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Coccinelle: Google Doodle celebrates the French LGBTQ+ community pioneer’s 91st birthday

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Coccinelle 91st Birthday Google Doodle

Search engine giant Google celebrates the 91st birthday of Coccinelle, a pioneer for the LGBTQ+ community and the first French person to go through gender-affirming surgery, with a Doodle on August 23, 2022.

Who was Coccinelle?

Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy, better known by her stage name Coccinelle, was born on 23 August 1931 in Paris. She was a French actress, entertainer, and singer. She was transgender and was the first extensively publicized post-war gender reassignment case in Europe, where she was an international celebrity and a famous club singer.

Assigned male at birth, she grew up with a deep, internal feeling of being a female, alongside interests in fashion and performance. In the wake of wearing a red dress with black polka dots to a party, a teenage Jacqueline procured the nickname Coccinelle or ladybug in English.

She took the stage name Coccinelle (French for “Ladybug”) when she entered show business, making her debut as a transgender showgirl in 1953 at Chez Madame Arthur where her mother was a flower seller. She later performed regularly at the renowned nightclub Le Carrousel de Paris, which likewise featured regular acts by other well-known trans women like April Ashley and Marie-Pier Ysser.

In 1953, Coccinelle made her stage debut at Madame Arthur, a cabaret venue in Paris, playing out a song from the film Premier Rendez-Vous. She procured a role at Le Carrousel de Paris, a famous music hall with numerous transgender performers, where her talent and stage presence charmed audiences.

In 1958, she traveled to Casablanca to go through a vaginoplasty by Georges Burou. Coccinelle became the first French celebrity to go through gender-affirming surgery at a clinic in Casablanca in 1958. It was against the law to wear clothing not related to one’s relegated gender in France at the time, and the publicity surrounding her surgery put a focus on LGBTQ+ rights.

After getting back to France, Coccinelle immediately became an international icon. Her cabaret show toured across the world, including Europe and South America. She additionally started acting in films like Europa Di Notte in 1959 and Los Viciosos in 1962.

She sang the title track of Premier Rendez-Vous, a 1941 movie directed by Henri Decoin. She became a media sensation, and played out the Cherchez la femme revue which ran for 7 months at the Olympia in Paris somewhere in the range of 1963 and 1964. In 1987, her autobiography was published, named Coccinelle par Coccinelle.

She married French journalist Francis Bonnet in 1960. Her marriage to Bonnet was disintegrated in 1962. She then, at that point, wedded Paraguayan dancer Mario Costa in 1963, who died in 1977. She then married fellow transgender activist Thierry Wilson in 1996.

In 1959 she showed up in Europa di Notte by director Alessandro Blasetti. That same year, Italian singer Ghigo Agosti dedicated the song Coccinella to her, inciting widespread consternation and controversy.

Coccinelle showed up in the 1962 Argentine thriller film Los Viciosos and was the first French trans woman to become a major star when Bruno Coquatrix splashed her name in red letters on the front of Paris Olympia for her 1963 revue, Cherchez la femme.

She later showed up in the 1968 Spanish romantic drama Días de Viejo color. In Israeli slang, the word Coccinelle is used as a synonym for transgender, frequently derogatorily (and as a general slur for a female man).

Coccinelle worked widely as an activist on behalf of transgender people, establishing the association “Devenir Femme” (To Become Woman), which was intended to offer emotional and practical help to those looking for gender reassignment surgery. She likewise helped establish the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity.

Also, her first marriage was the first union to be officially recognized by the government of France, establishing transgender people’s legal right to marry. Her 1987 autobiography Coccinelle was published by Daniel Filipacchi.

Coccinelle was hospitalized in July 2006 following a stroke. She died on 9 October in Marseille.

Coccinelle’s legacy lives on in her work as individuals all around the world keep on partaking in her music and movies.

On August 23, 2022, Google featured a Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Coccinelle’s 91st Birthday.

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