21 February 2023

LGBTQ+ History Month: Researching the ‘Cavalry Maiden’ – Aleksandr Aleksandrov

Aleksandr Aleksandrov was a hero of the Napoleonic wars. Ukrainian by birth, he had signed up as a teenager to fight for Russia against the French invaders. His bravery earned him several medals, including receiving the Cross of St. George from the Tsar himself.

But Aleksandrov was not quite what he seemed. His birth name was Nadezhda Durova. He had a husband and a son.

After the war, Aleksandrov continued to live as a man. He became friends with the novelist, Pushkin, who encouraged him to write an autobiography. This was later published as The Cavalry Maiden.

Since then, Aleksandrov’s story has often been portrayed as that of a brave woman disguising herself as a man to fight for her country. But recent research into Aleksandrov’s personal archive tells a very different story, and one that will be very familiar to trans people today.

In this talk Cheryl Morgan will reveal the life of Aleksandr Aleksandrov and recent research about ‘The Cavalry Maiden’.

This event is in association with Outstories Bristol for LGBTQ+ History Month 2023.


Cheryl Morgan (she/her) is the former Co-chair of Outstories Bristol and a Senior Trainer for the Diversity Trust. As a self-confessed ‘trans history geek’, she is a regular speaker on the LGBTQ+ History Month circuit and has written several history blogs.

Guest host:

Kim Renfrew (she/her) is a Postgraduate Researcher (PhD) at UWE who is researching gender, sexuality and lesbian identities. She is a former Trustee of Outstories Bristol.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 6pm on Tuesday 21 February.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings.

Book tickets

Book here