Gender Rebels: 50 Influential Cross-Dressers, Impersonators, Name-Changers, and Game-Changers

Gender Rebels: 50 Influential Cross-Dressers, Impersonators, Name-Changers, and Game-Changers

by Anneka Harry


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Meet the unsung sheroes of history: the diverse, defiant and daring (wo)men who changed the rules, and their identities, to get sh*t done.

You’ll encounter Kit Cavanagh, the swaggering Irish dragoon who was the first woman to be buried in London with full military honours; marauding eighteenth-century pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny, who collided on the high seas after swapping their petticoats for pantaloons; Ellen Craft, an escaped slave who masqueraded as a white master to spirit her husband-to-be to freedom; and Billy Tipton, the swinging jazz musician, who led a double life as an adult, taking five wives along the way. Then there are the women who still have to dress like men to live their best lives, like the inspirational football-lovers in Iran, who risk everything to take their place in the stands.

A call to action for the modern world, this book celebrates the #GenderRebels who paved the way for women everywhere to be soldiers and spies; kings and queens; firefighters, doctors, pilots; and a Swiss Army knife’s-worth more. These superbly spirited (wo)men all had one thing in common: they defied the rules to progress in a man’s world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781542044691
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 06/01/2020
Pages: 284
Sales rank: 972,676
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Anneka Harry hates bios because 1) it’s awkweird talking about yourself in the third person, and 2) pinning down a job title for herself is like exiting a swimming pool without a wedgie (impossible). She wants to do it ALL.

If Anneka was pushed to describe herself in a nutshell she would say she’s a ‘Comedy Hustler (Performer, Producer, Writer, Etc.)’. The ‘etc.’ leaves it open so that she can pursue whatever she decides to do tomorrow. Her writer/performer work consists of series, episodes and features for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV2, Radio 4, MTV and various online platforms including Stylist and Grazia magazines.

When Anneka isn’t parading around waving rainbow flags or trying to win feminism, she likes to be a thoroughly decent human being, drink alcohol (all types) and obsess over her sausage dog. The amount of work there is to do in the fight for equality gives Anneka regular stress migraines. She hopes this book (her first) will at least momentarily soothe anyone feeling equally overwhelmed.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Hatshepsut (1507-1458 bc) The Ancient Egyptian Powerhouse Queen (Forward Slash King) 5

Hua Mulan (Northern and Southern Dynasties Period 420-589 ad) The Legendary Woman Warrior and Camel Riding Kween 9

Saint Marina (715-750 ad) The Devil Beating Monk and Baby 'Father' 13

Joanna of Flanders (1295-1374) The Fiery Commander, Army Raiser and Hellraiser 17

Onorata Rodiani (1403-1452) The Fresco Paintin', Doublet Wearin' Fighter with Flair 21

Joan of Arc (1412-1431) The Ass-Kicking Soldier Saint and LGBTQ+ Role Model 25

Elena de Céspedes (1545-Circa 1590s) The Sex-Changing, Status Quo Reshaping 'Offspring of an African Slave' 30

Mary Frith (Circa 1584-1659) The Smokin', Pickpocketin', Fencin', Cross-Dressin' Rogue 34

Catalina de Erauso (1592-Circa 1650) The Convent Fleeing, Fraudulent Lieutenant Nun 38

Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) The Queer Queen Who Quit Her Job and Quashed the Rules 42

Christian 'Kit' Cavanagh (1667-1739) The 'Male' Dragoon with a Penchant for Looting and Shooting 46

Julie d'Aubigny (1670-1707) The Sexually Ambiguous, Self-Willed, Swashbuckling Opera Singer 50

Ulrika Eleonora Stålhammar (1683-1733) The Swedish Corporal Put on Trial for Marrying a Woman 54

Mary Read (1685-1721) The Ferocious Female Pirate Who Fooled and Duelled for a Living 60

Anne Bonny (Around 1697-1782) The Irish Pirate Who Preferred Pantaloons and Pistols to Petticoats and Purses 64

Maty East (Approx. 1715-1780) The Loveliest London Landlady Who Lived as a Landlord 68

Catharine Vizzani (1718-1743) The Italian Vicar's Servant Who Died for Her Love of Women 72

Margaret 'Peg' Woffington (1720-1760) The Irish Actress Who Cross-Dressed for Work and Pleasure 77

Mary Hamilton (1721-Unknown) The Quack Doctor and 'Female Husband' 82

Hannah Snell (1723-1792) The Sex-Swapping Sea Soldier and Celebrity 88

Margaret Ann Bulkley (1789-1865) The Top Medical Student to Top Doctor in Top Disguise 92

Ququnok Patke (Late eighteenth century-1837) The Prophesyin', Sex-Switchin', Native American Tribe Champion 97

Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin (1804-1876) The Pseudonym Peddlin', Pant Wearin', Prolific Novelist and Playwright 102

Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst (1812-1879) The Whip-Cracking Stagecoach Driver with One Eye and Six Horses 106

The Brontë Sisters (1816-1855 / 1818-1848 / 1820-1849) The Pen-Name Pushin' BAMFs of the Book World 110

Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880) The False Name Favouring, Forward-Thinking Victorian Fiction Writer 115

Ellen Craft (1826-1891) The Slave Who Pretended to Be a White Master While Cross-Dressing Herself to Freedom 122

Loreta Janeta Velázquez (1842-1923) The Cuban Spy and Confederate Con Artist 127

Lillie Hitchcock-Coit (1843-1929) The Skirt Liftin', Gamblin', Shootin' Honorary Fireman 131

Cathay Williams (1844-1893) The Escaped Slave and Buffalo Soldier 135

Jeanne Bonnet (1849-1876) The Prostitute Savin', Shopliftin', Frog Catchin' Mob Leader 139

Violet Paget (1856-1935) The Fake-Named Writer and 'Dangerous' Brain 144

Mary Anderson (Around 1841-1901) The 'Man About Town' Politician Who Beat the Ballot Box Ban 150

Clara Mary Lambert (1874-1969) The Militant Suffragette Who Snuck into the House of Commons 154

Qiu Jin (1875-1907) The Women's Rights Supportin', Poem Pennin', Chinese Revolutionary 159

Isabelle Wilhelmine Marie Eberhardt (1877-1904) The Cloaked and Costumed Swiss Explorer and Travel Writer 163

Dorothy Lawrence (1896-1964) The Journalist Who Became a War Correspondent on the Front Line 167

Umm Kulthum (Circa 1898-1975) The 'Voice of Egypt' and Arabic 'Scar of the Orient' 172

Florence 'Pancho' Barnes (1901-1975) The Stunt Pilot, Party Animal and Air-Speed Record-Breaker 177

Dorothy Tipton (1914-1989) The Double Life Leadin', Success Seekin' Jazz Musician 184

June Tarpé Mills (1918-1988) The First Female Action Hero Comic Character Creator 189

Saraswathi Rajamani (1928-2018) The Iron-Willed Indian Freedom Fighter and Spy 194

Dame Stephanie 'Steve' Shirley (Born 1933) The Child Refugee Turned Computer Science Multi-Millionaire and Philanthropist 198

Rena 'Rusty' Kanokogi (1935-2009) The Stteet Fightin', Black Belt Winnin' Jewish-American Judo Luminary 204

Bobbi Gibb (Bora 1942) The Marathon Mogul and Women's Rights Hero 209

Pili Hussein (Born 1958) The Gin Swiggin', Precious Gem Diggin' Female Miner 216

Sisa Abu Daooh (Born 1950) The Egyptian Mum Who Went to Work as a Dad for Four Decades 220

Tatiana Alvarez (D.O.B. Unknown) The Dance Music DJ in Disguise at the Decks 224

Maria Toorpakai (Born 1990) The Taliban Tricking, Weightlifting, Pakistani Squash Pro 229

Sahar Khodayari (1990-2019) The Football Fanatic, Stadium Smuggler and 'Daughter Of Iran' 234

Conclusion 239

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