When Paul and Louise Landy met in 1911 in Paris, they instantly fell in love and soon married. When the war broke out in August 1914, Paul was finishing his military service; he was sent to the front and injured just a few weeks later. After a second injury, in November 1914, he was falsely accused of self-mutilation. He was soon found not guilty and six months later told to return to his unit.
Paul chose instead to become a deserter. Since the sight of a healthy young man in civilian clothes would have looked suspicious on the streets of Paris, Paul changed his identity and became Suzanne Landgard, his wife’s lesbian partner. Although Paul had never before attempted to be a transvestite, he loved his new identity and reveled in the new sexual experiences that came with it.
In 1925, the French state declared a general amnesty for deserters, making it possible for Paul, as Suzanne, to resume his previous identity. His story made national headlines and his life was followed closely by the press. For Paul, the hardest part was becoming a man again. He started to drink heavily, and when drunk he often beat his wife and menaced their infant son. One night, Louise seized a gun, shot, and killed Paul. Following one of the most talked-about trials of the time, Louise was acquitted; she lived until 1981.