Where Are they Now? Sex-Change Pioneer Christine Jorgensen

About Christine Jorgensen one of the first people to go through the complete sex-change process.



At the Peak: Before the fuss began, Christine was just plain George Jorgensen, a kid from the Bronx who was never very happy, back in the 1930s, when his father encouraged him to play baseball and football like the rest of the boys. Seemed George was always happier dressing up dolls or playing hopscotch with the girls.

And all through school and a series of photographer's jobs, and even in the U.S. Army, it was the same story: George wanted to be a girl. So in 1950 he went to see some doctors in Denmark he'd heard about and asked them to make him one.

Two years later, after a slew of operations and almost 2,000 hormone injections, he-she returned to New York and a flurry of publicity as Christine, the world's first sex-change girl. Of course, not everyone was convinced that the switch had been a success. Here's how the New York Daily News reported the homecoming: "Christine Jorgensen, the lad who became a lady, arrived home from Denmark yesterday, lit a cigarette like a girl, husked 'Hello,' and tossed off a Bloody Mary like a guy, then opened her fur coat. Jane Russell has nothing to worry about."

When the first flurry of jokes and news stories had faded away, Christine went on to play some minor stage roles, star in her own nightclub act, write her autobiography, and become involved in two well-publicized romances that led to engagement but not marriage.

And Today: With the sex-switch surgery that she pioneered now almost commonplace, the 51-year-old Christine was living in Los Angeles in 1978 and remains busy as an entertainer, occasional talk show guest, and campus circuit lecturer, giving talks on "how to deal with being different."

Are things easier for her now?

Yes. "Twenty years ago I met with almost complete hostility. Today there's almost complete hostility. Today there's almost complete comprehension. I am the woman I always wanted to be. I'm happy and I love life. And it is a fairly normal life, too. I date quite a bit."

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