Calpernia Addams
BornFebruary 20, 1971
BirthplaceNashville, Tennessee, USA
Occupationactress, author, musician, activist & spokesperson

Calpernia Sarah Addams (born 20 February 1971) is an American transgendered author, actress, and activist for issues regarding transsexual people.[1]


Addams grew up in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, the child of the leaders of a religious group she characterizes as a "fundamentalist Christian cult". Growing up she played the fiddle. She served as a combat medic in the United States Navy and the Marine Corps. During her last year in the military, she came out as a transgender woman.[2]

Addams chose the name "Calpernia" from the William Shakespeare play Julius Caesar (a variant spelling of Caesar's wife Calpurnia) and from its appearance on a tombstone in the film The Addams Family.[2]

Addams was a performer at a club called "Connections" in 1999 when she met and dated Barry Winchell, an Army private who was training at a nearby military base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Winchell was harassed and ultimately murdered by fellow soldiers after rumors of his amorous relationship with Addams circulated around the army base.[1]

The New York Times article entitled "An Inconvenient Woman" refers to the manner in which some political groups attempted to portray the relationship between Addams and Winchell as "homosexual", so they could exploit Winchell's murder in order to protest the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding sexual orientation.[3]

In the Times article, Addams said of the affair: "I do feel like I was an awkward element for everybody involved. I didn't want to be anybody's anything, really, except Barry's girlfriend. And that was already taken away from me."[1]

Their relationship and Winchell's murder were depicted in the 2003 film Soldier's Girl. Addams was portrayed by Lee Pace.


Following the debut of Soldier's Girl, Addams met Jane Fonda (whose son Troy Garity played Barry Winchell in the film) at the Sundance Film Festival. Fonda suggested that Addams mount the first all-transgender production of The Vagina Monologues.[2] The production raised money to combat violence against women and was the subject of the 2006 documentary film Beautiful Daughters.

Transamerican Love Story, a reality dating television series featuring Addams choosing from among eight suitors, debuted on Logo on 11 February 2008.

Addams read for the tenth anniversary production of The Vagina Monologues, held in April 2008 at the Louisiana Superdome. She performed alongside Fonda, Glenn Close, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, and others.[2][4]

Addams also has a musical career, having released her single "Stunning" on iTunes and several videos on YouTube.

Further reading

  • Calpernia Addams, Mark 947: A Life Shaped by God, Gender, and Force of Will (Writers Club Press, 2002). ISBN 0-595-26376-3
  • Jonathan Ames (ed.), Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs (Vintage, 2005). ISBN 1-4000-3014-5


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 France, David (2005-05-29). An Inconvenient Woman. New York Times Sunday Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-01-30.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Template:Cite podcast
  3. Clines, Francis (1999-12-09). Killer's Trial Shows Gay Soldier's Anguish. New York Times. NYTimes. Retrieved on 2008-02-23.
  4. The V-Day Event Of The Decade | V To The Tenth

External links