Any excuse for men to dress as women is gleefully taken. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, male students at Estonia’s Tartu University dressed as women. These drag queens then took a ride or walked to have their portraits taken at the local photography studio. The sitters were uninitiated members of the university’s fraternity. They dressed a women for roles in entertaining plays (it says here). The roles were part of an initiation procedure in which, one supposes, all-male groups discovered which of their number was most like a girl and thus best suited to a career in politics, the clergy and the Trans-Baikal railways. The photographs were available as cartes de visite, to be purchased by students, audiences and admirers of the fairer sex.
Via: National Archives of Estonia
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