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"Transkids.us" hoaxer Kiira Triea / Denise Magner / Denise Tree
Denise Michele Magner, also known as Denise Tree, also known as Kiira Triea (she pronounces it "KEER-uh TREE"), was a transgender computer technician and wannabe musician from Baltimore. She was a key figure in the hoax website transkids.us, from which she attacked the transgender community who disagreed with her political positions.
Though she falsely claimed she was born as late as 1964, she was born September 2, 1951 and died November 2, 2012 at age 61. I have written a response to eulogies containing false information and fabrications in 2012 at the link below:
I will retain the information below for historical purposes. I'll be revisiting this matter at some point in the future.
Around the time she stopped using the name Denise Tree online, Magner was an early activist in the intersex movement, but in the ensuing years she has moved away from making positive contributions. For decades Triea waged a long-running online war of words with transgender people she disliked. In 2007, Triea shifted her highly fluid identity from intersexed lesbian to heterosexual "transkid," which prompted this overview of her bogus life story.
Triea was the owner and author of transkids.us, a hoax website created in December 2004 and currently maintained by Candice Brown Elliott. It promotes a taxonomy of transwomen proposed by Ray Blanchard, J. Michael Bailey, and Anne Lawrence. Bailey and Lawrence had links to it on their sites within minutes of its publication, suggesting a coordinated effort between Triea, Bailey, and Lawrence. Triea claimed the material was written by "homosexual transsexual" (HSTS) children she knew. Since most of the material published by these "transkids" is pseudonymous and anonymous, we were simply supposed to take Triea's word that it's all true. So... let’s take a look at how truthful Denise Magner / Denise Tree / Kiira Triea was (hint: not very).
This report examines:
Basically, Triea was an older and less successful Laura Albert, the musician wannabe and notorious hoaxer who created "transkid" JT LeRoy out of thin air, eventually even pretending to be LeRoy in person as well as online. As Laura Albert did, Triea was able to dupe several lesser academics and authors with her fabrications, most notably Alice Dreger and Simon LeVay, both of whom cite Triea in their published work. J. Michael Bailey even coauthored with Tree in 2007.
Unfortunately, most of the information in this overview was self-reported by Triea and not independently verified. This article reports on what Triea has claimed in various published statements, which were not necessarily true. Tree's claims that could be independently verified have often turned out to be false. Given the inconsistencies, all statements by Triea and those she claimed to represent should be verified independently with third-party documentation, even those reported by journalists and sloppy academics, before being considered factual. Getting Triea's many claims gathered in one place was the first step to debunking most of them.
Triea claims to have been born on Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines , a "Navy brat."  Depending on the point she was trying to make at the moment, Triea claimed to be born anywhere between the late 1950s and mid 1960s:
2007 legal troubles led to published proof that Triea was actually born on September 2, 1951. She shaved over 13 years off her real age over the course of her various versions of her life story. The date of birth was an important aspect of Triea's claims about the age at which she presented at Johns Hopkins, as discussed below. Later birthdates are used when she wants to claim an earlier age for medical intervention.
Triea states she was assigned as a boy at birth: "I am an XX person who was exposed to progestin prenatally and assigned as a male, no surgery, at birth in the late fifties."  In other versions, she told reporters she was "assigned as a boy at age 2."  She claimed her biological father is Finnish, and that she was raised in Finland until age two.  She wrote that at some point her mother married, and Triea and her sisters lived with her stepfather in Baltimore. 
Triea told a reporter she "did not learn of her intersexuality until puberty, when she began to menstruate through her phallus." Triea claims "I was raised as a male until age thirteen,"  at which time she "began to menstruate."  Triea told a sociologist she was "reassigned female at age 14 when she experienced a feminising puberty."  She claimed she was diagnosed with "progesterone-induced female pseudo-hermaphroditism."  She claimed she was a patient of sexologist John Money at the PRU "from age 14 to 17; this was in the mid-1970s."  Other versions report she was "treated in the mid-through-late seventies."  Triea was of course in her late 20s in the late 1970s. Triea claimed she was injected with testosterone before being given the option of a vaginoplasty:
In 1997 she told reporter John Colapinto she had vaginoplasty at age 17 , but later claimed that was "misstated," and that she had vaginoplasty at age 14.  She claimed the procedure was performed by Howard W. Jones, Jr. in 1974. 
Triea claimed her condition led to the breakup of her family:
Triea did not describe how long she was left to live alone with her stepfather Joe after her mother and sisters left. Later in life she described a reconciliation of sorts with her mother Dorothy Main Magner and her grandmother Estella Ziegenhein Main (Triea's post identified her as "Estelle").  Triea has stated her aunt is UCLA Professor Emerita Nancy M. Henley, who got her Ph.D. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins in 1968.  After her mother died in 2006, she stated in an online journal "all three of my parents are no more in my life."
She claimed to have lived a life of lesbian separatism shortly after getting out of the Hopkins program. "When I was a teenager in Berkeley I lived in a communal house with a band called Bebe K'Roche, The Berkeley Women's Music Collective." Like many musician wannabes, she had reasons she never recorded with her housemates: "I was 17 and I didn't *care* if solos were androcentric or not I just wanted to crank up the 50 watt plexi and punch in my Univox Super-Fuzz and ruin my hearing. I'd been playing since I was 11 and gigging since I was 15 and I was obsessive about practicing. I think I was ahead of my time truthfully, I hadn't even heard of April Lawton. The next band I played in was a Latin/Funk/hard rock bunch in Philadelphia with a horn section. Woo woo! Bebe K'Roche did a record on Olivia. I'm glad I wasn't around because it sucks."  The "rock bunch" she described as a "Hispanic/Finnish rock band" called Moon and Sun allegedly included another guitar player named Ceasar Lopez.  She also claimed "I played in gospel street bands in N. Philly and recorded crickets off the back porch in N.C."  Remarkably, Triea also claimed she underwent a "detransition" in her 20s: "I am an XX person with functioning ovaries... though I was born intersexed because of my exposure to progesterone and I tried living as a boy in my 20's. It pretty much didn't help. When I discovered my sexuality I also discovered my identity. It was nice." (emphasis mine)  By 1992 she claimed she was attending Towson State University in suburban Baltimore as a biology major, but was very interested in computers, eventually switching to a computer major. By 1993, she was so involved in Linux activism that she was chosen as editor of Linux News for about six months.  It was also during this time that Denise Tree got an email account at Johns Hopkins.  However, a major event was on the horizon:
The day after her "breakdown," Triea wrote that earlier in her life she was referred by a private physician to a very competent surgeon:
This description of Jones immediately after her "breakdown" is in stark contrast with Triea's later comments about the quality of her surgical results:
She used many variants of her female name as an adult, starting with Denise Tree and moving over time to Kiira Triea after the "breakdown," mixing and matching the two. Magner/Tree/Triea made several statements noting that her aunt is Nancy Henley (a psychologist trained at Johns Hopkins) , her mother's name was Dorothy , and that she had sisters . She has also stated her mother died in early 2006. The January 17, 2006 obituary in The Baltimore Sun, states:
Later she began posting as Dr. Arika Aeirt, an anagram which is roughly "Triea, Kira" spelled backwards.
Kira was a popular name with geeks in 1993, the surname of a character played by Nana Visitor on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Triea took the name the year the series debuted, later giving it a Finnish spin. Triea gave this etymology: "Kiira is the Finnish spelling of Kira which is actually Russian derived name. My biological father was Finnish and I was raised in Finland until the age of two. I changed the spelling when I learned this... one of those "back to my roots" things."  She has also stated "I am from Finland" many times.  Of the pronunciation, she said "Yes with two 'i's. No not "Ky-ruh". It's "Kear-ah". No not "Try-uh", it's "Tree" as in leaves and limbs. Yes Finnish does have a lot of vowels". 
Triea's fixation on all things Finnish coincides with her fixation on Linux, created by Finnish software engineer Linus Benedikt Torvalds. See Associated personae section below for more on Triea's many Finnish friends from the "House of Benedikt," like Gisle Benediktsson. Finnish readers took issue with Triea's claims of Finnish heritage:
Athletics and hobbies
Triea claimed to be a competitive runner who held a national record set at the Millrose Games:
Later she claimed to be an experienced bicycle maker. Like many of her hobbies, she was more fixated on the jargon and technical aspects of the equipment than the hobby itself.  She also claimed to be a metalworker who does bicycle welding/brazing (she said her father is a welder) and owned her own lathe. 
She claimed to be an early member and webmaster for Intersex Society of North America (ISNA).  An article she wrote appeared in the first edition of their newsletter Hermaphrodites With Attitude,  and she sometimes signed letters as a representative.  In 1994, she claimed she was moving to Tucson, Arizona.  Kiira's "friend" Stephanie Alejandra Velasquez also claims to be from Tucson. In 1995-2001, Triea was doing computer work at Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, Inc.  She has lived near Johns Hopkins for many years.  In 1997, she started signing posts with "Guitars and Vocals - 'Sex Kosmologie'"  (an unsigned, unreleased band similar to Laura Albert's defunct group Thistle). According to Triea, the Sex Kosmologie singer was named Jannelle Seryonsovin.  No online outlet seems to carry works by either Sun and Moon or Sex Kosmologie.  By the end of 1997, she used the affiliation of an organization she started, Coalition for Intersex Support Activism & Education (CISAE).  She went on to use this in letters to the editor, etc.  This "coalition" was little more than her website with anecdotes from others. It was never recognized as a non-profit and faded away after a few years. It was around this time that Triea began to get a lot of validation from J. Michael Bailey, who allowed Triea to join his closed SEXNET mailing list. She claimed to have lived in Finland  for over two years in 2002-2004, returning to set up her home recording studio, Treehouse Studios.
In a paper she coauthored, she identified thus:
However, this is just one of many ways she has identified, depending on the point she wants to make:
She claimed that at 17 she agreed to undergo feminizing surgery to create female genitals, but when she became sexually active for the first time, at age 32, her erotic orientation was toward women.  She claims to have been "too traumatized over body and sexual issues to attempt sexuality (my situation until age 36."  She was firmly identifying as a lesbian for many years: "So I went with my mom to see my grandmother at the nursing home yesterday and my grandmother asked me if I had a boyfriend. Of course I replied that I didn't because I was a lesbian but I was in a committed r'ship with another woman, and my mother just about hit me. She got this really uptight tone of voice and said "Well I would hardly call you a *lesbian*." Meaning I guess that I am actually just your everyday garden variety Martian or something. Time to get out the "I *AM* a lesbian" button I guess. I had intended it's use to be educational for straight guys, not my mother. You would think she would be used to this... I've not been sexually involved with a man in my entire life." (emphasis mine)  She occasionally claimed bisexual interests when posting on bisexual forums: "I'm shy too but only bi in my fantasy life... and also the fantasy life of my mother. I am the only lesbian in Baltimore. I'm 37 and my mom treats me like I am 14." 
However, Triea's most remarkable shift has been from intersex lesbian separatist to heterosexual transkid as of 2007:
Taking a page from the Laura Albert playbook, Triea moved from being an alleged intersex ally for "transkids" to being a "transkid" herself. As soon as Laura Albert started pretending like this, she got busted. I am not the first to point out that Triea's adamant claims of not being transsexual are especially interesting in light of which "type" she was under her buddt Bailey's classification scheme. Triea displayed many hallmarks of others who claim to have "autogynephilia":
Triea lashed out at anyone who challenged the people who have validated her by promoting her work. That's probably the way she was most like Laura Albert, who began lashing out, even at former supporters, when things began to unravel. It's also notable that Triea has harshly slammed Laura Albert. This is a common theme in Triea's life: slamming people who share remarkable similarities with her. The fluid identities, the blatant lies, the immersion in whatever she was fixated on at the moment, whether it was a country, a hobby, or a sexual identity... all of it raised serious concerns about her credibility. Denise Magner is, to put it bluntly, not to be believed. Yet she was still able to fool her supporters, who had ulterior motives for ignoring the truth about Triea.
Like Laura Albert, Triea downplayed all the fluid dates and names and outright fabrications as playing with identity or some sort of pseudo-academic attempt at subverting discourse, etc. She laterl blamed the lying on family problems, or Johns Hopkins, or her perceived enemies, or society,or drugs, etc. This overview obviously leaves readers with more questions than answers. It shows the danger of letting someone speak for others. As we saw with John Money and J. Michael Bailey, this kind of anonymized anecdotal report by proxy easily leads to abuse in service of ideology. We live in a day and age where legitimate scholars and researchers fact-check their stories and first-hand reports, and the more fantastic the story, the greater need for independent confirmation. Sadly, some people can't be taken at their word like Money, Bailey, or Kiira Triea and her many "friends." The Alice Dregers  and Simon LeVays  of the world will always take claims like Kiira's at face value, unltimately undermining their own credibility when the truth inevitably comes out. Just ask everyone taken in by the JT LeRoy hoax. Triea's compulsion ultimately hurt the very people who tried to help her most. It's sad and pathetic, but too common among lazy academics who can't take the time to confirm the most basic information in this "publish or perish" world.
Thanks to all who have contributed information to this report. This is only the start of a long process of debunking these ongoing "transkid" hoaxes. Other hoaxes have typically taken about five years from start to finish, like the "boy2woman" hoax that we finally got removed from the web in late 2006. If you have any information you'd like to share, please send it along so we can get this hoax settled once and for all.
(click chart to enlarge)
Triea posted on USENET for about ten years from 1992 to 2002, which gives a good sense of her evolving interests.
Top-level domains used in approximate chronological order:
Her eBay name was kiira-t. One unhappy buyer put up a website about her at emdee.ath.cx/kiira/ (the victim is mdestiny @ comcast - net).
In 2007 she sold a lot of audio equipment and apparently took up sewing. Apparently, she's not the most reliable seller:
Below: Kiira Triea, wannabe rocker.
Below: Kiira Triea, wannabe recording engineer.
Below: An undated photograph from either her first or second attempt at living as female.
Note: Triea has an advanced case of internet disease, with her most recent photo being about 10+ years old as she gets more reclusive. You can cut and paste the links below for a few additional images.
Lots of shots of her electronic and audio equipment, though:
1. Denise Tree (June 3, 1993). Obtaining personal medical records from military hospital. misc.consumers
2. Denise M. Tree (January 25, 1993). Linux News #12. comp.os.linux.announce
3. Kira Triea (1996). "The Choice... The Awakening..." Intersex Voices. Retrieved December 7, 1988.
4. Kiira Triea (October 30, 1998). Intersex 101. soc.motss
5. Kiira Triea (January 25, 1999). Dykes raising sons. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
6. Hank Hyena (December 16, 1999). The micropenis and the giant clitoris. Salon
7. Louise D. Palmer (December 9, 1999). Hermaphrodites Press Surgeons to Quit Gender Adjustment of Infants. Newhouse News Service (wire service)
9. Michelle Morgan LeFay Holmes (January, 2000). The Doctor Will Fix Everything: Intersexuality in Contemporary Culture. Concordia University
10. Morgan Holmes (2002). Rethinking the Meaning and Management of Intersexuality. Sexualities, Vol. 5, No. 2, 159-180
11. John Colapinto (December 11, 1997). The True Story of John/Joan. The Rolling Stone, 54-97.
12. Kira D. Triea (April 20, 1998). aiii I cut my hair... alt.support.srs
13. Kiira Triea (August 6, 1999). Your First Amp? alt.guitar.amps
14. Analee Newitz (July 27, 1999). They Wrecked My Genitals! gettingit.com
15. Kira D. Triea (December 9, 1997). Sex Reassignment and Feminism. soc.feminism
16. Intersex Society of North America (July 12, 1998). John/Joan redux in Pediatrics. Press release.
17. Kira D. Triea (April 23, 1998). Being there (defining Transsexualism). alt.support.srs
18. Kiira Triea (August 27, 2001). 3" XJ lift questions. rec.autos.makers.jeep+willys
19. Kiira Triea (April 24, 1999). Take Our Daughters to Work Day. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
20. Kiira Triea (September 5, 1998). Eggcarton Question! rec.audio.pro
21. Kiira Triea (September 8, 1998). Eggcarton Question! rec.audio.pro
22. Kiira Triea (February 2, 2002). I love my Langevin DVC (was Re: Royer's MXL 2001 Tube Mod) rec.audio.pro
23. Kiira Triea (June 15, 2001). Yet Another "What If" Mic Collection Thread. rec.audio.pro
24. Kira D. Triea (April 18, 1998). having done it young ... alt.support.srs
25. Denise Tree (January 1, 1993). Linux News #9. comp.os.linux
26. Denise Tree (January 10, 1993). Linux News #10. comp.os.linux.announce
27. Kira Triea (1994). The Awakening. Hermaphrodites With Attitude, Volume 1, Number 1, Winter 1994.
28. Denise Tree (March 1, 1993). information tidbit requested. alt.transgender
29. Kira Triea (1997). Power, Orgasm, and the Psychohormonal Research Unit. Chrysalis, 23-24.
30. Tracy Baim (September 10, 1997). Snyde & Sneak. Outlines
31. Denise Tree (June 21, 1992). GCC2.11c stdlib.h. comp.os.linux
32. Denise M. Tree (January 25, 1993). Linux News #12. comp.os.linux.announce
33. Denise Michele Tree (April 24, 1993). Female orgasm, yet again. alt.sex
34. Kira Triea (1993). Intersex Newsletter/Mailing list. Quoted in E.C. Bryant (August 17, 1993). Intersexuality mailing list. soc.bi
35. Kira D. Triea (November 25, 1993). Gender discussion. alt.transgender
36. Kira Denise Tree (June 10, 1994). 20something swm seeks sf for relationship (midwest). alt.personals.ads
37. Kira Tree (September 29, 1994). Moving to Tucson: Need an IP! az.general
38. Kiira Triea (November 22, 1997). SWLAB-MJG Facts and a proposal. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
39. Kira D. Triea (June 13, 1998). Todd Rundgren. alt.guitar
40. Kira D. Triea (November 11, 1997). The Myth of Walking Away. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
31. Kiira Triea (October 11, 2001). Can Cycling replace a car without problem?uh, winter? rec.bicycles.soc
42. Kira D. Triea (May 12, 1998) Beaulieu power repair question. rec.arts.movies.production
43. Kira D. Triea (July 17, 1998) Blessings. rec.audio.pro
44. Kiira Triea (December 25, 1999). Logic, Math and Kiira's Bowling Story. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
45. Kiira Triea (March 8, 2002). Old Atala: guesses on age? rec.bicycles.tech
46. See Kiira's posts at rec.crafts.metalworking in 2001 and 2002.
47. Kira D. Triea (Jun 30 1997). Intersex: what does it mean? soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
48. Kira Triea (April 14, 1997) Letter to editor. Time
49. Kira Denise Tree (September 27, 1995). Workstation resellers? misc.forsale.computers.workstation
50. Kira D. Triea (April 20, 1998). new person. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
51. Kira D. Triea (April 7, 1997). Female guitarists: stand up and be counted. rec.music.makers.guitar
52. Kira D. Triea (October 22, 1997). Best Female Guitarists. rec.music.makers.guitar
53. Kira D. Triea (January 20, 1998). Gender therapy - An Anonymous Submission. soc.feminism
54. Kiira Triea (February 28, 2000). Letter to the editor. Salon
56. Heike Bödeker & Kiira Triea (April 15, 1998). Native vs. White Sex Cosmologies: Sex and Gender Variability vs. Variance in Inter- vs. Intracultural Perspective. Yumtzilob
57. Kira D. Triea (April 20, 1998). The Wrath of Mom. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
58. Kira D. Triea (April 21, 1998). new person. soc.women.lesbian-and-bi
59. Kiira Triea (2007) Questions about transsexuality. transkids.us
60. Kira D. Triea (November 27, 1993). Hi. alt.transgender
61. Alice Domurat Dreger, ed. (1999). Intersex in the Age of Ethics.Hagerstown, MD: University Publishing Group. ISBN-13: 978-1555721008 (reprint of Triea's Power, Orgasm, and the Psychohormonal Research Unit at pp.141-144.)