[Reader-list] Gender Identity Workshop

sayantoni datta sayantoni at rediffmail.com
Fri Aug 29 19:13:33 IST 2003

Forwarding details on a "process lab" being conducted by Sumedhas, The Academy for Human Context.Interested people kindly write to Ms.Anjali Tolani, with a note on why you would want to particpate.Please find details hereunder:

Gender Identity Workshop – Working with intimacy
7th to 12th November, 2003
Raigad Resorts – Panvel

sugar and spice and everything nice,
that's what little girls are made of.
Frogs, Snips and snails and puppy dog tails,
that's what little boys are made of."

The Program

The two chromosomes that determine an animal's sex evolved from an identical pair of ordinary chromosomes about 240 to 320 million years ago. 

It is an event, called a genetic hijacking by some scientists, that has profound ramifications today. 

Of the 46 human chromosomes, 44 are identical pairs. But two - the X and the Y - are different because they have no perfect match. Embryos with two X chromosomes develop into females, while embryos with an X and a Y chromosome develop into males. 

And, from this event are born male and female species of the human race.  From the moment we are born, we have our bio-sexual identity in terms of who we are i.e. a boy or a girl.  As we grow up, we have more and more roles added to that identity, like a son, a daughter, brother or sister, grand child, student, friend, husband, wife, partner, etc, as we continue to live our lives.

In this process, more often, most of these roles revolve around our bio-sexual identity of either being born as a "man" or as a "woman".  These roles evolve and develop by the way we define our ways of relating in intimate relationships both with ourselves and with significant others, the way we look at our bodies and create images for ourselves, the ways of forming our beliefs and codes of conduct about being a "man" or being a "woman" both in our personal context and in the larger context called the society.  

In many ways one may say that our "bio-sexual identity" or being born as a "man" or a "woman" is given or determined by the genetic coding with which we are born.  However,  how we shape that "man" or "woman" to be in relation to ourselves and in relation to others are fashioned by the social norms - both set by ourselves and by others, our context, history, culture, community, race, etc in short by our "gender identity". 

It is important to distinguish between sex and gender, where sex, male or female, is about physical differences between the sexes, while gender, masculine or feminine, is about characteristics of behavior, demeanor, or psychology. Or we can say, in the words of Judith Butler, "Gender, then, as the identification with one sex or one object (like the mother) is a fantasy, a set of internalized images, and not a set of properties governed by the body and its organ configuration. Rather, gender is a set of signs internalized, psychically imposed on the body and on one's psychic sense of identity. Gender, is thus not a primary category, but an attribute, a set of secondary narrative effects."

One of the objectives of this workshop is to explore therefore what it means to be born as a "man" or as a "woman".  The exploration is focused on our gender identity; especially on our internlised images of our relatedness to our selves and our bodies; ways in which we related to significant others in our intimate relationships, meanings and rules that we develop around them; our codes of communication, expression; evocation, inhibition, rigidity, issues of morality, aggression, intimacy, guilt, joy and shame; and to create the possibility of a new perspective and a new anchoring in our gender identity as a "man" or a "woman" for self; and a new understanding about the macro context.

For whom

This programme invites people who are willing to engage into exploration into what is means to be a "man" or a "woman", i.e. explorations into gender identity, the meanings and the coding around on which the image of our selves as a 'man' or a 'woman' and our  bodies have been built, frames with which we form and manage our intimacy both with ourselves and significant others and are willing to create the possibility of a new and holistic perspective about the kind of "man" and "woman" they wish to be in their personal context.


Participants must have experience of attending at least one process lab.

The programme is not meant for persons with a previous history of heart and psychological illnesses 

Program Design

The design of the program is around working simultaneously with our bodies and our psyche.  Usage of open space, yoga, performing art forms along with process work philosophies and techniques will be the currency of the workshop.  The program is meant to be explorative and interactive in nature and is not intended to be a discourse on gender identity.

All the work will happen in a floor seating arrangement and will have a lot of physical action. Participants are required to come prepared with appropriate clothing.

Administrative Information 

Programme 7th  to 12th November, 2003
Venue Raigad Resorts, Village Khanavale, Opp Balaji Petrol Pump, Mumbai-Pune Highway, Panvel.Telephone: (to call from Mumbai dial 952143):                       (02143)- 239343/44/45)website: www.raigadresorts.com  

Fees: Rs. 17.500/- for corporate nominations,  and Rs. 11,500/- for self sponsored participants Payable by cheque in favour of “Sumedhas Academy for Human Context” payable at Delhi.

Nomination:Please send the information regarding the participants along with the fees to:Ms. Anjali Tolani130/4606, Tribhuvan Society, New Tilak Nagar,Chembur, Mumbai - 400089Numbers: (R) (022) 2522 4660                (O) (022) 2653 6528                (M) 09821320293Email : anjalitolani at hotmail.com          : bankclerk at indiatimes.com Fax:      26531377

Transportation: Transportation will be arranged to the venue from Mumbai. Details will be communicated to participants separately.

Programme Begins:10.00 a.m. on 7th November, 2003
Programme Ends:2.30 p.m. on 12th November, 2003

All accommodation will be on a twin-sharing basis only.
Programme Director	:	Sarbari Gomes
Anchor Person	:	Ahalya Ananth

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