Sunday, September 18, 2016

We’re Trans, We’re Everywhere!

People are slowly become aware that there are trans people everywhere and that we have been around for a very, very long time.
Transgender story correct not to change the past 
The Blade
By Jack Lessenberry
Published on Sept. 18, 2016

For many Americans, the discovery of a significant transgender community in our society is still a relatively new thing.

Not surprisingly, your ombudsman and The Blade’s editors got a wide range of reaction to Kirk Baird’s major story that ran in the paper’s Aug. 28 Living section: “Inside Out: For transgender people, a difficult but liberating journey to becoming their true selves.”
From there the article goes downhill. But that is not what I want to write about; instead I want to write about how people never knew that there were trans people.

We have been denied our past, all throughout history we have been lumped with “Gays.” I remember at a support group where some of the early pioneer healthcare providers were talking about the Gender Identity Clinic of New England and how it got its start back in the late sixties and early seventies.

The Reverend Cannon Jones ran a support group for gays called “Project H” and he kept coming across gays who said they were women and not men; this was around the time when Harry Benjamin started his clinic and it fascinated Reverend Cannon Jones and as a result the Twenty Club was formed.

If you look back at history many trans people were labeled gay or lesbian. LGBTQ Nation has an article about our history (I like the first sentence of the article “History is written by the victors.” and they lumped us together with the gays and lesbians).
Trans History 101: Transgender Expression in Ancient Times
By Mercedes Allen
February 24, 2016

History is written by the victors. Unfortunately, this tends to mean that a lot of truth gets lost over the eons, peaceful tribes can become demonized, portrayals of nature reverence can be twisted into “witchcraft” and a lot of the accurate documentation becomes lost over the years in intellectual pogroms, such as the burning of the library at Alexandria in Egypt by the Romans.
It may sound far-fetched, but history (even if written by victors) offers little glimpses of reality at times, and many of these glimpses tend to indicate that the gender transgression and gay / lesbian / bisexual love that is often vilified today was once quite respected and at times even encouraged. As a transgender and bisexual woman, I’m not personally inclined to think of myself as better than anyone or to try to portray myself as such, but a careful look at history does provide a rewarding sense that I have something to offer, and am a being worthy of respect.

It is impossible to know the motives of the early civilizations’ approach. We can only see history in modern light and with our own experiences. Without the economic and socio-political backgrounds to some of these notations, we don’t know if transgender behaviour was any result of coersion, conspiracy or other motivations. I would like to think that much of the experience was genuine, although I’m not so naive to believe that accounts of castrated boys raised as wives of Roman or Turkish military leaders were consensual. History unfortunately sometimes can only touch the surface, not revealing the beauty and ugliness underneath.
There is a lot that we can only speculate about. For example John Quincy Adams was involved in a trial of a trans woman and then there was Chevalier d'Éon who spied for the King of France. In modern times there are people like Dr. Alan Hart or George Sand or the fictional character Albert Nobbs who we do not really know if they were trans or not, they might have crossdressed to survive; women in those days had a hard time living on their own so taking on a male persona might have been the only way to make a living.

The article goes on to say,
What we understand as transgender (in its many different forms) has been understood quite differently at various periods of time. In the earliest ages, people who were seen to bridge the genders were quite often thought to possess wisdom that traditionally-gendered people did not, and were venerated for this. As civilizations transformed from matrilineal and communal societies into male-driven (patriarchal) societies with rigid class divisions and emphasis on property ownership, those male-driven cultures reduced the status of women… and because they were threatened by a persistent belief that those who blurred gender lines possessed some greater insight, they set out to crush gender-transgressive people most of all. Into the modern age, transfolk resurfaced, but it is a long climb back just to restore any sense of equality.
For centuries, Muslim tradition differentiated between MTF transsexuals who live as prostitutes or criminals, and those in whom femininity was innate and who lived blamelessly. The latter were called “mukhannathun,” and accepted within the boundaries of Islam. Mukhannathun could have relationships with either men or women, but only those who had been castrated or were exclusively attracted to men were allowed into womens’ spaces. Later, it was ordered that all mukhannathun undergo castration.
And the article ends with,
Alas, history is written by the victors, and the victors were largely not transgender or homosexual / bisexual persons.
Now the general public is just finding out that we live among them and they think that this is a new phenomenon. They forget that just back in the fifties and sixties it was a crime to not wear three items of clothing of your birth gender and I thing many people if they knew about those laws would want them reinstated.

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