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Iris Florence Peter Williams

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. [00:00:05] Julie, you've written a book about a person called Iris Florence. Peter Williams. Yeah, the audacious story. And in this was you, you were able to release this book last year. Can Can you give us some background about why Iris? Florence Peter Williams intrigued you? [00:00:27] Okay, um, it's a detective story. It was a detective story. It intrigued me, because I knew nothing about the story except for a profile. So how it came about was I was giving a presentation with Ellison Lori my co author of Parkin Paquin him a previous book with that we had done together. And during this prison, after the presentation, someone came up to me and said, Oh, you gave me a clipping for a newspaper, Article 1945, newspaper article, report, actually not article but report from Auckland, in Seattle, you might be interested in this, you're interested in history and in you know, so on. And, and I read it, and it was about two women who had married in 1945. And they've been found out, and that actually got married in the Oakland register in Oakland registry office. And they were prosecuted because it was an offense against the Marriage Act. So two women couldn't get married, of course. But well, the thing was that one of them was presenting yourself as a main. But somehow they've been shopped in. And when the more details came out about it, it was found that the person who was presenting itself as a main had actually tried to join the forces in 1940. Mean, but had been Sharpton at that time by her mother, who said, My daughter is trying to join the army to go away to World War Two. And in this person is really, you know, my daughter, a woman, so I didn't know who the people were. So when I say detective story, I'd I only had a profile, because they said that during the court case, which was reported in the paper, the the actual identification, details were suppressed. So all I knew was that it was a woman of diversity, marrying another woman of 18. A new a bit about the background is came out during the court case. So I wrote an article about about that, but just based on, you know, the ideas that were presented at that time. And I thought, how am I going to find out, maybe I'll never find out, but who these people actually were, and I really wanted to find out who they actually were and what happened to them. So what the profiler went to the archives and search the marriage resistors until I found a pattern that fitted. And so I knew duty 18. One was a twin, the other was a labor. One was clerical was doing clerical week. So I just trawl through the registrations to marry for 1945 for Auckland for I think it was July. So I had a time period, and so on. And I went through them. And I can still remember today, the sort of feeling, you know, here's the stood up on the back of my neck, I suppose. When I went through, and I thought this is it, this has got to be them. But I still wasn't sure. And when I got say you just see the intention, right? See all of the details when you get the intention to marry. And you have to get the actual marriage certificate. So I was pretty sure but it wasn't totally sure. When I got the marriage certificate there it was all the details about them and written across it was the the parties to the female. Refer all, you know, notifications about this to the registrar general. [00:04:29] So this is this is afterwards someone had gone back to that stuff getting written a note on it. Correct. So like after somebody complained or Correct, [00:04:38] correct. So they actually actually got married. in the region, all those details were as if there were a man and a woman. And the marriage certificate was issued to these two people. But you know, it didn't they found out that they were both women. So the marriage certificate was, you know, didn't hold because it's not legal. It was not legal in 1945. So they were being prosecuted, and is making an offense under the Marriage Act. And they was sentenced to probation for five years. Three, sorry, [00:05:16] five. So for them. [00:05:18] Yep. And [00:05:21] but what was intriguing was that irises mother, Iris, Florence, born Iris Florence, then later known as Peter Williams, that irises mother was that was a party to the marriage and knew that they were, you know, that her daughter was presenting as a man, of course. So she signed it under a false name, you know, the name that they, they used. So, so that's how it started. And so from the I knew who the actual people were, in the night, tried to trace what happened to people, ours, Florence, Peter Williams, from the and I did I tried, traced through marriage and divorce rates, just as I traced through post post office registers. [00:06:06] The You know, when you vote, [00:06:10] election row, electoral votes, [00:06:11] on sites on to some movements and so on, after in before that. [00:06:17] So they they their registration was an old is married? Yeah, [00:06:23] I don't know. Did you hear that there was supposed to leave a meet, and they were supposed to have psychiatric treatment. So as far as I'm aware, they didn't meet after them. They may have I don't know. But they they were both working at the same factory in Auckland. And so they were [00:06:47] they lost their jobs. [00:06:49] And after, after all this happened, [00:06:57] Peter, [00:06:59] you know, basically, I think try to play it cool. And try to get through the next three years with the attention of the authorities. Once the probation period was up. He and his mother went up north to retire and they went into and they made a declaration around Peters. It certificate and his mother a tested, that had been a mistake. And that actually was all mixed up in really, Iris Florence was really a male. So the bid certificate was actually formally changed. So that from that point on, he could [00:07:39] be officially a man. [00:07:41] Right? So they didn't have to produce any medical. [00:07:45] She just she made an AT station. I believe that time she did that with the support of people. And I don't know who those I know who signed the Declaration with the and I'm hadn't been able to uncover the relationship here. But I think that it was a supportive relationship with either other family or friends to enable you to do that. Because you couldn't do that at the time. Yeah. [00:08:12] But you'd found out that the mother he earlier? Yes. [00:08:15] Basically altered. Totally. Yeah. [00:08:17] Yeah. Peter, when Peter wanted to join the [00:08:20] courageous. Yeah, I've got the the documentation from the Defense Department. So I know for sure it was a mother who did them. But I don't know who outed them in 1945. I suspect it could have been Peters previous relationship. He, you know, it was a acrimonious, split up, because he split up with him to be with the woman he married in 1945. So that would be my suspicion that I don't have the evidence for them. [00:08:53] Yeah. And so Peter can be left as, as a man. [00:08:57] Yes, yeah. Yeah, he lived as a man in the 50s, played it, you know, lived under the radar, got married, got divorced, got married, again, got divorced. And then finally meet his last partner. And they had a very happy relationship, and my supportive and loving relationship. And so I don't hit my book here right now, but I like to kind of read the last but we are, [00:09:28] you know, from someone who was [00:09:31] a man, a woman, a child, a daughter, [00:09:36] a wife, a husband, [00:09:40] transgender, lesbian, female, not female, respected, despised, loved, much appreciated at the end of his life. So to me, it's a wonderful success, successful life by someone who hit to operate with a very restrictive result society, and just found the way to do that with some FLIR. So [00:10:09] yeah. And you spoke to a couple of [00:10:13] his partners, I spoke to his first wife, who was still alive. But she didn't really want to give me any information or talk about it at all. She simply said, That's water under the bridge, which I thought was a real shame. And I spoke to the wife's twin brother. And he gave me a little bit of information. But he again, he was a little bit worried and didn't want to, you know, give, speak, you know about it too much. But he did give me information which enabled me to track down we they were both working at the time that they were married, uncovered. And I met his I didn't meet I spoke to his last wife, him, we asked if she would be involved. But and she saw a copy of the manuscript, and so on, but she didn't want to be involved because she didn't want to be exposed. So I've changed some names in the book to protect people living. But the facts of the case are true. [00:11:21] How long we working on the book for? [00:11:23] Well, I was given the article and about, I think it was about 1995 or six. And we are just packed it. Cuz I was busy, and I couldn't see a way forward with it. So I read an article without finding out who they were. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, Oh, I really want to find out what happened to this person. Because it really happened. Like it's not a made up story. It really happened. And someone if there was a person like Iris, Florence, Peter Williams, there are more people. Yeah, so it's just an example. Picked it up again, and 2004 or five, something like that. And I basically wrote it up in 2008. But it's taken some time to have to get access to records because some are closed for a certain time. And it took it took time to get responses to lines of inquiry, if you know what I mean. So the elapsed time was quite quite a bit. And then took about a year to get from manuscript point to publication. [00:12:36] winded Peter, die [00:12:38] 1993 93. [00:12:41] So you really started looking pretty much trade after he said he wouldn't have known that. [00:12:46] No, no, not at the time. And when I found out when he died, I thought Damn, I would really like to have approached him to see if he would speak with me. [00:12:57] Hello, would have been many guys. Okay. [00:13:03] And once you've published the book, now it's out there. Is anyone sort of contacted you since about Peter or? or other people? [00:13:13] No, no, no, they haven't. So there's still people will [00:13:17] Yeah, and kind of a lot of wealth of information out there about other people who, like you say living who have lived like that, or are living like [00:13:24] this, right? Well, I mean, not just here, but you know, throughout the world, of course, and not just during this time period, but other time periods. I mean, Jonathan kits this week, American American history is, you know, the points to heaps of people in the past who've lived not in the straight world. So and there's just more and more coming out, you know, as more people do more of us do more research from our own angle, not from Australia angle. So there's more to find and more to talk about more to consider more to discuss from all different angles. I've just looked at, from, you know, my view and from where I come from, but someone else can look at the same experiences, and have different interpretations, which I think is wonderful. [00:14:24] Your first in about [00:14:27] someone else who's [00:14:31] who lived in similar circumstances? [00:14:33] I am not truly but in the course of doing that work. I've come across other people, other women other mean, in New Zealand. So there's a heap of research that has to be done. One of the women I came across was went under the name, Peter Stretford is it as she was, died in the United States in 1929. And she actually was came from New Zealand. And enables Stratford because that's where she lived. his actual name just escapes me right now. directly. Martin has the name. Wow. But she went from here to the United States and lived in the United States. [00:15:26] From alien that 19th 20th century. [00:15:31] And she actually was involved with a woman who's reasonably well known in the United States. So there's archival material in the United States associated with the writer woman, which, you know, holds material about directly into life theory as a mean. So, you know, there's a lot more to be done on I'm considering doing something about that. But I'll see how I go. Yeah, yeah. [00:16:00] Yeah. And your, your book is available? [00:16:04] Yes. So available in unity books and woman's bookshop in Oakland. And if they don't have a book in stock, you can get it from the or from still Roberts, the publisher directly, right. So steel Roberts was based on Wellington. So there's a website, you can go to the website, still Roberts, is TLE Roberts one with k.nz. And so you can order through the website. And then the name of the book, again, is perfectly natural. The audacious story of Iris Florence, Peter Williams are [00:16:37] just reminders with a perfectly natural game. [00:16:40] Oh, when I was thinking of a title for the book, I couldn't think of anything better than the words of Peter himself. And when he was interviewed, he was actually interviewed by reporters. And let's have come we have some of us had some of this material. When, when they were found out in 1940, five, reporters found out who they were and went to Peter's flat in Grafton, Oakland, and interviewed them and, and he said, Well, you know, I don't know what's going to happen now. My wife and I were going to be split up. I've lost my job. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know why we just can't be left alone. We're not harming anyone. And I am perfectly natural. So I wanted to use as much of Peters own words given you know, I'm coming in here a random person after after his life and he doesn't know about me and and I thought it was great to be able to bring his words out.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.