Nobody likes to live a life full of lies. Living as an imposter in your own body seems even more unbearable. In the past, people had to identify with a gender opposite to the one they secretly identified with. Being a woman in a man’s body and vice versa, these people have been seen as evil, treated as patients of mental illnesses. Yes, I am talking about Transgenders.
Transgenders have existed throughout history. However, due to the clever manoeuvring of “history-writers,” this “embarrassing” piece of human history has always been consciously omitted. Thanks to the internet, we’ve managed to compile some historical facts about trans people. So, read on.
1. Trans people have existed as long as “normal” people have. However, the oldest-known mentions of trans people are in Sumerian and Akkadian texts from 4500 years ago. Galas, the transvestite priests, were responsible for some of the most sacred ceremonies of these civilisations.
2. Artistic depictions of transgenders have been found in the Mediterranean region. This date goes back as far as 6000 years.
3. The eunuch Bagoas is famous in history as the lover of Alexander the Great, the great Greek King. What he’s more famous for: how his gender was changed to female by later historians to straight-wash Alexander’s story and “avoid any bad examples”.
4. In the ancient Egyptian story of The Tale of Two Brothers, one of the main characters, Bata, cuts off his penis and says to his wife, “I am a woman, just like you.” However, in the later versions of the story, Bata is “restored” to his former self. Whether this was another attempt to straight-wash a story, one can’t say for sure.
5. Sekhmet, a significant Egyptian Goddess of war and healing, was often depicted with an erect penis. Her androgynous characteristics were more probably a representation of her strength rather than her being an actual Hermaphrodite. The penis motif has been used as a symbol of glory and vigour in many cultures across ages.
6. The Hijras of the Indian Subcontinent have been part of the third gender of the region for more than 3000 years. The Rigveda also talks of an ancient period when there existed no distinction between men and women.
7. The character of Shikhandi in the Mahabharata is the trans-masculine warrior who brings about Bhishma’s demise. He is born a girl but is raised as a boy by his father, King Drupada.
8. The Ramayana includes an instance when he asks “men and women” not to follow him into his exile. They leave, but the trans people stay behind. Seeing their devotion, Rama blesses them.
9. The discrimination surrounding transgenders has drastically reduced in the last decade. The election of Kamla Jaan and Shabnam Mausi as leaders is proof enough. Today, approximately 5,00,000 hijras live in the Indian subcontinent.
Transgenders have been a part of our society since the very beginning. Attempts to straight-wash their history are all crimes of the past. But like all crimes committed by a human, they aren’t perfect, no matter how much they seem so. The very fact that we know the truth today is proof of this. Thanks to this modern age of acceptance, there won’t be any straight-washing now.
What's Your Reaction?
I am Rakshit Aswal, a recent graduate of English Hons. from University of Delhi. I like to play videogames and read books while on my pursuit to experience amazing stories.