This article investigates how twentieth-century historians' reliance on pathologizing discourses about transvestism produced the distorted historical account of the premodern “transvestite saint.” The essay begins with a critical historiography aimed at unraveling the intertwined writings of historians and sexologists. European sexological writing on Christian saints rendered them little more than pathologized subjects stripped of their religious context, and historical narratives that drew on pathologizing sexological paradigms frequently interpreted these religious figures as premodern examples of transhistorical sex-gender transgression. After examining the development of the interpretive model of the transvestite saint and its dependence on tropes of disguise and deception, the author argues that this framework should be abandoned. Considering the limitation of this interpretation, the essay proposes a more capacious historical method termed the apophasis of transgender.

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