A Transgender Timeline: 1

1673 French explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette come into contact with the Illini Indians in 1673, and are astonished to discover a subset of Illini men who dressed and acted out the social role of women. The Illini termed these men “Ikoneta” while the French referred to them as the “berdache.”

1700s "Molly houses" provided a space for the English gay community to meet, carouse and relate to one another. "Mollies" were men who often crossdressed and developed their own queer culture.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries there are many recorded instances of women who lived their lives dressed as men. Often this was to allow them entry to jobs, situations and professions from which women were excluded.

1750 Female to male transvestites join Nelson's Navy as did hundreds of others and were only discovered when they were flogged. They were never punished when they were discovered and often went on stage and became celebrities wowing audiences backed by an all singing and all dancing group of crossed dressed transvestite tars. Mary Lacy known as William Chandler who served on the Sandwich as a carpenter is one of the most famous as 'she' wrote a biography others include William Brown who served on the Queen Charlotte until being outed by a newspaper in 1815, and Hannah Snell AKA James Gray served as a navy marine until 1750.

To read the story of a local figure, Jockey John, click HERE
To read the story of Hannah Snell, click HERE

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