GETTING CURIOUS | Who Were History’s “Female Husbands”? with Professor Jen Manion


What was it like to trans gender if you were living in 18th or 19th century England or America? This week, Professor Jen Manion joins Jonathan to explore the world of “female husbands,” people who were raised as girls but lived as men. Listen in to learn about these resilient individuals’ lives; how they were treated by their partners and the press; and how they paved the way for queer and trans communities today. 

Jen Manion is a writer, historian, and advocate whose work examines the role of gender and sexuality in American life. Jen was the first in their family to graduate from college and is now a Professor at Amherst College. 

You can follow Professor Manion on Twitter @activisthistory, on Instagram @manionjen, and at And make sure to grab a copy of Female Husbands, published by Cambridge University Press.

Want to learn more? Here are some resources referenced in the episode:

Digital Transgender Archive

Library of Congress Digital Archives

Some additions to your watch (and reading!) lists:

Gentleman Jack

Albert Nobbs

And more resources Professor Manion recommends:

Transgender Children in Antebellum America (

Histories of Sexuality and the Carceral State (NOTCHES)

The Performance of Transgender Inclusion (Public Seminar)

Don’t Pop the Champagne Yet on “They” (Public Seminar)

Why Do You Call Us Ladies? (Public Seminar)

Join the conversation, and find out what former guests are up to, by following us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN. 

Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.

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