Jennie June

Jennie June (1874-1921)

Born as Earl Lind, June changed her name at a young age and insisted on using feminine pronouns for the rest of her life. Similar to Publick Universal Friend, Jennie June identified as neither male nor female, but rather as a third sex. In her lifetime she published two books, Autobiography of an Androgyne and The Female Impersonators, and was at work on a third before she died. Her works were early examples of transgender activism and tell stories of her search for sanctuary in early twentieth century New York.

While reading this selection from Autobiography of an Androgyne, compare how June intertwines definitions of sex, gender, and sexuality and how it relates to a contemporary definition of queer. Also, after rejecting her masculine birth name, why would she chose to use a masculine pen name while publishing her work? How does this demonstrate public opinion of transgender women?

Excerpts from: Autobiography of an Androgyne