This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

02 February 2009

George Augustus Selwyn (1719 - 91) MP.

George Selwyn was the second son of a country gentleman. He was educated at Eton, where he met Horace Walpole, and at Hertford College, Oxford. He was sent down from Oxford for filling a communion chalice with wine and urging his friends to drink it in his memory. Later retellings had it that the chalice contained his own blood.

For the rest of his life he lived in London where he was known as an arbiter of taste in art. He was known as one who followed all the details of acts of murder. He was an activist in the Hell Fire Club, and had a true passion for attending public executions while cross-dressed. He famously journeyed to Paris in 1757, although the Seven Years War had started, to attend to execution of Robert-François Damiens, who having attempted to take the life of Louis XV was drawn and quartered in public. However Selwyn was dressed as a man on this occasion, and was asked if he were the executioner.

He never married, but was noted for his tenderness to sons and daughters of his friends.

He was 44 years in the House of Commons representing family constituencies first of Ludgershall and then Gloucester, and then Ludgershall again. It is not recorded that he ever made a speech in the House. His vote was at the disposal of the King’s ministers in that he was dependent on government pensions to offset the cost of bribing his electorate and also his gambling debts.

He died of gout at the age of 71.

In 1914 Edmond de Goncourt published his novel La Faustin, which has a character, an English gentleman-sadist, called George Selwyn, based partly on Selwyn and partly on Algernon Swinburne.

*Not the New Zealand bishop.
  • Grace & Philip Wharton. The Wits and Beaux of Society, Vol II. London: John Hogg & Sons 1860. 1890 edition online at
  • Geoffrey Ashe. Do What You Will: a History of Anti-Morality. W. H. Allen. 1974: 123, 191, 233.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld translated from the German by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress Prometheus Books. 1991: 180.
  • “George Augustus Selwyn”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1 comment:

  1. The picture illustrating this article is not of this George Selwyn, but of George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878)first bishop of New Zealand.


Comments that constitute non-relevant advertisements will be declined, as will those attempting to be rude. Comments from 'unknown' and anonymous will also be declined. Repeat: Comments from "unknown" will be declined, as will anonymous comments. If you don't have a Google id, I suggest that you type in a name or a pseudonym.