Ancient and Medieval Times

In the Western imagination, trans people are closely associated with modern medical techniques such as hormone therapy and plastic surgery. People therefore often assume that being trans is a product of modern medical science. However, the notion of a strict gender binary is not held by many traditional cultures around the world. The history of Europe and the Middle East is also full of examples of people living gender-diverse lives. This entry will show that trans people have existed throughout history and that being trans is therefore presumably part of the human condition.


We begin in the 23rd century b.c.e. in Ur, one of the oldest cities in the world. A hymn to Inanna, attributed to the Sumerian princess Enheduanna, claims that the goddess has ...

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