Early medieval English studies has dealt with queer and trans themes in their source material in different ways over the last two hundred years. This article argues that the common narrative—that scholarship has become more accepting of such themes in recent years—is only partially correct. Examining the scholarship produced since the mid-nineteenth century, this article argues that, while early scholars considered the presence of references to same-sex desire in medieval texts unsurprising, later scholars discounted such references. The rise of New Historicism leads to a concurrent rise of scholarship arguing that pointing to the presence of same-sex desire or gender non-conformity in medieval texts was anachronistic and that even explicit references to it in medieval texts did not reflect historical reality. Such scholarly narratives are, as this article argues, part of a scholarly investment in an idea of white Anglo-Saxon masculinity that itself has shifted from Victorian condemnation of the early English as crude to a late twentieth-century investment in protecting their masculinity from connotations of effeminacy.