Nothing New Under the Sun

Posted by – January 28, 2011

To a lot of people, transgender identities are new, some emerging idea that’s only happened in the modern era, & to some degree, that’s true: without the discovery of hormones (turn of the last century) and the development of surgeries (middle of the last century), it is much more difficult for people to live in a body that’s wrongly gendered.

But that, however, is only for the people who require medical intervention. There have always been bodies that bridge male and female, that express secondary sex characteristics of both. Evidence:

How fantastic is she? At the very least, when some moralizing pundit talks about trans or intersex as some kind of new perversity, and a sign that the world is coming to an end, we can at least point out that it’s a very old perversity indeed. Most perversions are. We don’t invent much, but instead mostly forget, or otherwise bury some histories and identities and pretend they never did exist. (For the record, for those of you who aren’t careful readers: I do not think trans or intersex is a perversion.I am employing rhetoric in order to make my point clear. Civil and cultural recognition of trans and intersex identities and bodies is a sign of civilization, to me.)

But they did exist. This piece is not on display, but owned by the Louvre, yet this other one is on display, and in my opinion, far more sensual. Museum stats below the break.

Cote cliché : 10-504886
N° d’inventaire : MA4866
Fonds : Antiquités grecques, étrusques et romaines
Titre : Statue dun hermaphrodite
Description : 2e siècle ap J.-C. // découverte : Monte Porzio ( Colonna , Casale Ciufla)
Crédit photographique : (C) RMN / Hervé Lewandowski
Période : Empire romain (27 avant J.-C.-476 après J.-C.)
Technique/Matière : marbre, sculpture (technique)
Site de production : Italie (origine), site de production incertain
Lieu de découverte : Monte Porzio (origine)
Hauteur : 1.500 m.
Localisation : Paris, musée du Louvre

1 Comment on Nothing New Under the Sun

  1. cdkimberly says:

    When those that moralize start to quote scripture, I usually spit back Matthew 19:12 -

    For there are eunuchs who were born from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” (KJV)

    While some may argue that this passage is about men who are castrated, it seems apparent, especially from the last sentence, that this passage is speaking of intersexed/transexual individuals. An it implores the reader to accept it. There are many in the field of biblical scholarship who agree with this conclusion. None of them are Fundamentalists, however.

    Granted, I do take a perverse pleasure in beating Bible-thumpers over the head with their own book.

    NB – The New International Version alters the text and tries to spin this as abstinence.

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