Yeah, it’s not a surprise for Gilbert, either, for the record. I have to wonder what S ranks with a woman Byleth look like for them. I’d imagine it’s basically the same, but it obviously has a very different impact if you’re expecting a romance as a gay man who often isn’t given that chance in fiction, and as a straight woman who’d have to go out of their way to avoid a story where their cipher gets with a man.
I’ve definitely noticed when Dorothea or Mercedes have said “partner” instead of “husband”, but I’ve also noticed the characters around them barrelling past that to assume heteronormativity. It kind of sucks that the bi characters here (because it seems there aren’t any lesbians or gay men among the romanceable characters) have to advocate for themselves, with nothing in the world backing them up. At least as far as I’ve seen, there aren’t mentions of historical figures like any of the four saints settling down with a partner of the same gender. There’s no mention that while the straight couples go to the Goddess Tower on a particular night, those with a beloved of the same gender have a spot of their own tradition. Dorothea talks about wanting a partner to take care of her, but I’ve yet to hear anything else about how same-gender marriage is treated, or hear of a pair of married men or women. Which is weird! Because we do get the rumor about “a man and a woman making a promise at the Goddess Tower”, we get Ashe giving Ingrid a tale of a historical woman who was a knight despite the expectations of her as a noble, we get characters being crushed under expectations of bearing children to political marriages, but only when the alternative is not marrying at all.