Here, always

There’s a really nice piece in National Geographic about historians documenting the lives of trans people, and in addition to being really interesting it’s a much-needed corrective to the oft-spoken belief that trans people were invented in 2015.

There’s ample evidence of gender variance throughout human history. Among the earliest are accounts of galaand galli, priests assigned male at birth who crossed gender boundaries in their worship of a variety of goddesses in ancient Sumer, Akkadia, Greece, and Rome. Other cultures acknowledged a third gender, including two-spirit people within Indigenous communities and Hijra, nonbinary people who inhabit ritual roles in South Asia.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but our current gender binaries (and persecution of LGBT+ people) are primarily a western Christian invention. In addition to the cultures mentioned above there are multiple genders in the Torah and many Islamic cultures are accepting of trans people (more so than they are of gay and lesbian people, in some cases; there’s a belief that being trans is something you’re born with but that homosexuality is a sin). But the spread of the British Empire and the colonisation of the US by European settlers meant that that belief was imposed on many other cultures, often with extreme violence. The modern social conservatives and religious extremists trying to eliminate LGBT+ people from society are as ignorant of history as they are of biology.