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March 28, 2016 Hobo Lecture

February 12, 2016: The St. Louis LGBT History Project and the Missouri History Museum present a free public lecture on a fascinating but mostly forgotten chapter of St. Louis's past:

  • Title: "She Went 14,000 Miles as a Boy: The Queer Lives of Hobos in St. Louis"
  • Speaker: Nathan Tye, University of Illinois
  • Date: Monday, March 28,  7 pm
  • Location: Missouri History Museum, Lee Auditorium

"Hobo girls," women who donned men's clothing and passed as men while riding the rails, were among the most illusive of all hobos. Beginning in the 1870s, St. Louis law enforcement saw these cross-dressing hobos as a real threat to the community and did all they could to prevent and "correct" their lifestyle. This presentation explores the lives of these queer figures and their place in the wider history of St. Louis.

Nathan Tye is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work focuses on hobos and homelessness with particular attention to issues of gender and sexuality.

Following the lecture, Sayer Johnson of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group will offer comments reflecting on connections between the history of "hobo girls" and the challenges facing trans* people today.

Further information from the Missouri History Museum:

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