Original Reviews of Autobiography of an Androgyne
Published over 100 years ago, Autobiography of an Androgyne is a groundbreaking memoir of what today we would call a transgender woman. It was not very well-received by the medical community.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ANDROGYNE. By Earl Lind (“Ralph Werther” — “Jennie June”). Edited, with Introduction by Alfred W. Herzog, Ph. B., A. M., M. D. New York, “The Medico-Legal Journal,” 1918. 265 pp. Illustrated. 12mo. Price, $4.00.
The name of the author of this abnormal biography is of no interest. She, to accept his own classification, tells the inconveniencies, trials and sufferings of her unsocial condition for the purpose of securing some amelioration through legal recognition of his invasion. A woman’s mind, ways and proclivities encased in a body which is only one third feminine, and in particular possessing organs for which (s)he has no use but lacking an orifice for which she would have great use! helas, what a mess! Of course every person who is not normal is to be pitied, and so far as is consistent with running a world should be allowed all possible freedom. Whether the attitude of scientists and moralists toward the relation of the sexes which is so peculiar to this century, and bids fair to be its high light when looked at by the twenty-first can be made to include a benevolent view of congenital inverts, or ought to, is a fine subject for the expression of variant opinions. The author makes this plea — pity us, spare us: we are what we are against our wills. As for the substance of the book itself, — the reader will do well to have some apomorphine at hand. $4.00 is some price, too. A. F. E.
This work portrays the inner history and life experiences of a bisexual human; hence, treats of but one of the several forms of sexual perversion, and while it is essential that those for whom this volume is expressly intended should understand the various forms of perversion, and this is especially true of the physician who too often is not sufficiently informed on the subject, it does not appear necessary or desirable that a detailed description of the abhorrent practices of a single pervert be multiplied by a chronological review of a lifetime in order to enlighten the student on the subject ; however, in order that the reader may obtain a correct conception of this work we shall permit the author and editor to “plead their own case.”
The author’s expressed object is “to bring his misfortune vividly before the medical and legal fraternities, for the purpose of lightening the heavy load which rested so unjustly upon the unfortunates of this class,” while the editor offers the work “as a psycho-legal study, worthy of a careful analysis, from which only one conclusion can be reached, viz., such as he are not to be punished.”
That the reader may form his own conclusion “unprejudiced,” the reviewer “gives the case to the ‘jury’ without instructions.” — D. S. B.
This little book is the life story of a homosexual, told with a frankness but little ameliorated by the use of Latin in certain passages. The value of such a document is extremely doubtful. At any rate, in the present instance, there is much repetition of similar incidents and an entirely too lenient editing of the author’s ill-concealed pride in his career.
An androgyne, as the name implies, is an individual with the primary sexual determinants of a male, but with more or less of the secondary physical characteristics of a female, and with female psyche and sex inclinations. The opposite type of inversion is termed a gynander. Neither of these is an hermaphrodite, as the word is now used. The autobiography of this androgyne is rather the confession of innumerable homosexual debauches. It is not pleasant reading. It is written as a plea that the sexual invert is to be pitied, not scorned. The thoughtful physician, at all familiar with the subject, will cheerfully agree that the homosexualist is indeed to be pitied. That the invert — or the pervert (it does not seem easy to draw a line between them), whose impulses are uncontrollable, should not be segregated, that his practices are innocent of harm to those whom he induces to indulge with him, the reader of these confessions will not so readily admit. The book does emphasize, however, one important lesson to physicians, viz., not to recommend as a means of curing homosexuality that an androgyne should enter into marriage with a woman, or a gynander with a man. Such marriages are disastrous.