Gender and sexuality in Tyria

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Gender and sexuality are an important part of several advanced species' existence throughout Tyria.

Almost all species tend to default towards heterosexual relationships within their own race. Though uncommon outside of the sylvari, same-sex relationships do occur and are generally accepted by most Tyrians.[1][2] Interspecies relationships also occur, but 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 such relationships—seem to be quite popular.[3][4]

Most races tend to regard men and women equally, though there is much variation on this theme. Gender variance (such as transgender) seems to be rare, but does occur; there is not much evidence as to how accepted this is, but it does not appear to be especially controversial.[1][5]

Playable races


Asura tend to practice serial monogamy, in that they have a serious romantic relationship with only one other asura at a time. Most of these relationships are equal partnerships which often (but not always) have a firm, pre-determined end date. Most often, such relationships come out 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.[6]


Early warbands included both male and female charr in their ranks. However, charr views on female roles in their 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 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 Blood Legion—and, in short order, all female charr—were removed from warbands and armies, reduced to performing utility tasks at home in the cities of the legionnaires because they were now seen as seducing male charr and distracting them from the purity of faith.[7]

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.[8][9]

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.[10] 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.[11][12][13] 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.[14]

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 Tyrian and Elonian kingdoms have generally held equal roles in their respective societies with many known male and female rulers, warriors and magic users throughout the centuries in e.g 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.[15][16][17]

In contrast, Cantha practiced agnatic primogeniture as its succession law, and the emperors historically had several concubines. Only one known empress has ever been mentioned as a strong leader figure in the empire's history. 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.[18]


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.[19][20]. Norn women are not allowed to join the cult because of Jora's "crimes" against her brother Svanir and Jormag.[19][21] 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.[22][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.[23]


Sylvari superficially resemble humans, being granted a sex by the Pale Tree while still in their pods,[24] but cannot reproduce. However, 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.[25]

Other races

While not all species display sexual dimorphism, nearly all species present have two sexes, male and female. It is unclear if there are exceptions to this, such as among the "genderless" seers,[26] 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.[27] There are indications that Elder Dragons have gender identities—Aurene telepathically communicated a preferred 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 its victims to perceive it in whatever manner best seduces them to Jormag's side.[28]

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[29]—though in recent years centaur society has begun to shift, recruiting female soldiers as the war drains their resources.[6] Harpies have a matriarchal society, with male harpies rarely being seen outside their nests, and are known to occasionally abduct males of other species.[30][31][32] 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.[15] 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


  • No interspecies pairing is known to have ever resulted in biological children.[35]
  • 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]


  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. ^ a b Comment by Mark Katzbach quoting Scott McGough in "Dolyak Express Jan 10, 2014", Old Guild Wars 2 Forums (Archived)
  7. ^ 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."
  8. ^ Marghel Talekeeper
  9. ^ The Ecology of the Charr
  10. ^ Defeat the fire shaman and his minions
  11. ^ Arrana Scorchpowder
  12. ^ Legionnaire Vesta Scorchpath
  13. ^ Salina Scorchstep
  14. ^ Flame Legion Camp ambient dialogue
  15. ^ a b Help Buuran investigate the mysterious gate
  16. ^ Betrothed Noble
  17. ^ Betrothed Villager
  18. ^ An Empire Divided
  19. ^ a b Blane the Insane
  20. ^ Hrut
  21. ^ Dragon Bash ambient dialogue
  22. ^ Lore Interview with Jeff Grubb, Ree Soesbee and Scott McGough in GuildMag Issue 9,
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Comment by Martin Kerstein, (Archived)
  25. ^ Interview with Ree Soesbee, (Archived)
  26. ^ Comment by Bobby Stein, Guild Wars Wiki
  27. ^ Comment by Jessica Price, Guild Wars 2 Forums
  28. ^ Tweet by Tom Abernathy,
  29. ^ The Savage Pride of the Jotun
  30. ^ Book Of Knowledge: Harpies
  31. ^ Drive off the harpies who have infatuated the grawl shaman
  32. ^ Rescue Wark from the infatuated harpy matriarch
  33. ^ Tweet by Tom Abernathy,
  34. ^ Tweet by Kwan Perng,
  35. ^ Interview with Jeff Grubb, Ashenfold Cartel (Archived)