The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes


by Playdon, Zoe
Society & social sciences

SKU: 9781526619136 Category: Tag:


by Playdon, Zoe | Society & social sciences
Published 11/11/2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 432 pages

The never-before-told story of Ewan Forbes and the landmark case that rocked British society and transformed transgender experience to this day

‘A remarkable story’ The Times

‘Almost reads like a thriller’ Sunday Times

‘A landmark work’ Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

‘Magnificently researched and told’ Lord Michael Cashman CBE


Ewan Forbes was born Elisabeth Forbes to a wealthy landowning family in 1912. It quickly became clear that the gender applied to him at birth was not correct, and from the age of six he began to see specialists in Europe for help. With the financial means of procuring synthetic hormones, Ewan was able to live as a boy, and then as man, and was even able to correct the sex on his birth certificate in order to marry.

Then, in 1965, his older brother died and Ewan was set to inherit the family baronetcy. After his cousin contested the inheritance on the grounds that it could only be inherited by a male heir, Ewan was forced to defend his male status in an extraordinary court case, testing the legal system of the time to the limits of its understanding. In The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes, Zoe Playdon draws on the fields of law, medicine, psychology and biology to reveal a remarkable hidden history, uncovering for the first time records that were considered so threatening that they had been removed from view for decades.