The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe

TitleThe Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsDekker, Rudolf Pol, and Lotte C. Van De Pol
Number of Pages148
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

In 17th and 18th century Europe, especially Holland, England and Germany, so many women chose to dress and live as men, that an underground tradition of female transvestism within the popular culture can be detected. This study, based upon 119 well-documented Dutch cases of female transvestism, is the first of its kind and tells us how these women adapted to male life and why, once discovered, reactions to them were both fierce and varied. It also explores the reasons why they chose to change gender. Special attention is devoted to transvestism by one partner as the only way in which lesbian love was conceivable in this period.

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