Crossdressing during wartime

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Many people have engaged in crossdressing during wartime under various circumstances and for various motives. This has been especially true of women, whether while serving as a soldier in otherwise all-male armies, while protecting or disguising their identity in dangerous circumstances, or for other purposes. Conversely, men would dress as women to avoid being drafted, the mythological precedent for this being Achilles hiding at the court of Lycomedes dressed as a girl to avoid participation in the Trojan War.

Historical occurrences

Nadezhda Durova in her cavalry uniform.

In popular culture

  • The Lord of the RingsÉowyn, the White Lady of Rohan, pretends to be a man and slips off to combat the forces of Mordor.
  • All the Queen's Men — a 2001 comedy set during WWII with cross-dressing as a central plot device.
  • Terry Pratchett's novel Monstrous Regiment is a satirical look at this phenomenon.
  • The Last of the Blonde Bombshells is a comedic film in which one of the main characters crossdresses to avoid military service during World War II.
  • I was a Male War Bride is a comedy where the male French officer, played by Cary Grant, must dress like a woman to return as a war bride of his American military wife.
  • One of the running gags of the TV series M*A*S*H is Klinger's attempts to get discharge from military service by crossdressing.
  • In the Futurama episode "War Is the H-Word," Leela disguises herself as a man to join a male-only army and protect her enlisted friends.
  • In the Disney film Mulan, which is based on the story of Hua Mulan, Mulan dresses as a male to save her father.
  • In Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness quartet of books, Alanna of Trebond disguises herself as a boy named Alan and goes to be trained in place of her twin brother in order to become a royal knight, a position only given to noble-born boys. Over the course of the four books, and others in the Tortall Universe, Alanna proceeds to fight for the kingdom as an accomplished knight both before and after the discovery of her true gender.
  • Genesis Climber Mospeada was perhaps the first anime series to feature a regular crossdresser amongst the main protagonists. Yellow Belmont, a former soldier, crossdressed to avoid anti-soldier reprisals by the Imbit and others, and eventually became an accomplished pop singer. During the course of the series, Yellow would cross-dress to hold concerts, enabling his soldier comrades to procure much needed supplies for their war against the Imbit. Yellow had many fans of his music; none outside of his circle of friends realized he was a man until he revealed it to the public during the final episode of Mospeada.

de:Liste der als Mann verkleideten weiblichen Militärpersonen