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More Light on Transgender (pdf)

In ancient times individuals whose gender was different from the norm were recognized as special people. Often expressing the characteristics of both the masculine and the feminine, these individuals were respected as having keen insight into the deeper matters of life, and so were often given positions of great respect within their communities. The shamans of pre-historic South America were thought to have special insight and wisdom because of their different gender identity; characteristics shared more recently by the two-spirit people in Native North American communities. Modern Hijra, transgender people in India, are considered an essential part of Indian weddings, births, and funerals.