Queer historian uncovers the transgender history of the American West

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2023 - 11:28am
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2023 - 7:32am

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Peter Boag, author of "Re-Dressing America
Peter Boag, University of California Press
Peter Boag, author of "Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past"

When you think of the wild west, you probably think of certain iconic characters: cowboys, saloon girls, gold rush prospectors, gunslingers.

But there were many stories that were left out of that narrative according to Peter Boag, a queer historian of the American West as well as a history professor at Washington State University.

In his book, “Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past”, he uncovers a history of the West in which cross-dressing for both men and women was pervasive; where people could redefine their gender and sexual identities.

Boag used old newspaper articles that could be found in papers like the Winslow Mail and Prescott’s Weekly Miner part of his research.

He joined The Show to talk more about it.

Prescott Weekly Miner from Oct. 18, 1905, story: Woman lives as a man for 35 years
Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records
A page of the Weekly Miner in Prescott on Oct. 18, 1905, featured a story titled, “Woman lives as a man for 35 years.”

Winslow Mail story from May 31, 1913: Noted criminal escapes officers at Flagstaff.
Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records
The front page of the Winslow Mail on May 31, 1913, featured a story titled, “Noted criminal escapes officers at Flagstaff.”

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