heard her talk on that occasion I had no hesitation in asking her to come along today for a repeat performance. Julia, who was born a male person, has now lived for quite a
lengthy period as a owman. She is currently attenting the Gender Identity Clinic at the Charing Cross Hospital in London, and, if all goes well she is hoping that quite shortly she will be offered the facilities of surgical intervention, to complete the process of gender realignment. Quite understandably, Miss tonner has chosen as the title of her talk, 'Fit or Misfit - the position of a transsexual at work and leisure in modern society'. The text of Miss. Tonner's talk is reproduced below.
Fit or Misfit - the Position of the Transsexual in Modern Society
In today's society the transsexual is still looked upon to a great extent as a freak and a menace to anyone that has not the slightest understanding of the situation. Despite much investigation into the phenomena of transsexualism no real or apparent reason has yet been made. However, surely this is no reason for the transsexual, or for that matter the transvestite, to be treated in the manner to which most of them are subjected at some time or other thoguhout their lives, once the 'ordinary people' get to hear ofthem. One must wonder howmuch of this attitude is not due entirely to the inhibitions that some of the 'ordinary people' have within themselves and are afraid to admit to them.
Thankfully society is not composed entirely of such individuals, and nowadays transsexuals, once they have got rid of their initial fear of such reprisals that were common at one time are at last beginning to realise the meaning of a full and happy life. to this end can be attributed some very good interest from certain of the many forms of the media at present circulating today. I do not, for obvious reaosns, include what I term the 'gutter press', but some of the more meaningful publicatoins who, whilst not adopting a full understanding of individuals they choose to write about, at least do so with an open mind and leave the rest up to their readers.
In very many other way the life of the transsexual is not an easy one, but to the transsexual it is the only way of life that they know and can be happy in whether it is as a male-female or a female-male way of life. It may appear immaterial therefore that for the male-female transsexual to wear the cltohes that they feel are the only suitable outward expression of their innermost feelings, but at the same time this is reflected throughout society in general, and this is the attitude that the transsexual knows is right for her, but because of this they are ridiculed, and if they are already receiving the necessary treatment they are in a position where they can most certainly do no harm to society in any way apart from making societythink inwardly and deeply about its own attitudes towards life, and this might be what they are afraid of.
Once the transsexual has decided that the only way she can be happy in life is by receiving the treatment that she so earnestly desires and knows that shemusthave, and by ovecoming, to a great extent her fear of society at large one would imagine that the majority of her problems would be over, but this is not the case. Invariably the transsexual, happy at last to feel that theyhave achieved part of the gender role the yknow they hsould have been in all their lives, decide that they no longer have to lie again in order to conceal the full facts of their lives. This is a great relief to them and they feel that a weight has been lifted from their shoulders and all they wish to do is to be able to out to work and earn a living. But what do they find when they attempt this? They find that society is still acting in concert against them, and it is only by dint of very hard workon the part of the transsexual that she is able to get her National insurance cards changed to indicate her gender role. For the purpose of this account I will deal with the Male-Female transsexual, not for
any other reason than that there would appear to be muc hmore written about the Male-Female transsexual than their Female-Male counterparts. Can one wonder at the dejection of the transsexual when they realise that they are expected, if they are to comply with the law of the land, to work with insurance cards designating them, in the biggest letters on the card, as MEN. Is it any wonder that the transsexual feels that she has come up against the first major obstacle in life. How can they be expected to work under such a designation? How could they hope to find an employer willing to employ them as a woman, but be expected by the country to pay & stamp for them as a man. In these circumstances the only alternative left is for the transsexual to revert to telling lies, and to say to the employer that shehas lost her cards and is waiting for new ones. If she does this she leaves herself, and her employer open to prosecution as it is illegal for anyone to work without first ensuring that a stamp will be affixed for any week theymaywork. If theydo not have any cards how can they do this with all honesty. After a sufficiently long period of working in their proper gender role they may be allowed to change their cards, but only after they have gone through many frustrating moments, and even after this their problems are by no means over. they still have a very long way to go before they are at last allowed to receive the cure that they have been searching for all their lives.
In this long wait for the eventual cure the transsexual is in aperpetual state of turmoil. they are unable to live a really full life as they are always aware of a fear of discovery, which to many of them is a very real fear. Is it any wonder then that the transsexual is seen as a person with an unstable outward appearance and possibly very emotional. This may sometimes transmit itself to other people and as a result it is no wonder that the transsexual can gain not only for themselves, but for all other transsexuals the reputation of being a misfit in society.
Whilst many transsexuals do manage to go to, and receive adequate initial treatment from, a great many doctors it is to be thoroughly deployred that some transsexuals can be placed in very embarrassing positions by some doctors. This is very hard on the individual transsexual and can lead to the person concerned to attempt, and all too often succeed in committing suicide.
In all this period of time the transsexual is at a complete loss and with nowhere to turn for social contact, for although they are living reasonably happy lives, if they have success in overcomming many or all of the major problems, they do not have many friends in whom they can confide. Let's face it, it is not the easiest thing to talk about even to very close firends, and as there are so few transsexuals about with whom they could feel completely at ease. In this context expectant mothers tend to talk to other expectant mothers, brick- layers tend to mix with other bricklayers, but with whom can other transsexuals meet unles sthey are lucky enough to be able to contact one of the few other transsexuals around. So they are again forced to keep within themselves their emotions and innermost feelings. This is surely a bad thing?
This then, is only a very short account of what a transsexual, in modern society, has to endure, but believe me, there are many more aspects that could be discussed and hopefully these will be covered more fully at another Conference and one, if it is only half as good as this one has been, will be an undoubted success.
At the close of Miss Tonner's talk, June made a brief announcement pointing out the facilities offered at the Bookstall. Attention was also called to the
fact that it was the intention to produce a full Conference Report in due course, copies of which would be available at 15p each. Orders should be placed at the Bookstall during Conference hours. June then went on to introduce the final speaker of the morning session.
"Our final speaker this morning is something of a celebrity, and really needs no formal introduction from my. Known to tohusands of television viewers for her appearance in the BBC2 'Open Door' programme about 'Transsexualism' a few months ago. Miss Della Aleksander was in fact co-producer of the programme, which featured that champion of minority causes, the member of parliament Mr Leo Abas"
Miss Aleksander did not read a previously prepared paper, but spoke from a few lines of note. Her lecture was full of interest, and excellently delivered and certainly held the attention of her audience. She has kindly prepared an outline copy of the lecture as follows:-
"Nineteen seventy four has been called the year of the transsexual. So much is happening now to gain acceptance of crossing the sex border, either as a trans- vestite or as a transsexual or as a Sex Change. This Conference unites all such and rejects petty differences between them as misplaced. The Transvestite-Trans- sexual problem is unique in that the more successful one is in being either one or the other, the less one has a problem. Being a transvestite or a transsexual cannot, by its nature, be a social protest phenomenon, for it seeks to conform to accepted norms of the sexual division and the manner in which the sexes are distinguished by dress. In this it is very conformist and not to be confused with unisex of the David Bowie genre with which it is frequently confused. Unisex mirrors Man's sexual ambiguity, Transvestism and transsexualism does something about this ambiguity.
Transsexualism is not, by itself, a visible lifestyle, for it is a journey, a trip, and as such must have a destination. Though it is a truism that it is better to travel that to arrive, what makes it so is the knowledge of the certain- ty of arriving. To be robbed of that certainty would be to consign the traveller to a permanent limbo.
I reject the distinction between sex and gender as specious. For gender is a behavioural concept and is, therefore, the exprssion of the sexual nature. It cannot exist in a vacuum. Contrary to this seemingly liberal note such a false distinction sounds, in fact this is merely the endeavour by certain psychologists who reject any play physiological evidence for transexualism or transvestism, to go on asserting a rigid and plain line between the sexes and that a 'man' can be exhibiting a totally convincing feminine gender. Sex is not a simple matter of chromosomes (only one controls sex anyhow) but rather a constellation of many factors derived from all the chromosomes and the environment. When we see this, we can see that teh sex and gender argument, though useful to gain acceptance for the heterosexual transvestite, is a fallacy. We need to look at the whole matter of sexual identity.
Man's evolution is not finished. Both his body and his mind exhibit sexually ambiguous traits. He is a sense an 'intersex' species. The transvestite, according to Jungian idea of the anima, the Eve within every man, is calling forth his eve from the subconscious and giving her a body - his own. One must always be aware of the power of the other self to gain the ascendancy and take over from the basic male personality. thus is a transsexual born. this may be a good thing or it may be a tragedy. Each must walk warily, what is an answer for one may be a disaster for another. One must find the point of balance.
Both male and female transsexuals tell me of the peace that they feel in the clothes of the adoptive sex. Why? Because man is always seeking his complement. To unite the male and female principle in the one body was what the alchemists called the Philosophers Stone. This they called the 'hierogamoa' - the sacred marriage within. According to the ancient I Ching, when this appears, the world is set to order. I feel that the successful sex change, as a process, can const- itute a prototype of a new coming human type to this planet. For no great advance- ment can be possible until Man supersedes the sexual division, which holds him so totally in a thrall. Viewed thus then, the transvestite, the transsexual and the sex-change all serve this high goal and are valid and not a sterile aberrat- ional contribution to the eventual coming of the Kingdom of God to this earth.
The Conference was then adjourned for lunch which was available in the Refectory, located in the Northern end of the Union Building. Before the delegates left the conference Secretary asked if would be possible for delegates to return ten minutes early in order that group photographs could be taken. She also reminded those present of the facility for the taking of 'personal' photographs by the TV Photographic organisation - who had displays panels on show at the back of the Debating Chamber.
Arrangements were made for the Conference Secretary to hold an informal discussion with two members of the press (from the "Bradford Telegraph & Argus" and the "Yorkshire Post") during the lunch intervall
Before introducing the first speaker for the afternon session, an appeal was made for donations towards the running costs of the Conference. It was anticipated that these would be in the region of £70, part of which would, it was hoped, be met by the profits from the Disco-Dance to be held that evening. For the remainder reliance was being placed on the contributions from delegates. A collection for this purpose would be taken after the showing of the film, at the close of the afternoon session.
June then introduced the first of the afternoon speakers.:-
"Our opening speaker this afternoon, Mrs.Doreen Cordell, has been at the forefront of the social workers endeavouring to achieve understanding of, and recognition for, minority groups with sexual and gender identity problems. in addition to the founding of the conuselling and befriending organisation ACCESS (whose title unfortunately was at a later date adopted as a trade name for a well known credit card organisation), she has tirelessly helped and supported the Beaumont Society from its earliest days. Mrs Cordell has graced most of the Society's major functions with her presence. Mrs.Cordell has chosen as her subject title "know Thyself"
Before I begin, may I first take the opportunity of clarifying terminology as I have come to understand it. The word transvestite is used by society, in many contexts, usually to depict men who dress in female attire.
There are those who are homosexual who dress in female attire fo rthe purpose of soliciting for a homosexual relationship, or homosexual sex. These people should be known as being homosexual
There are those who dress in female attire who obtain sexual satisfaction by so doing. This is a thereosexual condition and, mostly, these men are married with wives who may or may not know the situation. these men should be known as
fetishists, because they have a female clothing fetish. this is akin to other fetishists who respond to fur, satin, nylong, rubber, boots etc.
To me the true transvestite is the bi-gender person. And this may apply equally to men and to women, although the name has not so far been applied to women. These individuals have a high degree of opposite gender in their personality which must be expressed thorugh their attire if they are to obtain the serenity and the stability with which to live their everyday lives. Most people of tihs kind are heterosexual.
There are far more men in this situation than one realises and many of them, still, have to keep this a secret. As you may know - and some of you are members - the Beaumont Society provides an outlet for men in this situation. I have met other groups which have complained because ofthe confidentiality requirements of the Beaumont Society who wish to set up a group which does not impose this confidentiality on its membres. this leads to many difficulties. Thus, for me, when I receive an enquiry, I would prefer to use the Beaumont Society for the simple reason that it is responsibly run, and very often the confidentiality which the Society imposes is just what is needed. Very often, men are married and their wives know nothing about their husband's habits. But once they meet some of the other wives within the beaumont Society their courage grows and they broach the subject. I feel this is a very important function of the beaumont Society in that the closeness of the husband/wife situation, I cannot imagine, for myself, how I would cope with keeping such a secret when the urge to dress in female attire comes uncontrollably from deeply within one's self. One the wife has got over the hurdle of acceptance - and very often it takes extensive professional skills to bring them to understanding - they realise (as I have been told) that by allowing their husbands to express their TOTAL personality, they are far more relaxed and less inclined to tantrums. This, I think, is highly important because there should never be any secrets between two people in a relationship.
The degree of femaleness in man varies. Sometimes they can find their balance by dressing occasionally while, for some it may mean more constant dressing. But this balance is very important. Individuals in this situation do not want to lose their masculinity - in fact, they really have the best of both worlds! Often once the wife has come to accept the balance, the whole relationship blossoms.
And while I am talking about wives, I have watched them go through complete antagonism to the whole subjcet saying "If he has done thisall his life, why did he not trust me before we were married and tell me?" But when one points out their antagonism, they begin to understand. The next stage, when they realise that this IS the man they married and is no less a man because of his habits, the loving comes through. The next stage is a kind of 'nursing stage' and the final one is protectiveness.
I have also observed that when a younger man finds his point of balance, in middle age he very often experiences an upsurge of femaleness in his makeup. I have compared this with a sort of change-of-life period. I have met this many times in middle aged men who suddenly feel that they must make the changeover and live as women but this, for many, would be the wrong thing to do.
And now for the women. There are women who have a high degree of masculinity in their makeup. They very often identify with man-gender pursuits and, if they can do so, opt for professions which employ mostly men. They identify with men and, I have been told, would prefer to go to the pub with a group of men and sink
a beer with them rather than be in a gorup of women.
Again the degree of masculinity varies in each woman. Some have a small degree which is hardly noticeable and others have a high degre in that they prefer to wear masculine attire. For the latter, it is their masculinity which attracts them, in a heterosexual sense to another woman. Unfortunately, because they have like bodies, we have called them homosexual, and they are, in fact, the butch lesbians. From all the work I have done in the homosexual field, I know that the essence of female homosexuality is very feminine and I have been asked many times by homosexual women not to recommend them to organisations or clubs because of their intense dislike of the masculinity of butch lesbians.
Unfortunately because their masculinity attracts them to women, this is the only area they might chance to build up a relationship. So, this is another clarification of terminology.
Gender Reassignment Therapy
Gender reassignment therapy, as we call it, is designed for those who have the perfect body of one gender who feel themselves to be the opposite gender. It can apply equally to men and to women. Furthermore it has absolutely nothing to do with physical sex. It is concerned with gender roles.
One could say that in this day and age, gender roles are, to say the least, somewhat confused. Boys become Chefs and spend their lives cooking and girls take on mechanical jobs in factories. There is also a certain amount of unisex - hair styles, jeans and the like. But this does not take into account the feeling deep inside the individual that they have been born into the wrong body.
Parents are told, when a new baby arrives, that it is either a boy or a girl, according to the genitalia of the child, and immediately they gear themselves into bringing that child up according to its physical gender. But how often does one hear fond parents say "She should have been a boy" or "He sohuld have been a girl" I am convinced that parents know far more about their children than the children suspect, and this at a very early age. But this does not take into account the psychology of the child.
When I am approached by someone agitating for what they call a sex-change operation, I quite often find that, for some reason, they have not been able to dress in female attire at all, possibly because they are married and the wife will not permit this. This factor is very important because it creates what I believe to be an 'artificial urgency'. When one stops eating one gets hungrier and hungrier until the only thing one can think of is food and where the next meal is coming from. Repression of the female part of a man's nature tends to do the same thing and, very often, I have found that an individual who agitates for a changeover, can, when he finds his balance, adjust to being a bi-gender person - a true transvestite.
I have coasted along with a number of clients in this way, when I have found that they have not previously dressed, because so foten they are married and, in middle age, get this upsurge of feeling that they should be a woman. If this can be achieved then I think that this is advantageous, and especially so when the man is married. In middle age, a wife who suddenly finds herself bereft and with no income, having to turn out to work to keep body and soul together, is in trouble indeed.
Of course, one has to take each individual's circumstances as they come but
this is very often the case. I have a feeling that there are many who go through with gender reassignment therapy - even to the extent of surgey - who still have a degree of masculinity and who could, with real help, adjust to being true transvestites. The same applied to the women of the species. I have conversations with many masculine type women who have considered reassignment but every so often they have qualms about it and so do not continue.
There are, however, those for whom there is no other answer. In my experience these people, both men and women, are asexual before they make the changeover and have difficulty in relating to others because of their own confusion which comes from deep within them. Once they have made the changeover, and they are what they have always felt themselves to be, their emotions are released and they become capable of a deep loving.
There are many other aspects about a natural trans-gender individual. they seem to fall naturally into their new role - it is not an effort for them to do so, they relax because they are what they have always felt htemselves to be and really make a 'go' of life. This applies to both men and women, making the change. At the point of making the changeover, this is the time to consider an individual's future. Very often a client will train for a job which he, or she, has always wanted to do, but this is not always easy.
One of the greatest difficulties in men becoming women is the question of employment. So many people in this position, have to depend on social security. I have long conversations with the Department of Employmnet District Rehabilitation Officers who, in the main, are sympathetic, but so far as they are concerned, they take the view that it is up to the propspective employer to make the final decision. I have found that the question upon which most employers stall is the fact, that dressed as a woman, it is a man who is using the female loo, and this they just cannot take. Admittedly this is the only illegality about the whole thing, but if only they knew that the effect of hormonal therapy is chemical castration making a man impotent, then I am sure that we would get more co-operation.
When it comes to retirement, I wonder if you realise that, in spite of the fact that you may be working on female insurance cards, the Department of Health and Social Security insists that the male retirement pre-requisites are applied.
Accommodation too, creates difficulties. Many times I have been rung up by the Itinerants Branch of Social Security when someone in this situation is without a home;with the desperate plea "What do I do? I cannot place him in a male hostel and neither can I place him in a female hostel!"
As far as women are concerned, there seems to be a great reluctance to create an artificial penis - in spite of the tremendous disadvantage for anyone making the change from female to male. Admittedly it would only act as a bladder outlet but in many circumstances, this is essential.
I have only spoken in general terms because I know there is a limitation of time but I woulud like to place before you some of the conclusions that I have come to since I began work in this gender role field in 1967.
I wish that more time could be given to monitoring patients to enable a real assessment to made of how much masculinity the men possess, because surgery is so irreversible. I suspect that there are many who go through with gender reassign-
ment therapy - even to the extent of surgery - who should not. My chairman, Dr Theo Schilcht, when we were talking once, quoted Dr.Stoller to me once as saying "If a man has married and consumated that marriage, even to the extent of having children, then he should not be a candidate for gender reassignment therapy" And the same applies to the women - as I said before, I have met quite a number who had considered it but, realising their element of femaleness, decided not to proceed further.
If an individual decides to revert, they will tend to be a bit confused to begin with but I can assure him, or her, that help is readily available to help them to adjust back - and - no-one should interfere with this decision.
Furthermore, each person who makes the changeover has enough problems of their own without sharing other's difficulties. there is a tendency among transgender people to encourage each other. this precludes the very careful self-analysis which must take place in everyone who is proposing to undergo this therapy. I have met so many failures and, in contrast to the successes, their lives have been in jeopardy from every aspect.
Under the aegis of ACCESS, which came into being in May 1971, after the demise of the Albany Trust as a social work referral agency, we are trying to form an organisation which will include those who are trans-gender as well as a number of, what I call, helping people. These will include interested doctors, psychiatrists, men of the churches, lawyers, social worker of all kinds, beauticians and, above all else, those who would offer employment and accommodation. Already quite a number have expressed their interest in this.
One of the aspects of this total situation of gender role problems is that I believe that work should start in this area at the pre-school level of education. This would avert all the conflict which one understands exists in children throughout school, to the detriment of their education, and it would also be of help to parents in understanding the psychological needs of their childre. So manhy times I have met men who feel like women who have been placed in the Services by parents in an effort 'to make a man of you', And girls, who have been forced into conflict with their parents, because they refused to conform to the gender role of their bodies. I have made several enquiries about how this work hsould start but, as yet, there is no agency in this conutry prepared to undertake it.
But, above all else, I have found that each individual person knows about him - or herself from something deep within them. Given time, and knowing the professional help available, I am sure that everyone can live their present life to the fullest possible advantage. This is why I view the role of social workers with such importance. Their function is that of agents 'of change' within society and, i fthey could do what I have done, listened to and concentrated on the lives of their clients, I am sure, that with their help, we could create a society which is less full of prejudice and more tolerant of each individual's personality whatever that may be on a bi-sexual/bi-gender axis.
Mrs.Cordell's lecture produced lively and spontaneous reaction from the delegates in the form of very searching questions (as indeed had the preceding speakers).Unfortunately it was now obvious that the Conference wa srunning very much behind schedule, and in addition to limiting the time for questions at the end of each lecture, it would be necessary to postpone the holding of the 'Work- shops' Discussion Groups until the Sunday morning session. this rather unfortunate decision was forced upon us by the fact that the Union Building was required for another function at 5.00pm.
June then introduced the final speaker, Dr.Elizabeth Ferris:-
"We are indeed fortunate in having Dr.Elizabeth Ferris with us here today. Dr Ferris has recently spent some six months in the U.S.A. studying the position of the transvestite and the transsexual in American Society. She is now conducting further research in this country, in conjunction wit hthe Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital in London. She is preparing the material for a book, a book which will, I am sure, take its place amongst the classics of trans- vestite and transsexual literature. I hope that much of what she has seen and heard here today, and no doubt will experinece during the rest of the Conference, will enhance and enrich her knowledge - in fact help her to write an even better book than might otherwise have been the case. Fr. Ferris will speak on the subject "Transvestism and transsexualism; the origins and the problems of coping with these conditions"
The following is a synopsis, kindly compiled by Dr.Ferris herself, which concludes with a provocative tohught for a possible future society pattern, a topic worthy of a full scale conference all on its own!!
TRANSVESTISM AND TRANSSEXUALISM: THE ORIGINS AND PROBLEMS OF COPING WITH THESE CONDITIONS
Sex Roles - masculine and feminine - are an integral part of our society, indeed any human society. They are the natural outcome, we are told, of innate, biological sex differences. But is this really true? To what extent are sex roles culturally determined, from the moment we are born? Women are said to be passive, submissive and dependent and men are said to be active, aggressive and self-assertive because they are MADE THAT WAY! But it is patently obvious that not all men or all women fit these narrow descriptions. The rigid polarization of the population into two - masculine and feminine - with regard to almost every aspect and activity - clothes, behaviours, appearance, jobs, attitudes etc. is based on a false premise. Namely that because the human race consists of two sexes for procreative purposes, then every other detail about a member of one or other of the two sexes must be different also.
Hence, we have the sexual stereotypes. But sexuality is not a cut and dried affair. Individuals are not 'made' at conception into male or females because of their chromosomes. Rather, sexuality is a differentiating process that begins at conception with the allotment of chromosomes and then passes through many stages during embryonic life. The gonads(testes and ovaries), the internal reproductive organs and the external genitalia all have to be differentiated. The important point is that at any stage in the process of sexual differentiation male organs will differentiate only if the male sex hormone (testosterone, otherwise known as androgen) is present. In the absence or ineffectiveness of androgen, the sexual differentiation will be along female lines.
The hormonal climate in embryo also affects the brain, and can affect the future behaviour of the individual after birth. Sexual differentiation continues after birth when gender identity is developed.
On the basis of our knowledge of sexual differentiation and gender identity development, we can say this about the possible origins of transvestism and trans- sexualism; there is some evidence to suggest that prenatal hormonal factors can affect post natal behaviour; but it is also true that environmental and social factors after birth can have an overwhelming effect in fashioning the psycholog- ical sexual development, and indeed, differentiation, of a cihld, particularly when the child is under three years of age.
In the United States, transsexuals and their families are helped a great deal with the psychological aspects of imminent sex change by psychotherapy, i.e. emotional problems, especially alienation and paranoia; educational aspects re what hormones and surgery really do; unrealistic life expectations; trial periods before sex change operation whilst on hormones; to help wife and family of the transsexual during the changeover period; to discourage the transsexual who, for physical reasons like great height or bulk, could not make the change socially with any ease.
Provocative thought: A futuristic society based, not on sexual polarisation as now, but on a totally bisexual, androgynous idea
After briefly thanking Dr. Ferris, and all the other speakers who had preceded her, the Conference Secretary drew the attention of the delegates to several matters of importance, as it was envisaged that many would not be returning to the debating chamber after the film.
Conference speakers were requested to submit either the full text, or a precis, of their lecture papers, in order to facilitate the production of the Conference Report. this document would be prepared as soon as possible after the conference, and would, it was hoped, become a useful reference source for subsequent studies. Delegates wishing to reserve a copy, were reminded of the need to hand in their names and addresses to the conference bookstall or to the secretary.
Hopes were expressed that as many of the delegates as possible would attend the Disco-Dance and Social Evening planned to take place later on at the Lipman Building.
A reminder was given that clocks required to be put forward one hour to mark the start of British Summer Time, that very night. In spite of this, and a late night return from the Disco-Dance, it was hoped that a punctual start could be made for the start of the Sunday morning sessions, at the Leeds Polytechnic Staff Common Room, at 11.0am.
Delegates made their way to the Lecture Theatre, elsewhere in the Union Building, where arrangements had been made for the screening of the film 'The Queen'
Reference to the choice of film has been made elsewhere in this report. Admittedly the film shown was not entirely suitable, but at least it did have some relevance to the transvestite/transsexual theme. Basically the film depicted the 'behind the scenes' preparations for a national 'Drag Contest' held at a hotel in the United States, and included a number of sequences in which contestants were seen rehearsing and preparing their dress and make up and expressing their viewpoints as to why they liked to adopt 'drag'. The film itself was technically poor, suffering from inadequate lighting and erratic colour rendering in some parts(no doubt the result of low budget methods). Also it was very obvious that the standards of dress, and general presentation of the contest, were well below those prevailing at similar contests held in this country, a rather surprising fact, but non the less a true one.
Inevitably there were delegates who were unhappy about the inclusion of this type of film in the programme. May I, as Conference Secretary, offer my apologies to anyone who was unduly disturbed by its inclusion - but it was the only film of its kind that we could hire at the time in question.
A collection taken at the exit door, after the film show, realised £33.00 a
very valuable contribution towards conference expenditure.
The delegates then dispersed to their hotels etc, or to places of refreshment in the town. It sohuld be placed on record that both the hoteliers, and restaurant proprietors at each and every place used by our delegates, made everyone welcome, and there were no instances of refusal to serve or admit anyone.
The Disco-Dance and Social got off to a punctual start, and the Lipman Building began to fill up with elegant 'ladies', and in many cases they were accompanied by their partners (wives or girlfirneds). The function was also very well attended by University students and their friends, a fact which resulted in a wide variety of 'costume' being in evidence! A representative from the 'Yorkshire Post', accompanied by his photographer, attended most of the evening, and were quite amazed at the realism of so many of the 'girls', and both showed a great interest inwhat was taking place. It was unfortunate that pressure of national and international news immediately succeeding th eConference prevented any account of the Conference appearing in the newspaper in question.
The total attendance at the Disco Dance was approximately 185, and it is fair comment to say that a good time was had by all. All too soon, the time came for weary groups of 'girls', and other delegates, to make their way back to their hotels or homes. Once they arrived there many engaged in long, animated discussions about the day's events, well into the small hours.
Sunday 17th March 1974
Conference delegates assembled at the Leeds Polytechnic Staff Common Room shortly after 11.0am, and after a short delay caused by the need to help the college cleaners to clear the room, and put furniture back into position, the room having been used for a social event on the Saturday night (!), the Session opened.
After apologising for not feelinge her brightest and best (it subsequently transpired that an attack of influenza was developing, which caused her to spend the next three days in bed), the Conference Secretary gave details of the results of the collection at the film show the previous day, and thanked all those who had attended the Disco-Dance, which had been a great success. This success was marred by the unpleasant incident in which one of the delegates had had an expensive leather coat stolen during the dance. Whilst obviously no responsibility rested with the conerence, it was non-the-less agreed to make a collection on behalf of the delegate concerned (unknown to her, as she had not yet arrived for the Sunday Session); members donated generously, and it was thus possible to make at leats some recompense for the loss.
June then went on to describe the method to be adopted for the Conference Workshops Session. She drew attention to the Order Paper handed to each delegate, giving a list of subjects which had been suggested. It was proposed to take a vote on these, by a show ofhands, to select ten of the fifteen lists, for discussion by groups of five/six delegates.
The following is the full list of subjects submitted to the voting process:
- Transvestites and the faimly
- The role of transvestite/transsexual organisations
- The legal and social status of the transsexual
- The difference between sex and gender.
- The image adopted by transvestites and transsexuals
- The medical/psychiatric approach to transvestites and transsexuals.
- Transvestites and the law.
- Attitudes of transvestites and transsexuals towards homosexuality.
- Has bisexuality a future?
- The relationship between Transvestism and transsexualism.
- The male transsexual.
- The role of social workers and counsellors.
- The physical problems of being a transvestite, versus spiritual and moral ones
- The female to male transsexual
- The importance of breaking down gender roles, and by what means.
As a result of the voting Nos.1,2,3,5,6,8,9,10,11, and 14 were selected for discussion.
A further show of hands method was used to divide the delegates up into suitably sized groups to discuss, as far as possible, a subject of their own cohice. Each group was asked to choose a leader, who in addition to acting as chairman during discussions, would be asked to briefly sum up before the Conference the findings and conclusions reached by their group.
Before dispersing into groups, attention was drawn to a document submitted by martine O'Leary entitled 'Competition', and one by N.S.Love concerning the topic 'Attitudes towards homosexuality'. Copies of these were handed to each delegate. It was considered that the content of these documents was so thought provoking and so excellently set down that as time did not permit the use of them as 'Discussion Topics' they should be reproduced in their entirity in this report. Accordingly they appear at the end of the findings reported by the discussion leaders.
Unfortunately, transcripts of the findings of Discussion group Nos.8,10,11 and 14, have not come to hand, and regrettably it is not possible to include these herin.
The Groups quickly got down to work, and som elively and thoughtful exchanges soon began to flow. As Conference Secretary, I moved from group to group to 'listen in', and it was obvious that some very valuable viewpoints were being expressed, and debated with all seriousness.
A 'natural break' was made at around 12.30pm, when a large and very welcome urn of hot soup arrived - it being a cold and windy March day. This was indeed warmly welcomed as was the massive pile of french loves, butter, cheeses etc. A helpful band of volunteers broke off from their discussion groups and helped to slice the bread, and divide out the cheese, butter etc. We owe a considerable debt to the Leeds G.L.F. members who laid on this do-it-yourself repast, which by its very informality helped in many ways to set the seal of success on the Conference.
'Time'had to be called, and delegates returned to their seats to await the various Group Reports. Owing to the need of many delgates to catch homeward transport during the afternoon, the 'guillotine procedure' has to be used, and question time after each group report was limited to ten minutes. Obviously at any future conference, it would be desirable to allot much more time to this aspect of the proceedings.
Synopses of the various Group Reports are on the following pages.
Group No.1. Transvestites and the Family
The group decided that communication was most essential to all people but was even more important to families with problems, transvestite or any other. The ability to communicate, especially within the family group should be developed and encouraged from the earliest age possible. Further it was decided that tolerance was another essential ingredient in family life.
The group elaborated on these two main ingredients by sayin gthat if the freedom and ability to communicate is developed and maintained, then the old question of 'to tell' or 'not to tell' should never arise for the transvestite. Awareness of transvestite matters, along wit hevery other matter under the sun, must develop gradually as the child itself develops. Transvestism then becomes part of the child's life. No need to sit down comfortably and tell all. A counsciously liberal and understanding attitude by the parents towards the infinitely variable natures of people must inevitably bring an awareness of the fact that no-one is 'right' or 'wrong' in the way that they behave (subject to the consideration of others). People are themselves.
With regard to the acceptance of transvestism in a father we felt that should the children still be 'in the dark' by the ages of nine or ten, then father's transvestism should not be brought to their attention until they begin to leave some of their own pubertal problems behind, probably around the age of eighteen.
People, especially parents, must be made aware that male and female do not have separate watertight 'job boxes', either at home or at work, and the varying proportions of male and female in everybody's makeup produces the 'shades of grey' in our ability to carry out tasks of a msculine or feminine nature. Jobs at home, for instance, should be attended to by either parent, irrespective of the nature of the job; and if the wife wishes, and is able, to mend the car, and the husband wishes, and is able, to do the dressmaking, then all power to their elbows.
The group talked about the matter of children talking outside the family of such things as transvestism which might be better kept within the family circle and we observed that children themselves are very well aware of the intolerance of their contemporaries should they 'deviate' from the accepted 'norm'. We felt that the accepted 'norms' of adults could be mentioned and related to possble intolerance of adult contemporaries; viz. 'We don't talk of your bedwetting to other children because they might not be kind to you' - extended to the problem of transvestism and other adults.
We agreed that the family unit should be retained wherever possible, particularly when children are involved. If the transvestite's wife is told, or finds out, and is antagonistic the transvestite must make every effort to make things right with her. Patience, understanding of her fears and prejudices, and unselfishness are needed. if every avenue is explored and understanding and/or acceptance not achieved then the transvestite must make full use of the counselling services available to him.
Therefore, in conclusion, we decided that all Societies and Organisations with an interest in, and with information about, transvestism must do a great deal of Public Relations work so that the husband may have accurate and relevant information with which to try and gain his wife's acceptance. The Welfare and Counselling services must also be well served with information so that when called upon they may play a more effective role.
Group No.2. The role of transvestite/transsexual organisations.
This workshop comprised one wife, three transvestites and three transsexuals, who held discussion of the following points:
The purpose of transvestite/transsexual organisations is not to provide social, psychological or medical services but to act as clearing houses putting members in touch with appropriate agencies.
On the whole it is desirable for a separate strong transsexual organisation to develop.
The organisations need to work for public recognition as responsible bodies able to vouch for the good social conduct of their members.
The organisations should consider the feasability of a membership certificate which might begin to act as a public testimony of the good standing of a transvestite or a transsexual.
It was not felt that the social functoins held by these organisations need- lessly exacerbated transvestite or transsexual drives. The group strongly refuted the notion that experience and expertise tended to modify the trans- vestite into a transsexual. Although there may be no clear line of demarcation there was no reason to think that transsexualism was the endpoint of trans- vestism.
The idea of weekend course such as this Conference was strongly commended and the suggestion was put forward that the Beaumont Society, for example, could profitably arrange such courses including social training for the transvestites.
Professional advisers of any kind should not be brought into membership but firm links ought to be sought with legal, sociological, psychological and medical professions.
Publicity presents transvestite/transsexual groups with real difficulties. Militant action as favoured by some homosexual and women's liberation groups seems inappropriate. Publicity rests largely in the hands of the members fostering good public relations and exhibiting good standards of conduct. Efforts should continue to exploit and develop publicity in national commun- ications media. Actions to support educational research and supportive organ- isations will help to foster a good public image.
Larger organisations might well form professional advisory committees among their members (solicitors, doctors, social workers, accountants etc) who would advise membres in difficulty.
Group No.3. the legal and social status of the transsexual
The six members of this group contained two full time transsexuals, and itis on their experience that most of the conclusions are based. The discussion concen- tranted mainly on the transition, or pre-operative period and the problems of obtaining the necessary documentation.
National Insurance Card.
This can be obtained from the local Natoinal Insurance Office on application with a written recommendation from the transsexual's own psychiatrist. It is important to ensure that a female card is issued, and not the old male card with just a chagne of name.
National Health Card
This can be obtained in a similar manner from the office of the local executive council of the N.H.S. This usually takes about two weeks.
It did not seem to provide any difficulty so long as the tax authorities were informed of the desiredd name change.
Legal Name Change
This can be done by Deedpoll (£10) or less expensively by Declaration (£2), presumably before a Commissioner for Oaths. It did not appear essential if only the first name were changed, but was advisable for a change of surname.
It was believed that this could be obtained by a straightforward application in the new name.
In all relevant cases it is important to destroy the old card as it may be a legal offence to hold two items in different names, certainly this was the case with National Insurance Cards.
There is no way, at present, to obtain total ammendment of a birth certificate to the new sex. After a long postoperative period it is believed possible to obtain an appendatoin, however this does not carry full legal rights, for example in the case of marriage.
Cases of marriage in the new sex have been reported. However the wife has only teh status of a common law wife and the husband can apply to have the marriage dissolved at any time without legal committment.
Some discussion regarding the medical treatment of preoperative transsexuals showed lack of understanding, even among doctors most closely associated with the problem. For example it appeared to be common practice to place a male transsexual patient in, or associated with, a male ward for major surgey. A private room may be provided but it would be effectively be part of the mens ward and visitors would realise this. It was considered that this was psychologically very bad for the patient.
Group.5. The image adopted by transvestites and transsexuals
The group comprised four transvestites, two women (a journalist and a social worker). Because of the composition of the group, discussion covered only the image adopted by the transvestite.
It was felt that the image occupied two sides, the physical and the mental, though the one invariably overlapped the other.
On the physical side, there was unanimous agreement that it was very polarised towards a selected feminine stereotype. Arguments in defence of this image were based almost wholly on practical problems, the most evident of which was the problem of going public. Over compensation here was used as a camouflage, as a means of masking the male social signals and replacing them with feminine ones. this,
as one of the women present noted, sometimes led to an over-scrupulous attention to detail.
The overlap in physical and mental image was found to be most marked in two of the group who had carefully backgrounded their female image with 'her' own situation. For example, one had cohsen a secretary as her image. But this was a particular secretary, working in a particular position with a particular attitude to life. Out of this arose the question of transvestism and personality. The two membres who had worked out a particularimage felt that their woman-personality was totally divorced from their actual personality i.e. that cross-dressed they were a different person. The other two transvestite members fo the group experienced no such split. they argued that their transvestism was merely a way of expressing their inherent femaleness, and that they remained fully aware of themselves as the same person.
It was noted at thistime that on both sides there occurred fundamental and spontaneous personality changes; the most often being the change from introversion to extraversion. this was supposed to be as a result of a loss of conditioned male inhibitions while cross-dressed.
Out of the discussion of the female image which was independent from the male there arose the question of the sexual orientation while cross-dressed. The immediate reaction of those present was that the woman in the image stopped short of sexual fulfilment with a members of the 'opposite' sex. It eventually transpired that three of the transvestites, if not necessarily being attracted to males while cross-dressed, enjoyed feeling attractive to them. Any consequent acceptance of sexual advances made by men seemed largely based on the flattery offered to the female image. Or the part of those who experience a separate independent female image, this sense of flattery was most marked. Those whose transvestism was only a means of expressing their female component, seemed to be more openly aware of their bisexuality and did not see it as being so fundamentally dependent on their female image. What was stressed, however was that the bisexuality among those present, occurred only on a modified heterosexual basis i.e. the transvestite only feels attracted, or wants to feel attractive, to other males, when cross-dressed. It seems that both the living out of an image and the expression of a part of the personality produce, in this respect, the same result.
Group No.6. The medical/psychiatric approach to transvestism and transsexualism.
1 sea captain (retd.), 1 engineer, 2 medical practitioners, 1 businessman, 1 stock controller.
The novel axiom in medicine that any disease may be multi-factorial was emphasised. The operation of the dominant mother/absent father environment was accepted as a ripening factor for a child predisposed to transvestism/transsexualism. A quick survey showed that in the group there had been a distribution of parents as follows: 1 dominant mother (classical type)., 3 absent fathers (physical or mental), 3 mothers with whom the individual had experienced particular intimacy; it was felt that this last type of parental attitude was popularly insufficiently emphasised. Family structure: 4 were the youngest child, 1 was an only child and 1 was the eldest child. It was felt that even on such a small group that the distribution was weighted in the direction of the youngest sibling which would support the conclusion of the preceding section.
All members agreed that this was sadly inadequate, the psychiatrists are dragging their feet in the Freudian mud and the textbooks are
anacronistic in their accounts, confusing our problems with those of other obsessive/compulsive neuroses, fetishism and homosexuality. An approach to Clinical Deans to expand and correc the syllabus as related to our problem was considered and rejected in the prejudgement that it would fail. It was felt important to make G.P.'s aware that we exited, to be on the alert for our problem to present in the guide of another complaint and to intensify propaganda at them for this and other reasons.
This was considered according to our mandate as it related to the world of medicine. A number of authorities were considered as outlets for the dissemination of information.
The Tavistock Clinic
- postgraduate training for G.P.'s
The Maudsley Hospital
- one member of the group had recently undergone an unsuccessful course of aversion therapy there. She felt with the rest of us who had not had that privilege (?), that there was no place for such therapy in the resolution of our problem. Dr.Goldberg who hda been in charge of this therapy has moved his shocking habits down to Oxford, leaving the field open for Dr.Isaac Marks. There is a large grant allocated for (1975) to investigate the transvestite/transsexual area and isnce it is already known that he will be looking for data, the group suggested that the Beaumont Society should make an official approach to supply information given by individuals on their own initiative.
Royal College of General Practitioners.
The one's undertaking the further training in their elective period were felt to be prime targets for propaganda since they are the cream of the G.P.'s and could profitably influence students
Limited in their individual experience. An adjustment rather than a curative approach must be concentrated on. The maudley type of experience in using aversion therapy was only valid if, by using itin a strictly controlled way, they could authoritatively discredit it for ever.
Case assessment of transsexuals.
We were restricted in our consideration of the transsexual in not having one in our group. There was no argument that a young man with sufficient femininity to make a successful physical change, while at the same time being mature enough to know his own true desires, is the best candidate. At the other end of the age scale we found the middle aged repressed transvestite, who suddenly relieved of career and family responsibilities tries to fulfill his aforegoing rich fantasy life with an operation, destroying all around him as he does so; we felt that this was a poor type of candidate for conversion and would be better of living maximum part time.
The group agreed that for many of us and for a variety of reasons hormones were of benefit. A note of caution was sounded inasmuch as they are known to depress the libido and cause impotence, they reveal and exacerbate diabetes, they worsen liver complaints, they are suspected of causing cancer and pituitary tumours and thence blindness, most seriously they are now incriminated in the production of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus which can be fatal. One of the tema was to look into the latter in greater detail and to report back elsewhere on this and the legal opinion on the ethics of prescribing hormoens in the present state of knowledge.
Each member was asked to contribute a 'burning comment'. They are given here:
Mary: the surgeon must only accept for conversion surgery the truly feminine candidate.
Rosemary (I): the medical practitioner must look for the transvestite in the neurotic element in all complaints.
Marianne: undertook aversion therapy without good motivation, is not unhappy at its failure, doesn't blame her psychiatrist but doesn't know which way to turn now.
Tom: doctors are not privileged in instruction or information about our problems and must not be judged too harshly for their failures.
Rosemary (II): doctors are pillars of society whether they like it or not, and although they may never meet a transvestite/transsexual professionally they will be expected to pontificate on the problem and must realise the influence that their comments will have on public acceptance.
Group.No.9 Has bisexuality a future?
This group of two transvestites and two transsexuals felt that the concept of bisexuality had a lot to teach one about oneself, in so far as sexologists assert that we are all innately bisexual to some extent or other.
At the same time, however, they were agreed that there is a great personal danger in the practice of bisexuality in so far as one not only stands in great danger of gender identity confusion, but also of losing out on a lot of the fun of sex, that results directly from a clear assumption of one or other of the two sexual roles.
Competition: By Martine O'Leary
The transvestite scene tends to be a competitive one. This is hardly surprising, this is a competitive society. But what is remarkable about the transvestite scene is the intensity and frequency of outward competition. If we are to understand our place, and how (if at all) it can, or should be changed, it is important to understand why competition is so much part of our scene. This is not just a matter of "Why drag shows?", but also one of exploring the apparent need for aggressive display many of us feel impelled by. Why window dressing?
There is, at present, a general trend towards turning people into products. Just as with many of our consumer goods, interest in people is focussed on the packing rather than the content. Indeed the trend towards this focus on appearance arises from the productionof consumer goods. For instance if you are selling a film you will increase your return if you also sell the hairstyle and clothes of the hero/ine. But the sales campaign for the film, hairstyle etc., will not only induce people to watch the film and have their hair cut, but will also pressure them into seeing the behaviour and appearance of the film's characters as attractive to themselves. Out of this sort of process comes the situation in which is it possible to say: "I love X for her David Bowie haircut", rather than to let "I love X" imply a complex and pleasurable relationship between the two. Nor is it the case that this pattern is exceptional or a matter of fads. Practically every product put on the market is analogous to films and records. In the process of every sale an image to be attracted to is reinforced. A study of an evenings television advert- isements should bring this home very clearly. And, of course, these sales techni- ques are used because various business interests compete with each other. And, of course, in attempting to live up to an imge, or in 'making' someone who does, we come into direct competition with others. This society is based on competition in the economic field over products and causes competition in the personal field over images. In other words, for most people, what they do, how they look contradicts how they feel, what they are.
For transvestites the situation is somewhat different. Here the imge expresses feelings rather than contradicts them. The expression of feelings takes place in a confused and random way. Far too often the image supercedes its purpose. We can get sidetracked by detail and by technique, making these the end of our transvestism rather than putting our emotional investment into the simple fact of having acquired the outward appearance of the opposite sex. then again we can be diverted into thinking of ourselves sa a particularperson (the Mae West syndrome?) instead of ourselves in 'drag'. Nevertheless, the essential nature of transvestism is to find inner expression through outward appearance. And in terms of general social trends, this means we are continually swimming up-stream.
In our presentation to the world at large we are seen as being products. The only way in which our society can cope with us is by treating us as products - as entertainers, as drag contest entrants. It has been frequently enough observed that once a transvestite has got past the stage of only being dressed at home and wants to go public, then practically the only possible outlet is osme form of particip- ation in a commercialised scene. this, ultimately, is disastrous. I do not say it is disastrous because I am opposed to commercialism. I say it is so precisely because the commercial situation frustrates and inhibits the essence of transvest- ism. The transvestite pushes out her feelings and her public situation promptly pushes them back. In the ensuing conflict, humanity starts to flow away. It is because of this result and because of similar results for other groups of people that I am opposed to commercialism and to its economic roots. These roots, the capitalist system as they are laughingly known, go very deep. And they are resolutely defended. Transsexuals, who by their very nature, are forced to break the magic circle of commercialism, find their lives full of harrassment and difficulties. It is important to understand that those attacks are defences of the economic system and that defending the economic system entails suchs attackes. Transvestites, on this understanding, face the appalling dilemma of "Shal I stay in the trap or shall I sink in society's hate?"
To all this there is another aspect. Out of the structure of our society come certain specific forms of sexual behaviour. It seems to be the case that social control of sexuality is something that occurred early on in human sexuality. How- ever, while (for an instance) in most primitive tribes there is a whole range of sexual activity that is practised (albeit in an institutional manner) it seems to be the case that the more economically complicated the society becomes, the smaller the range of sexual pleasures that is considered permissible. The present economic formation led to enormous pressure during the 1th century for the reduction of all sexuality to desultory coupling for the purpose of producing children. This of course was something that cannot and has not been achieved. Nevertheless, the economic structure, (needing an ever expanding reservoir of labour power) necessitates attempts to sublimate non-procreative sexuality into procreative sexuality. these attempts have been mirrored in the obsessive interest of law and psychology in sexuality. The specific application of this to transvestism (which is a quite dfeinite and separate sexual response) has very peculiar features. A transvestite scene always contains an audience of non-transvestites ( even when it is not a literally 'on-stage' situation). The interst and involvement of those non-transvestites seems to be based on a safe and cerebral outlet for homosexual feelings. What is certainly true is that with transvestite feelings it is very difficult to get a transvestite response. In effect, then, we are able to see our social situation as effectively desexualising us. Our turn on turns back as turn off.
Confronted with these social problems - which are by no means always as
apparent as problems - we are unable to find a ready solution. We can, of course, succumb to commercialism but that doesn't change anything, nor does it make the world a more satisfying place. in short it is not a solution. Direct radicalism has a definite awkwardness - because to be radical over transvestism, simply because transvestism is socially disadvantaged in a universal way, means to have no focus for radicalism. Nevertheless, certain definite perspectives do follow from the analysis. The first is specifically around sexuality. For tranvestism to come to terms with itself, sexuality in general must come to terms with itself. Accordingly an orientation towrds people and ideas that help to break down sexual control obviously helps us. The second arises from the economic view - it suggests again an orientation towards other social currents in opposition to the general order, in particular those that are in fundemental conflict with it. This means most of all those who are direct victims-who achieve nothing except through opposition to the social order. Thirdly, it is obviously vital that we have an orientation towards ourselves that enables us, despite competitive difficulties to have at leats a degree of organisation and discussion. these three thingsI see as orientations - the first steps.
I am aware that this paper begs a number of questions. I am also aware that implicit in its arguments is a very specific political perspective. I see these arguments as a means ofpromoting discussion, not a provision of final answers.
Attitudes towards homosexuality:
The following excerpts are taken from an article in a recent issue of the Beaumont Bulletin (Volume No.6.No.1). The original article was written by Jackie (443) under the title of Viewpoint and was the recollections of one person woh attended a talk given by Roger Baker at the Leeds University Union Building. The following were taken and underlined by N.S.Love.
i) ".....whilst we, as transvestites, are aware of homosexual attitudes, and,as another minority group misunderstood by society, can sympathise with them, the homosexual cannot understand that our make up is so different from theirs. That is why I think that when, during the debate, the question was asked 'do you accept homosexuals into the beaumont Society?', they were given the brusque and fair "no, we feel that we have little or nothing to offer them, and their presence within the Beaumont Society could prove both embarrassing and detrimental" by June*
ii)".... the Society is right in not accepting homosexuals for two reasons:
- The position of wives and girl firends....bring homosexuals into the picture the scene changes, and you are heading for disaster - for the shadowy figure of homosexual influence, patiently waitin gin the wings... I would rather have one understanding female on my side than one hundred homosexuals
- An even more irresponsible situation could arise if homosexuals were accepted into the Beaumont Society and that would be the inevitable mixing of young trans- vestites dressed 'en femme' with homosexuals... What I think that we ought to try and avoid is the needless drift of someone into a practice which, could in some future situation create difficulties for him... I don't see why we should provide homosexuals 'en masse' with a key to our fortunes."
iii) It was suggested that the Beaumont Society was little more than a secret society. This statement, from a homosexual, was prompted, I think, by June's negative reply to the question of whether we accepted homosexuals into the society, although we did have the greatest sympathy and understanding with their attitudes we have nothing to offer them. The disparaging way the remark was made, was another
way of showing that the homosexual has yet to come to terms with us. The person making the remark had fairly rapidly reached the conclusion that here was a case of LIKE rejecting LIKE."
*June: the Beaumont Society Northern Regional Representative. She also wrote a brief introduction, to the above mentioned article, which included the following "While these are not necessarily those of the Beaumont Society as a whole, in that they are one person's views".
At around 3.30pm, in view of the need for many of the remaining delegates to leave, discussions arising from the workshops had to be terminated.
A short closing address by June, Conference Secretary, included thanks to the many people who had done their bit towards making the conference a success. Special mention was made of the work done by Colin/Caroline in liasing with the University Union to secure use of the premises at the University and the Polytechnic, thanks were also given to Caroline Scott for printing the programmes andother conference material, to Audrey for all the artwork, posteers, maps and internal direction signs ( as far as we know, nobody got irretrievably lost during the threee days); to the hotel managers who had provided accommodation and a firendly atmosphere for our delgeates; to Radio Leeds, The Yorkshire Post, and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus for their coverage. Above all,thanks was given to all the delgates, from far and wide, who had attended.
A number of delegates reciprocated with thanks for June for the part she played in the smooth running of the conference.
The First National Conference of Transvestites and Transsexuals in Great Britain was then declared closed.
The following are conclusions set down by two of the delgates who attended, one of them a transvestite, who also gives the view of his wife who accompanied him, and the other a transsexual. One could say that these represent typical reactions from the two secitons of the community involved in the conference.
The Transvestite Viewpoint, from Jacqueline Marr (Treasurer of the Beaumont Society)
Lillian, my wife, enjoyed the conference and found it interesting indeed. She wasn't upset or disturbed in any way by it. She found it a profitable enjoyable weekend - perhaps her only comment was that the film wasn't appropate. my feeling also was that I'd had a good weekend and I wish I could have taken a more active role. I'll not dwell on the main points of approval because they are in the majority. My personal concerns were twofold. The first was the transsexual content, which interesting though it was, I felt over balanced the transvestite content. this could have caused doubts in some transvestites and transvestite's wife minds and perhaps indicates that some of the tenderer blooms amongst newly emerged transvestites ought to be excluded - how I don't know. I don't put that as a criticism of the conference as it was in general terms, but only as it might have been with the wrong audience. I'm increasingly certain that despite protestations to the contrary, those who call themselves transvestite will not mix with those who call themselves transsexuals. (I hear that the French beaumont Society has been split this way now)
My point is that I hope we don't fragment. The Beaumont Society may have difficulties, but they are primarily those of a society having to choose its first
bra. All societies must go this way and the most abortive procedure if one sets up an ad hoc sub group rather than forcing the dithering big group into an organ ised active role. For this reason I'd like to see weekends of this kind actively sponsored by the beaumont Society from their inception. It is no good the Society sitting back aloof, nor is it any good any sub-group going it alone, since it is likely to end up in the same boat.
It is essential that the Beaumont Society finalise and ratify the Constitution at present being drawn up, and that where necessary suitable sub-committees are appointed to organise, or at least fully participate in future conferences or similar ventures.
The Transsexual Viewpoint. by Julia Tonner (Transsexual Action Organisation - Director - Europe)
The conclusions to be drawn from the conference were, of necessity, many and varied, but the main concepts were:
That the conference had been a unilateral success, and that many long term friendships had hopefully been initiated.
That contrary to the previously held and widely expressed view that there was a great divergence between the two worlds of the trans.people, this had been established as patently untrue and that both groups has a lot to offer one another.
That although this had been the first such conference, as its name implied, that it would not be the last but would be the first of many.
That under such circumstances as this conference took place and also the atmosphere created, removed many of the inhibitions in the delegates present and they found that at last they were able to speak freely and fully without fear of ridicule and hopefully what they had to say would benefit others, and that in this spirit it also helped themselves.
That hopefully the result of this conference would have far reaching effects and that a means could be found to ensure the greatest possible use be made of all forms of interested bodies by means of informing them of the existence of this report, and that it be not confined to those present at the conference
That from the transsexual point of view, it would be appreciated if the Transsexual Action Organisation, and other interested transsexual groups endeavoured to collect together a list of naems of doctors, psychiatrists and surgeons, whilst not necessarily sympathetic towrds transsexuals would be willing to help them in their search for a fuller and happier life. It has been pointed out that this could be considered a breach of medical etiquette, that the transsexual organisation did not wish, under any circumstances, to incur the wrath of the medical profession, and that it is not up to us to recommend any form of treatment, only to try and help people to come to a better understanding of themselves. Nevertheless we would be willing to write to their own general practitioner with any information that could be of help to them. therefore if other transsexuals would contact us with the names and addresses of such doctors, the source and information of which would be kept in the strictest confidence, as is any of our contacts.
LIST OF APPENDICES
|Standard invitation format, as sent to all potential delegates
|Special covering letter accompanying invitations to recognised organisations
|Special covering letter accompanying invitations to known transvestite or transsexual personalities
|Reproduction of the Conference Programme
|Press Release issued prior to start of Conference
|Extracts from newspaper reports/comments:-
|i.) 'The Guardian' - pre-conference
|ii.) 'The Yorkshire Post' - Conference Reception at The Guildford Hotel
|iii.) 'The Bradford Telegraph & Argus' - Conference impressions
|Photographic Coverage of the Conference
APPENDIX 'A' Invitation sent to ALL potential Delegates
Recent experience within the Beaumont Society and other organisations working in the Social and Medical fields, shows that the phenomena of transvestism and transsexualism are very widespread throughout the entire social strata in Great Britain, and a number of European countries, the U.S.A. and Canada.
Much has been written and spoken about the subject in recent years, in the Press, on radio and television, and a number of films have been centred around the subject. It is obvious that there are many people who are ignorant of, or who grossly misunderstand the implications of this compulsive behaviour pattern. This lack of knowledge results in unhappiness for the individuals concerned, and for their wives and families, and at times harrassment by the general public and the law.
Thanks to the help and co-operation of the Leeds University and Polytechnic Students Union it has been possible to hold a First National Conference at Leeds, at which medical and social workers experienced in this field are being invited to take part, either by giving a short lecture, or by helping to 'lead' informal Discussion Groups. A number of transvestites and transsexuals will themselves be attending and taking an active part. By this means, it is hoped to make the most of this opportunity to give serious attention to this subject, its impact on, and the attitude of, present day society.
The Conference will open on Friday evening, 15th March, when delegates will be invited to attend the Coffee Evening. The Saturday will comprise the main programme of lectures, films and discussions. A Social Evening (including a Disco Dance) will be held. Sunday will be allocated to the presentation of reports by the Discussion Groups followed by a brief 'Open Forum' Session to close the Conference.
There will be adequate provision made for Lecture rooms and the use of Audio Visual Aids. A meals service will be available in the Refectory. For those requiring overnight accommodation there are several hotels adjacent to the Unviersity campus - details will be supplied on request.
I do hope that you will be able to attend for the whole, or at least som epart of, the Conference. Would you please let me know, as quickly as possible:-
(a) The Date(s) and Time(s) during which you would like to attend.
(b) Please say if you are prepared to give a short lecture on some aspect of the conference subject, and if so, under what title your contribution should be shown in the Official Programme. Would you also please suggest any specific subject(s) which you consider suitable for Discussion groups to handle?
(c) If you will require overnight accommodation, please outline your requirements.
A copy of the Conference Programme will be sent, to all those who express their intention of attending, as soon as possible.
APPENDIX 'B' Covering letter accompanying invitations to Organisations
I enclose a copy of a letter which is being circulated to prospective delegates attending a Conference at Leeds University/Polytechnic in March.
It is evident from my past experience, that from time to time, in your counselling work, you will encounter people who confess to having a Transvestite or Transsexual problem. This forthcoming Conference is a serious attempt to help unravel some of the misconceptions surrounding these behvaiour patterns, and to guide those involved in helping these people.
I do hope that you will be able eithe rto attend yourself, or to nominate someone to attend on your behalf. I am sure that you/theywill find it an interesting and rewarding experience.
APPENDIX 'C' Covering letter accompanying invitations to known Transvestites or Transsexual personalities.
Referring to the enclosed notice concerning a Conference to be held at Leeds University/Polytechnic March 15th-17th, you, as a known Transvestite/transsexual, are cordially invited to attend.
I am sure you will find it an interesting and rewarding experience, as well as an ideal opportunity to further the task of improving the understanding of this subject by the Medical profession, Social and Religious Workers, the Law, and the General Public.
If there are any particular aspects of the subject which you feel would make suitable topics for Discussion Groups to handle, please let me know as soon as possible.
I do sincerely hope that you will make a special effort to attend.
APPENDIX 'D' Conference Programme (as sent to Delegates)
Organised by the Leeds University T.V./T.S. Group.
|Dr. Elizabeth Ferris, MB., BS., (Gender Identity Research)
|Mrs. C. F. Cordell, (Social Worker, Founder of ACCESS)
|Miss M. E. Williams, (Public Relations Officer, Beaumont Society.)
|Miss Julia Tonner, (Transsexual Action Organisation, U.K. Branch.)
Admission to the Conference is FREE, but any Donations towards the costs will be gratefully accepted.
Leeds T.V./T.S. Group, 153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2. Tel 39071 Extn. 37
All times shown are approximate and may be subject to alteration.
Friday 15th March 7.30 - 10.30pm at the Guildford Hotel, Leeds. Reception and Coffee Evening for Delegates and Friends. Licensed Bar available
Saturday 16th March At Leeds University Union Debating Chamber.
|Opening address: J. B. Willmott (Conference Secretary)
|Miss Margaret Williams (P.R.O. Beaumont Society) "The Psychology of Transvestism and Transsexualism"
|Miss Julia Tonner (T.A.O., UK Representative) "Fit or misfit?" The position of the Transsexual at work and leisure in modern society.
|12.00 - 1.00 p.m.
|Lunch (Available at the University Refectory)
|Mrs. C. F. Cordell (Social Worker, Founder of ACCESS) "Know Thyself"
|Dr. E. Ferris (Gender Identity Research) "Transvestism and Transsexualism: Their Origins and the Problems of coping with these conditions".
|Feature Film: "The Queen" Behind the scenes at an American 'Drag Contest' featuring Transvestite and Transsexual viewpoints.
|4.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
|Conference Workshops The Conference will divide up into a number of Discussion Groups, each of which will be asked to examine some aspect of Transvestism and Transsexualism and its impact on Family and Social life. The results will be presented at the Sunday morning Conference Session.
|7.30 p.m. to 12.00 mdnt.
|Social evening and Disco Dance for Delegates and Conference Visitors, at the Lipman Building (adjoining Leeds University Medical School) Admission (on production of Conference Programme) 25p. Lounge and Bar (Extension to 11.30pm) Dancing to Top Discs.
Sunday 17th March At Leeds Polytechnic Common Room
|Workshops Reports and Discussion of Findings.
|12.30 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.
|Open Forum - A Question and Answer Session, YOUR opportunity to comment or challenge our Delegates.
|Closing Address Miss June Willmott (Beaumont Society - North of England Regional Representative)
A wide range of T.V. and T.S. Books and Leaflets available for sale, or to order.
The Official Conference Photographer, Miss Deleyze Anne, of T.V. Photographics, 130 Osmaston Road, Derby, will be in attendance throughout the Conference, and will be pleased to take individual, or group pictures on request.
The following shops and suppliers will be pleased to assist transvestites and transsexuals in choosing and obtaining all their fahsion and footwear requirements.
Cover Girl Shoes Ltd., 95 Upper Islington, London, N1 ON4 David de Lacy, Theatrical Costumier, 38 Somerfield Road, London N4 (Tel.01-226-8980) The Nottingham Exclusive Dress Agency, 15 King Street, Nottingham. The Elite Dress Agency, 1 - 3 Smithy Lane, off King Street West, Manchester 1. The Tall Girls Shop, 397 Washway Road, Sale, Cheshire.(Tel.061-973-5109)
Friday Evening Reception The guildford Hotel is at 119 The Headrow, Leeds - just 200 yards East of the Town Hall.
Saturday - Conference Sessions At Leeds University Union Debating Chamber. The Union Building is well signposted from all parts of the Campus.
Saturday - Evening Social and Disco Dance At the Lipman Building which is located adjacent to the Leeds University Medical School, opposite Leeds Dental Hospital in Blundell Street (¼ mile south of the main University Campus.)
Sunday - Conference Sessions Polytechnic Common Room. This is situated in the main building of the Leeds Polytechnic, Woodhouse Lance, 500 yards south of the University.
'Bus Services Leeds City Transport Services.
1 & 4 from Railway Station and City Square. 33, 36 & 56 from Central Bus Station.
Short Term - Outside the Union Building
Long Term - Public Multi-Storey Car Park in Woodhouse Lane - (¼ mile south of University)
A detailed Report of Conference Proceedings will be published as soon as possible after the close of the Conference. If you would like a copy please place your reservation at the Bookstall. The Report will be in booklet form and will cost 15p.
APPENDIX "E" Press Release Issued 5th March 1974
The First National Conference for Transvestites and Transsexuals in Great Britain, is being held at Leeds University Union on the 15th.,16th., and 17th March. The Conference, convened with the co-operation of the Beaumont Society, the Transsexual Action Organisation, and other established bodies working in the field of human relationships, is being attended by many Social Welfare Workers (both professional and vulntary), and members from the Medical and Psychiatric professions from all parts of the U.K., as well as by individual Transvestites and Transsexuals from all walks of life.
The Conference will comprise a number of lectures by natoinally known figures engaged in counselling, medical and surgical work related to the subjcet; films discussion groups and an "Open Forum" session will be included. On the lighter side there will be a Reception and Coffee Evening and Disco Dance for Conference Delegates and Visitors on Saturday, 16th.
There will be no charge for admission to the Conference sessions, (a nominal 25p will be charged for the saturday evening function), and anyone genuinely interested in the conference usbject, whether as a professional or voluntary counsellor, or on a personal basis, is welcome to come along. Admission is by programme, obtainable on request from the Conference Secretary, TV/TS Study Group., 153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2. Tel:39071 Ex.57, or 787529 (evenings). Alternatively, if you would like further information (in complete confidence) about the Beaumont Society, please write to the General Secretary, at BM.Box 3084., London WC1V 6XX.
Signed J.B.Willmott Conference Secretary & Regional Representative (North of England) Beaumont Society.
APPENDIX F (i) From "The Guardian" 4th March 1974
by Michael Parkin
The First National conference of transvestites, including radical drag queens and transsexuals is to be held at Leeds in March. Social workers, doctors and clergy have been invited to join them in discussing their problemsof which the public largely knows nothing.
Briefly, a transvestite is a person who gains psychological release through dressing in the clothing of the opposite sex. He (it is not often a she) is usually heterosexual. A radical drag queen is a transvestite who wears women's clothing in public, but does not try to hid ethe fact that he is a man.
Mr.Martine O'Leary, a radical drag queen at Leeds, says that he buys old dresses from Oxfam shops, wears neighter make-up nor substitute breasts, and tries to shake people out of their preconception of what aman is, a womanis, or more important, what he is. He becomes a walking challenge to our fixed ideas on sexual roles.
The other group, transsexuals, consider themselves to be women who have been trapped inside a man's body. they make their break for sexual freedom by proclaim- ing themselves to be women and living as women. Many seek the so called 'sex change' operation and hormone treatment.
One of the organisers of the conference, Colin (Caroline when he is crossdressed) said that he once spent three hours explaining transvestism to two membrs of GayLiberation, normally the most understanding of people on sexual problems. "They sat there stupdefied for most of the time" he said. The public was even more lamentably ignorant.
Colin/Caroline is more radical than his fellow organiser, John/June who at 54 is about 30 years older. John is northern representative of the Beaumont Society named after the Chevalier Beaumont, who served his country as a man in the French army and as a women spy in Russia at the court of the Tsars - a kind of Monsieur Mata Hari.
Though Colin recognises the pioneer work done by the Beaumont Society for transvestites, he still regards it as "a bit of a tea and lace curtains society" with men "puffing on pipes and calling themselves Alice and Sandra"
"We have to convince them" he said "that transvestism should not stop at dress- ing up as a woman for an hour or so. It should mean becoming a radical feminist. I have a feeling that most of these transvestites will go out for the night dressed as women and come back expecting their wives to act as slaves"
The Beaumont Society damits only heterosexual transvestites. It says that it denies Colin's assertion that it is "Anti-homosexual"
About 90 per cent of Beaumont Society members are married said John, and they made faithful, helpful husbands. Their wives would take a poor view of some of the radical attitudes of people like Colin.
John and Colin represent the conservative and radical wings in the debate on the future of transvestites. Their approaches may differ, but both seek a more tolerant social climate. And both are particularly concerned about the dangers to transvestites in a law that allows an arrest for conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.
Going into a public lavatory is always a problem for a man dressed as a woman. John admits that in pressing need he has gone into the women's lavatories and has faced the risk of being summoned for a breach of the peace. But to have gone into a men's lavatory so dressed would have meant th erisk of being suspected of importuning.
Julia, a male transsexual who was once married as a man to a owman, says that when she became a woman a policeman warned her that he would arrest her whether he found her in either a men's lavatory or a women's lavatory.
Julia is hoping to persuade some female transsexuals and transvestites to attend the conference. Some people will not even admit that such women exist. As Martine O'Leary, the radical drag queen said "When you don't even exist, you've really got problems."
APPENDIX F(ii) From the "Yorkshire Post" 16th March 1974
PLIGHT OF MEN WHO SEEK ACCEPTANCE AS WOMEN
Geoffrey Winter meets John/June who is celebrating a breakthrough in Leeds this weekend with the men he calls his sisters.......
The cloakroom girl giggled and said that she thought she was seeing things
and the assistant manager of the hotel, the Guildford, Leeds, admitted to being a little shocked and surprised.
There were men dressed as women at a reception and coffee evening on the hotel's first floor.
They had gathered, from various parts of the country, for the first natoinal TV/TS conference, which will begin today at Leeds University.
TV stands for transvestite, which is a man who gains psychological release through dressing as a woman, and TS stands for transsexual - a man who feels that he is a woman trapped in a man's body.
Knowing what to expect at the hotel, it was still mildly confusing. For the party on the next floor up - 274 Field Battery RA, who were holding their annual reunion - it was downright baffling.
John/June, the conference secretary, seemed a little nervous. Not because he and the men he referred to as sisters were crossed dressed, but because "This is a breakthrough. It's the first time that a conference like this has been attempted, certainly in England, and I want it to be a success."
There are expected to be about 90 people at today's conference - roughly half transvestites and transsexuals, the others medical people and social workers.
John/June said "This is a serious conference. For one thing we want to show people that we haven't got two heads - that we can act sensibly and respectably as women without causing offence to anyone"
He and others had arrived by public transport dressed as women. "This is the risk we take" said John/June "We are hoping that in this day and age people will be a bit more tolerant. There has not been a case against any of us of causing a breach of the peace in the past fice years. there are certainly more of us out and about than ever before"
I had asked the hotel's assistant manager about the toilet arrangements and he had replied "That's a good question". He had not realised precisely what was involved when he accepted the booking, but added that he would not have turned it down even if he had known.
The booking was in the name of the Beaumont Society, after the Chevalier Beaumont, who served his country as a man in the French Army and as a woman spy in Russia at the court of the Czars. Mata Harry - if you like.
In the event, no problem arose over lavatories "We are using the ladies" said John/June. "We have hired this flor. If we used the gent's toilet it would cause a riot"
Delyze, who declined to give his male christian name, said that about one third of transvestites were married, but the percentage was reduced through divorce in relation to the transvestite activity.
Some transvestites dressed as women only in their own homes. They were known as "closet queens". Others dressed as women at every available opportunity but re- verted to men's clothes when working.
Transsexuals sought gender realignment. They took female hormones to heighten feminine characteristics and would finally have a 'sex change' operation.
Audrey, a transsexual, showed me his insurance card. It was made out in his woman's name. I asked his age. John/June interjected "That's a rude question to ask a lady". Audrey, who was indistinguishable from a girl, said he was 36.
I was asked by one of the party what my reactions were to being in a room full of men dressed as women. I admitted confusion.
I had reacted like a man toward women - standing up at their approach and pulling up chairs for them... and then realising and wondering whyI was doing it.
"That's the right reaction. That's what we wnat" said the man in the brown wig with the beringed, nail varnished fingers.
As John/June,said, the conference this weekend is serious. "We don't want any scandalmongers there" The members want to discuss their situation and its impact on present day society. They want to hear what professional people in social and medical fields have to say about their compulsive behaviour patterns.
But most of all, they are seeking acceptance.
APPENDIX F(iii) From "The Bradford Telegraph & Argus" 21st March 1974
THE 'DRUG' OF DRESSING UP
Our understanding of men who wear women's clothes is usually restricted to drag artists - like the Mimetimers, who appear at Bradford's Talk of Yorkshire Club on Monday week. For a few others it is far more than entertainment as STEVE COOK discovered when he visited a strange conference at Leeds last weekend.
If you appear in public dressed in clothes of the opposite sex you run the risk of, at best, ridicule and, at worst, violence.
If you go fra as to have a sex change operation, you face the long and despa- rate task of getting society to accept you.
But life is gradually becoming easier for transvestites and transexuals as social attitudes relax and information spreads abou tthe problems these people face in life. Six or eight years ago it would have been unthinkable, but last weekend 80 people gathered at Leeds University for the country's first national conference on Transvestism and Transsexualism.
Most of them were in "drag" - clothes of the opposite sex - but some social workers, ministters, researchers and surgeons were there to give their views. There were lectures, discussion groups, and a film show - The Queen, a semi documentary of an American drag festival.
The conference was organised by a student who calls himself Caroline when he "dresses" and by John/June, an older man, who like many looks uncompromisingly masculine in spite of a wig and lavish make-up.
Behind their efforts is the Beaumont Society, an organisation of about 800 members started six years ago and named after a 17th century Frenchman, Chevalier D'Eon de Beaumont, who lived in Russia for years as a woman while spying for the French Forces.
The ideas put forward at the conference often conflicted and sometimes the only principle remaining was that there is no agreed explanation of the transvest- ite-transsexual phenomenon. But the facts seem to be these:
Psychotherapy has made very little advance into correcting the compulsion to dress in clothes of the opposite sex, or to want to convert to that sex. A more fruitful approach is to work towrds accepting and understanding the problem, not combating it.
The balance of male and female tendencies in a character alters according to circumstances. A transvestite is someone in whom the balance is very delicate, and who positively needs the comfort of feeling for a while that they are of the opposite sex.
One transvestite said "Dressing gives me a feeling of great peace and relief and if I don't do it once or twice a week I can get very depressed. It works like any other drug - it gives you a lift and an escape from reality into a fantasy world. And it is less damaging physically than booze or other drugs"
Very few transvestites are homoesxuals - the popular mind assumes that they are and this can be why they are beaten up if tey appear openly. In fact a male homosexual would be doing himself a disservice to dress as a woman because his potential partners are usually misogynists. Many transvestites are married, have children - and brought their wives with them to the conference.
Transsexual find the balance in their charactr leans so far towards the opposite sex that they wis hto convert. They can have their sexual organs changed by operation, take in huge doses of female hormones (in the case of a male), have beard removed by electrolysis, have vocal chords modified to produce a higher pitch, and even have breasts grafted on for £800 apiece.
A sad and sobering account of life as a transsexual was given by Julia, who had the operation after 30 years of living as a man. "I know that I am not a woman and I'm no longer a man" she said "I'm something in between. I just hope that I can know what I am myself and find acceptance as a human being rather than as a man or a woman." Another TS, Della Aleksander, was a much happier and better adjusted to her conversion.
A social worker at the conference said she tohught that sex change operations should be approached with greater caution - the damage was so irrevocable and tra- gic if they were done unnecessarily.
Luckily none of the people at the conference was without a sense of humour about themselves. But I still don't know whether a distinguished-looking male transvestite was joking or not when he said to a friend as I passed "You simply must meet Edna - she's an old Etonion"
APPENDIX "G" Photographic Coverage
Copies of photographs taken during the conference are available solely from TV Photographic, 130 Osmaston Rd.,Derby, but for convenience it is requested that orders be channelled via the conference secretary:-
Miss.June Willmott, 165 Hyde Park Road, LEEDS LS6 1AH.
The following are available:
Black & White, standard En-Print Size
30p each print
|Margaret Williams addresses conference
|An informal picture of conference in session
|Julia Tonner addresses conference
|Main group of conference in session
|6 & 7
|Della Aleksander addresses conference
|Doreen Cordell addresses conference
|Dr.Elizabeth Ferris addresses conference
Colour Prints, standard En-Print size
35p each print
|Dr Elizabeth Ferris and June Willmott
|Delegates listen closely to a speech from the rostrum
|A further group of closely attentive delegates.
|Della Aleksander and Dr.Philip Lebon
|Delegates pause for conversation between lectures
|Delegates attention held by speech from the rostrum
|As 3A4 but a different group of delegates.
|Panoramic view of conference in session
|As above, different angle (these two prints between them i.e. 9A10 & 10A11 provide an overall view of the conference in session)
|"At the Disco-Dance" - group of Beaumont Society Members.
Colour Enlargements 7" x 4" £1.00 (including free En-Print)
Colour enlargements of any of the above colour prints can be ordered, quote the same reference number but state "7" x "4" Enlargement"
When ordering, please enclose the appropriate remittance (Cheque or P.O. made out to "TV Photographic"), and most important of all, give your address in full to which the photographs are to be sent.
APPENDIX "H" Financial Statement
A copy of the Income and Expenditure Account Relative to the running of the conference is set out below:
_Expenditure_ £ _Income_ £
Postage 5.80 Donations (collection after
Envelopes 0.44 Film Show) 33.00
Posters - Artwork 0.65 Profit from Disco Dance 29.00
R.A.C.Road Signs 8.80 Sundry Profits (Food & Drink,
Invitation Letters Bookstall) 4.42½
(Duplicating) 0.85 Profit from Shoe Stall 1.75
Guildford Hotel ------
Room Hire 5.50 68.17½
Refreshments 5.50 Deficit 10.43½
Programme Printing 2.18
Hire of Film 15.40
Delivery Charge for Coffee 1.85
(Refund of Rail
Fares & Hotel Charges) 30.30
N.B. A donation of £4.50 has since been received from the Leeds Branch of G.L.F. towards clearance of this deficit, and at a recent Executive Committee Meeting of the Beaumont Society, the latter have agreed ot meet the remaining deficit of £5.93½
Our sincere thanks are due to these two organisations for their financial aid and also to the many people who gave their services free, or at 'basic cost' rates.
Designed and Printed for the Leeds University TV/TS Group by Caroline Scott & Vivien (BM.Box 3084.,London WC1V 6XX)