Thursday, July 27, 2017

A History Lesson

It is hard to put modern definitions to historic figures, as I mentioned earlier in the week about the doctors here and in England we can only wonder if they were really trans.
A history lesson for Trump: Transgender soldiers served in the Civil War
Washington Post
By Steve Hendrix
July 26, 2017

Albert Cashier served in the army as a man, lived his life as man and was buried at 71 with full military honors in 1915, as a man. But beneath the uniform in which he fought and was buried, he was biologically a woman, one of the many cross-dressers and gender defiers who have served in the U.S. military since the earliest days of its history, according to historians.
[…]
Cross-dressing has roiled the ranks of armies at least as far back as Joan of Arc, the 15th century military genius who was burned at the stake for heresies that included wearing a man’s uniforms. Leonard’s own expertise is the Civil War, a time when the ranks were filled with hundreds of women who cut their hair, put on pants and took up arms on both sides of the War Between the States.

Researchers at the National Archives have found evidence that at least 250 women dressed as men to fight in the 1860s, some motivated by ideology, some by a taste for adventure and some by the need for a job. Most of those who survived presumably returned to their lives as women. But others continued to live as men after the war.
It is those who continued to live as men that are interesting. Were they trans? Or did they just want to shake the yoke of the restraints of their gender?
Cashier’s anatomical secret only came out after he was injured in a 1911 car wreck and treated by doctors. He was committed to an insane asylum but when his story was reported in newspapers, his former army comrades rallied to ensure he was buried as a soldier and recognized on a monument at Vicksburg as one of the Illinois soldiers who fought there.
And then there was another doctor who presented a man for most of their life.

A portrait of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Union Army surgeon during the Civil War
who dressed as a man for most of her life. (Courtesy of Library of Congress)
We will never know what they thought, were they trans? What do you think?

No comments: