In yesterdays post I stated that females were scarce in the military during the American civil war but I should have said ''out'' women were scarce in the military during the civil war. Gays were not the only ones in the closet in the 19th century. Women were passing as men everywhere you turned, and the military was no exception. How did I miss this in my high school history class? Oh wait, I know how, because they forgot to teach it! I feel gypped!
Anyhow, there are no records on how many females fought, dresses as men, in the American civil war but I think it's safe to assume there were thousands. They fought for the North and the South and they fought just as bravely and valiantly as they're male counterparts, maybe even more so. It is ridiculous to say that they were all Lesbian, Bi and/or Transgendered but it is equally ridiculous to say that many, were not. They're reasons for dressing like men and joining the fight, aside from the fact that only males could enlist, were as diverse as they're sexual orientations and gender identities. One reason is obvious in that women can be as patriotic as men. Some had been living and passing as men before the war broke out, so joining the fight was only the next logical and/or expected step to take. Some may have been bored and wanted some action, excitement and adventure. The one thing most of them did have in common was that they came from poor rural or urban backgrounds which ended up being a plus because it gave them the thick skin they needed to survive in a war torn, male environment. If they drank, smoked, chewed tobacco, swore and could endure sexist and misogynistic remarks that was a plus, too.
As I write this post I'm reflecting on what this would have been like for them. Not only were they fighting in a war, which would be hell on it's own, but they had to pass as men on top of that! I have more to say on this topic tomorrow. I find it fascinating!