Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interview with Christine Jorgensen 1966 (or 67)

I'm writing about Christine Jorgensen for a paper topic and I found this interview of her on the Joe Pyne Show.

It's interesting because they discuss homosexuality and transvestitism (in contrast to transsexuality).
It's cool to see what terms were used by the media and how Jorgensen identifies and clarifies.



  1. I think its interesting that the one of the questions was whether Jorgensen was aware of how many other transgender people or people in the same "predicament" as Jorgensen. Its almost as if the interviewer is suggesting that because Jorgensen is a transgender individual then she must know every other transgender individual. Its also interesting how aware Jorgensen is of her own physical and emotional state, there is a clear focus and direction regarding why Jorgensen decided to pursue the operation

  2. Another thing that stands out from this interview is the interviewer's focus on genitalia. Despite that interview having taken place almost half a century ago, there is still a rampant focus given to the genitalia of trans* individuals. Jorgensen may have been a newfound phenomenon at the time, but it's startling to think that so much of public discourse is fixated on the genitalia--a focus which objectifies trans* people. Here's Laverne Cox speaking to that on Katie Couric: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMH8FH7O9xA

    Seeing these two videos side-by-side brings up another interesting point about the performance* of gender. I'm thinking about how both Jorgensen and Cox perform an uber, very glamorous femininity. It's of course so wonderful to see a trans woman of color skyrocketing to icon status, as Cox seems to be doing, but I'm wondering how such a performance of femininity, which conforms quite closely to the dominant and regulatory constraints placed on the expression of gendered traits, could possibly do harm to people who craft their subjectivities through a greater mix or eschewal of gendered traits.

    *I use performance here as a term for the act of moving through life, not the putting on of a show or artifice.