Tag Archive | crossdressing

Viscount Cornbury: The Crossdressing Consul

Lord_CornburyJust being true to his Queen.

In colonial days in the British-occupied Americas, each colony had its own assembly to discuss and oversee the crown’s business (i.e. raping resources, subjugating indigenous people, taxing settlers, etc) in the colonies.  These unelected bodies of British landed gentry met frequently and opened with all the pomp and circumstance of the opening of a parliament.  Each was presided over by a governor.

The Honourable Edward Hyde, titled Viscount Cornbury and Third Earl of Clarendon, was appointed Governor of New Jersey and New York in 1701, and when he opened the New York Assembly of 1702, he certainly made sure it was a colourful occasion.  For in walked Viscount Cornbury – wearing a beautiful hooped gown, an elaborate headdress atop a female wig, and carrying a ladies fan, in the same style that Queen Anne carried.

Despite the infamous English “stiff upper lip” and the gentry’s usual politeness of saying nothing, there was open consternation at his choice of dress, and some lords told Cornbury straight to his face that they were far from happy with him.  Their words were met with derisory laughter from Cornbury, who replied “You are all very stupid people not to see the propriety of it all. In this place and occasion, I represent a woman, and in all respects I ought to represent her as faithfully as I can.”

Cornbury had already made many enemies brown-nosing and bribing his way up the ladder, and was widely regarded as a cad.  He certainly had delusions of grandeur, as he liked to be referred to as His High Mightiness.  Quite bold for a man who had been in debtors prison when he inherited the Earldom of Clarendon upon his father’s death.  In 1688 he had married Lady Katherine O’Brien, daughter of Lord Ibracken in a clandestine ceremony and apparently very much against her father’s wishes.  There is evidence he bribed his way into his governorship.  During his tenure he was accused by his detractors of misappropriating £1500 meant for the defence of New York Harbour.  It was also bizarrely claimed to have invited guests to feel his wife’s ears, to discern just how “shell-like” they were.

Now that he had appeared publicly in female attire, he merely supplied his enemies with more ammunition.  He was described as “a fop and a wastrel”, a “pervert” who “spent half his time in women’s clothes”, and with unsubstantiated sensationalism which modern red top newspaper reporters would be envious today, some claimed that he lurked behind trees, dressed as a woman and would “pounce, shrieking with laughter, on his victims”.

Lady Katherine died in 1707 and Viscount Cornbury apparently attended his wife’s funeral dressed as a woman.  That was the final straw for the colonists.  Many had already complained about Cornbury, and now petitions to Queen Anne came flooding in.  She promptly removed him from office, ordering him back to England.

In 2000, author Patricia U Bonomi claimed in The Politics of Reputation in British America that there was no proof Cornbury had ever dressed as a woman and all the claims were based upon rumour.  However, were that true, just how did such a rumour get started?  Are we to doubt the word of those who attended the opening of the New York Assembly of 1702 and saw the proof with their own eyes?  Or those who were so angered at Cornbury attending his wife’s funeral dressed as a woman that they were moved to petition Queen Anne?  Add to this the portrait (above) of Lord Cornbury in female attire, which hangs in the New York Historical Society to this day.  Phillip Davenport-Hines, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, insists that the portrait of Cornbury is a true likeness of the time, and has dismissed Bunomi’s claims as “inconclusive”.

I think we can all agree therefore that Viscount Cornbury was indeed fond of celebrating ‘his queen’; and I’m not talking about Anne here.  You know what I mean, doncha, girls.

One of the greatest ironies is that as manly as Cornbury looks in that portrait, if you’ve ever seen a painting of Queen Anne, you’ll realise that he was quite a looker compared to her.  Anne was one of the most unattractive queens to ever grace the British throne.

And were all the above not enough, get ready for the postscript.  The title of the man who was appointed to replace Cornbury was – Baron Lovelace.

Oooh, but then, don’t we all, dears?

Don’t you dare be camp – and crossdress only if you’re queer

agador_6425National Union of Students passes discriminatory motions

Dears, I don’t know what has become of the dear old National Union of Students (NUS).  When I was a member, more years ago than I like to think about, it was a welcoming, all-inclusive body where you could be yourself, nobody judged you and they fought bigotry and injustice wheresoever they perceived it.  Today it seems it has become the haven of hyperfeminist bigots who don’t have a bloody clue about gay mannerisms or crossdressing, yet who are happy to make racist gestures.

On 25 March 2015 delegates at the NUS Women’s Conference passed a number of motions aimed at the LGBTQI community within UK colleges and universities.   And, as feminazis are wont to do, they got it all wrong.  So very, very wrong.

Motion 503, forwarded by the NUS LGBT Committee called “Dear White Gay Men: Stop Approprirating Black Women”

A bloody sad state of affairs when British students cannot spell “appropriating”, I’m sure you’ll agree, dears.  That apart however, the motion claimed that white gay men are using affectations common with black women, explained thus;

“This may be manifested in the emulation of the mannerisms, language (particularly AAVE- African American Vernacular English) and phrases that can be attributed to black women. White gay men may often assert that they are “strong black women” or have an “inner black woman”, White gay men are the dominant demographic within the LGBT community, and they benefit from both white privilege and male privilege.

I have never, for the life of me, ever heard any gay man claim to have a strong or inner black woman inside him.  If there are such, I’d just laugh in their faces.  That apart, there are no other examples of mannerisms, language and phrases, so this motion is very much open to the interpretation of the NUS Feminazi Thought Police.  There are many men in the LGBTQI community who are camp and effeminate.  I happen to be one myself, as my regular followers are aware of.  Am I now to be decried by some harpie on a university campus should I dare to sashay, as I am wont to do, or use camp language and phrases which they may associate with black women?  Let them just try.  My reply would be to shove a hand in the complainants face at full arms length and tell them, “Talk to the hand, sister, cos the face ain’t listenin’.”

Motion 503 is a terrible move for the NUS and is actually discriminatory on two counts; firstly it generalises about white gay men, and assumes that a great many use such mannerisms.  That is homophobic.  And were that not enough, the reverse side of that particular coin is that it generalies that certain language, mannerisms and phrases are common to black women.  And that, my dears, is both racist and sexist in one fell swoop, as it assumes that the delegates know the minds of black women.

But onto the motion which most here will be interested in, and I do hope my fellow trans, CD and genderqueer friends are sitting down – you may need a stiff drink by your hand as well.  Brace yourselves dears.

“To issue a statement condemning the use of crossdressing as a mode of fancy dress, To encourage unions to ban clubs and societies from holding events which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use cross-dressing as a mode of fancy dress,”

The reason for this motion?  That trans women (no mention of trans men) may find crossdressing by cishet men offensive.   Hands up here all you lovely trans ladies who are at all offended by cishet men crossdressing.  No?  No, thought not.  The fact is, as many who come here know full and well, that crossdressers and trans people have a mutual respect for each other and we stand up for each other.  Therefore, this motion immediately generalises in that it assumes to know what trans women are thinking, and that dears is transphobic.  Secondly, it attempts to drive a wedge between us CD and trans sisters.  That ain’t happenin’ girls.  Never on my watch.

The NUS has allowed dispensation in this for genderqueer students who want to use cross-dressing in their everyday lives as a mode of expression, or who wish to crossdress by dressing as a fictional character in fancy dress.  Aww, how sweet of them.

BIG problem here, dears.  If they seek to ban clubs and societies with encourage cisgender crossdressing, then they are up against the overwhelming vast majority of crossdressers.  This effectively means that if the Beaumont Society, who give help, guidance and support to crossdressers and their families, tried to give a speech or host a help event at a college or university, the NUS would attempt to ban it, on the grounds that the majority of their members are crossdressers.

So the NUS would in effect ban any such group from giving on-campus help and advice to cisgender crossdressing students.   And of course, because this motion would effectively do that, that could only add to the stress and emotional turmoil such students are already going through.  Moreover, it is not outwith the bounds of possibility that a young student just ‘finding’ themselves, may actually be trans, and the NUS stamping down on them like this could actually force them back into the closet.

And just who do the NUS Women’s Committee think they are to state that a genderqueer person may crossdress but a cishet person may not?  That is pure discrimination which not only does not understand crossdressing, it does not even attempt to understand it.

The entire motion is based upon the bigoted perceptions of women who are not crossdressers, and this shows in part of the wording of this motion; “which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use cross-dressing as a mode of fancy dress,”  That statement, allied with the ‘dispensation’ that genderqueer students can crossdress as fictional characters says it all.  They think we’re all drag queens, dears.  Yet again, they prove their complete and total ignorance of a subject they have not even attempted to research, or indeed, actually try asking crossdressers.

These motions were passed at the conference, dears, and have been widely criticised ever since.

Oh yes, that bit about racist gestures.  To emphasise that some people find some gestures damaging, instead of clapping, those present showed ‘jazz hands’, after one NUS Women’s delegate Tweeted, “Some delegates are requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping as it’s triggering anxiety. Please be mindful!”  For those of you not in the know, ‘jazz hands’ are where you hold your hands either side of your face with the fingers full open, and grin widely – a mannerism common to minstrel shows, where white men would ‘black up’ as black men, and sing songs synonymous with African-Americans in the US deep south.  An act so racist that it is banned almost everywhere today.  Oh well done.  That’s very progressive, isn’t it?

_0000000AAMinstrelSo, well done NUS Women’s Conference for showing your uninformed and ignorant prejudice by giving your blessing to homophobia, sexism, transphobia, mysandry, and racism.  But at least now I know why you call your decisions ‘motions’ – because like you, they’re full of shit.

Conflict within the LGBT community – a rant.

Right, listen up and listen up good.  I have just about had enough of conflict within the LGBT community.

I have been reading things which suggest that I am something less than equal because I am not transgender.  Apparently according to some – and you know who you are – I merely put on a “persona” as a woman.  Those stating this claim it does not make a difference.  Well if it doesn’t, why even say it then?

You are defining a difference.  And when you do that, you demean another human being.  Well to Hell with  you.  I am making a stand for myself and crossdressers everywhere.  You don’t know who I am, you don’t know other crossdressers, so don’t bloody well tell me I am “different”.

Do you know what you are saying is like?  It is like making a racist comment then saying to anyone of a different race to you “Oh but not you.  We know you’re okay.”

I’ll even go one further.  I once encountered a man-hating feminazi who dismissed the entire crossdressing and transgender community on the grounds that no male to female transgender can ever be a women as “I have a womb, they do not.”

How does that feel?  Make you feel uncomfortable, does it?  Insulting?  Hurtful?  Good.  Now you know how I and other crossdressers feel when you say we are just “putting on a persona”.

You may see it that way but Xandra is an integral part of me – perhaps the better part of me, and when you try to make any differences, your words are hurtful.  You may wish to keep that in mind.

Your claims are every bit as insidious as the gays and lesbians who deride bisexuals and claim they don’t exist.  We are all in the LGBT community, we – of ALL people – should be the ones standing by each other and presenting a united front against the bigots.  One would have thought the trans community would be the first to realise that.

Oh, and as I have been crossed, you have brought the bitch out, so my final parting shot is to the person whose blog mentioned this in the first place.  I’ll remind you dear that it was not too long ago you were writing about going back to being a man, and it was me among others who advised you that it wouldn’t work.

The Importance of NOT being Ernest


Edinburgh, capital city of my beloved Scotland, was a strictly Presbyterian and sabbatarian place in the late 1860s.  No doubt then a lovely young lady walking along the main thorougfare of Princes Street with soft, feminine features, pretty blonde tresses beneath a bonnet, carrying a frilled parasol, wearing a dress which hugged a shapely figure, and sporting a small bustle as was the fashion of the times, would have injected a little light and colour into the otherwise dour lives of the citizens, and not a few raised eyebrows and disapproving tuts to boot.  Not least of these however was one such young lady by the name of Stella Boulton who stayed in Princes Street for six month in 1869.  You see dears, Stella was in fact Ernest Boulton, a female impersonator stage performer, who also openly crossdressed in public, carried on affairs with men, and who went on to scandalise Victorian Edinburgh.

Scots author Neil McKenna has outlayed the story of Ernest / Stella Boulton and his friend Frank “Fanny” Park, in his new book Fanny & Stella of how they came to be charged and how the careers of a Post Office Manager and a United States Consul were destroyed through association with them.

Ernest Boulton came to Edinburgh to recuperate after an operation at the behest of an admirer, Louis Hurt, who met him while the two were working for the Post Office in London.  It was here that Ernest really appears to have fully taken on the persona of Stella.  As such, she found Hurt pretty boring.  He was not into crossdressing at all and wanted Stella to appear more manly, and even grow a moustache.  Nonetheless, whilst Hurt in his position as a manager toured rural post offices, Stella went with him, even up to Thurso and Wick, the two northernmost towns on the Scottish mainland.

Back in Edinburgh it seems Stella, whose features were indeed feminine, could get away with appearing in public as a woman, although some things did give her away.  While most of Scots society refused to believe homosexuality of any kind even existed in the UK, but must have come from the European continent – more of which later – she nevertheless found herself widely accepted as something of a curiosity by some.  She was also to discover a hidden subculture in the Scots capital and soon there was no shortage of “gentleman callers” at Hurt’s lodgings in what was then the most prestigious street in the whole of Scotland.  What Hurt’s landlady, who would not even allow “weekday tunes” to be played on the piano on a Sunday, thought of this one can only wonder.

There was the rough and ready John Jameson Jim, “Honest” Jack from Musselburgh (a town neighbouring Edinburgh to the east), and a counter assistant from Kensington and Jenners Store (now Jenners; it was and remains the most up-market store in Scotland).  There was also a Mr John Safford Fiske, US consul to Edinburgh and Leith.

Fiske was living at the time in nearby George Street, parallel to and then equally as prestigious as Princes Street, and his life consisted of attending social functions and arranging his marriage to an American heiress whom it was planned would come to Edinburgh to meet him.  It seems however he was marrying purely out of duty and to hide his homosexuality, as many gay men did do right up until it was no longer illegal in the UK.  He had liaisons with two brothers, Donald and Robbie Sinclair, who introduced him to Stella, and from the moment he met her, Fiske was captivated.  The two entered into an affair, apparently highly sexual in nature, and exchanged love letters, telegrams and even photographs (gay porn is nothing new dears), including some of Fiske in female attire.

Stella returned to London to continue her stage career with Fanny Park but she and Fiske kept up their correspondence.  On 28 April 1870 however, Boulton and Park were arrested in London on charges of indecency.  When John Fiske learned of this, he burned all of the correspondence he had received from Stella Boulton.  However, the Metropolitan Police in London had his correspondence to her, including an explicit love letter written 12 days before Boulton’s arrest, in which he stated he still had 11 photographs of Stella and four notes from her.  The long arm of the law was soon to reach all the way up to Edinburgh.

Fiske hoped the US Consulate would protect him and said the letter was “just foolishness”.  His protestations however fell on deaf ears and Inspector James Thompson of the Metropolitan Police wired Detective Officer Roderick Gollan of the Edinburgh City Police, requesting that he search John Fiske’s home.   In the subsequent search Gollan found three letters and two telegrams from Louis Hurt, and a number of photographs of young men in compromising positions.  Gollan asked Fiske if there was anything else and knowing the game was up, he handed over a box full of more such photographs (I’m wondering who the photographer was dears).  He was taken into custody and eventually taken to London to face trial.

Louis Hurt meanwhile, when the story broke, feared the worst and requested leave from the Edinburgh Post Master General. This was granted, although the latter asked for him to provide a full written explanation of “his relations with the young men in women’s clothes”.  Hurt knew that the police must have found compromising letters from him too.  Wanting to know the full extent of the damage, he did the worst thing he could have done; he went to London, where he was promptly arrested.

Had John Fiske and Louis Hurt kept their nerve, then their careers may have been saved.  For in a bizarre twist, all four men were acquitted.  The legal profession simply could not believe that such acts could take place on British soil, and even wondered if this penchant for dressing in womens clothes and committing homosexual acts came from France believe it or not.  This was the Britain of the days of the Empire upon which the sun never set; a Britain of real men and it could not be let known that in such a Britain any man could be seen as effeminate.  And it really was upon that basis apparently that Boulton, Parke, Hurt and Fiske were all set free.

Stella Boulton went back to her stage act, and even toured the United States.  Whether it were with or without Fanny Park is not recorded.  The damage to Hurt and Fiske however could not be healed.  Louis Hurt travelled Europe afterwards, hoping to escape notoriety.  Eventually he settled in Vienna, where he became a teacher of English and where he died in 1836, aged 91.  John Fiske, his diplomatic career completely shattered as well as ambitions for Washington DC (and his gold-digging sham marriage), went to Italy where he lived and spent his time painting and cultivating his garden.  Apparently his photos of Stella became part of the “Linlithgowshire Rogues Gallery” and are now in the hands of Edinburgh City Libraries.  I’ve just got to try to see those dears.

Those are just the bare bones of the story, which I thought would interest you to show you that crossdressing is by no means a new phenomenon, and that the Victorian age was far from as staid and upright (or cisgender and heterosexual) as we have been led to believe.

I have ordered the book Fanny & Stella by Neil McKenna from my local library darlings, and once I’ve read it I shall tell you more.




Training Skirts takes on a New Meaning?


Darlings, I just love this story I found recently.

Train drivers on the Roslagsbanan train service in Stockholm, Sweden, have been complaining that the heat in the driving cabs in their trains can reach up to 95º Fahrenheit / 35º Centigrade in summer and things have been rather uncomfortable in recent hot weather.

The operating company, Arriva, have stated that shorts cannot be worn as they contravene the company’s uniform code.  The same code however, states that long trousers or skirts are acceptable dress, but do not stipulate gender.  Male train drivers have therefore taken to wearing skirts, which they find much cooler.

Silly boys.  I could have told you that a long time ago.

The company has given this move its blessing.  They cannot complain as to do so would be discriminatory.

And quite right too.  Surely it’s the drivers right to choo-choose?

Sorry darlings, little Xandra does so love her bad puns.