Migrants, Miscreants and Model Citizens: Female-Bodied Men and Immigration Politics, 1901-18
This paper will discuss the case histories of three female-bodied men and their engagement with U.S. immigration policies in the first years of the twentieth century. These years witnessed rising anxiety over immigration into the United States, and often immigrants were portrayed in the national press as dangerous because of their potential sexual or gender deviance. Thus, when individuals who clearly defied normative gender expectations (such as biological women who dressed and lived as men) sought entry into the United States, it provoked great concern. This paper will discuss three such cases, and follow the ways in which the stories were discussed in the national press, as well as responded to by immigration authorities. The stories of Charles Hull, Michael Minch, and Frank Woodhull provide a fascinating window into the ways in which immigration authorities utilized the nascent discourse on homosexuality as a way to regulate admission into the United States, while simultaneously highlighting the ways in which female-bodied men were able to manipulate gender expectations in order to ultimately gain entry into the United States.
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