Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2018 Alexander Jin. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Robert Weinberg


This paper explores cross-dressing in the San Francisco Bay Area at the turn-of-the- twentieth-century (c.1890-1910) and narrates the extraordinary lives of Edward James Livernash and Milton Matson, two individuals who were arrested on cross-dressing related charges in 1891 and 1895/1903 respectively. I attempt to show how the criminalization of cross-dressing was closely intertwined with the rise of modern sexuality, arguing that anti-cross-dressing laws operationalized the policing of bodies, the creation and maintenance of (fictionalized) fixed identities vis-à-vis binaries, and the reassertion of male power. I further argue that these shifts in how the state defined and regulated bodies demonstrates one of the ways in which modern sexuality emerged unevenly along the axes of gender, race, and class.


Recipient of the Robert S. DuPlessis Prize, awarded in 2019.

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