Deborah Hartin

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Deborah Marie “Debby” Hartin (September 15, 1933 – March 15, 2005) was an American lecturer and activist.[1] Her 1970 divorce following a gender transition made national headlines, and she went on to appear on numerous talk shows.[2] Hartin was selected by The Book of Lists as one of ten renowned trans women,[3] and she was featured in the 1978 documentary Let Me Die a Woman.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Prior to transition, Hartin served in the United States Navy starting in 1953. While stationed in Pensacola, Florida, Hartin married, and the couple had a daughter in 1955. The marriage led to a separation in 1957, and after moving to Casablanca in 1966, Hartin transitioned in 1970. Her divorce that year made headlines, one of the first publicized divorces due to transition.

In 1971, Hartin brought suit against The Bureau of Records and Statistics within the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for refusing to update her sex designation on her birth certificate. Under pressure to accommodate trans citizens, the Bureau had voted unanimously to omit a sex designation from the amended birth certificates of transsexual people. Hartin’s suit Deborah Hartin v. Director of the Bureau of Records and Statistics was dismissed in 1973.[5]

Hartin told reporters she planned to convert to Judaism in 1976.[6] Soon after, she stopped making media appearances.


  1. ^ Lamparski, Richard (August 21, 1971). Whatever became of Deborah Hartin? The New Sexuality WBAI
  2. ^ Meyerowitz, Joanne J. (2004). How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, ISBN 9780674013797[page needed]
  3. ^ Wallace, Irving; Wallechinsky, David; Wallace, Amy (1983). The People's Almanac Presents The Books of Lists, No. 2. William Morrow & Co ISBN 9780688035747[page needed]
  4. ^ Pownall, Garry (April 27, 1972) AV View. New Scientist, Vol. 54, No. 793 Page 221
  5. ^ Bartos, Samuel E (2008). Letting "privates" be private:Toward a right of gender self-determination. Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender Vol. 15:67
  6. ^ O'Brian, Jack (January 18, 1976). Will Elvis Bow Out? Herald-Journal

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