30th May 1926 – 3rd May 1989
“I gave the sexual revolution a good swift kick in the pants”
Christine Jorgensen was a transgender woman who is famous for being the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement treatment.
Christine was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. After her conscription into the US Army during World War II, she attended several colleges gaining training in photography and dentistry. After learning about gender reassignment cases in Europe, in 1951 she travelled to Copenhagen and began a series of pioneering gender reassignment surgeries.
On returning to the United States Christine received international press attention and was celebrated as the first person to undergo these new forms of operation and receive hormone replacement treatment. She used her new found fame to speak out for transgender rights and told her story in print and on television. This publicity was not always positive and she went through several failed engagements and was unable to get married due to her birth certificate still carrying her birth gender. The negativity around her continued with abusive comments being made by celebrities and politicians though these did not deter Christine as she continued her public speaking and performance career.
Christine stands as a giant among transgender activists. Through her unwavering bravery in the face of a society that was not ready for her, she helped draw attention to the suffering of trans people and brought trans-issues into the forefront of the fight for equality.
She died on this day 1989 of lung and bladder cancer.
A Prayer for Christine Jorgensen:
Heavenly God, we thank you for the life and work of your servant Christine Jorgensen. We thank you for her bravery and her pioneering existence in a hostile society. We ask that you might grant us all with the same courage to be visible, even when it may be costly to us and pray for all trans* people still suffering in the world today. Through your most Holy Son we pray. Amen
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