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General:Gender and Sexual Diversity

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Gender and sexual diversity is an innate and often unexceptional part of life in The Elder Scrolls. This article serves to note the diversity in gender and sexuality present throughout The Elder Scrolls.

Sexuality

  • In Skyrim, marriageable NPCs may be married regardless of the player character's gender. When asked about the possibility of same-sex marriage prior to release, Pete Hines said that the topic is "not hush hush, [we're] just not making a huge deal out of it. You can marry anyone."[1]
  • In a 2020 GDC talk, Tori Schafer said the following. "From the very get-go in Elder Scrolls Online, it was decided that LGBT+ characters were a part of that universe and they were just accepted by their society..."[2]
  • Orc chieftains are traditionally polygamous. The male chieftains are polygynous and their wives are forbidden from marrying others. In the rare case of a female chieftain, she will be polyandrous and the husbands will take on the traditional roles of wives.[6]
  • Interracial relationships are somewhat common, but they may be looked upon poorly in some cultures.
    • Dunmer consider it heresy to marry outside of their race.[7]
    • The Altmer consider interracial relationships to be the worst possible offense given their stance on racial purity, and have gone to the extreme to punish those involved in such relationships. For example, an Orc named Gurlak was in a relationship with his owner and slave master Nuralanya. When the relationship was found out, they were both imprisoned within Salas En, and the Orc would be imprisoned in a magical circle, which extended his lifespan considerably. He outlived his lover who was also imprisoned nearby and he would go on to live for thousands of years in this state of imprisonment, as no one was able to figure out the means of freeing him.[8]
    • In Cyrodiil, Human-Bosmer marriages are generally frowned upon.[9]

Gender

  • Alchemy is a transgender woman. She alludes that other members of the House of Reveries have changed gender upon joining. She also tells the player that she underwent her transition via magic. While wholly accepted as a transgender woman, her story about joining the acting troupe as opposed to remaining a scholarly mage parallels the real experiences of transgender women.[2]
    • Another member of the House of Reveries named Dreamer is actually a Daedra and uses gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Snaehild uses female pronouns.
  • Vivec is described as the "magical hermaphrodite".[10][11][12] Furthermore, Vivec is occasionally described with female pronouns,[13][14] and even with taking on a female form.[15]
  • Argonians may change their gender (among other characteristics) via the Hist. A Grand Transformation is written about this topic. Kud-Nakal and Chal-Maht are partners who both underwent this kind of transition.
  • Gods, though often having a most prevalent depicted/referred to gender, may also be depicted/referred to as another.

References

  1. ^ Pete Hines' (@DCDeacon) reply on Twitter
  2. ^ a b Representing LGBT+ Characters in Games: Two Case Studies, Tori Schafer 2020
  3. ^ Predicant Maera's dialogue regarding Saint Alessia in ESO: "...Pelinal and Morihaus were her trusted confidants, and, depending on the translations, either or both were her lovers."
  4. ^ The Song of Pelinal, v 3
  5. ^ Michael Kirkbride's Posts, 10/26/20: "As originally written, Huna and Pelinal were lovers."
  6. ^ Snaruga's dialogue in ESO
  7. ^ Hrogar's dialogue during Protecting the Hall in ESO
  8. ^ Gurlak's dialogue during The Oldest Orc in ESO
  9. ^ Anvil rumors in Oblivion
  10. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 8Vivec
  11. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 18Vivec
  12. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 35Vivec
  13. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 2Vivec
  14. ^ Varieties of Faith...Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
  15. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 37Vivec