ON SEXUALITY, GENDER and CARING
In 1951, George Jorgensen made history in America. No, his name on the front page of the New York Daily News was not George. The newspaper printed his name as Christine Jorgensen.
I was a schoolgirl and too young to understand the implications of the first person to have a sex change publicly. However, I remember how often the name of Christine Jorgensen was in the news.
Born in Bronx, New York, George Jorgensen fought in the military and was a soldier so much like other soldiers. Except George yearned to become a woman. In the 1940s and 1950s, that was not a common wish nor was the procedure available in the United States.
And so, George went abroad for the sex change surgery. It was successful and he returned to the United States as Christine Jorgensen. She wanted to become a nightclub performer. As Christine Jorgensen, she was a celebrity in the 1950s. She lived a colorful life and even attempted to marry but there were legal issues with the marriage certification.
Christine Jorgensen lioved to be sixtyish and died in San Clemente California. Until Dr. Stanley Bieber, the well-known surgeon who performed sex changes in Trinidad, Colorado, the surgery was not popular in the United States. Ironically, Dr. Bieber learned his unique surgery from a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine manual.