LGBT+ history month: forgotten figures who challenged gender expression and identity centuries ago

Non-binary and trans people have always been here, not least in every recorded society from the ancient world onwards. Why is it then that they’re often absent from the tales and lists of historical figures we hear about? The answer lies, in part, with how history is recorded and who records it. People who belong to groups that fear being ostracised and persecuted often only reveal their true selves to a few people. As a result, the visibility of LGBT+ people, even during moments in history when they have faced hostility, is often limited. Coupled with that is a dearth of historical records because authors of these historical accounts were often prejudiced and did not want to record the experiences of those considered shameful under the values of their time. Historians working on the queer past need to understand why LGBT+ people, along with members of other marginalised groups, don’t appear as often in recorded history compared with those outside of these communities. Fortunately, historians are now beginning to look around more carefully to find these important stories.