Strömholm ‘s Transsexuals: Les Amies de Place Blanche
Christer Strömholm (1918-2002) was ‘the father of Swedish photography’. A talented and influential photojournalist, he favoured direct contact with his subjects. He never ‘stole’ candid pictures and instead always had a relationship of some kind with the person or people he was photographing.
For over a decade, beginning in 1958, Strömholm documented the lives of a group of transsexual women (male-to-female) living in an area of Paris called the Place Blanche. His body of work is remarkable. In 2011 Aman Iman Publishing in Paris republished it as as Les Amies de Place Blanche. The price is a very reasonable 45 Euros. Continue reading Strömholm’s Beautiful Transsexuals→
J Michael Bailey’s seminal book, The Man Who Would Be Queen(TMWWBQ) sparked huge controversy when it was published in 2003. The furore it caused, while small in focus, was spectacular in its incandescent rage at the author. This was categorically different from the conservative reaction to works of other controversial authors like D H Lawrence, or even Vladimir Nabokov’s deeply unsettling study of male attraction to pubescent girls. In those, the hostility was principally against the work; not so here. It was J Michael Bailey in person who was vilified.
And to cap that, TMWWBQ is not a work of fiction, but of popular science. It is well written, in non-scientific language, is easy to read and deeply sympathetic to its subject. So what on Earth happened, to provoke such a furious backlash? It included entirely spurious attempts to end Bailey’s career, personal slurs and threats of violence against him. His attackers even accused him of sexually molesting his children.
The campaign against Bailey, coordinated by a small group of internet bullies, amounted to nothing more or less than a blatant attempt at censorship associated with a virulent personal attack on the author. It’s time, now, to revisit this book and see why it caused such a storm in a latte cup. Continue reading The Man Who Would Be Queen→