The Dubious Threesome

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Tintype. Private Collection.

threesome2

Click for larger detail

Here’s another tintype I acquired. What is your opinion?I say there is not a single lady on this particular one. However, I could be wrong. I will state why I think the two women looking subjects in front are in fact male. You can click on the second photo for a large detail and tell me your own opinion.

Why these are ‘fairies’ as they were called, and not women:

You’ll be surprised to discover how open minded the working class (in general) was in large cities. Probably more so than 50 years later. The two in front could have lived their lives in the open -with some backlash, but it could have happened. The men of high class society were the ones to actively hide their preferences, hiding in brothels like Paresis Hall in N.Y for example, and for many obvious reasons.

Physically the one on the left has a huge head, yet isn’t large of body.
The one on the right, with the shy (and yes, funny!) expression, looks like a man too. His fingers are as thick as the man behind him. His wig is askew too! :)

Why these could just be (very unfortunate looking) women:

Well, there are women of many sizes and faces, the possibility is still there…but no, I don’t think these two are.

They are most likely in the tent of a photographer at a fair (by looking at the ground): a very public place, thus a courageous challenge for those with alternative lifestyles. That, or they changed in a hurry in the privacy of a closed tent, thus explaining the crooked wig. Maybe the third one chickened out? :)

Conclusion:

I say all three subjects are male, I’m 99% sure. What do you think?

If you’re interested in the history of gay norms and acceptance, a great book I’ve read as part of research for my book is: Gay New York. Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940.

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2 responses to “The Dubious Threesome

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