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When dealing with other sentient species, it would seem that something as simple as gender would be fairly simple and universal. Of course, reality has chosen to thwart that both in the cultural and biological realms. Here is a basic drill-down of gender (and to a lesser extent biological sex) on Vanafanyu.


If you don't understand human gender and biological sex, it is recommended you begin there. This page assumes you know what males and females are, with relation to humans. This page also assumes you have a passing familiarity with the idea of gender roles and the fact that humans don't always fit into nice, neat biological boxes.


They are fairly open-minded (though some people are bigoted), and if a woman wants to work in a traditionally male field, or vice versa, she is able. Pretty much the only things still segregated by gender are restrooms and some sports where it makes a tangible difference or where sports have diverged so much over time. Not fitting into neat little boxes can get you ridicule, but for the most part the law protects people from discrimination based on their physical gender or gender identity. A man wearing a skirt is more  likely to be called a "Quanafi pet" than to be considered effeminate.


Women and men are strictly segregated by gender. Women have far less rights than men, and gender roles are strictly enforced. In wealthier households, it is entirely possible for sisters and brothers to never meet, or for the only men a woman has ever spoken to to be her father and her husband. However, influence from Yawurenyi and from the surprisingly powerful position of queen has led to women having access to pretty much any education or recreational activities they so choose, so long as only women attend. The most popular of these tend to be martial arts schools, and by law a woman cannot be barred from associating freely with other women in her community. As far as the law is concerned, there are men, and there are women, no exceptions. Someone who is intersex could possibly become an acolyte of the Quanafi and get declared to be legally Quanafi.


This varies too much from village to village to detail here.


This is where biological sex can play an even bigger role than gender divisions. Some information is still unverified, so we present the prevailing theories.


Quanafi are sequential hermaphrodites. There is absolutely no visible way to tell a Quanafi's gender except during intercourse and pregnancy, and to complicate matters, social/environmental factors (and possibly will) can change their sex at any point in their lifetime. Typically the solution is to assume the gender of a Quanafi is "Quanafi" and use an epicene pronoun (le in Descubralian). Anyone who has given birth to a child can be called "sagyel" (mother) even if le has fathered other children. Gender roles are pretty much non-existent (although you are likely to get more grief if you harass someone's mother than if you harass one of their other relatives). No Quanafi has submitted to testing to determine their starting gender, and that is unlikely to change.

It is customary for people of other species who are of uncertain gender or who are intersex to be addressed as if they were Quanafi (and an insult against an androgynous or intersex human or Yawurenyi is considered a personal affront by the Quanafi).


There are two theories:
1) Mircon are whatever gender they appear to be
2) Mircon (being shapeshifters) are whatever gender they want to be.
Being that Mircon are rarely seen, and not inclined to talk about what they consider deeply personal questions, a definite answer is unlikely. Normally Mircon are treated as whatever gender they present themselves to be with the exception that a female Mircon in a male-dominated society is assumed to be of mutable gender and hence fits into the social role of Quanafi (usually revered/deified).

Typically anyone who a) doesn't fit normal gender roles, b) is homosexual, c) is transsexual/transvestite, or even d) has mixed hobbies or wardrobes (like a woman who wears jeans to work but dresses on the weekend, or someone who likes sports and fashion) can be called "Mircon-touched." As with the Quanafi, using this as an insult is considered offensive to Mircon, and since you never truly know if a Mircon is watching, it's used as a polite term. Some people still consider the very idea that they are somehow shapeshifters or changing at will to be offensive, although most agree that Mircon are at least a very favorable species to be compared to. If someone answers your personal question with a comment about them being "Mircon-touched," and you choose to ask in what way that is, it is social acceptable to punch you.


Biological sex is almost identical to humans. Relatively strict gender divisions are socially mandated. A woman and man can chat freely on the street so long as it is a) fully public, b) completely innocent conversation, c) they know each other in some way. However, an unmarried man and woman must not be alone together, ever. A man must not touch a woman without her permission (usually met with a glare, a stern remark or a slap), but touching her in any way that inflicts harm or fear, or impedes her freedom of movement is a serious crime. Suffice it to say that sexual assault and domestic violence are punished often more severely than murder or treason.

Temples are actually divided by "element" not gender, though two are considered male (wood and fire) and two are female (air and water). Most wealthy women are illiterate (as it could expose them to horrible and stressful things) but most commoners are somewhat literate. Nearly all female servants (guess who handles correspondence for wealthy women) and every single priestess is fluently literate.
In spite of strict gender roles, there are options.
1) If you are an air or a fire, you are considered to be fickle and non-traditional anyhow, and can get away with a lot.
2) If you typed as two elements that aren't the same gender (e.g. water and earth), it is recognized that the nature of both elements tugs at you and you can't be expected to fit neatly into one or the other (but the temple you attend will match your physical gender).
3) It is rare but possible to type exclusively as an opposite-gendered element. You merely attend the temple and religious events and behave in a way appropriate to that element.
4) Even if you are a female water or a male earth, if for any reason you feel you cannot fit into your assumed gender role, you go to the temple and they send a petition to the high priestess and the king to get your gender legally changed (and it is almost always signed off on).
Bear in mind that only legal males and females can marry each other, and any couple that cannot or chooses not to have children of their own must either adopt, or in some way support the orphanage (usually through gifts of food and toys). Surrogacy is an accepted compromise.


Biological sex is as other felines. Each colony is divided into two parallel hierarchies that link via breeding pairs. Every Myuri knows which other Myuri are above and below him. A younger male can challenge to raise his station, and the way female Myuri raise their station is by their current mate's station (and they usually care less about rank than the toms, because they can change it more readily). Other than that, males and females are equal within their rank (so alpha male and alpha female are equal). The only things restricted by gender are challenges (see above) and having kittens (obviously).