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Critique Essay History Humanities Nonfiction

“For Some Queer Reason”: The Trials and Tribulations of Colonel Barker’s Masquerade in Interwar Britain

By James Vernon, 2000

On February 28, 1929, Colonel Leslie Ivor Victor Gauntlett Bligh Barker
was arrested for contempt of court, having failed to appear at a bankruptcy
hearing the previous December. Removed to Brixton Prison, Barker was subjected to a routine medical inspection, during which he was discovered to be a woman and immediately transferred to the all-women Holloway prison. By March 6, the news had leaked to the press and led to a series of sensational revelations that dominated the front pages of the press for a week. Barker, it was disclosed, had been born a biological female in 1895 and christened Lilias Irma Valerie Barker by her parents of independent
means.

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