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Trans-formation Tuesdays: Womxn

Non-binary badasses have been around forever. Thanks to my family's gift of Bygone Badass Broads, I got to learn about two transgender trailblazers that prove this point. Egypt's first female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, and Sweden's androgynous gyrl king, Christina.


What makes a person transgender or non-binary is simple. As a trans person myself (who writes fantasy), I define transgender as the transcendence of society's traditional definitions of gender. This is represented by someone who identifies, dresses, or behaves outside of the expectations of the man or woman box. Transgender is a huge umbrella term so there's really no one way to be trans.

In Hatshepsut and Christina's cases, these womxn took on power, roles, and expression traditionally reserved for men. Hence transcendence and my claiming of them for the transgender, non-binary team.

Beardless statue of Hatshepsut

Bearded statue of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut is credited with being Egypt's first female pharaoh*, installing hyrself upon the throne in hyr stepson's stead. Hatshepsut commissioned multiple statues of hyrself, often with a beard, to establish greater legitimacy to the throne. She also renovated much of Ancient Egypt by commissioning dozens of building projects and temples. "I have always been king" was inscribed on at least one of hyr obelisks (can we say transgender?). The female pharaoh is also credited with a reign of peace and prosperity, during which time she established friendly relations with neighboring kingdoms and expanded trade routes.

King Christina of Sweden came way after Pharaoh Hatshepsut, but in no way was she left behind in the transgender badassery. Christina was well-educated, an excellent marksmxn, a lover of books, wore pants, and swore like a sailor. To laddle on more queer, King Christina was also a lover of ladies and was raised by two women after hyr father died. King Christina also refused to get married, shattering more gender expectations.

In addition to the above stated awesomeness, King Christina was successful in pulling Sweden out of a thirty year war. The non-binary king went on to make Stockholm an intellectual capital. She invited scholars from all over the world to hyr court, frequently wrote Descartes, inspired the first Swedish newspaper and the first nationwide school ordinance.


I, as a trangender person, was grateful to learn about Hatshepsut and Christina's gender bending because I often feel unrepresented in the histories I learn. Hatshepsut and Christina's defiance of cisgender and heterosexual norms has helped me realize that there's a longstanding non-binary history I can connect to. And I'll keep sharing it with you as I soldier on.

I mean, how awesome are these illustrations by Petra Eriksson? Seriously, Bygone Badass Broads. Buy it.

*There's some dispute about first female pharaoh. Hatshepsut may have been preceded by Sobekneferu. Woohoo more female pharaohs! Get that bread!

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