UK museum reclassifies Roman emperor as transgender

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11/21/2023

A UK museum says that it will be heeding research that reveals the ancient Roman emperor Elagabalus was transgender and will subsequently be referring to the ruler as “she” in its displays. According to the Telegraph the North Hertfordshire Museum will use the new set of pronouns to refer to Elagabalus based on classical texts where the emperor asked to be called “lady”. The decision follows long-standing academic interest in Elagabalus’s gender identity. Keith Hoskins, executive member for Enterprise and Arts at North Herts Council, says in a statement issued in August: “North Herts Museum has one coin of Elagabalus, which we periodically put on display as it is one of a few LGBTQ+ items we have in our collection.” The silver denarius coin was minted in Elagabalus’s rein (218-222AD). “We try to be sensitive to identifying pronouns for people in the past, as we are for people in the present, it is only polite and respectful. We know that Elagabalus identified as a woman and was explicit about which pronouns to use, which shows that pronouns are not a new thing,” says Hoskins.

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