changing from a 'bad' man to a 'good' woman
May 9, 2015 4:27 PM   Subscribe

"D’Eon exploited this remarkable situation to transition to womanhood, getting both the English and French governments to declare that 'Monsieur d’Eon is a woman.' The press closely followed these announcements and, starting in 1777, d’Eon lived her life legally recognized as a woman. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, d’Eon is held up as one of the most remarkable women of her century." Transgender celebrities are not new. Just read London newspapers from 1770, The Guardian
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (8 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
D’Eon saw her change as a psychological and moral transformation rather than a physical one. Her memoirs repeatedly speak of changing from a “bad” man to a “good” woman.

The piece is fairly short but worthy of its own FPP. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Michele in California at 4:34 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

28th April 1870. Fanny and Stella, the flamboyantly dressed Miss Fanny Park and Miss Stella Boulton, are causing a stir in the Strand Theatre. All eyes are riveted upon their lascivious oglings of the gentlemen in the stalls. Moments later they are led away by the police. What followed was a scandal that shocked and titillated Victorian England in equal measure. It turned out that the alluring Miss Fanny Park and Miss Stella Boulton were no ordinary young women. Far from it. In fact, 'Boulton and Park' were young men who liked to dress as women. When the Metropolitan Police launched a secret campaign to bring about their downfall, they were arrested and subjected to a sensational show trial in Westminster Hall. As the trial of 'the Young Men in Women's Clothes' unfolded, Fanny and Stella's extraordinary lives as wives and daughters, actresses and whores were revealed to an incredulous public. With a cast of peers, politicians and prostitutes, drag queens, doctors and detectives, Fanny and Stella is a Victorian peepshow, exposing the startling underbelly of nineteenth-century London. By turns tragic and comic, meticulously researched and dazzlingly written, Fanny and Stella is an enthralling tour de force.
via amazon
posted by robbyrobs at 6:06 PM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Eugenia Falleni, aka Harry Crawford, convicted of the murder of Annie Birkett in 1917.

*Disclaimer: I was the sound designer on a play based on Falleni/Crawford's life, The Trouble With Harry by Lachlan Philpott.
*Disclaimer 2: The Tedeschi article and book refuse to permit the possibility that Birkett may have been a lesbian, preferring some pretty outrageous contortions to explain a 'deception'...

posted by prismatic7 at 7:35 PM on May 9, 2015

Really interesting. I liked this--

These late-in-life transitions must not be seen as something they delayed – something that should have already happened, for instance, to Jenner, as Diane Sawyer inquired – but as part of the ageing process itself.
posted by threeants at 7:50 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Wikipedia article says,
The Chevalier d'Éon claimed to be assigned female at birth, and demanded recognition by the government as such. D'Éon claimed to be assigned female at birth but to have been raised as a boy because Louis d'Éon de Beaumont could only inherit from his in-laws if he had a son.
which, if true, (citation isn't online) explains the bit in the OP noting
Upon her death all Europe was shocked to discover that Chevalière had male genitals
posted by XMLicious at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2015

This extraordinary portrait of d'Eon came to light at an auction in New York in 2011, catalogued as 'Portrait of a Woman with a Feather in Her Hat'. It's now in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
posted by verstegan at 11:32 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Pretty disappointing that that Art History News site refers to d'Eon as "one of the most famous transvestites in history" and also misgenders her throughout.
posted by threeants at 9:46 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

threeants, it's worth mentioning that the (somewhat voluminous) literature on d'Eon is not uniform in its reporting of d'Eon's preferred nomenclature and self-characterization (which itself was not fixed over time, according to the (again varying) records that have survived).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:15 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

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