A Style Guide for Gender Inclusivity in the Latin Language
Updated: Feb 14, 2021
The following project was created by Lupercal and Trans in Classics.
The need for this project is, for many, manifestly evident. In Latin, as in many gendered languages, a need has become more and more prominent for inclusive ways to address folks of all genders. The historical precedent of defaulting to the masculine gender is, in our view, based on unacceptable patriarchal views of male superiority. Likewise, defaulting to solely feminine language is equally exclusionary. We therefore have chosen to pursue a non-classical declension of endings to be used when addressing groups of mixed gender or individuals or groups of unknown gender.
In the creation of this document, we held meetings with a gender-diverse group of Latin teachers, students, and classicists to provide input on the manners of address with which they felt comfortable. We recognize that many Latinists will object to the declension presented in this document, as it is non-traditional and non-classical. Likewise, a non-binary person might feel uncomfortable adopting these endings or may feel more comfortable with others.
This guide is not meant to be an absolute authority for folks identifying themselves in Latin. We strongly encourage individuals to use endings that feel appropriate and comfortable to them. Instead, we would like to provide a standard, inclusive option which explicitly acknowledges the presence of non-binary genders.
We have spent months producing something that is radically inclusive, which is to say that it stands out to the Latin reader as being intentionally different and unexpected, while still being comprehensible. Moreover, as many in our community utilize spoken Latin in communication, it is important for it to be immediately obvious how to pronounce any new forms.
This document begins with a few basic guidelines for generally communicating in an inclusive manner. While hardly groundbreaking, such guidelines have been far from universally adopted, and we believe that inclusive language is necessary in order to have an inclusive space. These guidelines are far from exhaustive and we strongly recommend other style guides.
Finally, we would like to thank the members of the Lupercal Style Guide committee and those who offered suggestions, Abbi Holt, Cyrus Rosoiu, Eli Clark, Izzy Levy, Ky Merkley, Lauren Husman, and Mercer Weaver, for their input on gender and language. Their participation in the creation of this document has been invaluable.
Please see the complete style guide here:
Check out Trans in Classics here.