Evelyn “Jackie” Bross and Catherine Barscz at the Racine Ave police station, 1943, Chicago.
From the Chicago History Museum:
Evelyn “Jackie” Bross (left) and Catherine Barscz (right) at the Racine Avenue Police Station, Chicago, June 5, 1943
In 1943 Evelyn “Jackie” Bross of Cherokee heritage, was arrested on her way home from work for violating Chicago’s cross-dressing and public indecency ordinance. Bross, who was 19 at the time, and a machinist at a WWII defense plant, wore men’s clothes and sported a man’s hair cut – that was more than enough for the Chicago police. Chicago possessed an ordinance outlawing cross-dressing as early as 1851.
For the bulk of the city’s history cross-dressing was a type of indecent exposure. The ordinance decrees that “If any person shall appear in a public place…in a dress not belonging to his or her sex…. He or she shall be subject to a fine of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars for each offense”.
When Bross appeared in court, Chicago was captivated by the story. In court, Bross reportedly informed the judge that she chose to wear men’s clothing because it was “more comfortable than women’s clothes and handy for work.” She openly declared, “I wish I was a boy. I never did anything wrong. I just like to wear men’s clothes… [but] everyone knows I’m a woman.”
In the end, Bross was ordered to see a court psychiatrist for six months and Chicago’s cross-dressing code was revised. As of 1943, the code allowed for individuals to wear clothing of the opposite sex, provided it was not worn “with the intent to conceal his or her sex.” Arrests continued in spite of the alteration and the Chicago code regarding cross-dressing would not be eliminated until 1978.
these are the pieces of history i’m talking about when cis gays and lesbians act like they have been so persecuted for the sexualities, and they were, but that law wasn’t about you, its never been about you and you didn’t take the brunt of the violence for it so stop. maybe trans wasn’t a word or phrase used back then but that doesn’t mean we didn’t exist. srsly quit high jacking our movements and histories to boost causes that don’t benefit us at all.
also it bothers me that white afab gender non-conforming people are shown in this when we are the ones who did not (still don’t) even take the brunt of this violence but amab gender non-conforming people and gender non-conforming people of color. some bullshit.
^This commentary. Bolded for TRUTH.
Way to assume the entire queer/questioning community is against you. I’m honestly offended that you would segregate the Queer rights movement into ‘us vs. them’. AS IF ALL OF US DIDNT HAVE ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH. I’m sick of minority groups subdividing themselves off into unnecessary and hostile groups when we should be working together. I am a queer cisgendered woman, and I will fight for the rights of every gay, lesbian, transgender, pansexual, asexual, and HUMAN BEING, BEFORE ALL THINGS.
I know that some people in the glbt community are prejudiced, but it would be fantastic if we could all stop assuming everyone is against us as individuals.
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