n. the adoption by a male of a female role, or vice versa... Eonism is named for Charles Eon de Beaumont, a French political adventurer who died in 1810 after posing as a woman for many years.
This is part of our history that most of us already know. However, it never gets old that such a promenade person had the courage to live a true life and do it with such audacity. Where is the movie? Thanks Ron for sending this along.
The extraordinary gender non-conforming 18th century spy whose royal power play made her a sensation
Gender non-conforming people have existed for as long as humans have, but there are few whose stories can rival that of the Chevalier d’Eon.
The Chevalier d’Eon was an 18th century French diplomat, soldier, spy and intellectual who was celebrated both as a man and as a woman throughout her long and eventful life.
She lived a life clouded by speculation and rumors that continue to confound scholars to this day; it’s why, nearly 300 years later, she remains one of history’s most compelling figures.
Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont was born in 1728 to a poor but aristocratic family in Burgundy, France.
There are many conflicting accounts surrounding her biological sex, both historical and contemporary, but it seems certain that she was assigned male at birth and raised as a boy.
Bright and articulate, she excelled in school and later secured a place in the French civil service. She steadily climbed the ranks until she became secretary to the French ambassador to Russia.
Or at least, that was the official story. Unofficially d’Eon was tapped for another royal service – a clandestine network of spies known as le Secret du Roi, or “King’s Secret”.
The Chevalier d’Eon was charged with fostering good relations with the Russian court of the Empress Elizabeth, and to covertly undermine Hapsburg power in the area.
|Caricature of d’Éon |
dressed half in women’s clothes,
half in men’s clothes
The Chevalier d’Eon was fired for importing too much wine – but got her own back on the king in the most spectacular way.
When the French Revolution began in 1789 she lost her pension, and in 1810 she died aged 80 in poverty. She had lived as a woman for 33 years.
Yet the Chevalier d’Eon continued to confound people even in death. Doctors who examined d’Éon’s body discovered “male organs in every respect perfectly formed”, but also feminine characteristics.