Paving the way for the trans activists of today, Carlett A. Brown started her journey while serving in the Navy during the 1950s. Introduced by JET Magazine, which she historically covered, as one to attempt the "First Negro Sex Change." She worked as a shake dancer to earn money for gender affirmation surgery after discovering that she was intersex during her time of service. During this time, the surgery she sought was not legal in the United States, so she traveled to Denmark, where her first procedure was done.