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Gabe: It's not gay if it's an elf.

Tycho: I'd love to know why you have a rule for that.

With the rest of Five Races set this may vary, but there's a distinctive trend to portray male elves as rather androgynous, in range from Pretty Boy to Ambiguously Camp Gay. Often used to cause dumbfounded confusion on reveal.

"No facial hair" clause helps, but it's only a little part of the image -- other beardless peoples are immune to this even while wearing braids and beads and being one of prototypes for elves. One of probable reasons why androgynous qualities of elves are played up is the intentional contrast between Elves and their traditional opposites, Dwarves, who are basically hypermasculine: big (as in stout and muscular), hairy, axe-swinging drunks (which depending on the portrayal may apply to female dwarves as well).

Strangely female Elves are themselves rarely depicted as all that androgynous - a female Elf will almost always look unmistakably female.

Obviously, a subtrope of Our Elves Are Better... for the certain value of "better", that is.

Examples of Elfeminate include:

Card Games


  • In Wyrd Sisters an actor who plays a girl too well was asked whether he by chance has some elf up in the bloodline.
    • Imp y Celyn gets the same question in Soul Music. He continually insists it's not true; especially because his bandmates are a dwarf and a troll (both species known for not being fond of elves).
      • Not this trope. Note that the form of the question posed to the Discworld's first rockstar is "are you elvish".
  • Parodied in John Brosnan's Have Demon, Will Travel; elves are an entire race of Camp Gays.
  • The two principle characters of the Nightrunner books are Aurenfaie. Both are repeatedly described as pretty, and Seregil disguises himself as a woman without much difficulty.
  • Elves in Quantum Gravity tend to be thin and delicate-looking. Do not mistake this for weak. Elves are still fulfilling The Archer archetype fairly often, and the author does recognize how much strength it takes to pull a decent-to-large-sized bow back.
  • In A.R.R.R. Roberts' parody of The Hobbit, The Soddit, Wood Elves and High Elves become Wild Elves and Coward Elves. The accompanying illustration makes it clear that the Wild Elves are based on Oscar Wilde, and the Coward Elves on Noel Coward.

Tabletop Games

  • Elven deities in Dungeons and Dragons are often noted to be "androgynous" in looks; the artist responsible for the picture of chief elf god Corellon Larethian from the Deities and Demigods sourcebook took this to its logical conclusion with a totally FABULOUS rendition (two words: rainbow eyeliner).


  • A source of many jokes in Martin Pearson's musical Lord of the Rings parody, The Ufinished Spelling Errors of Bolkein.

Video Games

  • Blood elves and high elves (but not night elves) in World of Warcraft. Joked about at length, including the blood elf male flirt, "don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?", and Johnny Awesome being mistaken for a girl and called "Jenny" by a character in Hillsbrad.
  • Bisexual elf Zevran from Dragon Age mentions this as the reason he and other elves were chosen as assassins. Most humans found them pleasing to look at, which increased the chances they'd be successful in their jobs. Zevran himself is a prime example of this trope at work - drunken dwarf Oghren even comments that Zevran's got "small breasts for a gal".
    • Similarly, Fenris of Dragon Age II. He's more masculine than some examples, but between the lean elven body model and pretty face, he hits the Pretty Boy mark. It's even lampshaded by Hawke's uncle Gamlen if he romances Fenris.

  "So, you're into elves, huh? I guess I don't have to ask which one of you's the girl."

  • Elves in Majesty are androgynous-looking, tend to have Gender Blender Names, and have voices somewhere between tenor and contralto.
  • Lieutenant Yaha of Drakengard 2 is a Camp Gay Depraved Homosexual who is obsessed with party member Urick to the point that he gave up his ability to feel pleasure for the ability of charm. He spends his boss battle making creepy remarks towards both Urick and Nowe.
  • More-or-less averted in Rift: Although smooth-faced and clearly intended to be attractive (even if Kelari are a bit eerie-looking), elven men are too sinewy and rawboned to be called Pretty Boys.

Web Comics

  • The Order of the Stick uses Ambiguous Gender of the Elves as a Running Gag, to the extent that, in the subtitles, the Elvish children refer to their parental units as "parent" and "other parent" rather than "mother" and "father".
    • Worth mentioning is that the Ambiguous Gender of Vaarsuvius (one of the aforementioned parents) has been a running joke for a long time (even if it wasn't meant to be ambiguous at first). Also, the children are adopted, so any of the four gender combinations for two people is possible for V and his/her spouse.
  • El Goonish Shive poked fun at this too:
  • In DM of the Rings, Aragorn in particular seems to look at any Elf and think it's a woman, even when they're male. For the most part however he just plays it up to annoy Legolas' (AKA Leggo Lass) player.
  • Played with in Drowtales where it's Averted and seemingly Exaggerated at once. The male Drow are masculine, larger than humans, and typically fairly attractive. They seem somewhat effeminate when compared to the Drow ladies, however, who are typically larger and stronger than the males, although still blatantly feminine.
  • In Mindflayed a barman called an elf "missy". That's when we get to know the elf wasn't. Later an idiot paladin made the same mistake three times -- the first time another member of the party held Lomylith back, but on the third, this guy had to leave a high tower via the window.
  • Used to point up the gender stereotypes in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: male high elves (who come from a gender-equal race) are swishy, while male drow (who come from a matriachal society) are masculine. However, male high elves are still manly enough to be jealous as all hell of a drow who "slept [his] way to this position".
  • d20monkey has "the description of that elf NPC". Discovering that the elf is male rather... surprised Brett.
  • Averted in Dubious Company, the sex of the elves in the series are easily distinguishable, except for Elly. He is mistaken as a girl at least once by everyone, and consistently by Marty. Tiren cursing him didn't help matters either.
  • Done very specifically with Cale, but, in an aversion, not with elves as a whole. Note, that this is barely apparent to the readers, if at all.
  • Elon and Rolan of Ears for Elves are both somewhat femenine, in particular in hairstyle. The former has girlish bangs and ponytail, whilst Rolan has narrow braids in his long hair and multiple earrings.

Web Original

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