Lars Larsson Molin, alias Lasse-Maja (October 5, 1785 - June 4, 1845), was a notorious Swedish criminal who used to disguise himself in women's clothing, which gave him the female sounding nickname Lasse-Maja; Lasse is the common version of his own male name Lars, and Maja was a common version of the female name Maria. His nickname was a way of describing his ambiguous gender as well as the method he used in his criminal career.
Lasse-Maja quickly became a notorious thief, stealing especially from rich people, his specialty being to dress in women's clothing so as to catch his victims off-guard, sometimes flirting with the men, and to aid his escapes from the crime scenes. The disguise was not used solely for professional reasons; he was also said to have been comfortable in women's clothes.
They are many stories about him; he is mentioned in memoirs and diaries, appears as a character in novels and films, and is undoubtedly the most famous transvestite in Swedish history - he became almost an icon, and is much romanticized.
He was caught in 1813 after having stolen silver from the church in Järfälla and sentenced to life imprisonment in the fort of Karlsten in Marstrand, but he behaved in an exemplary manner as a prisoner and soon his time in jail became quite comfortable; he became a tourist attraction for the upper-classes, who visited Marstrand for relaxation during the summer season, and became a social success. One of these visitors was the crown-prince, the future king Oscar I of Sweden, who had him pardoned and released in 1838.
Lasse-Maja spent the rest of his life touring the country, talking about his exciting life. He is said to have claimed that life was very hard, but that the most important thing was to have fun.
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