I wrote a post recently about reading the news again and finding interesting stories to share from around the globe. These unconventional stories caught my eye for a number of reasons, but mainly because they weren’t the usual “watch me now” clickbait.
I’ve enclosed a link of the first article at the end of my short piece on the story.
Intersex in the 18th century
As intelligent life forms we have a remarkable tendency to avoid history and appear short sighted in our opinions and understanding of the world. Many people get all upset about the mention of terms such as intersex, transgender or even plain old homosexuality. I say old because there is nothing new about this, men have been at it (literally) for centuries: just take a read here
So it goes with intersex people, who have been in our societies for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks spoke of Hermaphroditus who "is born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman”, in the first century AD. From Hermaphroditus we get the word Hermaphrodite which was used until replaced with the term intersex in the 1940s by Alexander Cawadias. Like many names given to people or groups the word Hermaphrodite had become a derogatory term by the end of it’s life. When we arrive at the BBC article below it is the 18th century and undoubtedly a difficult time to being tell ya mates about your physical differences. Especially when your mates include the American revolutionary Benjamin Franklin and George Washington (just the first president of the good ol’ USA, no biggy.)
If I was to get to my point it would be this, there are things we choose to see and a lot that we choose to ignore. We feel comfortable in the constructs that we have learnt from our parents and are programmed to seek safety and stability, to survive. Anything that differs from that safe norm is unusual, unpredictable and potentially dangerous to the status quo. Until we start to appreciate that a lot of what we ignore is not new, is not going away and is actually normal as part of the diverse world we live in then we will continue to elect Donald Trumps and dive into debacles like Brexit. Fortunately this article isn’t about either of those, so enjoy learning about a hero instead.
Casimir Pulaski may have been woman or intersex, study says