On this day December 11: Christine Jorgensen meets the press


Christine Jorgensen december 11 world's first sex change
Christine Jorgensen. Image: Daily News

On December 11, 1952, Christine Jorgensen fronted the world press in Copenhagen. Ten days before the New York Daily News ran the story Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty. The article described Christine’s two years in Denmark undergoing hormone treatments and surgery. Other papers picked up on the story incorrectly naming her the ‘world’s first sex change’.

Christine only recently told her family about her transition in a letter they shared with the Daily News.

“Nature made the mistake which I have had corrected, and now I am your daughter.”

Mr and Mrs Jorgensen first shared the news with Christine’s sister before calling a meeting of 22 of their closest friends to tell them. Everyone agreed Christine had made the right choice. The Jorgensen’s then shared the letter and some professional photographs with the Daily News.

The December 11 press conference attracted a huge turnout. But nothing like the 300 journalists and photographers who greeted her when she flew back into New York. She received a largely favourable press. Despite protesting she would prefer a quiet life working as a photographer, she adapted readily to celebrity life. She sold a five-part account of her life to a newspaper and then trained for a future career as an entertainer.

The Daily Oklahoman said in 1954 that entertainment critics offered unanimous praise for her nightclub routine. The newspaper noted that curiosity drew audiences, but Christine Jorgensen’s talent kept them.

“After a few minutes, spectators forget that the girl they are watching figured in one of the most bizarre cases in medical records. They realise they are being entertained by an outstanding comedienne.”

Spokesperson and role model

Christine Jorgensen became a highly respected public figure, a transgender spokesperson and role model. Her success encouraged other transgender people to live their authentic lives.

Christine Jorgensen died of cancer in 1989.

Back in 1967, she exorcised past demons in her autobiography

“I remember times when I lived in a crucible of troubled phantoms and faltered in the long, painful search for identity. But for me, there was always a glittering hope that lay ahead.

“I found the oldest gift of heaven — to be myself.”

Read More:  December 10 <— On this day —> December 12

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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