Odd Masher Nabbed In Expo Park

Grace Kenny (Jerry) McFarlane headline 1927

March 29, 1927
Los Angeles 

Busted in Exposition Park on a vagrancy charge after aggressively flirting with passing fillies, licensed chauffeur (read: cabby) Jerry McFarlane was dumped in the men’s tank at the Central Jail, where fellow inmates quickly noticed what booking officers had not: trash-talkin’ "Jerry" was actually Grace Kenny McFarlane, 22, blonde and biologically female.

She was promptly pulled from the cell and plopped in front of an L.A. Times photog, who snapped a pair of mirror image pix highlighting the two sides of fair McFarlane, and a reporter whose all-too-brief interview revealed the unique philosophy of the Jazz Age youth.

"It’s much more fun to be a man. Besides, I get along better, too, and the life is freer and easier." Except, of course, when it lands one in the pokey. "I wish I could get out and get back with the gang. I was going to take a frail out the night I was arrested. It’s lots of fun to take a girl to a dance or a show and not have them get wise." And even more fun, we’d wager, when they do.

Grace Kenny (Jerry) McFarlane 1927

For more on the secret homosexual shadow worlds of early 20th century Los Angeles, see Daniel Hurewitz’ Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics or Faderman and Timmons’ Gay L.A.

Published by

Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

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