Thursday 4 February 2010

The LGBT History Series (4) - Fanny and Stella

I thought we'd cast a bit further afield for this post and head for Victorian London's West End. Of an evening at the Strand Theatre, we might chance upon a pair of young women with moustaches. Ernest Boulton and Frederic William Park, or Fanny and Stella as they preferred in the evenings were two of London's most celebrated/notorious cross-dressers in 1870.

The pair were arrested in April 1870 for intent to commit felony. In the courtroom, Boulton wore a wig, bracelets, make-up and a cherry-coloured silk evening dress trimmed with white lace. Park wore white gloves, a dark green satin dress, low necked and trimmed with black lace, and a shawl, his hair was 'flaxen and in curls.' They were let off because no actual crime had been committed, though they appeared before the dock twice more in May 1870, both times in full evening regalia again.
Boulton and Park managed to get away with all manner of 'larks' in this brief stint, including enticing men to pick them up as prostitutes before embarassing them by pointing out they were actually men.