Long before people identified as transgender or lesbian, there were female husbands and the women who loved them. Female husbands - people assigned female who transed gender, lived as men, and married women - were true queer pioneers. Moving deftly from the colonial era to just before the First World…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Female Husbands as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
If you’re wondering in practical ways how to do trans history, Manion’s book is a great place to start. It takes one of the categories that preceded a transgender identity (the name typically given to people affirmed female at birth who identified as men and married women) and reimagines how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century lives might look with the benefit of the tools of our modern politics. The book is boldly inclusive, resisting deciding ahead of time how the category should be defined and who should be ruled in or out. Manion is also a role model in respecting the ambiguities…
Manion traces the history—from the colonial era to the early twentieth century—of people assigned female at birth who lived their lives as men. As the author shows, American and British history has been replete with such individuals, long before “transgender” became a term. If found out, they risked public humiliation, whippings, and imprisonment. Manion sets their lives in the context of their times, recreating their compelling stories through court records and newspaper accounts.
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