An Examination of Gender In Viking Age Scandinavia

Fascinating stuff!

Get Real.

Loki Laufeyjarson, referred to as male in the texts but Credits: Finnguala Loki Laufeyjarson, referred to as male in the texts but had conceived children and seduced a horse by turning himself into a mare. Credits: Finnguala

Implicit in a lot of discussion about trans people (which, of course, rarely overlaps with discussion including trans people) is this idea that trans people, especially non-binary people, are some kind of peculiar modern fad. As though gender dysphoria magically appeared some time in the 20th century and we’ve all leapt on the bandwagon.

The thing is, people who can be read as trans appear in a whole heap of literature stretching back centuries. Probably millennia. My area of specialism is Viking Age Scandinavia (8th – 14th century), and even in what’s generally viewed as a hyper-masculine, rigidly binarist society, we see individuals appearing to quite gleefully flout the conventions of gender. Said conventions of gender can best be summed up by imagining your stereotypical…

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