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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in The Gender Dissident's Guide To World History's LiveJournal:

Friday, March 31st, 2006
1:27 am
historical queer themed novels for young adults?
I'm a freshman in college but I already have an idea of something I really want to do. I want to write historical queer themed novels for young adults. I want to find the teenagers that we would modern day call queer and write about them.

I grew up knowing I was queer from a young age. I knew I liked girls by the time I was 13, and I knew I was transgendered (FTM) by the time I was 15. I have been an avid reader my whole life, and so of course I read about every gblt themed book I could get my hands on...which was not much.

Nancy Garden writes realistic fiction, such as "Anie on my mind" For fantasy, Mercedes Lackey has the "Magic's Pawn", "Magic's Promise", and "Magic's Price" series. Francesca Lia Block includes lesbian, gay, bi androgynous and transgendered characters in her books. I read every story of females pretending to be males I could find. For instance, "Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy" by Luis E Meyer.There are a few others that I can't remember at the moment. But I wanted more.

Then I read the Aenied in Latin class and found the sad story of Nisus and Euryalus. They receive very few lines about them in the epic, only a brief introduction during a race, and then their heartwrenching death sceen, but I decided then that I wanted to write their story. The Aaneid from the point of view of a younger character.

So my question, how do I go about doing this? Where do I start the research? What do I major in? History? Creative writing? Sarah Water's is my biggest inspiration, and she started off with being a historian so... And then even making it to be published after the whole job of researching and writing. What if there is no market? What if I'm a bloody awful writer.

Lets just I don't wonder if I shouldn't do something saner, like become an Astrophysics major like my room mate. Oh yeah, the math and physics thing.
Tuesday, December 21st, 2004
4:41 pm
I've been out of school for about a week now, and one of my projects has been to finish reading Leslie Feinberg's Transgender Warriors. The more I read the more I feel like there isn't much need for this journal, Feinberg has a much better researched and written book than I have. I heartily recommend that everyone read it.

I don't want to be redundant so I may look for those stories that Feinberg doesn't tell, or I may switch to stories of trans people around the world that nobody hears about, or I may come up with something completely different.

Here's a completely different entry. I've always dreamed of being a kick ass martial artist, particularly a kick ass trannie martial artist. On a lark I googled "transgender martial arts" and turned up a few interesting links.

Trans-Friendly Kung Fu films

The Queer Martial Artists of Color Hall of Fame

Two Very Cool Looking Martial Arts Organizations That Support Trannies

One Trannie's Martial Arts Coming Out Story
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004
10:43 pm
Danza de los Viejos
While reading a handy informational sheet about Dia de los Muertos that my teacher had prepared for 7th graders, I found a reference to Danza de los Viejos. Here is what the article said:

"In the Huasteca region, in Tantoyuca and Tempoal, Veracruz the celebration of the Day of the Dead or Xantolo it is a custom to dance the Danza de los Viejos. Traditionaly it is danced by men who disguise themselves as both men and women forming couples. The purpose of the disguise is to 'play with death' and allow the spirits being honored the opportunity to participate. There are four principal characters: the pregnant women/la mujer embarasada (representing new life), the devil/el diablo (fear of the unknown), the cowboy/el vaquero (life in the present) and death/la muerte (the end)."

There's no citation for this article, but several of the kids in the class attested that they had seen Danza de los Viejos performed in the U.S. and Mexico. Supposedly there are all male troupes and mixed male and female troupes who perform eachother's roles. I found a couple references to Danza de los Viejos online, but all were in Spanish and my translation skills are poor. I believe the term maringuilla refers to a man portraying a woman, though I'm not sure. Here's one page that you can look at if you're curious to learn more:


And the partial google translation:


An area I'd like to return to and explore in greater depth when I have more time (my mantra).

Feliz Dia de los Muertos a todos!
(Si, no puedo hablar espanol realamente)
Sunday, October 24th, 2004
12:49 pm
I'm still not posting regularly. Really. I just feel obligated to put something since people I don't know have joined the community. Welcome to you!

Anyway, here's something pretty light: a picture of F. Scott Fitzgerald in drag. I remember seeing a video about him in high school and supposedly he was in theatre at Princeton and I guess it was an all boy's school at the time so he took on a female role at least once. Supposedly he was quite the hottie in drag and created a bit of a controversy. I haven't found an article about this online, or even really a date, but here's the picture for your enjoyment. I think there's more pictures out there if anyone can find them.

Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: content
Friday, October 22nd, 2004
11:09 am
Medieval Crossdressers
Although I still don't plan to post regularly for quite a while, my lovely girlfriend Vireo gave me this link to a thread on the Medieval Studies community where crossdressing came up. A lot of fascinating works of literature came up that I would love to look at in greater depth. If anyone else is interested, go check it out!


Current Mood: amused
Friday, October 8th, 2004
11:36 pm
I regret to admit that for the time being I'm going to have to stop posting for awhile. As if grad school wasn't hard enough, I recently accepted a job as a rewriter for Viz comics. I probably don't have the time for it, but I've always wanted to work in comics, so I just didn't want to turn it down. Hopefully more people may find this community and share some of their gender insights. And maybe sometime soon I'll be able to have the time to research and post more. (Sometime in July)

For the time being I've started reading through Leslie Feinberg's "Transgender Warriors", a fascinating book loaned to me by one of the other student teachers in my teaching program. I've only gone through a little of it so far, but it seems both informational and accessible, even conversational. One can even flip through it looking at the pictures and learn quite a bit.

A lovely Friday night to all!

Current Mood: stressed
Wednesday, September 29th, 2004
12:57 pm
A Female Pope?
Time: Around 855a.d.
Place: Rome/The Vatican


In a history class on the Italian Renaissance I heard a story about a Pope that was discovered to be a woman after she gave birth, and was then killed by angry Catholics. Consequently all Papal candidates must now sit on a chair with a hole in it so that their "maleness" can be verified.

I did a small amount of research into this story and have found it to be highly disputed. Did this figure, commonly referred to now as "Pope Joan", actually exist? The biggest complaint is that there is no real official record of a female pope existing, supposedly the first written account of her existance appears 300-400 years after her death (13th century a.d.) Another strike against Joan's existence is that there doesn't appear to be a female pope in the list of popes. There are other men who ruled during the commonly chosen dates for Joan's rule.


Evidence for Joan's existence? Supposedly she appeared in various forms for almost 300 years before her existence was denied (16th century a.d.) Then there's the conspiracy theory, that we don't have evidence of Joan's existence because the Catholic church doesn't want us to. Make of that what you will. Another interesting consideration to me is that most of the people who held the office of Pope in the 9th century only held it for about 5 years. I read in one article that Rome was a pretty chaotic place at this time, full of intrique and manipulation and backstabbing. In that kind of environment it's easy to see how things like a Pope's sex could be overlooked or how official records could be altered or lost. The most interesting thing I've found so far is that every source I've looked at so far has a different theory about the origin of Joan. If no one can agree on a single source of the Joan "legend", then that makes me doubt all the theories so far presented. Another problem I have is that I don't know what Joan's male name was. One source I read said that she's called "Pope Joan" because her papal cover name was John, the most common Papal name. Who's to say she didn't go by another name? The pope listed for Joan's supposed reign was Pope Benedict III (855-858). How do we know that Benedict wasn't a woman? Is there evidence of Benedict III's maleness? How do we know Benedict III even existed? Is there evidence? I don't know because I haven't looked. I wonder how hard it would be for the Catholic church to go back and retroactively "create" a pope to cover for Joan's reign? But now I'm sounding paranoid.

Although I don't generally want to speak in academic terms about something I have little evidence about, I wanted to bring it up because I've talked about Joan with other people before. I also wanted to throw it out in case anyone wanted to do some more research into it.

I also don't usually plan to talk about cases where women disguise themselves as men in order to escape the patriarchy, because I consider such cases to belong in the realm of feminism and not gender studies. I'm more interested in women who become men because they think of themselves as men and men who become women because they consider themselves women. And all the flavors inbetween.

The last thing I wanted to say is that if there was no Pope Joan, why would a legend of Pope Joan persist for almost 800 years? What role does Pope Joan have in our popular consciousness? Part of me enjoys the idea that the Catholic Church, which so often seems to present itself as infallible, could be so mistaken about one of their own officials. But I also find immense satisfaction in the notion that a woman could hold one of the highest positions of power in the world (a position traditionally held by men). Perhaps that's the reason why the story of Joan persists, it stands as a sign that men and women are equal.


Current Mood: hungry
Friday, September 24th, 2004
1:58 pm
Transvestites on Stage!
Place: Japan
Time: 1333(?)-Present

I still want to find more about the history of Kabuki, one of Japan's great traditional theatrical art forms, but here is a link that gives a quick overview and suggests a few plays.
I was a little disappointed with the tone of the piece because it emphasized the problem of mtf's appropriating caricatures of femininity. I also wish I could find more about the ftm's in the all-female kabuki troupes that predated the male troupes. Perhaps another day.

Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, September 21st, 2004
11:13 am
Transvestite Vikings
Location: Scandinavia, Holland and England
Time: 400s-1100s CE


This article was written in May 2003 by a pair of Danish archeaologists. I'm not sure how many people have had a chance to read it, but I was fascinated. The gist of the article is that bone testing techniques have determined that a significant number of viking-era graves that were thought to be male and female based on clothing and burial items actually belonged to members of the opposite sex (women with weapons, men with jewelery and domestic tools). This has led some archealogists to question the rigidity of the traditional viking gender binary system. It may mean that in the different viking societies there were men who lived as women and women who lived as men.

Of course, the authors also put forth the alternative theory that the burial artifacts were more representative of class differences rather than gender. In essence, women were buried with weapons as a sign of their higher class position. This leads me to wonder if viking men buried in feminine garb or with feminine items were considered to be of lower class or if their items were considered a sign of high class leisure, much like the cosmetics of refined ancient Roman soldiers. Any thoughts?

Current Mood: calm
10:53 am
Hi, I'm the moderator of this brand new community and I just thought I'd introduce myself before getting to the regular gender and history posts.

I'm a MTF crossdresser in a Masters Teaching program, with the goal of being a high school English teacher. I'm fascinated by good stories and my academic interests tend to cross disciplines in pursuit of trivia and interesting anecdotes. I took a variety of history classes while an undergrad so I feel like a good background in history, although not a lot of training in the theory of that field.

Recently I found myself lamenting the lack of training in my teaching program for dealing with students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or intersexed. I also found myself remarking that it's difficult to find a voice, an identity and pride if you don't know your history. I found myself thinking "I've never found any sort of history book that included these identies, except in the most peripheral sort of way. Maybe I can start writting that book, or help somebody else do it." That's what I'm trying to do here.

Last of all, this is my first time starting a community, and I've never really had any formal education in gender studies, so I expect I'll make quite a few mistakes from time to time. Bear with me. And enjoy yourselves!

Current Mood: chipper
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