Male cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (Burma): A description of the acault
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Cross-gender behavior in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is reported. Western concepts of transsexualism, gynemimesis, transvestism, and homosexuality are not distinct categories by the Burmese. Males with cross-gender behavior are referred to as acaults. Although Myanmar is a profoundly Buddhist society, the people still have strong animistic beliefs with an elaborate system of 37 nats (spirit gods). One of these nats is a female named Manguedon who may take possession of males and impart femininity on them. The cross-gender status of the acaults is sanctioned by their spiritual marriage to Manguedon. The acaults, while not envied, are respected for their roles as shamans and seers.
Key wordscross-gender behavior transsexualism transvestism homosexuality cross-cultural studies
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