Identifying with the American berdache

I tried several times in my 20's to be like a man, and be a partner for a female yet it was so un-natural, where being in the female sexual role for for a male was so right and natural.

" The institution of another gender role means that berdaches are not deviant-indeed, they do conform to the requirements of a custom in which their culture tells them they fit.

Berdachism is a way for society to recognize and assimilate some atypical individuals without imposing a change on them or stigmatizing them as deviant. This cultural institution confirms their legitimacy for what they are. "

                                                                                  The Berdache Tradition Walter L. Willams

I can identify very well with the following statement ;

Berdaches frequently are available for sex with both unmarried adolescent boys and married men who occasionally seek out same sex partners. Because of this, female prostitution is not needed. Traditional berdaches were also available as sexual partners during hunts and in war parties. This was yet another reason why they were welcomed on these excursions."

                                                                                  Same Sex & Berdaches 

" There are some characteristics of the sexual practices of berdache, which differ from those of other same sex relationships. Berdaches almost always observe an incest taboo which involves the avoidance of sex with another berdache. One explanation for this is that sexual partner of the berdache must, by nature, be masculine. This belief is consistent with the emphasis on the gender aspects of the role rather than the sexual aspects. It also dovetails with the information on berdache marriages to masculine men. In these unions, the berdache is considered a wife and is valued by the husband not only for the domestic duties the berdache performs, but also for the socially acceptable homosexual relationship. " - Same Sex & Berdaches

How many American Indian tribes have the berdache tradition?

According to a history project by GAI (Gay American Indians-a gay Indian activist group, obviously) 133 American Indian tribes have been documented as having a berdache tradition while the American Anthropological Association puts it lower at 122.

It’s interesting (and sad) that most American, at least until recently , have not been aware aspect of American Indian culture. transgendered people are just barely coming to be accepted by mainstream society while the people who originally lived on this continent have been crossing gender boundaries for upwards of 20,000 years (that’s the currently accepted estimate of when the early American Indians crossed over the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia into Alaska and North America). I d didn’t know about this at all myself until a few years ago when I came across a few very vague references to the berdache in some gay magazines I thumbed though, More recently I came across “The Spirit and The Flesh” by Walter Williams which is a good introduction to this, by chance in a bookstore . There are some really good books on American Indians I’ve seen, but even the best of them have very little or no mention of the berdache. - The Way of The Berdache

Cultural Differences

    Berdaches are Native American males who dress up as women, do traditional "women's tasks," and often become the wives of the males. Although they do much of the women's work, they are still allowed to do most of the men's work, as well. Hijras are Indian males who dress up as women and usually emasculate themselves. They usually do everything possible to become female or as close to it as possible, and they also become wives to Indian men on many occasions. These function much like mother-daughter relationships in regards to emotional and social kinship.


                                                - Which One's the Sexy Indian? / A Comparison Between Berdaches and Hijras By Adam Bruno

The cultural attitude toward homosexuals has not always been on such a high ethical plane, but it has been very varied. Among many American Indian tribes 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 the occupations of women. Sometimes they married other men and lived with them. Sometimes they were men with no inversion, persons of weak sexual endowment who chose this role to avoid the jeers of the women. The berdaches were never regarded as of first-rate supernatural power, as similar men-women were in Siberia, but rather as leaders in women’s occupations, good healers in certain diseases, or, among certain tribes, as the genial organizers of social affairs. In any case, they were socially placed. They were not left exposed to the conflicts that visit the deviant who is excluded from participation in the recognized patterns of his society - Ruth Benedict

I identify with the Samoan Fa'afafine – or “Fafa” – are men who are raised as females and identify with that gender.


I especially relate to the fact that Fa'afafine mostly have relationships with heterosexual men and are generally not gay.