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In general, the cultures of Yolkein have a neutral or positive view on gender equality and same-sex relationships. There are only a few cultures that are outright hostile to LGBT people or have rigid gender roles.

Many languages have their own words that would basically translate to words such as "gay" or "transgender" though hostile cultures may have harsh names for such people.

While I will be doing quite a lot of generalizing, especially when it comes to national cultures, the views described are not all encompassing. There are subcultures within each country that differ from the general description.

First Folk Edit

The First Folk are generally genderless. This does not mean they lack reproductive organs, only that the societal construct of gender does not apply to their cultures. First Folk individuals or communities with close ties to humans may take on a gender identity to fit in with human society, assuming they aren't born into it.

The language of the First Folk did not have gendered pronouns for centuries. Early human societies followed their example during this time as well. It wasn't until human populations boomed and their cultures diverged that the construct of gender arose.

It is more common than not for First Folk to be polyamorous. Given their extremely long lives, relationships often cannot remain consistent for centuries. Having multiple partners eases the burdens of such long relationships. If a member of the First Folk decided to have only one partner at a time, breaking up to start a relationship with someone else is seen as a fair and normal way of ending a relationship (compare this to human cultures where this is very frowned upon.) It is expected to at least switch partners a few times throughout their life and on-again-off-again relationships are slightly less awkward than they might be for humans. The idea of having a single life-long soulmate is utterly baffling to the First Folk. Long mourning periods for deceased lovers are not uncommon, but unless the First Folk is of an immense age, they will often find love anew eventually.

It is very common for a First Folk to take on a sexual partner only to produce a child if they would not be able to reproduce with their romantic partner(s).

Countries: Coranem, Lorelas, Xeros Edit

Marriage in these countries is entirely gender-neutral in the eyes of the state, various religions, and society. Polyamory is also accepted, though it is more common in Xeros than in the other countries.

Gender roles are often observed but not strictly enforced. A girl, for example, might be raised to be a home-maker like her mother, but if she chose to become a mercenary instead, her family would not likely deny her that career choice based on her gender.

Transgender people have mixed experiences. Populations of larger cities have a general better understanding of the concept of transgenderness. Cities that have Mask Houses generally have strong LGBT communities.

More rural areas tend to be ignorant with regards to transgender people as well as non-straight sexualities, though generally not in violent or extremely harmful ways. Concepts such as gender identity labels or complex sexualities are simply not well explored in rural areas. Rural LGBT people can often feel alienated or struggle to sort out their own identities without this knowledge. In more easy-going areas, some LGBT people are content enough to play it by ear with regards to their gender/sexuality experiences.

Violent hate crimes that target LGBT people are actually quite rare in these countries.

Xeros and Lorelas have a more visible population of trans people due to the countries' favor of Mask. In Xeros, genderfluidity is aided greatly by the cultural aspect of switching names when moving between social groups or situations. It is common for genderfluid people in Xeros to change names based on the gender they presently identify as.

Religion: Mask Edit

Mask, being a deity of identity, protects transgender people. Mask Houses provide resources for individuals who are transitioning. While bodily alterations were once possible with magic, they are no longer provided with the decline of magic. Non-magical elixirs still exist to alter hormones for partial transitions. Non-magical surgeries relating to transitioning are discussed in some rare volumes collected in Mask Houses, but such surgeries have not been commonly performed in centuries.

Mask Houses also hold journals of transgender people. Those uncertain about their gender may find wisdom within these journals.

Followers of Mask who are serving as Visors take on a neutral gender identity while they work in Mask Houses.

Visors are able to officiate over weddings of people of any gender, unless local laws forbid it. Even so, many are willing to carry out such weddings in secret if necessary.

Country: Eldrimar Edit

Warning: Discussions of transphobia and homophobia

*Section needs a lot of redoing

Eldrimar's intense focus on maintaining bloodlines has a great impact of the gender and sexuality of the culture. While some Houses may be more lax, many of them are strict - non-binary and transgender people would be on the receiving end of casual cissexism at best, punishment at worst.

In short, blood lines and inter-family ties are the absolute most important feature of Eldrimari magic. Magicians of this country are known for authoring spells that are restricted to their family members only - the more family ties one has, the greater the library of magic. Alternatively, a more condensed family tree would mean highly exclusive spells.

Having a biological child is the most reliable way to ensure a permanent connection between families that will persist through generations, therefore couples who can conceive a child are preferred for such purposes. However, if a temporary bond between families is desired, same-sex couples are preferred as they won't be able to procreate, allowing the bond to persist for only the lifetime of the marriage.

In families with desirable magic, women of childbearing age and younger are barred from many physical or dangerous activities or occupations, especially those with a desirable lineage. Women who can't or refuse to bear children are shunned. Harsh matriarchs may remove them from the family altogether. Women are encouraged to take up scholarly pursuits to prepare them for later in life while they await child bearing years and marriage. Once a woman provides a healthy heir or two, societal restrictions relax immensely. Older women hold quite a bit of status in Eldrimar as well-rounded matriarchs. Woman are also known to be innovators in magic, as it's quite common for women to study and design new spells when they are pregnant and avoiding more strenuous activity.

For women with less desirable family ties, these restrictions are lessened or not enforced. Some families will hold out hope that their daughters marry up and groom her for such prospects. However, most poorer and obscure families would rather have their daughters put to practical work instead.

While noble women are corralled early on and blossom late in life, the opposite is true for men. Men's youth is expect to be a time of adventure and experimentation. As they get older, however, they are expected to settle in on more serious work that will do good for the family and often take over some of the management workload that is left behind by women their age making use of their newly found freedom. Tales of heroism often portray young men or older women as protagonists, with young women and older men being allocated to side characters and love interests.

Young men are encouraged to act out and go a bit wild if so inclined. Society views this as getting it out of their system. Ideally one would do anything foolhardy or risky when they're young so they can learn from it or at least satisfy their urges. There's an enormous focus for men on trying to avoid regrets of inaction. Reaching for an opportunity and failing is much much more noble than standing aside and letting it pass. Men's narratives often reflect on such moments. Additionally, older and wiser men encourage their juniors to make mistakes and learn from them. Many believe too caution can stymie personal growth. Which this push towards action, foolishness and hubris are pretty common and accepted traits young men develop. However, those who do not develop wisdom and carry this foolishness into their middle aged years are scorned.

Religion: Victory Edit

Followers of Victory are almost never sexist unless they are spectacularly missing the point. The goddess is seen as the pinnacle of military brilliance and might, so naturally followers believe mortal woman are just as capable. The goddess's books, Victory Songs, also teach that no resource should be discounted for trivial reasons, including the gender of a soldier as an example.

Some sects of Victory's followers, however, view women as the stronger gender. These sects influence a number of regions and in some cases men are shut out of leadership positions. While they still take the words of the goddess's books into account, the religion is old enough that in some areas men are socialized against leadership, therefore reducing interest and opportunity for proper training, leaving women to be the most apt for the task.

Country: Sycraer Edit

Sycraen culture is heavily influenced by binaries. Like the rules of conduct based for night and day, men and women also have strict cultural roles and rules of conduct. As in the Eldrimar section, this will reference mostly men or women, but these notes will still apply to misgendered trans people.

Women of Sycraer are often home-makers, but they do much more than the traditional real-world concept of home-maker. They are the leaders of the household through and through. In addition to raising children and feeding the family, often the women manages the finances, farms, or any other kinds of cottage industries. Libraries and schools, though sparse in Sycraer, are the domain of women.

Women often hold "stationary" positions- meaning they generally don't travel more than necessary. Even in nomadic families, the women are expected to stay close to their temporary homes or camps. Scholars have more freedom to travel if their studies require it, but they are still expected to have men escorting them.

Men of Sycraer are more involved in travel, trade, hunting, gathering, clergy and any other activities that happen outside the home. They also contribute to what they consider women's work when many helping hands are needed, but it's considered something boys and young men do before they find their own work. As a culture, a man's dream is to become a success out in the world and bring home money and supplies home. A man may be looked down on for staying at home and working the farm with his mother and sisters, or at least seen as not living up to his full potential.

Though women have a lot of power when it comes to the household and the economy, they have virtually no power anywhere else. While family matriarchs make financial decisions for the family and home businesses, their male family members are the ones who travel out to make exchanges of money, goods, and services. Male family members who aren't so deferent to the matriarchs can easily subvert their wishes when handling business outside of the home, risking exile from the family unless the matriarch is more lenient or the family has great need to working hands.

Because women have no say in the clergy- as it is a traveling occupation in Sycraer- men also have monopoly of one of the most influential institutions in the country

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