Gender in the Four Worlds

Cultural norms around gender vary wildly among the four major peoples in the Temet Nosce setting.


The Fanseeth do not use a particularly descriptive nor prescriptive methodology of gender. They do not concern themselves with it overmuch as a theoretical concept; individual Fanseeth may have one or another gender identity, but all anyone really cares about is how well you can do the work of surviving on their harsh world.

Their sense of gender is largely dyadic, though they have some allowance for variation on the theme, and they mostly use he or she, with some people choosing to use Spivak pronouns because they do not feel that they fit either category.  Singular they is used, but “she” is considered the default gender for the purposes of written text and is considered correct in formal settings.

Clothing has frequently had gender markers, but the specifics of what clothing has gone with what gender changes over time with what is fashionable.

Children of Earth

Gender among the Children is truly a genre, descriptive rather than proscriptive, roles that are chosen rather than assigned. These are very rigid roles that the Children believe date back to ancient Earth, with specific expectations around behavior, ship and household responsibilities, and clothing. However, the roles are chosen regardless of physical sex. Minors are considered genderless and referred to with singular “they” pronouns until they come of age and indicate their gender (though the coming-of-age ceremony varies by culture). The various religions, fleets, and caravans have different allowances, stigma, and rituals for changing your gender later in life.

    • Woman: She/her, active/projective, action/protector, family “hands”; tends to be choleric temperament.
    • Man: He/him, passive/receptive, caretaker/nurturer, family “heart”; tends to be phlegmatic temperament.
    • Androgyne: Zie/zir, balanced/both, mediator/negotiator, family “head”; tends to be melancholic temperament.
    • Neuter: They/them, neither/neutral, passionate/play, family “gut”; tends to be sanguine temperament.


The people of the Etamui believe themselves to have evolved beyond gender, and view gender as an antiquated, primitive concept. They typically use singular “they” pronouns instead.  There are certainly still people who identify as gendered and use a gendered set of pronouns, but among the Etamui there’s a lot of stigma about this; it’s seen as rustic, backwards, or unevolved.

Gendered pronouns are most commonly used by Gawans and Glitches, when used at all; the SciDevs and ProdOps most commonly eschew gender.


One of the things that the Nurani observed in splitting away from the Etamui was how rounding out the pronouns entirely ended up erasing identity in the process. They kept the bones of the Etamui system, but have more significant variation in private.

Thus in public settings and formal documents they will use “they” has a singular, but individuals frequently have other genders that they express in private and that are the purview of close friends. It is very fashionable in written text that takes the omniscient third person perspective to provide genders for the characters that the readers may know and the characters do not, to create a more intimate feel.

All genders wear the same clothing and makeup.

There is no expectation that the private gender of individuals won’t change.

The most common pronouns for this private use are he, shexe and thon.


Writing credits: Dani Higgins and David Clements