From the time the Spanish Conquistadores first explored the western hemisphere, the American berdaches have evoked strong reactions in those who have encountered and studied them. If the missionaries detested them, today they have made something of a comeback, with some scholars asking gay readers to look back to them as to their spiritual ancestors. (1) The berdaches were usually biological males who their lifelong dressed and acted like women in all possible ways, but there were also occasional girls who acted like boys. That is, berdaches were one type of social personage distinguishable from others who, for instance, episodically not permanently crossed gender lines. Throughout the early European conquests, they everywhere met with persecution, but in the twentieth century they came to be eyed with fascination by Western anthropologists, who were engaged by the problems of gender and sexuality that these persons raised. (2)
Thus if during the Spanish Conquests the missionaries, all while recording a great deal of information about them, tended to view the berdaches as creations of the devils who reigned in these American regions, the historians and anthropologists who followed have viewed them in a more secular fashion. For many male and female field workers, they were somewhat repellent, cowardly creatures who just wanted to avoid warfare. (3) At the same time, however, some more sympathetic scholars, and their gay epigones, have perceived them as pure images of the free life style of the aboriginal American, creatures who chose to become what they were in a native American social regime that granted children liberty. (4) On the one hand there was the repressive, Anglo society which had in truth exterminated a good part of native America, on the other the freedom-loving and carefree Indian, whose berdache brother had chosen his own gender identity and was proud of it. (5)
Clearly, this notion of the freely sexual native American child is part of a larger view that as a general proposition, native children were tolerated and even spoiled by elders in a way foreign to Anglo culture. Alas this area of indigenous history--the rearing of native children--has to date not been the subject of much serious study. (6) Still, a mere glance at the scattered literature touching on the disciplining of children shows that native American child rearing was quite as complex a phenomenon as it has been in other human societies, though it must be said that determining that a culture did or did not physically punish a child does not make that culture more or less liable to have converted some of its children into berdaches. The results of future scientific attention being given the problem of native child rearing will doubtless be controversial but also fascinating--one thinks of the widespread native-American institution of an extra-familial elder charged with disciplining children so that the p arents could avoid this task. (7) But if native education is not the subject of the present paper, perhaps the latter can still contribute to a future history of native American education.
The idealized general image of the free-wheeling Indian child is, in turn, only part of a still larger field of imaginings indulged in by some students of native America. Overcoming a century in which the ancient Maya were portrayed as peace-loving farmers when not astronomers, recent students of that people, in deciphering their language and reading its steles have discovered a society whose leaders were saturated with concerns about blood, violence, and power. Now, students of the ancient Anasazi to the north are reaching a consensus that this people as well, far from the docile agriculturalists they have usually been cast as, were also capable of great violence. (8) And there is more. Only recently have scholars begun to disabuse the public of the notion that the indigenous population of North America had lived in a unique "Indian" harmony with nature, taking only what was necessary to its survival. This was in fact an ancient reverie that then swept the field again with the onset of the environmental move ment of the 1960s. (9) Finally, only in recent years has the work of certain archaeologists established with scarce room for debate that, as it was among their Toltec and later Aztec cousins far to the south, cannibalism was not unknown among some of the Anazasi nations of the American Southwest, and most strikingly at Chaco Canyon, in the period around 1200 A.D. (10) It is becoming increasingly clear that to an extent greater than has been imagined, earlier enlightened anthropologists' and historians' notions of the first Americans have in part been reactions against the vicious treatment of these early Americans by previous governments, businesses, and individuals up through the nineteenth century.
The romantic image of the unrepressed Indian child becoming sexually what he was, is, along with that of the environmental native who could not have been a cannibal, also of recent vintage--scarcely of a century's standing--and one with a limited geographical range. For the image usually applied only to the Indian nations of the present-day United States of America. But what of the rest of this ecumene, that is, of the rich cultures to the north and south of these United States? And what of the sources and times before legions of United States ethnographers spread out in the new American land empire in the latter part of the nineteenth century? Only recently, in fact, have berdaches and figures comparable to them been studied in these distant regions and for these earlier times. Only in the last forty years, indeed, have scholars in the Arctic Inuit regions discovered the existence of berdache-like figures amongst their ethnographic subjects, thus stimulating a discussion as to whether these personages can be compared to the famous berdaches of "the lower forty-eight." And only in 1995 did the present author publish a study of the berdaches that the Spanish soldiers and missionaries discovered and described on the frontiers of their empire from the late fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the first historical study of these fascinating persons.
The new information on berdaches--and from now on, for reasons to be detailed, I shall refer to all such figures across the western hemisphere as berdaches--that has been generated by these inquires to the south and the north of the present--day United States obviously renders previous studies of just "American" berdaches of dubious general value, and makes it imperative that we integrate what is now known so as to reexamine the state of the problem. Among the many questions that might be raised regarding the berdaches, none proves more important and controversial than the origins of the social type, and that question will be the focus of the following paper. Why has this problem of origins proved nettlesome? Part of the answer is undeniably rooted in contemporary sexual politics. For some, today's thankfully less closeted gay lifestyle puts a premium on the view that individual gays have become what they in truth always were. Stated inversely, gays sometimes fiercely combat any implication that they have bec ome what they are because of some constraint in their upbringing. This means that gays, but not they alone, often resist the notion of social construction in favor of biological determinism. Thus what began as an anti-imperialistic anthropological and historiographical romanticizing of native male Americans has been to some degree converted into a gay view that the large majority of those who became berdaches, in Will Roscoe's words, "did so entirely of their own volition." Indeed, Roscoe assures his readers that "most recent works see the berdaches not as passive but as agents, with free will." (11) (I personally believe I became a berdache type by way of early childhood events,curiousities.trauma,needs,thus evolved into desiring female role, "the shoe fit ")-me
While I obviously will not suggest that mature berdaches did not at times act with something like free choice, the present paper will show that, as far as the origin of any given berdache is concerned, free choice is surely an untenable proposition if it is applied to young boys and children below the "age of reason," while the making of berdaches out of adolescents among the Plains nations will prove to also be a social construction. I will try to integrate what we now know about the origins of the berdaches encountered during the Spanish Conquests, first with those documented only recently in the Inuit north, including Greenland, and then with the berdaches discovered within the borders of the present day United States from about 1800 until the present. Through the study of origins, I hope to render transparent one or more underlying characteristics of the berdache before the variety of time, place and conquest produced the incredible diversity that now makes the comparative study of the berdache so dauntin g.
1. Latin-America at the Time of the Conquests.
I begin with an overview of the institution of the berdache as the Spaniards encountered it, stretching from their original contact with these peoples in the early sixteenth century until their last entrada, into California, in the mid-eighteenth century. (12) Until the late seventeenth century, Spanish soldiers and missionaries and several mestizo sources as well described the berdaches of this huge area as follows. Berdaches--the word was brought to America by the first missionaries and appears in colonial ethnographic literature for the first time in the later sixteenth-century (13) -- always transvested as women. More often than not, these transvestites are said to be involved in homosexual behavior, in which they always played the passive role opposite another, usually older, male, who penetrated their mouth or anus. To judge by the Spanish sources, these berdaches were neither curanderos nor healers, and in no way acted as spiritual mediators or shamans or priests between the material and spiritual worl d. This did not mean, however, that they had no religious function, and I have shown in Sex and Conquest that, in different areas of what is today called Latin America, during divine services curacas or caciques penetrated these berdaches while the latter assumed a submissive posture of prayer. (14) As a general proposition, it appears that these berdaches served as representational emblems of subordination in their tribes, the "women" whom the "men" ruled as part of the de facto political order.
These berdaches played a significant social role. Dressed as women, they tended to spend their time in the company of women's work teams, performing domestic labor, weaving, beading, or whatever pertained to women in that particular social world. Because they were taller and stronger than women, they seem at times to have led these women's associations and, for the same reasons of physical strength, they were regularly sought out by men to be their wives. Indeed there is some evidence here and in other venues to be described later that boys who were especially pretty were raised as berdaches because that beauty attracted future "husbands." (15) Perhaps equally important is the evidence that in certain Latin American venues, berdaches served a communal purpose, for instance, as sex servants for young braves who would otherwise violate the marriageable girls of the community. All in all, the berdaches in these early settings served demographic, prostitutional, and economic functions that maintained hierarchy.
Implicit in the previous paragraph are two presumptions. The first is that some native American communities at the time of the Spanish conquests planned for berdaches or, to put it another way, that these polities appointed berdaches to certain communal functions. The second is that motivations for becoming a berdache that are related to the nature of a particular person--for example, that one was effeminate and thus belonged to that small percentage of a male population technically called "sissies" in modern literature--are of secondary not primary importance. Indeed, the Spanish sources leave us in no doubt on this score. In what follows, I summarize the most important documents clarifying the appointive status of the berdache as he appears in the Spanish and mestizo sources on the Spanish frontiers in these centuries.
In 1540 or 1541, the Spanish soldier Hernando de Alarcon while exploring in the lower reaches of the Colorado River was given hospitality by the chief of a certain village. This chief explained that the four berdaches Alarcon saw before him, one of whom was the chief's son, were there for the purpose of providing sexual service to the community braves, obviously so that the same community's marriageable girls would not be violated. (A similar prostitutional setup could still be found among the Itzas of the Yucatan peninsula at the end of the seventeenth century (16).) Alarcon's informant continued by confirming that as each of these four males died, their places would be filled by the first male born thereafter. In short, in this case a community filled a sexual need from the latent or foetal male resources at its command. We will encounter the same institution elsewhere in the hemisphere at a later point.
Then around the middle of the seventeenth century, in the frontier area of Nueva Granada (Colombia), bishop Fernandez Piedrahita in narrating his missionary activity described an institution he found among the Laches people. If parents had produced only boys among their first five children, custom permitted them to convert one of these boys at least one year of age into a girl, "because every father likes to be served." Here is a case in which domestic rather than communal considerations dictated the creation of a berdache, and our later documentation of this phenomenon of familial balancing of the gender of one's children will prove a decisive link between southern and northern berdaches. It is important to emphasize at this point, however, that neither in Alarcon's experience, nor in that of Piedrahita, can there be any talk of free choice being exercised by the boys in question. Indeed, in the Alarcon case, the cross-gendering was dictated for a foetus before birth.
In fact, there is no case I know of in this immense Latin American frontier historiographic tradition of an individual child who himself is said to have chosen this path. To be sure there are cases of boys said to make their living through prostitution, but they are nor said to have themselves entered that profession as a career choice and of their own free will. Indeed on examination, the entrepreneurial berdaches one meets in these Spanish sources are almost always said to be attached to what, for a better term, we should call harems or brothels run by big men, obviously for motives of profit and patronage. The Spanish ethnographers in fact document coercion. Either it is of the type described above or the origins of the berdache status are said to involve homosexual rape, in which big men first rape and then dress their victims as girls or, inversely, first dress their intended victims as girls and then rape them. Thus the two young Andean berdaches who in mid-sixteenth century defended themselves before a friar by saying that they had not entered that life of their own free will, but had been forced into it by older men perfectly reflects the reality described by all early sources. (17) There are no sources alleging free choice which would permit us to doubt this picture.
Another early source takes us the next step on the road to understanding the quality of constraint that was the lot of the berdache at least in this time and place. In the Florentine Codex, Bernardino de Sahagun (d. 1590) dramatically describes an event surrounding a "small boy" who is about to go off with a group of Aztec merchants. The parents must decide on the gender of their child. What "should [they] make of him," he has the parents ask themselves, with one possibility running as follows: "Is he perchance a woman? Shall I place, perchance, a spindle, a batten, in his hands?" (18) Sahagun does not say what the criteria were for the parents in arriving at their decision, but in the coming pages we will comment further on the tests that were common elsewhere to precisely this end. What is decisive at this point, however, is that in the mid-sixteenth century Valley of Mexico, the executive power to assign a small boy's gender was vested in those parents, rather than being the boy's free choice.
The processes for making a berdache that I have sketched in Meso-, Central and South America in these centuries prove to have been far more tenacious than one might have thought, given the ferocity of the Europeans' attack on the institution. Whereas in Mexico City and Cuzco the berdaches were replaced by bands of "sodomites" who by mid-seventeenth century behaved much like the young homosexual sub-cultures now appearing in Europe, on the frontiers of the Spanish empire the institution of the berdache remained firmly in place. As we have seen, it was alive and well among the Itzas around 1700. In early eighteenth-century Zacatecas and in the province of Texas, there were still many berdaches who as usual accompanied the tribal warriors to battle not to fight--berdaches almost never carried the arms of men--but, as "women of the men of war," to perform the duties that women did at home, including, of course, "their sodomitic excesses" (sus nefandos escesos) with those warriors. (19)
But certainly our main source for the berdaches on the frontiers of the Spanish empire in more recent times is an ethnographic description of these figures in the area around present-day Los Angeles by the Franciscan Geronimo Boscana, who had lived with these natives for many years. This friar wrote in the 1820s, and at that point, he says, the berdaches in this area had largely if not totally passed into history, so that it was the more important to record information about them. The picture of them that emerges from the friar's script is largely unchanged from what we know from earlier Mexican sources, especially as regards their origins. (20) They were "selected" to be berdaches though they were only "infants" or "little children" (chiquitos), Boscana tells us. Then "as they increased in age they were instructed in the duties of women." The capitanes or heads of villages often married them, since they were more robust than women, though with their husbands' permission they could commonly remain prostitute s (rameras) and circulate among the different villages. These berdaches never used a bow and arrow as did other males, Boscana states, thus "giving notice that they were the most despised people of all." Significantly, Boscana compared his berdaches to those described by his Franciscan predecessor Juan de Torquemada writing in the early seventeenth century, and in doing so established an important variant: Boscana says that he had met one berdache who had actually married a Christian woman and had two sons by her, something unheard of in the previous literature but which we will encounter later, among the Christianized Inuits of eastern Greenland. (21) This solitary berdache, transvested since childhood but marrying after all, perhaps represented a bridge between the native custom of remaining a berdache for life and Christian insistence on marriage. Yet for all intents and purposes, these California berdaches seem largely identical to those described by Torquemada two hundred years earlier.
2. Arctic Berdaches.
Westerners learned about the far northern berdaches (though I here for the first time apply that name to them) soon after the first European explorations in this part of the world. The Billing Expedition of 1791--92, which explored parts of the Aleutian chain near Kodiak, documented these persons apparently for the first time. Even before the Russians colonized the area, we learn, the natives were accustomed to raise especially handsome boys as women. While growing, these boys engaged in homosexual behavior as passives. (22) The records of the 1805 Langsdorff voyage to the Aleutian Islands confirmed the practice of raising pretty boys as girls, and added details. Their parents instructed them in being women. They depilated all signs of such children's facial hair, tatooed their chins to resemble those of women, cur their hair like a woman's, and outfitted them with ornamental glass beads, all so they might serve as concubines. (23) A final source for the voyages in this part of the world, the account of Chor is' Voyages in 1822, specified what type of a "husband" might want such a creature: Before the Russians came, the Unalaskas, out from Kodiak, gave these berdaches to a rich man in marriage when they reached 15 or 16 years of age. (24)
The far off settlement of Ammassalik at the other end of the Inuit world, on the east coast of Greenland, was only discovered in 1884. In 1905-6, the ethnologist William Thalbitzer found a male who had been raised as a girl. (25) Then in 1914 Gustav Holm described the inverse: girls raised as boys, so that they could hunt with their fathers, and it appears in fact that at the time of the earliest European settlements in these northern communities, female transvestites were encountered much more often than in Mesoamerica. Obviously, in another setting it would be crucial to study each such variant, but the fundamental similarity of children within these various northern groups who were anointed in their roles by parents, which involve long-term transvestism, and the performance of tasks customary for the opposite sex, can hardly be gainsaid. At the end of our exposition, they will be seen to form one social type, whose similarity to what we have documented to the south, and especially in Meso-, Central and So uth America, is unmistakable.
Let me begin by sketching the characteristics of the berdaches in the Inuit or Eskimo area, to return later to the Aleutian and Western Canadian groups. As noted, the European discovery and missionizing of these Inuit areas only occurred at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, which explains why the scientific study of these areas began only a half-century ago. Writing in 1962 on the phenomenon of the sipiniq, an infant who, in the Inuit view, had been a boy as a foetus but became a girl at birth, Bernard Saladin d'Anglure claims pride of place in raising the general question of change of gender among these peoples, followed in 1975 by Rose Dufour. The field work of both these scholars took place on Iglulik Island, northeast of Presqu'ile de Melville in the Northwest Territories. Research soon moved from beliefs about gender bending to its practice. Writing in 1974 and 1991, Jean Briggs says she witnessed actual changes of gender in the Central Arctic and heard of its practice on Baffin Isl and. Finally, and most significant for the questions raised in this paper, is the work of Joelle Robert-Lamblin, who observed this phenomenon extensively in the region of Ammassalik on the east coast of Greenland. In three works dating to 1981 and 1986, the author, as we shall see, directly confronts many of the problems I have raised earlier in the paper, even if she, like previous scholars, never seriously compared what they found in the north to the berdaches further south, not to mention to the historical berdaches of Mesoamerica, who at the time they wrote had not been seriously studied.
Briggs lays out her reading of the phenomenon of the Arctic berdache succinctly in her 1974 article. "If a family has only daughters, a father may decide to bring up one or two daughters as hunters, so that they can help him.... To be sure, they also learn female skills, and eventually they marry and have children, but the masculine training they have received may show itself ... [in being] somewhat bossy toward their husbands." (26) Once Briggs had taken account of Robert-Lamblin's subsequent research, however, she modified her stance, saying in her 1991 article that while cross-gendered upbringing may sometimes end at puberty, in other cases individuals may retain that identity for their entire lives. (27) Thus the key components of these berdaches would seem to be as follows: 1) Different from the berdaches we have studied to the south, these Inuit figures are predominantly biological females gendered male or, as the literature has long named them, female berdaches; in a moment we shall see how predominan t that assigned gender actually was. 2) The fundamental reason for this regendering is task-driven familial demography or balance, identical to one motivation we have encountered at work in Meso- and South America. 3) Upon reaching puberty, these berdaches may or may not reassume their biological gender. That would be quite distinct from the practice to the south, where the assumption of berdache status usually remained for a lifetime. However, we still have to determine if the return to biological gender had always been possible, or if what Briggs described was an adaptation brought on by the European conquest.
Robert-Lamblin has engaged this phenomenon in such a way as to address the larger questions that flow from it. She begins by rightly rejecting Saladin d'Anglure's argument that a significant part of such gender switching is explained by the fact that the Inuit (like so many other peoples of the world) passed on their names, usually from grandfather to grandchild, commonly with the notion that the sex of that heir would be the opposite of the grandfather's own, thus setting in place the symbolic mechanism for such switches. Robert-Lamblin found little evidence at Ammassalik to support this notion, and believes instead that demographic necessity explains gender switching much more adequately. She then responds to the question of just how substantial such switching was. In research dating from 1967 to 1979, she personally documented 23 cases of Ammassalik girls who were gendered male, but only seven of boys gendered girls, that is, 23% of all such conversions. (28) Yet she leaves no doubt that in fact, the prac tice was very widespread, and that she had merely scratched the surface. Universally, parents switched the gender of the child in infancy, that is, following recognition of a family need. Researchers have also been interested in the question of the position amongst one's brothers and sisters of the child whose gender was switched. Not surprisingly, Robert-Lamblin found few if any cases where the first child was converted. As one might expect, the one whose gender was modified was usually the third or fourth, that is, one born far enough along in a marriage where the absence of the desired sexed child gave concern to the parents: the father for lack of a hunter to aid him, the mother for lack of a child to help in domestic affairs and to care for her when ill.
It is when we tackle the question of reversion to one's biological gender that the matter becomes complex. Recall first the perhaps unique and certainly late case in the early ethnographic literature where Girolamo Boscana described a berdache who ended by marrying "a Christian woman" and having two children by her. For any student of the accommodations natives had to make to the missionaries, what happened here seems apparent: the friars made it advantageous for a mature non-Christian male to marry this Christian woman, which forced him to modify his berdache status. (29) Now to the Arctic: without alas being able to prove her point of view, Robert-Lamblin nonetheless presents a persuasive case that such reversions are not likely to have occurred before the colonization and religious conversion of Ammassalik. Back then, regendered persons remained in that way for life. (30) Her argument is as follows: Previously, there was nowhere for crossovers to go if they abandoned their assigned genders, but today, both males and females have options for employment that were undreamed of in earlier times. Second, adoption, another means by which a child could avoid being regendered in the first place, is much easier now than it was then. (31) Third, Robert-Lamblin could document the horror that Danish school teachers experienced when they discovered that their Inuit children were not of the gender their persons had led them to believe. Anyone familiar with the Iberian missionary evidence can easily imagine the reaction of the Danes to these young berdaches. Finally, in a personal communication, Robert-Lamblin notes the ever-younger age at which one returns to one's biological gender, suggesting a dynamic whose roots must originate in outside pressure. In sum, then, Robert Lamblin argues that since missionization, these adolescents have increasingly reverted to their biological gender as a result of colonial pressure in the schools and churches. (32)
The author tops off her argument by showing that in recent years there has grown up a notion that the parental conversion of children's gender harms a child. That sense will soon destroy the institution, she says, "for a part of the population condemns it today," the author for instance citing a hunter who, though in need of a collaborator, decided not to gender his girl male, "since it would have been prejudicial to the child." (33) Thus under the pressure of Western expectations, these Inuits are coming to believe that a child should be allowed to attain the societally expected image of their biological sex without overt parental pressure. This amounts to a betrayal of the fundamental Inuit notion that adults actually control gendering and even the birth process, a central point of Robert Lamblin's and Rose Dufour's work that deserves particular emphasis, since it impacts directly on the general problems raised by this paper.
Perhaps the easiest way to address this complicated subject in a few words is to state that the Inuit had a discrete set of rites aimed at freezing in place the sex of male infants; there was otherwise the danger of their slipping toward femininity. On the other hand, there were those male foetuses, called siqiniq, who in the act of being born decided to become a biological female, and so surrendered the penis for the vulva and, her life long, remained totally a female. Note that Inuit society did not provide rites for freezing the foetal female's sexuality, or female sexuality in general. I will avoid all the intricacies of these beliefs, except to give their general contour, which is, according to Dufour, that such beliefs and rites give the Inuits a seeming ability to intervene in a process where, in fact, free choice never had a place. These ideas and especially the procedure for fixing masculinity, says Dufour, make the Inuit think that they themselves control the distribution of population. (34)
Precisely the same emphasis on the question of free choice real and alleged informs the work of Robert-Lamblin. She gives an insightful picture on how Inuit parents raise their children, the external pressure of tribal norms being glossed so that those norms come to be self-understood, "for in reality," she paraphrases the parental attitude in approaching their child, "he knows perfectly well what he ought to do." (35) But in fact, our author determines, "there is no personal choice of the individual but rather an external intervention upon him." Family education and the social environment have a "considerable role" in the acquisition of gender identity, and the gender change takes place "even before the child's own nature has been able to manifest itself ... " (36) Thus the change is made "without the individual's temperament or his personal choice coming into play." (37)
By contrast, Roscoe, in his Changing Ones, claims that these same denizens of the Arctic in fact allowed latitude for individual preferences, and where the change in gender was forced, those regendered did not have "true berdache status." (38) He has only ideological conviction but no evidence to back him up, and we will later see whence he derives this insistence on free will. It will escape no reader of this article that the constraint levied on children by parents who knew they controlled their children's gender unmistakably links the experiences of berdaches in the whole of Latin America to those of the Inuit and, as we shall see further on, to the tribes of the present-day United States of America, the land in-between, as well. (39)
The fundamental differences between the berdaches of the Arctic and those of Latin America are two. The first is the clear preponderance of so-called female berdaches over the not-inconsiderable number of male berdaches to the north, whereas to the south the historical sources rarely mention them. I have little to add to the usual explanation of this fact, which is that the small domestic units of the Arctic were primordially dependent on the hunt as a means of survival, making the need for hunters gendered male, with the proper male division of labor, paramount, whereas the complex agricultural warrior states of Meso- and South American had no such paramount need for hunters.
The second main difference between the two areas' berdaches is that, while homosexual behavior was common to the south, no incontrovertible evidence of its presence has yet emerged in the Inuit communities surveyed by the scholars of this area, although Robert-Lamblin does document three cases in Ammallik myth where same sexed individuals lie together. How much this clear absence of homosexual behavior is due to the relatively easy concealment of such activity in the frozen north, in comparison to the heat of the tropics to the south, which made behavior more public in character, is hard to say. But in any case, scholars all but universally downplay the sexual component as determinative in the identification of the berdache. Rather, transvestism and the performance of the other sex's division of labor rule as the crucial elements in this figure's makeup. (40) The berdaches of the north and those of the south are thus fundamentally linked in these underlying structures defining what it is to be a berdache.
After surveying the striking similarities between the Latin American, Northwestern Territory, and Greenland berdaches, to complete our survey of the north let me now touch again on similar personages in the west of present-day Canada. As we have already seen, a berdache status here often--the situation in the Aleutians and around Kodiak is clear--if not always involved homosexual activity. (41) But what is also demonstrable in western Canada is the strong presence of a female berdache alongside the male (both helping the father) (42), of transvestism, and of a perceived association between the reality of sexuality and an elder seeking rebirth in the opposite sex. There is also some evidence that at the time of their observation in the late nineteenth and twentieth century, berdaches in these parts could at some point return to the gender of their biological sex. As we have come to expect, nowhere in the records of this slice of the northern hemisphere is there any talk of free choice. Thus among the Coast Sal ish, Barnet documented the belief that if parents wanted a girl, the child would end up a (male) berdache gendered female. (43) Mcllwraith found the Bella Coola determining that the gender of their male child would be female if a boy showed aptitude for women's work. (44) This meant that the boy wanted to be a girl, and so they dressed him and treated him as such. But as we have seen, such suppositions have nothing to do with free choice, since these subjects were but young children. More to the point is the fact that according to Mcllwraith, these berdaches eventually took wives whom they helped in all the female tasks. (45) Again, the problem remains to determine if this reversion resulted from colonization, or was a historical product of the nation itself.
In two confusing and badly argued articles, Jean-Guy A. Goulet, even while speaking of the berdache in the titles of both articles, argues against applying that term to these figures among the Kaska, as documented by Honigmann. (46) At one moment he attempts to show that Kaska transvestism did not decisively distinguish men from women, yet at another he leaves no doubt that, as one would expect, the people themselves were totally alert to those differences. Goulet's main reason for denying the term berdache to the Kaska--that each nation's own vocabulary should be used ("because of the risk of characterizing disparate phenomena by the same term") (47)--would be more intriguing if he had used the Kaska language for labeling, if he had defined what he meant by "berdache," and if he had known the literature on the Inuit I have just analyzed, all of which he did not. Unaware of these matters, it was easy for him to doubt that there were any male berdaches in the Arctic. (48) As I have argued throughout, however, avoiding the term berdache merely because it is "exogenous" is the stuff of pedants afraid to address the broader range of this social type. Differences there are, and many of them, among these groups. But the fundamental characteristics of transvestism and assumption of the labor of the opposite sex unites all of them.
3. The Berdache in What Became the United States of America.
Insistence on humanity's variety of experience is nowhere more called for than in an attempt to survey the tribes of the United States. The task is not just daunting, but one may say overwhelming. However, keep in mind that what follows is only an attempt to find the answer to a single question, which is the relative free choice or constraint in place when a berdache made himself, or was made. I remind the reader again of Will Roscoe's claim that overwhelmingly, the berdache attained this station of his own free will. Posing that single question to the non-Hispanic parts of the present-day United States, I hope to arrive at some tentative answers.
The correct approach to such an overview in this region is to proceed chronologically, turning our attention to begin with to those sections where explorers first drew our attention to berdaches. The Eastern part of this vast area furnishes us precious little evidence. While there are indications that berdache-like figures did once inhabit the Woodlands, very little by way of primary sources remains. However, the picture changes when we move into the Prairie. Almost at once, we encounter an important agglomeration of berdaches among the Illinois tribes in the reports of French explorers and settlers toward the end of the seventeenth century--often before, it should be added, the great tribes of the Western Plains appeared, tribes whose berdaches are often taken to be representative of this social type tout court. Not only that. These Illinois reports clearly address the question of the origins of these berdaches, and leave us in no doubt that, at one with the pictures that we have developed to this point, adults constrained very young children to assume the status of berdache. Once again, the figures under question are males become girls, as appears usually to have been the case in the areas of the hemisphere to the south of the Inuit.
(1.) Recent works include W. Roscoe, Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America (New York, 1998), and R. Trexler, Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas (Ithaca, 1995), both with extensive bibliographies, and the latter's "Gender Subordination and Political Hierarchy in Prehispanic America," in his Religion in Social Context in Europe and America, 1200-1700 (Tempe, 2001), 553-90. I want to thank Jean Quataert and Pierrette Desy for reading a draft of this article.
(2.) Occasionally writers decline to apply the term berdache to girls who transvest, but see further below why this is wrong. The greatest amount of information regarding female berdaches is collected in S. Lang, Manner als Frauen--Frauen als Manner: Geschlechtsrollenwechsel bei den Indianern Nordamerikas (Hamburg, 1990). Some politically correct, confessional, writers have worked in vain to introduce the term "two-spirit" for berdache because a few present-day native gays are offended by it; see e.g. Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang (eds.), Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality (Urbana, 1997).
(3.) The best insight into what I would call anthropological misogyny directed against berdaches (cf. La Barre's description of their "serious pathology") is given by P. Desy, "L'homme-femme (Les berdaches en Amerique du Nord)," Libre, 3 (1978): 57-102, esp. 82, who does not spare female anthropologists, but for Elsie Clews Parsons in particular, see P. Turner Strong's and R. Gutierrez's introductions to her reissued Pueblo Indian Religions, respectively vols. 1 and 2 (Lincoln, 1996).
(4.) The most extreme form of this view is in Roscoe, Changing Ones, but also, see below on A. Kroeber.
(5.) This view is best stated by the ethnohistorian W. Williams, The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture (Boston, 1992).
(6.) The traditional view is, for instance, in C. Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (Baltimore, 1997), 192. Besides occasional recent pamphlets on particular tribes, e.g. by I. and J. Honigmann, "Child Rearing Patterns among the Great Whale River Eskimo," Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 2.1 (1953): 21-47, see M Shein, The Precolumbian Child (Culver City, CA, 1992), consisting mostly of pictures of the Aztec Codex Mendoza showing child rearing by age. D. Depalma, La pediatria en las culturas aborigenes argentinas (Buenos Aires, 1982), is rich in recent information on the nations of Argentina, but undisciplined and unindexed.
(7.) On official discipliners of children, see Handbook of North American Indians, 20 vols (Washington, 1978-), 8:346 (California) and 12:183, 387, 406, 422 (Plateau). For scattered information on rearing, see the indices of these volumes, under "children, discipline." An early account of native permissiveness toward children is that of Philippe Le Jeune in 1634, paraphrased ibid., 6:193 (in the Quebecois). So soft were adults with children, Le Jeune said, that to evangelize the latter, the religious had to take them away from their so-tolerant villages.
(8.) The breakthrough book on the former was by the regretted L. Schele and M. Miller, The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art (New York, 1986); Ross Hassig points to the link between Maya and Anasazi students, both of whom have discovered the violence that is central to both these societies; "Anasazi Violence: A View from Mesoamerica," in Deciphering Anasazi Violence, with Regional Comparisons to Mesoamerican and Woodland Cultures, ed. P. Bullock (Santa Fe, 1998), 54.
(9.) S. Krech III, The Ecological Indian. Myth and History (New York, 1999). Also E. Desveaux, "Les Indiens sont-ils par nature respectueux de la nature?" Anthropos, 90 (1995): 435-44.
(10.) C. Turner, Man Com: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest (Salt Lake City, 1999). The level of criticism to dare of this book is epitomized by the statement that Turner does not recognize the difference between humans and animals!; P. Bullock, in his edited Deciphering Anasazi Violence, 36. For more recent, definitive evidence of cannibalism near Four Corners, see J. Noble Wilford in The New York Times, 9/7/2000 ("Direct Evidence Found for Early Indian Cannibalism").
(11.) W. Roscoe, "How to Become a Berdache: Toward a Unified Analysis of Multiple Genders," in Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, ed. G. Herdt (New York, 1994), 336. Unfortunately, that article never does address the question of how one became a berdache, just as Roscoe's article "Was We'wah a Homosexual," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian/Gay Studies, 2 (1995), 193-235, never addresses this question.
(12.) What follows, unless otherwise indicated, synthesizes my Sex and Conquest. I consider the sources used in what follows to be reliable, which is not to say "unbiased." For the different value of Spanish source materials, see ibid., 2-5 et passim. Also the introductory pages to my "Gender Subordination," and my Rejoinder in Anthropos, 93 (1998), 655f.
(13.) Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 164. Obviously, each tribe had, and in many cases still has, its own term for this social type, which it cannot be the task of this paper to review; see F. Karsch-Haack, Das gleichgeschlechtliche Leben der Naturvolker (New York, 1975).
(14.) Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 106-14.
(15.) Ibid., 94, and for beauty in the Arctic, see the early sources cited below.
(16.) Kindly brought to my attention by Peter Sigal and discussed with me by the discoverer of the relevant document, Grant Jones; see his The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom (Stanford, 1998), 499, n. 45. The Spanish original, graciously supplied by Jones, is given in my "Gender Subordination," n. 101. For the Alarcon events, and for the Laches case described below, see my Sex and Conquest, 86f.
(17.) "Ellos no tenfan culpa, porque desde el tiempo de su ninez los avian puesto alli sus caciques ..."; ibid., 107, 238, n. 33, and for further elaboration, my "Gender Subordination," 568.
(18.) B. Sahagun, Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain (Santa Fe, 1980), bk. 9:14. This "small boy" was clearly a child: When he accompanied the older merchants, he bore nothing on his back except the group's drinking vessels.
(19.) J. Arlegui, Cronica de la provincia de N S P S Francisco de Zacatecas (Mexico City, 1851), (dated 1737), 143-4.
(20.) For details on the mss. of this work, see Trexler, "Gender Subordination," at n. 67.
(21.) See below.
(22.) M. Sauer, Account of Billing's Expedition (London, 1802), 160.
(23.) G. Langsdorff, The Voyage to the Aleutian Islands and Northwest Coast of America. Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World, 1803-7 (London, 1814), 47. See also A. Hrdlicka, The Aleutian and Commander Islands and their Inhabitants (Philadelphia, 1945), 168.
(24.) L. Choris, Voyage pittoresque autour du monde, avec dos portraits de sauvages d'Amerique, d'Asia, d'Afrique, et des iles do Grand ocean; des paysages, dos vues maritimes, et plusieurs objets d'histoire naturelle; accompagne de descriptions par M. le baron Civier, et M. A. de Chamisso, et d'observations sur les crahumains, par M. le docteur Gall (Paris, 1822), 8. Russian settlers in these parts put boys to other uses. They kidnapped them as hostages, hoping in this way to force amicable relations upon the natives. If the latter rose up, the Russians threatened, inter alia, to rape the boys; cited in Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 186, n. 9.
(25.) J. Robert-Lamblin, "L'influence de l'education sur l'identite sexuelle: Un exemple chez les Inuit," in Cote femmes: Approches ethnologiques (Paris, 1986), 100f.
(26.) J, Briggs, "Eskimo Women: Makers of Men," in Many Sisters: Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective, ed. C. Matthiasson (New York, 1974), 271.
(27.) J. Briggs, "Expecting the Unexpected: Canadian Inuit Training for an Experimental Lifestyle," Ethos 19 (1991): 266.
(28.) J. Robert-Lamblin, Ammassalik, East Greenland--end or persistance of an isolate? Anthropological and demographic Study of Change (Meddelelser om Gronland, 1986), 42. Saladin d'Anglure found the same percentages in his area; B. Saladin d'Anglure, "Du foetus au chamane: la construction d'un 'troisieme sexe' inuit," Etudes Inuit 10 (1986): 68.
(29.) See how these things worked in my "From the Mouths of Babes: Christianization by Children in Sixteenth-Century New Spain," now in enlarged form in my Religion in Social Context, 250-92.
(30.) By way of comparison: In his "Woman Becomes Man in the Balkans," Rene Gremaux states that very few of the Sworn Virgins among the Albanians returned from male to female gender and married after having lived for a considerable time as sworn virgins in male disguises; Herdt, Third Gender, 270.
(31.) The practice of converting girls into boys may have been one way of avoiding female infanticide, well known among the Inuit. Thus making girls into boys may be seen as an intermediate step between that practice and the elimination of gender bending that is happening today.
(32.) Saladin d'Anglure ("Du foetus," 64) disagrees with this finding, apparently only because of what "most authors" say. Needless to say, most authors only describe the existing institution.
(33.) Robert-Lamblin, "L'influence," 100f; and by the same author, "`Changement de sexe' de certains enfants d'Ammassalik (Est Groenland): Un reequilibrage du sex ratio familial?" Etudes Inuit 5 (1981): 120. That damage can occur to infants forced to be the opposite gender is clear in the notorious recent case studied by J. Colapinto, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (New York, 2000).
(34.) R. Dufour, "Le phenomene du sipiniq chez les Inuit d'Iglulik," Recherches amerindiennes au Quebec 5 (1975): 67-68.
(35.) "L'influence," 95.
(36.) "L'influence," 99-100.
(37.) "L'influence," 105.
(38.) Roscoe (Changing Ones, 194) misrepresents an authoritative finding of C. Callender and L. Kochims so as to dismiss such people as not true berdaches. The authors ("The North American Berdache," Current Anthropology 24 : 444, 451) say that those who were forcibly cross-dressed in order to shame them temporarily were clearly distinct from the berdache, meaning only that insults ad temporem did not make one a berdache. In keeping with his agenda of praising berdaches, Roscoe has them saying that people who were dressed female to inflict shame on them were not "true berdaches."
(39.) Robert-Lamblin ("Changement," 123) denies that her subjects were berdaches, but the berdache information she relied on for that judgment came from the Plains where, as her source Desy states, berdaches were not made in infancy, as they were among Robert-Lamblin's subjects, but at adolescence. But before the Plains nations had even formed, the Mesoamerican nations, as we have seen, repeatedly made berdaches who were infants. As for the Plains, see further below.
(40.) This does not mean, of course, that the presence or absence of homosexual behavior is unimportant to the understanding of the berdache among his or her own people. For specifics on the various divisions of labor, see Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 131-37.
(41.) In his study of The North Alaskan Eskimo (Washington, 1959), 171, R. Spencer could find no indication of homosexual behavior, while the evidence for homosexuality in Kaska culture is not clear; J.-G. Goulet, "The Northern Athapaskan 'Berdache' Reconsidered: On Reading More Than There is in the Ethnographic Record," in Jacobs et al, Two-Spirit People, 50-52. He found no decisive evidence one way or the other that girls become boys engaged in homosexual activity.
(42.) J. Honigmann, The Kaska Indians: an Ethanographic Reconstruction (New Haven, 1954), 130.
(43.) H. Barnett, The Coast Salish of British Columbia (Eugene, 1955), 128.
(44.) T. McIlwraith, The Bella Coola Indians, vol. 1 (Toronto, 1948), 45.
(46.) Dismissing Callender and Kochims, Williams, and others; J-G. Goulet, "The 'Berdache'/'Two-Spirit': A Comparison of Anthropological and Native Constructions of Gendered Identities Among the Northern Athapaskans," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute n.s. 2 (1996): 683-701; "The Northern Athapaskan 'Berdache' Reconsidered," 45-68.
(47.) Goulet, "The 'Berdache'/'Two-Spirit," 698.
(48.) Goulet, "Northern Athapaskan," 46.
(49.) See the text in Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 116.
(50.) The Western Country in the 17th Century: the Memoirs of Lamothe Cadilla and Pierre Liette, ed. M. Milton Quaife (Chicago, 1947), 112-13. While the reference here to braves penetrating these berdaches is standard enough, that to a berdache having sexual relations with women is almost a unicum in the literature, but the more important for that. For tattooing on the chin among the Aleuts, see above, at n. 12. There are several North American examples of direct sexual coercion in my Sex and Conquest and "Gender Subordination and Political Hierarchy."
(51.) This happened to a Sioux awaiting the vision at puberty; J. Dorsey, "A Study of Siouan Cults," Bureau of American Ethnology 11th Annual Report (1889-90), 378. Desy, "L'hommes-femmes," 72, refers to four different peoples' tests, and S. Jacobs examines the phenomenon in California: "Berdache: A Brief Review of the Literature," in Ethnographic Studies of Homosexuality, eds. W. Dynes and S. Donaldson (New York, 1992), 276.
(52.) Among the Plains nations, who made their berdaches when the boys were in adolescence, the situation is however not so simple. See further below.
(53.) R. Hauser, "The Berdache and the Illinois Indian Tribe during the Last Half of the Seventeenth Century," Ethnohistory 37 (1990): 45-65, esp. 55, where he argues that those adults forced to dress as women so as to shame them were not "true berdaches." This conflicts squarely with the historical record, and, as shown above, is based on a misreading of Callender and Kochims. Hauser cites an unidentified Frenchman of c. 1700 to the effect that "perhaps no nation in the world scorns women more than these [Illinois] savages usually do.... The bitterest insult that can be offered a savage is to call him a woman."; ibid., 55.
(54.) Reproduced in color on the dust cover of my Sex and Conquest, and in black and white ibid., 119.
(55.) R. Landes, The Prairie Potawatomi: Tradition and Ritual in the Twentieth Century (Madison, 1970), 26.
(56.) Desy, "L'homme-femme," 63, cites the whole relevant passage of Dumont de Montigny with details on their clothes, division of labor, and confirmation that these chefs were "abused' by the active Natchez 'barbarians." Berdaches often seem to have served in peacetime as the heads of economic units composed of women. See Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 137. The "ribald" was a somewhat comparable European male who was a "chef des femmes" in medieval European armies, responsible for disciplining female camp followers in medieval European armies, but he never transvested; R. Trexler, Dependence in Context in Renaissance Florence (Binghamton, 1994), 123-25.
(57.) The Texans, who did not carry bow and arrow, identified themselves as "women of the men of war"; J. Arlegui, Cronica de la provincia de NSPS Francisco de Zacatecas, 143-44. Also: "In this nation [in the province of Texas] abound the hermaphrodites [i.e. berdaches] which they call the Monaguia. These go out with the Indians on the campaigns to serve them as well as to drive the herd of horses and mules that are stolen while they fight those who come to take them away"; "Diary of a Visit of Inspection of the Texas Missions Made by Fray Gasper Jose de Solis in the Year 1767-68," Southwest Historical Quarterly 35 (1931): 44. For the mislabeling "hermaphrodite," see Trexler, Sex and Conquest, 67, 215.
(58.) For the Cheyenne, see G. Grinell, The Fighting Cheyennes (Norman, 1956), 236-64; for the Kootanie "bowdash," "permitted to go from all the camps, without molestation, to carry any message given her to either camp," see "The Unpublished Journal of William H. Gray from December, 1836 to October, 1837," Whitman College Quarterly 16 (1913): 46f.
(59.) Among the Spanish friars, one does encounter an occasional claim that "the devil" fostered such conversions, but the claim is of little value since these nations knew nothing of "the devil," who was the friars' automatic explanation for all things bad. Yet did the friars mean to refer to the indigenous naguales? See "The Talking Image," in my Religion in Social Context, 452.
(60.) R. Benedict, An Anthropologist at Work: Writings of Ruth Benedict (London, 1959), 268.
(61.) Cited in Duflot de Mofras' Travels on the Pacific Coast, ed. and trans. M. Eyer Wilbur, vol. 2 (Santa Ana, California), 191.
(62.) In general on these visions, see L. Irwin, The Dream Seekers: Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains (Norman, 1994); R. Benedict, The Concept of the Guardian Spirit in North America (Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association, no. 29, n. d.), and her "The Vision in Plains Culture," American Anthropologist, n. s. 24 (1922): 1-23; P. Albers and S. Parker, "The Plains Vision Experience: a Study of Power and Privilege," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 27 (1971): 203-33.
(63.) For the Hidatsa, see Desy, "L'homme-femme," 72; For the Oglala, Sioux, Winnnebago, etc., see Irwin, Dream Seekers, 51.
(64.) C. Wissler, "Societies and Ceremonial Associations in the Oglala Divison of the Teton-Dakota," Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 11.1 (1912): 92; also D. Forgey, "The Institution of Berdache Among the North American Plains Indians," Journal of Sex Research 11(1975): 5.
(65.) Landes, The Mystic Lake Sioux, 112; J. Dorsey, "A Study of Siouxan Cults," 378.
(66.) J. Fine, Lame Deer, and R. Erdoes, Lame Deer, Sioux Medicine Man (London, 1972), 117.
(67.) Benedict, Concept of the Guardian Spirit, 41, and her "The Vision in Plains Culture," 17, 19; R. Landes, The Prairie Potawatomi: Tradition and Ritual in the Twentieth Century (Madison, 1970), 26 (1936); C. Wissler, Societies and Ceremonial Associations in the Oglala Division of the Teton-Dakota (Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 11.1 (1912), 92; Albers and Parker, "The Plains Vision Experience," 206, 209-10, 214, 218-19, 225-29; Irwin, Dream Seekers, 51, 168-69, 189.
(68.) Benedict, "The Vision in Plains Culture," 19.
(69.) Irwin, Dream Seekers, 189, and 168-69 on the "pattern of dialogical exchange" by which the neophyte was led by adults. Further on the passage from one set of legitimated weaving patterns to another is in W. Morris, Jr., Living Maya (New York, 1987).
(70.) R. Trexler, "Legitimating Prayer Gestures in the Twelfth Century: The De Penitentia of Peter the Chanter," in my Religion in Social Context, 335-73.
(71.) Benedict, The Concept of the Guardian Spirit, 41.
(72.) Roscoe, Changing Ones, 130.
(73.) Ibid., 196, one of scores of such assertions. I have reviewed Roscoe's work in some detail in my "Gender Subordination."
(74.) Cf. for example the Arabian cases studied by E. Rowson ("The Effeminates of Early Medina," Journal of the American Oriental Society 111 : 671-93) and U. Wikan (Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman [Baltimore, 1982]). A. Kroeber noted this song and dance occupation of the berdaches in California; Handbook of the Indians of California (Berkeley, 1953), 497. Studying the Pueblo, E. Clews Parsons, "The Last Zuni, 338ff. at least pinpoints the economic factor, distinguishing between "the authentic lifelong economic line" and the "pseudo- or temporary ritual line of burlesque or dance in which clowns or dancers take on parts of women's array or impersonate women or "unsuccessful warriors"; "The Last Zuni Transvestite," American Anthropologist 41 (1939): 338ff. Especially important in this regard is A. Bowers, Hidatsa Social and Ceremonial Organization (Washington, D.C., 1965), 315, 326, 331, and 168, where Bowers notes that that tribe's berdaches "tended to disappear once warfare had ceased and thei r ceremonial system had collapsed."
(75.) Roscoe, for instance, hints that in matrilineal contexts berdaches as "women" may have facilitated the passage of property such as medicine between generations; Changing Ones, 199. Showing how possession of a bundle passed through berdaches, A. Bowers hints at this role for berdaches, that is, a berdache by playing his opposite gender preserved the principle of linear passage of goods; Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization (Chicago, 1950), 270. For a "female berdache" or Albanian "sworn virgin" who became a man thirty years ago in part to preserve the property of the patriline, see The National Geographic Magazine (Feb., 2000): 58f, with Pashke's picture.
(76.) Benedict noted this geography in "The Vision in Plains Culture," 1-3.
(77.) Trexler, "Gender Subordination."
(78.) A. Kroeber, Handbook of the Indians of California (Berkeley, 1953), 497, 647.
(79.) For more on Kroeber's complicated relationship to his subjects, see C. Shea, "The Return of Ishi's Brain," Lingua Franca (Feb. 2000): 46-55.
I Think .....the most important thing about the " Idea " of the Berdache, is that here are societies that had the Idea it's self .
In that , here we have individuals that are clearly different in sexually identity, thus We must find a Role for them within our
society, though we may not relate to their dilemma, they are a part of Nature's way, thus we must create a place in society , a
place ….we as a great society, must come up with a Idea of, ; " What can the Berdache do ? "..
First of all the term " Berdache " is simply a " Idea of "
A European's Idea of people ,that the European had all ready knew, a comparison of to, now that
this European could hardly " talk to "
Zuni: lhamana, men who at times may also take on the social and ceremonial roles performed by women in their culturelhamana, while dressed in "female attire", were often hired for work that required "strength and endurance"
I have many concerns for this "Article / paper "
(in that it seems very one sided, as though the berdache had no say in the matter,especially after puberty,
and favors berdache became female roled males-constructed through force by parental or tribal authority, )
1. Why does the author include Ruth Benedict's view of the berdache, which does not reflect her view of the berdache in "Patterns of Culture", which I read in mid 90's (still have the book), yet was published in 1934.
" In most of North American there exists the institution of the "berdache", as the French called them. These men-women were men who at puberty or thereafter took the dress and occupations of women.
Some times they married other men and lived with them. Sometimes they were men with no sexual inversion, persons of weak sexual endowment who chose this role to avoid the jeers of the women " - patterns of culture page 263
Sexual inversion (sexology) - Wikipedia
look at " Two basic types of Transsexual " page
2. Thought I bought and read " "Patterns of Culture", because Albert Einstein recommended reading it in his book ,
" Ideas and Opinions" do to his thought that the Pueblos of New Mexico, reflected a great culture.
Then I read of the berdache, which I had never heard of til then, I very much related to this Model of the; "institution of the "berdache"
As I had been lusting, wanting to be back in the girly-boyfriend role again since my divorce in 1990, and knew I was "ripe for the taking" if and when the right individual came along, I had already been using dildo anally, trying different methods of getting my bottom clean, so I would be ready when I did meet a man who would put me in my female role I so much desired.
This time wouldn't come until after I started modeling for " Life Drawing " classes in 1997-98, when a very attractive young black male asked me if I be interested in performing fellatio on him.
He didn't have to ask twice, soon I was routinely performing fellatio on him,soon I was begging him to penerate me anally so he could ejaculate up inside me. As with my first experince at puberty, he was gentle,kind, yet I was strictly in role to give him sexual pleasure, when,where and as often as he desired, soon he was introducing me to friends he knew, thus soon I was having sex in my female role with many. - It was very much by choice, not free-will, by want, even need.
.even if forced,→ the two ways still created a " Female-role-male "
I very much believe this to be true; ↓
"A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants".-Arthur Schopenhauer
I don't believe in free-will, in regards to needs and desires
I think once I'd started taking males anally at 13 years old,
and very much desired,then
lost my virginity by be impregnated by a male,
it became a " Need ", I needed to be in the female role.
You are free to do whatever you desire. But you are not free to choose your desires. Similarly, Marx said, "man" makes his own history, but not under the historical conditions of his choosing. And Mill attempted to secularize the paradox by observing that we are slaves to habit, but can step back and form those habits. We can, in some measure, both rely on causes and effects and intervene between them.
The idea, which arises in many forms, is that "freedom" is indeed inevitably paradoxical. There is no such thing as "absolute" freedom nor "absolute" constraint. There are only indeterminacies and determinations on different levels, of which one may or may not be aware.
I have selected to be celibate for past 14 years, yet I still very much want to be in my female role sexually
3. From my point of view; especially now, as I love being a Female roled male, thus it is not so much in determining why anyone is homosexual,third-gender, but more in society accepting the fact , that berdache type have always been part of all of humanity.
I could say I have desired to be female like, cause of " The Oedipal complex, also known as the Oedipus complex, is a term used by Sigmund Freud in his theory of;
or something related to; Childhood experiences of homosexual men -MOTHERS AND SONS-
"Thompson found that "homosexuals more strongly identified with their mothers and more strongly disidentified with their fathers than with controls." (Thompson, 1973) According to Saghir and Robins' research:
The mother seems to replace the father as the parental model and source of identification. In the vast majority of the homosexual men, identification is reported to have occurred with the mother or with no parent at all during childhood. A majority of the homosexuals describe their mothers as having been dominant at home, making decisions, carrying out discipline and showing greater drive and involvement. (Saghir, p.152)
According to the DSM IV, GID boys "particularly enjoy playing house, drawing pictures of beautiful girls and princesses, and watching television or videos of their favorite female characters."(DSMIV, p.533) According to Green:
When ask to draw a person normally girls draw females and boy draw males, however when "feminine" boys were asked to "a person the majority of the feminine boys drew a female. In addition, when they were asked to draw a picture of themselves, the feminine boys drew a girl. (Green 1974, p.162) - me
I do know seeing my mother performing fellatio and being fucked doggy style by my step-father, when being awakened in the night by their noises, then peeking in their room to see what was happening was a trauma.
I also had told my friend at 13 (first experience) , I wanted him to put his cock in me like my mother was, I knew I wanted to suck his cock like I had seen my mother doing , even though I disliked my step-father very much.
I wasn't constructed through force by parental or tribal authority, yet I am a " berdache type ", by ;
This definition ↓
" While the Spanish and French originally used the term for male transvestites or the passive partner in sex between males, anthropologists later applied the term berdache to American Indians who assumed the dress, social status, and role of the opposite sex.While the Spanish and French originally used the term for male transvestites or the passive partner in sex between males, anthropologists later applied the term berdache to American Indians who assumed the dress, social status, and role of the opposite sex." - britannica.com;
And for along time I have very much desired the surgery; vaginoplasty, to remove my penis and have a vagina.
-Thus a great desire to be Transsexual in that regard-
as I love being a Female roled male
excerpt from ; Cause of Homosexuality:
Poor Parent-Child Relationships
by: By Roy Masters
Homosexuality is a developmental problem that is almost always the result of problems in family relations, particularly between father and son. As a result of failure with father, the boy does not fully internalize male gender-identity, and develops homosexuality. This is the most commonly seen clinical model. - Joseph Nicolosi, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, 1991
I very much relate , thus took females as role model, thus want to be in female sexual role
excerpt from above ; Critics faulted Nicolosi's scholarship, and argued that he provided an inadequate discussion of biological influences on sexual orientation and incorrectly viewed homosexuality as pathological; some described conversion therapy as a form of pseudoscience. In 2019, the book was withdrawn from sale by Amazon following a campaign by gay rights activists. Some commentators supported Amazon's decision, while others criticized it as a form of censorship. The book remained available from other publishers.
Daniel Reynolds reported in The Advocate in February 2019 that the gay writer Damian Barr had criticized Amazon for selling books by Nicolosi, arguing that they were discredited and harmful. Gwen Aviles of NBC News reported in July 2019 that Amazon had withdrawn Nicolosi's books from sale following a campaign by gay rights activists.
The Truth hurts, yet if it ain't biological, then we at least can work on problem-me
One Question might be ; has homosexuality increased at rate similar to divorce rate
excerpt from ↑ ;
Researchers have provided evidence that gay men report having had less loving and more rejecting fathers, and closer relationships with their mothers, than non-gay men. Some researchers think this may indicate that childhood family experiences are important determinants to homosexuality, or that parents behave this way in response to gender-variant traits in a child. Michael Ruse suggests that both possibilities might be true in different cases.
"For example, in one case a patient reported that he always felt uneasy with his father who was like a boarder in the house. The father not only did not touch his son, but did not permit the son to touch his possessions. The son was not even permitted to wear his father's discarded ties".
"Sipova and Brzek compared 27 transsexual men, 100 effeminate homosexual men and 70 noneffeminate men with 41 heterosexual controls. They found that "fathers of homosexuals and transsexuals were more hostile and less dominant than the fathers of the control group and hence less desirable identification models" and that "the average father of the effeminate homosexual is reported to be harsh and selfish."
a boy who strongly identifies with a father and especially a father who has marked male characteristics, does not suffer from anxiety. Our control group has reported kind, caring and at the same time vigorous fathers endowed with authority. They appear to represent desirable identification models for their sons also in relation to women. It was found that our control group of heterosexual men strongly identified with their fathers... the development of selfesteem in boys is directly dependent on the degree to which the father was committed to their rearing and the strength of the emotional bond with him. The homosexuals and transsexuals in our study manifested selfesteem disorders. (Sipova, 1983)
In looking at parental influences, it is important to remember that timing may be a crucial element. According to Daniel Brown:
It is quite conceivable that there is a crucial period in the early years of a child for establishing the basic capacity for heterosexual adjustment. In this connection, evidence indicates that sex role differentiation and identity occur in most children between the ages of one and one-half and three, and that heterosexual stimulation and responsiveness develop between the third and sixth year of life. (Brown, 1963)
If the father were absent after the boy had developed a confident masculine identity, the effect of his absence on gender identity might be minimal (although father absence could have negative effects in other areas).Girls as playmates;
The DSMIV (p.537) lists "strong preference for playmates of the other sex" as one of the elements that should be considered in making the diagnosis of GID. Homosexual men frequently recall having girl playmates:
I preferred to play with the girls, not because I necessarily liked girls better, but because I preferred cooperative rather than competitive games, nor did I like the anger and aggressiveness on the playground. I really didn't like team things. (Silverstein, p.62)Not only did Craig avoid the rough-and-tumble games of other boys his age, but he also preferred to play only with girls. His favorite game was to play house. He would take the role of "mother" and insist that one of the girls play the part of "father."(Rekers 1982, p.132) - Childhood experiences of homosexual men / FEELING DIFFERENT
For myself it is much to late to try to change, even if wanted to, and don't feel I could;
1. I love being in female role sexually, having a man's penis up in my bottom is greatest feeling for me.
2. I am so psychologically effeminate now, and have no desire to sexually be with a female.
3. I am so enculturated as a Female roled male, I think once I allowed a man to ejaculate up in me, then
crave it, need it my Role was set.
I think the only " Real " thing to apply to truth , reality now is " At that First experience, when my friends had sex with me ,asking me to suck their cocks, then penetrating me anally,1. I wanted them to, and very,very much so !, though understanding why I desired what I desired may shed light on things, it can't change the truth of , I love being sexually treated like a female by a man.
2. It's not changeable !
3. Society has condemned it along time. I can't change that either!
Let me ask any religious person; 1. can you know why you believe in your religion ?
2. Honestly, tomorrow, try to change your religion.
3. TRy it!, what about something as simply as your favorite football team, try it
4. Try changing your sexual orientation.
What amazes me it All these people whom think they have " Free-Will ", if so, try not wanting what you want , for a day!
Ask yourself at what point, concerning your " likes", do you select what you like ?
I just count my blessings that " I no longer desire♦want a Drink, and have never desired to cheat,steal,rob etc. and,
That might be all anyone who wants a civil society can hope for " hope and be thankful they themselves don't start;
having a desiring to; cheat♦ steal♦ rob♦ etc.!
- If I had to make a choice, say between the two individuals below-
" Whom I want to mate with ? "
And I and 100% free to select, I could only select the male above, and ask him to " impregnate me "
I very much find this female beautiful and attracting, yet not my role to impregnate, it is the role of the male above,
whom hopefully can impregnate us both.
Yet if forced, which social construct can be, and is a very strong force,
I could maybe impregnate her , yet not him,
I am not sure, last time I tried with a female was 13 years ago aprox.
and could not get a erection due to being so femininized and emasculated psychologically,
and my own personal morals / ethics
I simply had no desire, thus desire / need / want decide
I don't think my morals helped much, or were needed to constrain me.
Let's say her and I are good friends, we go hiking / camping for few days in wilderness area, she knows full well I am a berdache type, the above male we meet on the trail, as we are setting up camp,he is alone, we all talk, he is good guy.
we ask if he wants to camp here with us.
He does, we chat late into night,
My girl-friend (platonic), really likes him, and clearly he likes her, the next day he remains with us, and my g/f tells me she'd really like to have sex with him , when he and I are alone, I tell him or hint to him that she likes him, also I explain,
I am a berdache type male and our friendship is platonic,
That night, again he stays, her and him clearly are ready ,desiring each other ,
he makes a gesture toward kissing her, she kindly halts him,
and says to him, "Only if you will fuck Michael to !"
- Group Cooperation / evolution-
" I very much believe this, even though maybe by random chance, is how the berdache is born! "
By "Nature's Design"
Three people's ability to survive and prosper just increased greatly',
in most part free of jealousy,
all hold a strong element of altruism,
and have a common,needed goal.
They clearly know their own Roles.
One reason I thought of " Terrace ", and my perfect place as a berdache type
I would think in a Native American tribe...the berdache type person like myself, safe to help the women with shelter building, chores that require more physical strength...the men don't have to worry about me trying to have sex with the women , because my desire
is only to be in the female sexual role for the Men.
If nothing else, many Native American tribes in the Way of ; "Establishment of Roles" for the individual where more advanced then what we are today in American Society. A place to start fixing things, a least a Idea.