Inval in de Temperance Hall (1880)


In 1880 deed de politie van Manchester een inval in de in de Temperance Hall waar een dragbal werd gehouden waar mannen als vrouw gekleed waren.

On September 24, 1880, the chief constable of Manchester received an anonymous information about an event "of an immoral character" that was about to take place in the Temperance Hall of Hulme. The detective Jerome Caminada introduced two policemen dressed as women amongst those that had been gathering in the ball room after 9 p.m. Of the 47 men that congregated, all dressed in the most wild dresses, 22 as women; a pair was dressed as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and another as Romeo and Juliet. Detective Caminada observed the ball from a neighboring roof, all young men between 20 and 30 years old, that had begun dancing about 10 p.m.; every now and then, a couple disappeared into a side room. About 1 a.m., after detective Caminada thought enough crimes had been committed, he gained entry shouting the password "sister" in an effeminate manner. After the door was opened, the police raided the building, and detained all participants. The trial showed that the dancers were not from Manchester, they were regulars of similar balls that were organized in several cities, as Leeds, or Nottingham. The judge, thinking about the possible scandal for the city, let them go free.

Dr. Matt Houlbrook, of the University of Liverpool, affirms that in the 1920s and 30s, cross dressing balls were being held secretly almost every weekend, gathering 50 to 100 men. And this, in spite of it being illegal, and being a big personal risk for those participating: they didn't just risk prison, if found out, they could loose their livelihood, be isolated socially, and finally suffer a nervous breakdown, or try suicide. In 1933 headlines informed about "Lady Austin's Camp Boys" scandal. The affair begun when 60 men were detained in a private ball room, in Holland Park Avenue, in London, after cross dressing police officers had been watching them dancing, made up, dressed as women, and having sex. Twenty seven men were arrested, and convicted between 3 and 20 months of jail. Even so, many stood up for their behavior, notoriously Lady Austin, who said "There is nothing wrong [in who we are]. You call us nancies and bum boys but before long our cult will be allowed in the country."

Long Lost Histories: The Drag Ball, Temperance Hall, Hulme

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