Wondering why I put a link to a transgender page? Sometimes 
society likes to group and label us to fix into their box.
As we all know, there are women who fit the stereotypic role of
"femme" or feminine (some are lesbian, some are not) and some
that fit a type called "butch" or what our society labels
masculine. As there are also men who do not fit society's 
preference for masculine, (big, bulky, strong, muscular).  Some
are gay and some are heterosexual. Where do they fit in? Our 
society really isn't that creative in our definitions. [Some 
people do not fit in either category.  Some are refering to 
themselves as intersexed".] Really, we are quite rigid as a 
society in our definitions of gender. (Men shouldn't cry, etc.)
We do not often accept people who stray to far outside societial
boundaries of dress and behavior, and then we get mad or think
it's weird when people try to figure out how they can Make 
themselves Fit into such a system!

I am fascinated by the fact that women of a more repressive era 
could escape society's constraints by living the lives of men.
Lesbians could live in a measure of exceptance, with a female
partner or without a male partner.  Women could practice skills
when opportunites were not available to their gender at the time.
The fact that some women (like Erauso), could fool even their 
friends and family makes me wonder how different we all really 
are?

What intregues me also is that women, who lived as women, but
dressed and acted in a way that our society labels masculine,
could find ways to be accepted, even loved and cherish, despite
people's prejudice.  (Today women wearing pants is much more
acceptable than it was at one time)    

Some communities are more oppressive then others, even now, in
the 20th century. The time of "passing women" has not necessarily 
left us.  Today women still dress as men, some pose as men.  The
reasons might be similar to the past.  Perhaps they don't fit the
"mold" (society's concept of what is masculine and what is
feminine- I wonder why we get so attached to all that stuff?)

Some find more advantages to living "as a man" such as safety on
the streets, more opportunities in high paying jobs, more 
respect, ability to wear masculine clothes with acceptance, 
or freedom to live in a conservative area with a female partner 
and not fear violence and prejudice, etc. Today however, there is 
stricter attention payed to gender, without reference to dress. 
In order to be accepted in the true role and still marketable
in a conservative job, the "game" is much more complicated and
often embarrassing.  Your gender is public knowledge and even
if you move to another area it is still on your driver's license!
To "pass" today, wo/men face many more, or perhaps just 
different, challenges than the passing women of yesterday.

Some of the women on this page were lesbians, some not.  Some
were transgendered and some just wanted to live more comfortably.
I wonder how many of us would wear one of those contraptions
they called a dress and how comfortable We would have felt
wearing one.  Apparently through it's evolution it used to weigh
several pounds and bulge out at the sides perhaps a foot.  

Dr. Mary Walker fought for dress reform because she considered
the dress to be the cause of many health problems and impossible
for a person to travel or move quickly if needed.  Rosa Bonheur
often painted outside in all kinds of weather and was licensed to
wear pants for health reasons.  Women dressing in pants used to 
be illegal- even in the United States!  Later women were required
to wear atleast 3 articles of feminine clothing or be arrested.
(A sick way for officers to have an excuse for abusing lesbians'
privacy)

In short, (not really), Rosa Bonheur and Hannah Gluck were 
lesbians according to their biographies,and lived openly as
such.  Perhaps they gained more exceptance by fulfilling
society's role of them as dressing and looking masculine?
Perhaps they were transgendered. I think the next generation
cares less about labels and perhaps has room for all different
kinds of people.
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