List of wartime cross-dressers

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Hannah Snell (1723–1792) was a British woman who disguised herself as a man and became a soldier

Many people have engaged in cross-dressing during wartime under various circumstances and for various motives. This has been especially true of women, whether while serving as a soldier in otherwise all-male armies, while protecting themselves or disguising their identity in dangerous circumstances, or for other purposes. Conversely, men would dress as women to avoid being drafted, the mythological precedent for this being Achilles hiding at the court of Lycomedes dressed as a girl to avoid participation in the Trojan War.

Historical[edit]

Antiquity[edit]

  • Epipole of Carystus was a Greek woman described by Chennos as having joined the Greek army during the Trojan War.
  • Achilles was a Greek hero in the Trojan War. After hearing from an Oracle that her son would die in battle, his mother, Thetis, hid him in woman's clothing to prevent him from being taken to war.

Early Middle Ages[edit]

  • Hua Mulan was, according to a famous Chinese poem, a woman who joined the Chinese army in her father's stead.

Fourteenth century[edit]

  • Jeanne de Clisson (1300–1359), nicknamed the "Lioness of Brittany", was a privateer who plied the English Channel sinking French ships from 1343 to 1356.[1]
  • Joanna of Flanders (c. 1295–1374) led the Montfortist faction in Brittany in the 1340s after the capture of her husband left her as the titular head of the family. She wore male dress at engagements such as the siege of Hennebont.

Fifteenth century[edit]

Joan of Arc enters Orléans (painting by J.J. Sherer, 1887)
  • Onorata Rodiani (1403–1452) was an Italian mercenary who served as a cavalry soldier, disguised in male clothing and with a male name, under a condottieri (freelance commander) named Oldrado Lampugnano beginning in 1423.
  • Jacqueline of Wittelsbach, Countess of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland (1401–1436) led the Hoek faction (the aristocratic faction) in Holland. Jacqueline and one of her servants disguised themselves as soldiers to escape confinement in Ghent.[2]
  • Joan of Arc (1412–1431) is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in what is now eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War. After being captured by her enemies, she was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old.

Sixteenth century[edit]

  • Brita Olofsdotter, widow of soldier Nils Simonsson, served in the Finnish unit in the Swedish cavalry in Livonia. She was killed in battle, and King John III of Sweden ordered her salary to be paid to her family.

Seventeenth century[edit]

  • Catalina de Erauso (1592–1650), the Nun Lieutenant, was a semilegendary Spanish adventurer.

Eighteenth century[edit]

Nineteenth century[edit]

Twentieth century[edit]

  • Wanda Gertz (1896–1958) joined the Polish Legion in World War I to fight on the Eastern Front while posing as "Kazimierz Zuchowicz". Later she joined the Women's Voluntary Legion, and during World War II she commanded an all-woman sabotage unit of the Home Army.
  • Dorothy Lawrence (1896–1964) was a British reporter who served as a man in the army during World War I.
  • Zoya Smirnow (1897/98-after 1916) was a Russian schoolgirl who along with 11 other friends ran away from their Moscow school and disguised themselves as men and joined the Russian army where they fought in Galicia and the Carpathians during World War I. After a death and number of injuries in the group, Smirnow's sex was discovered. She recounted their story to the English press.[6][7][8]
  • Frieda Belinfante (1904–1995) was a prominent musician and World War II Dutch Resistance fighter who disguised herself as a man for 6 months to avoid capture by the Gestapo.
  • Henk Jonker (1912-2002) was a member of the Dutch resistance who disguised himself as a women.[9]
  • Ehud Barak (b. 1942), the later prime minister of Israel, disguised himself as a woman to assassinate members of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Beirut during the 1973 covert mission Operation Spring of Youth.[10]

Twenty-first century[edit]

As a major plot device in fiction[edit]

  • In J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, Éowyn, the White Lady of Rohan, pretends to be a man and slips off to combat the forces of Mordor.
  • In All the Queen's Men, a 2001 comedy set during WWII, cross-dressing is a central plot device.
  • Terry Pratchett's novel Monstrous Regiment is a satirical look at the phenomenon.
  • I was a Male War Bride is a comedy where the male French officer, played by Cary Grant, must dress like a woman to return as a war bride of his American military wife.
  • One of the running gags of the TV series M*A*S*H is Klinger's attempts to get discharge from military service by crossdressing.
  • In the Disney film Mulan, which is based on the story of Hua Mulan, Mulan dresses as a male to save her father from being drafted.
  • In Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness quartet of books, Alanna of Trebond disguises herself as a boy to train to become a royal knight, a position only given to noble-born boys.
  • Genesis Climber Mospeada was perhaps the first anime series to feature a regular crossdresser,Yellow Belmont, amongst the main protagonists.
  • H. E. Bates's novel The Triple Echo is about a World War II army deserter who cross-dresses to avoid arrest. This was made into a film in 1972.
  • Mary "Jacky" Faber does this as the titular heroine of the Bloody Jack series of novels, fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, a steampunk novel in which Deryn "Dylan" Sharp disguises herself so she can join the Royal Air Service.
  • In Shakespeare's As You Like It, the lead character Rosalind during part of the play disguises herself as a man named Ganymede. Since all players in Shakespeare's time were male, this meant that a man played a woman disguised as a man. Though the setting of the play is not military, Ganymede's disguise is warrior-like: "A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh, a boar-spear in my hand; and -- in my heart lie there what hidden woman's fear there will -- we'll have a swashing and a martial outside."
  • In the manga and subsequent television series The Rose of Versailles, Lady Oscar François de Jarjayes acts as the head of the Versailles royal guards and the personal bodyguard of Princess, later Queen, Marie Antoinette during the years leading up to the French Revolution. What is unique about her cross-dressing is that, while Oscar wears men's clothing full-time and conducts herself as a man, she is open about being female.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ BBC H2G2 Article
  2. ^ Vaughan, Richard. Philip the Good. pp. 34–49. 
  3. ^ "Charles Edward Stewart: The Young Pretender". The Scotsman. UK. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hispanics in the Military". Valerosos.com. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  5. ^ "The Hispanic Experience - Contributions to America's Defense". Houstonculture.org. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  6. ^ Hirschfeld, Magnus (1930). The Sexual History Of The World War (revised edition 1946). Cadillac Publishing. Page 100.
  7. ^ Jones, David E. (2000). Women Warriors: A History. Washington D.C.: Brassey's. p. 134 ISBN 1-57488-206-6
  8. ^ Salmonson, Jessica Amanda (1991). The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. Page 236. ISBN 1-55778-420-5
  9. ^ Liepman, Ruth (1997). Maybe Luck Isn't Just Chance. Northwestern UP. p. 66. ISBN 9780810112957. 
  10. ^ "Profile: A trusted leader". news.bbc.co.uk. January 27, 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  11. ^ "Red Mosque cleric Abdul Aziz captured wearing burka". The Long War Journal. May 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-13.