As the Pink News reports, the 5,000-year-old skeleton was determined to be male, but was buried in the manner that females in the culture were buried, causing archeologists to theorize that the person may have been trans.
Of course, “trans” meant nothing back then. Our concept of transgender or transsexual as a misalignment of gender identity and physical body is a modern one and also a cultural one.
But the skeleton lends further proof (as if we really needed it) to the idea that the phenomenon or “condition” that we call “trans” in modern Western culture has been present throughout all cultures in all time periods.
The article linked to above also references a female skeleton from the Mesolithic period who was found buried with weapons and assumed to be a warrior, documenting that the “trans” phenomenon has always gone both ways.
But even more important than providing additional documentation for a fact that we already know is the respectful means of burial for these people. The burial of the individual who was identified as “male” was just like that of a female, indicating that this culture recognized this person for who she really was – likewise for the “female” warrior who was buried in the male tradition.
What this tells us is that these cultures, at least in this particular situation, were far more socially advanced than we are. Without hormones, surgery, and all the legal paperwork changes that modern society requires, these cultures naturally recognized these people as their true selves – and respected that even in death.
These “transgender” skeletons have a lot to teach us – about culture, about history, about diversity and difference, and, most of all, about respect for individual identity.