Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Goodbye, Bombshell: Aleshia Brevard Was One of the First Trans Actresses on the Silver Screen

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Goodbye, Bombshell: Aleshia Brevard Was One of the First Trans Actresses on the Silver Screen

Article excerpt

Trailblazing trans actress Aleshia Brevard died earlier this year at 79. Well known as a Hollywood starlet in the 1960s, Brevard came out in 2001 with her memoir, The Woman I Was Not Born To Be: A Transsexual Journey. She was one of the first women to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the United States.

Brevard's landlord and good friend, Joyce Nordquist, told the Son Francisco Chronicle, "She had so many fans ... She was trying simply to live as a woman, even to the point of being married to men who never knew her background. I guess they will be surprised when they find out."

In her own words, Brevard always knew she wanted to be the "silver screen's next bombshell," even though she was born (in 1937), on a tobacco farm in rural Tennessee. "I was on a Greyhound bus out of Appalachia almost before the ink had dried on my high school diploma," she later wrote.

On her way to Hollywood, the star spent time in San Francisco, where she worked at Finocchio's, a world famous club for female impersonators. It was there she performed as Marilyn Monroe for stars like Bette Davis, Lana Turner, and Errol Flynn. …

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