Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13, 1953

Today was the day 60 years ago that Christine Jorgenson stepped off a Scandinavian Airways flight from Copenhagen to Idlewild (now JFK) Airport in New York and into history as the first post World War II transperson. 

The news of her genital surgeries had already exploded into the international headlines in December 1952 It primed the pump for the media feeding frenzy that greeted the stylishly dressed 27 year old when she arrived on this side of The Pond.  

Some people argue that Christine Jorgensen's arrival in New York and her stylishly stepping off that SAS airplane are the opening moments of the sexual revolution in the United States.

What it did signify was that for transpeople, we now had a name for what was ailing us, a way to deal with it, and a person we could look up to as one of us who had successfully gone through the medical process.

So yes, we all walk in Christine Jorgensen's pumps. It was she who endured the stifling media scrutiny of being a transperson under the white hot glare of media publicity from the moment she stepped off the plane from Denmark on February 13, 1953 until she passed away in May 1989.

And because she did so, we exist today.   The ongoing education on trans issues began in the US at that moment and is still unfolding today. 

Take a moment today to say words of thanks for Christine Jorgensen.  Let's also strive in this 60th anniversary year of her arrival back on US soil to honor her memory by doing what we can to pave the way for the trans younglings who are depending on us, their trans elders, to make it easier for them to live their trans lives to their fullest potential.


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