Robert Coulthard aka Jennie Gray (born 1887) was arrested a number of times while wearing women's clothing. They seem to have lived as a woman for a number of years. They were charged with 'loitering to commit a felony'. A newspaper report with the headline 'Lived as a Woman' said that Coulthard had 'masqueraded in female attire practically from his youth'.
Coulthard was arrested for loitering with intent to commit an offence, however, his only crime seemed to be wearing women’s attire. When he appeared in a mug shot and the dock, he was described as being ‘stylishly dressed as a woman’. Furthermore, The Liverpool Echo reported that Coulthard was arrested for ‘having led an immoral life’ and that he wore ‘clever make-up [which] caused both the officers to believe that he was a woman’. This reflects Oram’s assertions about early reporting on gender variance as the articles which can be found about Coulthard describe his appearance using unnecessary adjectives. These further exaggerate what will already be a peculiar story and add to the novelty value of Coulthard; he may be male, however his make-up is clever and his attire stylish.
Taking into account the discussion so far on the socio-medical development of gender variant identities, it is understandable that Coulthard’s gender identity would not have been explicitly referred to in the press at the time. However, Rees, a North East based historian and archivist, ascertains that it is likely Coulthard was gender variant to some degree, as further evidence of his life suggests he continued to live as a woman. Additionally, Coulthard had also admitted to wearing women’s clothing from childhood. Archival information on Coulthard’s life is limited as he only appears in articles pertaining to criminal proceedings, so it was difficult for Rees to track his life further. However, this is by no means the only example of gender variance in early news reporting.
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