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This article only scratches the surface of the peculiar fascination that emerged in the Renaissance around physiological ambiguity and gender identity. If one picks through the dubious concepts of anatomy and the strong binarist and heteronormative positions of both medicine and the law, there are some interesting developments in attitudes toward subjective gender identity.

This description of a group of flamboyantly-dressed women "crashing" a medieval tournament and setting tongues wagging can't help but send my imagination racing. Think of what a great opening for a movie it would make! It's the sort of image that feels anachronistically modern...except that it was recorded as an actual event in a historical chronicle. And though there may have been some interpretation and exaggeration in the telling, there's no reason to doubt that the essential facts are true. Who were these women? Why did they show up at the tournament in masculine dress?

The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 15d - Female Knights in Shining Armor - Transcript

(Originally aired 2017/10/28 - listen here)

One of the peculiarities of the podcast is that although the episodes go live on Saturday...that's "Saturday" in South Africa where our fearless leader Sheena lives. Usually it makes for this awkward moment of "do I post the blog the day before?" but since I'm going to be out of the house all day tomorrow, it's a plus this time.

The Lesbian Historic Motif Project - Episode 15a - On the Shelf

(Originally aired 2017/10/07)

Welcome to On the Shelf for October 2017.

When I recorded last month’s On the Shelf, the new expanded format hadn’t actually gone live yet. So I’m still working with the format and getting a sense of what listeners would like to hear.

I included this article despite being only tenuously related to the Project's focus because it forms an interesting contrast and counterpoint to cases of women cross-dressing and passing as men. Of particular interest are the differences in economic opportunities and in what aspects of the case were of concern to the courts. More generally, it provides insight into the differences between modern and medieval approaches to gender and sexuality.

The October "On the Shelf" episode is up at the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. In addition to listing the books covered by the blog in the past and forthcoming month, and anouncing this month's author guest (Caren Werlinger), there's an Ask Sappho segment about how rulers with lesbian relationships were viewed in history. The transcript for this episode will go up tomorrow.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 14e - The Highwaywoman Special

(Originally aired 2017/09/30)

[First two verses of “The Highwayman” by Alfred J. Noyes, music by Phil Ochs, pronouns adjusted]

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 14a - On the Shelf

(Originally aired 2017/09/02)

Welcome to On the Shelf for September 2017.

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