David Gaider on Qunari Society and Interpretations

"The Qunari are very fond of categorization, and look upon those categories as absolute and defining — but they are not without their own degree of fluidity by Qunari standards, which are very different from our own.

You say you’re female? Then you do not fight — “fighting” being when someone serves as a warrior. Some folks looked on Tallis as a contradiction to this as well, rather than accepting that someone like Sten would not look upon what she does as fighting. Being able to pick up a weapon and use it, even to use it well, does not make one a warrior if that is not their purpose (which it would not be, for a Ben-Hassrath, but certainly would be for a Grey Warden whose stated purpose is to combat the darkspawn).

You say you’re male? Then fighting is acceptable. Even if your biology might say otherwise, the Qunari have a term for what this means and clearly the Tamassrans take it into account — though you might note Iron Bull did not indicate how easily that might occur. We have a term for “transgender” in our real-world society as well — that does not automatically translate into it being looked upon exactly the same by every person.

You can take what Sten said in DAO as the last and final word on every aspect of Qunari society, and thus everything following it as contradictory, or you can take into account these different viewpoints as new information and consider how they fit into the whole. It’s really up to you, though that’s hardly going to stop us from further developing the Qunari culture…regardless of the reasons one might ascribe to us for doing so.”

Source: [Bioware Forums]