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Arnold, Mary Anne (b. 1825), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Sheerness, Kent, and may have been the daughter of Lieutenant Arnold of the Royal Navy who served aboard the Ganges and Prince Regent men-of-war. According to a report in The Times following her detection in October 1839, an officer of the ...

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James Barry (c. 1799–1865) by unknown photographer, c. 1860 [left, with a servant] Trustees of the Army Medical Services Museum

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Barry, James (c. 1799–1865), army medical officer and transvestite, was probably born Margaret, the youngest daughter of Mrs Mary Ann Bulkley or Bulkeley, the sister of the artist James Barry; her paternity is in doubt. From the age of ten she dressed and presented herself as a man, but the woman who laid out her corpse declared that she was female: 'The Devil, a General,' said the attendant. 'It's a woman. And a woman that has had a child' (...

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(Thomas) Ernest Boulton (1847–1904) by Frederick Spalding senior, c. 1868 [left, with Frederick Park (Stella and Fanny)] reproduced by courtesy of the Spalding Collection, Essex Record Office

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Boulton, (Thomas) Ernest (1847–1904), transvestite, was born at Kings Road, Tottenham, London, on 18 December 1847, the elder of two sons of Thomas Alfred Boulton (1816/17–1887), wine merchant, and his wife, Mary Ann, née Levick (b. 1822/3). From his sixth year he showed an aptitude for playing female characters. He would dress as a parlourmaid, and once waited at table upon his grandmother, who said when he left the room, 'I wonder, having sons, that you have so flippant a girl about you' (...

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Charke [née Cibber; other married name Sacheverell], Charlotte [alias Mr Brown] (1713–1760), actress and transvestite, was born on 13 January 1713, probably at her parents' home in Southampton Street West, London, the twelfth and youngest child of the actor and playwright ...

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Charlotte Charke (1713–1760) by Robert Bowyer Parkes (after Henry Gravelot) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Davies [née Cavenaugh], Christian [Catherine] [alias Christopher or Richard Welsh; called Mother Ross] (1667–1739), female soldier, was, according to The Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies (1740), born Christian Cavenaugh in Dublin. She was raised by her parents on a farm at ...

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Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée D'Éon de Beaumont, Chevalier D'Éon in the French nobility (1728–1810) by George Dance, 1793 © Copyright The British Museum

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D'Éon de Beaumont, Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée, Chevalier D'Éon in the French nobility (1728–1810), diplomatist and transvestite, was born at the Hotel d'Uzès, Tonnerre, Burgundy, on 5 October 1728. He came of an old noble family, possibly of Breton origin, though, like much else about this extraordinary personage, his genealogical pretensions later gave rise to judicial proceedings. His father, ...

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Gunn [née Fubister], Isabel [alias John Fubister] (1780–1861), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Orkney, on 1 August 1780, the daughter of John Fubister and Girzal Allan, and was baptized Isabel Fubister on 7 August in St Andrew's parish, Orkney. Few details are known about her life until she signed on with ...

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Hamilton, Mary [Charles] (fl. 1746), sexual impostor, was the daughter of William and Mary Hamilton. She was born in Somerset and subsequently moved with her family to Forfarshire, Scotland. When she was about fourteen years old she left home and returned to England...

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Hessel [née Smith], Phoebe (1713–1821), female soldier and centenarian, was probably born in Stepney, London. Her father was a 'drummer in the king's service' (Circulator, 147), but further details of her parents and upbringing are unknown. A tombstone in St Nicholas's churchyard, Brighton...

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Dorothy Lawrence (1887/88–1964) by unknown photographer, 1915 The British Library

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Lawrence, Dorothy (1887/8–1964), journalist, soldier, and sexual impostor, was of uncertain origins, but by 1911 was a freelance journalist living in Kensington, London.

In 1914, at the start of the First World War, Lawrence was living in Paris. She contacted several British newspapers, offering to work as a war correspondent from the front line in ...

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(Lillias Irma) Valerie Arkell- Smith (1895–1960) by unknown photographer, 1926 by permission of the E. O. Hoppé Trust, Curatorial Assistance, Inc., Los Angeles

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Smith, (Lillias Irma) Valerie Arkell- [née Lillias Irma Valerie Barker] (1895–1960), sexual impostor and perjurer, was born on 27 August 1895 in St Clements, Jersey, the daughter of Thomas William Barker (1857–1918), gentleman farmer and architect, and his wife, Lillias Adelaide Hill (1868–1923)...

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Snell, Hannah [alias James Gray] (1723–1792), sexual impostor, was born on 23 April 1723 in Friar Street, St Helen's, Worcester, the eighth of nine children of Samuel Snell, a hosier, and his wife, Mary Williams. Robert Walker's biography of Snell's life, first published in 1750, provides a clue to what might have shaped ...

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Hannah Snell (1723–1792) by John Faber junior, 1750 (after Richard Phelps) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Talbot, Mary Anne [alias John Taylor] (1778–1808), sailor and soldier, was born on 2 February 1778 at 62 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, the youngest of her mother's sixteen children. Mary Anne was purportedly the illegitimate daughter of William Talbot, the first earl of Talbot...