Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy (23 August 1931–9 October 2006), known professionally as Coccinelle, was a French transsexual actress and entertainer. Hers was the first widely publicized sexual reassignment case in Europe, where she was a national celebrity and a renowned club singer.
Early life and career
Born in Paris under the name of Jacques Charles Dufresnoy, she took the stage name Coccinelle (French for "Ladybug") — when she entered show business, making her debut as a transgender showgirl in 1953 at Chez Madame Arthur. She later performed regularly at the famous nightclub Le Carrousel de Paris, which also featured regular acts by other famous transsexuals such as April Ashley and Marie-Pier Ysser. In 1958, she traveled to Casablanca to undergo a vaginoplasty by Dr. Georges Burou. She was born at rue Notre Dame de Nazareth Nr.66 in the 3e arrondissement.
She very quickly became a media sensation upon her return to France as a woman, with a look and stage act based on the prominent sex symbols of the day. Historian Joanne Meyerowitz wrote "the more sexualized MTF showed up in the sensationalized press in the stories on Coccinelle, who worked at Le Carrousel in Paris". In 1959 she appeared in Europa di notte by director Alessandro Blasetti. That same year, Italian singer Ghigo Agosti dedicated the song “Coccinella” to her, provoking widespread consternation and controversy. Coccinelle appeared in the 1962 film Los Viciosos and was the first French transsexual woman to become a major star, when Bruno Coquatrix splashed her name in red letters on the front of Paris Olympia for her 1963 revue, "Cherchez la Femme". She later appeared in the 1968 film Días de Viejo Color. In Hebrew, the word coccinelle (קוקסינל, pronounced koksinel) is used as a synonym for transsexual, often derogatorily.
Activism and later life
Coccinelle worked extensively as an activist on behalf of transgender people, founding the organization "Devenir Femme" (To Become Woman), which was designed to provide emotional and practical support for those seeking sexual reassignment surgery. She also helped establish the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity. In addition, her first marriage was the first transsexual union to be officially acknowledged by the government of France, establishing transgender persons' legal right to marry. Her 1987 autobiography Coccinelle was published by Daniel Filipacchi. Coccinelle was hospitalized in July 2006 following a stroke and died that October at Marseille.
Coccinelle was recently portrayed by Cooper Thompson in the upcoming 2014 telefilm, 'Carlotta' (ABC).
Coccinelle No 1 (President Records No 38." cda 1052)
- Tu t'fous de moi [You don't care about me]
- L'Amour a fleur de coeur [Love has a heart like a flower]
- Prends-moi ou laisse-moi [Take me or leave me]
- Tu es là [You are there]
Coccinelle No 2 (President Records No 12" cda 1052)
- Je cherche un millionnaire [I'm looking for a millionaire]
- Avec mon petit faux-cul [With my little false bottom]
Coccinelle - 4 chansons de la Revue de l'Olympia "Chercher la femme" (RCA VICTOR 86.012M - 1963)
- Cherchez la femme [Look for the woman]
- On fait tout à la main [Everything is done by hand]
- C'est sûrement vous [It's probably you]
- Depuis toujours [Since forever]
Star du Carrousel de Paris CD (Marianne Melodie 041625) Compilation of 20 titles.
- Conway, Lynn. Georges Burou. via lynnconway.com. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
- Meyerowitz, Joanne. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-00925-7
- Joanne Meyerowitz (April 1, 2004). Sexual Revolutions. Harvard University Press/Google Books. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- "Décès de Coccinelle, pionnière de la cause transsexuelle et meneuse de revue (10 October 2006)". Yahoo! France News accessed through The Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
- Coccinelle (1987) Coccinelle par Coccinelle. Editions Filipacchi, Paris. ISBN 978-2-85018-586-1
- Bonjour, Richard (12 October 2006). Coccinelle s’est envolée. [Ladybird has flown away].