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Broadside report regarding a woman who masqueraded as a man, c. 1820


This report begins: 'A particular account of John Thomson, a journeyman plasterer, who has been working in one of the New Buildings in Lord Moray's Park . . . and who was discovered by a strange accident, to be Female, on Tuesday last'. There are no publication details on the sheet.

John Thomson's real name was Helen Oliver, and she had apparently begun her transformation into a man whilst serving as a maid in East Kilbride. Apparently a 'particular intimacy took place between her and a person in a neighbouring house, who officiated as a ploughman'. It turned out that this 'ploughman' was also female and introduced her to the idea of changing sex, at least outwardly.

The report goes on to explain that John Thomson had been known by other names, and had been 'discovered' in Glasgow a few months previous. Her true sex was revealed when she fell from a ladder and a workmate was brushing lime from her chest. It is interesting to note that the tone of the piece is not condemnatory although 'John' is expected to move on to Haddington and work under another name.

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Probable date published: 1820   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(069)
Broadside report regarding a woman who masqueraded as a man, c. 1820
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