498 Years Ago This Month

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On this month, 498 years ago:

Vasco discovered that the village of Quarequa was stained by the foulest vice. The king’s brother and a number of other courtiers were dressed as women, and according to the accounts of the neighbours shared the same passion. Vasco ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs. The Spaniards commonly used their dogs in fighting against these naked people, and the dogs threw themselves upon them as though they were wild boars or timid deer. The Spaniards found these animals as ready to share their dangers as did the people of Colophon or Castabara, who trained cohorts of dogs for war; for the dogs were always in the lead and never shirked a fight.

This from Pietro Martire D’Anghiera’s account of Vasco Nunez de Balboa massacre of Native American trans folk which took place October 1513.


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Cristan Williams is a pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable health care for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs, founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archive. Cristan chairs the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group, serves on the Board of Directors for the Bee Busy Wellness Center and is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America. She has a 22 year old son and creates websites for nonprofits for free in her spare time.