In this book I have employed a new critical approach termed “trans- ing
analysis” to assemble a wide range of cross- dressing practices that are rarely
considered alongside one other, thereby facilitating a series of juxtapositions
that expose the workings of cross- dressing laws. Viewing the cross- dressing
slumming tourist who avoided prosecution alongside the freak- show star
who received jail time or situating the celebrated vaudev ille performer
alongside the institutionalized asylum patient makes clear that not all cross-
dressing practices faced the same legal fate. Instead cross- dressing laws oper-
ated by sift ing through multiple clothing practices to mark some as harmless
or entertaining and condemn others as criminal or insane. Reaching beyond
its surface concern with the types of clothing that “belonged” to a par tic u-
lar sex, cross- dressing laws primarily dictated the types of people who “be-
longed” in public city space and the types of bodies that “belonged” in the
categories of man and woman. San Francisco’s cross- dressing law did not
simply police normative gender but actively produced it.
Local law is a distinct terrain in these productions. In par tic u lar, local law
had the power to defi ne cross- dressing practices as criminal and the ability to
write these defi nitions onto city space. By regulating access to public space,
cross- dressing laws pushed visible gender diff erence into private realms and
Against the Law
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