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Qiu Jin wore masculine attire before the Qing Dynasty and system of imperial rule fell (in other words, during a time when traditional Confucian values about women’s proper place were still dominant). She made war with the emperor and was beheaded. She’s touted as China’s first feminist…but perhaps we could even say she’s proto-genderqueer? I snagged this photo from the wonderful book Chinese Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination, 1905–1948 by Yan Haiping.
1858 – She refused to give up her seat or ride in the “colored” section of a segregated trolley car in Philadelphia (100 years before Rosa Parks) and wrote one her most famous poems, “Bury Me In A Free Land,” when she got very sick while on a lecturing tour. Her short story “The Two Offers” became the first short story to be published by an African American.