“Gender Identity in the Ancient World” Discussion – a Success for Progress

Poster used for this event, displaying a 2nd century bronze statuette of Hermaphroditus (British Museum).
Poster used for this event, displaying a 2nd century bronze statuette of Hermaphroditus (British Museum).

The transcript of the discussion can be found here.

A discussion in the Sandum social group Sande Amici (“Friends of Sandus”) on the virtual world Second Life yesterday evening from 17:00 to 19:00 Sandum Local Time (14:00 to 16:00 Second Life Time). Commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance, the discussion was centred around the topic of gender roles in sexes, gender identity, and gender expression in ancient and modern societies. In attendance were more than a dozen people who gathered on the Sande Amici land in the ROMA estate’s Subura region.

Gathered in the Comitium, the discussion members considered the topic of gender issues in the ancient culture of Rome and through out the Roman Empire. Meeting the conclusion that they were far too rigid and exclusive, the discussion turned to the relations between ancient and modern gender. Despite the fact that gender is a modern concept, the participants concluded that the Romans had a preconception of the social construct of gender. The discussion turned to more social liberal and progressive topics, as the discussion formed an arc from ancient Roman gender, to modern gender, to how to resolve the issue of gender and what a society and country such as Sandus can do in order to resolve the issue of binary and exclusive genders.

The Sôgmô, present and leading the discussion, included ideas that the participants discussed on a page to implement into Sandum policy. The first point was the use of gender inclusive language on all government documents and forms; this will require a task-force of trans* activists to look over the documents and forms of the Sandum government and conclude whether or not they are inclusive to the many gender identities of others. The next topic is to teach gender non-conformity and gender fluidity with arts and humanities to enable those who do not question their gender to “see through the eyes” of those who do not conform to binary genders, part of this will be discussed later in the communication point. With discussions such as the one held and through other personal interactions, communication between various gender identities ought to be held to increase interactions between perspectives and self-identities. The State of Sandus, it was discussed, ought to encourage activism and not simply “pass”. Thus, we turn to a large point: communication.

Sandus ought to encourage one-on-one discussions between individuals on gender and sexuality topics. “Soap-boxing” ought to be encouraged for those who are comfortable and courageous enough to go beyond the closet and express themselves public; eone way to do this is through Sandum media (Channum Unum, Veritum Sandus, Sande Amici). Thus relates a key importance of Veritum Sandus and Channum Unum, which provide a medium and basis for which trans* people can express themselves publicly, and we shall also encourage citizens and non-citizens alike to engage others with articles beyond Sandum media. Thus is the importance of viral websites — such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr — and the process of submitting their stories to the world. Finally, the last communication effort is to have discussions like the one held last night, for group get-togethers and invite those who are outside the group and unfamiliar with the topic.

These were the results of the discussion. The Office of the Sôgmô shall look into the possibility of engaging task-forces to examine Sandus and the Sandum government on a variety of topics to bring inclusion to Sandus on gender, sexuality, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, age, culture, and so on. For the first discussion of the Sandum discussion group Sande Amici, we look forward to discussing other social and cultural issues at the front of Sandus.

Finally, the discussion concluded with a moment of silence for victims of transphobia and to commemorate the lives of those attacked and who have committed suicide as a result of this hatred and ignorance.

As we say in Sandus,
In the Truth and Teachings of the Three Jewels and the Benedictions of All the Gods!

— Sôgmô Sörgel