Re: Nandani

From: Andrew Larsen <>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 09:59:35 -0500

> From: Julian Lord <>
> Subject: Nandan

    I agree heartily with what you say about Nandani. They are men (not magical transexuals) who function culturally as women. I believe there is a class of men in India who have similar status.

> Come to think of it, the 'Marriage Status' info in KoS pp. 242-3 is obviously
> outdated and incorrect, because it fails to include the several classes of
> Nandanic marriage. 'Husband and Husband' & 'Husband and Underhusband' just
> scratch the surface of this vast topic, obviously...
> What effect this might have on clan wedding restrictions is a topic that I
> hesitate to explore ; I mean, what repercussions when all the women of Clan A
> are notoriously cursed with sterility, while the men of clan B are ritually
> obliged to take their wives from clan A when it's converted to Nandanism ?
> Quo Nandan devotees in exogamic clans ?

    As I see it, one of the functions of Nandan is to allow room for homosexual men within Sartarite society. It's at something of a cost, because culturally the man is no longer a man, but it does mean that two gay men can be married, as long as one of them is a Nandani. Since Nandani are legally female, I would expect that Nandani marriage is probably just recognized variations on the traditional forms of marriage. Thus the Nandani takes the title 'wife', since legally he's a woman, not a man. Biologically, though, his gender remains unchanged. Marriage here might or might not be exogamic, one of the small advantages of being a Nandani.

    The only other cultural role for a male homosexual would a Heleri, who is culturally male, which means that the marriage rules remain unchanged. Since in the myths Heler commits adultery without being punished for it, apparently, perhaps gay Heleri are allowed to have a male 'concubine' alongside their wife. Marriage to another man is out for a Heleri unless the other man is a Nandani. A gay Orlanthi would have to marry a woman, but might be allowed a non-marital relationship with a Heleri?

Andrew E. Larsen

Powered by hypermail