In the Spring after the Stonewall Riots, a California teenager began a journey that shattered the boundaries of sexual identity. When Beth Elliott became the very first to transition from male to female to be an out lesbian, she rocked the newly above-ground LGBT world—and it rocked her back. Historians and sexologists now routinely relate how radical dyke feminists drove her out of the nation’s first lesbian rights organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, in 1972. Her only chance to tell her own story came a dozen years later, at the urging of a magazine editor who had pulled her off the blacklist. This powerful and stunning personal narrative, disguised as an “as told to” autobiography for safety’s sake, became an underground classic.
Emerging from the woodwork at the request of pioneering lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, Beth Elliott shared her story for a history of the Daughters of Bilitis (later published as the book Different Daughters). This time, her standing in her local lesbian community only rose. So now, she reintroduces Mirrors – Portrait of a Lesbian Transsexual. With a bow to her alter egos Geri Nettick of Mirrors and Mustang Sally of TransSisters: A Journal of Transsexual Feminism, this courageous queer feminist pioneer once again gives voice to her life’s powerful inspirational message: Be true to yourself and keep moving forward to freedom, even when the world says who you are is impossible.
This is a new, revised edition of the cult classic “Mirrors – Portrait of a Lesbian Transsexual” by Geri Nettick as told to Beth Elliott, in which Beth Elliott steps out from behind her pseudonym to claim her place in lesbian/trans activist history. The new appendix, which is the first major critical essay on the 1973 West Coast Lesbian Conference at UCLA, places Elliott's now-famous expulsion from the Daughters of Bilitis in the context of the takeover of the lesbian movement by feminists for whom “lesbian” was to be a purely political identity, as opposed to a matter of passionate, intimate and committed female bonding.