Christine Jorgensen: A Woman Before Her Time
PODCAST | SEASON 1 | EPISODE 7

CHRISTINE JORGENSEN: A WOMAN BEFORE HER TIME

Christine Jorgensen never intended to become a celebrity. In 1951, Jorgensen traveled to Europe to obtain special permission to undergo a series of operations, which would help complete her medical transition from male to female, becoming the first American woman to publicly receive this type of surgery. When she returned to the states, the New York Daily News wrote about her under the headline: ’EX GI BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY.’ Christine’s public persona marked a significant, though often fraught, step towards normalizing transgender identities in the US, and she came to embrace her role as a pioneer within the transgender community. But her story is still unknown to many and the fight is far from over. 


 

Jo talks about the state of transgender rights with the National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, Sarah McBride, one of the many activists working today to continue the work Christine began.  


 

Main Sources

  • Christine Jorgensen: a Personal Autobiography - by Christine Jorgensen
  • A Universal-International News report by Fred Maness with footage of Christine Jorgensen arriving at Idlewild Airport in 1951
  • ‘Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty’, from the New York Daily News in December of 1952
  • ‘Bronx Boy is now a Girl’ from the New York Times in December of 1952
  • An interview with Christine Jorgensen conducted by the BBC in 1970
  • An interview with Christine Jorgensen conducted by Hour Magazine in May of 1984
  • An Associated Press article in the LA Times from June 1986 titled: ‘Famed Transsexual Christine Jorgensen Out of the Spotlight’
  • Uncredited footage and interviews titled ‘Christine in Denmark Parts I and II
  • Various clips, footage, and reviews of Christine’s stage act referenced throughout the episode.