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Told with humor and flair, this is the autobiography of one transsexual's wild ride from boyhood as Alfred Brevard ("Buddy") Crenshaw in rural Tennessee to voluptuous female entertainer in Hollywood. Aleshia Brevard, as she is now known, underwent transitional surgery in Los Angeles in 1962, one of the first such operations in the United States. (The famous sexual surgery pioneer Harry Benjamin himself broke the news to Brevard's parents.)
Under the stage name Lee Shaw, Brevard worked as a drag queen at Finocchio's, a San Francisco club, doing Marilyn Monroe impersonations. (Like Marilyn, she sought romance all the time and had a string of entanglements with men.) Later, she worked as a stripper in Reno and as a Playboy Bunny at the Sunset Strip hutch.
After playing opposite Don Knotts in the movie The Love God, Brevard appeared in other films and broke into TV as a regular on the Red Skelton Show. She created the role of Tex on the daytime soap opera One Life To Live. As a woman, Brevard returned to teach theater at East Tennessee State, the same university she had attended as a boy.
This memoir is a rare pre-Women's Movement account of coming to terms with gender identity. Brevard writes frankly about the degree to which she organized her life around pleasing men, and how absurd it all seems to her now.
"The Woman I Was not Born to Be is not the kind of book one really expects from an academic press: no statistics, no elaborate theoretical structure. Nor is it the story of people whom history has utterly ignored. Mocked, crucified, tortured, and jailed, yes; ignored, no. But I'm glad Temple University Press chose to publish it: in academia as in real life, a reasonably well-adjusted, kind-hearted woman who was born male is not so common."
—Amy Bloom, Wilson Quarterly
"Brevard's story adds an entertaining curve to the growing body of literature—academic scientific, theoretical and literary—on transgendered experience, without the self-pity or sentimentality found in many such memoirs....Written in a gossipy style reminiscent of 1950's movie-star autobiographies (which at heart, it is)."
|1||Just for a Change||1|
|4||A Man in the House||63|
|9||Call Me Mrs||145|
|11||A Playboy Bunny||173|
|12||That Female Bunch||185|
|15||A Faceless Intruder||219|
|16||Mother's Final Gift||231|
|17||The Finished Product||239|
Posted September 26, 2009
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If you are eager to absorb yourself in a fascinating autobiography, look no further. Ms. Brevard's story is gripping, touching, entertaining, down-to-earth and just plain fun to read. Her casual conversational style includes a delightful sense of humor. Her adventures kept me turning page after page. I couldn't put it down. Don't miss reading about this very special person!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 20, 2001
Her recollections brought me back 35+ years to 'transgender' history here in San Francisco. And,after meeting Ms. Brevard, her self esteem and graciousness added to the poignant tribulations and survival skills she innocently shares with the reader. A must for your tranny biographical collection. ClaireWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.