Pedro Font: "dedicated to nefarious practices," 1775-76

The diary of Jesuit Father Font, written during his second journey to California, with the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza, 1775-76, says of the California natives:

Among the women I saw some men dressed like women, with whom they go about regularly, never joining the men. The commander called them amaricados, perhaps because the Yumas call effeminate men maricas. I asked who these men were, and they replied that they were not men like the rest, and for this reason they went around covered this way.

From this I inferred they must be hermaphrodites, but from what I learned later I understood that they were sodomites, dedicated to nefarious practices. From all the foregoing I conclude that in this matter of incontinence there will be much to do when the Holy Faith and the Christian religion are established among them.[1]


Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Crowell, 1976) pg. 291.

  1. Pedro Font, Font's Complete Diary of the Second Anza Expedition, trans. and ed. Herbert Eugene Bolton, vol. 4 of Anza's California Expeditions (5 vols.; Berkeley: University of California, 1930-31), p. 105.

    Pedro Fages' description of California in 1775 says that the Natives of that area "are addicted to the unspeakable vice of sinning against nature, and maintain in every village their ioyas, for common use" (A Historical, Political, and Natural Description of California by [a] Soldier of Spain, trans. Herbert Ingram Priestley [Berkeley: University of California. [937]. p. 48).

    Captain Bernard Romans's history of Florida (first published in N.Y. in 1775), referring to the Choctaws, says: "Sodomy is also practised but not to the same excess as among the Creeks and Chicasaws, and the Ginaedi among the Chactwas [sic] are obliged to dress themselves in woman's attire, and are highly despised especially by the women" (A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida [New Orleans: Pelican, 1961. p. 56).