Intro-How Sex Changed : A History Of Transsexuality In The United States

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In “Intro-How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States,” Joanne Meyerowitz writes about the beginnings of transsexuality. She beings the article by defining cross-gender identification, as “the sense of being the other sex, and the desire to live as the other sex” (Meyerowitz 432), while transsexuality, “being the quest to transform the bodily characteristics of sex via hormones and surgery” (Meyerowitz 432). According to Meyerowitz, transsexuality began in the early 20th century. Experiments on changing sex, began in europe on animals. Then in 1920, on humans. Joanne Meyerowitz writes that “the debate on the visibility and mutability of sex” began after Christine Jorgensen, an american who went to Denmark to get a sex change in 1950, became a media sensation in America. While professionals were figuring this out, people “who identified as transsexuals, transvestites, lesbians, and gay men” (Meyerowitz 433) were having the conversation and creating the language within themselves. This conversation on sex change, occurred alongside the sexual revolution in the 60’s, opening “the movement of the organizing of programs, clinics, conferences, and associations to promote study of and treatment for transsexuals” (Meyerowitz 434).
In “Transgender Liberation” by Susan Stryker, she writes about what lead to the Compton’s Cafeteria riot in 1966. There was a large population of transgender women living in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. They lived in chap residential hotels, and worked as prostitutes or maids in order to support themselves. This, being caused by the “housing and employment discrimination against transgender people” (Stryker 435). This became, according to Stryker, an “involuntary containment zone for transgender women” (Stryker 435), and police perpetuated this by sending them there. They also discriminated them by putting them in jail for suspicion of prostitution. In response to the economic insufficiency, the “Tenderloin residents launched a grassroots campaign for economic justice in 1965” (Stryker 436). Around the same time, Vanguard, now known as the earliest known queer youth organization, was started by and made up of “young gay hustlers and transgender people”

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