Draft Dodger, Soldier’s Wife: Trans Feminine Lives, Civic Duty, and World War II

  • Juniper Oxford


This article examines trans feminine lived experiences in the United States during the Second World War amid persecution amplified by the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, the May Act of 1941, and heightened visibility through local and national news publications. This article contends that there is a longer and more complicated linked history between trans feminine Americans and the U.S. military than has been acknowledged by both scholarship and public discourse. Federal statutes like the STSA and the May Act lent authority to the state and its auxiliaries beyond the singular municipal or county jurisdiction. These factors aided the legal persecution of innumerable Americans with perjury, draft evasion, ‘moral’, and fraud charges. Through case studies of the disparate circumstances surrounding the ‘discovery of sex’ of three individuals, Sadie Acosta, Lucy Hicks Anderson, and Georgia Black, this study illuminates the role of various actors involved in investigating and policing their ‘moral’ crimes and gender variance in the 1940s and 1950s. In the post-war years, the figure of the ‘ex-G.I.’ woman is seen through numerous well-publicized cases in the U.S. and the U.K., showing that trans feminine experiences of World War II could be found both at home and abroad.