Monday, April 14, 2014

56 Different Points on the Gender Spectrum

I was on several panels at the Conference on World Affairs (#CWA2014). One of them (which I was both most excited for, and most nervous for) was also video-recorded:
Panel 3712
56 Different Points on the Gender Spectrum
3:00-4:20 on Wednesday April 9, 2014
UMC Center Ballroom 
Margot Adler
Joel Gallant
Judithe Registre
Melissa Wilson Sayres
Moderator: Mindy Pantiel

I'm not sure how long this will be online, but I have ordered this video-recording, as well as the audio recording from the other panels I was on, and am inquiring about sharing them.

I forgot the awesomeness of the way this panel ended. The 56 refers to the different gender identities allowed in facebook at the time. I have transcribed it here for you.
Mindy: We have time for one more very brief question and this person has been very patient. 
Audience member: The question will be, just how many stories can people be expected to learn? The context is, I don't believe you can accept somebody unless you understand them, and I don't think you understand them until you know their story. 56 genders, 56 stories. It impresses me as a huge burden to learn 56 stories. Just how big a burden can people be expected to take on? How many stories can people be expected to learn? 
Joel Gallant: Well let's not take the 56 too literally. This is a facebook invention. I mean, it's not an invention, these come from somewhere, but the 56 comes from facebook as far as I know. And remember, that if you look at the categories in the facebook list, which I did last night, y'know, there's lots of overlap, these are not biological categories. The stories... there's many more than 56 stories. There's a story for every person, and what you want to know is not their facebook classification, but what's their personal story? And when you find that out, it won't really matter what they call themselves, 'cause you'll know that person as a human being, and that's the story you want to learn. 
Melissa Wilson Sayres: I'll say. According to the world population counter there are currently: seven billion, two hundred twenty-five million, three hundred eighty two thousand, eight hundred and fourty... nine, stories. 
Judithe Registre: I'm just going to add though there's one story. The story is that you feel pain, I feel pain, we hunger, there is one human story. Seven million people and one thing I've been fascinated by, whether I move across different countries around the world, that people have the same desire: to be respected, to live with human dignity. That is one story. And if we can remember that one story, the 56 stories become meaningful. If we can't remember that one story, the 56 stories is meaningless.

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