Third-Gender Celts

Lost and Found?

From Planet 238

by Hafren Evan

Hafren Evan draws on memories of being a closeted trans youth in Wales to explore growing awareness of the biologically based nature of trans identities, and of their age-old nature too – tracing the existence of a third gender within pre-colonial Oceanian cultures and back further to contested accounts of complex gender identities among the Iron Age peoples.

Transgender author Jan Morris is a hero of mine, but when I read her claim that her west-Walian neighbours found her gender transition simultaneously extraordinary and ‘perfectly normal’, I could scarcely believe it.1 My own experience growing up in south-east Wales as a closeted trans youth in the eighties contrasted with Morris’ picture of an accepting community. To be gay, or assumed gay, was bad enough; but to be visibly trans in some way was beyond the pale.

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