Most celestials are genderless beings of metaphysical energy, who may have bodies of all available sexes.
– GURPs: In Nomine
GURPs: In Nomine was one of the last “core books” to be produced, and the first to officially introduce concepts from of Moriah’s essay “Homocelestiality” into the canon.
Sadly, its approach to celestial gender is not well reflected among the prime exemplars of the celestials: the Superiors. The fog of war grows thicker still when you consider that Steve Jackson Games was using the generic ‘he’ through the entire length of In Nomine‘s publishing run. While this choice was in line with editorial standards of the 1980s and 1990s, it is a singularly poor choice for differentiating between genderqueer, gender fluid, polygender, agender, male, and female entities.
In attempting to discern the intended default gender for each of the superiors I will be looking for a few different things.
- Use of feminine pronouns. Since Steve Jackson Games has stated their intent to use male pronouns as the generic, the use of female pronouns is clearly intentional.
- Presence of a Ms. Male Character. If “the female version” is presented as a variation but “the male version” is not, that’s a pretty clear indication that the authors consider male the default for the character.
- Presence of a gender bias. Unless there are counter indications, I will assume that a Superior who wants all their servitors to be a specific gender is themself of that gender.
Note: this list is not a definitive guide to the gender of archangels. It is merely a compilation of what genders I believe are most in line with the canonical information provided by Steve Jackson Games. I strongly encourage you to play with the gender identities and gender expressions of the Superiors within your own game.
Blandine – Female/Situational Genderfluid
Blandine uses feminine pronouns, since this is non-standard for Steve Jackson Games, she is fairly clearly intended to be female.
Christopher – Agender/Situational Genderfluid
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Christopher as male or female, as such they should probably be viewed as fitting the agender ideal laid out above.
David – Agender/Male
David has only one vessel, it was designed male, and there is no indication that David’s identity and assignment are at odds. Depending on which of the homocelestiality options you use, David could be either agender or male.
Dominic – Male/Situational Genderfluid
Dominic’s expanded write up includes the Ms. Male Character of Dominique as a variation. While it is clear that he can have a female vessel or identity, the implication is that he is male by default.
Eli – Agender/Genderfluid
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Eli as male or female, as such they should probably be viewed as fitting the agender ideal laid out in the introduction. That said, their genderfluidity is probably not tied to their vessel.
Gabriel – Female
Gabriel was specifically and explicitly male and is now specifically and explicitly female. While she was probably intended to be a transgender Superior, the focus on change strongly suggests her story was written with the sensibilities of a cisgender audience in mind.
If you would prefer your version of Gabriel to be engaged in the act of embracing femininity that she had previously denied or suppressed, you may want to model her personality on that of White Chain from Kill Six Billion Demons.
Janus – Unknown [Presents as Male/Situational Genderfluid]
There is every reason to believe that Janus has been putting on a false face, even in his celestial form. With that in mind, there is absolutely no way to know what their gender actually is.
Jean – Agender/Situational Genderfluid
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Jean as male or female, as such they should probably be viewed as fitting the agender ideal laid out in the introduction.
Jordi – Polygender
Jordi is a Kyriotate – they are more than capable of possessing and identifying with multiple genders at once. Moreover, with Jordi’s focus on animals, they are frequently exposed to procreative processes well outside of the ones which gave rise to human concepts of gender.
Khalid – Male
Khalid prefers for all of his angels to take male vessels whenever possible. While this is ostensibly because such was written about angels in the Koran, it is also quite likely that he has taken this to heart and considers himself male.
Lawrence – Male/Situational Genderfluid
Lawrence is explicitly described as being male most of the time but it is explicitly stated that he has a female vessel for those times when a swordswoman would command more respect.
Lithroy – Agender
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Lithroy as male or female, as such they should probably be viewed as fitting the agender ideal laid out in the introduction. Morevoer, with Lithroy’s focus on revealing the truth, most Lithrites probably avoid expressing other genders while in an earthly vessel.
Marc – Agender/Situational Genderfluid
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Marc as male or female, as such they should probably be viewed as fitting the agender ideal laid out in the introduction.
Michael – Male/Situational Genderfluid
Maleness is explicitly written into one of Michael’s variations and not written out of any of them. There is certainly room for play – but it is likely that that authors intended for Michael to be one of the more masculine archangels.
Novalis – Female/Situational Genderfluid
Novalis uses feminine pronouns, since this is non-standard for Steve Jackson Games, she is fairly clearly intended to be female.
Uriel – Agender
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Uriel as male or female. Moreover, they are specifically associated with purity. If the heavenly ideal is agender angels, Uriel would most definitely have been agender.
Yves – Agender/Situational Genderfluid
There is nothing which explicitly identifies Yves as male or female, as such they should probably be viewed as fitting the agender ideal laid out above.
Zadkiel – Female
Zadkiel explicitly uses female pronouns and has a clear preference for her angels adopting female vessels.
Yes, My Diamond
If you are unaccustomed to interacting with genderqueer people or playing genderqueer characters, the choice of honorifics can present something of a stumbling block.
“Sir” and “Lord” work well for showing respect to someone male; “Ma’am” and “Lady” work well for showing respect to someone female – but how do you show proper respect to a superior who is neither, or both, or perhaps one then the other in rapid succession?
Society has not yet settled on an answer, so for the time being I suggest you dodge the question by taking a page from Steven Universe. Just as Diamonds are the highest ranking gems, Archangels are the highest ranking angels. As such, the most respectful for of address you could use would be “My Archangel,” or perhaps the slightly less formal “My Arch.”