Darlings! Lili Elbe here. Another audacious flapper girl who dared defy incredible odds. I was born Einer Wegener in 1882 in a small town in Denmark called Velje, and ironically, lived most of my life as a man. I was even married to a lovely woman by the name Gerda Gotlieb. She was the cat’s meow.
We met at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where we both studied art. Gerda would often ask me to act as a muse for her paintings and fashion illustrations and many times I would wear women’s attire and sit as her model. It was through this that I realized my true gender identity and became Lili Elbe. We eventually moved to Paris where I was freer to dress as a woman, wear makeup, and embrace my true self by appearing in public as a woman without fear of judgment.
I started my transition journey in 1930 and was the first person
to undergo gender reassignment surgery, or so it was documented. I underwent five highly experimental surgeries performed by brilliant German gynecologist, Kurt Warnekros.
My story inspired the publication of books such as The Danish Girl (2000) by David Eberstroff. And what’s more flapper than a life that’s deemed film worthy. I made it to the big screen in a film with the same name!
Besides being a pioneer in the transgender community, I was a renowned artist and several of my works were shown in Paris at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne. I dabbled in portraits, still lifes, landscapes and even interior scenes. I was a force to reckon with you know. The bee's knees of my era.
Looking back, I'm proud of everything I accomplished as Lili Elbe, a trailblazer in the world of transgender rights. I was a courageous individual who dared to embrace my true identity, even in an era when such exploration was met with skepticism and adversity. And in doing so, I paved the way for countless others who would follow in my footsteps.
Don’t live your life as a dud. Live your life boldly and authentically like I did.
Bloomberg, N (n.d). Lili Elbe, Danish Painter. Britannica.