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Title: The Inquisitorial Trial of a Cross-Dressing Lesbian: Reactions and Responses to Female Homosexuality in 18th-Century Portugal
Contributor(s): Soyer, Francois  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2014
Early Online Version: 2014-07-14
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2014.944044
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Abstract: This article analyzes the inquisitorial trial of Maria Duran, a Catalan novice in the Dominican convent of Nossa Senhora do Paraíso in Portugal. Maria Duran was arrested by the Inquisition in 1741 and, after a lengthy trial, condemned in 1744 to a public lashing and exile. She was suspected of having made a pact with the Devil and was accused by many female witnesses of possessing a “secret penis” that she had allegedly used in her amorous relations with fellow nuns and novices. Her voluminous trial dossier offers a rare and fascinating documentary insight into the often extreme reactions that female homosexuality provoked from both men and women in early modern Portugal. Using the evidence offered by the 18th-century trial of Maria Duran, this article highlights female bewilderment when faced with female-on-female sexual violence and the difficulty that men (in this case, churchmen) had coming to terms with the existence of female homosexuality. It also discusses the case in light of the acts/identity debate among historians of the history of sexuality.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Homosexuality, 61(11), p. 1529-1557
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1540-3602
Field of Research (FOR): 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
130308 Gender, Sexuality and Education
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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