In "So Far From Home" (Farris, ed.) a Russian visitor to California describes seeing trangendered natives, as Cabeza de Vaca also did three centuries earlier in what is now Texas.

The military and Franciscan authorities in colonial Spain probably looked more unkindly on homosexuality than those native societies. Did anyone in the Californias get tried, convicted, or punished for homosexuality during this period?

  • There probably aren't any records of this sort. The Spanish "colonial" period in California only started in 1769, and was focused on religious missions, rather than proper colonies, so no legal infrastructure for trials and court records. The Mexican period following that was also short (less than 30 years), and Mexico was plagued with government instability during that time, so they couldn't invest in legal infrastructure for a backwater province like California either... and then they lost it to America anyway, so it's unlikely that these kinds of records ever existed. Dec 27, 2016 at 22:42
  • @HopelessN00b any legal authority would have been vested in the four military presidios; the governor sat at Monterey. Dec 28, 2016 at 3:52
  • And? What does that have to do with availability of civil infrastructure, legal records, or the resources to try people for crimes of sexual morality? Dec 28, 2016 at 3:56
  • I was responding to your claim about "no legal infrastructure for trials". On the contrary, there was enough legal infrastructure in Alta California to keep people under arrest and to execute them. Dec 28, 2016 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


The 1878 testimony of Ynocente Garcia, "Hechos Historicos de California", mentions that in 1795 a "young orphan" was executed "for the crime of sodomy" at the same time as Ignacio Rochin, who had killed a man. This was in Santa Barbara. I've not found any corroborating evidence.

  • I wonder if it was for non-consensual sodomy, since his partner was not executed on the same day? Oct 10, 2021 at 10:15

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