Queering the Gender Binary

Birds sang, turf came to the water-edge, and trees grew from it. Away off among the trees I saw beautiful women walking. Their clothes were of many delicate colours and clung to them, and they were tall and graceful and had yellow hair. Their robes trailed over the grass. They glided in and out among the trees, and over their heads hung yellow fruit like large pears of melted gold.

I said, “It is very fair; I would go up and taste the—”

God said, “Wait.”

“Our standards are all changing,” said Miss Du Prel. “It does not follow that they are changing for the worse.”

“It seems to me that they are not so much changing, as disappearing altogether,” said Temperley cheerfully, “especially among women. We hear a great deal about rights, but we hear nothing about duties.”

“We are perhaps, a little tired of hearing about duties,” said Miss Du Prel.

“You admit then what I say,” he returned placidly. “Every woman wants to be Mary, and no one will be Martha.”

“I make just the opposite complaint,” cried Miss Du Prel.

Four broad beech-trees great of hold,

Crowned the green, smooth-swelling knoll;

There She stood, the glorious form

Dazzling with its beauty warm;

Naked as the sun of noon,

Naked as the midnight moon:

And around her, tame and mild,

All the forest creatures wild—

Lion, panther, kid, and fawn,

Eagle, hawk, and dove, all drawn

By the magic of her splendor,

By her great voice, rich and tender,

Whereof every beast and bird

Understood each tone and word,

While she fondled and carest,

     Like a rose shut in a book 

In which pure women may not look, 

For its base pages claim control 

To crush the flower within the soul; 

Where through each dead rose-leaf that clings, 

Pale as transparent psyche-wings, 

To the vile text, are traced such things 

As might make lady’s cheek indeed 

More than a living rose to read; 

So nought save foolish foulness may 

Watch with hard eyes the sure decay; 

And so the life-blood of this rose, 

Puddled with shameful knowledge, flows 

Westphal, an eminent professor of psychiatry at Berlin, may be said to have been the first to put the study of sexual inversion on an assured scientific basis.  In 1870 he published in the Archiv für Psychiatrie, of which he was for many years editor, the detailed history of a young woman who, from her earliest years, was sexually inverted.

     "I tell you I must go!" I retorted, roused to something like passion. "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you, — and full as much heart!

THE VOICE OF SALOME: Ah! I have kissed thy mouth, Iokannan, I 

have kissed thy mouth. There was a bitter taste on thy lips. Was

it the taste of blood? . . . Nay; but perchance it was the taste of

love. . . . They say love hath a bitter taste. . . . But what

matter? what matter? I have kissed thy mouth, Iokannan, I have 

kissed thy mouth.

As an erotic stimulant, more particularly, it may be observed that, considering the many intimate and sympathetic relations existing between the nervous branches of the extremity of the spinal marrow, it is impossible to doubt that flagellation exercised upon the buttocks and the adjacent parts, has a powerful effect upon the organs of generation…The case of John Jacques Rousseau is well known.

THOU large-brained woman and large-hearted man,
Self-called George Sand ! whose soul, amid the lions
Of thy tumultuous senses, moans defiance
And answers roar for roar, as spirits can :
I would some mild miraculous thunder ran
Above the applauded circus, in appliance
Of thine own nobler nature's strength and science,—
Drawing two pinions, white as wings of swan,
From thy strong shoulders, to amaze the place
With holier light ! That thou to woman's claim,
And man's, might join beside the angel's grace

O LOVE ! what shall be said of thee ?
The son of grief begot by joy ?
Being sightless, wilt thou see ?
Being sexless, wilt thou be
Maiden or boy ?

I dreamed of strange lips yesterday
And cheeks wherein the ambiguous blood
Was like a rose's—yea,
A rose's when it lay
Within the bud.

What fields have bred thee, or what groves
Concealed thee, O mysterious flower,
O double rose of Love's,
With leaves that lure the doves
From bud to bower ?