SCA Board Rules on Same Gender Couples in SCA Leadership

On Saturday, October 15, the seven members of the Board of the Society for Creative Anachronism met in Seattle for the open session day of their quarterly meeting. While many items of business were on the agenda, the topic of highest interest for many was the issue of same-gender couple leadership in the SCA.

Approximately forty members of the populace were in attendance, and the atmosphere was both charged and hopeful. The Board conducted the meeting with openness and humor, transparently addressing this important issue and welcoming questions and comments from the floor. With careful deliberation, the Board attended to three distinct items all related to same-gender leadership.

Board Considers Three Same-Gender Policy Items:

1. Ruling on Baronial Selection

First, concerning the issue of same-gender baronial leadership, the Board asked the Society Seneschal Countess Kenna Harve for a ruling. Having duly deliberated in preparation for the meeting, Countess Kenna entered into the record her policy interpretation ruling that the Governing Documents of the Society designate that baronial leaders shall be selected “according to the rules and customs of the kingdom.” Because the Governing Documents make no reference to gender in the case of baronial selection, she ruled that, as general Society policy going forward, Corpora provides no obstacle to the installation of same gender baronial leaders.

As a point of clarification, Director Tim Jennings, ombudsman of Caid, verified that the installation of Barons-Elect Giles and Giuseppe of Gyldenholt, Caid may move forward unobstructed by the board. He received official confirmation from the Seneschal. Lest the significance of the moment go by too fast in the minutiae of bureaucratic process, Director John Fulton halted the proceedings to note the profound significance of the action: “This is landscape changing,” he commented, “this will change the game.”

Indeed, the implications of this decision are significant. As there are far more baronial seats than crowns available in the SCA, and as the skill set required for baronial leadership is more widespread, this decision may affect a greater number of SCA members in practical terms than crown list entry (though numbers are still likely to be very low overall).

In terms of cultural acceptance of gay couples in the SCA, same-gender baronial leadership is also likely to have an influence on attitudes toward same-gender SCA leadership in general. Research has shown that simply knowing someone gay or lesbian is one of the most significant influences on views on gay rights. For example, according to 2009 Gallup data, the difference in support for gay marriage between those who know someone gay or lesbian and those who do not is more than twenty-two percentage points (49% support from those who do, 27% support from those who do not). Installing even a few gay couples in positions of SCA leadership is likely to contribute to a similar trend in long-term attitudinal shifts in the society. Finally, the ruling has the additional positive benefit of opening up baronial leadership opportunities to same gender pairs who are not romantic couples.

2. Ruling on Variance for Same-Gender Entry in An Tir Crown

The second issue considered by the Board was a request for a variance to allow same gender entry in Crown Lists submitted by King Thorin and Queen Dagmaer of An Tir in August of 2011. The request was received after the summer quarter Board meeting and was therefore put on the agenda for the October meeting, although the date of the requested variance (An Tir September Crown) had already passed.

Regarding the variance request, Society Seneschal Kenna Harve ruled that, as the wording of the Governing Documents is clear that prospective entrants must be fighting for a “potential consort of the opposite gender,” there is no room for policy interpretation. Therefore, she ruled, in order for this policy to be changed, the wording of the Governing Documents must be altered. The ruling was approved by the Board with one opposing vote from Director Tim Jennings, who explained later that he believes a variance "could have been made based on kingdom culture...or a recommendation could have been suggested to instigate a change in Corpora at this time."

Given that the date of the An Tir tourney in question has passed, this ruling may appear on the surface to be largely procedural; however, the clarification of the stance of SCA governance on the meaning of current Corpora language is essential to determining future action. This ruling states for the record that the issue of same gender consorts in royal lists can only be addressed through amendment of Corpora. (No ruling was given on the interpretation of modern law as it applies to SCA Royal Lists at this time.)

It is important to note, regarding each of the two policy interpretation rulings above, that all candidates for royal lists or baronial seats must be acceptable to the Crown, and that that aspect of leadership qualification is not currently up for debate.

3. Ruling on Amendment to Corpora to Remove Same-Gender ban on Royal Lists

The third item before the Board was the request to amend Corpora submitted by Master Giles of Caid, and subsequently by several other parties. Board chair Leslie Vaughn noted that while several of the Corpora amendment proposals asked simply to strike the last four words of Corpora IV.B.1 “Each competitor in a Royal Lists must be fighting for a prospective consort of the opposite gender,” other proposals had been received which suggested alternate approaches such as adding an introductory passage or rewriting the entire passage on Royal Qualifications.

Board concern centers around creating a durable set of qualifications that reflects the moral commitment of the SCA toward inclusion while preventing abuses of the system. Several Directors noted that the potential for abuse of a rule change allowing same-gender couples has come to their attention. Director Lisa May noted that SCA history demonstrates instances of leadership alternating between two members of the same household or faction, resulting in a concentration of power in a small oligarchy. It was suggested that currently, in a number of kingdoms as part of public conversations around the issue, a small but vocal minority of so-called “superdukes” have stated that they would use such a rule change to attempt to increase their access to power by teaming up with another high-level fighter. It is unclear whether such a tactic, even if attempted, could increase actual number of reigns because rulers (whether sovereign-by-right-of-arms or consort) would still be bound by the no self-succession rule. However, the issue remains significant as it concerns a stance perceived as a concrete threat to the game so valued by all involved.

As a partial remedy for potential abuse, one suggestion involves adding an introductory passage to the Corpora section on Royal Qualifications describing aspirational values around the role and meaning of inspiration. Such a passage is being supported by some Directors as a vehicle to influence SCA culture and a mechanism by which to increase the authority and mandate of monarch intervention when such abuses occur. King Thorin explained to the board that advocates of Inspirational Equality in An Tir come from a kingdom that places a very high value on the honor of fighting for true inspiration, which makes the idea of abuse foreign and difficult to understand.

In terms of addressing the civil and legal questions around representation, the issue is a complex one. Because the SCA currently guarantees that 50% of leadership in the highest echelon shall be female, and because all data strongly supports that opening crown lists to same gender inspirations is highly unlikely to increase the number of women on the throne, the issue of same-gender inspirations is not simply an issue of greater inclusion for a marginalized group, but of balancing competing rights for equal gender representation with inclusion for same-gender couples.

While adding rights for a marginalized group (same-gender couples) may be relatively easy to support, doing so in a way that reduces representation--however minimally--for an already protected group (women) is ethically and legally fraught. At the same time, the Board is very cognizant of their moral obligation to respond to the appeals of same-gender couples for equal treatment, given that their current representation in royal lists is zero. The balance is a delicate one. Given this complex dynamic, the Board nevertheless expressed commitment to moving forward in crafting policy that supports fair treatment of all constituencies. “It has to be addressed,” said Director Tim Jennings.

Board Proposes Three-Step Process for Consideration of Corpora Revision

With the goal of forging a policy that is both fair and inclusive, the Board has proposed a three-step process. In a perfect world, each step would be initiated at a successive quarterly Board meeting; however, given the quantity of business before the board and the likelihood of high-volume public comment on this issue, Director Tim Jennings indicates that the Board would be remiss in attempting to guarantee a specific timeline.

1. Public Comment on Census Data Concerning Same-Gender Inspirations

The first stage in the three-step process (approved and initiated at the October meeting on Saturday) shall be to begin a public conversation on same-gender inspirations through the release of 2010 SCA Census data on this question. A broad summary of the data was shared by the Census committee indicating a fairly even pro-con split with a sizable minority expressing either no opinion or no response at all. The data also shows strong geographic trends with highest levels of support on the West Coast and Canada.

The census data will be uploaded to the SCA Inc. website as soon as Board approval is received and processed by the Census committee. The Board plans to release the data prefaced by a statement encouraging public comment with a view toward Corpora reconsideration. During this initial period of public comment, the Board will actively workshop policy suggestions which will then be consolidated into concrete proposals.

2. Public Comment on Options for Proposed Corpora Amendment

In the second stage of the process, the Board proposes to submit a small number of specific proposals concerning Corpora revision for public comment. Proposals could include (but are not limited to) a no-change option, a simple removal of reference to gender in Royal Qualifications, additions to Corpora addressing abuse prevention along with removal of gender restrictions, and possible re-drafting of the entire section on Royal Qualifications. A sixty-day comment period is typical for proposed changes to Corpora; however, the board has no standard policy on the length of comment periods.

Second phase comment shall be collected through the website of the SCA Inc. on the page labeled “Announcements and Requests for Comment from the Board of Directors,” and deadline for comment will be clearly indicated when the proposals are posted. Public involvement is enthusiastically solicited by the Board for both public comment phases.

3. Corpora Revision Decision

The final stage of the proposed process shall take place at a quarterly Board meeting. At that time, having reviewed membership responses to the various action proposals, the Board shall make a decision on Corpora revision that is guided by its fiduciary obligation to the long-term good of The Game as well as its ethical obligations to the moral, civil, and chivalric values of inclusion, equal treatment, and protection of the disenfranchised. Through this careful step-wise process, the Board hopes to balance the need for timely action on a pressing social issue with need for public involvement in a significant change to the game.

Spirit of Collaboration Hailed by Board and Inspirational Equality Movement Alike

The Inspirational Equality movement has been a driving force behind advocating for removal of the same-gender ban on royal lists. Although originating in An Tir, the group now has over 1150 members knowne-world-wide, with representatives in seventeen of nineteen kingdoms (Facebook information below). Several members, including the author of this report, were in attendance at the October board meeting on Saturday and hailed the actions of the Board as welcome progress. The leadership of IE joins with the Board in advocating for active populace participation in the proposed comment periods.

Given the specific nature of some of the concerns, the leaders of IE hope that greater representation of opinions from the fighting community regarding attitudes toward inspiration in Royal Lists may help more broadly illuminate the actual potential for abuse should same-gender inspirations be allowed. Comments may be emailed to comments@sca.org or may be specifically submitted through the link on the Census data page, once posted. The members of the Board confirm that they read all comments submitted and are committed to soliciting and understanding the needs of the membership of the SCA.

In addition to promoting the issue of equality for same-gender couples, Inspirational Equality leadership used the opportunity for comment to express a need for clearer and more easily accessible guidelines for Board communication and Corpora change proposal submissions. The Board was highly responsive to this request, and newly installed director Lisa May indicates that the project of improving documentation and transparency of Board policies and procedures is one of the primary goals of her Board term.

Overall, the process around this controversial issue has been hailed from all involved as a model of honorable and productive engagement. Several members of the Board went out of their way to thank the Inspirational Equality group on record for their respectful and tempered approach. Both constituencies left the meeting with a strong spirit of forward movement and cooperative dialog—in fact, two Directors volunteered to review the current report for accuracy of both tone and factual detail. (Thank you to Tim Jennings and Lisa May for their help drafting this article.)

Another question

This may open another can of worms, and I apologize for that.  But it is an honest question, and I do not mean to offend anyone. 

There are those who have stated their objections to the same-gender reigns, and have voiced that if the long-standing rule is changed, that they will 'vote with their feet' and find some other hobby in which to engage their free time.

Those that are advocating the change in the rules openly welcome those who oppose it to 'vote with their feet' and find another hobby.

Here is my question:  How is this fair?  People want to change the long-standing rules of this organization in order to fit THEIR desires, even though it will be to the disappointment of countless others.  Why do they encourage people to seek satisfaction elsewhere, but are unwilling to do so themselves?  They seem to be saying, "We don't care how many of you like it the way it is, and we don't care if we are out-voted 20-to-1, we want you to change the rules of your game to suit us."

 

Voting, Feet-based and Otherwise

It is --at best-- an overly broad generalization to say, as tgills did above, that  'those advocating the change.. openly welcome those to oppose it to ...find another hobby."

The two commenters on this article who used that phrase (or similar words) used it in response to a poster who said "I know it wouldn't take me long to vote with my feet and leave the SCA." (mccolka,  2011-10-18 22:38)  While I don't regard "He started it!" as justification for aggressive argumentation, I will point out that the same poster had observed that gay people were murdered in the Middle Ages (with the hasty disclaimer "I'm certainly not advocating that."), and used 'ludicrous', 'absolute wrongness', 'revolting', 'ridiculous', and 'death of a great society' to describe the request that Corpora's prohibition be lifted.  Mccolka also tossed in the classic "How will it look to our children?"  I wonder if Mccolka knows that at least one of the couples that requested entry to An Tir's crown lists have children of their own.  It is not reasonable to use emotionally loaded words and over-heated rhetoric in a discussion, and then play the victim card when similar words come back.

I don't want people who disagree with me to leave.  But it is the height of hypocrisy for them to demand the continued exclusion of otherwise qualified entrants, and then complain that they are being driven out of the Society.
 

Giles Hill
Gyldenholt, Caid

The populace has the right

The populace has the right and opportunity to petition for changes in the rules of the SCA.  This is not a new thing; Corpora has been designed with the idea that rules and policies will be changed.  If you look in the minutes of any BOD meeting, it becomes pretty clear that many rules and policies are reviewed and modified regularly to fit with changing times, changing mundane law and the needs of the populace.  You can argue for or against same sex couples being allowed to fight in Crown lists and make your opinion known to the BOD. 

Right now, there are people working within the SCA to effect change to right an injustice that they perceive.  They think that the rights of people to fight for their chosen inspiration in Crown are more important than the Crown being a male/female couple all the time.  They simply aren't being swayed by the claims of those people who say they will leave the SCA if this change is enacted.  

Some people may well leave the SCA if this comes to pass.  I, personally, don't have much sympathy for them. If someone states they will 'vote with their feet', it brings their commitment to the SCA into question, in my mind.  In fact, it's strongly reminiscent of, "I'm taking my bat and ball and going HOME!"  If all it takes is the idea of two fe/males on the throne to make someone leave the SCA, I wonder why the rest of the SCA doesn't matter to them as much as that one thing.  They aren't even willing to try it before they claim that they are going to leave.  They aren't willing to consider that maybe this change means an incredible amount to people who are looking at the chance to fight for their partner in life.  I can't say as I find that attitude very fair.

And 'countless others'?  If people are all writing in to the BOD, then they aren't 'countless'.  If people don't stand up and speak for or against an issue, their silence does not mean they agree with one side or the other.

Keeping to the Opposite Gender Consort rule in corpora

 Dear SCA Board of Directors and Kingdom Leaders,

 I would like to take a few moments of your time to voice my discouragement on removing the Same Gender Consort requirement in corpora that was brought up to the board during the October 2011 meeting for a number of reasons that follow:
  1. There is no documented case of same gender rulers. While I do know that in some instances an heir was crowned prior to the stepping down of the current ruler, they did not co-rule and they were not sitting on the throne concurrently as monarch and consort as a head of state. Without a doubt there were homosexual rulers, but again they did not co-rule with a same gender person. Since we are a reenactment and educational group, this would be contrary to what we are attempting to recreate.
  2. You are being asked to change the current corpora to accommodate a sexual preference. There are many sexual preferences in the world and I do not believe there should be a consideration for what a person does or does not do in their private intimate lives. This should be viewed the same as a religious preference. It should not be allowed in association with any official SCA function, neither by action or implication. Also, as stated in corpora, no one should be forced at a Society event, by direct or indirect pressure, to observe or join.
  3. The group of people that are asking for the change, while very vocal, are still a minority of the people playing in the SCA. They joined the SCA with the opposite gender consort rule in place and it has been so for over 40 years. It was their choice to stay with the SCA. Changing the rule would destroy the SCA for current members who have been playing for years and do not have an issue with or want the rule. I stayed in the SCA knowing I could use the SCA as a venue to promote my religious beliefs. While I am not overjoyed by the rule, I understand the need to not press a minority view into a large diverse group setting so that all may enjoy and feel comfortable while they play. I also believe this is important to keep the SCA from becoming a social and political forum in the mundane world.
  4. While most of the decisions, governance issues, social body rulings and traditions are generic in regards to male or female, there are items in each rule that are more directly related towards or represented by either a male or female. Allow same gender rulers and one half of the populous would be without representation on the throne and some SCA gender specific traditions would have to be removed. This is a far greater number of the membership being affected than those that have a same gender sexual preference. This is an even larger issue for a Baronage as it could potential affect a group for a very long (5 or more years) period of time.
 I would ask the Board of Directors and Kingdom Leaders to not only keep the current corpora rule on opposite gender consort for Kingdom and Principality royalty, but also institute an opposite gender consort rule for the Baronage seats. I would also strongly urge that all same gender consort selections at the Baronial level be held off until the Kingdom’s do a poll of their entire populous on this matter.  While I hope I have related my views on the subject with decorum fitting of the SCA, my personal opinion is very strong on this matter. I would not play in any area, attend any court or knowingly participate at any event that had same gender consort rulers. Should it become the normal practice, I would find another historical group to play with.   Sincerely, Lord Enrique de Rojas

Same Gender Monarchs Discussion

 

From what I have seen in the discussion below, the biggest problem presented in allowing same sex monarchs is in the potential for two people who have already won crown to fight for each other and increase their odds of becoming kings (or queens), possibly even when they are still on the thrones. I agree that this opportunity would make it more challenging for newer faces to grace the thrones and that this is a valid consideration. I propose a simple solution.

It is my understanding that tradition dictates that the same person cannot be both King and Prince. Given that, it would make sense to insist that anyone who is currently on the throne cannot fight or be fought for in the Crown Tourney that occurs during their reign. I would consider this fair and in keeping with our traditions.

I see nothing inherently wrong with allowing those who wish to fight in Crown Tourney to do so or in allowing them to fight for one who inspires them, regardless of the genders of the pairing or their relationship status. I also would not have a problem with monarchs sitting on the thrones whose personas' genders do not match their physical ones. I have known women who find a male persona a better match for their activities within the SCA than a female one and are more comfortable in breeches than skirts. We see nothing wrong with a lady taking to the field in men's garb, so why should we hold our monarchs to a higher standard than we do ourselves?

One of the things I love about the SCA is that finding it was like coming home. I love that overall, the people here are more welcoming and accepting than many of those in the modern world. I would like to see that continue to be true in the coming years.

Lady Piera da Ferrara

former A&S officer, former herald, artisan, rapier fighter, and merchant from Atlantia

Sovereigns without consorts

Why do we have a requirement to have a consort to enter crown at all. As far as I can tell there is no requirement in Corpora to have both a Baron and Baroness (or two Barons as is soon to be the case in the States) e.g. Mistress Rowan, so why do we HAVE to have someone to reign beside us. It has already happened in the SCA , Henri d'Artois ruled Sep '03 to Apr '04 (though I am not sure of the actual circumstances so this might be a special case). There are any number of period examples of monarchs (of either gender) who ruled on their own. Perhaps this movement should be to remove the requirement to have a consort, that way if a person wants to fight in crown they can no matter if they for someone or who they fight for.

William Castille

 

Corpora

A brief search reveals this section of Corpora:

 XIII. POLICY ON ACCESSIBILITY TO SOCIETY FUNCTIONS

"The SCA, Inc. will not discriminate against any member or participant on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability. The SCA, Inc. will comply with all laws of the nation in which the meeting or event is held. For any meeting or event held in the United States, the SCA, Inc. will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The SCA, Inc. will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities to enable all participants to fully enjoy the events whenever it is possible to do so.

The SCA, Inc. will at all times attempt to provide reasonable accommodations, while preserving the fundamental nature of the SCA event."

 "Sexual orientation" does not appear in that section.  I will only speak for myself, although I have spoken to numerous others, in that simply because it is preferred to have a male King and a female Queen does NOT mean that we are discriminating against people of the non-hetero lifestyle.  I'm not saying you can't have a gay King or Queen.  It is an established practice that it is not required to be romantically involved with your Consort.  Just to throw out a hypothetical question:  Pretend that an SCA-wide survey went out, and was answered by 20,000 people.  In that survey was the question of whether or not to allow same-sex couples to sit the thrones.  What if, say 15,000 responded with "NO" and 5,000 responded with "Yes".  Do we change the rules to make 25% of the population happy?  Again, this is hypothetical.   And for all the people who are screaming "discrimination", why haven't you petitioned the Miss Black Universe contest to allow caucasions to enter?  There are hundreds of scholarships to hundreds of institutions of higher learning that are ONLY available to Hispanics, Latinos, African-American, women, etc etc.  Why haven't THOSE been opened up to EVERYONE?

People have said that if you don't like it, feel free to vote with your feet.  That works both ways.  I would rather my gay friends NOT leave, for some of them are very very close friends of mine and I love them dearly.  In short, I'm not a homophobe, nor a bigot.  But as was stated earlier, we have "The Dream", and it is different for everyone.  But to change the rules to placate a vocal minority in such a way that would have significant adverse effects on a silent majority, is just as wrong as the discrimination being perceived by the few.  So which is worse?  My question is this:  Is there a way to make everyone happy?  I don't think so.  The SCA has ALWAYS had a Queen, and a King.  To lose one or the other would unjustly tear at the fabric of the Dream.  The current rules do NOT say that gays can't participate in the SCA.  It doesn't say that gays can't fight in the Crown Lists.  It simply says that the couple must be of opposite gender.    I agree that this is NOT a "gay marriage" issue.  That is a private thing.  Being King and Queen for an entire Kingdom is NOT a private issue.  If you feel discriminated against, what about the people who want to play in the SCA, and want to do their fair share and also fight for Crown, or hold an office, but can't because they simply lack the funds to maintain an annual membership?  Where is THEIR voice?  Why don't we remove the requirement that you must be a PAID member to fight in Crown or hold a position like Seneschal?  What about all the people who want to do Civil War re-enactment at an SCA event?  We 'discourage' things like elves or vampires at SCA events.  Why?  Because they don't "fit in" with our 'game', so we politely (sometimes not-so-politely) ask them to play elsewhere, or ask them to change what they want in order to "fit in".  Well, I'm sure that there are a great many who whole-heartedly support the issue of ending discrimination against same-sex marriages, or discrimination as a whole, but will also support with the same fervor of keeping a King and Queen on the throne.

A note from the Publisher

 

Good gentles,

While we at SCAtoday.net welcome the vigorous discussion that this article has generated, I want to remind all concerned that our editorial policies prohibit inflammatory, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate content. So far I have approved all comments we have received, but some on both sides are getting close to the line. On the other hand, people on both sides of the issue have also posted well-reasoned and thoughtful comments. Please remember that we are all Lords and Ladies of the Current Middle Ages, and continue this discussion in a courteous and respectful manner.

Strong opinions are not a problem, but rudeness is. Please don't go there.

Thank you.

Justin

Regarding Same Sex Crowns

 Unto the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism do I, Duke Phelan O'Coileain, KSCA, send greetings.

The reason for this missive is to address the current movement among some members of the Society to alter Corpora to allow same sex couples to fight, and be fought for, in Crown  Tournaments.

Alongside a great many others, I am deeply disturbed by the notion that this could eventually become reality. There are numerous reasons this is a horrible idea, and should not be implemented. The first and foremost is equality of the sexes on the throne. One Man, One Woman. To speak plainly, this is not a Gay Marriage issue (which I am 100% in favor of), this issue stems from the fact that we have a Queen.

We have always had a Queen.

The Queen of Grace and Beauty has always been charged with inspiring the populace to greater deeds.  The basic concept of a Strong King and a Beautiful Queen is the ultimate Arthurian Chivalric ideal on which the Society is entirely based. If we were in any way make it possible that a Queen might not be on the Throne or that women might not equally be represented, it could have devastating effects on the morale of the Society.  

Is it truly necessary to change the rules of a game that have been established for over 40 years, and have been followed by tens of thousands with no issue for all of that time, so that a few may simply have their way? Especially a rule that would change everything about the very foundation of which this Society was created. The First Party was entirely based on the concept of a Knight fighting for the honor to crown his Lady the Queen of Love and Beauty.

The notion of  joining a Society that has established rules, that have been in place for over four decades, and trying to change them to suit your own needs is foreign to me. I joined the SCA, learned the rules, and operated within them, in the same way I play Monopoly. There are rules, and I don't expect anyone to change them to suit me just because I can't seem to get my hands on Boardwalk.  There needs to be a time when you, our appointed leaders need to stand right up and say:

"No, these are the rules. We understand you don't like them, but if they do not fit within your scope of acceptability, there are other organizations and activities that may better suit you, or feel free to start your own."

There is no rule in Corpora that says a couple must be romantically involved in order to fight in Crown. My second reign was with a friend with whom I had no romantic involvement.  This in and of itself completely nullifies any argument that can be brought up in favor of this movement, and or any issue regarding discrimination. To put it plainly, the SCA doesn't care who you are sleeping with, and it has nothing to do with fighting in a Crown tournament. There is talk of restricting couples to those who are romantically involved, to counter the "Super Duke Team Up" scenario, but this would eliminate a segment of the couples in Crown that far outweigh same sex couples.

Discrimination, however will be a very poignant topic if you were to alter Corpora. For example, the Crown's current ability to deny entrance to anyone they see fit would need to be removed. I say this because the first time a Crown held out a same sex couple, no matter what the reasoning, it would automatically be surmised that the Crown did it because they hate Gays, and invariably a discrimination lawsuit would follow.

There is also talk of altering the law to state that only one fighter per couple in the list, to reduce the likelihood of the aforementioned "Super Duke Team Up". This will immediately open you up to discrimination lawsuits from the Female fighting population. For years, there have been couples fighting for each other in Crown. In every single Crown list I have fought in over the last 11 years there has been a couple fighting for each other. Are you really prepared to deny female fighters and Chivalry their opportunity to fight? Because, as my wife says "I guarantee you aren't going to take a Crown off so I can fight".

Another topic being brought up by the same group is the concept of altering Crown Tournament to make them alternate between Fighting and A&S.

I will say this plainly so there is no confusion.

If this last part is done it will completely and utterly alter the ideals that I, and many others, have strived to uphold for the majority of my adult life.  On that day I will lay down my Belt, Chain, Spurs, and Coronet, and walk away from the SCA. At that point it will all become meaningless, and it will nullify everything I have completely and utterly devoted myself to for over 15 years. And I am not alone. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, who will be right beside me.  But we are not the sort to file a lawsuit so we can have our way, so our passing will be peaceful and quiet. We will just walk away.

In closing, I plead with you, do not entertain these notions with more than a grain of salt. They are unnecessary changes to laws that currently don't hurt anyone, but if changed, could hurt everyone. We are part of an organization that recreates the Middle Ages, not the politically correct 1990's. We need to stop changing traditions to make the vocal minority happy.

 

In Service to the Dream

 

Phelan O'Coileain

Dux Bellorum Atenveldtus

 I think perhaps I delved too

 I think perhaps I delved too deep into reasoning in my letter. I should have simplified it more and just said this: 

 We play a medieval game in which a King and Queen rule the land.There has always been a King and Queen in our game.There may be historical precedence for Kings and Kings, just as there is precedence for torture chambers and the plague, but that is not how our game is played. 

Sexual orientation has nothing to do with the selection of Kings and Queens, and there is no rule that states you must be romantically involved with your consort.  

From everything I have researched, the Inspirational Equality movement is not based on sexual orientation (because, of course the rules prohibiting same sex consorts aren't based on sexual orientation), but is based on fighting for who, inspires you, not necessarily who you are romantically involved with.  

I would ask why it is that you can only be inspired by one person, and why the only person you are inspired by must be of the same sex, and, furthermore, why it is necessary to change the rules of the game to accommodate the inability of a few to find inspiration from a potential consort of the opposite sex?

 I can find true inspiration throughout my Kingdom, and there are plenty of dear friends, Ladies, who I think would make an excellent Queen.  

 I have personally fought for, and ruled with, a friend of the opposite sex because my wife was ineligible at the time to be Queen, according to the rules. And, when I was King, I did not change these rules to accommodate her, because they exist for a reason. 

If inspiration is the only reason for a consort, then I would propose we remove the requirement for a consort entirely, as there are many times when a fighter simply wants to fight and is inspired to do so merely for the joy of combat. 

 I am inspired to fight all of the time and my wife has nothing to do with it. I go to fighter practice weekly, and I am perfectly capable of fighting without her there to inspire me. 

 In fact there is far more historical precedence for a King or Queen ruling alone than there is for two Kings, so I believe that this issue should be addressed long before the issue of same sex couples. 

Of course, this will never happen, because it is against the foundation of the rules our Society is based on. 

Biology Should Not Be Destiny

 

I would ask why it is that you can only be inspired by one person, and why the only person you are inspired by must be of the same sex, and, furthermore, why it is necessary to change the rules of the game to accommodate the inability of a few to find inspiration from a potential consort of the opposite sex?

I think it's necessary because there are those people who can't elevate people whom they find inspiring solely because of their gender. I think that this makes the SCA less fun for them.  I want the SCA to be more fun for them and think that allowing same-sex inspirations makes things less about gender and more about the individual.  I think that's a good thing.

This has nothing to do with an inability to find inspiration in a different gender; it has everything to do with wanting the ability to fight for the person who one wants to honour, regardless of gender.

As for the issue of having no consort, that is a separate topic.

Regarding "the rules"

I'm going to repost something I posted on the IE Open Discussion Facebook group.

Re: The Rules

If one explores Corpora, it is clear that the rules include detailed direction on the establishment, alteration to and abolishment of the rules.

Corpora I. C. 1.

"1. Publication of changes 
Under normal circumstances, the Board will publicize proposed changes to Corpora in sufficient time to allow comment from the membership before making a final determination.

The Board of Directors shall give a minimum of sixty (60) calendar days notice to Kingdom Administration of the effective date of changes made Corpora. This notice shall be in written form and the sixty days shall count from the date of mailing. In case of an emergency, less notice may be given, such notice to be no less than thirty (30) days before the implementation date for such changes. In all cases where less than sixty days notice was given, the notice shall be accompanied by a letter of explanation of the emergency prompting the change."

As one can see, the BOD - the highest authority in the SCA - have established policies for the changing of the rules. So do Kingdoms and Principalities, if you go to Corpora IV. F. 1.

" The Crown or the Coronet may make and amend such laws of their realm as they deem necessary, with the restriction that principality laws are subject to the approval of the Crown. (Note that law applies to all persons participating in Society activities within the borders of the realm, without regard to subject status or individual fealty.)"

It seems clear that the rules were established, not just to guide the direction of the SCA and its members, but also with the option of being changed.

Corpora rule change policy is in place to both examine whether a rule needs changing and to effect the changing of rules when it is determined to be in the best interests of the organization.  It doesn't make sense to me to be arguing that 'the rules' should be followed and never changed.  Rules change all the time; that's why the SCA has a rule change policy in place.

It doesn't hurt anyone?

 

If we were in any way make it possible that a Queen might not be on the Throne or that women might not equally be represented, it could have devastating effects on the morale of the Society.

Explain to me how I am not equally represented by a person who believes in the SCA, who strives to uphold the ideals of honour, chivalry and pageantry.  I don't need someone in a dress to do this; I need someone who is going to work to make their part of the SCA a better place.  

I also find it odd that you, a male, are claiming to know what I, as a female, need to be inspired.  I realize this isn't personal, but do you realize that you are making a claim for all women of the SCA?  Have you asked them all how and by whom they are inspired?  I know you didn't ask me where I get my inspiration and I'll tell you, it's not in a pair of ovaries.

The First Party was entirely based on the concept of a Knight fighting for the honor to crown his Lady the Queen of Love and Beauty.

And later, well after the graduation party, women also wanted to fight and were not allowed initially to enter into the lists.  Eventually the SCA changed to allow women to fight in the same tournaments as men and even contend for Crown.  It is not the same as the First Party, but it allows all people to equally participate, should they so choose.

Instead of thinking of it of a knight fighting for the honor to crown his lady, try thinking of it as one person fighting for the honor to crown or otherwise acknowledge their partner/friend as the inspiration of their heart.  It may be difficult for you to accept that some people value others of the same gender as highly as you do your lady, but it is a fact.  They merely wish to fight for that person as strongly and as passionately as you can for yours.

There is no rule in Corpora that says a couple must be romantically involved in order to fight in Crown.... This in and of itself completely nullifies any argument that can be brought up in favor of this movement, and or any issue regarding discrimination. 

This is coming perilously close to the argument, "Gays can marry! Just as long as it's a person of the opposite sex! You see?  They have equal rights!"  The fact remains that while you have the choice of "chosen partner in life"/"not them", there are those who have the choice of "not them"/"not them".  How is that fair?  How is that equal?  How can you claim that this nullifies arguments based on discrimination when you're arguing from the position of someone who already has it all?

For example, the Crown's current ability to deny entrance to anyone they see fit would need to be removed. I say this because the first time a Crown held out a same sex couple, no matter what the reasoning, it would automatically be surmised that the Crown did it because they hate Gays, and invariably a discrimination lawsuit would follow.

Slippery slope argument: logical fallacy.  You have no evidence that this would be the case.  Furthermore, the immediate assumption that a same-sex couple contending for the throne is A) gay  B) unable to comprehend the rules of the lists and C) vindictive and stupid enough to file a lawsuit is quite interesting.  As well, the assumption that Crown would have to automatically accept anyone and everyone into the lists simply because people are able to fight for same-sex couples is extraordinary.  Allowing Mary to fight for Elizabeth does not mean that Jim in his tin foil helm and foam rapier will be allowed onto the field.

There is also talk of altering the law to state that only one fighter per couple in the list, to reduce the likelihood of the aforementioned "Super Duke Team Up". This will immediately open you up to discrimination lawsuits from the Female fighting population. For years, there have been couples fighting for each other in Crown. In every single Crown list I have fought in over the last 11 years there has been a couple fighting for each other. Are you really prepared to deny female fighters and Chivalry their opportunity to fight? Because, as my wife says "I guarantee you aren't going to take a Crown off so I can fight".

Do you know many women fighters who are planning lawsuits if they can't fight in the Crown lists, should this policy be enacted?  How would allowing only one fighter per couple into the Crown lists (should this ever happen) discriminate against females and females only.  

What if your wife wanted to fight in the Crown lists and you wanted to fight as well?  Well, you could do an honourable thing and defer to her; that's one way.  Another way is exercising one of your previous points and fight for another inspiration.  After all, if the rules say that you can't fight for YOUR inspiration, you just have to suck it up, right?

As for the last point, it does not appear to have anything to do with the removal of the gender requirements, so I will leave it for now.

Finally, we get to the most singular part of your argument: 

They are unnecessary changes to laws that currently don't hurt anyone, but if changed, could hurt everyone. We are part of an organization that recreates the Middle Ages, not the politically correct 1990's. We need to stop changing traditions to make the vocal minority happy.

You claim that the laws 'currently don't hurt anyone', but you seem to have ignored the people who say that not being allowed to fight for their inspirations DOES hurt them.  Are they lying?  Misinformed?  Confused?  Are they somehow different from you and the people you care about?  Do you think that their desire to fight for the people they would most like to honour is different from your own?

We recreate the Middle Ages as it should have been.  Unless you've been using a team of mules and a wagon to transport your entirely handmade and personally-constructed encampment, garb and equipment, I suggest that you are enjoying the same privileges as the rest of us who try to recreate the parts of the medieval period that appeal, leaving behind the creative torture and executions, medieval medicine and limited positions for women and non-Caucasians.

The 'vocal minority' as you put it are becoming a majority.  We're not all LGBT here.  In fact, some of us are pretty committed heterosexuals in monogamous relationships who just want our friends, our sisters and brothers in arms, our household members, our people to have the same right to fight for whomever they choose.  The right you currently enjoy and would deny to them.

  Your Grace, With due

 

Your Grace,

With due respect, I take strong issue with your citations of heteronormative gender roles as basis for your opposition to the Inspirational Equality movement. As a woman, and a fighter, I find the assertation that "The basic concept of a Strong King and a Beautiful Queen is the ultimate Arthurian Chivalric ideal on which the Society is entirely based." bridling and, on some levels, sexist. Being beautiful, graceful, or otherwise feminine in the Victorian sense are not my goals when I participate in the SCA, although I can and have found all of those qualities inspiring and empowering. 

The underlaying assertion of your argument, that the King has to be strong and the Queen has to be pretty, harkens back to days when women weren't allowed to train in certain types of medicine, serve in the military or police forces, and were barred from many other roles traditionally open to men because those occupations and careers weren't "womanly." Please carefully consider the application of dated gender stereotypes to your experience of today's SCA. 

I understand that the equal representation of women on the Throne is an issue near and dear to the hearts of many, but I contend that mandating the presence of a woman on the Throne does nothing to advance female stature in the SCA; indeed, it promotes the stereotype that women must be "put" on the Thrones by their male counterparts because they can't get there themselves.

I realize that most of the fighters in Crown are male, and that there's only been one Queen by her own hand in the history of the SCA, and this saddens me. I wish we had a 50/50 gender split in Crown lists. I wish there were as many Kings of Love and Beauty as there were Queens. But mandating mixed-sex couples in Crown in the name of "protecting" women isn't the right way to go about it; excluding one group in the name of protecting another isn't a just action. Better to include everyone and let the chips fall where they may. When faced with more contenders for Crown, I don't think all the fine women who sit, have sat, or wish to sit on the Thrones will go gently into that good night.

 

I appologize if the views of

I appologize if the views of my wife, the Duchess and hard suit fighter, seem sexist to you. I'm sure it wasn't her intent when she asked me to put down in words the feelings she and several other female fighters were having over this issue. I will tell her that she needs to get more perspective on the female SCA experience before she has me place commentary in another letter. After all, two reigns and leading an army on the field aren't nearly enough.

If your wife has an opinion

If your wife has an opinion on these events, it would be interesting if she would post it here herself.  As a Duchess and hard suit fighter, it would be a valuable contribution if she was to put forth her reasoning.  

I say this because the only reference you made to your wife's contribution is a statement about how she thought that you would never skip fighting in Crown so she could have the opportunity, should a rule specifying only one fighter in the lists per couple be enacted.  Everything else you posted appeared to be a reference to your own opinion as opposed to an opinion held by you, your Lady and the female fighters that she knows.

A simple question

I have a question.  There are many people who are vocal about wanting to change Corpora to allow for same-sex reigns.  How do people voice their opinion about wanting to maintain opposite-sex reigns for the simple fact of having a Male King and a Female Queen, without being labled a homophobe, a bigot, a racist, or any other negative euphamism?  Just because someone prefers to have a King to follow and a Queen to inspire does NOT automatically mean that they are "anti-gay" or other such nonsense.

 

Things to Avoid

Before we begin, let me just note that the examples below have come from actual discussions on this matter.  They are not used in the sense that I think that you or anyone with a modicum of information and empathy would use them. 

Avoid words like 'disgusting', 'revolting', 'wrong' and 'ridiculous'... as well as 'fags', 'homos' and 'gay-lovers'  Don't use a phrase that can be translated as "for the children", "for the puppies" or any other PSA regarding juvenile mammals of any species.  Eschew an "us versus them" attitude - "the gays", , "you people", "those kinds of people".  Think carefully before making claims that change to the current policy will result in the death of the SCA, your leaving, the clear-cutting of Yggdrasil or red wine served with a fish entree.

Accept that your arguments are likely going to be examined, challenged and countered.  This does not mean that people are targeting *you*; they are targeting your *argument*.  Learn and know the difference.  Feel free to counter others' arguments likewise.

If you are making a clear, concise argument backed up with sound reasoning, your reception will be very different than if you indulge in the above.  Those who truly wish to discuss your opinion may still disagree with you, but they will avoid labelling you with nomenclature ill-suited to your obvious intentions.

 

Inspirational Equality

Let those who oppose it simply speak their opinions in a direct and clear fashion. Granted this is a loaded issue and it is wise to use careful language to make it clear as to why they feel that way, but there are good and valid arguments on both sides of the issue that have nothing to do with prejudice and it behooves us to discuss them intelligently and civilly. I also suggest that anyone wishing to wade into the debate on the either side first take the time to educate themselves on the topic so that they don't find themselves basing arguments on erroneous asssumptions.

Simply wanting to see opposite gender monarchs does not make anyone anti-gay or a bigot by any stretch of the imagination; I am an ardent and vocal supporter of LGBQTetc. rights and yet I opposed the idea of same-sex co-regnants for some time. It took many discussions with friends who supported it and much thought on my part before I changed my stance. Hopefully many others will take the time and have the same kinds of conversations so that we can all actually sit down and *think* this through and come together on a decision that best serves the society and its peoples as a whole.

Same sex crowns

No. If we are to be anachronistic, then some things should remain that reflect the period we are trying to re-create, otherwise just rename the Society with some bland, meaningless, politically correct moniker and be done with it. This issue has nothing to do with equal rights or equal representation. If you were politically correct in the Middle Ages, the gays were stoned, but I'm certainly not advocating that. In the past, when counter-culture groups attempted to change the fabric of the SCA they were politely invited to go off and start their own group. If the gays want to play in the SCA, then they should accept the premise behind the dream and stick to the standards.

If you allowed two same sex people to rise to the thrones, what will you then change the titles of King and Queen to? What would their titles become when they leave the thrones? How will it look to our children to see two men, or two women, on the throne - especially if each dresses the part of a man and a woman? It's ludicrous. While I have less of a reaction to a gay couple serving a Barony, the difficulty with titles and the absolute wrongness of it in a medieval context is revolting. I would never refer to some gay guy as Princess, Her Majesty, Countess, Duchess, or any other feminine title, nor would I address a gay woman with the men's titles. Herein lies the death of a great society. If you wonder why people leave the SCA in droves and never return, just look at the ridiculous policies that are being proposed. I know it wouldn't take me long to vote with my feet and leave the SCA.

When Two Crowns Love Each Other Very, Very Much...

 

If you allowed black people to rise to the thrones, what will you then change the titles of King and Queen to? What would their titles become when they leave the thrones? How will it look to our children to see black people, or Chinese people, on the throne - especially if each dresses the part of a European? It's ludicrous. While I have less of a reaction to a non-white couple serving a Barony, the difficulty with titles and the absolute wrongness of it in a medieval context is revolting. I would never refer to some black guy as Princess, Her Majesty, Countess, Duchess, or any other European title, nor would I address a European with African or Chinese titles. Herein lies the death of a great society. If you wonder why people leave the SCA in droves and never return, just look at the ridiculous policies that are being proposed. I know it wouldn't take me long to vote with my feet and leave the SCA.

I mean, if we're going to go on about how revolting this idea is, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't go all the way.  Half done is worth none, I always say.  After all, while people who were not Caucasian certainly did exist in the medieval period and interacted with European nobility to some degree, but they certainly weren't handed a throne.  

Letting non Caucasians play in the SCA is about as medieval as... oh, I don't know... women fighting openly as women on European battlefields.  We might as well ban them from the lists as well, while we're being all period and stuff.  Maybe we should just toss them out of the peerages altogether, so they can focus more on the kitchen, making garb and being simultaneously put on a pedestal and reviled as progenitors of original sin.

Speaking of sin, let's bring religion into the SCA, too.  After all, the medieval period was riddled with it and it's terribly OOP to omit it from our events and organizational structure.  Drag out the Malleus Maleficarum and target all those Laurels with better garb than you.  An Tir still has some pretty big stands of timber you could use to crush them with until they admit to congress with the Devil.  

You claim that you're not advocating stoning, but you're advocating revulsion and contempt towards same-sex couples/inspirations/rulers. You might not be throwing pieces of granite or shale, but you have no problem with anonymous Internet stones.  I am curious if you have any more to throw, my present impression being that you have no tangible items of that nature in your possession.

Don't let the portcullis crush you on your way out.

Publisher's note: This post retains its original wording, but was edited for text formatting before publication.

Additional issue with your comment

 I'm not going to repeat anything that's already been said. It was put very succintly and eloquently by those before me. 

However, I will touch on a different issue.

"How will it look to our children to see two men, or two women, on the throne - especially if each dresses the part of a man and a woman? It's ludicrous."

How will it look to the children of gay couples when they ask why their two mommies or their two daddies can't be Queens or Kings and are told that it's because there are some people in the Society that find it ludicrous that they love who they love? How is it ludicrous? The only ludicrous thing I see is YOUR inability to address same-sex relationships with YOUR children. Not to mention there are plenty of people, both gay and straight, who cross-dress within the Society to portray their character. I often dress as a man, frankly because it's easier in situations where I'm going to be very actively working or it's rainy or muddy. I am also in the process of registering an alternate name, a male name, and persona. "My Dream" is to play how I want to play, and part of that involves playing as a woman at times and playing as a man at times. 

And if you want to make this a religious issue, I draw your attention to Joan of Arc, who fought for God as a man.

If your interpretation of "The Dream" is intolerance and bigotry, please, do vote with your feet and leave. You're scaring off the gays that are in it to have fun and make friends with everyone.

YIS,

Lady Brigita Gescheid, AoA
Order of the Sable Shield
Marche of Winged Hills
Barony of Flaming Gryphon
Kingdom of the Middle

"If we are trying to be

"If we are trying to be anachronistic..."

We should get off the bus right here. Long time players know that the SCA is equal parts entertainment and education. Part of the entertainment value is in escaping the modern world, which is what we might take 'being anachronistic' to mean. However, how unfair, if we are simply wishing to provide a pleasant escape for all from the modern, that we restrict this to a world pleasant only for noble-born, and I would add, white, male, straight Catholic Europeans. For the rest we would only provide a past, worse, world in which prejudice and evil reigned. This is vile in the modern world and, I think, fails to be a goal many wish to even allow, much less advance with our money, time and long efforts.

But, let us not forget the second aspect. Our 501(c)3 charter is to educate ourselves and the public regarding the pre-1601 past of Western Europe and its environs. Education is the antithesis of escapism. Education is only meaningful as far as it provides our modern selves a perspective or insight into the past. We attempt to do this by reenacting (or rebuilding) things and situations of the past. However, when this reenactment runs into the modern aspects of our selves the reenactment can easily (and must) yield to allow any modern person to participate equally. This is both in our modern notion of fairness and is our charge as a California non-profit Corporation. Are same sex rulers perfectly 'period'? There are period examples, and equally one can point out that even the notion of a ruling male-female couple sharing power does not much pass historical muster, but that the notion that perfect reenactment of the past is even a necessary goal of the SCA is a canard. Perfect education does not require perfect reenactment. In fact, eliding what we do not wish to recreate when that aspect is either painful to some or simply out of the scope of what our modern world wishes to study happens all the time in the SCA. It is not only understandable but is really no barrier to educating well and fully on those areas that we do focus on.
 
Consider: I have read of some Civil War reenactment organizations where blacks wish to portray Confederate regulars. In any notion of period accuracy this would seem downright silly if not insulting to their historic experience. Only when we see the reenactment as educating on the Civil War could we have any notion why such a thing might be agreeable. Indeed if framed that way who are we to question whether a modern person of any gender or race wishes to educate themselves on the Civil War experience by immersion as a Civil War reenactment can do? In like fashion, how could we not allow same sex couples to participate as fully as any other SCA persons are allowed to, as ruling nobles or crowns?

Here are a few points I have issue with in your message...

I feel you are operating under some misguided ideas...  But before you get offended by what I am saying, let me say that I had apprehension about this idea as well, at first.  I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to the SCA and the various cultures it has garnered.  Then, I got to thinking about it (with some discussion with friends) and decided that I was being ignorant and fearful for little to no reason.  Let me hit several points below to address a few issues I had with your comments...

1. Anachronistic doesn't mean medieval.  It means something misplaced in time.

"An anachronism—from the Greek ανά (ana: up, against, back, re-) and χρόνος (chronos: time)— (ism act state and condition) is an inconsistency in some chronological arrangement,especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other. The item is often an object, but may be a verbal expression, a technology, a philosophical idea, a musical style, a material, a custom, or anything else so closely associated with a particular period in time that it would be incorrect to place it outside its proper domain." from wikipedia

Thus, if you want to be anachronistic, then keep to the bigoted ways of old and NOT recognize that people in period were indeed gay, and there are at least several examples of same sex leadership. Not all gay, but sometimes...

2. "The premise of our group" - This has changed a lot over the years, but one thing is true, and that is that the SCA tries very hard to be inclusive. However, let's ask several of the founders of the SCA what they had in mind? (I think it was a party in medieval clothes, not some high and mighty medieval recreationist movement.) And perhaps how those ideas have morphed and changed over the years. To uphold the downtrodden and support the weak, courtesy and chivalry. These are some of the aims of the society we call the SCA, at least for some of the people who play in it. To do or act otherwise would be insulting and brashly ignorant, oh and truly anachronistic, as medieval people did indeed act in many ways that we would consider barbaric today. Things like that have no place in our modern society, even when we play in the SCA. You are correct, that sometimes, in some places, violence was used to deal with those who were different in thoughts or culture, or even religion. WHY should we further those ignorant improperly thought out actions today? Would you also have us ban blacks and women from fighting in Crown? It makes as much sense...  Those groups of PEOPLE had precious little equality in medieval european society...  Does that mean we should enforce those embarrassing blemishes on our collective history?  I am certain that has nothing to do with the premise of the SCA.  <sarcasm> It's nice that you suggest that they should go create their own game, just like the SCA, but for the GL community.  How very fair...  </sarcasm>(a little sorry for the sarcasm...)
Overall, with whatever rules and regulation have come down in fighting and in Corpora in the 30 years I have been in the SCA, none have significantly made any changes to the way the game has been played.  I think banning freon helmets probably changed what the SCA looked and felt like 99.5% more than letting inspirational equality be a part of hte SCA would.  And that was before I joined...
 

3. "The Dream"  - You know... this term has a lot of different meanings to a lot of people in our group.  Please don't step on MY "Dream" and call it ours... There is no "THE Dream". Apparently, you and I have completely differing dreams.  for one thing, I dream of a day when people can be respected for their good deeds and not for whom they love (or are inspired by).  And beside that, it doesn't even matter if they are in a relationship with the person for whom they are fighting.  Do all your Kings and Queens, and Barons and Baronesses live with one another in a married relationship, or do you know of a few who were friends and particpated in Crown or threw their names into the hat for a landed Barony to be selected by the Crown?  Get your assumptions off MY dream and the dreams of others.  I don't try to mess with yours.  We play in a group that is based on history, but actualizes by pretending.  We pretend our sticks are swords, and we pretend to have titles we would never have in real life. If a same sex couple ends up in a "figure head" position of Crown or Baroncy, "pretend" they are what you want them to be, and have your "Dream" intact.  It's a big group, and we have room for differing thoughts, and activities.  Not everyone gets a kick out of fighting.  I do, but I don't force anyone to put on armour and fight (well, other than my squires, sometimes).  There are many events that don't even HAVE fighting at them.  ::gasp::  I simply dont go to many of those...  I like to fight.  Have for 30 years, and it part of my "dream".

4. Your threat of leaving...  I would hate to see anyone leave the SCA for reasons of feeling slighted.  I am not intending to slight you or insult you in how I have responded, but I may have done, and I appologize for that...  However, your statement could result in other people, PEOPLE having the same feeling as you from your response to the main article.  I don't know if you have thought of that or if you are one of those less empathetic people who cannot think of what it might feel like to read your post and be of those who feel it's right and proper for them to have equality in their SCA experience.  Yeah, I'm a Monarchist, and I understand we are not recreating a democracy, but I like to think that when I was on the throne I treated people with some level of equality.  The King and Queen are first among equals, right?  We get to recognize and support.  I feel that's what I'm doing now.  I recognize that people are not being treated equally in our game, and I am personally embarrased that it is that way. I support Inspirational Equality fully.

5. Have you considered that it's a very small percentage of people who would even be taking on new activities with the new wording in Corpora?  Have you considered that it would more than likely not impact you at all?  Have you considered that it would be a huge impact for the people seeking such equality?  All in all, things don't change that much from a simple fairness, and when they do, it's usually for the better.

Be brave, conquer your fears, and uphold that which is right.  Do not fear the unknown.  Support the downtrodden, and help to forward what is a good action on the part of the BoD.  They don't often get to make "feel good" choices.  Help them make the choice easy by supporting what could be a no loser situation.  There really would be no losers if IE were OK'd in the SCA.

~Duke Amalric Blackhart, KSCA
930th Knight of the Society
38th King of Atlantia
50th King of An Tir

 

Actually...

 Hi mccolka,

Many of the points you raise have actually already been addressed, both in previous SCA Today articles (like this one and this one and this one) and on the Inspirational Equality Facebook page which Ariel referenced in the previous comment. I encourage you to read through both at your leisure. 

In regards to your questions about ritual language and titles, I direct you to the modern state of New York, which has adjusted to the recent legalization of same-sex marriage by changing the titles on its marriage licenses to a gender-neutral term (I think it's either "Partner" or "Spouse.") Similar changes could be made to SCA ritual language with much less fuss than befell New York. :) 

The questions about the impressions of children are so often brought up in issues of same-sex representation, I'm glad you chose to address them! In response, I have a story for you: My then-boyfriend and I were visiting his aunt and uncle. At one point, his 13 year old cousin asked whether we would break up or stay together after I graduated college. I responded that we were planning to stay together and, in fact, get an apartment together while we decided whether or not to get engaged. My boyfriend's family was religious and didn't approve of premarital cohabitation. I had suspected this, and wasn't offended when his aunt turned to his cousin and said "That's fine for them, sweetie, but that's not how we do it."

I didn't agree with her position, but it wasn't offensive and it certainly didn't require me to lie to the kid or otherwise suborn an aspect of my identity or character. If you have an issue with same-sex couples, you're perfectly capable of teaching your children to have the same issues (although I hope they never experience any crises of character because of them). You're not entitled to prohibit the expression of affection or partnership between two consenting adults because you aren't sure how to explain it to the kids.

When you write that "the absolute wrongness of it in a medieval context is revolting," I urge you again to read through the documents on the Inspirational Equality Facebook page or the FAQ I linked above. They provide ample documentation for the existence of same-sex pairings in positions of authority before, during, and after SCA period. I also advise you to consider your word choice more carefully when discussing this issue; the use of the word "revolting" and the phrase "absolute wrongness" lend an air of fear and discrimination to your comment which do your argument no credit.

Reply to same sex crowns

[Disclaimer: while I am an occasional contributor to SCAtoday.net, this comment represents my views and does not reflect upon the editorial board of this site in any way.]

In the past, when counter-culture groups attempted to change the fabric of the SCA they were politely invited to go off and start their own group.

You mean like the feminists who wanted women to be able to fight in armor? Oh wait, I forgot, we do that now.

If we were to be historically accurate, we would actually do nothing at all about gay SCA members, because there was very little awareness of gayness as a concept in period Europe. But we would persecute Jews, the poor, the mentally and physically handicapped, and women who argue with their husbands. And Protestants.

If you allowed two same sex people to rise to the thrones, what will you then change the titles of King and Queen to?

King Regnant and King Consort, or Queen Regnant and Queen Consort. The same titles used by real-world royalty to clarify who inherited a throne and who married into it. (Incidentally, medieval male co-rulers did exist. King Henry II of England and his son Henry the Young King are one extremely well-known example.)

What would their titles become when they leave the thrones?

Count for the boys, Countess for the girls. Just like now.

The absolute wrongness of it in a medieval context is revolting.

Do you ever fight in Nikes? Drink your Coke from a can while in garb? Talk about your laptop at feast? That revolts me. I'm not being facetious; I am disgusted and disappointed every time I see those glaringly modern things in a medieval context. But I understand that not everyone can afford period boots and not everyone cares about period appearance as much as I do, and I grin and bear it for the sake of keeping those people in the game.

I think what really revolts you is first, that gay people exist, and second, that they are increasingly accepted as one kind of normal person in both our Society and our society. Sorry, but that ship has sailed. Please consider trying to accept this change.  All your refusal to accept will do is make you unhappy, and humiliate those of your friends who don't dare come out to you.

Well said, milady Ursula!

Well said, milady Ursula! There's a lot of historical precedent for same-sex royal relationships, although a lot of it was discreet or covert ("Lord John Doe, The King's Favorite"). If you wore the crown, and were a good, responsible ruler, there was a lot of "don't ask/don't tell" going around. The cases where suspected "gay" or bisexual monarchs got into trouble were usually situations where they pissed off the powerful members of their courts by elevating the Favorite at the expense of the established nobility, raised taxes unreasonably high to finance a profligate lifestyle, neglected the business of the Kingdom, didn't provide an heir, or some combination of all of these... At that point, the King's "corrupt" behaviour would be added to the list of justifications cited by the rebellious nobles, but "sodomy" wasn't the main reason for the King being deposed.

Historical and religious biases against homosexuality/bisexuality should NOT be tolerated in our SCA any more than "historically accurate" racism, sexism, and prejudice against "minority" religions (Jews, Muslims, etc.).

In some things, we agree

Hi mccolka, I invite you to visit our facebook group where every question you raise has been addressed and continues to be discussed. You can also read other articles on this website concerning many of the points you raise.

Ironically, the one you focus on most--calling one member of a same-gender couple by titles of the opposite gender is the ONLY option that is actually currently allowed. That is to say, for a long time, the work-around offered to same gender couples who want to enter crown lists is--it's OK if one of you has an opposite gender persona. We folks behind Inspirational Equality started this movement because we agree with you--that solution is pretty ridiculous!

thank you for taking the time to comment, Mistress Ariel de Courtenay