LISTEN: Charley Parkhurst's Secret

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One eyed Charley’s ‘secret’ is that he lived an authentic life, as a man.

Put me on the ‘disappointed in boingboing’ list and put the reason down as transphobia, pls. thx.

I don’t know the exact relationship, but the podcaster, Futility Closet, is a separate entity to Boingboing. They announce their podcasts here, but they aren’t BB, so attributing the decision they made to write and talk about Parkhurst solely as a woman to Boingboing as an editorial decision lacks nuance, I feel.

Saying that I disagree with Futility Closet’s decision to do it the way they did, I think there is some validity in referring to folk who lived and died in different milieux with different conventions as they would have been referred to at that time. If one is reading from historical material, there would be a certain awkwardness in switching from, say, the contemporary “she” to a modern “he”. And as the podcasters say at the beginning of the podcast, there’s no material to suggest that Parkhurst thought of themself as a man or as a woman pretending to be a man. The evidence of having given birth at one time could be bent to either narrative, of course.

Boingboing chose their headline and how they’re tweeting about this. Charley lived as a man and had a name that was considered to be a man’s name at the time. His death allowed the curious a glimpse at his genitals, not his gender. In no sense is it correct to say he was secretly a ‘woman.’ The most one can say is what his junk, etc, looked like. It would be more factually correct and less fucked up if they put it that way instead.

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