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Encyclopedia > Lili Elbe

Lili Elbe (1886 - 1931) was the first known recipient of sexual reassignment surgery. 1886 (MDCCCLXXXVI) is a common year starting on Friday (click on link to calendar) // Events January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) includes the surgical procedures by which a persons physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are changed to that of the other sex. ...

Lili Elbe was born Einar Wegener in Denmark. At the Copenhagen art school, Elbe met Gerda, and they married in around 1906. Gerda Wegener (1886-1940) Danish illustrator and painter, from the provinces but moved to Copenhagen to pursue her education at the Royal art Academy, and married fellow artist Einar Wegener in 1904. ...

Elbe and Gerda worked as illustrators, Elbe specializing in landscape paintings while Gerda illustrated books and fashion magazines. Apparently, Elbe noticed a propensity towards female dress whilst modelling for Gerda.

It is believed that she was probably intersexual; she looked more female than male, and may have had Klinefelter's Syndrome. A Dresden doctor claimed to have noticed rudimentary ovaries. Pre-operative blood tests indicated large amounts of female hormones at the expense of the male ones. An intersexual or intersex person (or animal of any unisexual species) is one who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ... Klinefelters syndrome is a condition caused by a chromosome nondisjunction in males; affected individuals have a pair of X sex chromosomes instead of just one, and is associated with additional risk for some medical conditions. ... Human female internal reproductive anatomy Ovaries are a part of a female organism that produces eggs. ...

In 1920's and 1930's Wegener dressed as a woman, attended various festivities, and entertained guests in her house as Lili Elbe. She was apparently very well accepted as a woman because she even received a request for marriage.

In 1930 she went to Germany for surgery - which was only in an experimental state at the time. First surgery, removal of the male genitals, was made under supervision of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin. The rest were made by Dr. Warnekros in Dresden's Women's Clinic. Second operation was intended to transplant ovaries - which were removed in the fourth operation due to serious complications. Magnus Hirschfeld Magnus Hirschfeld (Kolberg, May 14, 1868 - Nice, May 14, 1935) was a prominent German physician, sexologist, and gay rights advocate. ...

Her case was already a sensation in newspapers of Denmark and Germany. The King of Denmark invalidated her marriage in October 1930. She managed to get her sex legally changed, including receiving a passport for her new name. She also stopped painting. Gerda married a mutual friend and Lili accepted a proposition from another - as soon as she would be able to "become a mother".

Lili Elbe died in 1931, probably due to complications after her fifth and last operation. However, some believe that she may have just faked her death to live in peace with another name. 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ...

A book about her life, Man into Woman (edited by Ernst Ludwig Hathorn Jacobson using the pseudonym Niels Hoyer) was published in 1933. The book also uses pseudonyms for her friends. A pseudonym (Greek: false name) is a fictitious name used by an individual as an alternative to his or her legal name. ...


  • David Ebershoff: The Danish Girl

External link

  • Biography

  Results from FactBites:
Startseite (66 words)
Schiffsmodell 1:400 - Lotsenschoner ELBE 5 - in Vitrine
Schiffsmodell 1:400 - LILI MARLEEN - in Vitrine
Schiffsmodell 1:400 - Feuerschiff ELBE 1 - in Vitrine
glbtq >> arts >> Elbe, Lili (731 words)
Lili Elbe was "born" one day while filling in for Gerda's absentee model; Gerda asked Einar to wear stockings and heels so that she could substitute Einar's legs for those of her model.
After Elbe's series of surgeries--she traveled from Copenhagen to Berlin and Dresden for four operations--she was able to obtain a passport issued under her female name and to have her marriage annulled by the King of Denmark himself.
Elbe had intended to get married after undergoing a final operation to complete her transition; she hoped to become a mother at some point, and it appears that her doctor believed this was biologically possible through surgery.
  More results at FactBites »



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