Feb 03

Arrested for cross-dressing!

This article by Martha De Lacey appeared on USA-UK Online recently and includes an extract from the book.

Meet Fanny and Stella, the Victorian gentlemen who shocked Britain and were prosecuted for the ‘unnatural offence’ of being transvestites

  • Frederick Park, 22, and Ernest Boulton, 21, arrested in 1870
  • Were leaving Strand Theatre in London on 28 April
  • Charged with homosexuality and ‘conspiracy’
  • They were acquitted after the prosecution built a very weak case

It’s a story that would scandalise Britain today: two young gentlemen prosecuted simply for being gay and enjoying dressing as women.

And the tale of Fanny and Stella, the middle-class transvestites arrested as they left London’s Strand Theatre on the night of 28 April 1870 dressed as elegant women, shocked Victorian England too.

The men – real names Frederick Park (Fanny), 22, and Ernest Boulton (Stella), 21 – were charged with both having sex with each other (homosexuality was a criminal offence until 1967) and also with several counts of conspiracy after it emerged police had had their ‘dressing-up flat’ under surveillance for a year – and that the home secretary himself was encouraging the attorney general to prosecute.

Read more at: www.usaukonline.com