Lou Sullivan

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For other people named Louis Sullivan, see Louis Sullivan (disambiguation).
Louis Graydon Sullivan
Born (1951-06-16)16 June 1951
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died 2 March 1991(1991-03-02) (aged 39)
San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Occupation Author, activist
Known for Transgender activism

Louis Graydon Sullivan (16 June 1951 – 2 March 1991), born Sheila Jean Sullivan, was an American author and activist known for his work on behalf of trans men. He founded FTM International, one of the first FTM organizations, along with SHAFT in the UK and Rupert Raj's Metamorphosis in Toronto, and is largely responsible for the modern acknowledgment that sexual orientation and gender identity are totally different concepts. [1]

Early life[edit]

Sullivan grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sullivan was born in a Catholic family, and was very religious as a child. He attended Catholic primary and secondary school.[2] Sullivan started keeping a journal at the age of 10 years old. He described in his journal his early childhood thoughts of being a boy, confusing adolescents, sexual fantasies of being a gay and his involvement in the Milwaukee music scene. [3] Sullivan had an attraction to playing a different gender role and his attraction for male roles was outlined in his writings specifically in his short stories, poems and diaries and looked at ideas of male homosexuality and gender identity.[2] At the age of seventeen he began his relationship with a “feminine” male and gender roles were put into place and significantly switched.[4]

Transition[edit]

In 1973, Lou Sullivan identified himself as a “female transvestite" and by 1975 he identified himself as a female to male transsexual. He also moved to San Francisco in that year and began working at the Wilson Sporting Good Company. He was employed as a female but cross dressed 75% of the time, and lived as a gay man.[2] Sullivan attempted to get Sex-Reassignment Surgery in 1976 but was denied because of his open homosexual orientation. Sullivan started the campaign to remove the orientation part of the list of contraindications for SRS.[5] In 1976, he suffered a severe crisis of gender identity and continued living as a feminine heterosexual woman for the next three years. In 1978 he was shaken by the death of his youngest brother. [6] Sullivan began injecting testosterone in 1979. And the year after he had a double mastectomy. Sullivan changed jobs at this time and took on his new identity as a man was able to start a new chapter in his life.[2] In 1986, Sullivan obtained genital reconstruction surgery. In 1980, it is likely that Sullivan became HIV- infected, just after his chest surgery [7]and told he only had 10 months to live [8] and on March 2, 1991 Sullivan passed away with AIDS related illness. Sullivan was the first trans man to die of AIDS [2]

Contributions[edit]

Sullivan wrote the first guidebook for FTM persons,[9] and also a biography of the San Francisco FTM, Jack Bee Garland.[10] Sullivan was instrumental in demonstrating the existence of trans men attracted to men.[11][12][13][14] Lou Sullivan began peer counselling through the Janus Information Facility which was an organization that provided transgender issues.[15] He is also credited for being the first to discuss the eroticism of men’s clothing.[15]

Sullivan became a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society (now The GLBT Historical Society), whose archive have one of the best collections of material on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual history in the world. [16]

Golden Gate Girls/Guys - Gender Gateway Alliance[edit]

Newsletters: The letters were used to provide guidance for FTM and transvestites. [17] It was encouraged for trans woman and transvestites to attend gatherings. Volume 1 was primarily dedicated to assisting its members on jobs and health. [18] Lou Sullivan managed to edit the newsletter by contributing to the factor that FTM do not need to attend gathering but rather mentoring them on the skill of passing. He would focus one letter specifically targeting for one group (ex. Trans woman) and the next issue would be focused one trans men.


Activism[edit]

Sullivan was a founding member and board member of the GLBT Historical Society (formerly the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society) in San Francisco. His personal and activist papers are preserved in the institution's archives as collection no. 1991-07; the papers are fully processed and available for use by researchers, and a finding aid is posted on the Online Archive of California.[19] The Historical Society has displayed selected materials from Sullivan's papers in a number of exhibitions, notably "Man-i-fest: FTM Mentoring in San Francisco from 1976 to 2009,"[20] which was open through much of 2010 in the second gallery at the society's headquarters at 657 Mission St. in San Francisco, and "Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating San Francsico's GLBT History," the debut exhibition in the main gallery at the society's GLBT History Museum that opened in January 2011 in San Francisco's Castro District.[21]

He lobbied the American Psychiatric Association and the WPATH, also the World Professional Association for Transgendered Health for them to recognize his existence.[15] Sullivan was determined in changing attitudes towards trans homosexuals but also to changes practices. [22] He wanted to see sexual orientation removed from the criteria of gender identity in DSM for access of hormones and surgery and essentially wanted to make “orientation blind”. [23]

Sullivan was active in the Golden Gate Girls/Guys which is now called Gateway Gender Alliance.[15] He suggested changing the name from Golden Gate Girls to add Guys.[5]

Works[edit]

1973- A Transvestite Answers a Feminist

1974- Looking Towards Transvestite Liberation

1980- Female to Male Cross Dresser and Transsexual

1990- Information for the Female to Male Cross Dresser and Transsexual

1990- Male to Female: The Life of Jack Bee Garland

References[edit]

  1. ^ Susan Stryker (1999). "Portrait of a Transfag Drag Hag as a Young Man: The Activist Career of Louis G. Sullivan," in Kate More and Stephen Whittle (eds). Reclaiming Gender: Transsexual Grammars at the Fin de Siecle, pp. 62-82. Cassells, ISBN 978-0-304-33776-7
  2. ^ a b c d e Stryker Susan. About Lou Sullivan." Serving Trans Men in the San Francisco Bay Area.. http://www.lousullivansociety.org/about-lou-sullivan.html.
  3. ^ Stryker, Susan. "The Difficult Decades." In Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press :, 2008.
  4. ^ Guide to the Louis Graydon Sullivan Papers, 1755-1991 (bulk 1961-1991)." http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf9199n9v3
  5. ^ a b Stryker, Susan. About Lou Sullivan." Serving Trans Men in the San Francisco Bay Area.. http://www.lousullivansociety.org/about-lou-sullivan.html.
  6. ^ Stryker, Susan. "The Difficult Decades." In Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press :, 2008.
  7. ^ Stryker, Susan. "The Difficult Decades." In Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press :, 2008.
  8. ^ AIDS: The FTM Response and the Death of Lou Sullivan." - OutHistory. http://outhistory.org/oldwiki/AIDS:_The_FTM_Response
  9. ^ Louis Sullivan (1980). Information for the female to male cross dresser and transsexual. Janus Information Society
  10. ^ Louis Sullivan (1990). From Female to Male: The Life of Jack Bee Garland. Alyson Publications, ISBN 978-1-55583-150-9
  11. ^ Eli Coleman & Walter O. Bockting. "Heterosexual" prior to Sex Reassignment – "Homosexual" Afterwards: A case Study of a Female-to-Male Transsexual. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality. Vol 1(2). 1988 pp69-82
  12. ^ Susan Stryker (1998). Lou Sullivan. Third International Congress on Sex and Gender.
  13. ^ The Lou Sullivan Memorial Issue. FTMi Newsletter, Issue 58: Spring 2005.
  14. ^ Special Issue. FTM Newsletter, Summer 2007.
  15. ^ a b c d A Gender Variance Who's Who." : Louis Gradon Sullivan (1951-1991) Pioneer Ftm Activist. http://zagria.blogspot.ca/2008/07/louis-gradon-sullivan-1951-1991-pioneer.html#.VGY6Y-ktDIU.
  16. ^ Stryker, Susan. "The Difficult Decades." In Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press :, 2008.
  17. ^ Gateway: FTM Mentoring Through Newsletters." - OutHistory. Accessed November 28, 2014. http://outhistory.org/oldwiki/Gateway:_FTM_Mentoring
  18. ^ Gateway: FTM Mentoring Through Newsletters." - OutHistory. Accessed November 28, 2014. http://outhistory.org/oldwiki/Gateway:_FTM_Mentoring
  19. ^ Guide to the Louis Graydon Sullivan Papers, 1755-1991 (bulk 1961-1991) (Online Archive of California).
  20. ^ "Exhibit Opening! Man-i-fest: FTM Mentorship in San Francisco from 1976-2009". History Happens! Monthly News From the GLBT Historical Society. March 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  21. ^ B[ieschke], Marke (2011-03-08). "Mighty real: New GLBT History Museum brings "Our Vast Queer Past" to light". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  22. ^ More, Kate, and Stephen Whittle. "Reclaiming Genders." October 1, 1999. Page 77
  23. ^ More, Kate, and Stephen Whittle. "Reclaiming Genders." October 1, 1999. Page 77

External links[edit]