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10 Awesome Cross Dressers from The Past

Cross-dressing is not a new phenomenon, not a result of modern day individualism. It dates back to centuries. Transvestitism allows people to express themselves based on their internal awareness. Here is a list of 10 awesome individuals who dared to cross dress:

The list of top 10 awesome cross Dressers from the history:

10. Elagabu (204-222)

Elagabu (204-222)

Under the guidance of his aunt, Elagabu became the Emperor of Rome at the young age of 14. Even though he was the emperor, he preferred clothing like a women. It is said that he’d got, all his body hair removed and wore makeup. He probably had his heart set on his chariot driver, Hierocles whom he referred to, as his husband. Once, Elagabu had voiced his wish to a doctor that he wanted to become a woman and that the doctor would be paid huge money if he could only grant his wish. Needless to say, in the traditional Roman society Elagabu was not a popular king, all the more because he married a priestess who had earlier sworn herself to virginity. At the age of 18, Elagabu, the emperor was assassinated.

9. Francois De Choisy (1644-1724)

Francois De Choisy

De Choisy was made to dress up as a girl till the age of 18, by his mother. It is said that this was done because De Choisy was the playmate of Princess Philippe I, who was dressed like a girl too, so that the prince would not be seen as a threat to his older brother, King Louis XIV. Even when an adult, De Choisy went on wearing women dresses because he couldn’t get fond of men’s clothing. Soon, he became quite a fashion icon among the ladies of the realm who often visited him for fashion advice; and he even ended up impregnating one of them. In 1773, Francois De Choisy published his most famous book ‘The Transvestite Memoirs’.

8. Mary Read (1690 – 1721)

Mary Read (1690 - 1721)

Since her childhood, Read was brought up as a boy by her mother. At a very young age she joined the British Army and it was during her service at the army that she came across pirates. She decided ‘pirating’ was her calling in life, therefore joined a bunch of pirates and managed to attract the attention of another female pirate, Anne Bonney. All this while Read was disguised as a man, so one can imagine poor Bonney’s disappointment when she came to know about Read’s sexuality. At any rate, legend has it, that they later became lifelong companion. In 1720, together they were captured and became the only women to have been ever convicted of piracy.

Interesting stuffs: A story goes, that Read had once, during a dual ripped open her shirt and managed to defeat her opponent who had no clue that he was fighting a woman.

7. Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689)

Christina of Sweden 1653

The king wanted her daughter to grow up tough, for she was the heir to the throne. So he decided to bring her up like a boy. He often took her to bear-hunting which later became Christina’s favorite pastime. She was coroneted at the age of 18 but under constant pressure of marriage and the need of producing heir, Queen Christina abdicated her throne ten years later and fled to Sweden disguised as a man. There she spent some times, often in a man’s getup. Later she turned to Catholicism and went to Rome were she was granted a special permission to wear men’s cloths. Christina is one of the only two women who are buried in St. Peter’s Church in Rome.

6. Deborah Samson (1760-1827)

Deborah Samson

During the American Revolutionary War, Samson got herself enlisted into the army using her deceased brother’s name. She fought bravely dressed as a man. When she got wounded at the battlefield she insisted her fellow comrades to leave her to die because she was afraid of the revelation of her true identity. Her fellow soldiers, ignoring her wish, took her to the hospital from where she escaped. She managed to pull out the bullet from her thigh on her own. However on another occasion she was admitted to the hospital and the secret was discovered. She was given a honorary discharge. After this, Samson went on to various speaking tours dressed in her uniform; eventually she married and had children.

Interesting stuffs: Samson was, by no means the only woman to have pulled off such a trick. One estimate, calculated that there were as many as 300 women who had fought in the Revolutionary War dressed as a woman.

5. Charles D’eon (1728-1810)

Thomas Stewart – Chevalier d'Eon

D’Eon was a French diplomat and a spy, he was sent to Russia in the year 1756 to brighten up the relationship between the two countries. And the extent to which he went to achieve his obligation was remarkable. He got himself dresses as a woman and was the maid of honor to the Russian Empresses. From then, speculation started doing the round regarding D’Eon sexuality. Thing got so heated up that even bets were being placed in the London Stock Exchange. Upon D’Eon’s return, he revealed that he was actually a woman brought up as a man for ‘inheritance’ purpose and since then he was allowed by the French King to wear woman’s cloth. At any rate, after death, doctors revealed that D’Eon was, biologically a woman.

4. Marina The Monk

Marina The Monk

Marina was born in fifth century Lebanon. She took the name Marinos to join her father in a monastery and since then lived like a boy. However after her father’s death, she was accused of impregnating a woman who lived nearby the monastery. Instead of revealing herself, she silently bore her punishment of fostering the child. It was when Marina died at the age of 40, that she was finally discovered to be a woman. The girl who had once accused Marina for seduction admitted her lie.

Interesting stuffs: Marina wasn’t the only one of her kind; women seeking religious lives have entered often reclined to portraying themselves as men. Pope Joan was rumoured to have been a woman undercover.

3. Shi Pei-Pu (1938-2009)

Shi Pei-Pu

At 26 years of age Shi Pei-Pu was employed as a male opera singer and had an admirer named Bernard Boursicot. Boursicot who worked at the French Embassy in Beijing, convinced Shi that he was actually a woman trapped in a man’s body and they soon embarked on an affair that lasted for 20 years. Boursicot was later accused of giving out information’s and documents that served Shi’s position in the Communist party. In 1982, when Boursicot & Shi were arrested in Paris on accounts of spying, Shi’s identity was brought to light and Boursicot, afraid of the humiliation the revelation would bring, tried to kill Shi by slashing his throat. Shi, however survived.

2. Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904)

Isabelle Eberhardt

Isabelle was born in Switzerland but in 1897, her family moved to North Africa. While growing up in an Arab Islamic society she knew she’d have to do things differently to get to do what she wants. So she adopted the name Si Mahmoud Essadi and became an explorer. She had once served as a spy during the Algerian revolt against France. Later, disguised as a man, she enter into a Sufi sect called Qadiriyya and eventually initiated on the life of a ‘fakir’ or the ‘holy man’.

1. Joan Of Arch (1412-1431)

Joan of Arc on horseback

It was During the Hundred Years War that a young girl heard voices from above asking her to lead the army to victory. So she cut her hair and dressed like a man headed to fulfill her duty. Joan, managed to convince Charles VII, heir to the French throne and led the French army to success. Following which Charles became the king. When 19 years-old, Joan was arrested and subjected to trials for cross-dressing. She was burned at the stake. Later however, justice prevailed and on realizing the mistake that have been committed, Joan was honored as a saint by the Catholic Church and the saviour of France.

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