Apr 17 2019


Along with the Portuguese, Connecticut is infested with Poles (don’t get me started about the Italians and Irish).

I hope you realize that I’m merely being sardonic about Racism and Bigotry in general. It’s not that I have no opinion, I think it’s bad and you should publicly shame Racists and Bigots at the very least and, depending on how bad and entrenched the attitude is, sometimes more energetic action is required.

Anyway it doesn’t seem you can drive 5 minutes without finding a Pulaski Club or a Pulaski Monument or a Pulaski Bridge or Highway or Street.

Who was Casimir Pulaski?

Umm… yeah. Also this

A Revolutionary War hero who served alongside Washington may have been intersex
By Kayla Epstein, Washington Post
April 8, 2019

Gen. Casimir Pulaski didn’t make it into”Hamilton,” but the world still knows his name. The Revolutionary War hero is considered the “father of the American cavalry,” and even if you aren’t aware of his story, you may have driven over a bridge, joined a society or gazed up at a monument named in his memory. In the mid-19th century, Polish and Catholic immigrants looked to him as a celebrated figure, a sign that they, too, had been part of the American origin story.

Intersex individuals have biological variations that do not fit typical categories of male or female. The variations can be chromosomal or differences in a person’s genitalia, hormones or sex organs. Intersex traits can manifest in a variety of ways, some less detectable than others, and members of the intersex community have several ways of identifying their gender.

Virginia Estabrook, an anthropologist at Georgia Southern University who helped identify Pulaski’s remains, noted that “there’s a lot of erasure of intersex people over a long period of time.” While historical records show Pulaski was identified and raised as male from birth, and lived as a man, Estabrook said that this new discovery gave his legacy a new significance.

Pulaski is “somebody who was a historical figure, we know a lot about his life,” Estabrook said. “He’s got a story, he’s got a presence. He’s got highways and roads and national holidays named after him. This could be a figure that is a touchstone for a totally different group of people than Pulaski had been a touchstone for in the past.”

As much as 1.7 percent of the world’s population are born with intersex traits, the Intersex Campaign for Equality estimates, and the United Nations points out that these individuals are often stigmatized and abused.

Pulaski was born into nobility in Warsaw, in what was then the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. There, he began his military career before Benjamin Franklin ultimately recommended that he join the American Revolution on the other side of the sea. Pulaski reached Massachusetts in July 1777, and made a name for himself only a few months later at the Battle of Brandywine, where he was credited with leading a charge that helped save George Washington’s life and the Continental Army from a disastrous defeat.

He stood 5-foot-1 to 5-foot-4, and appears in portraits with dark hair, a strong brow and a slender mustache.

“He was small but also incredibly strong, and incredibly skilled,” Maj. Douglas Shores, author of “Kasimierz Pulaski: General of Two Nations,” says in the Smithsonian Channel documentary. “And was willing to lead people by example, lead out in front.”

Washington made Pulaski a general, and the young commander set to work remaking the Colonial cavalry. He died after being wounded at the Siege of Savannah, Ga., in 1779, where revolutionary forces suffered a resounding defeat. However, Pulaski’s death at 34 solidified his reputation as an American military hero.

When examining the remains, forensic anthropologist Karen Burns realized that the pelvic bone appeared to be that of a woman. It seemed to rule out the possibility that the bones belonged to the father of the American cavalry.

But there were other indicators that pointed to Pulaski: similar height and age, scarring in the pelvis that indicated extensive horseback riding and an injury on the hand that matched one he had sustained in battle.

Burns died in 2012, with the identity of the bones still unanswered. But a new generation of researchers, including Estabrook, carried on the investigation. A new round of mitochondrial DNA tests in 2018 showed a match between the skeleton and Pulaski’s deceased Polish relative.

The skeleton belonged to Pulaski. But what to make of the pelvis that appeared to be that of a woman? The scientists concluded that he may have been intersex, which would have accounted for the discrepancy.

“What we do know is that we have a disconnect between what we see in the skeleton and what we know about Pulaski’s life,” Estabrook said. She noted that there was little research on how intersex conditions impacted skeletal development, and that the Pulaski case was a sign of the work that needs to be done in this field.

The findings help bring new significance to the life of a soldier who already occupied a distinguished place in history. That he was able to rise up the ranks of the Continental Army is a remarkable achievement, said Hida Viloria, an intersex and non-binary activist and author, in the documentary.

“I think that Pulaski being intersex doesn’t impact or change his legacy at all,” Viloria said. “If anything, I think it enhances it.”