Coccinelle was a pioneer for the LGBTQ+ community and the first person in France to get gender-affirming surgery. The 91st birthday of the singer, entertainer, and activist is celebrated in today’s Doodle.
Jacqueline-Charlotte Dufresnoy was born on August 23rd, 1931 in Paris. She was raised with a strong internal feeling of being a woman and interests in fashion and performance despite being born male. Teenage Jacqueline acquired the moniker Coccinelle, or ladybug in English, after showing up to a party wearing a red dress with black polka dots.
At Madame Arthur, a cabaret in Paris, Coccinelle made her theatrical debut in 1953 by singing a song from the movie Premier rendez-vous. Her talent and stage presence won her a place at Le Carrousel de Paris, a well-known music venue featuring numerous transgender performers.
In 1958, Coccinelle underwent gender-affirming surgery at a clinic in Casablanca, making her the first famous French person to do so. In France at the time, it was illegal to dress in a manner inconsistent with one’s designated gender, and the attention around her surgery raised awareness of LGBTQ+ rights.
Coccinelle quickly rose to fame after his return to France, becoming a global figure. Her cabaret show had a worldwide tour, stopping in South America and Europe. Additionally, she started out as an actress in 1962’s Los Viciosos and 1959’s Europa Di Notte.
Coccinelle was had to be rebaptized before she could be married in a Catholic ceremony in 1960. Her marriage established transsexual people’s ability to marry in France, which was unprecedented both legally and religiously.
She started the organization Devenir Femme, which offered assistance to transgender people seeking gender-affirming surgery, while she was still performing. She also contributed to the establishment of the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Gender Identity and Transsexuality. She released a self-titled book in 1987 that described her transition and stage career.
People all across the world continue to appreciate Coccinelle’s work and carry on her legacy through her music and films. It’s Coccinelle’s 91st birthday today!
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