Christine Jorgensen Biography

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Christine Jorgensen Biography

Christine Jorgensen (May 30, 1926 – May 3, 1989) was the first widely known person to have sex reassignment surgery - in this case, male to female. She was born George William Jorgensen, Jr., the second child of George William Jorgensen Sr., a carpenter and contractor, and his wife, the former Florence Davis Hansen. She grew up in the Bronx and later described herself as having been a "frail, tow-headed, introverted little boy who ran from fistfights and rough-and-tumble games". She graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in 1945 and shortly thereafter was drafted into the Army. After being discharged from the Army, Jorgensen attended Mohawk College in Utica, New York, the Progressive School of Photography in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Manhattan Medical and Dental Assistant School in New York City, New York. Jorgensen briefly worked for Pathé News.

Returning to New York after military service and increasingly concerned over (as one obituary called it) her "lack of male physical development", Jorgensen heard about the possibility of sex reassignment surgery, and began taking the female hormone ethinyl estradiol on her own. She researched the subject with the help of Dr. Joseph Angelo, a husband of one of Jorgensen's classmates at the Manhattan Medical and Dental Assistant School. Jorgensen intended to go to Sweden, where the only doctors in the world performing this type of surgery at the time were to be found. At a stopover in Copenhagen to visit relatives, however, Jorgensen met Dr. Christian Hamburger, a Danish endocrinologist and specialist in rehabilitative hormonal therapy. Jorgensen ended up staying in Denmark, and under Dr. Hamburger's direction, was allowed to begin hormone replacement therapy, eventually undergoing a series of surgeries.

According to an obituary: "With special permission from the Danish Minister of Justice, Jorgensen had his [sic] testicles removed first and his still-undeveloped penis a year later. Several years later Jorgensen obtained a vaginoplasty, when the procedure became available in the U.S., under the direction of Dr. Angelo and a medical advisor Harry Benjamin.

Jorgensen chose the name Christine in honour of Dr. Hamburger. She became a spokesperson for transsexual and transgender people.

Famous Asked Questions for Women

Famous Women and Their Contribution

Abby Kelley Foster
Year Honored: 2011
Birth: 1811 - Death: 1887
Born In: Massachusetts, 
Died In: Massachusetts, 
Achievements: Humanities
Educated In: Rhode Island
Schools Attended: Providence Friends School
Worked In: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan

During her lifetime, Abby Kelley Foster followed the motto, “Go where least wanted, for there you are most needed.”  A major figure in the national anti-slavery and women’s rights movements, she spent more than twenty years travelling the country as a tireless crusader for social justice and equality for all.

Foster was born into a Quaker family in Pelham, Massachusetts in 1811, and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts at a time when society demanded that women be silent, submissive and obedient.  After attending boarding school, she held teaching positions in Worcester, Millbury and Lynn, Massachusetts.

In Lynn, she joined the Female Anti-Slavery Society, where she became corresponding secretary and later, a national delegate to the first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in 1837.  The following year, Foster made her first public speech against slavery, and was so well received that she abandoned her teaching career and returned to Millbury.  There, she founded the Millbury Anti-Slavery Society and began lecturing for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

During the next two decades, Foster served as a lecturer, fundraiser, recruiter and organizer in the fight for abolition and suffrage.  In 1850, she helped develop plans for the National Women’s...
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