Lili Elbe (Activist) – Bio, Birthday, Family, Age & Born
Lili Elbe

Lili Ilse Elvenes, better known as Lili Elbe, was a Danish transgender woman and among the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery. Elbe was born Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener, and was a successful painter under that name. After successfully transitioning in 1930, she changed her legal name to Lili Ilse Elvenes and stopped painting altogether. The name “Lili” was suggested by a friend, actress Anna Larssen. Later in her life, Lili chose the surname “Elbe”, inspired by the Elbe River in Dresden. She died from complications involving a uterus transplant. Her autobiography Man into Woman was published posthumously in 1933.

Born: Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener, December 28, 1882, Vejle, Denmark
Died: September 13, 1931, Dresden, Germany
Nationality: Danish
Other names: Lili Ilse Elvenes, (legal name)
IMDb: Lili Elbe’s IMDb

About Lili Elbe

Danish painter who became one of the first recognized people to under sex reassignment surgery, transitioning from a man to woman. She was believed to have been born intersex.

Before Fame

As Einer Wegener, her birth name, she established a fairly successful career as a painter. She married Gerda Gottlieb in 1904 and moved to Paris, where Elbe could live openly as a woman and Gottlieb as a lesbian.


She underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1930, which was highly experimental at the time, although she was not the first to undergo it. She died in 1931 following complications from a uterine transplant.

Family Life

After transition and becoming legally a woman, her marriage to Gottlieb was made invalid. She then entered a relationship with Claude Lejeune, but died shortly after.


Her story was the subject of David Ebershoff’s novel The Danish Girl, which was adapted into a movie by the same name starring Eddie Redmayne.

Information related to Lili Elbe

  • Lili Elbe on
  • Sabine Meyer: Mit dem Puppenwagen in die normative Weiblichkeit. Lili Elbe und die journalistische Inszenierung von Transsexualität in Dänemark. In: NORDEUROPAforum 20 (2010:1–2), 33–61. Article in German scholarly journal

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Latest information about Lili Elbe updated on September 12, 2020.

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