Long before people identified as transgender or lesbian, there were female husbands and the women who loved them. Female husbands - people assigned female who transed gender, lived as men, and married women - were true queer pioneers. Moving deftly from the colonial era to just before the First World War, Jen Manion uncovers the riveting and very personal stories of ordinary people who lived as men despite tremendous risk, danger, violence, and threat of punishment. Female Husbands weaves the story of their lives in relation to broader social, economic, and political developments in the United States and the United Kingdom, while also exploring how attitudes towards female husbands shifted in relation to transformations in gender politics and women's rights, ultimately leading to the demise of the category of 'female husband' in the early twentieth century. Groundbreaking and influential, Female Husbands: A Trans History (Cambridge UP, 2020) offers a dynamic, varied, and complex history of the LGBTQ past.
Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Amherst College.
Leo Valdes is a graduate student in the History Department at Rutgers University. They study 20th century African American, Latinx, and LGBTQ history with special interest in carceral, labor, and trans studies. In addition to being a host for the LGBTQ Studies channel on the New Books Network, they are an oral historian with the Latino New Jersey Oral History Project at Rutgers University and Voces of the Pandemic, a collaborative oral history project with Voces Oral History Center at UT Austin. Their dissertation explores the social history of the trans movement by centering black and latinx trans people in the 20th century.