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Related: gender - intersexuality

David Bowie incorporated an androgynous look into his stage persona Ziggy Stardust (photograph unidentified)


Androgyny is the mixing of masculine and feminine characteristics, be it for example in the loud fashion statements of musicians like Ziggy Stardust or the balance of "anima" and "animus" in Jungian psychoanalytic theory.

Androgynous traits are those that either have no gender value, or have some aspects generally attributed to the opposite gender. Physiological androgyny (compare intersex), dealing with physical traits, is distinct from behavioral androgyny which deals with personal and social anomalies in gender, and from psychological androgyny, which is a matter of gender identity. A psychologically androgynous person is commonly known as an androgyne, although there is a politicized version known as genderqueer.

To say that a culture or relationship is androgynous is to say it lacks rigid gender roles and the people involved display both masculine and feminine characteristics or partake in both masculine and feminine activities. The term androgynous is often used to refer to a person whose look or build make determining their gender difficult but is generally not used as a synonym for actual intersexuality or transgender or two-spirit status of people.

The morpheme andr- means 'man', and the morpheme -gyn- means 'woman', derived from Greek.

Gender roles are the different social roles of men and women, which vary with changes in culture. It's important to understand the difference between social characteristics of gender and separate these from sexual physiology and sexual behaviours. - As people gradually became aware of their facility for self-determination and gender, the established roles within society began to be tested with this newfound concept of self. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgynous [Feb 2005]

Glam Rock

"Glam rock [in America] was nowhere near the teen-driven phenomenon it was in the U.K.," says director Haynes. "I was aware of Bowie, didn't have his records, and was actually rather spooked by those unbelievable images of him on the covers of the records in the record stores and at friend's houses. I sensed it was something I was going to want to know more about, but at that time I knew I wasn't ready." Most Americans weren't. The New York Dolls might've been ultracool, and glam might have influenced heavy hitsters like Kiss, as well as imports Elton John and Queen. But the original glam acts made barely a ripple on the sea of American cheese that was Top 40 radio." --Todd Haynes

Wayne County

Making his name as a scenester during the heady days of the '70s New York punk scene, Wayne County later gained renown as rock's most prominent transsexual, billing herself as Jayne County in 1980. Born Wayne Rogers around 1947, Wayne County assumed his stage name for a production of the play Femme Fatale. County acted in several
Warhol-associated theater pieces and from there became the DJ at Max's Kansas City.

Gender Bending History

Plato-Sappho Epoch: Platonic love, girls' schools, boys' schools, androgyny, Hellenism.

circa 16th century: The French court reinvents gentlemanly chivalry into a gender variant culture of sexual diversity complete with prolific erotica to prove it. (A few erotic art items will be shown here). Marquis de Sade suffers torture and imprisonment for his sexual perversons, leading to Europe's "Libertine" sexual freedom movement. (note: More reseaerch will be done to pin down dates better.)

the 1800s: Annie Oakley defines bulldyke chic to mass approval.

circa 1933: The German film Viktor und Viktoria is released. Adolph Hitler comes to power, soon invents the pink triangle, burns gender benders and gays along with Jews and political opponents. Smashes the thriving cabaret scene of Berlin and Paris.

1939: A troupe of female impersonators based in Miami, The Jewel Box Review, begins a tour of the USA. - ref: Metro magazine, 2001 June-July-August issue, "Date Book"

Fab Fifties: Pianist Liberace entertains like a French court queen.

1960s: Christine Jorgensen shocks world by getting sex change. Tiny Tim sings Tiptoe Through the Tulips in high falsetto. Unisex fashion movement explodes from London. The politically feared J. Edgar Hoover remains FBI chief after decades of power, all the while rumored to be wearing panties.

1969 June: The Stonewall riot in Manhattan, a drag queen centered event, brings visibility and unity to gay civil rights movement at a time when prosperous America had a huge population of baby boomers coming of age. The raging war in Viet Nam and its compulsory draft made anti-establishment views of all sorts somewhat credible in the public consciousness. Meanwhile alleged secret drag-perv J.Edgar Hoover, founder and head of the FBI, was investigating everybody for everything from communist influence to homosexuality, thus leading to slang terms like "pinko". The stonewall riot started as a result of overbearing NYC cops raiding the bar in a common practice of riding down on gay people.

circa late 60s/early 70s: David Bowie declares he's bisexual, adopts Ziggy Stardust personna. Puts on a dress to celebrate first day in America. Glam rock movement creates soft male beauty with femme overtones in pop culture. Artist Andy Warhol casts gender benders Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn into underground film stardom. Warhol was also central to creation of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust pesonna.

1973: The American Psychological Association purges homosexuality from the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

1974 October: Filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show begins in U.K..

1975: Richard Raskind underwent a sex change operation and soon became the world's most famous transsexual, better known on the female court as tennis champion Renee Richards. More recently, Richards has been a pediatric eye surgeon in Manhattan while living in rural upstate New York. - ref: People Weekly, March 15-22, 1999. pg. 281

1980s: Director John Waters casts drag queen Divine in camp films like Polyester and Hairspray.

Late 80s/early 90s: Gender confusing "Pat" appears on Saturday Night Live TV comedy program.

early 1990s: KD Lang hits cover of Vanity Fair posing as man being shaved by sexy supermodel. Lesbian chic does mass invasion of fashion ads. Drag supermodel Ru Paul kicks ass on mainstream television. Gryphon Morph software promotes it's product by demonstrating how a boy can become a virtual girl.

circa 1997: Plenty macho bad boy basketballer Dennis Rodman puts on bridal gown for a public appearance, declares slight affinity for bisexuality.

circa 1998: Sportscaster Marv Albert gets pink slip after being branded for wearing panties in romp with call girl.

1999 November 27: Finocchio's, a world famous drag club in San Fransisco closes down at 506 Broadway in the North Beach neighborhood after falling victim to higher rents from ongoing gentrification. The club was open to female impersonators since 1936. It was owned by Eve Finocchio and started by her husband Joe Finocchio.

2000 August: A United States Court ruled that a gay Mexican crossdresser is entitled to political asylum in the USA by reason that he was subject to persecution in his own country. The ruling was unprecedented.


  1. The New York Dolls - The New York Dolls [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    In 1972, when rock & roll was all but dead in Manhattan, five cross-dressing glam punks from the boroughs convened and began hammering out crude, sub-Chuck Berry rock for the downtown in-crowd. It took another year before a record company dared to sign them, thus foisting The New York Dolls on an essentially uninterested world. Taking their cue from the band's guitarist/Keefalike Johnny Thunders, hardcore Dolls fans pooh-poohed Todd Rundgren's production as wimpy: twenty-five years after its release, songs like "Personality Crisis" and "Looking for a Kiss" sound more trashily invigorating than ever. With the Rolling Stones finished as a vital force by '73, the doomed Dolls were there to step into the void. A classic. --Barney Hoskyns
  2. The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust (1972) - David Bowie [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    After flirting with heavy guitar rock ("The Man Who Sold the World") and lighter pop ("Hunky Dory"), Bowie found middle ground on Ziggy Stardust. The creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona would live on well after Bowie shed the alien skin, marking the first rock concept album by a sexually ambiguous, artistically bent musician who confounded critics at every turn. A blend of dramatic strings, swaggering saxophones, jagged guitars, and theatrical arrangements, the album's darker rock numbers like "It Ain't Easy," "Moonage Daydream," "Ziggy Stardust," and the irresistible "Suffragette City," still serve as solid excursions into the future (then and now) of rock. The buoyant "Hang on to Yourself" and the dreamy "Star" offer hints of optimism in Ziggy's bleak world. The dramatic "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" and the image-heavy "Star Man" ("he'd like to come and meet us but thinks he'd blow our minds!") no doubt provided plenty of stage-worthy moments when Ziggy toured in the '70s, but years later they still thrill. Bowie blew our minds! --Lorry Fleming for amazon.com [...]

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