Gross, Sally Papers

Span Dates: 1922-2014
Bulk Dates: 1993-2013
Volume: 12 archival boxes, media, memorabili


The collection consists of Sally Gross’s personal documents, photographs, and memorabilia and reflects her transition from living as a man to living as a woman, her life as a priest, work with the South African government and her crisis of faith and subsequent interest in Buddhism and Quakerism. Some of her academic writing is also included. Sally Gross’ story also featured in GALA’s 2016 exhibition Journeys of Faith.

Hist/Bio Note

Born intersex and classified male at birth on August 22, 1953 in Wynberg, Cape Town. She was raised as Orthodox Jewish; political activism led her to Haifa, Israel, but disenchanted with Judaism, she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1976. Her involvement with anti-apartheid movement led her to flee the country. In Oxford, England, she sought and in 1987 received ordination as a Dominican priest. She returned to South Africa in 1991-1992 and soon after disclosed her gender dysphoria, and after presenting as female, was defrocked. Following her experiences, Gross became a vocal advocate and activist for intersex rights. In 2010, Gross founded the organization “Intersex South Africa” (ISSA), which she directed until she died on February 14, 2014. Information for this profile was found at South African History Online.

Finding Aid

More information can be obtained from the archivist at GALA.


This collection is located at GALA, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Trans activism | South Africa | Africa | Buddhist | Friends/Quakers | Author/editor | Catholic (Roman) | Ordination/clergy