Fallon Fox

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Dubbed the “Queen of Swords,” Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender fighter in Mixed Martial Arts history, has been coping with controversy for almost as long as she’s been competing. When she came out after her second professional fight there was a question of whether she had been licensed properly; though the issue of her inclusion was later resolved with the full support of the UFC, various fighters have since refused to compete with her or complained following losses. Outside of her matches Fox has been featured in a documentary about LGBT athletes and been inducted into the Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Fox’s personal website can be found here; her Facebook page can be found here; and her Twitter page is available here.

 

Balian Buschbaum

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German athlete Balian Buschbaum competed in the women’s pole vault for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games (placing 6th) and several world championships. His personal record of 4.70 meters ranks him as Germany’s second best as of the time of this posting. Since starting testosterone he has been barred from competitions and consequently forced to retire, but he was able to channel his track and field expertise into a position as a coach, and penned an autobiography. His transition has received international attention due to his career and his appearance: National Geographic included him in a documentary and blogs count him among the world’s most attractive trans men.

Buschbaum’s personal website is available here; his Facebook page is here; and a longer program about him in German can be found here.

 

Aleister Crowley

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Aleister Crowley, the man who called himself “The Great Beast 666” and became known in the British press as “the wickedest man in the world,” was an infamous cult leader who founded his own religion dedicated to the mantra, “Do what thou wilt.” After finding the Hermetic Organization of the Golden Dawn lacking in its dedication to the occult (and himself unpopular due to his bisexuality and sexual libertinism), he set out to outdo it, and wrote the first of many texts while in Egypt. His practice turned to a focus on sexual magic (part of his overall philosophy of Magick) and he opened up a house for his disciples that was later seized upon by tabloid journalists. He was also a poet and a skilled (though callous) mountaineer. His popularity spiked in the 1960s after his death, and he even appears on the Beatles’ album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band.

A full-length documentary on Crowley, complete with spooky music and handheld camera footage, is available here.

Kayley Whalen

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Kayley Whalen works in social media at the time of this writing, but she is better known by her roller derby name of Lenore Gore. Whalen is a jammer (a skater who scores points), but when she first took up skating her league forced her to sign a code of conduct agreeing that trans women could only serve beginning two years after genital surgery. She remained largely closeted for years, but joined the movement to establish a more inclusive derby policy, including publishing a piece under an alias in the collection Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation. Outside of derby she has also worked at making the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival trans-inclusive, as well as other activist causes.

Whalen’s Twitter feed is available here; her personal blog, not updated since 2012, is available here.

 

Historiography Saturday: Roberta Cowell

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Roberta Cowell, the first British woman to be outed in the press as transgender (and the first to undergo gender-reassignment surgery) was a race car-driving, fighter-plane flying, veteran of World War II. After years of struggling business ventures (including the production of a racing engine) she sold her story to the newspapers for enough money to erase her debts, then went right back to quenching her need for speed; she still owned flashy cars up to the point of her death.

Gaining approval for vaginoplasty – and credibility in the public eye – required Cowell to declare herself intersex. According to her narrative she was only late in developing feminine physical characteristics. However, as one medical review of her autobiography pointed out, her scientific claims were highly dubious, doubly so because she had every incentive to mimic the respected intersex narrative of Lili Elbe. To complicate things further, Cowell held an attitude toward transition that excluded most other trans women, indicating that she may have believed at least some of her hype.

John Amaechi

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Former English basketball player John Amaechi led a sports career that had him playing for teams in both the United Kingdom and the United States. His employers included Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks (his statistics on US teams are offered in depth here); at one point he famously declined a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers out of loyalty to the Magic. When he came out as gay following his retirement from basketball he became one of the highest level athletes to have done so. At the time of this posting Amaechi is applying his psychology degree to his life coaching and charity work; however, he does still contribute to the world of professional basketball by way of the occasional op-ed.

Amaechi’s personal website is here and his Twitter feed is here.

Sodom by the Sea: Apaulo Hart

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Multimedia talent Apaulo Hart has dabbled in everything from stone masonry to logo designs. As depicted above, his training extends to feats of burlesque aerial acrobatics on the Spanish web, which he integrates into performance art on thought-provoking topics such as religious deconversion and cabaret acts reimagined as queer. He has also been an active member of the San Francisco kink and sex work scenes; he has appeared in films with Courtney Trouble and James Darling, and creates leather fetish gear both on his own and for local company Mr. S Leather. At the time of this posting he is an apprentice at Modern Electric Studio, a tattoo parlor with a distinctive style drawn from its artists’ backgrounds as painters. He views art as his legacy, and advises up-and-comers to “Go with your passion. There is no reason not to in this day and age. We are very lucky!”

When asked how he identifies, Hart had this to say: “I’m more of an animal than anything. I want to create something original at this point.” (But, as he clarified, ‘transgender’, ‘genderqueer’, and ‘trans man’ are all fine for everyday use.)

Hart’s art blog is available here; his Twitter feed is here; and his Facebook page is here.