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Female Husbands: A Trans History – online talk

August 5, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Cambridge University Press is hosting an online talk from Dr Jen Manion, author of Female Husbands: A Trans History (2020), on Wednesday 5th August, 7-8pm. Jen will be discussing their book and taking questions submitted by the audience. This is part of an online history festival organised by the Press running throughout August. You can register for free for Jen’s talk here: If you register but can’t make the event, a recording will be sent to you afterwards.


Book description:

Long before people identified as transgender or lesbian, there were female husbands and the women who loved them. Female husbands – people assigned female who transed gender, lived as men, and married women – were true queer pioneers. Moving deftly from the colonial era to just before the First World War, Jen Manion uncovers the riveting and very personal stories of ordinary people who lived as men despite tremendous risk, danger, violence, and threat of punishment. Female Husbands weaves the story of their lives in relation to broader social, economic, and political developments in the United States and the United Kingdom, while also exploring how attitudes towards female husbands shifted in relation to transformations in gender politics and women’s rights, ultimately leading to the demise of the category of ‘female husband’ in the early twentieth century. Groundbreaking and influential, Female Husbands offers a dynamic, varied, and complex history of the LGBTQ past.


Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Amherst College, Massachusetts, the author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (2015), and a lifelong LGBTQ rights advocate.


Female Husbands combines intellectual rigor and impeccable historical research with sensitivity and even imagination to illuminate this fascinatingly varied cohort of gender rebels.’ Emma Donoghue, author of Room and Akin


‘Jen Manion offers a spectacular historical survey of people assigned female at birth who went on to live as men and marry women. In doing so, they demonstrate that contemporary attention to trans issues is just the tip of a vast, submerged legacy of gender variance, traversing both sides of the English-speaking transatlantic world, that stretches back hundreds of years.’ Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History and The Transgender Studies Reader


‘A masterclass in historical rigor, empathy, and craft.’ Catherine Baker, History Today


For the full programme of the virtual history festival (24 events throughout August), see:


August 5, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Cambridge University Press
+44 (0) 1223 358 331