September 25, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

GAY LA: Christine Jorgensen in Los Angeles

Meet the woman who changed everything.

The Chateau Marmont is nothing short of an L.A. institution. Home (at one point or another) to some of the world’s biggest and most scandalous stars of the 20th century, it’s the place where James Franco apparently rejected Lindsay Lohan’s advances, where Paz de la Huerta flashed half of Hollywood’s elite, and where Heath Ledger got high of an evening.

It’s also the place where Christine Jorgensen, possibly the most famous trans woman in history, decided to settle for the long haul.

If you don’t know who Jorgensen was, here are the Cliff’s Notes: After World War II, in which Jorgensen served as a G.I. in the United States Army, the young woman travelled to Copenhagen in Denmark. There, after being diagnosed as transsexual [sic] rather than homosexual by her doctor, the “transsexual specialist” Christian Hamburger, she would undergo a two successful sex reassignment surgeries in the early 1950s.

During this conservative time in America, Jorgensen might have hid the details of her life from the world. Instead, she went public. Jorgensen burst onto the scene in 1952, causing a flurry of interest, shock, controversy, and sparking a national obsession that would change the course of history forever.

“Ex G.I. Becomes Blonde Beauty!” newspaper headlines exclaimed, launching Jorgensen and her story into the spotlight. The young woman was offered acting roles in film and on the stage, as well as the chance to become one of the world’s first reality celebrities. Jorgensen, however, shied away from the spotlight, trying her best to live a vivacious, yet normal life, performing at cabarets and nightclubs.

Later, becoming a distinguished speaker at schools and institutions all across the country. Jorgensen used her power to do good, creating a platform for people to talk seriously and without judgment about transgender issues. The filmmaker and transvestite Ed Wood used her story as inspiration for his 1953 “Glen or Glenda” (also known as “I Led Two Lives!”) while countless filmmakers and writers since have drawn inspiration from her story.

Though born in Utica, New York, it’s no surprise that Jorgensen chose Los Angeles as her home in the last few decades of her life. First at the Chateau Marmont, where she wrote her autobiography “Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography.”  In her lifetime, Jorgensen was mocked, made fun of, and treated like a joke. She walked off her spot on the Dick Cavett show after the host’s rude questions got to be too much. A dignified, private person thrust into the spotlight, Jorgensen handled her ascension to fame with grace. Until the end of her life, she refused to be disrespected or treated poorly because of her difference. Instead, the paved the way for trans folks everywhere, showing us how glamorous, rich, and beautiful life could be, no matter your assigned gender.

Toward the end of her life, she had a private home in Hollywood and a home in Laguna Beach, where she spent her final years before succumbing to lung cancer in 1989. Her ashes are scattered off Dana Point in California.

Related Posts

MS-13’s Stronghold On MacArthur Park And Transphobia

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

MS-13, a vicious street gang, continues its stronghold on MacArthur Park making it unsafe for many who visit but specifically...

Jonathan Van Ness Offers His Services As A Life Coach

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness who identifies as non-binary has teamed up with Skillshare to host a virtual class...

QFilms Long Beach Returns

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

QFilms Long Beach, Long Beach’s oldest film festival, returns September 30 – October 3 to celebrate the diversity of LGBTQ...

Teacher Removed After Having Class Pledge Allegiance To The Pride Flag

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Kristin Pitzen, a teacher at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, who posted a video to social media of...

Auditions for HVS Conservatory will be held this fall for February 2022 enrollment

September 5, 2021

September 5, 2021

Hollywood Vocal Studios and Adreana Gonzalez are proud to announce the founding of Hollywood Vocal Studios (HVS) Conservatory—a post-secondary school...

Newsom To Sign Into Law $50M To Help Performing Arts Organizations

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Governor Gavin Newsom will be signing into a law $50 million in financial relief to help small performing arts organizations. ...

Lady Gaga Announces New Album Dropping In October

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Oscar and Grammy winner Lady Gaga has announced that she will be dropping a new album set to be released...

Los Angeles LGBT Center Trying To End Blood Donation Discrimination

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

The Los Angeles LGBT Center is doing its part to end blood donation discrimation against gay and bisexual men.  According...

“Pose” Actor Jason Rodriguez Forms New Talent Agency

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Jason Rodriguez, the unequivocal new face of voguing and “Pose” superstar, has formed a new talent agency called Arraygency.  Rodriguez...

AltaMed Health Services to Host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show”

August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021

AltaMed Health Services, will host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show” on Friday, Aug. 6, 6-10 p.m. in Los...

Full Frontal Disco Returns To Akbar

August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021

Full Frontal Disco will return to the Silver Lake neighborhood gay bar Akbar. Resuming Saturday August 7th and continuing every...

$3 Million To Train California Teachers On LGBTQ Issues

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a final state budget that includes $3 million for LGBTQ cultural competency training for public...

Strut BAR & CLUB Presents Mimosa Girls Drag Brunch

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

Strut BAR & CLUB has announced its weekly drag brunch featuring the Mimosa Girls.  Costa Mesa’s ALL inclusive location for...

WeHo Asking For Community Input On Naming Request to Rename the West Hollywood Library

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is conducting a community survey to solicit public input about a naming request to rename...

Lil Nas X Releases New Music Video “Industry Baby”

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

Lil Nas X has shared the music video for his new song “Industry Baby”. Directed by Christian Breslauer the video...