18/30 Days of deity devotion

Day Eighteen: How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)

Asclepius was born male, and the gender he was assigned at birth matched his body and personal identity. From all indications, he is heterosexual.

Asclepius is a healer of the soul, as well as a healer of the body.  UPG suggests to me that he would be just as kind and benevolent to transgender and intersex people as he is to his cis patients – after all, these ways of being existed and were documented in antiquity. Some of the men who became eunuchs in antiquity may have been transgender persons. Pliny the Elder and Ovid both had personal knowledge of individuals who changed gender, and Elagabalus, Emperor of Rome, was likely a transgender individual.

The only requirement for seeking healing from Asclepius has always been purity.  As Circeo said, “The law orders people to approach the gods in purity – purity of mind, of course, on which everything else resides…Physical impurity can be removed by a splash of water, or a lapse of a fixed number of days, but a stain on the mind does not fade with time, nor can it be washed out by any river.” (On Commonwealth and on the Laws, 139)

Image: Asclepius Marble, Roman copy of Greek original. Capitoline Museum, Rome.  Photo by Dimitar Denev, 2009 via Flickr

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