1931 - 2006

Growing up, Coccinelle always felt unusual – “At age four I knew I was different.  I was a girl, but nobody could see it.” She eventually took the stage name Coccinelle (French for Ladybird) and entered show business as a transgender showgirl in 1953 at Chez Madame Arthur, the Paris cabaret where her mother sold flowers. In 1958, she travelled to Casablanca to undergo vaginoplasty. “Dr. Burou rectified the mistake nature had made and I became a real woman, on the inside as well as the outside.  After the operation the doctor just said, ‘Bonjour, Mademoiselle,’ and I knew it had been a success.” A stunning woman, Coccinelle became an instant media star and developed a stage act based on the era’s sex symbols – including Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot – which played at Le Carrousel in Paris. In 1960 her marriage was the first transgender union officially acknowledged by the French government, thereby establishing a transgender person’s right to marry.  “The only requirement was that I had to be baptized again as Jacqueline.” She appeared in such films as ‘Los Viciosos’ (1962) and ‘Dias de Viejo Color’ (1968); recorded albums; did TV and radio shows; and toured worldwide with her stage act. A pioneer, icon, and activist for the transgender cause – Coccinelle helped found ‘Devenir Femme’ (To Become a Woman), an organization providing emotional and practical assistance for those seeking gender confirmation surgery. She also helped establish the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity. In 1987, she published her self-titled autobiography. Coccinelle was hospitalized following a stroke in 2006 and died that October in Marseille, France. She was 75.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Straight

Gender Identity Transgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated France

Era/Epoch Cold War (1945-1991) Information Age (1970-present) Post-Stonewall Era (1974-1980)

Field(s) of Contribution




Social Justice


Commemorations & Honors

Established Center for Aid, Research and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity

First Openly Transgender Person to be Married in the Catholic Church (1960)

First Openly Transgender Person's Marriage to be Recognized by the French Government (1960)

Google Doodle Commemorating Coccinelle's 91st Birthday (2022)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell