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Louis G. Sullivan, 1951-1991

Gay (FTM) Transman, Writer, Biographer, Transgender Activist
"One man who made a difference
you are missed - ftm"
-- message on Lou's panel (#01818) in the AIDS Memorial Quilt

astrology chart, profile, links

Libra Ascendant, Gemini Sun, Scorpio Moon, Neptune Rising

Louis G. Sullivan's astro-chart

ASTRoDATA: Louis Grayson Sullivan (born Sheila Jean Sullivan), 16 June 1951, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (87w54 43n26). RR: AA. Sy Scholfield [copyright] quotes data (including time of birth) from copy of birth certificate in hand from Terence Kissack of the Center for History of Sexual Diversity, GLBT Historical Society of Northern California).
FEATURES: PERSONALIZED PLANETS: Libra NEPTUNE (semi-sextile Moon, trine Sun), Capricorn CHIRON (on IC, opposite Sun, semi-square Moon), Aries JUPITER (on Descendant, quincunx Moon), Gemini MERCURY (widely conjunct & dispositing Sun, quincunx Moon), Gemini MARS (conjunct Sun, quincunx Moon), Cancer URANUS (on MC, trine Moon). PATTERNS: T-SQUARE (Chiron opposite Sun, both square Saturn), T-SQUARE (Neptune opposite Jupiter, both square Uranus), YOD (Jupiter sextile Mercury/Mars, all quincunx Moon). MUTUAL RECEPTION: Saturn in Virgo (square) Chiron in Capricorn. SHAPE: SPLAY. CHINESE SIGN: METAL RABBIT/CAT. NUMEROLOGY: "11" LIFEPATH.

more Queer Stars

Louis Graydon Sullivan Papers, 1755-1991

GLBT Historical Society of Northern California

FTM International

AIDS Memorial Quilt

This astro-biography is based on the biographical sketch of Louis G. Sullivan

Louis Graydon Sullivan, a female-to-male (FTM) transsexual gay man, was born "Sheila Jean. " With angular Jupiter (religion) disposited by Mars (which aspects both luminaries), Sullivan grew up in an emotionally close-knit (Moon) Catholic family (Sun) in suburban Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in modest economic circumstances. Extremely religious as a child, Sullivan attended Catholic primary and secondary schools (Sagittarius on the Third House), where he compiled an above-average academic record. Following high school graduation in 1970, Sullivan began working as a secretary in the Slavic Languages Department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (progressed Neptune, ruler of 6th House of work, conjunct natal Moon, ruler of 10th House of Career).

Sullivan's intense, life-long, but rather unfocussed concern with male gender identity and male same-sex relationships (Uranus on MC ruling 5th House of masculinity) began to take on greater definition in the early 1970s (transiting Uranus in orb with his Ascendant). Sullivan recalled that as a child he had always enjoyed "playing boys" and realized even then that it "meant more to me than it did to the other kids." By his early teens, Sullivan's diaries, poems and short stories reflected an interest in male homosexuality and questions about gender identity. At age seventeen, Sullivan began a long-term relationship with a self-described "feminine" male lover (progressed Mars, ruler of 7th House of relationships, conjunct Cancer Midheaven). Play with gender roles figured in the relationship from the beginning (Progressed Chiron, planet associated with gender, at 17 Capricorn at the pointer of a Yod to Mars, ruler of 7th, and Pluto in masculine Leo). Both Sullivan and his companion were attracted to the gay liberation movement, and to the gender-bending aesthetic then evident in much of popular culture.

By 1973, Sullivan identified as a "female transvestite" and began a career of transgender community activism with the publication of "A Transvestite Answers a Feminist." Another article, "Looking Towards Transvestite Liberation," published the next year in the same periodical and widely reprinted in the gay and lesbian press, remains a landmark article for its early investigation of the question of gender identity in homosexual culture. Sullivan identified as a "female-to-male transsexual" by 1975, when he moved to San Francisco. Although employed as a female in a sporting goods company (Angular Jupiter opposite Neptune, ruler of 6th House of work), Sullivan spent approximately 75% of his time cross-dressed and living as a gay man. During this period (1973-75), progressed Moon at 7-9° Sagittarius quincunxed Louis' progressed Mercury which conjuncted his natal MC & natal Uranus at 6-8° Cancer).

In 1976, Sullivan began seeking sex-reassignment surgery, which was routinely denied him on the basis of his openly declared homosexual orientation. Female-to-gay male transsexuality was not recognized by the medical/psychotherapeutic establishment as a legitimate form of gender dysphoria at that time. As a result of his own frustrations, Sullivan became involved in an eventually successful campaign to remove homosexual orientation from the list of contraindications for sex-reassignment. He pioneered methods of obtaining peer-support, professional counselling, endocrinological services and reconstructive surgery outside the institution of the gender dysphoria clinics, and disseminated this information at the grass-roots level through his booklet Information for the Female to Male Cross-Dresser and Transsexual, which is now in its third edition and is still the only practical guide for FTMs. As a consequence of his efforts, Sullivan became one of the founders of the female-to-male transsexual community, and is responsible to a significant degree for the rapid growth of the FTM population during the late 1980s.

Sullivan began taking testosterone in 1979 (progressed Mars conjunct Pluto discovery degree of 17° Cancer), at which time he also became a volunteer at the Janus Information Facility (now J2CP), a gender dysphoria clearinghouse and referral service in San Francisco (progressed Neptune, planet of volunteering, conjunct natal Moon, ruler of 10th House of career). He also became involved in Golden Gate Girls/Guys, one of the first social/educational transgender organizations to offer support to FTM transsexuals. In 1980 he underwent a double mastectomy (progressed Pluto sextile and disposting natal Scorpio Moon) and began living full time as a gay man (progressed Uranus, ruler of 5th House of masculinity, conjunct natal Venus, ruler of 8th House of sexuality, in masculine Leo).

Sullivan also changed jobs at this time, becoming an associate engineering technician, so that coworkers would have no knowledge of his previous female life history (Progressed Neptune, ruler of 6th House of work environment, conjunct natal Moon, ruler of 10th House of recognition at work). That same year he published the first edition of his Information for the FTM. Throughout the decade, Sullivan continued to write about female-to-male issues in the gay and transgender press, and became a popular public speaker on the topic in the San Francisco Bay area. He became involved in the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society, whose newsletter he helped edit and publish. In 1984 Sullivan started his own typesetting and word-processing business. He also began work on a biography of Jack B. Garland, a female who lived as a man for forty years at the turn of the century. The book was published to favorable reviews by Alyson Press in 1990 (progressed Mercury, ruler of 9th House of publishing, sextile natal Saturn, planet of fame).

In 1986, Sullivan finally obtained genital reconstruction surgery (progressed Uranus, ruler of 5th House of masculinity, conjunct midpoint of Venus, planet of the vagina & Pluto, planet of transformation, all in masculine Leo; progressed Mars, planet of the penis, sextile natal Saturn, ruler of the IC, of basic needs). He also organized FTM, the first peer-support group devoted entirely to female-to-male individuals (progressed Gemini Sun, planet of masculinity, at 00° Leo, sign of masculinity, ruling 11th House of groups and societies). Later that year Sullivan was diagnosed with AIDS. In his last years Sullivan devoted himself to work on behalf of FTMs, as well as the broader transgender and homosexual communities. He died of an AIDS-related illness on March 6, 1991, at the age of 39 (progressed Venus, ruler of 8th House of death, at 18° Virgo, squared by natal Mars; progressed Chiron, dispositor of progressed Venus, at 9° Aquarius, opposite natal Venus, 8th House ruler).

astro-text 2000+
Simon-Astley Scholfield