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LHMP #380m Vermeil 1765 Mémoire pour Anne Grandjean

Full citation: 

Vermeil. 1765. Mémoire pour Anne Grandjean. Louis Cellot, Paris.

Publication summary: 

The original text, translation, and commentary on the appeal record of Anne Grandjean against a charge of "profaning the sacrament of marriage" by marrying a woman.

The Judgment

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NOTA. Par Arrêt rendu en la Chambre de la Tournelle du Parlement de Paris, le 10 Janvier 1765, Monsieur le Procureur Général a été reçu appellant comme d'abus de la célébration du mariage d'Anne Grandjean, & ce mariage à été déclaré abusif; la Sentence de la Sénéchaussée de Lyon, sur l'accusation en profanation de Sacrement, a été infirmée, & l’Accusé a été mis hors de Cour; il lui a néanmoins été enjoint de prendre les habits de femme; avec défenses de hanter Françoise Lambert, & autres personnes du même sexe.

NOTE. By judgment rendered in the Chamber of the Tournelle of the Parliament of Paris, on January 10, 1765, Monsieur le Procureur Général was received as an appellant for abuse of the celebration of the marriage of Anne Grandjean, & this marriage was declared abusive; the Sentence of the Sénéchaussée of Lyon, on the accusation of profanation of the Sacrament, was overturned, & the Accused was put out of Court; he was nevertheless enjoined to take on the clothes of a woman; with prohibitions to frequent Françoise Lambert, & other persons of the same sex.

{HRJ: This is a mixed judgment. The appeals court accepted that Grandjean did not willfully profane the sacrament of marriage and overturned that verdict. Grandjean was free of prison and evidently not subject to further punishment. If I understand the legal system correctly, the appeal took place prior to the corporal punishment, so that was voided, not simply rendered a legal error. The court is not willing to sustain Grandjean’s categorization as male. The text says "he was enjoined totake on the clothes of a woman"  but we must allow for this being the lawyer's paraphrase, in which the lawyer continues to refer to Grandjean with male language. Several questions remain open. Was the physiological evidence a factor here? And, if so, in which direction. If we posit that Grandjean was intersex—was the physiological evidence insufficient in their minds for male status? Compare with the case of Thomas/ina Hall a century earlier in Virginia. The physical evidence for Hall’s being intersex is much more solid, and the various legal authorities were perplexed by what standard to apply for binary categorization—compounded by Hall embracing a non-binary identity. Alternately, did the court reject the lawyer's argument that Grandjean was intersex and supported the appeal purely on the basis that Grandjean sincerely believed they had been officially re-categorized as male? But while Grandjean was enjoined to return to a female social identity, there’s also the stipulation that they are not to continue associating with their wife, Françoise Lambert, or “other persons of the same sex.” And it’s this last that really throws a wrench into the works, both in terms of what the judges believed and in terms of Grandjean's future. Requiring a separation from Lambert might simply be enforcing the dissolution of the marriage. But what does it mean that Grandjean may not associate with others of the “same sex?” For a person living socially as a woman to be forbidden to associate with women is drastic. Even if Grandjean were then to marry a man, the vast majority of their everyday life would involve socializing with women. And Grandjean can’t live as a man-among-men if required to present socially as female. Further, the general prohibition (as opposed to the specific ban on associating with Lambert) strongly suggests that this court did recognize the potential for female same-sex desire, and that was the motivation for the prohibition. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t know what Grandjean’s fate was, but the court is setting them up for a very unhappy and unsuccessful life, despite the conviction being overturned. Some of these questions are explored imaginatively in the poem--written from Grandjean's point of view--appended to some editions of the legal text.}

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