This essay presents a revised version of an illustrated lecture that Berube first presented in San Francisco in June 1979. Inspired by the section in Jonathan Ned Katz's Gay American History titled “Passing Women”—which revealed a long tradition of women who dressed, lived, and worked as men; Berube searched through San Francisco newspapers for local evidence of the phenomenon. He places his stories in the context of the newly emerging field of U.S. women's history and sets them as well in the local setting of San Francisco. Although very much constructed as a discovery of hidden lesbian lives, the showings of “Lesbian Masquerade” also inspired some of the first explorations of transgender history. The essay was originally published in Gay Community News, a Boston-based politically progressive newspaper with a national circulation. Like much of the community press in the post-Stonewall era, Gay Community News not only reported news but served as an outlet for early writing in gay and lesbian history.
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