As the 1960's came to an end, the 1970's brought with it the formation of many more support organizations for male cross-dressers and transgenders, with most beginning as offshoots of Virginia Prince's organizations from the early 1960s.
There were three organizations formed in 1970. The most well-known is Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), later renamed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries which was founded by two transgender women, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, to provide shelter and clothing. Rivera later said, “STAR was for the street gay people, the street homeless people, and anybody that needed help at that time...Later we had a chapter in New York, one in Chicago, one in California and England. It lasted for two or three years." Transvestite activists Lee Brewster and Bunny Eisenhower founded the Queens Liberation Front, and Brewster began publishing the transgender women’s magazine “Queens.” Angela Douglas founded TAO (Transsexual/Transvestite Action Organization), which published the Moonshadow and Mirage newsletters. TAO moved to Miami in 1972, where it came to include several Puerto Rican and Cuban members, and soon grew into the first international transgender community organization.
Male to Female crossdresser, Ron Storme, started Porchester Hall Drag Balls in London, which led to consistent monthly and then bi-weekly balls that provided essential networking for crossdressers and transgenders.
Also in 1970, a judgment by Justice Ormrod in the Corbett v. Corbett case set a precedent that will leave United Kingdom post-op transsexual’s unable to marry until the 21st Century. In September of 1963 the parties went through a ceremony of marriage. The marriage is eventually annulled after the bride is declared to be legally still a man, despite sex reassignment surgery.
In 1972 Sweden becomes first country in the world to allow transsexuals to legally change their sex, and provides free hormone therapy.
Transgender woman and composer, Wendy Carlos, writes the movie soundtrack “Clockwork Orange” in 1972.
In 1973 lesbian Beth Elliot was ejected from the West Coast Women's Conference because she was a transgender woman, despite having served as vice-president of the San Francisco chapter of the lesbian organization Daughters of Bilitis and having edited the chapter's newsletter Sisters.
In 1974 Jan Morris, one of Britain's top journalists, publishes “Conundrum,” a personal account of her transition. The book is now considered a classic.
In 1975 Panama becomes the second country in the world to allow transsexuals who have gone through gender reassignment surgery to get their personal documents reflecting their new sex.
In 1975 Minneapolis became the first city in the United States to pass trans-inclusive civil rights protection legislation. In 1977 Renee Richards, a transgender woman, was granted entry to the U.S. Open (in tennis) after a ruling in her favor by the New York Supreme Court. This was considered a landmark decision in favor of transgender rights.
Certain legal cases continued to consider the issue of changing the gender marker on one's official documentation, but cases in this period also considered other issues of anti-transgender discrimination. In 1975, in the case of Darnell v. Lloyd, a Connecticut court found that substantial state interest must be demonstrated to justify refusing to grant a change in sex recorded on a birth certificate. However in 1977, in the case K. v. Health Division, the Oregon Supreme Court rejected an application for a change of name or sex on the birth certificate of a post-operative transsexual, on the grounds that there was no legislative authority for such a change to be made.
In 1976, the first case in the United States that found post-operative transsexuals could marry in their post-operative sex was decided. In the New Jersey case M.T. v. J.T., the court expressly considered the English Corbett v. Corbett decision that disallowed such a marriage, but rejected its reasoning.
Also in 1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a transgender plaintiff, Paula Grossman, in a sex discrimination case involving termination from her teaching job after sex reassignment surgery.
Transgender tennis Ace, Reneé Richards, was “outed” in 1976 and barred from competition when she attempts to enter a women's’ tennis tournament. One year later In 1977 Richards was granted entry to the U.S. Open after a ruling in her favor by the New York Supreme Court. This was considered a landmark decision in favor of transgender rights, establishing that transsexuals are legally accepted in their new identity after reassignment in the United States.
In 1979, influential writer Janice G. Raymond wrote the anti-transsexual book "Transsexual Empire," in which she characterized female-to-male transsexuals as traitors to their sex and to the cause of feminism, and male-to-female transsexuals as rapists engaged in an unwanted penetration of women's space.
A series of programs entitled “A Change of Sex” are aired on the BBC in 1979. Viewers could for the first time follow pre-op transsexual, Julia Grant, through her transition.
Another significant event for activism occurred in 1979, with the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights held in Washington, D.C. on October 14th. It drew between 75,000 and 125,000 transgender, lesbian, bisexual, and gay people, as well as straight allies. The cause was to demand equal civil rights and urge the passage of protective civil rights legislation. The march was organized by Phyllis Frye (who in 2010 became Texas’s first openly transgender judge) and three other activists, but no transgender people spoke at the main rally.
The Human Rights Campaign Fund is founded by Steve Endean in 1980. The campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.
Also in 1980, transgender people were officially classified by the American Psychiatric Association as having "gender identity disorder."
In 1981, educator and activist Mary Ann Horton (a transgender woman) becomes a Usenet and Internet pioneer by authoring the oldest internet post to ever be archived by Google Groups.
In a 1984 sex discrimination case, Ulane v. Eastern Airlines Inc, The Seventh Circuit denied Karen Ulane, a transsexual pilot, Title VII sex discrimination protection by narrowly interpreting "sex" discrimination as discrimination “against women", and denying Ulane's womanhood.
Transgender author, playwright, performance artist and gender theorist, Kate Bornstein, undergoes sex reassignment surgery in 1986.
Also in 1986, transgender activist Lou Sullivan founded the support group that grew into FTM International, the leading advocacy group for female-to-male transgender individuals, and began publishing The FTM Newsletter.
Celebrated jazz musician, Billy Tipton, died in Spokane, Washington on January 21st, 1989. Upon his death, it was revealed that he was a woman. Tipton, who played in big bands in the 40s and 50s, lived for 56 years as a man, marrying several times and raising children.
Also in 1989, transgender activist and internet pioneer, Mary Ann Horton, starts Columbus Ohio’s first transgender support group, The Crystal Club.
Other key moments in the 1970s and 1980s concerned the inclusion of trans women within the feminist community, an issue that continues to the present day, and the classification of transgender people as a group. The term “Transgender”, as an umbrella term to refer to all gender non-conforming people, began to be used more commonly during this time.
* for more information and facts on transgender history, read part four of this editorial coming soon, or visit the International Transgender Historical Society & Hall of Fame Official Website.
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