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This archaeologist shut down this anti-trans talking point in the best way possible

Lots of conservatives like to think science is on their side when it comes to transphobia. Newsflash: it isn’t, and one trans archaeologist proved it once again in a now viral post.

Owen Hurcum is a PhD researcher in transgender archaeology at the University of York. (They also happen to be the former mayor of Bangor, Wales, making them the first nonbinary mayor in the world.) On X, Hurcum used their archaeology expertise to shut down a common anti-trans argument.

“Do you know who disagrees the most with the Transphobic saying ‘when an archaeologist digs up your bones you’ll still be male/female’?” Hurcum asked. “Archaeologists. I tell my colleagues transphobes say this and we all laugh because that is not how Archaeology works at all!”

“Archaeology has been talking of genders beyond the binary for 50 years,” Hurcum continued. “Debates in Gender Archaeology focus on how to identify a multiplicity of gender with all its nuance or if Archaeologists can even see gender at all, not if there are more than two genders. That’s settled.”

Though archaeology is a complicated field, Hurcum’s point boils down to the fact that when actual archaeologists study human remains, they don’t turn to anatomy to determine the body’s gender. Rather, archaeologists are more interested in the social role that person played, which they can deduce from the way they were buried and the things they were buried with. Trans and nonbinary people have just as much a place in history as cis folks, a fact Hurcum and others in their field are well aware of.

Hucrum’s post was met with support from many other archaeologists (and archaeology enthusiasts), who agreed that the transphobic idea of skeletons as the be-all-end-all of gender is ludicrous.

For anyone looking to dig deeper into the intersection of transness and archaeology, Hucrum’s got you covered with a list of introductory essays.

“We must show the lies that those opposed to transgender rights espouse so as to justify their position,” they wrote when they posted the list in April of this year. “Our community has a history, it has an archaeology, and these must be championed.” Check out their thread of resources below.

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