Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Roberta Cowell: A Life in Transition

As it’s really Hard to believe it took Almost a Decade for this News to reach U.S. shores…


Author’s Note

Per Tipicali Here upon thoust Isle ‘O Nofendersville, your Humble Scribe cannot manage to scribble a Short Story. Hence I’m decided to break this No Fenders tome into two part Harmony…



As noted in Part One, Roberta Elizabeth Marshall Cowell was Born Robert Marshall Cowell, one of three Children of parents Sir Major-General Ernest Cowell and Dorthy Elizabeth Miller in 1918.


During Her Engineering Studies at University College London , Robert met fellow Engineering Student Diana Margaret Zelma Carpenter, who became the University’s (UCL) first Female to Graduate in Mechanical Engineering, with the couple Marrying in the Summer of 1941. They would have two Daughters, Ann and diana before the couple first separated in 1948, and ultimately Divorced in 1952.


Post World War II Transition

Following the War, Cowell formed a Motor Racing Team that contested events all across Europe, including taking part in the Brighton Beach Trials and the Grand Prix at Roeun-less-Essarts.


Suffering from Depression and having separated from His Wife, following sessions with a second Freudian Psychiatrist, He discovered that His inner self was more Female and that He’d been suppressing these feelings for most of His life.


Which makes me believe Roberta must have already subconsciously known this. Since in Her Autobiography, She mentions how She felt uneasy during Her captivity as a Prisoner of War and how come of the Allied Airmen seemed to be propositioning Her. Not to mention immediately refusing to play the part of a Female in one of the Camp’s Plays, for Fear it would signal Her potential Homosexuality!


Thus by 1950, although still living as Robert, She was taking large doses of Estrogen and became a close friend of Physician Michael Dillon, the first Trans Man.


Wit the Help of Dillon, sir Harold Gillies, renown as the Father of Plastic Surgery in the UK, plus American Surgeon Ralph Miller. Robert had successful Sex Reassignment Surgery and became the first Trans Female in Britain in 1951. Even legally having Her Gender reassigned on Her Birth Certificate in May of the same year.


By 1954, Roberta’s Business ventures, a Racecar Engineering firm and Clothing concern have ceased trading, along with  Roberta’s identity made it impossible to continue in Grand Prix racing!


News of Her Transgender Surgery garnered Worldwide attention after the Magazine Picture Post published Her story that March. Paying Roberta a sum of $8,000 Pounds. Equivalent to $230,000 British Pounds in 2021. And Roberta also shortly after published Her Autobiography, earning another $1,5000 Pounds. (Approx. $43,000 British Pounds in 2021)


With this new found Stardom, Cowell received some publicity in Motor Racing circles, specifically making Headlines upon winning the 1957 Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill climb. And remained involved in Motorsports thru the early 1970’s.


In 1958, Cowell obtained an surplus World War II De Haviland Mosquito sands engines, that She planned to use in attempting a Speed record across the South Atlantic.


Yet due to lack of funding, and being unable to find sufficient engines, the Mosquito sat Derelict and eventually was scrapped in 1960 after Cowell had gone Bankrupt in 1958 with Debts of some $12,500+ Pounds.


As Roberta basically faded from the limelight thereafter, albeit appearing in a  1972 interview when claiming to be working upon Her second Autobiography that was never published. As Cowell Died in October, 2011, with only six people attending Her Funeral, with instructions requesting No Public Notice be given of Her Death. As Her Death wasn’t be reported until some two years later when a story about Her was published in the Independent Newspaper.


Modern Day Pride Month

Have to say I was really impressed by ‘lil Syd viddle’, aka Sebastian Vettel’s Activism and Outspokenness Pro LGBTQ’ stance at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, for which I wholeheartedly Hope that Vettel wears His Pride colours Just Say Love T-Shirt,Rainbow Sneakers,  etc. Again at this year’s event, even if it’s in July. While Vettel has also said publicly He thinks that Formula 1 would Openly welcome a Gay Driver now, which you’d Hope so since it’s Gory 2022!


While I know that the W Series has already Had it’s first Gay Female Driver stand Atop the Podium, not to mention another “Out” Transgender racer named Charlie Martin was competing in Sports Cars and aiming for Glory at Le Mans in 2019.


As C’mon F1’s Brat Pack, i.e.; Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Lando Norris, Y’all too should be supporting Sebastian in this endeavour…


While Kudos to Michael Andretti and DHL for running their Pride theme livery upon Romain Grosjean’s No. 28 Andretti Autosport entry at IndyCar’s biggest race of the year.




As my only Disappointment with this Sponsorship is the fact that DHL and Mikey A’ weren’t willing to run it thru the month of June! Which after all, is National Pride Month.


And Y’all know it’s Ah-Comin’, as was it just sheer coInky-Dense? That our wonderfully Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Overturned Roe v Wade in the month of June? Or that they did it the Cowardly way by trying to Bury it in a Friday News Dump. Since How can we progress as a Nation with such Backwards thinking?


Meanwhile, as I was heading towards the Chequered Flag upon this story, shuzamm! The New York times ran an Obituary article about Chicago Transgender Icon Gloria Allen, albeit some two weeks late! As the 76yr Old Black Chicagoan was known as Momma Gloria and spent Her life trying to instill Hope, Pride and Personal Satisfaction in other younger LGBTQ+ members by setting an unwavering example of Beauty, Grace and Dignity as a modern Role Model, including running a Charm School…