Gender and sexuality work a little differently in Albion than in the non-magical community, for a couple of reasons.
The most pragmatic is that if you have a woman with strong magic, and she doesn't get training in managing it, there is a decent chance that she will become a danger to herself and people around her. (The same is true of men, mind you, it's just that this means that women in Albion have long had equal access to competent magical education.)
Most professions are open to all genders, but there are some specific implications for some kinds of magic for people who are pregnant, hoping to become pregnant, or who have similar considerations.
Taking portals regularly is not common in pregnancy, for example (certainly not daily for employment), and Alchemy
, and Ritual
magic all have some particular implications in pregnancy. Think of these as similar to exposure to radiation, chemicals, or similar concerns in our world - they can be handled safely in many cases, but they also have some specific risks.
Most people with magic have some degree of access to magical contraception. Someone with well-trained magic has a half-dozen or so charms to choose from (and may have a strong preference for one over the other depending on their own body, magic, what they feel comfortable with, and their sex life.) Others have access to a range of potions and alchemical materials, depending on their needs and preferences.
This means magical couples can often space their families out more, or have only as many children as they wish. (Child mortality is still higher than the modern average in the United Kingdom, but it is lower than the rest of the period thanks to Healers, magical apothecaries, and the wonders of alchemy.)
A family of seven children (like Thesan's
) is decidedly on the large side. It's common for aristocratic couples in a mostly-arranged match to agree on two children, possibly three if there are complex inheritance considerations.
The vast majority of people in Albion of the 1920s are gender-conforming and identify as men or women. There are certainly (as there have been throughout history) people who are have other approaches to gender from the one people assumed at their birth. If and how they show up in a book is a question for the future.
A number of magical methods are strongly gendered, or rely on gender polarity - including a lot of theory about how the land magic works. (Not all theories, needless to say, are actually correct. Best Foot Forward
gets into some of the implications for the land magic on this front from an unexpected angle.)
This does mean that Albion as a society has largely heterosexual expectations. How much other orientations are accepted (either privately or more publically) depends a lot on someone's specific situation. As has been true in a number of cultures, some things are more acceptable in young men (or young women) but older adults who have married and settled down have other expectations placed on them.
Overall, this means that visible displays of homosexual or bisexual affection tend to be done in private, with other people who are accepting. It can become a matter for blackmail, or as Magni Torham
and Richard Edgarton
discuss in Pastiche
, a situation that might significantly limit someone's professional options. It's complicated, and yet also sometimes very simple.
You can find a list of characters who aren't heterosexual or allosexual in the Books in context