100 years ago today: trans arrest

The Seattle Star reported that Professor Eugene de Forest was “confronted with the charge of masquerading as a man.

(de Forest:) “Before God, I have never harmed or done wrong to a living being. Born with a handicap of a strange personality, which makes me wish to appear as a man, I have done my very best with the life God has given me. All I ask is to have the right to earn an honorable livelihood, and to live in peace without hurt to any one.” (quoted verbatim)


The newspaper’s long-winded attribution of this quote hits all of the usual buttons.

(Newspaper:) Tragic in her earnestness, pathetic in her disavowal of wrongdoing toward any human, and with a childlike faith in those friends who are standing staunchly by her in her present remarkable predicament, Prof. “Eugene de Forest,” noted dramatic teacher and Idealist, frankly confessing to being a woman, physically, but a man In many natural tendencies.

She is being detained now under the supervision of City Mother Althea Gilbert, who first gained the confession of the strange situation, until relatives arrive from the East. At that time it is expected a mental examination will be ordered. (quoted verbatim)

It’s interesting to me how all the usual cliches of reporting were apparent even then.