Summer of Ugh: Colonial Williamsburg to reenact ‘LGBT history in the 13 Colonies’

Summer of Ugh: Colonial Williamsburg to reenact ‘LGBT history in the 13 Colonies’
Image via Colonial Williamsburg (Holter, Emily / HANDOUT)

[Ed. – Colonial Williamsburg has a Gender and Sexuality Diversity Committee? How something or other of them!]

While reading through 18th-century historical records, Colonial Williamsburg’s Gender and Sexuality Diversity Committee researcher Ren Tolson discovered something telling buried within the hundreds of pages of land requisitions and court filings.

It was a pair of marriage license requests. The document told of an affluent landowning Virginian woman. On her first attempt, she filed a marriage license to be wed to a woman who worked at her post office. It was denied, citing marriages were solely between a man and a woman.

The following day, Tolson said the woman returned, dressed in traditionally male clothing and sporting a short haircut. Her request was approved, granting her the right to marry a woman.

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For Tolson, it is a glimpse into how Americans viewed gender and sexuality in the 17th and 18th centuries. And, Tolson said, through the research conducted at Colonial Williamsburg, they are piecing together a more complete history of LGBTQ people in colonial times.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

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