Last edited: January 03, 2005

1893: An Organization of Colored Erotopaths

Charles H. Hughes

From Gay American History
By Jonathan Ned Katz
Meridian, New York, 1976, 1992

In an 1893 note to a medical journal article on "erotopathia," or "morbid eroticism," Dr. Charles H. Hughes of St. Louis writes briefly but emotionally about Black male transvestites.

I am credibly informed that there is, in the city of Washington, D.C., an annual convocation of negro men called the drag dance, which is an orgie of lascivious debauchery beyond pen power of description. I am likewise informed that a similar organization was lately suppressed by the police of New York city.

In this sable performance of sexual perversion all of these men are lasciviously dressed in womanly attire, short sleeves, low-necked dresses and the usual ballroom decorations and ornaments of women, feathered and ribboned head-dresses, garters, frills, flowers, ruffles, etc., and deport themselves as women. Standing or seated on a pedestal, but accessible to all the rest, is the naked queen (a male), whose phallic member, decorated with a ribbon, is subject to the gaze and osculations in turn, of all the members of this lecherous gang of sexual perverts and phallic fornicators.

Among those who annually assemble in this strange libidinous display are cooks, barbers, waiters and other employes of Washington families, some even higher in the social scale—some being employed as subordinates in the Government departments.46


46. [CharlesH. Hughes], "Postscript to Paper on ‘Erotopathia,’—An Organization of Colored Erotopaths," Alienist and Neurologist (St. Louis, Mo.), vol. 14, no.4 (Oct 1893), p. 731-32. Dr. Hughes’s paper titled "Erotopathia.—Morbid Eroticism" is in thc same issue of the Alienfst and Neurologist, p. 531-78. References to an "androgynous’ band of Blacks being raided by the police in Washington, D.C. and to a New Orleans "vadoux" society are in Rosse p. 802, 805-07. Rosse is apparently Hughes’s source.

[Irving C. Rosse, "Sexual Hypochondriasis and Perversion of the Genesic Instinct," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (N.Y.), whole ser. vol. 19, new ser., val. 17, no.11 (Nov. 1892), p. 799.]

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