There is a proposal before the SCA (Society For Creative Anachronism) to allow same sex couples to enter the competition for a chance to be the royal couple. This proposal brings into question the heart of what reenactment groups do—be as historically accurate as possible. Can a group consider itself historically accurate if it allows same sex royal couples when no such monarchs existed?
Do we strive for historical accuracy even if it means being discriminatory? How can groups be historically accurate while being politically correct? Or do you sacrifice one for the other? What is the higher goal, historical accuracy or being inclusive?
And how accurate is historically accurate? We make a lot of concessions to the “modern middle ages”. We communicate via email, our newsletters are on line, our cooks use gas or electric stoves and our seamstresses sometimes sew on sewing machines. In the martial arts historical accuracy is sacrificed for safety. The armored combatants use flexible wooden swords and the fencers wear masks. The occasional pair of sneakers is worn by a medievalist with aching feet. So why not allow same sex couples to rule?
This is a hobby, should we take it so seriously? For those groups who consider themselves educational organizations and give lectures and demonstrations there is more reason for them not to play so loosely with facts.
I realize there are more questions than answers in this essay and that’s because each group must decide for itself the answers. The answers will be formed in part by mundane laws, the moral compass of the group’s members and the group’s definition of historically accuracy.