Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Tamara Venit-Shelton

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© 2015 Celia M Flinn


Christine Jorgensen is the first known American citizen undergo sexual reassignment surgery. After her medical operations in Denmark in 1952, during which George Jorgensen Jr., a twenty-six year old man from the Bronx, New York, became Christine Jorgensen, an attractive, feminine woman, Jorgensen returned home to face the curiosity and scrutiny of the American public. As the “first celebrity transsexual," Jorgensen sparked public controversy by questioning the gender expectations that structured society in mid-twentieth century America. Jorgensen’s gender presentation closely aligned to the idealized standards of womanhood reinforced by institutional forces during the 1950s. Due to the amount of public scrutiny she faced after her transition, Jorgensen had to conform to these expectations entirely in order to achieve social acceptance. Examining Jorgensen’s gender expression critically exposes the social limits for expression of gender as well as what forces were responsible for placing these limits on women.


Best Senior Thesis in Gender Studies

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.