Trans people are not new
In honor of Pride month I want to talk about gender identity & the reality that there have been more than two genders recognized across the world, on each continent (except Antarctica), & throughout history.
Identities such as transgender, non-binary, gender fluid, agender & others have existed for a long time before they became a hot button topic in our current culture wars.
So here is a smattering of that history:
When European colonizers came to the Americas, they came into contact with various cultures & nations that recognized up to five different genders.
In pre-Christian Hawaii the Māhū were a category of third gender individuals who were seen to to balance & freely express both masculinity & femininity
In Mexico’s state of Oxaca three genders have been recognized since pre-colonial times. Muxes are individuals AMAB but whose identity does not align with male gender & sexual roles. An annual Vigil of the Intrepids is a celebration of muxes in the community
Pottery from ancient Egypt (2000-1800 BCE) lists three genders.
Evidence discovered of trans people from Iron Age graves in Russia (6th-8th century BC)
Since antiquity in India, the hijras are a caste of third-gender individuals
In 1755, Charlotte Clarke, was the first known & openly trans person in modern times & she writes her autobiography.
In 1948, Dr Harry Benjamin becomes the first doctor to use hormones to treat trans folks, including children, & established the first set of guidelines for trans care.
There are as many genders as there are people because gender is a social construct that is as unique as each person & their relationship to their gender.
If that feels threatening to you, then I invite you to reflect on why that is & open yourself up to further interrogate your own relationship to gender & it’s relationship to your identity.