The (First) Prince is gorgeous He controls the earth from the heaven His face looks bright and rosy with elegantly thin eyebrows His skin is as white as snow and his hair is more beautiful than a cloud He wears a brightly yellow costume with a pink scarf … The First Prince is one of queer deities of Dao Mau - a Vietnamese indigenous religion. These deities have been worshipped in public and private temples in Vietnam when they are honoured as the country’s protectors. Certain male deities are portrayed with feminine appearance and characters like the First Prince and the Ninth Prince. Some female deities, including the Eighth Holy Lady and the Tenth Holy Lady, tend to be masculine when they are praised to conquer invaders as well as create new livelihoods. Some female mediums are described as vi nam vi nu – being able to turn themselves into men and women in ritual songs to praise their merits. Queer deities get respect of practitioners. To ask for fortune and health, male and female mediums organise luxurious ritual practises len dong that help male and female deities to incarnate into the bodies of mediums. Queer deities only exist in legends and mediums’ imagination. This fact creates space for mediums telling different versions about gender and sexuality of queer deities. Based on the theory of gender performativity, I argue that the existence of queer deities in Dao Mau represents religious tolerance toward queerness and gender diversity through analyzing legends and songs about queer deities as well as stories of mediums.


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