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26 April 2010

Aleksandr Pavlovich (189? - ?) market trader.

Aleksandra was a market trader in Saratov, Russia (map), on the Volga and the capital of the Saratov Oblast. She had been trained and raised like a son by her father. The father died in 1919, and the elder sister compelled her to marry a ‘weak-willed groom’.

After three weeks, she ran away to Astrakhan (map), adopted male dress and became Aleksandr Pavlovich. He was a successful trader, and popular with the female traders. The next year he returned to his family in Saratov and resumed trade in small silver goods. He demanded that his family address him as a man. He had several girlfriends, one of whom stayed with him for over two years, even though once he beat her so badly that she was in hospital for two weeks. His family accepted this because of the money he brought in from trading, and also from gaming at cards.

The gaming lead to administrative fines, brawls and finally he was arrested in 1924, and later transferred to the Bureau of Criminal Anthropology for compulsory therapy. The psychiatrist A.P. Shtess claimed that he used a combination of Freudian analysis, hypnotism and persuasion, and was able to ‘cure’ the patient of both masculinity and of smoking. She adopted female clothing, became much more reserved and started talking about having a baby. She was returned to a branch of the family that would not be tempted by her potential market earnings.

*Not the cosmonaut.
  • A.P. Shtess. “Sluchai zhenskogo gomoseksualizma pri nalichii situs viscerum inversus, ego psikhanaliz I gipnoterapiia”. Saratovskii vestnik zdravookhraneniia. 3-4 1935: 1-19.
  • Dan Healey. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press xvi, 392 pp 2001: 66-8, 289n69, fig 10-12.

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