The Oldest Transgender Tradition in History? The Gala of Ancient Sumer – Short Shorts, Sumerian History

Boys don’t cry, right? But the gala of Ancient Sumer did. In fact, they used a special dialect reserved for women to present as females when they sang lamentations in the temple. Could this be the oldest transgender tradition in history?

Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review. Support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/btnewberg. Research, writing, editing, and production by B. T. Newberg. Logo Design by Rachel Westhoff. Animation by Maxeem Konrardy. Additional credits, references, and more at www.historyofsexpod.com.

References

Assante, Julia. “Men Looking at Men: The Homoerotics of Power in the State Arts of Assyria.” In: Zsolnay, Ilona. Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Construct of Masculinity. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Bachvarova, Mary R. “Sumerian Gala Priests and Eastern Mediterranean Returning Gods.” In: Lament: Studies in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond, ed. by Ann Suter, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Bottéro, Jean. Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001.

Bullough, Vern, and Bullough, Bonnie. Women and Prostitution: A Social History. New York: Prometheus Books, 1987.

Gabbay, Uri. “The Kalu Priest and Kalutu Literature in Assyria.” Orient, Vol. 49, 2014.

Guinan, Ann. “Auguries of Hegemony: The Sex Omens of Mesopotamia.” Gender & History, Vol. 9, No. 3, 1997, November: pp. 462-479.

Guinan, Ann. “Erotomancy: Scripting the Erotic.” In: Parpola, Simo and Whiting, R. M., Eds. Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the 47th Recontre Assyriologique Interntionale, 2002.

Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Harps That Once…: Sumerian Poetry in Translation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.

Kramer, Samuel Noah. The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963.

Lahtinen, Sarah. “The Naditum as Businesswoman: The Economic Role of the Naditum in Old Babylonian Sippur.” Thesis. Uppsala University. (n.d.)

Oshima, Takayoshi. Babylonian Poems of Pious Sufferers: Ludlul Bel Nemeqi and the Babylonian Theodicy. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2014.

Stuckey, Johanna. “Inanna and the ‘Sacred Marriage.'” MatriFocus: Cross-quarterly for the Goddess Woman, Imbolc, Vol. 4-2, 2005.

Taylor, Patrick. “The Gala and the Gallos.” In: Collins, Bachvarova, and Rutherford (Eds.), Anatolian Interfaces, 2008, pp. 173-180.

Zsolnay, Ilona. Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Construct of Masculinity. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Audio Credits

Podcast theme music mixed from “Gregorian Chant”, “Mystery Sax”, and “There It Is” by Kevin MacLeod. Short Shorts theme music mixed from “Gregorian Chant” by Kevin MacLeod and “Short Shorts” by the Royal Teens.

“Lamentation” by Kevin MacLeod. Youtube.

“Speakeasy – Music of the Roaring 20s” by Prof. Davis. Youtube.

Image Credits

Statuette of Two Gala Priests from Wikipedia

Transgender Pride Flag from Wikipedia

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