Trans Men of History

billy tipton

TW: Contains deadnames as historical reference. We would never feature the deadnames of men alive today.

Trans men have been common in history, but rarely documented. Here are just some of the trans men in history who have lived their lives as they wished to.

James Barry – Medic

James Barry

James Barry became a medic in the British Army. Rising in the ranks to Principal Medical Officer, he ultimately performed one of the first successful Caesarian sections on record. He was known for having been a skilled surgeon, and for improving sanitation and medical care in military hospitals. His birth assignation wasn’t revealed until he died in 1865.

Murray Hall – Politician

New York politician Murray Hall was born with the name of Mary Anderson, a fact he was able to keep secret until his death in 1901. He was married for 25 years and had adopted children with his wife, all of whom never knew his birth assignation until his death.

William Lee “Billy” Tipton – Musician

billy tipton

billy-tipton-musician women who lived as men

William Lee “Billy” Tipton was a jazz musician and bandleader born in Oklahoma with the name of Dorothy Lucille Tipton. He created a story that he had been in a severe car accident, which explained his bandaged chest, and claimed his genitals were damaged.

Billy was never formally married but had relationships with various women over the years who never knew that Billy was born and raised as a woman. His own children, which he had adopted, had no idea until the day he died.

Trans men have historically been forced by society to go to great lengths to pass as cis-men. This is a salute to the courage and spirit of trans men in history, documented and famous or otherwise.

Main photo: Billy Tipton