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FLASHBACK: Ed Wood Releases Glen or Glenda (April 1953)

April 1953: Today in LGBTQ+ history…

In April 1953, writer and director Ed Wood released his first theatrical feature film, Glen or Glenda, which attempted to capitalize on a then-recent scandal: the male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery of Christine Jorgensen. Of course, Wood also used the film (alternative titles included I Led Two Lives, He or She?and I Changed My Sex) as an opportunity to explore his own personal cross-dressing issues. At the time of the film’s release, it was illegal to be caught publicly cross-dressing, and the film centred around society’s disdain for those who deviate from traditional gender norms.

Glen or Glenda became a cult sensation and was later re-popularized in Tim Burton’s critically acclaimed 1994 film Ed Wood, which dramatized the making of Glen or Glenda and featured Johnny Depp as the titular character coming to terms with his own compulsion to wear women’s clothing.

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