Episode 1: Were Some Pirates Poofters?

This week, in our first episode, we introduced you to the dramatic pirate quartet of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, John “Calico Jack” Rackham, and Pierre “the pansy pirate” Bouspet! Two women eschewing stereotypical gender presentation, dressing as men, then falling in love each thinking the other is a man? Anne kicking Jack out of his quarters and sharing them with Mary instead? Jack Rackham being jealous of Mary and Anne's 'friendship' and walking in on Mary naked on Anne's bed? A pirate who owns a dress shop, coffee shop, and loves to paint with turtle blood? A pirate with a taste for splashy colors and may have been the lover of his former captain? Oh my! Or should we say, ‘arrrghhh’? These pirates may not have been as straight as people think.

How do we know about these folks?

As we mentioned in the episode, much of the histories of Anne, Jack, and Mary comes from the book A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, published in 1724 by a mysterious  “Captain Charles Johnson”, whom some claim is a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe, aka author of Robinson Crusoe.

 First edition cover, 1724.

First edition cover, 1724.

Some images of our cast of queerios:

Anne Bonny - c. 1702-1782, born in Cork, Ireland

 Illustration from the 1725 Dutch version of  A General History of...Pyrates

Illustration from the 1725 Dutch version of A General History of...Pyrates

 

Mary Read - c. 1690-1721, born in England

 Illustration from the 1725 Dutch version of  A General History of...Pyrates

Illustration from the 1725 Dutch version of A General History of...Pyrates

 

John “Calico Jack” Rackham - c. 1682-1720

 Illustration from the 1724 edition of  A General History of the Pyrates

Illustration from the 1724 edition of A General History of the Pyrates

 

Sadly we have no images of our favorite drama pirate, Pierre Bouspet.

If you want to learn more about these folks, as well as the history of piracy in the 17th and 18th century, check out our full list of sources further reading below!

Online Articles:

Books:

  • David Cordingly, Under the Black Flag
  • David Cordingly, Women Sailors & Sailors’ Women
  • Ed. C. R. Pennell, Bandits at Sea: A Pirate Reader
  • Myra Weatherly, Pirate Women: Eight Stories of Adventure
  • Captain Charles Johnson, A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates
 Anne and Mary, from the 1724 edition of  A General History of the Pyrates

Anne and Mary, from the 1724 edition of A General History of the Pyrates

If you like Mary Read, Anne Bonny, Calico Jack Rackham, and Pierre Bouspet, you might also like...

  • The TV show Black Sails on Starz

  • The Abyss Duology (The Abyss Surrounds Us and The Edge of the Abyss) by Emily Skrutskie

  • The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember (mermaids and Vikings, but close enough!)

  • This list of "16 Great Reads for Lesbians and Queer Girls who Love Pirates!"

  • Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess comic by Jeremy Whitley

Until next time, stay queer and stay curious!