chapter  3
10 Pages

BLACK TELEPHONES, WHITE REFRIGERATORS: RETHINKING CHRISTINE JORGENSEN

The opening shot of the 1985 film, "What Sex Am I?" features a black-andwhire newneel from 1953. A slim, blonde woman, stylish in a mink co~n ar4 t"fuORhing pillbox hat, disembarks from an airplane [0 face hordes of reporters, jostling fo r position, trying to gCI a quole or a photograph. She looks frail and feminine. rhe very opposite of the male uniformed Scandinavian Airlines pilots at the bottom of the ramp. At the press conference which follows, facing a phalanx of microphones, she protests in a slightly throaty voice, " I think it's too much. ~

It really was tOO much. This woman had traveled to Europe in pursuit of physical congruity and personal happiness. She found thai happiness, but she staggered the world by bringing into question long-held and oftcherished notions about the immutability of sex and gender.