It’s Pride Month, and as a history-focused organization, we wanted to take some time to look at our past. It turns out that while acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is so new It’s Pride Month, and as a history-focused organization, we wanted to take some time to look at our past. It turns out that while acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is so new in this area that it’s still controversial in Fallon, the LGBTQ+ community has been in Northern Nevada from the beginning. This is most evident when looking at examples of gender non-conforming (GNC) or trans expression.
One example dates back to Elko County in 1879. A person going by Samuel Pollard arrived in Elko County. Pollard married a woman named Miranda. After the couple had a fight, Miranda outed Pollard as having been assigned female at birth. Pollard’s story became a national sensation. The outing and following media sensation are why we know about them at all, as it preserved their story. (Here’s a 1904 retelling)
In 1909, Fallon’s founders sat down to write Fallon’s first ordinances, and they set out to ban gender nonconformity. One of Fallon’s original ten laws contained an anti-crossdressing section. It is in ordinance 8, entitled “An Ordinance for the Preservation of the Peace, Morals, Comfort, and Health of the City of Fallon.”
Section 4 notes that it is unlawful “to appear in any clothes or habiliments calculated or tending to conceal or disguise his or her sex, or calculating or tending to lead or allow the unwary to mistake his or her sex.”
Even if Fallon’s founders didn’t have anyone specific in mind when framing ordinance 8, they likely heard Pollard’s story. They were certainly aware enough that GNC or trans people would arrive that they felt the need to outlaw their presence. And they were right. In the intervening century, countless trans and GNC people have been born in or moved to Churchill County. Despite generations of repression, the LGBTQ+ community has always been here, and will continue to be.
[NOTE: This post was revised for corrections on 6/9/2022]