I’ve seen trans characters show up in your stories lately, and I’m curious: what do they use for hormone adjustment, if anything? I’ve thought up a few theories, but I’m curious what the canon answer is. Also, I promise I’m not trying to complain about trans folks being there; if the canon reason is ‘representation matters’, that’s lovely too :)




Okay, here’s the skinny.

Trans characters generally aren’t a very big deal in the Cloistered Lands (aside from some conservative pockets, like the Kingdom of the Chosen). This is because the experience of “birth gender assignment” is very different here.

If you live out in the country and someone has a baby, you would traditionally call upon a Ranger, village elder, Cloistermage monastic, witch or friendly fey to assist with and bless the birth. Rangers have a very business-like approach, whereas the elders and monastics take a highly ritualized style, and witches and fey can range from highly ritualized and serious to, “Alright, motherfuckers, let’s poop some people! Also, is the wetnurse doing anything later?”

If you live in the city, it’s generally a lot more clinical—generally, you hire a healing mage. Some prefer to track down urban fey and “grime witches”, and those of little means will often take the pregnant woman or man all the way outside the city to get a blessing.

In the days of the gods, this was a priest’s task.

Aside from helping with childbirth itself, the benedician is responsible for consulting with and examining various omens surrounding the birth. This usually involves a mix of classic fortune-telling—casting the bones of an eighteen-year old rooster, echo listening, tea leaves, star-reading—and consulting with various more subtle omens over the last few weeks, like milk having spoiled or sheep giving birth to triplets. If a new fey has appeared in the area recently, it is often taken as a sign that the baby will have a close connection to the wilderness.

All of this serves a purpose beyond gauging ordinary fortunes, however. The main task of the benedician aside from serving as midwife is to try to find the baby’s name and gender.

The name is usually easy, the gender less so. Sometimes the benedician is unable to work it out, or has to hazard an estimate, in which case the parents will either choose on the baby’s behalf or just go by “they”—until the child is grown enough to decide on their own, that is. This is because the benedician is trying to decipher the soul as explained to them by a babbling baby, and babies are not terribly smart.

Yeah, I said it. I ain’t too politically correct to call them out on that. Dumb! They’re dumb!

For this reason, while some trans people do end up coming out later in life, it is generally considered less a “transition” and more the clarification of a rather embarrassing misunderstanding. Think about how moms make jokes like, “You were really determined to make us wait,” when talking about their kids’ birth. Similar jokes are told about babies with unclear names or genders. Some benedicians do get very salty about it, however—especially when they get the name wrong.

It is said that the only person more affronted by the sexual “pet names” or “slave names” of a predatory mindweaver than the actual victim is the professional benedician whose work is being completely disregarded.

Anyways, if the gender is clear (and it usually is, doppelganger babies aside), the benedician prescribes the herbs for gradual hormone adjustment, if needed. If it is not completely clear, the benedician’s advice tends to be, “Plant a babewort in your garden and call me in ten years.”

Now, some trans people are quite dissatisfied with their bodies, even with the hormone adjustment. Others don’t have access to a benedician, or to the herbs, and growing up is a mighty struggle for them. When they’re older, these people tend to look into shapeshifting as a way to alleviate the discomfort. There are pretty much two preferred paths for such questants:

1. Seek to make a deal with a fey, demon or witch who can alter your form. This deal often takes the form of an apprenticeship, a period of indentured servitude, or even a marriage, and not all those offering these deals are totally ethical about it. One witch is particularly infamous for assembling a harem of catgirl maids, though she insists that none of them have complained.

2. Become a bard.

There are a lot of transgender and genderqueer bards.

I love this very much

This is really cool worldbuilding. I love it!

I kept waiting for the thing that would be wrong or binarist or essentialist and make me angry, because that’s the sort of day it’s been, and it kept not happening. This is just genuinely lovely work. Well done!