From: Doyle Tavener <doyletavener_at_7BLYIweteMCWcacnJU_9mWB_M2SeX4x7z9Dyh6bx7ZdyntTMVl7X4hvrOUiZh3j>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 19:02:47 -0000

Hello all,

I want to take another crack at the Vinga/Nandan/Sexualty/Gender discussion, and reflect on how my real world understanding of these matters impacts how I view it in (necessarily) my Glorantha. Even though these are my own views, I would very much like to her reaction and comment on them.

Right off the bat, I want to state that my real world understanding in these matters is informed by my own sexuality (bisexual) and my study of homophobia, gender and feminist studies. I would suggest Homophobia: A History, by Byrne Fone, not just for information about the titular subject, but also as a survey of classical-era attitudes towards same-sex sexuality in general.

In modern western parlance, gender is a term that was defined largely as a biological distinction (male and female) since the 19th century.

Wikipedia defines gender as follows:

"Gender" in common usage refers to the sexual distinction between male and female. Although "gender" has commonly been used interchangeably with "sex" within the academic fields of cultural studies, gender studies and the social sciences the term "gender" refers to a social construction rather than a biological condition…

The entry above cites an important distinction; gender is today used to refer to social constructs, which are artifacts of a particular time, place and culture.

In a practical sense, gender seems, in the modern era, to be bound up intimately in sexuality. The very term `effeminate' is evidence of this, as it refers to one gender (male) acting as the other (female) in a pejorative (and specifically sexual) sense. But as many cultures around the world demonstrate, gender is often more centered around the roles you fulfill in society, rather than who you have sex with.

This is complicated in Orlanthi society by the fact of theism. In Orlanthi style theism, a God picks you, and you are the way you are because of the actions of the God.

I think it of `high crown' to understand that Vinga and Nandan are gateway gods, first and foremost – they allow individuals of one sex to take on the social roles of another gender. The reasons that one is `chosen by the god' for this are mixed. Some women are chosen by Vinga because they need to act as warriors, which is a male gendered social role. Others are `called' so that can practice a sexuality that would not be condoned by their gender.

I expect that Heler is God that allows for those who take on indeterminacy within gendered social roles. They act as one gender in some matters, and as another in still others. More significantly, one expects those chosen by Heler to switch back and forth between gendered social roles – something seen as suspect, I believe, in Orlanthi society.

Examine for a moment those social roles and occupations in our own society which are `gendered' male – police, fireman, and particular professional athletes. Anecdotally, I observe that a great many of those women are lesbian, perhaps even a majority in professional woman's golf or basketball.

In the same way, I think we can expect that many, if not most Vingans practice same-sex sexual behavior.

Please note that I use the terms same-sex behavior rather than Lesbian. That's because Lesbian and Gay-male lifestyles are artifacts of this time and place. Same-sex sexual behavior, while ubiquitous to the human condition, and thus ubiquitous to Gloranthan humans, can (and probably does) take on radically different manifestations in Glorantha.            

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