This article explores the multilayered relationship between cross-gender phenomena and migration politics in gold rush California. It addresses two main questions. First, how did the predominantly male, multinational gold rush migrations impact gender relations in California, specifically the documented cross-gender practices among Euro-American migrants? Second, how did these cross-gender practices dovetail with anti-immigrant politics, specifically the racializing, feminizing discourses that targeted Chinese residents for exclusion from the nation? In exploring these questions, this article expands the analytic framework used to queer migration studies, by proposing an approach for trans-ing histories that incorporates insights from transgender studies.