1869 - 1936

Jack Bee Garland, who was assigned female at birth, was born in San Francisco and was a rebellious tomboy. He escaped from a convent school at 15 through a brief marriage to his brother’s friend. In 1897, he was arrested in Stockton, CA for impersonating a male. Pretending to be mute, he used the name Babe Bean. While living on a houseboat there, he got a job as a social issues journalist with The Stockton Evening Mail. In 1899, he adopted the male identity of Beebe Beam and accompanied U.S. Army to the Pacific theater of the Spanish American War in the Philippines. When Beam grew sick while working as a cabin boy during his transport, his biological gender was discovered by the ship’s captain. His fellow soldiers took up a collection to buy his ticket, but the captain refused to allow Beam back on board. Undaunted, the soldiers gave Beam a uniform and hid him until they were safely away from port. When he was discovered a second time, Beam was confined but soon escaped. Dressed as a soldier, he followed the regiments where he served as a Spanish language interpreter, war correspondent, and nurse. After almost a year in the Philippines, he returned to the U.S. and published “My Life as a Soldier” in the San Francisco Examiner in 1900. When San Francisco passed a law banning the wearing of opposite sex clothing in 1903, he took on his chosen name Jack Bee Garland. Thereafter, he devoted himself to working with the American Red Cross and other charitable organizations. He served as a medic in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and worked as a social worker serving homeless men for the remaining three decades of his life. On September 19, 1936 Garland collapsed on the sidewalk and died at age 66 of peritonitis in San Francisco. His colorful life and gender fluidity proved inspiring to transgender activist Louis Sullivan, who wrote From Female to Male: The Life of Jack Bee Garland in 1990.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Transgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Progressive Era (1890-1920) World War I (1914-1918)

Field(s) of Contribution




Social Justice


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