Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy (23 August 1931 – 9 October 2006), better known by her stage name Coccinelle, was a French actress and entertainer. She was transsexual, and was the first widely publicised sexual reassignment case in Europe, where she was a national celebrity and a renowned club singer.

Early life and career

Born in Paris under the name of Jacques Charles Dufresnoy, she took the stage name Coccinelle (French for "Ladybug") — when she entered show business, making her debut as a transgender showgirl in 1953 at Chez Madame Arthur. She later performed regularly at the famous nightclub Le Carrousel de Paris, which additionally featured regular acts by additional famous transsexuals such as April Ashley and Marie-Pier Ysser. In 1958, she travelled to Casablanca to undergo a vaginoplasty by Dr. Georges Burou. She was born at rue Notre Dame de Nazareth Nr.66 in the 3e arrondissement.

Media sensation

She quite quickly became a media sensation upon her return to France as a woman, with a look and stage act based on the prominent sex symbols of the day. Historian Joanne Meyerowitz wrote "the more sexualized MTF showed up in the sensationalised press in the storeys on Coccinelle, who worked at Le Carrousel in Paris". In 1959 she appeared in Europa di notte by director Alessandro Blasetti. That same year, Italian singer Ghigo Agosti dedicated the song “Coccinella” to her, provoking widespread consternation and controversy. Coccinelle appeared in the 1962 film Los Viciosos and was the first French transsexual woman to become a major star, when Bruno Coquatrix splashed her name in red letters on the front of Paris Olympia for her 1963 revue, "Cherchez la Femme". She later appeared in the 1968 film Días de Viejo Color. In Hebrew, the word coccinelle (קוקסינל, pronounced koksinel) is used as a synonym for transsexual, often derogatorily.

Activism and later life

Coccinelle worked extensively as an activist on behalf of transgender people, founding the organisation "Devenir Femme" (To Become Woman), which was designed to provide emotional and practical support for those seeking sexual reassignment surgery. She additionally helped establish the Center for Aid, Research, and Information for Transsexuality and Gender Identity. In addition, her first marriage was the first transsexual union to be officially acknowledged by the government of France, establishing transgender persons' legal right to marry. Her 1987 autobiography Coccinelle was published by Daniel Filipacchi. Coccinelle was hospitalised in July 2006 following a stroke and died that October at Marseille.


Coccinelle No 1 (President Records No 38." cda 1052)

  1. Tu t'fous de moi [You don't care about me]
  2. L'Amour a fleur de coeur [Love has a heart like a flower]
  3. Prends-moi ou laisse-moi [Take me or leave me]
  4. Tu es là [You are there]

Coccinelle No 2 (President Records No 12" cda 1052)

  1. Je cherche un millionnaire [I'm looking for a millionaire]
  2. Avec mon petit faux-cul [With my little false bottom]

Coccinelle - 4 chansons de la Revue de l'Olympia "Chercher la femme" (RCA VICTOR 86.012M - 1963)

  1. Cherchez la femme [Look for the woman]
  2. On fait tout à la main [Everything is done by hand]
  3. C'est sûrement vous [It's probably you]
  4. Depuis toujours [Since forever]

Star du Carrousel de Paris CD (Marianne Melodie 041625) Compilation of 20 titles.