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The Day the World Changed (2002)

The Day the World Changed (2002)

©2002, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2002). A word from the Editor: The day the world changed. Transgender Tapestry 100, p. 6.

This is the issue of Tapestry of which I am most proud. We finally had an art director who was able to seamlessly blend the photos I had selected into a powerful display of transsexual and transgender issues in the second half of the twentieth century. It was exactly what I had envisioned.

Tapestry No. 100 Cover

Tapestry 100

The Day The World Changed

By Dallas Denny


I’ll never forget that day. It was a blustery morning, the first of December. I had parked my Studebaker wagon two blocks from the office and was walking along in a near-gale force wind, my coat-tails flapping and my hand on my fedora to keep it from blowing away. Women in spike heels and seamed nylons were clutching at their skirts. As I passed the stand at the corner of 4th and Broad, Newsie Bob was calling out, “Getcha Times! Getcha Daily News! ‘Ex-GI becomes blonde beauty! Operations transfahm Bronx yooth!’ Getcha Post! ‘Doctahs toin man into woman!'”

I paid my dime and grabbed a copy of the Daily News, but it wasn’t until I was in the lobby of the Stock Exchange building that I glanced at the front page. There it was, with photos to prove it—doctors had converted a young man named George Jorgensen into a woman named Christine.

The world reeled. Dizzy, I leaned against a wall beside the elevators, trying to comprehend what I had just read. Was it really possible? And if it was true, was it within the realm of possibility to have it done to me? To become a woman? How long would it take? How much would it cost? And how could I possibly persuade them to accept me for the transformation? The blood was pounding in my temples, my visual field constricted to a pinpoint, the voices in the busy lobby merging into a roar.

“You awright, suh?” It was the elevator operator, a concerned look on her face.

“Uhhh, yes, of course,” I said, pulling myself erect and assuming the masklike expression of all New Yorkers. “Of course I’m okay.” I stepped onto the waiting elevator. “Seventeen, please.”

Your editor was in fact three years and four months old when reports of Christine Jorgensen’s sex reassignment began to appear in the world’s newspapers. She has never lived in New York or owned a Studebaker.