Or as I like to call them, our tr-anscestors. Transponder
The Modern West has largely deconstructed gender roles so that a
female exercising male gender roles is not transgender (except, perhaps
in Christian Fundamentalist circles) so people like Deborah don't
strike us as gender variant. However, we need to be culturally
sensitive and the pre-1960 view of gender roles were strictly
segregated and crossing that line was no different than cross gender
expression or gender identity. A better term than "trans" would be "gender variant."
Biblical gender variant people
- Adam - An androgyne.
- Dinah - According to Midrash, Dinah was conceived male but Leah prayed for a daughter and God made Dinah female. Dinah became a symbol for Jewish transwomen
- Zipporah - Taking the role of a moil, she takes charge of the male ritual of circumcision and God rewards her
- Deborah - Judge of Israel. She is famous for commanding Israel's male general, Barak, to go into battle though he is uncertain.
- Barak scoffs at being commanded by a woman so God says God will take
victory from Barak and give it to a woman. The enemy general escapes
Barak but is killed by Jael.
- Proverbs 31 woman - A breadwinner
(v16) and called "cha-yil" meaning "mighty" with a military connotation
(v29 but English translations mis-translate to something more feminine).
- A eunuch under Zedekiah. When Jeremiah is thrown into the cistern,
Ebed-melech pleads to the King for Jeremiah's life. Taking thirty of
his servants, Ebed-melech pulls out Jeremiah.
- Hathach - One of Esther's eunuchs acts as a go between for Esther and Mordicai.
- Harbona - A eunuch of the Persian king who suggested the King hang the villainous Haman
- Possible enuchs - A number of biblical characters may or may not have been eunuchs. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego may have been forced to become
eunuchs when made to serve in the Babylonian court. Zephaniah was the Cup Bearer to the Persian King Xerxes, a position typically reserved for eunuchs. The Bible neither confirms nor denies the status of any of them.
- Jesus - Multiple possibilities from androgyne to intersex to eunuch to just a feminist. See The Gender of Jesus
- The Centurion and his lover whom Jesus heals
- Water Carrier - Led the apostles to the Upper Room
- Qinaqis - The Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip baptized.
- Origen (185-254) - Taking Matthew 19 seriously, this Church Father made himself a eunuch as did many early Christians.
- Cross dressing saints
- A dozen different females with the same basic story: they dress as
men for their own advantage, like Wilgefortis. They remain men, taking
up roles in monasteries, sometimes as abbots.
- St. Marina (?-508) - A female desiring to join an abbey, took up a masculine identity as "Marius." Their sex was discovered post mortum and canonized as St Marinus. (Omnigender, p130)
- Arranged into a despicable marriage by Wilgefortis' father, she takes
a vow of chastity and prays for help. Wilgefortis quicktly grows a
beard and is denouced by her fiance.
- Julian of
Norwich (1342-1414) - A female and "Julian" was a man's name. Julian emphasized the
femininity of God, calling the First Person of the Trinity "Father
Mother" and the Holy Spirit "she."
- Joan of Arc (1412-1431) - A female who changed history by acting as a man. Whether this gender crossing was due to gender identity or the sexism of the day is disputed by historians. She was canonized into the Catholic Church in 1920.
Other notable things
Early Christians Serge and Bacchus, on their way to being martyred, were dressed as women and marched through the streets. They proclaimed:
Putting off the form of the old man, naked in faith we rejoice in you,
Lord, because you have clothed us with the garment of salvation, and have
covered us with the robe of righteousness; as brides you have decked us
with women's gowns and joined us together for you [or: "joined us to you"]
through our confession. (Source
People - Contemporary people related to Christian transgenderism