Society Street

Short documentary about Dawn Langley Simmons, one of the earliest transgender people to be in the public eye. Simmons and her husband, John-Paul, were also the first interracial couple to legally marry in South Carolina, in 1968, but their relationship was stormy and they divorced in 1982. This rough cut has no titles or credits.

0:00Copy video clip URL Title and color bars.

0:23Copy video clip URL Rosemary Hartan at WGHQ introduces guest Dawn Langley Simmons, a famous writer, adopted daughter of British actress Margaret Rutherford, and a transwoman.

1:16Copy video clip URL Woman in car talks about “transsexual moves to Catskills” news. Shots of Simmons walking around town while woman talks about lack of tolerance for Simmons.

2:05Copy video clip URL Title: “The So Called ‘Change'”

2:15Copy video clip URL Shirtless man talks about Simmons and her high-society ways over old photos of Simmons and her surprising announcement.

2:43Copy video clip URL Red-haired man talks about getting Simmons’ looking for advice about a location for sex reassignment surgery. He recommended Mexico.

3:29Copy video clip URL Middle-aged woman talks about meeting Simmons at the hospital and giving her a bath. She talks about dressing her after the bath and being astounded by her beautiful female body.

5:45Copy video clip URL Simmons talks about spells she had, with lots of bleeding, her reason for being in the hospital before the operation.

7:10Copy video clip URL Woman talks about seeing Simmons on TV and thinking, “that voice is in the body that it belongs in now.” Simmons is very flattered.

7:25Copy video clip URL Title: John-Paul

7:34Copy video clip URL Simmons talks about the hands of her husband, John Paul, while standing by a statue. She seems to be in a spell by working out a conversation with him.

8:45Copy video clip URL Red-haired man talks about a clear “disturbance” in Simmons, and says she should have been committed. He talks about John-Paul beating Dawn.

9:55Copy video clip URL Simmons, who is white, talks about John-Paul, a black man who “came from a fine family,” and who was led to believe that Simmons’ writings put him down. She says, “he was no better or no worse than any Charleston man, black or write,” in spite of his infidelities and violence. Shows a photo of Simmons and John-Paul with their daughter. She talks about his attempts to work legitimately on a shrimp boat.

10:28Copy video clip URL Shirtless man talks about not believing the sex reassignment surgery had happened.

13:58Copy video clip URL Red-haired man says that the Simmons’ daughter, Natasha, didn’t have the love she needed because of Simmons’ condition.

13:30Copy video clip URL Natasha interviews Dawn, her mother. Dawn tells her daughter about the lineage of their chairs. “When cruel and unkind people took everything away from us, they had to be sold.” Simmons tells her daughter about her former riches. “I don’t want to live there anymore, because the memories are too painful… But we shall soon live in a house that is just as beautiful.”

15:23Copy video clip URL END.

 

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