One of the things that soon became apparent to me was the fact I am not out their alone .
One only has to look at sites on the internet to quickly realise their are thousands of other Transgender /Transsexual people who don't just appear recently ,they have been going on for decades, and probably right through time its self . On this page I just want to pay tribute to some of the other trans women who have made an impact on not just me but probably thousands of others out their .
The Natural History Of Transsexuality:
Since transsexuality is caused by hormonal alteration of the nervous system of developing fetuses, and occurs in perhaps all mammalian species, it would be reasonable to infer that it has been around for a very long time. Indeed, since birth defects in general are just part of nature, it would be unthinkable to imagine an era of Man devoid of transsexuals. We have always been, and from time to time, history has recorded that fact.
The only clues we have of paleolithic transsexuals would be by considering the societies of aboriginal peoples still living with stone age technologies. The few left remaining on the earth, in the rain forests of South America, or the remaining unspoiled lands of Africa, all have reverential positions for the transsexuals that are born to them. In such societies, Transsexuals are considered magical, kin to the gods or spirits, and possessed of shamanic powers.
Every society in history has had some name, role or way of relating to the transsexual, from ancient Canaan and Turkey to India, even to the present day.
Examples abound. For instance, in ancient Rome existed the 'Gallae', Phrygian worshipers of the Goddess Cybele. Once decided on their choice of gender and religion, physically male Gallae ran through the streets and threw their own severed genitalia into open doorways, as a ritualistic act.
The household receiving these remains considered them a great blessing. In return, the household would nurse the Gallae back to health. The Gallae then ceremoniously received female clothes, and assumed a female identity. Commonly, they would be dressed as brides, or in other splendid clothing.
In India, ritual practices for transsexual individuals continue to the present day. Called Hijiras, this sect also worship a Goddess, and undergo a primitive sort of sex reassignment surgery. The Hijiras are treated in a rather hypocritical fashion within Indian society however, in that they are both despised and revered at the same time. Hijiras often are paid to attend a bless weddings, and to act as spiritual and social advisors, but are also shunned as less than worthy eunuchs. Yet in other circumstances, such as social situations, they are accorded the status of true females.
The Dine, or Navajos of the southwest United States, recognize three sexes instead of only two. For the Dine, there are Males, Females, and Nadles, which are considered somewhat both and neither. While those born intersexed or hermaphroditic are automatically considered Nadle, physically 'normal' individuals may define as Nadle based on their own self-definition of gender identity. The Nadle once possessed far greater respect before the Navaho were conquered and their culture all but obliterated by the forced assumption of Catholicism.
Among the Sioux, the Winkte served much the same function, and individuals could assume the complete role of their preferred gender. Physical females lived as male warriors, and had wives, while physical males lived their lives completely as women. In Sioux society no special magic was associated with this, it was just considered a way of correcting a mistake of nature. Winkte would also perform primitive reassignment operations of a sort, and history records the process used by physical males: riding for days on a special hard saddle to crush the testicles and thus effectively castrate the individual.
Being transsexual in ancient cultures took a special form of courage too, even if society may have been embracing of the Transsexed!
Whether it is the Sererr of the Pokots of Kenya, the Xaniths of Islamic Oman, the Mahu of Tahiti, or even the Sekrata of Madagascar, the story is essentially the same: transsexuality was a fact of life, and a place in society was made for the gender dysphoric to be themselves.
The modern classification of transsexuality and the medical intervention of sex reassignment was first attempted in Germany in 1930. Einar Wegener sought treatment and was operated upon. Afterwards, she lived as Lily Elbe, but alas not for long...the surgery had tragic complications. The first well known, surviving post operative transsexual was American ex-G.I. George Jorgensen, who became Christine Jorgensen in 1953. Christine became the center of a whirlwind of publicity despite an effort to avoid it, and had little choice but to capitalize on the misfortune. Christine became the first 'Media Transsexual' - or as some transsexuals put it 'Transie Martyr' , and suffered both the benefit and curse of fame. Christine starred in several hollywood movies as a result, and became celebrity enough to bring transsexualism out of the closet and into view of post-industrial society.
For decades only the rare individual physician dared treat the transsexual, while the mainstream medical community considered transsexuality to be a mere mental disorder without a biological basis. The first professional to truly try to help transsexuals with compassion and scientific study was Dr. Harry Benjamin. Dr. Benjamin carefully treated and studied the cases of transsexuals, essentially devoting most of his career to the project. The results of his carefully documented studies were published in 1966 in his book "The Transsexual Phenomenon". This work led directly to the benefits that we modern transsexuals enjoy, for it opened the door to serious study of the condition. Currently, the worldwide Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association continues his work, and helps to set standards of care for the treatment of transsexuals by the medical establishment.
Recent study of brain functioning has shed important light on the causes of transsexuality, and surgical techniques as well as overall treatment continue to improve. Society is slowly becoming accepting once again of the inevitable transsexual in it's midst, and it may well be that the future will hold even greater help for the transsexuals born into future ages.
IN A NUTSHELL: Transsexuals have always existed. In the ancient world, transsexuality was both accepted and respected. Throughout the ages, transsexuals have attempted to correct the error of their bodies, with varying results. The modern, technological world at last provides a real chance for the transsexual to finally, truly correct the errors of Nature.
With Love And Respect
Tina Marie Phillips