A few comments on this nonsense:
- As to the detailed and flowery language: um, it's Wagner we're talking about. What the the hell would you expect?
- As to the fact that he might have worn dresses, or liked 'girly' things. I see no reason for historians not to write about this, but how is it news? (I know, the weather is news, so I guess anything can be.)
- Finally, there's the fact that the article consistently turns 'cross-dresser' into some sort of 'secret' identity. One Wagner might have tried to hide, but that we, today, can reveal. It's not an account of Wagner wearing women's clothing (because we aren't even certain that he did that); instead, it's a CSI-style investigation of his possible identity. Maybe he WAS a cross-dresser? Or perhaps he was a martian?! If they were giving this salacious account of his potentially being gay, then the homophobia of it all would jump right off the page. But if it's 'merely' 'gender deviation' then it's OK to make the whole thing out to be perverse and deviant. But the idea of gender-deviation as perverse or wrong is of a piece with homophobia: both are products of heteronormativity. In both cases we have this rigid effort to uphold gender binaries, and this is, in a way, made easier by the so-called acceptance of homosexuality not as a practice or a way of being in the world, but as a 'sexual orientation'.
It's too bad that Rebecca herself isn't nearly as girly as the heteronormative order would like her to be, because, nonetheless, I'm heading upstairs to raid her warddrobe and get myself dressed up!!!