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Trans and Non Binary

by Lewis Stan Jacobs 2 years ago in celebrities
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A new fad or a rich history?

Lillie Elbe

Transgender and non binary people appear to be on the increase and some would say people are jumping on the bandwagon of a new trend. However is this really the case? Is this a relatively new thing or something that has been highly supressed and only now people feel they can be more open about who they are? More and more celebrities are coming forward and being open about who they are. Some celebrities openly against many trans issues. History has shown us many examples of transgender and non binary people. Transgender is a relatively modern word and I now introduce you to some terms you may not have heard of before.

Let us go on a little journey as far back as the written word has been with us to Sumeria and Akkadia around 4500 years ago, yes as far back as that! There have been texts found that talk about priests who were known as “gala” and graves which may contain the bodies of people who may have been transgendered. Its also possible that ancient Mediterranean art have contained instances of trans people too from as far back as 9000 years ago.

Staying in Europe, Ancient Greece, Phrygia and Rome had priests called “galli” that some believe were trans women. Records have been found of women passing as men in order to study, fight or vote. Roman Emperor Elagabalus is recorded as preferring to be called lady rather than lord and even sort reassignment surgery.

In the Middle Ages we find many documents relating to women living as men and men living as women. I regards to the later it may be that it was safer to dress as a man in those times as much as they could have been transgendered.

We venture now to Asia more specifically Indian subcontinent Hijra and Thailand Kathoeys, who were once revered and served important spiritual purposes in their communities, this was documented for thousands of years. Hijra and Kathoeys are male to female however there are texts which included female to male trans people. Much religious depictions are androgynous with figures being male on one side and female on the other.

Many societies in Africa have traditional roles for trans men and women, some still survive today despite much hostility in many other societies. Since the 600’s Arabia has had a third gender, mukhannathun, now khanith. Many Native American tribes recognised two spirit peoples such as nadleehi and Ihamana.

In the 1400’s the Balkan’s had sworn virgins who were female at birth and transitioned to be men. Accounts of trans people in Japan go back to the Edo period.

In the last century we have Lily Elbe who was portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in the film “The Danish Girl”, Magnus Herschfeld who founded the Institute of sexology until the Germans destroyed it in the 1930’s, was part of her sexual reassignment. Billy Tipton, a musician who born female lived as a man. Brandon Teena who was brutally raped and murdered. And many, many others.

It seems in the past trans and non binary people were revered and had a place in society in both religious and social areas of life. European colonisation brought Christianity to the World and this aiding in trans people seen as strange weird or something to be feared. Yet one of the Apostles baptised a eunuch and accepted them as part of the church. What do you think a eunuch is? Someone who was born intersex or someone who has had their testicles (and in some cases penis) removed.

Trans and non binary people have been with us from the start with different names and different roles. Some times visible and sometimes invisible in society and often hidden in plain sight. Take some time today to look more in depth at this topic. Transgender History is vast and worth a look.


About the author

Lewis Stan Jacobs


I am slowly building my own business which will offer hypnotherapy, reiki, tarot and coaching. At the moment I am offering tarot readings.

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