This page considers gender as identity and offences regarding
It covers -
An earlier page quipped that "clothes maketh the
man", an aphorism taken to heart by some men and
women who subverted signifiers of gender out of necessity
Gender is a key attribute of law, with a systemic but
often unperceived differentiation between male and female
identity (usually in favour of the former), discussed
in works such as Less Than Equal: Women and the Australian
Legal System (Chatswood: Butterworths 2001) by Patricia
Consider Re Kevin: Validity of Marriage of Transsexual
 FamCA 1074 and Attorney-General for the
Commonwealth v "Kevin and Jennifer" and Human
Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission  FamCA
94, which highlight questions about the mutability
of gender, gender as performance (indicated by signifiers
such as clothing and passports) and legal recognition
Marjorie Garber's Vested interests: cross-dressing
& cultural anxiety (New York: Routledge 1992)
'Gender Trouble and Cross-Dressing in Early Modern England'
by David Cressy in 35(4) Journal of British Studies
Hannah Snell (1723-1792) adopted her brother-in-law's
name, borrowed his clothes and joined the Royal Navy.
Her career is discussed in Julie Wheelwright's Amazons
and Military Maids: Women Who Dressed as Men in Pursuit
of Life, Liberty & Happiness (London: Pandora
1994). Mary Anne Talbot (1778-1808) served as a cabin
boy, drummer boy and celebrity.
A successor is described in Colonel Barker's Monstrous
Regiment (London: Virago 2002) by Rose Collis. Lillias
Valerie Arkell-Smith (1895-1960), aka Lillias Barker,
left husband and Australian soldier Ernest Pearce Crouch
in 1923 to begin a life as a man under the assumed identity
of Victor Barker. She checked into the Grand Hotel in
Brighton as Sir Victor Barker and as Colonel Victor Barker
married Elfrida Haward later that year before pursuing
careers as an actor, boxing club manager, dog kennel manager,
dairy farmer, cafe owner and fruit picker.
In 1927 she became involved with the National Fascisti,
running its boxing programme. Two years later as Captain
Leslie Ivor Victor Gauntlett Bligh Barker she found work
as a hotel clerk. After service in the Home Guard as Jeffrey
Norton she lived as the husband of Eva Norton.
A post-mortem examination of eminent British army surgeon
Dr James Barry (1792-1865) revealed that he was a woman,
indeed one who had given birth to a child. The Barry case
is discussed in Scanty Particulars: The Scandalous
Life & Astonishing Secret of Dr James Barry, Queen
Victoria's Preeminent Military Doctor (New York:
Random 2003) by Rachel Holmes and Impostors: Six Kinds
of Liar (New York: Viking 2000) by Sarah Burton.
There is a faint echo in Self-Made Man: My Year Disguised
As A Man (London: Atlantic 2006) by Norah Vincent.
Francis Wheen's The Irresistable Con: The Bizarre
Life of a Fraudulent Genius (London: Short 2004)
considers the deceptions of guru 'Charlotte Bach',
aka Karoly Hadju (1920-1981) ... the sort of person who
gives transvestism a bad name but apparently impresses
Colin Wilson fans. For the Chevalier d'Eon (1728-1810)
see The Enigma of the Age: The Strange Story of the
Chevalier d'Eon (1966) by Cynthia Cox, Monsieur
d'Eon Is a Woman (1995) by Gary Kates and Monsieur
d'Eon (2001) by Mark Brownell.
Closer to home Eugenia Falleni (1875-1938) adopted the
appearance of a young man and ran away to sea at age 16,
working as a male on vessels in the Pacific before giving
birth in 1899 to a daughter and then resuming her identity
as a male under the name Harry Crawford.
In 1914 'Crawford' married widow Annie Birkett in 1914,
apparently living harmoniously until 1917, when Birkett
discovered "something amazing about Harry".
He battered her to death but failed in a bid to throw
her son off The Gap at Watsons Bay.
Bizarrely, he successfully wooed and married another woman
in 1919 before being convicted of murder in 1920. The
case is discussed in 'The Man-Woman Murderer': Sex Fraud,
Sexual Inversion and the Unmentionable 'Article' in 1920s
Australia' by Ruth Ford in 12(1) Gender & History
(2000) 158-196 and Eugenia: A Man (Sydney: Pan
1988) by Suzanne Falkiner.
Other incidents in which Australian law grappled with
gender identity include those regarding Johanna Jorgensen,
Bill/Marion Edwards, 'William' Smith
and Ellen Tremayne
(aka Edward De Lacy Evans).
Points of entry to the literature on transgender identity
include Respect and Equality: Transsexual and Transgender
Rights (London: Routledge Cavendish 2002) by Stephen
Whittle, Transgender Jurisprudence: Dysphoric Bodies
of Law (London: Routledge 2002) by Andrew Sharpe
and The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender
Rights (New York: Pantheon 2005) by Deborah Rudacille.
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