Just a reminder that butch lesbians, in the not so distant past, were often targeted and stripped by police officers to ensure that they were wearing at least three articles of “ladies clothing,” or else they would face arrest. Don’t forget our herstory.
Not that i dont believe is there a source to this?
If you want to read about firsthand experience with this, look into Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold:I’ve had the police walk up to me and say, “Get out of the car.” I’m drivin’. They say get out of the car; and I get out. And they say, “What kind of shoes you got on? You got on men’s shoes?” And I say, “No, I got on women’s shoes.” I got on some basket-weave women’s shoes. And he say, “Well you damn lucky”‘ ‘Cause everything else I had on were men’s–shirts, pants. At that time when they pick you up, if you didn’t have two garments that belong to a woman you could go to jail…It would really just be an inconvenience….It would give them the opportunity to whack the shit out of you.
Butch women could face beatings, arrest, and, often, subsequent sexual assault. There’s some historical timeline in this autostraddle article. From what I understand it was more de facto than de jure - I don’t think there was a specific “three articles” law on the books because having them would not necessarily save you: “Gay women held on to the “three articles” myth as though it were a talisman. But it did little to help them avoid capricious arrests.” (x)
Another legal justification for harassing lesbians was laws criminalizing the wearing of attire not of one’s sex. Dozens of municipalities had ordinances making cross-dressing a criminal offense… police regularly used these statutes to harass or arrest cross dressers. New York reportedly followed a “three-piece” rule: a woman in trousers would not be charged under the disguise statute as long as she wore three pieces of women’s clothing […]
- Privacy Jurisprudence and the Apartheid of the Closet, 1946-1961, William N. Eskridge Jr., FSU Law Review (x)