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Queer Fantasy Roots: Shapeshifters, Mpreg, and Artificial Gestation in Medieval Welsh Literature

We don’t often think of medieval romance (in the genre sense, not the emotional sense) as being a hotbed of queer themes, but try this on for size. As magical punishment for committing and abetting a sexual assault, two brothers are condemned to be transformed into pairs of animals–male and female in alternation–to learn to overcome their bestial nature and gain a deeper appreciation of women’s experiences. Cycling through the forms of deer, then pigs, then wolves, they take turns begetting and bearing sons, until all of them–the brothers Gwydion and Gilfaethwy and their three offspring–are returned to human form. … Read more