Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS)


Omar Portillo

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2003


There is a rich history of people who have deliberately constructed their bodies and challenged the binary sex-gender system. On November 22, CLAGS presented a symposium in which scholars, trans. activists, service providers, and artists revisited the life of one of the most famous of them — Christine Jorgensen — and considered her impact on our understanding of gender identities five decades after her "sex change" made headlines. Guest speakers - among them C. Jacob Hale, Hugh McGowan, Joanne Meyerowitz, Mariette Pathy-Allen, Ben Singer, Dean Spade, Chris Straayer, Susan Stryker, and Dinh Tu Tran — traced Jorgensen's life and the sensationalized media coverage of her transition and also commented on current medical, social, legal, and political issues that the trans community struggles with. The symposium was followed by Imani Henry's performance piece, B4T (before testosterone).


This article was originally published in CLAGSNews, vol. 13, no. 1.



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