Gender and sexuality in Tyria

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Gender and sexuality plays a significant role in most advanced species' presence on Tyria.

Heterosexual relationships with others of the same race are the predominant relationships seen within most Tyrian societies. However, while it is less commonly seen outside of the sylvari, same-sex relationships do occur and are generally accepted by most Tyrians.[1][2] Interspecies relationships are also formed occasionally, though it is unclear how acceptable these are considered to be; for example, Snargle Goldclaw claims that such relationships are controversial, yet his books—which heavily feature them—seem to be quite popular.[3][4]

Although gender variance appears to be rare, transgender and non-binary individuals do exist in Tyria, and while there is little evidence on how widely accepted this is, it does not appear to be particularly controversial.[5][6] Transgender and non-binary individuals that are currently present are referred to with the correct pronouns, and their identities are not questioned or scrutinized by others—giving the impression that these differences are not condemned within Tyrian society but instead considered unremarkable.[1][7][8]

Most races appear to view men and women as equals, though there are some exceptions to this.

Playable races


Asura typically practice serial monogamy, entering romantic relationships with only one other asura at a time. Most of these relationships are equal partnerships that often (but not always) have a pre-determined end date. Often these relationships are the result of two asura who fall in love with the same beautiful concept. These marriages of the mind produce rapid development of ideas, increased conceptual paradigms as well as children. Relationships that break up tend to feature more fights about who gets the inventions than who gets custody over the progeny.[9]


Early warbands included both male and female charr in their ranks. However, views on the roles females should take in charr society changed when Bathea Havocbringer questioned the teachings of the High Legions' shaman caste who, guided by the Flame Legion's shamans, had begun converting charr to worship the titans in order to have an advantage over the magically powerful humans in the human-charr conflict. Bathea was sacrificed to the titans for her disobedience to the new order, and the shamans decreed that all female charr of her legion—and by extension all female charr—were removed from warbands and armies and reduced to performing utility tasks at home in the cities, now seen as seducing male charr and distracting them from the purity of faith.[10]

Centuries passed until another female charr, Kalla Scorchrazor, questioned the old beliefs during the rebellion against the Flame Legion. After earning the support of the Blood Legion and besting the Iron Legion's Imperator Forge Ironstrike in a duel to prove that female charr were just as capable warriors as male ones, she convinced Forge as well as the Ash Legion to allow their female charr to fight alongside male charr on the Plains of Golghein. Because the Flame Legion had left their female charr home, they were outnumbered by the combined force of male and female charr from the rest of the legions. Since the victory on Golghein, Ash, Blood and Iron Legions have treated both male and female charr equally.[11][12]

The Flame Legion has continued oppressing female charr up to the present day. At least some shamans are known to send disobeying ones to breeding farms.[13] One of the rescued slaves has reportedly suffered from traumatic abuse involving drugs that lasted for years and stripped her of her memories and identity, turning her feral until she was rehabilitated and given a new identity among her liberators.[14][15][16] Despite the Flame Legion's oppression of female charr, a more benevolent splinter group led by Efram Greetsglory has risen and allowed them to become soldiers since Flame Imperator Gaheron Baelfire's demise in 1325 AE. The other legions' female charr view the Flame Legion's liberated ones with disdain and pity.[17]

Due to the tradition of leaving cubs to be raised in the communal fahrar after weaning, female charr of the High Legions are free to pursue other duties. In contrast, the remote Olmakhan tribe of charr in Elona has abolished the fahrar system and instead raises cubs as tight family units within their community where both male and female charr have equal roles as leaders, warriors and scholars.


Men and women in the Tyrian and Elonian nations have generally held equal roles in their respective societies with many known rulers, warriors and magic users of both genders throughout the centuries, for example the Primeval Dynasty and the Orrian Dynasty. During King Palawa Joko's latest reign, several humans of both sexes were offered as betrothal gifts to Joko's harem. The betrothed were either given willingly to please the king and earn his favor, were forced to the harem as tribute from communities that were so poor that they had nothing else to give, or were captives who were sold to the harem for gems.[18][19][20]

In contrast, Cantha practiced agnatic primogeniture as its succession law, and the emperors historically had several concubines. Only one known empress consort had ever been mentioned as a strong leader figure in the empire's history until the reign of the first empress regnant Haebaragi.[21] In modern day Cantha Ihn is the second empress regnant. The Kurzicks and the Luxons had both men and women in positions of power. During Shiro Tagachi's return, the captains of the three Luxon armadas were all women, which was unprecedented in Luxon history up to that point.[22]


Historically, the norn have only considered marriages between equals to be valid. They have allowed for interspecies relationships, though these are uncommon due to them not considering anyone from another race to be their equal.

The Sons of Svanir view many norn men—as well as men and women of other species—too weak in mind, heart and body to be worthy to join the Elder Dragon Jormag's cause.[23][24]. Norn women are not allowed to join the cult because of Jora's "crimes" against her brother Svanir and Jormag.[23][25] Despite this, an increasing number of norn women have argued for being included in the cult after hearing the Elder Dragon's call, and Jormag has shown no preference towards converting men over women despite the Sons' claims. The Sons of Svanir will go to extreme lengths to deny women what they view as Jormag's gift, and kill any female icebrood they can find, which explains why so few female icebrood are ever seen south of the Far Shiverpeaks.[26][verification requested]

Unlike the Sons of Svanir, the rest of the norn view both men and women as equals. Both sexes can rise to prominent positions within their communities as they are judged by their respective heroic feats, strength, cunning, spiritualism, and their potential legendary bloodline. Norn fathers and mothers decide which of them raises their children while the other norn leaves the homestead to build their legend. Some individuals have been known to dislike this tradition such as when the Pact Commander criticized Eir Stegalkin for leaving her son Braham Eirsson rather than supporting him through his childhood.[27]


Sylvari superficially resemble humans, being granted a gender by the Pale Tree while still in their pods,[28] but cannot reproduce. However, they can still mate and have sex[29][30] and there are records of sylvari, such as Cydwenn, who feel a parental instinct and decide to adopt children of other races. To the sylvari, sex and gender are as inconsequential as hair color, and they find other races' adherence to gender roles somewhat bemusing.[2] Sylvari are by nature attracted to people who inspire them, regardless of gender.[31]

Other races

While not all species display sexual dimorphism, nearly all species at present have two sexes, male and female. It is unclear if there are exceptions to this, such as among the "genderless" Seers,[32] or Elder Dragons, whose physiology and psychology is a subject of ongoing research among asuran scholars. Elder Dragons are able to reproduce, but it is unknown whether a partner is required.[33] There are indications that Elder Dragons have gender identities—Aurene telepathically communicated a pronoun to the Pact Commander shortly after her birth—but the extent to which this actually reflects Elder Dragon gender, as opposed to being an attempt to translate their alien nature into language the mortal races can understand, is also unknown; Jormag in particular is known not to identify with any gender, preferring to be perceived in whatever manner best seduces their victims to their side.[34]

Gender roles among the races of Tyria are wide and varied. Some races, such as the jotun and war-mongering centaur tribes, traditionally regard men as protectors and women as childrearers[35]—though in recent years centaur society has begun to shift, recruiting female soldiers as the war drains their resources.[9] Harpies have a matriarchal society, with male harpies rarely being seen outside their nests, and are known to occasionally abduct males of other species.[36][37][38] However, one Elonian flock offered a female harpy as a betrothal gift to Palawa Joko's harem in exchange for permission to live in his territory—an odd choice, given Joko's lack of pickiness.[18] Most other races regard men and women as equals in their society, with either gender being capable of taking on any role.[citation needed] The dredge's alliance with Flame Legion has alarmed some female dredge, who have warned against the adoption of Flame's antifemale policies.

Notable characters

Major characters


  • ArenaNet's stance on the canonicity of LGBT player characters is: "It is totally cool to roleplay an LGBTQA character, regardless of their species. [...] You're free to create the character you want, and you're not obligated to incorporate prejudice into their backstory if that's not something you want to explore."[1]
  • No interspecies pairing is known to have ever resulted in biological children.[41]
  • The Kestrels organization within Cantha allows a choice of feminine, masculine and non-binary disguises when helping them infiltrate the Jade Brotherhood and Speakers camps.[42] A few members of this organization are referred to consistently with exclusively gender-neutral language.


  1. ^ a b c Guild Wars 2 Dev comment,
  2. ^ a b Interview with Ree Soesbee, (Archived)
  3. ^ The Ebonlocke Covenant by Snargle Goldclaw
  4. ^ Vloxen Mine ambient dialogue
  5. ^ Fort Marriner ambient dialogue with Aid Worker Sya
  6. ^ Kaineng Blackout
    Yao: Mizuki. I guess I jumped the gun on my last introduction... I'm Yao—your local, mostly friendly agender engineer.
  7. ^ Encrypted Jade Brotherhood Communique
    "Boss, You'll never guess who we saw the other day walking around Kaineng: our good friend Yao. Seems the kid has gotten themselves a job at Xunlai."
  8. ^ The Future in Jade
    <Character name>: Mai Trin, you have some kind of history with that engineer?
    Captain Mai Trin: Yao? (sigh) No clue what their problem is.
    Marjory Delaqua: Must be your agreeable personality.
    Captain Mai Trin: When we worked together, they always came across as a bit...possessive of Joon's attention.
  9. ^ a b Comment by Mark Katzbach quoting Scott McGough in "Dolyak Express Jan 10, 2014", Old Guild Wars 2 Forums (Archived)
  10. ^ Chapter 10, Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
    "One famous charr stood against them: Bathea Havocbringer of the Blood Legion. She sniffed out the foul plans of the Flame Legion and their new shamans, who directed the worship of their gods in ways that brought themselves power and profit. She said, 'I will bow before no one and nothing, be it mortal or god,' and she persuaded many other charr to follow her lead."
    "Because of this, the shamans gathered in the night to plot against her. They captured her and made a blood sacrifice of her to their new gods. They declared her a traitor and accused her of using her sexuality to tempt the males from the true path of the gods. To prevent any more such treachery, they marked all females with the same brand of deceit and banned them from serving in the legions, where they would mix with the males."
    "Many females objected to this, as did some males. Several shared Havocbringer's fate, and eventually the others saw no choice but to submit themselves to their new gods' will. We lived like this for centuries, long enough that most of us could not remember there ever having been another way."
  11. ^ Marghel Talekeeper
  12. ^ The Ecology of the Charr
  13. ^ Defeat the fire shaman and his minions
  14. ^ Arrana Scorchpowder
  15. ^ Legionnaire Vesta Scorchpath
  16. ^ Salina Scorchstep
  17. ^ Flame Legion Camp ambient dialogue
  18. ^ a b Help Buuran investigate the mysterious gate
  19. ^ Betrothed Noble
  20. ^ Betrothed Villager
  21. ^ Celestial Plaque
  22. ^ An Empire Divided
  23. ^ a b Blane the Insane
  24. ^ Hrut
  25. ^ Dragon Bash ambient dialogue
  26. ^ Lore Interview with Jeff Grubb, Ree Soesbee and Scott McGough in GuildMag Issue 9, (archived)
  27. ^ Reunion with the Pact
    Eir Stegalkin: I know. I'm proud of him. At his age, his legend is already great. I can only imagine what he'll do as he matures.
    <Character name>: Yeah, and he did it without your help.
    Eir Stegalkin: You're angry. I understand. It wasn't an easy decision. I hadn't planned to be gone long—certainly not forever. I left to fight Svanir. Then, it was one thing after another. Kralkatorrik. Zhaitan.
    <Character name>: Did you know Borje died?
    Eir Stegalkin: I heard, though Borje forbade the homestead from notifying me. I also knew that Yngvi and Brynhildr took Braham in. They'd been part of his life from birth. He was safe and among those who loved him.
    <Character name>: You should tell Braham this. I'm not the one who suffered for your choice.
  28. ^ Comment by Martin Kerstein, (Archived)
  29. ^ I attended the GW2 China Beta Festival! Here's some pics I took of the event, as well as some lore/update info I asked from the Devs! by deviantbias, (Archived)
  30. ^ Guild Wars 2 - wywiad z Martinem Kersteinem i Erikiem Flannumem (Interview with Martin Kerstein) (Archived)
  31. ^ Interview with Ree Soesbee, (Archived)
  32. ^ Comment by Bobby Stein, Guild Wars Wiki
  33. ^ Comment by Jessica Price, Guild Wars 2 Forums
  34. ^ a b Tweet by Tom Abernathy,
  35. ^ The Savage Pride of the Jotun
  36. ^ Book Of Knowledge: Harpies
  37. ^ Drive off the harpies who have infatuated the grawl shaman
  38. ^ Rescue Wark from the infatuated harpy matriarch
  39. ^ Tweet by Kwan Perng,
  40. ^ Nozomi:
    Nozomi: Yao wasn't kidding, you ARE cute! It's nice to finally put a face to all the good gossip. [...]
    Nozomi: Yao was right about you. You're a keeper.
  41. ^ Interview with Jeff Grubb, Ashenfold Cartel (Archived)
  42. ^ Kestrel Michiko
    Kestrel Michiko: Just let me know how you want to look, and I'll set you up with a mesmer glamour. Then we'll talk about what you do inside. Ready?
    Talk ready option.png Give me a feminine appearance.
    Talk ready option.png Give me a masculine appearance.
    Talk ready option.png Neither one of those.