Soon it will no longer be illegal to cross-dress in Oakland, CA. The final vote to change the law is expected on May 18.
Of all the places I’d have thought cross-dressing would be legal, Oakland is high on the list. It’s across the Bay from San Francisco, just south of Berkeley, and home to many LGBTQ people.
Although the law was passed 130 years ago, repealing it is no joke. As Tehea Robie wrote in oaklandlocal.com,
San Francisco preceded Oakland with a similar law in 1866. By 1930, most cities in California had dress code laws. From the mid-19th century, the state enacted all kinds of legislation against LGBT behavior; convictions led to forced sterilization, castration, indefinite hospitalization and life imprisonment. The law lumped child molesters and homosexuals together as “perverts.” Women suffragists wore pants in protest. German theorist Karoly Maria Kertbeny disputed the criminalization of “homosexuality” (a term he coined). Racist medical texts linked the idea of “degenerate” races with “degenerate” sexualities. [emphasis added]
Hmm, does any of this rhetoric sound familiar? Especially conflating consensual same-sex relationships with child rape. So repealing this law is another way the good city of Oakland can affirm its support of LGBTQ and genderqueer people.