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March 2016

“For individuals who chose to break society’s most fundamental rules, the stakes could be very high indeed.” Image by George Henry Dancey (1864-1922), “The New Woman’s Ball” (detail), Punch, 11 April 1895.

An internet search on recent discussions of cross-dressing in the media reveals a myriad of articles, ranging from toddlers to be taught about sexuality and cross-dressing in a new Australian national program, to Newtown Performing Arts school being criticised for allowing cross-dressing, to traditional Indonesian cross-dressing performance art under threat from authorities who are denying them the ability to perform on television. It is clear that cross-dressing, sexual and gender identity remain highly contentious topics in wider society. Lucy Chesser’s Parting with my Sex frames cross-dressing as “disruptive of stable binaries – not just male and female, or heterosexual and homosexual, but across culture more generally. [It] intervenes the crisis of category itself.”


Today, 8 March is International Women’s Day, a celebration of the social, cultural and other achievements of women. This year’s theme, ‘Pledge for Parity’, is encouraging people across the world to be aware of and take action to achieve gender parity.