Chicago’s Dress Code
|Evelyn Bross (L) and Catherine Barscz (R) at the|
Racine Avenue Police Station, Chicago, 5 June 1943
As early as 1851 Chicago had an ordinance outlawing cross-dressing in a public place; it was considered a type of indecent exposure.
In court, Bross informed the judge that she chose to wear men’s clothing because it was "more comfortable than women’s clothes and handy for work". She openly declared, "I wish I was a boy. I never did anything wrong. I just like to wear men’s clothes… [but] everyone knows I’m a woman." In the end, Bross was ordered to see a court psychiatrist for six months and Chicago’s cross-dressing code was revised.
As of 1943, the code allowed for individuals to wear clothing of the opposite sex, provided it was not worn "with the intent to conceal his or her sex." Arrests continued in spite of the alteration and the Chicago code regarding cross-dressing would not be eliminated until 1978.
<< Back to Index << << Previous - LGBT Resources << >> Next - Contributors >>