Christine Jorgensen never intended to become a celebrity. In 1951, Jorgensen traveled to Europe to obtain special permission to undergo a series of operations, which would help complete her medical transition from male to female, becoming the first American woman to publicly receive this type of surgery. When she returned to the states, the New York Daily News wrote about her under the headline: ’EX GI BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY.’ Christine’s public persona marked a significant, though often fraught, step towards normalizing transgender identities in the US, and she came to embrace her role as a pioneer within the transgender community. But her story is still unknown to many and the fight is far from over.
Jo talks about the state of transgender rights with the National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, Sarah McBride, one of the many activists working today to continue the work Christine began.