Female Husbands: A Trans History

Regular price $ 15.95

by Jen Manion

Cambridge University Press

10/06/2021, paperback

SKU: 9781108718271


Long before people identified as transgender or lesbian, there were female husbands and the women who loved them. Female husbands - people assigned female who transcended 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 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

"Female Husbands has been assembled from a wealth of firsthand historical research. The book includes a lengthy introduction, endnotes, an index, and a number of photos that illustrate everything from weddings to legal documents, all of which may be helpful to future researchers." -- Martha Miller, The Gay & Lesbian Review

About the Author:

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