In 1888, the first recorded arrests in the United States for female impersonation took place at the home of William Dorsey Swann, a black man. Less than a mile from the White House, Swann and twelve other men of color were arrested and charged with vagrancy after police raided a secret drag dance he was hosting. The following day the headline in the Evening Star read “Colored Men in Female Attire.”
The erasure of the contributions and sacrifices of people of color is rampant throughout our history, not only as a country, but as a community. Individuals of color have long been an integral part of the LGBTQ community and they are deserving of recognition and praise.