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One of the contradictory features of reasoning about same-sex relationships in the past is the circular logic that same-sex romantic relationships could not have been socially approved, therefore evidence showing social approval for conjunctions of two people of the same sex must not represent romantic relationships.

I've been playing around with ideas for how to use the occasional "fifth week" in the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast schedule, and the idea that keeps coming back to me with the tenacity of an affectionate cat at feeding time is to publish audio short stories that fit the theme of the Project. I bounced the idea off a few people and other than the occasional reaction of, "You know...this means you have to read a slushpile," no one tried to dissuade me.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 16a - On the Shelf for November 2017 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2017/11/04 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for November 2017.

One of the fascinating and frustrating things about the genre of "transvestite saints," i.e., women (mostly in the early Christian era) who disguised themselves as men in order to participate in monastic devotion, is how thoroughly the stories center and elevate masculinity. One of the repeated motifs is that these gender-disguised women are approved because of the Biblical injunction to "become a man for Christ". That is, they became a more perfect type of Christian by "becoming male".

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.


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