Celebrating the Brushstrokes of Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy

Saurav Singh

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy, (August 23, 1931 – October 9, 2006) was widely recognized under her stage name Coccinelle, which means “Ladybug” in French. She was a French actress, entertainer, and singer, notable for being transgender. She gained fame as the first prominently publicized post-war gender reassignment case in Europe. Her international celebrity status was intertwined with her career as a celebrated club singer.

Life and Career

Born on rue Notre Dame de Nazareth No. 66 in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, Coccinelle adopted her stage name when she entered the entertainment industry. Her journey began as a transgender showgirl in 1953 at Chez Madame Arthur, a venue where her mother worked as a flower seller. Subsequently, she became a regular performer at the renowned nightclub Le Carrousel de Paris. This establishment also showcased performances by other renowned trans women like April Ashley and Bambi.

Activism and Later Years

Coccinelle played a pivotal role as an activist, dedicating herself to the well-being of transgender individuals. She established “Devenir Femme” (To Become Woman), an organization aimed at offering emotional and practical support to individuals seeking gender reassignment surgery. Furthermore, she contributed to the creation of the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity. Notably, her marriage in 1960 marked a significant milestone, as it was the first officially recognized union of its kind by the French government, thus affirming the legal right of transgender individuals to marry. Her autobiography, “Coccinelle,” was published in 1987 by Daniel Filipacchi.

Coccinelle’s health took a downturn when she was hospitalized in July 2006 due to a stroke. Tragically, she passed away on October 9 in Marseille. On 23 August 2022, a Google Doodle was created to celebrate Coccinelle’s 91st Birthday.