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
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
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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