Culture War

Outrageous Claim: Academics Suggest Ancient Warriors Were Transgender

A British academic, James Davison, specializing in medieval history at the University of Liverpool, has sparked controversy by projecting “trans theory” onto the graves of Anglo-Saxon warriors. Davison claims that examining these graves through the “lens of transness” suggests the existence of transgender warriors among their ranks 1,500 years ago, asserting that so-called transgender women might have held elevated positions in their society.

Davison employs approaches from trans studies to analyze historical cultures, acknowledging the potential for genders beyond the male-female binary. He believes that using the “lens of trans theory” can enhance historians’ understanding of early Anglo-Saxon gender roles. While he admits his work is speculative, he points to a burial site at the Buckland cemetery as potential evidence. This site, excavated between 1951 and 1953, identified a grave with deeply degraded remains as “possibly female” but buried with artifacts associated with male warriors, such as a sword, shield, and spearhead.

The academic argues that, despite the unverifiable nature of the remains, this grave could be interpreted as belonging to a trans man who enjoyed respect in the community, displaying wealth, masculinity, and warrior status through the burial items. This interpretation aligns with a broader trend within academia and the arts, where modern gender theories are applied retroactively to historical figures.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, for instance, recently announced plans to portray Joan of Arc, a famed French woman warrior and Catholic saint, as a gender-neutral character using “they/them” pronouns. This practice of applying contemporary gender theories to historical figures has been criticized for potentially distorting historical accuracy.

This trend extends beyond academia, as evidenced by the North Hertfordshire Museum’s decision to label third-century Roman Emperor Elagabalus as transgender, using “she/her” pronouns for displays. The research by Davison, while not as extreme as some woke history interpretations, reflects an ongoing debate about the appropriate use of modern gender concepts when examining historical societies.

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