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Queering Eugenia Falleni: Towards a trans politics of movement

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Sydney, Australia, 1920. A man named Harry Crawford* was arrested for the murder of his wife Annie Birkett. Shortly after the arrest, the police discovered that Crawford was not a man but a woman named Eugenia Falleni. There are no archival documents in which Falleni speaks about their gender and sexuality, and yet recent (re)presentations of this individual have assigned them to rigid identity categories such as lesbian, transgender, transsexual, heterosexual, man and woman, based on interpretations of their gendered and sexual acts. In this article, I argue that such approaches stabilize gendered and sexual acts characterized by movement into congruent and whole identities and, as such, foreclose queer possibilities. By deploying scholarship that sits at the intersections of queer and trans studies, I argue that recent representations of Falleni reveal identity as a fundamental structuring device for understanding being-in-the-world, and propose that we read cases past and present as sets of transing moments that enable a framing of all gendered being as movement.
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Keywords: Eugenia Falleni; Harry Crawford; crossdressing; identity; queer; trans; transgender

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Macquarie University

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture (QSMPC) is a refereed academic journal devoted to the study of representations and expressions of queerness in its various forms. International in scope and representing a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it publishes scholarship on topics at the intersection of media/popular culture and queerness in gender/sexuality. QSMPC invites articles and artwork pertaining to queerness in media and popular culture, as well as reviews pertaining to recently released queer media artifacts.
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