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14 comments

[–] GCRadFem 12 points

Homosexuality used to be called sexual inversion, that is where this is from.

From wiki:

Sexual inversion is a theory of homosexuality popular primarily in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sexual inversion was believed to be an inborn reversal of gender traits: male inverts were, to a greater or lesser degree, inclined to traditionally female pursuits and dress and vice versa.

The sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing described female sexual inversion as "the masculine soul, heaving in the female bosom".

Initially confined to medical texts, the concept of sexual inversion was given wide currency by Radclyffe Hall's 1928 lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, which was written in part to popularize the sexologists' views. Published with a foreword by the sexologist Havelock Ellis, it consistently used the term "invert" to refer to its protagonist, who bore a strong resemblance to one of Krafft-Ebing's case studies.

Not in this case. The author seems to fit what we would call a TIM or transwoman today. He makes a distinction between what he calls "passive homosexuality", he uses the term inversion/invert for this, and "active homosexuality" or what he calls urning. The passive is a "womans soul" with female biology(according to him) and different from the active, of which he gives Oscar Wilde as an example.

He writes about longing to be a woman and underwent castration at age 28. The editor of the book in the preface makes no distinction between what we would today call trans identity and homosexuality, but by todays terminology he fits the former better than the latter. The terminology to make a distinction between the two was not present then but there are similarities with his writing and contemporary trans identified authors. If you have time I would suggest reading part of it, the entire book is online and there are several sections that mirror the reasoning and behaviors of trans identified individuals today. He also wrote a second book, "The Female Impersonators", which I haven't finished yet, but plan to get around to finishing and making a post on.

edit: I should edit to say that he is very clearly homosexual and his conviction that he is really a woman is likely influenced by the homophobia he lived with. His desire to be a woman and his surgically altering himself to be more like a woman sets him apart from other gay men at the time so he is cited by trans communities now as one of the earliest transwomen in America. But even aside from that he shows certain autogynophilic tendencies: https://ovarit.com/o/ItsAFetish/159824/suffrage-era-agp-1918-usa

So, was he a suffragist? If not, my always talked point remais the same: where were the suffragist TIMs?

He was definitely not a suffragist. He never mentions the suffrage or women's rights movement in the first book. In the second book he briefly mentions voting only to say that he is dismayed that he is expected to vote while being seen as a man.

But how could I push my way into the crowd of rough men always hanging (at that period) around the polling places?

The narcissism in that quote in underscored by the images of women who were beaten by police, arrested, force fed and otherwise assaulted in that same time period trying to gain the right that he is complaining about. He seemed to have a humiliation fetish which required women to have a secondary status. And he is very clear in his writing that he is not the "invert" in the sense of a gay man. He writes that he wants to be legally recognized as female and wrote "Could it be that I was a girl imprisoned in the body of a boy?" emphasis his.

His wanting to be female in the time period of the early women's rights and suffrage movement does not mean he should be read as supporting it any more than the men demanding to be seen as female now should be assumed to support women's rights today. Someone looking back a hundred years from now would make a mistake to assume men claiming a female legal status were supportive of reproductive freedom and women's liberation. The contrast of their selfish demands and dismissal of sex based rights only highlights that, as it does for the men from a hundred years ago.

So it goes back quite a bit further than we'd imagined . . .

Tbh, I don't think it's that surprising. I've read people describe AGP as, at root, a humiliation kink; and men have thought women were disgusting and inferior for thousands of years. The Roman emperors Nero and Caligula were said to cross-dress at times.

text from the image:

The girl-boy with diffused minor abnormality in physical structure, consisting in approach to the feminine type, is rather a female who has, along with some other male structures, developed testicles and penis in place of the usual ovaries and cunnus. Here it is not so much a case of a female brain in a male body, but of the female brain in a female body with various abnormal developments along the line of male structure. A girl-boy is sometimes even physically perhaps more a female than a male, although the primary sexual determinants and some of the secondary sexual characters are those of the male sex.

[Sex Psychical Rather Than Physical.] In a manner similar to that described by Kurella, the author believes the invert is a transitional form between the complete male or the complete female and the sexually undifferentiated homo seen in the early fœtus. Practically it is all right, but medico-legally it is wrong, to make the genitals the universal criterion in the determination of sex. Medico-legally, sex should be determined by the psychical constitution rather than by the physical form.

The idea of brain sex that he puts forward in his book is different from the current version. Today the argument seems to be that the brain structure is different depending on gender and he believes that the very cells themselves are different for males and females.

—whether any individual shall be a male or a female depends on the result of a battle in the embryo between the female corpuscles or germs of the egg and the male of the spermatozoa. From some cause, perhaps the relative state of vitality of the secretory sexual glands at the time of the formation of the particular egg and spermatozoon, either the female germs or the male germs happen to be the more vigorous, and determine the sex of the unborn. If the fœtus develops into a female, it is because the female germs have devoured the male. For some reason, in exceptional cases, the more vigorous set of cells have not succeeded in devouring the other set entirely, and both kinds coexist in different parts of the same individual throughout his existence.

from page 18

Quote from "Autobiography of an Androgyne" 1918. The author went by different names, Ralph Werther/Jennie June/Earl Lind, and identified as an androgyne or girl-boy.

Full version available on project gutenberg and the internet archive's open library. NSFW there are two nude portraits on pages 5 and 242. Project Gutenberg has versions without images if you want to avoid them. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/67711

More quotes from the book here: https://ovarit.com/o/ItsAFetish/159824/suffrage-era-agp-1918-usa