Question: How does Loki stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
Of the gods in the Norse pantheon, Loki is perhaps the most genderfluid, as he has no trouble taking on either male or female forms. In the myths, he generally takes on whatever form he needs to in order to accomplish his goals.
In the first myth where he is really introduced – in the myth concerning the building of Asgard’s walls – he intentionally transforms into a mare to lure away the stallion that is doing work for the giant building the wall and is threatening to force the Aesir into a very unfavorable position. Loki couples with Svidalfari, which results in the creation of Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse that carries Odin across the nine worlds.
Loki is thus a very generative force, especially as a mother, and therefore holds the mother and female polarity as strongly as he holds the masculine polarity. This makes sense, given his ability to traverse the liminal almost at will. He is the one that lives in the in-between spaces and stands at the midpoints and extremes of all opposites simultaneously.
That is perhaps the best way to answer the question – he is every gender, every sex, every polarity, all at one time. That isn’t something we can truly comprehend because no human can embody all of those concepts and forms simultaneously. Loki’s ability to do so comes from the nature of his godhood.
That said, Loki today has many devotees who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, as there are few gods as genderfluid and sexually fluid as Loki. Many refer to Loki using gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them or ze/zir, and other devotees tend to switch between he/she/they when describing Loki.
Personally, I tend to stick with the pronoun he when I describe Loki for the same reason I use the term god when I refer to any deity – male or female in form. The gods themselves are genderless – they do not have human form, so they are not possessed of any particular gender. Thus, the pronouns we use to refer to the gods have no bearing on the gods themselves.
My personal identification as an agender person derives partly for the lack of care I have about anything regarding gender. Other agender individuals feel differently, so I am not speaking for them. I personally believe that everyone holds both feminine and masculine polarities, so I find the construct of gender to be an arbitrary one that holds no interest for me. I understand that other people spend their lives searching for an understanding of the gender they hold, and that is their choice to make. To me, gender is an illusion, a trap of society that tries to shoebox us into certain roles. I have chosen to sidestep all of those in my own personal life, as I find them tiresome.
So, when I refer to the gods, I stick with the term god. I tend to stick with the pronoun of the forms that the gods most often appear with – thus I refer to shapeshifters in the forms that most often hold. With Loki, the majority of his forms are masculine, so I refer to him in that manner, regardless of the form he holds. From what I can tell, he doesn’t really care how people refer to him, as long as they pay attention to the messages he brings. Since the gods do not, in actuality, have gender, there is no disrespect in referring to a god by any particular pronoun.
That does not hold true for humans, however, and I do want to make it clear that I respect the pronouns that other humans wish me to use for them. I will not insist on using a cis pronoun for someone who prefers to be called by gender-neutral pronouns or pronouns that better describe their understanding of themselves. To do otherwise to another human being is to be disrespectful, and I generally have no reason to disrespect another person – especially on the basis of their pronouns.