(For part 9, click here.)
Transgender rights are the frontier of human rights debates in Western countries at the moment. To many, gender fluidity in the West might seem a very modern idea. So it may come as a shock to some to learn of the not insignificant presence of transvestites and other gender-unspecific individuals throughout European history.
One particular noteworthy individual was John Ryken (also known as Eleanor), who was famously interrogated b y officials in the 14th century for being a “cross-dressing” male prostitute. Here is an image of the famous text describing Ryken’s questioning:
The document is notable, according to Wikipedia, as the only surviving official record from that period that mentioned same-sex intercourse. The entry also states that:
During his interrogation, Rykener claimed to have had many clients including priests, monks and nuns; he said that he preferred priests because they paid better than others.
You can read the full text of Rykener’s interrogation here.
I haven’t updated this series in a while. For parts 7 and 8, please click here.
Most of us have a romantic image of private duels conducted in the age of swordplay. We usually imagine snotty European noblemen, possibly a little drunk, and definitely a little pompous, squaring off in the woods to battle to the “first blood” or, less commonly, to the death. Continue reading Obscure Historical Figure of the Day #9: the Emancipated Duelist
For part 128, click here.