Former Rep. Chris Lee may have been searching for transgender women on Craigslist

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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The Craigslist cruising of former New York Republican Rep. Chris Lee may have been more expansive than first reported.

According to an investigation published Friday by Gawker, the same publication whose earlier expose led to Lee’s immediate resignation, the married former congressman may have been searching online for transgender women.

The publication says that since the initial news about Lee broke, two transgender women from the D.C. area contacted them.

“One sent us an ad that Lee allegedly posted on Craigslist in search of trans women; the other sent us a never-before-seen photo that she says Lee sent her after they started chatting by email,” according to Gawker. “Taken together, they present a possible explanation to those who have wondered why such a tame ‘sex scandal’ forced Lee’s hand so quickly.”

Craigslist deletes personal ads after seven days, but Gawker was able to confirm that a posting made on January 14 was titled, “Sexy Classy guy for passable TS/CD – m4t – 39 (Cap Hill).”

The content of the post cannot be verified, but according to one of Gawker’s sources it read, “New to area. Very fit classy, successful guy. 39, 6ft 190lbs, blond/blue. smooth hard body. Looking for a sexy ts/cd that i can spoil. I promise not to disappoint.”

“Revealingly, the headline and ad itself contain many elements from Lee’s first known Craigslist flirtation, including the words ‘fit’ and ‘classy.’ It dates to the same evening Lee exchanged emails with the woman we told you about two weeks ago,” said Gawker. “And it even featured Lee’s infamous shirtless Blackberry picture, albeit cropped to hide Lee’s face.”

The source told Gawker that she e-mailed back and forth with Lee, and that he told her that he had dated a transgender woman while “in college in California.” Gawker notes that Lee attended business school at Chapman University in California.

She e-mailed Lee on January 21 to say that she knew who he was. Lee never responded. He e-mailed his staff that day to claim that his e-mail account had been hacked.

The other source sent Gawker a photo strikingly similar to the one that was made infamous by the initial expose. She said that Lee had responded to a “trans for men” ad she had posted, but ultimately did not share the e-mails she claimed were sent. Lee resigned from Congress citing “profound mistakes” on February 9.