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Yee-haw! Turns out the Wild West was super queer

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Historians throughout time have erased LGBTQ people from the history books, including from stories of the Wild West. But one historian has revealed that this era of settlers, cowboys, outlaws, and Native Americans also contained “hundreds” of people who lived as the opposite gender.Peter Boag, author of Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past, said he discovered “hundreds of individuals living their lives as the opposite gender” from the early 1800s to the early 1900s.Boag said that many of these people were individuals who were assigned a female gender at birth, but dressed and lived as men in order to either escape criminal charges they had gotten as women or to have the same social rights as men.At the time, women were treated like the property of their husbands or birth families.

Women were forbidden from working and voting, they were subject to exploitation and sexual violence, and they weren’t allowed to own property or their own businesses.So, to avoid this mistreatment and abuse, some dressed and presented themselves as men.

However, Boag recently told Q Voice News that not all of these people were transgender. While some personally identified as the gender they were assigned at birth, others identified as the gender they presented to the world.Some of these individuals’ gender identities were only discovered after their deaths, Atlas Obscura noted.

Take Sammy Williams, for instance. He presented as a male lumberjack in his home state of Montana. After dying at age 80, people discovered his trans identity.“My theory is that people who were transgender in the East could read these stories that gave a kind of validation to their lives,” Boag told the aforementioned website.

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